Monday, 29 September 2014

MKAL Monday 3: Moving Along

Gendron Tarot

I'm about 4 rows into Clue 3 of the SusannaIC MKAL6, but let me show you what it looks like after Clue 2:

Definitely looking like Autumny colors to me - but outside after the fog has lifted we have bright blue skies and warm sunshine ....I do love an Indian Summer. Please pop your link in below to any MKAL, KAL, or CAL that you're blogging about ....

Friday, 26 September 2014

FO Friday: Hedgehog Delight

Prairie Tarot

Just popping in on this gloriously sunny and warm late Summer day to show off a lil ole tea cosy I made - I do like to make them, but I don't use them: so I decided to revive my Folksy shop and hang them up in there with some shawls in case anyone wants to help me clear out some FOs and simultaneously fund my yarn junkie life-style further adventures in knitting ... I'll just remind you all that I'm happy to take commissions ....

I thought Autumn was supposed to be here, and I ran across this really cute pattern - and WAH-LA:

Meanwhile, pop FO Friday into Google and see what turns up ....

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Tarot Blog Hop: Mabon 2014

Mary-El Tarot

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 You may have arrived here from Hilary's blog, and when you leave, go to Ania's blog for more Tarot Blog Hop writings.

The topic for this Mabon 2014 Blog Hop is:

 ''In the life of everyone who deals with Tarot, there comes those moments where your understanding of the Tarot undergoes a radical change, or when one's skill with the Tarot takes a giant leap forward. Sometimes this is the result of learning a new technique, or acquiring a special deck, or because of an event in one's life; other times, it is the result of nothing that you can pinpoint. Whatever the cause, the end result is that you approach the Tarot in different manner than you did before.
The topic of the Mabon Blog Hop is to talk about a time when your understanding of the Tarot undergone such a quantum leap, talking about what brought about the change in your understanding of the Tarot (if you have been able to figure it out) and how you approach the Tarot differently than you did before the change.
(I tend to refer to this topic as "the things that I wished I knew about Tarot sooner than I learned them.")''

I had no bolt of lightning moment,  no grand epiphany, but rather a gradual dawning ....

Having taught myself to read tarot at the beginning of the 90s, I found most of the material available was written with a very New Age, hippie or .... Californian .... slant. And until fairly recently, this approach was the standard, and any suggestion of deviation from a passive yet 'empowering' 'holistic' illuminating style of reading was met with howls of judgmental scorn - for example, a discussion about prediction would go up in flames in a mere moment. This scorn and judgment, you understand, is acceptable because it comes from 'spiritual' people, and any attempt to put one's case just results in the mob getting more overbearing. So my first realization was that so-called self-styled 'enlightened' 'spiritual' people tended to be exactly the opposite - twins to the kind of Christian who goes to church every Sunday but behaves like a Philistine in actuality.

Housewives Tarot
This in turn enabled me to become more confident in sorting the wheat from the chaff in the tarot world - and believe me, there is a lot of self-serving chaff in this field, and all too many willing acolytes for their over-sized egos. In some ways, these 'spiritual' leaders are more truly charlatans that your stereotypical Madam Cleo or Gypsy Rose, because they have so fallen for their own hype that they begin to believe it, thus deceiving themselves along with everyone else who drinks their KoolAid; your average 'cold reader' or magician cannot afford to be so detached from reality.

Animals Divine Tarot
Adding that to age and experience has made me care far less about what others think is right, and to do instead what I think is right, for myself and my clients. That means that I will make predictions, if I feel it is appropriate. I will actively give advice rather than tell the client that they must make a decision all on their own. I do not shilly-shally, waffle on about 'free will' and fill the time with psychobabble when what is wanted and needed is advice on the next practical steps to take in a situation. This means that my belief in the tarot and my ability to interpret it has made me take responsibility for what I say - I do not shirk or give myself an escape route by some caveat phrase like 'nothing is set in stone'.

Steampunk Tarot
 As a result, my teaching and mentoring is very much about keeping my students focussed on the everyday, the mundane, the stuff clients actually care about, and not getting too high-falutin' and philosophizing with big words; maintaining an open mind and compassion when you get your eleventybillionth question this week about 'does he/she love me ?' is enough of a challenge in itself.

You'll probably find less grumpy posts if you hop backwards to Hilary's blog, and definitely if you hop forward to Ania's blog.

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Monday, 22 September 2014

MKAL Monday 2: Slow Progress

Hanson-Roberts Tarot

Wow, that rolled round quickly, didn't it ?

I've got a ton of ideas and a ton more of things to do. There are even some that aren't knitting or crochet related, but we'll simply ignore those - life is just too short to clean a house to your husband's standards, and if he doesn't like it, see if he can find the Hoover for himself.

Anyway. The 2nd clue for the SusannaIC Autumn MKAL was released Saturday, and what with Stuff and the children's social calendars, I haven't had a chance to get going on it yet .... but here is the beginning of Clue 1, which was all about short rows (not that you can tell from my photo):

If you are taking part in an MKAL/MCAL or just a plain ole KAL/CAL, pop your link into the box below so we can come check out what you're up to ...

Friday, 19 September 2014

FO Friday: The Blue Dahlia

Phantomwise Tarot

So I am feeling especially triumphant, having finally beaten into submission conquered the Blue Dahlia Shawl that provoked my temper tantrum a while back, resulting in it being flung into a Serious Time-Out on the naughty step while I regained the normal, natural sweet temper for which I am renowned.

Uh-huh. Yeah.

So anyway. I am stubborn and unwilling to admit defeat, so I picked it up again, determined to complete it. I ran into the same problem, and even on the same rows as before - in spite of having made the charts larger, trimmed and taped them together so there were no gaps.

I emailed the designer, Andrea Jurgrau - who was very approachable, friendly and helpful: she worked out that one of the problems was the placement of my stitch markers, so that was easily resolved. Later I had a query, and wrote out the chart to demonstrate my problem - she immediately identified that the stitch I'd seen and been working as ktbl (knit through the back of the loop) was actually a K2tog (knit 2 together) ..... proof that if you add bad eyesight to badly formatted, small charts which are smudgy when enlarged you get simple errors that drive one to insanity.

This was in no way the fault of the designer, but rather of the publisher who chose to format large charts in Portrait instead of Landscape, miniaturizing them in the process,  and placing them across the middle of the book creating a break in the middle of the chart. I would have had even more trouble if a kind friend hadn't sent me large versions of just the charts.

There are beads involved, but not as many a there should have been. If I were to escape the strait jacket and make this ever again, I would add loads more - there are lots of opportunities in the pattern for placement.

All in all, it was a rather miserable experience which has put me off trying any of the rest of the quite beautiful shawl patterns in the book. But I know you know that its little voice is seeping through the mental locked dark room in which I have bunged it ....

Here is the evidence of success:

The yarn was West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in 'Bubblegum'; it was a slightly scratchy bouncy, springy yarn that was quite splitty during the crocheted bind-off; a lovely intense color, fortunatel the yarn was softer after a good soak in fabric conditioner.

So while I sit here and gloat, you can pop 'FO Friday' into Google to see lots more pretties .....

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

WIP Wednesday 209: Adding to the List

Housewives Tarot

I'm up to date with the SusannaIC MKAL and I have finished the Blue Dahlia aka the Shawl from Hell; I still have one Checkerboard Mitt left to do, I also have the Madaket Cardigan on my needles but am not feeling the love for beige ..... time to cast on something entirely different, don't you think ?

No ? Have some self-discipline and finish something I've started even though it's turning into Cod Liver Oil knitting just as if I was an adult ?

Too late. Here it is so far:

It's small, cute and hopefully a quick knit - I await some eyelash yarn which will be needed too. Yes, I felt that, the tremors of horror and trepidation at the mention on any kind of novelty yarn - but trust me, it'll be fine .....

You'll find lots of other projects on the go over at Tami's Amis ....

Monday, 15 September 2014

MKAL Monday 1: New Adventures

Shadowscapes Tarot

Yes, a fit took me and I am feeling adventurous - so, I am seizing the moment and acting on it. See that lovely button on the top right corner of my post ?

I made it. Yes, I know it looks like it, but hey, it's WAY better than any other kind of drawing I could do, believe me.

I made it because I am taking part in another MKAL (Mystery Knit-A-Long) organized by SusannaIC - I think for the 3rd or maybe 4th time. I like to know how other people are getting along, and the group is certainly chatty. But then I thought, there must be tons of other MKALs or MCALs (Mystery Crochet-A-Longs) around that I simply haven't come across: and my nosiness about what other people get up to led me to the idea of hosting a blog party every Monday (who doesn't love an alliterative title ?) for anybody taking part in any kind of MKAL/MCAL.

I'll start with my own pics of progress so far in the SusannaIC Autumn 2014 MKAL- I have chosen the medium size in fingering/4ply, with lots of beads:

That is Araucania Ranco Multy in the colorway '351', and I have 75g of size 6/0 rainbow gold glass beads to go with it .....

Please do take part and feel free to download the MKAL button to use on your own blog. Leaving a link should be easy - so let's try it out !

Friday, 12 September 2014

FO Friday: Mermaid Dreams

Crystal Visions Tarot

Over the summer I've been working on a blankey for DD, to go with her newly decorated bedroom: gods help her if she ever falls out of liking teal in all its shades and timbres: teal, aqua, duck egg, turquoise, petrol, to name just I few that I have used to change her room from an unfinished worn room in a rented house to a snug, personal and unique high-schooler's room (don't feel bad for Destructo Boy, his room was done too - our 1st foray into wallpaper).

I mentioned one of the things I liked about the Floreal Dreams pattern was that the creator Deanne Ramsay had clear instructions, including how to re-size easily: which I did, from a baby blanket to a blankey that fits a single bed. Also, for some reason it tickles me that the designer is Australian. No, I don't know why, it just does.

So I changed the original pinks to 3 shades of teal, plus white - Stylecraft Special DK 1708 Petrol, Cygnet DK 211 Aqua, Stylecraft Special DK 1034 Sherbet .... and ended up with this:

pattern detail

If I were to make this pattern in this size again, I think I might carry the colors up the side, as I am not a fan of weaving in eleventy billion ends (I didn't, I cheated and crocheted over them when doing the border). I'd also increase the border so it wasn't so narrow: perfectly in proportion for a baby blanket, but a big blankey needs a wider border. But I also didn't want to buy any more yarn, or run out with inches to go: over about 3 weeks, I used somewhere in the region of 4,441m/4,856yds ..... 14 - 16 balls. and this is what is left:

Otherwise known as a cushion-in-waiting. Pop FO Friday into a search engine and see what others have completed today ....

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

WIP Wednesday 208: Back in the Saddle

Tarot Illuminati

For the first time in my life, I am happy to see the end of summer. Normally, I dread winter, the misery of the cold, the damp and the dark. But this year I want to put the Summer of Death behind me: after my sister died in July, it seemed that there were deaths everywhere, both expected and not - Eduard Shevardnadze, James Garner, a friend lost her father, Robin Williams, Lauren Bacall, Dickie Attenborough, Steven Sotloff, Joan Rivers .... I am just content when I wake up, and there are no deaths on the news.

So, trying not to dwell on my own loss, I was really happy to have the kids back from their summer in Kent with Nanny, and do some fun things with them, as well as kitting Mini Diva out for high school - she is now the same height as me (I am petite at 5'3'', I think), and she takes a size 6 shoe compared to my size 3. Cubs has restarted, both of them are doing rugby, and plans are underway for Destructo Boy's birthday next month, so already there is plenty going on.

Continuing with my crochet jag, I have been wanting to make Destructo Boy a blankey, seeing as I made one for his sister. He would only peg his color choice to 'light red and dark red' - and of course, project gestation includes many quiet enjoyable hours surfing patterns on Ravelry. I was trying to avoid modular afghans/blankets, as I am not enthusiastic about having lots of ends to weave in, but I was really struck by a free pattern I found, available from Caron, called the Spirals Throw.

Once more I wondered why we English have relatively few colorways available in decent acrylic-mix Aran-weight yarn, which is why one ends up using DK - so it'll use more yarn and take longer. But I like it so far:

That great workhorse yarn, Stylecraft Special DK in 1123 Claret and 1083 Pomegranate. At the same time, I had bought two other yarns that I thought were in the red spectrum:

We have 1132 Shrimp and 1246 Lipstick. I really want to use the Shrimp although really it is a coral-orange - I may have to find another dark red like the Claret for the right contrast. And then for the joining borders .... I wonder if there is a red ombre or jacquard DK somewhere .....

In the meanwhile, I must also contemplate whether I shall take part in NaKniSweMo this year .... catch up with what others have been up to at Tami's Amis ....