Friday 27 June 2014

FO Friday: Summer MKAL Wild Flowers Shawl

Animals Divine Tarot

I thought the 6 of Wands for the unusual Animals Divine Tarot would be a good choice for today, as I have completed the Wild Flower Shawl MKAL.

I'm quite pleased with how it turned out; I'm glad I didn't bother with the 1700 or so beads that were part of the original - the sparkle of the metallic strand that runs through the Rico Design Creative Reflection yarn I used was more than enough.

I kind of wish I hadn't bothered with the nupps in the pattern - for the hassle involved, I'm not sure the results were worth it, as this yarn doesn't really show them up. However, looking at other people's projects, I noticed in many of them the same lack of ... not definition exactly ... but the 3D aspect that nupps ought to provide.

The sharp decreases near the end of the shawl may create a sort of gathered effect, and this may require careful blocking to avoid. You don't have to ask me how I know, cuz I know you know how I know already.

I did particularly like the bobble in the first amazingly long row - when blocked, they create a really lovely edging.

I know, I know, you're itching to see it. Wa-Lah !

The pattern itself is well-written and clear, and the designer is readily accessible through the Ravelry group if there are questions.

I hope you have as enjoyable a weekend as I am hoping for ....

Wednesday 25 June 2014

WIP Wednesday 200: Weedfree

Whimsical Tarot

I haven't made much progress with the Yalinka Shawl; I don't think I like it much - but I persevere as I might have been affected by the dodgy yarn, rather than just the pattern itself. Plus, I don't think I could bear to rip it back again. Plus, Auntie Fashion is no longer able to go to the function for which she wished to wear it: she is home again, extremely tired and in a wheelchair.

So today let's look at sunny photos of my roses:

Absent Friends, floribunda

Sweet Dreams, scented patio rose

wish I hadn't lost the label - a scented patio rose

I think this is Sweet Magic, scented patio rose

This last rose is the one that suffered most from the move - but she is making a determined effort at a comeback.

And I did start a new knitting project, since I've completed the MKAL, and don't want to work on Yalinka. I wanted something simple, quick, straightforward, and using much thicker yarn than laceweight. So here is the beginning of the Ghislaine Gloves in the Artesano Hummingbird 4ply that looked so ugly as a shawl:

Yes, I know, it doesn't actually tick any of the required boxes; I may have to go rummage in the stash storage to find some of the chunky yarn my sister gave me. How long do we give it before you count me lost and send in a rescue party ?

Meanwhile, over at Tami's Amis .....

Friday 20 June 2014

FO Friday: Triplet

Tarot of the 78 Doors

I know you'll be disappointed but not surprised that neither the Wild Flowers MKAL Shawl nor Yalinka is here -clue 4 arrived in my inbox this morning, and Yalinka is getting to the size where a row is not a quick thing to achieve.

So instead I have photos of 3 baby sweaters I did recently for a friend of mine who is expecting her Surprise Baby any day now:

This was her favorite - and I like it too, for the cable and how clever the striping is. I have made it before, but this time I paid more attention, so there are no unplanned 'design features'.

The following sweater I found in an issue of Woman's Weekly Knitting & Crochet magazine. I made the edges a different color to add a little extra interest. I liked the patterned cuffs and bottom, and the star motif came out OK, but it is back fastening and I didn't like the way the neck is done, so I probably won't bother doing this one again:

And finally, this lovely vintage cardigan in 4ply - I hadn't made it for a boy before, but I think it works pefectly well in this lovely traditional baby blue:


And of course, the buttons are just great. They 'make' the outfit, and to me show just how important the 'little' things can be - putting plain old cheap ordinary buttons on this would have been a shame.

While I plod on, why not browse the lovely things over at Tami's Amis ....

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Wednesday 18 June 2014

WIP Wednesday 199: Cold Molasses

Spiral Tarot

Grey and overcast today, and the only thing that will ease me at the moment is a blitz of the house. I know, that just shows you how bad things are. But before I whizz off, I can tell you I've completed clue 3 in the Wild Flowers MKAL:

There are nupps in there. Although I quickly gave up with needles and used a crochet hook (on the purl row, to drag the yarn through the loops), I have no love for them whatsoever. I should have gone and bought some nice big sparkly beads and used them instead of the nupps, which are kind of lost in this yarn anyway. You live and learn, sometimes more slowly and painfully than one would wish - the crochet hook method in that link looks a breeze.

I've chosen to use the 'large lace' option on the Yalinka Shawl, and now stand at Row 45 out of 96. It still looks tiny:

I thought I had fished out all the dog hair, but the camera tells the truth: I failed. And it proves that I really, really do need to get the vacuum out. While I do that, why not pop over to Tami's Amis and see what else is going on .....

Monday 16 June 2014

Walk of Shame

Housewives Tarot

No, not that kind of walk of shame - not only am I married, I'm too old for that now: I would take pride in it rather than shame.

I was at the dentist today, having slinked out of an appointment on Friday 13th (are they KIDDING me ?!) You'll recall my morbid irrational fear. Today I was there for a filling, which involved a needle for anaesthetic being put into my pre-numbed back of my mouth. I cried. Silently, of course, since after all, I am an adult. 

During my stay, tears continued to leak out in spite of my best efforts, the dentist's words of advice on how to calm down, and the death-grip I had on the dental assistant's hand - a very talented person who could handle all kinds of tasks with her remaining hand, as we found out.

I have to go back next week for either a triple trip for a root canal, or one single trip for an extraction. I have opted for an extraction - fortunately the affected tooth is in a place that will not leave me looking like I'm some kind of Appalachian hillbilly.

As I drooped and drooled home (the anaesthetic took 4 hours instead of 2 to wear off) I pondered my father, Belo, who regularly falls asleep during root canals and other dental nastiness.

I considered Titch, whose arm had to swell almost to bursting point with pus-filled yuck before he would consent to A&E.

I considered my Good Twin, whose pain threshold meant she thought a burst appendix was a particularly feisty bout of trapped wind. On the other hand, she thought her gall bladder packing up was agony, so please all my gods don't let that happen to me.

I considered my friend Dianne, among whose symptoms of Behcets is sweating blood. Literally.

And I considered my sister, Auntie Fashion, who has been in Addenbrooke's for just about 2 weeks so far while they work out what they can do about the PML without poking the Behcets back into action.

And I was ashamed.

Wednesday 11 June 2014

WIP Wednesday 198: Carousel

Whimsical Tarot

The sun has been out all week so far, and June is just bustin' out all over - and I don't mean only me. Look at my gorgeous marguerite, planted in a nook in the patio wall thing:

And her big sister, leucanthemum 'Snow Queen' in the front garden:

And I am slowly but surely making progress on the Yalinka Shawl - but I must say, it does seem super-slow  ... like treacle on a cold day:

If you're bored, look really closely and see if you can spot the beads that are dotted about. Or else, pop to Tami's Amis for other lovely projects ...... I think I must look around for another blog linky party thing, as Tami often forgets to host in a timely manner: if you know of any good ones, please let me know.

Don't be deceived - this is one of the most saddest films ever in the world. You're welcome.

Monday 9 June 2014

Mystery Monday

Spiral Tarot Deck

Having survived both the torrential downpours and thunderstorms of Saturday, and the scorching heat of Sunday (endured while watching Mini Diva play cricket at a rather picturesque location), today is somewhat humid and overcast - but, ever optimistic, I have washing out on the line to dry anyway. We must hope that it holds off until after Mini Diva's Quad Kids competition (for which I could not find one single solitary updated link) this afternoon.

All the rain and sunshine has been excellent for the gardens this year - the last remaining rose we inherited on our move to this house has finally showed not only it's colors, but that it, too, is scented:

So it is only the scentless red rose on death row. He may be joined later by the incredibly boring columnar cypress ....

The Wild Flower MKAL continues - here is mine at the end of Clue 1:

Yep, looks like a ruffly sparkly nothing, and probably will until it's finished and blocked.

That's your lot for now, just a little update while I remembered; I feel the urge to go raid the kitchen for red velvet cupcakes. 

What diet ?

Wednesday 4 June 2014

WIP Wednesday 197: A Bit More Grumping

Tarot of Durer

It's looking very similar to this card outside my house right now. Except for the Cups and the dove. So far it is the kind of summer that England is famous for. But actually, the card is here to describe my mood - I started the Yalinka Shawl by Alina Appasov: her designs are quite lovely (I've made the Lale Lace Shawl but have neglected to post photos yet). 

However, owing to a serious error I made at the beginning of the lace section, which I couldn't find and therefore couldn't fix, I had to rip it back to the start. No, don't talk to me of lifelines, thank you all the same. Having made it through 4 repeats of the stockinette section, I pulled the work off my needles and chucked it hard into a corner when for the 6th time, this happened:

It's Austermann Merino Lace which has been in my stash for a couple of years; in addition to the breaks, there were also a few places where 1 strand had come apart, leaving only 1 strand to be knitted. Not only do I plan to bead this shawl, it is a special commission with a complex pattern: there is no point trying to attempt it with such sub-standard materials - how awful would it feel if on blocking, washing or wearing it suddenly disintegrated ? I have started for the 3rd time, and so far the other ball seems OK:

Auntie Fashion also dumped on gifted me her remaining yarns (more about which another time), and amongst the melee was this:

A hand-made child's sweater from somewhere or other which she was frogging in order to re-use the yarn - but she doesn't know what the yarn is. I would love to find out, as it's such a fabulous color - I also love the texture and very slight fuzz; it feels like a DK. If anyone has any ideas, PLEASE let me know.

While you ponder that problem, pop over to Tami's Amis to see what else is going on ....

Monday 2 June 2014

Random Roundup

Fantastic Menagerie Tarot

I'm feeling a little low today, mainly because the half-term holiday is over - Mini Diva is back at school, Titch is back at work. I have only Destructo Boy to console me, and he is welded to his tablet and 'Clash of Clans'.

Wilhelmina passed her MOT, the kids' cousin D. came to stay, we went to the beach, the kids went swimming a couple of times (different leisure centres), there was a sleepover, they went to the funfair with my friend K. - it was Destructo Boy's first time as he is finally old/tall enough, and it turns out he is as fearless as Mini Diva. There has been cricket and tennis.

It was a week of weatherly contrasts, too. There was this:

And there was this:

Noah, Noah - what is a cubit ??

 But there was no football. The team Destructo Boy played for has fallen apart owing to adults behaving like toddlers - I am told there has been lots of stirring and back-biting, resulting in the main coach flouncing off resigning having cherry-picked the boys from his clique of favored parents. The squad has collapsed: what is left is being run by a couple of fathers who have some innovative ideas for training, but who lack experience and the ability to impose any kind of discipline. 

If I sound annoyed, it is because I am - Titch and I, as openly confessed non-football types, were not amongst the clique, and so Destructo Boy now has no team - we withdrew him from the ruins of the squad as he will have no opportunity to grow his skills.

I think what has amazed me the most is the behavior of the adults involved: parents of kids on the A team sneering at parents of kids on the B team, committee politics, lack of support from the main club - I am hoping that it is a football thing as opposed to a sport thing. On the plus side, now we have Friday evenings and Saturday mornings free to try other things which might actually set a good example for their youth sections.

Sorry about that - I am apparently not as over the whole thing as I thought I was.

So anyway. Our potatoes are planted, along with some peas, beans, sweetcorn, tomatoes, lettuce, strawberries and one solitary pumpkin plant. There had been 6 pepper plants, but snails reduced them to 0 overnight. I am awaiting delivery on 48 lavender plants ( a deal where they were free if you paid for delivery) which will form a nice scented hedgey thing in the front garden. All that I am on the look-out for now is a plum tree for planting in autumn. I need to mention that Titch has done most of the planting, nearly all of the watering, and all of the weeding. Yes, I know !

There has been knitting - I am taking part in a new MKAL by Kitman Figueroa, which should be even more interesting since I got the name muddled in my head, so I've been thinking of it as 'Summer Flowers'. When it should be, 'Wild Flowers'. So I may have chosen a totally inappropriate yarn .... but I am looking at that as part of the mystery: will it work, or not.

And now I must away, today's chore is to order Mini Diva's high school sweater and blouses so I can collect them at her 'Transition Day' in a month's time .... and hope they might still fit come September.