Friday, 31 October 2014

FO Friday: A Tragedy of Errors

Halloween Tarot

It's actually really lucky that I am not a brain surgeon or a rocket scientist, or else this week we'd be talking about unintentional lobotomies and rocket wreckage (this had nothing to do with me, I promise).

It started with the completion of the Oslo Walk Shawl - mine was 77 inches long not fully blocked, and had more of a scarf shape than a crescent:

Fortunately my MIL was visiting this week and frogged the whole thing for me, in spite of the additional challenge presented by the alpaca halo and ton of beads. 

And having completed the Autumn MKAL, and commented on the unexpected shape, it turns out the instructions were not as straightforward and clear as I had thought - and followed; so, mine should not have been a 'U' shape but a normal crescent. As it's washed and blocked already, it'll languish in a corner while I struggle with my depression about it.

And if that were not enough, the Heartskull Hat turned out great - if you like the inverted color scheme, which resulted from the pattern chart having the main color in white, and the contrasting color shaded, meaning the skull is colored and the sockets are white; I know, cock-eyed; but the other people who have made this seem to have managed fine. I know, also, you'd think I would have noticed - something was niggling me, but of course it wasn't until I uploaded it to Ravelry and compared it to the other projects that I finally figured out what was wrong.

No problem, I had enough yarn left over to make another one:

Except this time I forgot to upsize the needles after the ribbing to make the body - so the hat is much smaller. It will still fit the intended recipient, but that's not really the point.

I had been planning to make the Golden Orchids Shawl, but as it's rated medium-difficult, I may have to restrict myself to a garter-stitch washcloth or scarf .... except I'd rather poke my eyes out than make those.

Monday, 27 October 2014

MKAL Monday 7: Autumn Has Fallen

Halloween Tarot

Just in time for the clocks to go back from British Summer Time to miserable old Greenwich Mean Time, I've completed the final clue of the SusannaIC Autumn 2014 MKAL6 .... and soaked it and blocked it.

I'm really happy with the yarn (Araucania Ranco Multy in colorway 351) and the beads, gold rainbow in size 6/0 from Dawn's Bead and Button Box: the colors complement each other beautifully. I made the medium size shawl, the millions of beads version; 75 grams meant I have a few left over.

I love the lace pattern, and that the shawl includes lace right from the start.

The only thing I'm not overkeen on is the overall shape - I do not like shallow crescents, a new moon crescent; I need a shawl to be more of a half-moon, semi-circle shape. So something I have learned from this is to ask for very specific shape details before I commit to or start a MKAL.

I think this is the 3rd MKAL of Susanna's that I've made, so the batting average is good - and after all, the problem here was not with the pattern or instructions (as usual, they were very clear and straightforward) but more that the shape is not to my personal taste. I'll definitely be back for another of her MKALs in the future .....

Please do add your link to your MKAL or CAL ....

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The Cooler King

Halloween Tarot

Listen to this as you read - I promise it's relevant:

So Monday started as normal - did a little blog post about the current MKAL, ran the hoover around, 3 loads of washing as the sun was out and the tail of hurricane Gonzalo was supposed to lash us on Tuesday ... yanno, the ordinary housewifey stuff that turns my brain to mush.

Sebastian keeps me company as I do my chores, although it's normally a pretty one-sided conversation, since he doesn't consider my rhetorical questions about what to do next as worthy of an answer.

As he gets older, he grows increasingly fond of patches of sunlight that are big enough for him to lie in, and if that patch is outside, so much the better. It being a lovely sunny day, he found a warm spot on the patio and stretched out while I hung out my 2nd load of washing on the line.

I shuffled back inside to continue tottering about with a duster in one hand and a gin can of polish in the other.

The next basket of wet clothes later, I shoved the conservatory door open and squished it all on the line somehow. Looking round, Sebastian was noticeable by his absence.

My shrivelled heart beat somewhat faster as I discovered he was also not in the house.

When I saw the open side gate, I went into full adrenaline mode; I checked his usual lairs when he has got out, but they were all quiet and empty, not even a pile of poop to show he'd been by.

The internetz gave me the Council Dog Warden, although it took me longer to find as it is listed under 'Lost & Stray Dogs', and fortunately he had already been picked up and transported 20 odd miles away to the kennels the Council use for strays. I remembered how to breathe. And then I remembered how to disconnect and unplug every single technological device Destructo Boy owns, as it was he who had left the gate open, he was in so much of a hurry to get back to 'Call of Minecraft: Zombie Doom' or whatever is his current gaming obsession.

Belo and I took an adventurous drive to the backend of nowhere to retrieve Sebastian yesterday - the ladies who run the kennels were lovely; I especially did not look at or think about all the other strays there who I'd brought treats for. At all. Not one bit. No pangs at all. Sebastian was overjoyed to see us, and told us ALL. ABOUT. IT for the whole journey home.

Do you think that looks repentant ?

No, me either.

Destructo Boy is in the doghouse with the dog, and is grounded for life.

Monday, 20 October 2014

MKAL Monday 6: Movement

Halloween Tarot

Having got all my chores out of the way early and quickly yesterday, I could sit down and pay attention to Clue 6 of the SusannaIC Autumn 2014 MKAL ... each row seems to take ages because there are so many stitches ... or maybe it feels like it because I have started her Oslo Walk Shawl in the meantime, which begins with casting on over 300 stitches ....


Anyway, a leafy pattern seems to be emerging; and the more I see of this lovely Araucania Ranco Multi yarn, the more I am pleased with my choice of rainbow gold beads ....

But right now I am itching to finish Mini Diva's hat - she's been around all weekend, so there's been no chance to do the last 8 or so rounds ....

Do leave a link to your MKAL, KAL or CAL  ....

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

WIP Wednesday: Plodding On

Halloween Tarot

The beige cardigan to end all beige cardigans is still with us, but I haven't bothered with a photo because, let's face it, acres of beige is boring. Instead, let's focus on the fact that apparently Christmas is 11 Fridays away. 

I think I'm going to need all of that time to complete Mini Diva's gift, the Howling Wolves Beanie - I don't like knitting in the round with skinny yarn on skinny needles. And in addition, it's stranded colorwork, which I hate. I must really love her or something.

On the plus side, the yarn - Lanas Stop Baby Wool (which I used before on the ginormous Romanesque I made) - is just so deliciously soft: if I ever finish this hat, it is going to feel fantabulous.

You can see why 11 Fridays doesn't seem like enough:

If you only feel a tenth of my pain, you will understand the torture I am suffering .....

Monday, 13 October 2014

MKAL Monday 5: Treading Water

Halloween Tarot

Autumn is really here today - it's been raining hard since yesterday evening, it's grey, blustery, there are huge puddles and little floods: and it's forecast to stay this way for the next day or so.

Luckily for me, all my chores are already done, so I can snuggle on the sofa with the Alibi channel and start a new project as clue 5 of the SusannaIC MKAL is only for the large size this week ....

So I have the pattern and yarn ready for the Howling Wolves Beanie - Mini Diva loves wolves, and Christmas approaches stealthily. Turns out the wolf is the Native American birth totem for the time when she was born, too. So, even though I hate colorwork, I shall give this a go while I wait for the final clue ....

Since it seems my Eviller Twin and I are the only bloggers in the whole world doing an MKAL or KAL, so when this current MKAL is over I probably shan't bother doing the Mr.Linky thing ...

Friday, 10 October 2014

FO Friday: Bat Baby is Here !

Halloween Tarot

Well, it's only been forever since I last created and published a design of my own - it was the Cabled Hot Water Bottle Cosy which I made for my MIL. Today I am proud to say that I wrestled with the Muse, and have survived - and a new, somewhat seasonal, design is the result.

My BIL The Cornishman has serious photography skillz, and is taking some posh pictures for me, but I am impatient and couldn't wait to tell you guys all about it, even if only using my own dodgy snaps ....

Here is the Bat Tea Cosy !

I do kinda wish bats were in a more easily photographable color .... but I think he is super-cute: his eyes can be beads, or embroidered (as are his fangs). Made from black DK yarn, and scraps of red, grey and white DK yarn, he is knitted in pieces and sewn together: he consists of stocking stitch for his body, and garter stitch wings; his nose is a bobble.

His head is knitted holding the yarn doubled, so that the toy stuffing does not show; his ears are also knitted double to make sure they have the wherewithal to stand up.

A sweet button holds his wings closed across his tummy; when you undo it, look what is revealed ! Either an appropriately seasonal message:

Or, if you use Chart B instead:

Of course, you could embroider a message on his heart as well.

My Eviller Twin kindly proof-read and turned my words into a PDF pattern, which is available not only from my Folksy shop, but through my Ravelry store - where for this weekend only there is a 10% to celebrate my baby Bat Tea Cosy's birth (applied automatically at checkout).

And I do always heart the projects people make from my patterns ....

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

WIP Wednesday: A Silken Dozen

Halloween Tarot

Well, it's kinda cheating ... but it is a sort of Work In Progress .... Titch and I have been married 12 years today .... according to Wikipedia, 12 years is silk and fine linen - so I guess that could translate to silk yarn and purty knickers, don't you ?

Monday, 6 October 2014

MKAL Monday 4: Breezing In

Halloween Tarot

Well, Autumn arrived all in one day today - strong winds and heavy rain; but coming after the driest September on record, I found it quite refreshing, and enjoyed the opportunity to wear my new warm jacket which I bought in a sale way back in July .....

Anyway. The weather report is not what you're here for ... this week clue 4 of the SusannaIC MKAL was released, but for many (including me) it means a week of catching up on other projects as this clue is only for those making the Large size.

But I can show you mine after I had completed Clue 3:

I love the glint of the gazillion beads ... whatever you're working on, Mystery or plain KAL or CAL,. pop your link in below ....

Friday, 3 October 2014

FO Friday: Pumpkinfest

Halloween Tarot

So as it's October, I feel justified in using a card from the charming Halloween Tarot .... and keeping it seasonal, let me show you two more tea cosies that I made to break up the dullness of recent beige:

That pumpkin is available in my Folksy shop right now.

And then I made this one:

which sold within about 10 minutes of being listed .... do remember I am happy to work to commission. Pop FO Friday into Google and see lots more good stuff ....

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

WIP Wednesday 210: 50 Shades of Beige

Hanson-Roberts Tarot

                          At the weekend I went with Belo to visit my BIL The Cornishman, and my nieces. A drive of a couple of hours cannot be craft-free, especially when focussing on the craft somewhat quells the anxiety of being in a car: so, what to take ? 

Can't take the MKAL as I'm doing the allthebeadsintheworld version, and beads and bumpy roads are not ideal lovers. Working on Destructo Boy's blankey ...  hmm ... might be all right; but then, so many ends to weave in as I go .... nah: too ittybitty. Checkerboard Mitts ? No love. 

Which left the Madaket Cardigan that has been malingering in the WIP basket, as I didn't feel in the mood to decide on something new. I like the pattern, though it seems to be taking forever - doing borders, sides and back at the same time in one piece drags while you're actually doing it, but will totally be worth it in the end when there's hardly any seaming to do.

 I like the yarn, Drops Lima - so soft - but I was clearly suffering some kind of color sense aberration when I ordered it; the Drops website calls it '0619 beige'. I call it taupe. Everyone else calls it 'boring'. Those who have seen it, including Titch, my kids, and my nieces, look at it, then look at me, and ask me 'Why ?' Cuz they're articulate and eloquent, see ? They do not fully appreciate my attempt at subtlety, even if it is accidental.

And because I was so beguiled by the conversational excellence of my family - or maybe it was the amazing BLT they forced me to eat - I made a rookie mistake. Let me show you, with arrows and letters using Paint as otherwise you might be blinded by my yarn color choice:

 The letters 'A' show you buttonholes. The red letter 'B' and the stitchmarker show you where there should be a buttonhole. But there isn't. 

I know ! And that was before I had any gin ! While I ponder how to fix it, pop over to Tami's Amis and see what happens .....