Friday 28 November 2014

Friday Finishes 4: Underwater Cables

Fantastic Menagerie Tarot

Well, I've been twiddling my thumbs a bit aimlessly this week - I've completed Mini Diva's Wilde, except for the buttons - I couldn't find any I liked in the right size, so I blew caution (and cash) to the wind and have ordered a custom set.

I couldn't start the next item on my Xmas gift list as I was waiting for the yarn to be delivered.

So I was really looking for something that was quick and simple to occupy myself in the inbetween times. But I didn't have anything that fitted the bill in my Queue - apart from some fingerless mitts, and I just didn't want to make them: I can knit magic loop, but I don't enjoy it, especially the start.

So I took some yarn my sister had decluttered to me, and a new hot water bottle, and 2 days later we have this:

I'm not entirely sure what the yarn is - it arrived as something that had been knitted in the round but at some point had got unintentionally Moebiussed; during her most recent visit, my MIL had ravelled it all back into a ball for me, so it was once again usable. Anyway. I think it is James C.Brett Marble Chunky MC8 - my sister rarely used anything lighter in weight than a chunky.  

I surfed the stitch patterns over at the marvellous resource that is the Knitting Fool until I found one I liked, cast on using 5.5mm needles ....and hey presto - a completed Xmas gift. Now, while you go check out other lovely things at Chris Knits, I need to go get started on my MIL's Xmas gift, a cabled cardigan - which as you can see means I have no more time to fritter away with you here, much as you know I love you.

Friday 21 November 2014

FF 3: Christmas Santa Tea Cosy

Prairie Tarot

So remember my recent paranoia ? Well, no need for it any more - the project is completed, and thanks to my Eviller Twin has been turned into a PDF and watermarked and fingerprinted and biometriced and all kinds of things. Well, OK, not biometriced and probably not fingerprinted  ... but you get the idea.

Over in my Folksy shop you will find two marvellous seasonal tea cosies if you want to buy one ready-made - if they are sold out, commission me to make you one. 

Also the pattern is there, if you want to make one yourself and of course is available through my Ravelry store as well. 

Yes, see it and weep with gratitude - that is TWO types of novelty yarn, snowflake and eyelash, so this pattern will help you to use up those odds and ends in the Stash-That-Must-Not-Be-Mentioned ie. the stuff we bought when we were tripping drunk knitting noobs uninfected with yarn snobbery.

I'm proud of this idea and how I turned it into actuality, but I have to tell you that being a slave to tea cosy creation is no walk in the park - already I have 2 more ideas bouncing around which will most likely wait til after Xmas now ....

While I recover from the exhaustion gulping air like a drowning frog, pop over to Chrisknits for more Friday Finishes .....

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Wednesday's Child ....

Ansata Tarot

.... is full of woe. And I mean overflowing with rageful woe.

I was all prepared to give you a little contented chuntery post today, but instead my whole day has been completely derailed, as in, a complete train-wreck, by this:

It switches on, but the touchscreen is of course obviously useless. 

Yes, you're right, it isn't as bad as ... say  ... losing your internet. But I am in no mood for your words of comfort and mitigation, I am the mardiest thing that was ever mardy.

Friday 14 November 2014

Friday Finishes 2: Sweet Dreams

Shadowscapes Tarot

I am afraid this is only a little post today - TABI's AGM is coming up soon (I am currently co-Chair), and we are discussing the future path of our Ezine, as well as all the other reports from the various areas of the organization; added to this, I am collecting three 9-year old boys from school, herding them home, feeding them, and making sure they are ready to go to their school disco on time. After the disco, I predict late-night mayhem, as Destructo Boy's friends are also staying for a sleepover.

What's that ? 

Have a little nip of gin ? 

Two, you say ?

Why, yes, yes, I believe I will, thank you.

Meanwhile, this is Sweet Dreams, a Boo Knits pattern; made with Artesano 4ply Alpaca in the colorway 'Sweetpea' and using lots and lots of size 6/0 rainbow translucent beads. 

The pattern is fairly straight-forward as long as you remember to check things like if the stitch-markers move, or else you will have to tink back. Oh yes, that's how I know.

If you squint for a while, you can see the beads. Whatever I did, I could not get a photo that really showed them up.

To see things that do not require squinting, head over to my friend Chris' blog, where she is hosting 'Friday Finishes' which is replacing the old 'FO Friday' ....

Wednesday 12 November 2014

WIP Wednesday: In the Grip of The Muse

Victorian Romantic Tarot

I know, I know - you've been grateful for the moment's silence, but too much of a good thing is bad for you, right ? So I'm back. I was quiet because Mini Diva has been far less Mini and far more Diva recently, and my mental equilibrium - always a bit wobbly and teetering on the edge at the best of times - took a bit of a knock.  

Add that to my recent travails with Melpomene, merciless muse of Tragedy, and I didn't have much to write that wasn't as dreary as a sober politician telling the truth.

Fortunately - I hope - her sister Thalia, muse of Comedy, came along, and thus I am immured once more in the creative process. I will never look at a tea cosy in the same way again - and neither will you, if I have my way, and you keep coming back to read.

I sepiad (yes, it is a word now) the photo because I am paranoid - don't you know that people are desperate to steal my amazeballs ideas and with them, conquer the world of novelty tea cosies ? Well, no, probably they are not. It'd be like clowns fighting. But I did say 'paranoid'.

Anyway, you can see that Thalia and I are pretty good pals, and I must go listen to what she has to say. She's one of those high-maintenance friends where it's all about her, but you put up with it because you love the flavor of the dip she brings to the party.

Wednesday 5 November 2014

WIP Wednesday: An Old Dog

Spiral Tarot

I thought talking about an old dog learning new tricks might be a bit less threatening than talking about Armageddon or the End of the World being nigh, as in, right now this minute.

Because I made a swatch:

I made a swatch because I want to make Wilde for Mini Diva's Xmas present. Instead of the Malabrigo Rasta at a cost of nearly £100/approx.$158 and aftercare involving washing it by hand in filtered unicorn pee and drying it with the breath of fairies (but only orange ones) in a south-facing rose garden at dawn, I've substituted King Cole Big Value Chunky for about £25/approx.$39 which can be bunged in the machine and will survive the Zombie Apocalypse along with the cockroaches. Let's set this out as simply as possible:

Malabrigo Rasta recommended gauge:  10st x 18 rows in a 4'' square on 9 - 12mm needles

Pattern gauge:   6st x 9 rows on 15mm needles

King Cole Chunky gauge: 10st x 14 rows on 10mm needles

So from that heap of confusion, you can see the logical thing to do was to knit a swatch and actually do, like, you know, measuring-type things. So feeling very grown-up and sensible and responsible and more of those really unattractively boring qualities, my first swatch on 12mm needles came in at 7.5st x 11 rows. Which means that the item would come out way too small (by about 20% according to the help I got from Ravelry).

So I made the Earth positively rock on its axis by knitting ANOTHER SWATCH.

I know, you'll need more than a moment to recover. I'm not sure if I have even now. Do they even make smelling salts any more ?

This gave me 7st x 9 rows on 15mm needles; but you can see in the photo that the fabric is too holey and loose - it'll sag and let the cold in.

So after all that, and with advised caution, I shall attempt using 12mm needles and make the Large size hoping to achieve a Small in the end. 

You may indeed wish me luck - I am surely going to need it all.

Monday 3 November 2014

Mystery Monday #1

Whimsical Tarot

Well, the SusannaIC Autumn MKAL is finished, and the next MKAL I'm taking part in doesn't start until the New Year - but I still have a Mystery Monday for you, a mystery that perhaps you can solve for me since I am stumped.

Last week my MIL generously frogged and rewound the Oslo Walk Shawl for me, ready to be turned into something beady and sparkly but with way less opportunities for error, which ruled out the Golden Orchids Shawl for the time being.

Shuffling through my queue, favorites and library on Ravelry, to try and find a pattern that I already own for which I also have enough of the frogged Artesano Alpaca 4ply in 'Sweetpea', I came up with Sweet Dreams by BooKnits.

No, the mystery today isn't how or why I made more errors (I haven't made any - yet) but rather, why is the pattern in the state it is ? I've been through my projects, and searched this blog, but I cannot find any record of having made this pattern before - so why does it look like this: 

Yeah, I need practice using my mouse to write with in Paint. 

But you get the idea. Most important for our mystery is (A) which clearly shows that the lines of the pattern have been marked off as each row has been completed. (B) is most likely a tea-stain, since I'm not a huge coffee drinker. (C) is a water stain, and D is some other kind of drink stain.

That's a lot of scars and detritus for a pattern which I haven't made, don't you think ?

So what happened ?