Friday 29 May 2015

FO Friday 22/15: Competition Winner 2015 !

Prarie Tarot

So you may remember that my final post for the 6th Annual Knitting & Crochet Blog week was a competition .... I used a randomizer thingy, and the number selected was:

Which means that the winner is Chris from Chrisknits ! Chris and I have been Rav- and blog-friends for quite a while, so I know she'll make good use of her prize - if I survive the stashdiving experience without suffocating myself in mounds of yarn. Chris, PM me your snail mail address through Ravelry, and I'll pop something in the post for you ...

Thank you everyone who took the time to comment and/or create an entry ...

Wednesday 27 May 2015

WIP Wednesday 21/15: Camel Baby

Witches' Tarot (Dugan)

I know, I know ! I was doing so well with the whole 6KCBW, I mean - 5 days out of 7 and that even included the photographic challenge ! ... Only to fall at the last hurdle ie. the weekend posts. But I just couldn't find the time, plus I didn't have any inspiration, which of course made it so much harder to find the time to sit there just to scratch my head.

But I have been knitting like a fiend. Or, it feels like it, anyway. I have started another baby cardigan (the 3rd out of a planned 4) with some Sirdar 4ply Country Style that I scored in a megasale at PurpleLindaCrafts for a mere £1 a ball ... add that to a pretty little vintage pattern that I found a while back, Robin 1139 for some yarn called Bri-Nylon (no, not sure what that is) and Wah-Lah, you have this:

See the decorative raglan edge ? So pretty ....

And the kids are out again, one at a sports camp, the other at her Bestie's (it's half-term) so I am going to use the opportunity to do a quick catch-up on the housework - even I am having trouble tolerating the carpet vs. fur ratio. However, you may go indulge in other people's lovely WIPs by popping over to Life & Yarn ...

Friday 15 May 2015

6KCBWDAY5: Something Almost Different

Joie de Vivre Tarot

Alll-most there - day 5 out of 7, and today's 6th Annual Knitting & Crochet Week prompt is:

Day Five (Friday 15th May): Something A Bit Different
It’s the annual challenge to blog in a way different to how you normally blog. You may choose to create a podcast, or vlog, create a wordless post, a beautiful infographic or write in verse. You can post on any topic you like, but be sure to post in a style different from your usual blog presentation. There’s not too much guidance for this one simply because the more varied the posts are on this day, the wider the sources of information for other bloggers will be.

          There was an old woman from Ipswich
         Who spent some time learning to slip stitch;
         Once she had learned how
         She said, 'Look at me now -
         Crocheting without even one glitch !'
                                                                   copyright Vivianne Kacal 2015

I know.

I am sorry.

I am so sorry.

 I am very sorry. 

I am so very sorry.

I am so very, very sorry.

I am ... you get the idea.

Really, I am so apologetic I might even be English. But after the haikus and cinquains of recent years, this poor limerick is all I could come up with.

As a reward - or maybe it is punishment - I shall again offer you the opportunity to also inflict mental and emotional abuse on my readers (as I did here) by submitting your very own verse: it can be any accepted form of verse, for example, iambic pentameter, epigram, haiku, sonnet, etc. ... The winner will receive a marvellous mystery prize from me.

Conditions of Entry:

 Open to international entries
Closing date Fri.22nd May
Winner will be chosen by random number generator.
Winner will be announced on the blog.
Please make sure I can contact you for your address.

There will be many interesting offerings today - find them by putting 6KCBWDAY5 into Google.

Thursday 14 May 2015

6KCBWDAY4: Bags o' Bits

Tarot of Durer

Here we care on a cloudy and grey Day 4 of the 6th Annual Knitting & Crocheting Blog Week; today's topic is:

Day Four (Thursday 14th May): Bags Of Fun.
Time to delve into that most treasured collection of tools, notions and oddments as you are asked to spill the contents of your knitting or crochet bag, caddy or other method of organisation and put your crafting unmentionables on display.
You may wish to talk about your bag of crocheting tools as a whole, or delve deep into the contents of your knitting caddy and talk about the contents each in turn. Good, clear photography can help readers familiarise with your tools, and you might just help someone find a new item for their wish-list if they are awe-struck by your pom-pom maker.
 I have both a burlap box/bag thing to store my bits & bobs, and within that, a transparent pencil case which I use when I'm taking a WIP with me somewhere:

The contents are not as messy,disorganized or random as you might expect. Certainly not as much crap I as expected:

And in my 'travel pack' we find:

Yes, you're quite right - 6 crochet hooks for picking up dropped stitches is overkill - so I've put 5 back into the pot. I don't know what the black beads are doing in there - they are beady mice eyes. That random pink button is left over from the Strawberry Cabled Cardigan, but the presence of everything else is probably more or less justified; the only thing I think is missing is one of the tape measures from the bigger stay-at-home bag.

I'm quite curious to see what other people consider to be essential, so I'm going to make a cup of tea, and then put 6KCBWDAY4 into Google ...

Wednesday 13 May 2015

6KCBWDAY3: Failed Experiment

Gaian Tarot

OK, we are about halfway through the 6th Annual Knitting & Crochet Week, and I am still here ! Let's see today's prompt:

DAY 3: Experimental Photography and Image Handling for Bloggers
Every Year Knitting & Crochet Blog Week tries to feature at least one day where photography takes a key role, because it has been proven many times that what captures reader’s attention for the first few seconds to hopefully hold them long enough to invest the time to read your words is your pictures, and so this topic crops up each year, but every year it yields such different results!
It is easy enough to fall into a routine of photographing your finished projects as is – clearly displayed, maybe from a few varying angles, and for a large part of the time these are what blog readers will expect to see, but every now and again it is good to throw in a picture that causes people to linger.
Refresh your skills at creating attention-grabbing pictures. Take your own creativity and run to your camera with your own ideas, or use these few easy ideas as a starting point:
Use a few background props – you will be amazed at what you can find around the house if you just pick a few items up without thinking too hard about it. These can be props that either add to the ‘story’ of the photograph or just chime well with the colours and style of the finished object.

Yeah. There's usually a photographic topic, and I usually suck at it. I suck at it so much that I don't think I've ever posted on this topic.


Popping 6KCBWDAY3 into Google will bring up lots of very creative posts, unlike this one ...

Tuesday 12 May 2015

6KCBWDAY2: It's All About ... Me !

Joie de Vivre Tarot

The prompt for Day 2 of this year's Knitting & Crochet Blog Week is as follows:

Cast your hooks and needles aside !
This year you are challenged with one of those tasks that bloggers can find quite daunting: but there's never a better time than when we're all in it together, so let's shift the focus and turn the attention from the things we make to the things that make us.
The important thing here is to remember that you don't have to go into great personal detail and certainly do not have to reveal anything too personal. You can be as candid or as private as you like, but you can also give your readers a feel for those things that you like to do outside of your crafting.
  • Do you like to walk or keep fit
  • Do you read or enjoy movies - are there any personal favorite books or films that you would recommend ?
  • What is your dream holiday destination, job, dinner party guest list ? 
This post can be about your reality, your aspirations, past, present or future. Enjoy talking about you. If you really don't want to write about yourself, though, use your creative license and invent yourself an alternative persona, whether you are a spy, deep-sea diver or astronaut (who just happens to love yarn).

As you will be able to tell momentarily, I didn't know what to do for this post - the prompt wasn't specific enough, for me; if I answered those questions it'd just be a boring list of random information. 

So you'll be glad to find out that I've gone all tekky again and made an easy infographic, which does reveal a little bit about me:

Pop 6KCBWDAY2 into Google and see all the other - creative - posts on this topic today ....

Monday 11 May 2015

6KCBWDAY1: If You Were A Yarn

Tarot of Pagan Cats

It's here again ! Knitting & Crochet Blog Week, the 6th annual edition ... let's take up the challenge of blogging daily and see how far we get, shall we ?

DAY 1: If You Were Yarn

If you were a type or brand of yarn, which would you be ? Are you a classic pure wool ? Is there extra tension but a bit of bounce in you because of your high twist ? Would you be more like a high-maintenance, strictly hand-wash fluffy angora or a 'bring it on' acrylic, bravely heading into the world of possible baby-sick laundering disasters knowing that you will always come our bright and unharmed ?
Spend some time browsing yarns and getting to know their qualities, and decide which yarn you think best matches your personality.

I did this the other way round - what kind of person do I think I am, and what yarn is that ... Immediately we know that I am not qiviut. 

Although ...

muskox, from which qiviut is obtained



I am ... bright, funny, brash, kind, lazy, short-tempered. I guess bright, funny and brash could be this yarn:

Patons Fab DK. What colorblind looks like.

Lazy yarn ... would be yarn that comes in balls, as opposed to hanks that need winding and balling, which is most commercial yarns - it's the indie and hand-dyed yarns that tend to come in hanks, and they are also generally more pricy; they also tend to be in smaller dyelots, so it can be difficult to buy more than a shawl or scarf quantity even if you could afford it.

I don't know that there is any yarn that is short-tempered or grumpy - only yarn that makes people feel that way: yarn with vegetable matter in it (looking at you, Noro), yarn with quality issues such as too many knots or breaks; yarn that is wrong for your project (technically not the yarn's fault, of course), yarn that is just too boring of a color that you wonder what demon possessed you when you bought it, and of course, scratchy yarn, ie. all the yarn ever used during my childhood.

So where does that leave us ? I need the color range of Stylecraft in the yarn varieties offered by Drops, I think, with some overlap. Between the two of them I can express most moods except the thunderstorms ...

If you put the tag KCBW6DAY1 into Google you will find many more posts for today's theme ...

Friday 8 May 2015

FO Friday 19/15: Darling Ruby

Gendron Tarot

Just popping by with a quickie - I am out the door super early today to take Destructo Boy to school in time to go to a gymnastics competition, and then I have a lift with a friend to go watch him, which he doesn't know about yet ...

So really I am not here, I am posting this yesterday, the day of the general election. In past times, I used to be so passionate and energized by this kind of thing, I would have stayed up to see the results come in.

Now however, I am resigned to the fact that politicians are all pretty much the same, hardly one has a personality, and the policies are so similar whichever party it is that you can stick a pin in the voting card for all the difference it makes. I did go aim my pin today, though.

Yes, I am feeling somewhat tired, and despair is not too strong a word for what I feel about the world and most of the events and people in it - which makes me grumpy. So let's ignore all that, and instead enjoy this darling little baby cardigan:

This was UKHA6, 4 rather pretty variations on one pattern, for 4ply/fingering weight yarn - I used a partial ball of King Cole ZigZag I had left over from the last vintage baby cardigan I made, and there was even a bit left after making the 3-6 month size. I had come unstuck with the buttons, though - and upon returning them, found out that job or dye lot numbers apply to buttons as well: you do learn something new most days.

Anyway, pop FO Friday into Google and see what else turns up ...

Wednesday 6 May 2015

SAL Wednesday 18/15 : A Close Shave

Fantastic Menagerie Tarot

Well I've been racketing along with Ruffles & Stripes while watching episodes of Miss.Fisher's Murder Mysteries starring the delectable Nathan Page  ... OK, not so much racketing as toddling then, until this:

See that little strand in the bottom right-hand corner ?

Yes, I'm up to my old tricks - running out again (remember this ?). 

A quick call - on the dot of closing time - to Franklins' Ipswich branch, who didn't have the 1503 Mink shade of King Cole Baby Comfort DK, resulted in a call to me from their Colchester branch to check the exact colorway required, which was then delivered to the Ipswich branch this morning so that I could collect it at lunchtime. This kind of excellent customer service is why B&M stores have to charge more than internet prices, and why we are happy to pay.

Anyway, because I now have more yarn, I must go use it as next week I will be too bust blogging in the 6th Annual Knit & Crochet Blog Week. You, however, can go browse through other people's WIPs via Life & Yarn ...

Friday 1 May 2015

Tarot Blog Hop Beltane 2015: Yikes !


The host of this year's Beltane Blog Hop is Morgan Drake Eckstein, and the topic they have chosen was inspired by the recent Ostara Blog Hop, and is as follows:

''The theme of the May 1, 2015 Tarot Blog Hop is Dealing with the distasteful cards.

Reading the entries of the last blog hop (updating the Tarot), I noticed that we all agreed that the distasteful cards needed to stay in the Tarot deck.
The "distasteful" cards are those which when turned over (revealed) evoke a strong negative reaction--the cards that indicate that something upsetting is about to happen, and that big changes are about to visit one's life.
A short list of such cards would probably include: Hanged Man, Death, Tower, Devil, Three of Swords, Ten of Swords, and the Happy Squirrel (*wink*). 
These are cards that when revealed that you can see the client visibly try to run away from. They can be unpleasant...mainly because most humans really do not like changes in their lives, even when their lives are a complete and utter mess.
So how do we deal with these cards when they show up? What do we tell our clients? What rituals (actions) can we take to better cope with these energies?
Feel free to expand upon this idea--heavens knows that my own entry will probably drift a little, or a lot from the original thought.''

There are 2 things we need to consider when discussing 'distasteful' cards: the level of distastefulness, and how different tarot decks portray these cards, which may mitigate or exacerbate the unwelcome appearance of one of these cards in a reading.
I think there are 3 levels of 'distastefulness' - firstly, a slight aversion, the kind that results in a raised eyebrow or perhaps a facial expression displaying that a bad smell is unfortunately present, or that one's cucumber sandwiches have been served with the crusts on. This might be cards like the 5 of Wands or 8 of Swords ...

Bruegel Tarot


 Secondly, a definite sigh or grunt and the kind of martyred expression that accompanies the presence of other people's noisy and badly behaved brats in your vicinity, or that one's Pimms is not the No.1 Cup served with cucumber, apples, strawberries, orange and lemon slices and borage but some kind of devilish abomination they concocted for winter at the behest of the marketing department. This might be cards like the 9 or 10 of Wands.

Victorian Romantic Tarot

Finally comes the kind of card(s) that has the effect of the other person's kid that has simultaneously pooped, peed and puked in your lap when you have no tissues, wipes or a change of clothes - or (perish the thought) of being on a dinner date with someone who asks for a well-done Steak Tartare and drinks the finger bowls from the crevettes* - that makes one involuntarily gulp down a scream and quickly rearrange one's face into complete neutrality rather a doomed rabbit trapped in the headlights.

What's with all the food references ? I don't know - I must be hungry, or have been given a copy of the Cook's Tarot to review...

Now, let's see how deck design can either ameliorate or intensify the negative effects of that 3rd grouping of cards ... let's take, oh, XVI The Tower, a card I personally hate to see:

Sirian Starseed Tarot

Whimsical Tarot



Another traditional baddie, the 10 of Swords:

Deviant Moon Tarot
Shadowscapes Tarot


And finally ... umm ... what say we see the contrast between these 3 of Swords cards:

Labyrinth Tarot
Spirit of Flowers Tarot


The message of the cards is not different so much as the tone of voice it is delivered in has been altered by the effect of the style of the art: there's your harridan screeching a warning, or the subtle hint of a laid-back hippie. This links in nicely to a discussion about whether these softer tones of voices, pastel colors or caricature depictions renders a reading too toothless to be useful, an issue of sparing the rod and so the querent is spoiled. I know - interesting, right ?

I think that gentling a harsh message so that the querent can accept it and work with it is what an ethical, compassionate reader should do. One would have to know one's querent awfully well to simply lay bad news out in a starkly, with the kind of bedside manner that should get a doctor fired.

Enough of my soapbox, jump to the USGames blog to continue the journey, or backtrack to Karen's blog before for another perspective ...

* I have actually had both these things happen in my career ...

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