Wednesday 31 October 2012

WIP Wednesday 117: Squares & Rectangles

Halloween Tarot

Having completed the test knit of the Arlington Shawl for Emily Ross aka knitterain (pics up here on Friday), as usual I wanted to cast on for something new immediately: I'm not too good at letting the grass grow under my feet at the best of times.

I'm in a shawl mood, so did a quick straw poll amongst Twitter knitters and my Facebook friends, between Romanesque and Sabrina: Sabrina won.

I am pretty sure it will look marvellous with the electric blue Wollemeise I liberated from Mags, which has very generous yardage just right for this pattern; I have printed out the chart and instructions, I have the necessary size of needles.

However, I seem to have accidentally succumbed instead to the Summer Garden Granny Square Blanket from Lucy at Attic24.

No, I didn't buy any new yarn for these, nuh-uh, no way, nope, not even.

Well ... OK. 

Maybe just the two greens, and the peach and russet combo that I so love. But they were cheap, I promise, and everything else is leftovers. Really.

I will have to put them down next week when half-term is over and the kids have gone back to school, as I have been sent two more tarot decks to review:

The first is the Sirian Starseed Tarot kindly sent by Kat Engh at North Atlantic Books; and the second has also been kindly sent by the editor of the TABI Ezine, and is supposed to be the premier edition of Kay Steventon's Spiral Tarot, although there is nothing on the external packaging that differentiates this from the original deck & book set, which I have owned and worked with for quite some years now. I am keenly anticipating ripping away gently peeling the clingwrap from them both, I can tell you !

As usual on Wednesdays, pop on over to Tami's Amis to see what everyone else is working on ...

Monday 29 October 2012

Sign of the Times

Druidcraft Tarot
 So as Mini Diva is in grade 5, we have had quite a few discussions on when she will be allowed to walk to and from school on her own. It has happened - as things will - that sometimes plans and arrangements fall through, and she has had to occasionally walk on her own instead of with her friend and his Mum, but is has been an infrequent occurrence and we kept to the back-up plan.

We live almost a mile and a half from her school, and there are 3 dangerous, busy roads to cross (only one of which has a crossing person), in addition to a few small quiet ones. Our compromise is that I walk her across the first two busy roads, and then she can walk herself across the quiet roads and cross the last busy road with the crossing person.

Of course, it seems in these times there are other dangers threatening children that when I was a child we did not consider: most recently, April Jones was a tragic reminder of every parent's worst nightmare.

And therefore we have bought a personal alarm which has 140 decibels of incipient deafness in a non-scarey form:

Teddy bear alarm

And since I have just upgraded my handset, I also bequeathed this to Mini Diva:

Nokia 5230
It has been challenging to explain about Stranger Danger - and, more importantly - Familiar Danger (April Jones was taken by her neighbor, whom she knew) as well as not assuming that a woman or other children would be safe to be with, whereas only a man could be a threat. 

This difficulty has been exacerbated by our own strong desire to keep her indoors forever where no-one can hurt her, and at the same time realizing we must be rational, and instead allow her a normal life, with warnings and advice that doesn't totally freak her out so that she never wants to go outside again.

I don't like how this feels at all.

Friday 26 October 2012

FO Friday 110: Bloody Vlad Lives !

Victorian Flower Oracle

 Many apologies for the return to rubbish photos - it is dark, grey and raining today, and the Bloody Vlad turned out to be so large it wouldn't quite fit on the table how I wanted it to.

You can see very clearly that there are no points - when the designer says 'bind off loosely', she means 'bind off like knickers without elastic'. But hey, it still looks fine, a non-knitter would never know.


You might be able to see the beads if you squint and use a magnifying glass  ...

Detail of the 'wing'

 The yarn - 'Mistoffeles' merino/nylon 3ply sock yarn from Black Cat Fibres was lovely to work with: soft with a very slight stretch, washed and blocked easily (although it bled a little, I forgive it, since this is a vampire shawl it seemed appropriate).

And here is my other creative work for this week, completed at Destructo Boy's Savannah Sharing Day: 


Which inexorably reminded me of this:

Hop on over to Tami's Amis - hopefully any music will be less dodgy than my selection remembered from childhood.

Wednesday 24 October 2012

WIP Wednesday 116: Black and Blue

Tarot of the World Spirit

So Bloody Vlad has been washed, blocked and dried ready for the big reveal on Friday; and just before I started ripping my eyelashes out one by one from sheer boredom, my friend Dianne alerted me that  Emily Ross aka knitterain was looking for test knitters for a new shawl she's designed.

I moseyed around some and discovered that she is the designer of some other shawls that I have admired from afar: mainly Haruni, and Romanesque, which has been in my queue for some while now.

So I leaped at the chance to test knit her new design; I had intended using my lovely purple Artesano, but I think it would have run a little short. Fortunately, I had this in my stash:

 100 grams, 420 metres/459 yards of slightly rough, slightly fuzzy 4ply sock yarn in a bluey-black colorway (apparently called 'Denim'): Rico Superba 'Poems'. It can be a little tricky to tink back - especially the dark and/or black parts, at night, when it's a complete row of nearly 300 stitches. You don't have to ask me how I know, you have already worked out how I know, haven't you ?


In between Mini Diva's Victorian Sharing Day (I never knew Tiddlywinks was such a difficult game) and Destructo Boy's Savannah Sharing Day (learning to play djembe drums and drawing a jungly lion), I have reached Row 11 of Chart D. I have 14 grams, 10 rows and an I-cord bind off to go. I can feel my comfort zone imploding at the mere thought of this I-cord bind off, so like any good ostrich I am pretending it doesn't exist until I actually arrive at it.

Of course, since I'm using straight needles it looks like a mushy lump of inky bruises right now; but I am rather chuffed with the photo.

Pop on over to Tami's Amis for more yarny loveliness ....

Friday 19 October 2012

FO Friday 109: Big Sighs

Tarot of the Magical Forest

     So Auntie Fashion's Seaweed Blanket is complete, although this dreadful photo does it no justice at all - it has been raining;
I popped out when there was a short break to take the photo
in spite of all the greyness, and then attempting to drape the blankey artistically over the fence but at the same time also desperately trying not to let it slip and fall onto the sodden patio ... in the end I was just happy to have any kind of photo of it at all !

I promise you, it truly does look so much better in real life, it isn't all crookedy or on the huh at all. And it does have sparkles in it. Really.

I had been hoping to be able to show you some photos of Bloody Vlad today as well, since I've been knitting it rather than doing any housework this week; however, it seems to have been earning its sobriquet - with a mere 4 rows left to go, I put down the crochet hook I was using for beading, put the kettle on, and when I came back, I simply could not find that hook again. 

I looked in all the sofa cushions, under all three cats, the dog, the sofa itself - even in the adjacent fruit bowl - but nada, zip, nothing. 

Well, except for a very few choice curse words - I'm sure you know the kind.

 So this morning I did an emergency run into town, and picked up two more teenytiny crochet hooks: a 0.75mm and a 0.6mm one as well, since I wasn't quite sure what the size was of the one I lost: darned small is just darned small, yanno ?

However, there is always a bright side: at least I'm almost guaranteed a FO for next week. Barring anymore unexpected misfortunes, of course. Pop over to Tami's Amis to see good pictures of beautiful things ..

Wednesday 17 October 2012

WIP Wednesday 115: A Seasonal Knit

So Auntie Fashion's Blankey is finished and awaiting collection this weekend. Thus, my needles were once again free, which was a good thing as I had an Urge. 

I find it almost impossible to resist Urges when I get them - and at least this one is harmless, as it was the Urge to knit another shawl.

It's not like I even wear shawls, but I love to knit them: so lacy, so pretty, delicate, feminine, old-fashioned yet modern; I love to see them grow and then the full blossoming of the pattern that occurs with blocking ... The only shawls I don't like and won't knit are the solid, chunky ones that involve garter stitch and/or colorwork, ie. the ones that seem to be on trend right now.

Wow, sorry about that - it's been a while since I exercised my mad soap-box skillz and the tendency momentarily escaped me.

So. I knew that I wanted to knit Vlad, right this minute, even though it wasn't in my queue and there are plenty of other shawls which are; and I thought I had the perfect yarn for it:

                                                          Drops Lace in Black

It's very luxurious at 70% baby alpaca and 30% silk. And of course, who could resist knitting a big lacy shawl with 800 metres of this mournful black color during the dark winter months using eco-lightbulbs ? The perfect recipe for going blind and insane, although I'm not sure which would occur first.

But - and here is where I am glad that I checked the projects page and the pattern more closely, although (naturellement) it was not until after said skein of yarn had been wound - it turns out that the Vlad pattern is written for 4-ply/fingering.

Drama ! I have no black 4-ply.  

Crisis ! It's Sunday, no yarn shops open. 

Dilemma ! What to do ? 

As you already know, I am not only quite obsessive very focussed, but also I'm an Instant Gratification kinda gal, so you can see that things were really serious - no way could I alter my plans and cast on something else (heavens forfend !), yet how could I make the highly anticipated Vlad without the proper yarn ?

Phew ! I could hear your sigh of relief almost as loudly as my own: buried in my stash was 'Mistoffeles' a 425m. skein of semi-solid merino/nylon superwash red 3-ply from Black Cat Fibres, that has been awaiting the right project for the longest time - since 2010 actually.

So I have named this shawl Bloody Vlad: perfectly appropriate for an October knit, I feel. Go see if there are more seasonal projects over at Tami's Amis ...

Friday 12 October 2012

FO Friday 108: Domestic Divinity

Domestic divinity is just a posh way of saying 'domestic goddess', which - as you know - I am not. I am closer to a domestic harpy or perhaps even a troll. Even so. You will remember  that our bathroom went through a transformation  earlier this year; I forgot to show you the final outcome, so here are a couple of photos of before and after:


Doesn't it look lovely now ? Bright, working efficiently and easy to clean. The plants are a lot bigger now, too.

And in that same improvement vein, this used to be my 'corner' with my knitting things on it close to hand:


And this is it now:

Look at that ! Can you believe it ? There is so much more room for me to stash stuff, and make it look quite nice too. This is the closest I get to feeling really good and satisfied with housework. Next week, it will all have to be moved, as the room is being painted; hopefully, it will be done quickly, so I can put it back and have it look even nicer.

Lots more satisfaction to see over at Tami's Amis ....

Wednesday 10 October 2012

WIP Wednesday 114: The NeverEnding Story

You'll be glad to know beforehand that this is another short and snappy post - I've been up super-mega-early today in order to get Mini Diva to school in time for her Victorian day trip, dressed in something approximating the style of those days.

Auntie Fashion succumbed to the blackmail and sent cash for yarn, so work on her Blankey has resumed:

I know, you're sure you recall it as being much larger. 

And you're right, the first half is - this is the second half, which I plan to knit with the same amount of yarn as the first half, and then graft both halves together in the middle. Yes, I'm not quite sure how that will work out either. But hey, it's not steeking, so nothing to worry about, right ?

I forgot all about this in my Purple Passion post - Artesano 4ply Hummingbird100% Alpaca which accidentallyonpurpose got bought on my last trip to Twist in Woodbridge a couple of weeks ago when DH and I escaped the kids by dumping them both at the same party. Purty, huh ? I have no concrete plans for it as yet, but it looks like some kind of shawl-in-waiting to me.

 And then there is this WIP, a NeverEnding Story project birthed 7 years ago today:

Destructo Boy is far less chubby (he was a 10 pounder, delivered with only gas & air, in 3 1/2 hours from start to finish; no splits or tears - yes, I am incredibly lucky) and is far better-looking now, too. Along with his new sick stunt scooter, and his football party, his favorite present so far is this, which can fire its projectiles up to 12 metres away ...

I am off for a nap so I can make it through the rest of the day with my temper fraying slowly instead of snapping with a dangerous twang; so why not hop over to Tami's Amis to see what everyone else is working on today ?

Monday 8 October 2012

Ten in Five

So if a picture is worth a thousand words, this is a very long blog post indeed ! These 5 tarot cards describe in pithy concepts, the 10 years since DH and I tied the knot on 8th October, 2002. Comments (and bets on the next 10) welcomed .....

Friday 5 October 2012

FO Friday 107: Just Say No

Inner Child Cards

I can't say 'no', apparently, when it comes to making these granny square cushions - they're totally addictive; so much so that I made a further two this week.

Firstly, for Mini Diva - she prefers the pink & red side vs. the purple & pink side; I just like that it perfectly fits the duck feather cushion pad:

And this one - the color of which is the subject of my last blog post - is for my youngest niece, who has a purple-themed bedroom:

I was rattling away, and did 16 rounds (I thought) exactly as I did for Mini Diva's cushion - and the result just shows that me and Gauge are just SO not friends. It seems we're not even mere acquaintances: it's too large for the duck feather cushion pad, and even generous on the 18'' man-made one.

But now I really must try to say no to any more cushions for the time being, as yarn has arrived for me to complete Auntie Fashion's Blankey. And the habit these granny square cushions have of proliferating reminds me of the famous 'Trouble with Tribbles' ...

I doubt you'll see any Tribbles over at Tami's Amis ....