Wednesday 26 June 2013

WIP Wednesday 150: Something Old, Something Blue

Tarot of the Cat People

So here we are again, and of my 3 main WIPs this week, I shall show you two, as the third is languishing somewhere and nothing has been added to it all all except dust.

I need to figure out how to put vintage patterns in my Queue; I found this one in a charity shop for like 20p or something. It's original price is 6d, which is before-my-time money, like groats and farthings; and it specifies the yarn to be used as 'Lee Target Courtelle 3oz'; the needles are size 11 and 12 old UK style.

I could find nothing about the yarn online, but fortunately the conversion charts available told me that a size 11 UK is 3mm (between a US 2 and 3), and size 12 is 2.75mm/US size 2. I am using a skinny 4ply yarn, King Cole Zig Zag in ruby. No, I don't see any zigzags in it either. But it is 50% wool/50% nylon and machine washable.                  

Of course, all we immediately recognize is that those are dang skinny needles. Therefore they must be for dang skinny yarn. The other thing we know is that skinny string on skinny needles, if used to make a solid (as opposed to a lacy) fabric, takes foreeeeevvvveeeer.

But - this is a baby cardigan for the Nephew (Aug.2013 Edition) and baby cardigans are small and quick, which ought to balance out the midget size needles and yarn. In addition, many vintage patterns like this one have what I think is ingenious construction - fronts and back are knitted all in one piece until you get to the arms; and even then, things remain straightforward. This we love, as we hate seaming.

And using Cygnet DK in pale blue, and white, I am nearing completion on the crocheted baby blanket, Heirloom Lace Baby Afghan by Terry Kimbrough (which is part of my KTQ2013 yaaay me). I still have issues with gauge - stitch gauge is spot on, but row gauges is miles away from what it should be; which has entailed some fudging creativity doing the border to make the maths work. If 2 + 2 might = 5ish sort of maths, anyway.

I whisper it quietly as a traitorous mouse, but there is slight possibility that crochet is faster than knitting; certainly, when you rip it out several times to re-do it, it doesn't seem to entail the same frustrated heartache. But ssshhh, that may be just a noob's perception.

Pop over to Tami's Amis to see the progress being made by others this week ....

Friday 21 June 2013

Tarot Blog Hop: Litha 2013

Old English Tarot

Litha/Summer Solstice Blog Hop 2013

So... let's celebrate the longest day of the year by sharing our abundance with each other in creative and playful ways! For example, you might choose a tarot card or a number of tarot cards to represent you and your talents. You might then follow that up with a recipe, a meditation, a poem, a tarot reading for Litha, book recommendations, or a piece of music, depending on what your talent is. Choose whatever you think best represents your talent and gift it to the circle of bloggers taking part in the hop, and to the readers following us.


You may have arrived here from Morgan‘s blog, or jumped backwards from Ania‘s blog. Knitting and crafting people – you are lost, lost, lost and without GPS to save you; but hey, the post isn’t long, don’t worry.

Prairie Tarot

I thought this might be an interesting topic to write about – after all, I am hardly a shrinking violet hiding my light under a bushel, am I ? I hope you note how cleverly I joined those two phrases together.
So anyway.
Housewives Tarot

 If I must toot my own trumpet, I shall just do it pianissimo at the moment as I merely remind you, Faithful Reader, that you already know me as a witty and erudite blogger, a skilled knitter, a semi-skilled crocheter, and an unskilled cooker.

Whimsical Tarot

I shall parp a little louder, just to make sure you hear of my talents as a tarot reader, and as a teacher. I do talk about tarot here now and then, but as it is such an integral part of my life, affecting how I think about things – a visual shorthand, almost – and because I have so many tarot friends, I tend to forget that not everybody has this structure underpinning their life.

In this spirit of revelation, I shall even be honest about why I read tarot: sure, I like to help out other people when I can, but actually it stems from pure nosiness. I do love to get all up in other people’s business, and am looking forward to buying net curtains in my old age, just so I can twitch them.

 I don’t have a very ‘New Age’ or psychological approach to readings – I firmly believe in giving practical, down-to-earth advice that people can go away and actually use, if they wish.

 Just a quick word about my hitherto unsung teaching abilities: I have been teaching tarot in TABI for some years now, and have been mentoring tarot readers for about the same length of time. I have actual real life qualifications in training, and I enjoy sharing knowledge; it also means that I get to know a large and varied number of people. If only I had a decent memory, just think what I could do with all the random information I have collected over the years. Perhaps I should write a book ….

Hanson-Roberts Tarot

Hello Kitty Tarot

However, I think my most surprising gift is an ability to turn enemies, ie. people who can’t stand me, into friends (you all know who you are). Unfortunately, it has worked the other way a couple of times too. You’d think these occasional imperfections would prevent the growth of arrogance, wouldn’t you ? But you’d be wrong.

Just to show that I can sometimes be nice, I shall shoo you off to read my Eviller Twin Ania‘s blog rather than keeping you all to myself ….

And just for thoroughness, here is a link to the Masterlist at Sharon's blog.

Gaian Tarot

Wednesday 19 June 2013

WIP Wednesday 149: Crochet on Parade

Muggy, warm and cloudy, with the promise of thunderstorms later today - not a day for high-level physical activity. Like I have any of those at any time - pah.

Instead while I wait for the yarn fairy to arrive with yarn for the stripy baby sweater and crochet hooks for the crocheted baby blankey, I was a good girl and did as I promised - I got on with a few more squares for my Summer Garden Blankey.

It'd been a while, so not only did I have to find the pattern, I had forgotten exactly what was the plan.

What do you mean, wing it ?

No. I'm still perfecting how to do spontaneity. Watch the following clip from 1:27 ....

Like Colonel Hathi, I may have a rubbish memory, but here's the plan: each set of colorways will have 10 squares with light inners and dark outers, 10 squares with dark inners and light outers. That's as far as it goes, I haven't yet got an overall plan or pattern for how all the colors and squares will go together - there's loads of time for that yet. Please to notice the classy seagrass (or something) pretty basket. It's actually too small to hold all the squares ....

There seems to be a preponderance of blues, somehow. I may have to split those off to become a separate blankey for Mini Diva, who has been blue for a while, as pink is soooo for babies. There also seems to be a lack of orange/yellow in the color scheme - but do you realize how hard it is to find those colors in halfway decent acrylic and simultaneously that they're not so bright or fluorescent they burn your eyes out ? Neither is there any kind of brown, but I am told that this would be as boring subtle as including grey.

So anyway, nothing will get done while I sit here chatting with you, much as I enjoy it.

Yes, I do.

If you still have some free time, pop over to Tami's Amis to see what everyone else is up to....

Monday 17 June 2013

Up a Creek

Shadowscapes Tarot

 .... without a paddle in sight. 

I finally got the most recent shawl finished, then washed - and now it is blocking.

Great !

'Monday, the start of a new week, all my chores are done, the sun is kind of out, let's go start something new !' I thought, enthusiastically.

And then I screeched to a halt.

As we have discussed before, I have everything I need for about the next 4 items on my queue, and I am trying to KTQ2013.  However, there is a bunch of things not in my queue that have a deadline .....

A minimum of 2 baby sweaters, one just like the pattern below, and another one which I haven't yet selected, which will be in the relevant SIL's preferred color of dark red. Deadline: beginning of August.

 And I know you will recall my ambitions to crochet a baby blankey for the same SIL. After requesting expert opinions on difficulty (or really, total lack of same) in the Patterns forum of Ravelry, I chose the Heirloom Lace Baby Blanket from the top book: 

Item 2 with a deadline

Then both Mini Diva and Destructo Boy will need school sweaters or cardigans; 3rd deadline: beginning of September. I made myself a weak milky coffee and sat down with all of these:

 From this angle, you can't see actually how many patterns are there, but I am pretty sure it is in the hundreds. Of course, I only had to look for kids' patterns; I have chosen 2 or 3 for each child to select from when they get home today.

And I cannot cast on for any of them, as - and I know you will guffaw in rampant disbelief and amazement as did my DH when I told him - I do not have any yarn.

Well, of course I do - and you know that, since I share all my acquisitions with you. But I have none of the right yarn: I have no pale blue or white baby yarn for the 1st baby sweater. I haven't chosen or found a pattern for the 2nd baby sweater, let alone that I don't have any of the dark red yarn required (no, my Austermann Merino Lace is not appropriate). I don't have yarn for the blankey, or the right size hook. Mini Diva will require black DK, and Destructo Boy needs navy blue: I do not have any. Well, I have odds and ends, but not a sweater's worth, for sure.

So I have thoroughly enjoyed wasted my day so far, planning, and browsing through various yarn websites, as today is not market day and also the main LYS is shut on Mondays. When I get back from collecting the kids from school, I think I may just have to ease my creative addiction habit itch by adding to my Summer Garden Granny Square Blankey:

Thursday 13 June 2013

Blah Blah Raspberries

Tarot of Durer

I was too disheartened to post yesterday - it is June, it is grey all the time, and it is so cold that DH even put on the heating on Sunday. In June. As in, Summertime. I probably wouldn't mind quite so much if I lived within the Arctic Circle because presumably one gets more accustomed to the temperature and lack of sunlight if one lives there long enough.  Or one evolves into some kind of eyeless creature covered in long thick fur. It looks like I will find out - and to save you from the same trouble, I will report back. I am always thinking of others, even in my most anguished troubles.

On top of that, I have an intermittent toothache that I know will have to end up in a trip to the dentist; but right now I am totally burying my head in the sand because I have an overwhelming and irrational fear of dentists. I know, I know, I can't believe I'm such a wuss either; here, you can have my Big Girl Pants because I'm obviously not entitled to wear them any more.

They're damp, you say ? 

Sorry, yes, that is from the panic-stricken sweating which I get from just thinking about the dentist .... pop them in the washing machine, they'll be fine.

Gross ? Yes, indeed. 

But who else do I know well enough to share these intimate and revealing details of my psyche and knickers, but you ?

And if that wasn't enough, I had been doing so well on the shawl I was making with the Knit Picks Chroma - and then 8 rows from the end, I just wasn't happy with how the border was coming out. There were errors  I did not want to fudge. Good girl me, woo hoo, I had put in a lifeline on Row 82, in case of yarn shortage.

'Phew', I thought, amazed at my own unusual foresight, slapping my double-jointed self on the back in congratulations.

I ripped it back to row 82.

To find that somehow I had managed to put the lifeline in wrong, and had missed some stitches. So I had to rip it back right to the beginning. And this is where we are at after about 12 hours work altogether, including the ripping back .....

This is actually green yarn, 'Seaweed' colorway. But there is no sun, so my life looks like footage of Soviet Russia - everything is black, grey and white. So why is three colors called monochrome ?

I wish I liked chocolate more so I could turn to it for comfort - no, don't revoke my membership of the Sisterhood entirely, please ! Have pity ....

Friday 7 June 2013

FO Friday 141: Blue and Green

Spiral Tarot

 ....should never be seen
Without a color in between.''

I seem to recall being told this sartorial advice sometime during my childhood. Along with, never apply your makeup or brush your hair in public. Not eating when walking down the street may have been practical advice as well as sartorial.

Oh well. 

I have finally got around to taking photos of my most recent FOs. Unfortunately, it was quite breezy and so you can also see my interesting choice of small garden implements used to weight them down - no fear, they were clean, no mud or earwigs.

The 3rd Summer Flies Shawl, Term Flies, in Sirdar Softspun DK, colorway 'Duskie. This came out beautifully, and blocked nicely so that it is a huggable size: 60'' across the top, and 20'' deep. This one was commissioned by Destructo Boy for his class teacher as an end-of-term present, and I have to agree with him that she is L'Oreal ie. worth it.


The 4th Summer Flies Shawl, Harvest Flies, in Drops Fabel Uni Color, colorway 104 'purple'. This was requested by a SIL via my MIL, for her birthday this summer. I gambled and bunged in another set of butterflies and eyelet lace, as using thetanull's modifications as I've done 3 times before still left the shawl looking small, probably because is it fine yarn. The blocked size is 58'' wide by 21'' deep. Much as I love this pattern, knitting it 4 times (the last twice pretty much consecutively) means that I am pretty sure this was the last time I have made it, and now it will be honorably retired..


However, the Afternoon Tea Shawl is definitely one I shall make again, and not just because it is free; I don't think too many of the pictures on Ravelry do it justice - you can't really see the pattern detailing. This is for Mini Diva's class teacher, made using Sirdar Softspun DK in 'Teal'. Blocked size is 51'' wide by 24'' deep.

You'll see I have actually bothered to measure all these shawls, which I don't think I have done before. Mainly it was to satisfy myself that these are a decent size, and ought to be difficult to confuse with a scarf. You'd be surprised how many recipients have thought they'd been given a scarf. But perhaps this only means that they are not 'on trend' like wot I am, and do not know how cool and amazingly fashionable a shawl is. Even if worn as a scarf. Or a belt, may they be forgiven for stretching it in such a cruel way.

While I ponder whether I am already retro and just don't yet realize it, because I can't find one article online saying that shawls are cool, you may pop over to Tami's Amis and see what else is being completed ....

Wednesday 5 June 2013

WIP Wednesday 147: Seaweed and Old Men

Old English Tarot

So this week has continued sunny, if a lot less warm because of the northerly winds; hard to believe it is so very different in Prague.

I know that you will be totally impressed to hear that in last week's holiday I only acquired a tiny bit of yarn. 

Well, 2 balls of it. 

Yes, each ball is 400g/14oz, but you wouldn't know that from the picture, so being stupidly honest, I just tell you brazenly..

I didn't even buy this. Shrek aka DH liked his last sweater so much that now he wants a cardigan. But not any old cardigan. Oh no.

 It has to be a 'Dad' cardigan, ie. frumpy old-man vintage and classic in style and design. It must have pockets. I am dreading the request for elbow patches and fake leather buttons.

you can buy these here. If you had to.

He had been mumbling about a fine yarn like a 4ply/fingering weight, but it's OK - I gave him The Look and squashed that crazy idea out of hand since as I haven't yet discovered the Fountain of Youth, I positively will not have the time to complete such a humungous folly undertaking before I grow old, wither away and die from the ensuing boredom.

Aran weight yarn for DH as I am not insane or immortal

My actual WIP this week is another eskimimi's Mrs.Tumnus by the Sea; the marine reference from the yarn's colorway, 'Seaweed'. I think it must be Arctic seaweed as I am sure even the manky dead stuff I have seen on the shore is brighter than this. But I had a tropical upbringing, so the appeal of subtle, classy colors tends to evade me. And the yarn itself (Knit Picks Choma Fingering) is really lovely and squooshily soft; there's a slight uneven-ness in the ply which is not quite enough to be described as 'slubby', but which makes it interesting.

subtle classy yarn in a subtle arty photo

And in last week's trek round the charity/thrift shops with Mini Diva - who possesses a very keen eye for a fashionable bargain - I found this lovely pattern for a baby sweater: I thought it was a little unusual because of the stripes, collar and just the one side cable, and shall be knitting it for the Nephew (August 2013 Edition).

Now I must rush away to satisfy my craving for Hobnobs, plain and undunked. But you who have not been afflicted like me can go and check out all the lovely stuff at Tami's Amis ....

Monday 3 June 2013

Short Report Card

Pagan Tarot

Half-term week was fabulous, not least because DH was home for the whole week. OK, that was mainly to take care of Wilhelmina the Volvo's MOT and any issues arising from that (a new tyre and whole set of brake discs and pads, so she is not a cheap date), but even so - we even had some grown-up time on our own, as the kids had a sleepover at Belo's, after which he put them to work weeding his garden.

Sure, I can tell you what we got up to, why wouldn't I ? 

We ate, drank, went to sleep early, and slept til late - as one ages, one begins to truly appreciate a long night of uninterrupted sleep all the way through until mid-morning. In separate beds. It was blissfully good.

But lest you think that all I did was lie around delicately munching peeled grapes, let me show you the front garden. It is only tiny, but what with the weather (drought then floods) and other things, I had really left it to itself for the last year and a half. It just shows you how messy Nature is when unsupervised:

And after a few hours and half a bottle a little sip of wine, we have this slightly less messy and with more gaps/spaces result:


Tottering away dragging my trowel behind me, I decided that the only thing that could possibly revive me would be more wine and a doner kebab the size of my head; then I collapsed in a catatonic heap of digestion ....

 But now I must be off and attempt to be productive - another shawl needs blocking. I finished it yesterday - binding it off took all afternoon (really, it was like a squillion million stitches AND a picot bind off) sitting in the sunshine; I have the sunburnt inside knee to show for it. How do you burn just the inside of one knee ? All these mysterious things that I never used to worry about.