Thursday 31 March 2011

Where Are They Now? 2KCBWDAY4

Where are they now ? 2KCBWDAY4

Whatever happened to your __________?

Write about the fate of a past knitting project. Whether it be something that you crocheted or knitted for yourself or to give to another person. An item that lives with you or something which you sent off to charity.

How has one of your past knits lived up to wear. Maybe an item has become lost. Maybe you spent weeks knitting your giant-footed dad a pair of socks in bright pink and green stripes which the then ‘lost’. If you have knit items to donate to a good cause, you could reflect on the was in which you hope that item is still doing good for it’s owner or the cause it was made to support.

Well, I know ezzackly what's happened to the stuff I knitted for my two. So I thought it might be interesting to find out about stuff that had been sent further afield, to foreign climes and potentially hostile (pets) and hazardous (boilwash) homes. Then I had to filter that by those who are internet/email/camera friendly. I applied the final filter, which was reliability and ability to get things done to a deadline, and that left me two recipients.

First, let's take my SIL who kindly responded about a couple of the items I'd knit for my baby nephew. There's a before and after pic of each ...

The color change is simply the light; why it's inside out in my SIL's photo, I don't know: but I suspect she's been spending too much time with my MIL, for whom this kind of random behavior is totally normal.

My SIL's comments were: ''This jumper has been used for the most cold days this winter. It washes really well and the wool is soft on baby's skin. It's an excellent size so will come in useful for many days to come especially our trip to Ireland next week to see Granny as they haven't had any sign of spring yet. The tank top was worn at least once a week for about three months then his head got too big for it! This washed really well considering he was weaning at the time. There are a few loose stiches now at the side but nothing that can't be fixed easily.''

So I'd call that a success. Goal achieved. If I were her, I'd hide them from her DH, though, or else she might come home one day and find they've been thrown out as the husband will say he mistook a conversation about the topic for a decision about the topic - as mine did about the cot. Can we say 'doghouse' ? Not that we needed it any more, but that's SO not the point.

OK, enough with the longerm bitter grudges, and on to the next fostered project, a gift for my friend Hestia (take your Lady Tenas when you head over to her blog: right now, she couldn't hit water if she fell out of a boat, but she's very funny about it). It was a surprise which I eventually blogged about here, and I was quite curious to see if it had survived, or been used to mop up hamster sick. This is what was mailed:

And the 'after they were stars' (a.k.a sad has-been) photo she sent:

That's the Blogger 'large' version; I think Hestia - knowing my eyesight is rubbish - thought that if she squinched the photo up teenytiny miniature small, I wouldn't notice the cruel abuse she'd heaped upon my elegant gift. Fat chance. Here is what she had to say:

''Here is picture of the lovely scarf you knitted me.
It is worn at least once a week - depending on weather. As a scarf. However, experimented with it this morning as method of whipping husband (fail - too soft); sling shot for half-eaten kitkat (pass - worked surprisingly well, judging by turn of speed from neighbour's cat - my intended target).

I love it loads. It was knitted for me by a lovely friend, so even if it had lots of holes in it (ie not part of the pattern) I would still love it loads.''

I shoot, I score ......GOOOOOAAAAAALLLLL !

Wednesday 30 March 2011

Tidy Mind, Tidy Stitches: 2KCBWDAY3

Tidy Mind, Tidy Stitches: 2KCBWDAY3
How do you keep your yarn wrangling organised? It seems like an easy to answer question at first, but in fact organisation exists on many levels. Maybe you are truly not organised at all, in which case I am personally daring you to try and photograph your stash in whatever locations you can find the individual skeins. However, if you are organised, blog about an aspect of that organisation process, whether that be a particularly neat and tidy knitting bag, a decorative display of your crochet hooks, your organised stash or your project and stash pages on Ravelry.

I am quite organized - but I allow things to get a bit messy, because I enjoy tidying it all up again: it gives me the opportunity to rummage and re-find stuff that I'd forgotten about. Also, if it didn't get messy in the first place, how would you (DH, I'm talking to you) be able to tell if I'd tidied up at all ?

So here is my knitting corner, which is at my end of the sofa.:

You would so pity me and question my levels of medication, if by chance you saw me when anyone else sits in my seat: it is quite pathetically sad. I droop, mope and wander around aimlessly like a dog whose bed is drying on the washing line. And no, I cannot knit in some other seat - my seat has the lamp where I want it, and all my bits and pieces right to hand, and I'd have to lug them - oh, as much as 2 feet, I guess - to get to another lamplit position.

So here's a bit of a close-up so I can bore you rigid explain exactly what you're looking at:

The coffee jar holding my straight needles has been decorated by Mini Diva; a hibernating project (Willow Leaf Stole:skinny silk on skinny needles); the knitting books and magazines are under the artistically arranged 'good' stash in a pretty seagrass basket; a scented candle and some luxury cream from my friend Jude over at Saffron Barr; Mini Diva's knitting (the Battenburg colors) and Destructo Boy's blue knitting .... well, he likes to have it in his lap sometimes when watching TV and then thinks he's knitting.

More 'good' stash in another pretty basket; a scissor-holding hedgehog, a gift from one of my 5 sisters-in-law that shows she actually thought of me and what I do (which makes me love it so much); embroidery scissors (one of about 5 different types gifted to me some while ago by my father); pin box with ordinary pins, knitting pins, and needles of all kinds stuck in the top. No, I tell you, that is not a sock-knitting book.

I shan't tell you about my notions bag, as that is really messy right now: I need a crochet hook roll and some teeny boxes or bags or something - I'll save that post for another time. Instead, moving right along now to the stash:

That massive Blue Tub of Mystery lives on top of my wardrobe and is filled with yarns of all kinds, most of which are waiting for me to find the perfect project for them. I have very few leftovers right now, as I gifted them all to Mini Diva's school crafting group, but those I do have are in the carrier bag in the right hand picture: they are waiting until they irritate DH enough with their passive trip-hazard existence to pull down the Blue Tub of Mystery for me, since I don't want to die quite yet. The pink tub and wicker baskets we are ignoring, as those are sewing, quilting and shoe stashes.

And as I mentioned in my post yesterday, Ravelry provides one of the easiest, quickest ways to organize one's knitting: I tend to use it mainly for projects, as I forget to photograph yarn until it's been used in a finished project. I see no point in cataloging my needles, as I mainly use straights, and I can see those in my jar; however, I guess could use a listing of my circularsso that I don't keep buying the same sizes over and over again.

And that's it. I have finally run out of steam on this topic could keep your thankful sighs of relief a bit quieter, please .....

Tuesday 29 March 2011

Skill + 1Up: 2KCBWDAY2

Skill + 1 Up: 2KCBWDAY2
Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. Have you learned any new skills or forms of knitting/crochet (can you crochet cable stitches now where you didn’t even know such things existed last year? Have you recently put a foot in the tiled world of entrelac? Had you even picked up a pair of needles or crochet hook this time last year?

Ooooh, statistics ! Yum ! Well, as long as we're not talking significance, means, curves, populations etc.

So off I went to check my projects page at Ravelry: NB: digression alert how did people keep such easy track of what they had made B.R (Before Ravelry) ?? I guess if one were anally retentive, the kind of person whose CD collection is alphabetized, whose socks are organized not only by color groups but by co-ordination, then maybe one would have some kind of corss-matched filing system. That's certainly not me, or anyone I'd admit to knowing. I guess, like the unicorn and the Yeti, they exist theoretically and hypothetically ....

Anyway. Apparently I've completed 30 projects since last March. Lots of those were lace, and can be further sub-setted into scarves (this year's family gifts - no-one can say I don't plan ahead). Quite some few were baby items: mainly cardigans, again including much lace.

There are 4 new things that I have achieved:
1) Pattern alterations
I am a lot more comfortable with altering patterns; usually by substituting stitch patterns

original (mind-numbing) pattern

and look now ! wow, chevrons & stripes !

2) completion of an adult-sized project
Actually,this is a bigger deal than you think - we're actually talking Shrek-sized, not adult. May I proudly present the SoDMk2 (Sweater of Doom Mark 2). And - he wears it !

3) My first proper design
available free here; it was part of my MIL's Xmas gift ...

4) Main new skill: cabling
illustrated nicely by the previous two photos; but I have moved from this small try-out for my baby nephew:

to this, recently completed (last Saturday) jacket for Mini Diva; gasp in awe at those millions of bobbles, people !

So, to round up - projects completed: 30
of which:

adult clothing: 1
baby clothing: 9
child clothing: 7
lacy projects: 18
scarves: 13
cabled projects: 8

Monday 28 March 2011

A Tale of Two Yarns: 2KCBWDAY1

A Tale of Two Yarns – 2KCBWDAY1 Part of any fibre enthusiast’s hobby is an appreciation of yarn. Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.

Well, you'd think this would be an easy post, wouldn't you ? But I'm pretty easygoing, I think, as regards yarn.

I love Rowan's Kidsilk Haze - so much yardage in such a small weight, absolutely value for money and knitting time; and one can create the most ethereal of items with it, if one picks the right size of needle .....

I knit a lot with acrylic, since I knit mainly for my kids and those of others - and those can be wildly varying in quality, in terms of feel, knitability-pleasure, etc. I really don't like Patons Fab DK or James C. Brett's Value DK , both the dirty dish relatives of yarn, as far as I am concerned, but I have to use them as they make the particular virulent shade of 'jade' that is required for Mini Diva's school uniform. I would willingly pay a higher price to have something that felt nicer to knit with, to wear, and that didn't pill so badly.

And going through my FOs (Finished Objects) I find that about 25% of them have been made with Stylecraft yarns: not exactly on purpose, since I tend to buy what I like in terms of color, etc. But they have a great range of yarn types and colors, and they are very affordable without being cheap.

So there it is: this year, my favorite yarn is Rowan Kidsilk Haze; least favorite is Patons FB DK; favorite brand is Stylecraft.

If you Google this post's tag, you'll find a host of blogs also participating in Knit & Crochet Blog Week ....

Wednesday 23 March 2011

WIP Wednesday 33

It's ages since I blogged about a WIP (Work In Progress) but it was sunny today and I managed to get my camera to work. I have two to share with you, but only one is knitting - which is the cabled cardigan/jacket I'm making for Mini Diva.

It seems to be lasting forever or I seem to be taking forever to knit it. She decided the hooded version would be best (she thinks it is for her cousin) so that has extended my suffering in this particular circle of hell. I have about 6cm of hood left to knit, then the hood border, then the sewing up, then the buttons.

I had tried the 3 shops in town that sell buttons, but not one had anything remotely suitable, so DH (because he can be a honey) took me over to Fabric8 in Felixstowe on Saturday, where Mini Diva instantly found the perfect color and size amongst their mehusive selection:

And then because it was sunny we went to the beach, where the children - unbelievably - paddled in the water, and the dog refused to go anywhere near it.

Which brings me nicely to the second WIP for today:

don't be deceived - he is as dumb as a rock

I discovered over the weekend that he either is afraid of or hates water - he had a wet-spaghetti moment when I tried to get him into the shower for a seriously overdue wash; I think he has never been bathed, and his life before he came to us may have meant that he never really needed one. However, we do go to wet, muddy, smelly places, so we will have to overcome this somehow.

The other thing that we confirmed recently is one of his totally unattractive and seriously socially unacceptable habits, which gives a new meaning to this phrase; he is indiscriminate about it too - the cats' or his own, he's not fussy. On the plus side, I don't have to empty the cat litter tray out as frequently. I have read that feeding the dog bananas will stop this, but there is little discussion on how to get the bananas into the dog .....

the grin in question

Don't forget to pop on over to Tami's blog, where she hosts the links for the blogs taking part in WIP Wednesday ....

Monday 21 March 2011

De Amicitia

So you see, I have retained some elements of my ejumacayshun. Enough to be able to select an appropriate bit of Cicero for your delectation, whilst I ponder the last writhings of what was a friendship. No major cause, just a build-up of occurrences that culminated in my sudden realization of just how changed that person had become.

''Furthermore, there is a sort of disaster in connexion with breaking off friendships — for now our discussion descends from the intimacies of the wise to friendships of the ordinary kind — which is sometimes unavoidable. There are often in friends outbreaks of vice which affect sometimes their actual friends, sometimes strangers, yet so that the infamy of the evil flows over on to the friends. Therefore the ties of such friendships should be sundered by a gradual relaxation of intimacy, and, as I have heard that Cato used to say, "They should be unravelled rather than rent apart," unless there has been some outbreak of utterly unbearable wrongdoing, so that the only course consistent with rectitude and honour, and indeed the only one possible, is to effect an immediate withdrawal of affection and association.

But if, on the other hand, as usually happens, a mere change of disposition and of tastes should occur, or if a difference in political views should arise (for I am talking now, as I said a moment ago, not of friendships existing between wise men, but of those of the ordinary kind), care must be taken lest it appear, not only that friendship has been put aside, but that open hostility has been aroused. For nothing is more discreditable than to be at war with one with whom you have lived on intimate terms......

......Wherefore, in the first place, pains must be taken that, if possible, no discord should arise between friends, but in case it does, then our care should be that the friendships appear to have burned out rather than to have been stamped out. And you must indeed be on your guard lest friendships be changed into serious enmities, which are the source of disputes, abuse, and invective. Yet even these, if endurable, are to be borne, and such respect is to be paid to the old-time friendship that he may be in the wrong who committed the offence and not he who suffered it.''

A rather traditional translation that retains the majesty and beauty of the original, which I found on Bill Thayer's site.

Friday 18 March 2011

Comic Relief 2011

I am emerging from the pit to offer Twitter tarot readings ie. within 140 characters, for a £1 donation to TABI's Just Giving page - all you have to do is donate £1, say you're with me, and let me have your Twitter name so I can get hold of you .....

Alternatively, make a £5 donation, mention my name, and leave a comment & contact details here for a 3 card tarot reading ....

Friday 11 March 2011

Wednesday 9 March 2011

No Post

I don't feel like posting. My cousin's 4 year old son was killed in a car accident yesterday. His Mom is in hospital, his Dad (my cousin) and his sister weren't in the car. My babies are staying home with me today.

Thursday 3 March 2011

KCBW2011 Trailer

So today I am going to try to entice you into the world of fibre frenzy - yarn stashes, skeins of yarn that Rumpelstiltskin would trade his first-born for, finished, unfinished and historical objects of admiration, respect, beauty and general OMG-ness, arcane skills, 10 thumb-ness, knitted items that live in the dark shame of the bottom of the wardrobe like a mad relative chained in the attic (not a Jane Eyre reference), and other weirdness. And granny-ness - but more of that later.

Firstly let's talk about the 2nd Annual Knitting & Crochet Blog Week, which, as the observant - not to say awake - amongst you can see from the post banner and sidebar button, will be running from the 28th March to 3rd April.

It's organized by my friend Mimi, and details of how it all works can be found here on her blog; I prefer to look at the topics beforehand so I have a pencil-plan of what I'm going to write about, but I know that there are others who live life on the edge by only revealing the topic on the relevant day ....

And now about the granny-ness. I am not a granny (I was a step-granny at the age of 27, but that's a post for another time) and it amuses me that there is still some kind of perception abroad in the world that knitting is only for old ladies.

Sure, I have met plenty of old ladies that do indeed partake of this one of my obsessions pastimes, but many of my interwebz fibre pals are a good 5 10 OK dammit 15 to 20 years younger than me. I would hate to think that one's interests - or circle of interesting friends - would be restricted by assumptions and judgments based on age. You may not think you are interested by young - or old- people, fibre, knitting or crochet: but I am sure that if you click on maybe even just one or two of the links in my special KnitCroBlo blogroll (when it's up), you will find at least a couple of things that will amaze, amuse and interest you.

ETA: many apologies for the mixed-font oddness, I don't know why that happened ....

Tuesday 1 March 2011

Before and After #1

This is what we drove before the kids arrived:

A fabulous tank of a car, an automatic Toyota Supra Mk.3 3.0l turbo. This is what I learned to drive in, and L plates look cool on this, I promise. Ours was called Scarlett, after the character from 'Gone With the Wind'. I cried when we traded her in.

This is what we traded her in for, when we knew Destructo Boy was on the way:

Val the Valkyrie, an automatic Volvo 940 estate. It was in this car that I backed into the invisible parked blue transit van.

And now we drive one of these, which has just passed her MOT after a new ABS thingy that was fortunes to replace:

Ingrid, an automatic Volvo 850 estate.

Volvos are lovely: reliable, trustworthy, safe, surprisingly fast with even more surprising grunt-ability, practical, not expensive to run or maintain.

How are the mighty fallen.