Wow…

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It’s the Mighty Offspring’s 10th birthday tomorrow, which means it’s about 10 years since I got back into crafting seriously!

I outlined my route back in this post back in 2007. It wasn’t quite where I’ve fetched up, designing hand-knitting patterns!

Instead, it was needs-must crafting for my suddenly-budget wedding after my research career went up in smoke. Strapped for cash, I crocheted wire and bead motifs into invitations and jewellery.

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I had no real intention of continuing – I’m not a jewellery wearer at the best of times – but I never did put the hooks away again. I kept on playing with the wire, buying bits and pieces, reading up on the subject on the internet.

Of course, even then, there was a lot more about yarn-related crochet (and knitting) on the internet than about wire crochet, so naturally I found myself looking at that too. I found, and was entranced by items like Rachel Seeley Merrill’s Daisy Crochet Skirt, Marnie MacLean’s Gothic Lace cardi∗, and 302 Calories (actually, that whole issue of Knitty should be required reading – go look). I discovered Garnstudio’s DROPS patterns, Knitting Daily (Sandi Wiseheart’s Bust Dart series probably taught me to design), and the Yarn Harlot.

Then, on some blog or other, I saw a mention of a new website called Ravelry – and down the rabbit hole I went…

TTFN

 

∗- still in my queue, still too fat – maybe for my 50th birthday??

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More Gloves…

The black gloves are a pair I made for my teaching placement mentor. The pattern is Susie’s Reading Mitts from Dancing Ewe Yarns, and I used one skein of Katia Merino 100%.  Looks great, and can be used for wiping a whiteboard at a pinch.

The Pi Mitts I made for Pi Day – 14th of March, or 3/14 in American. As in 3.14? Because I have a bit of an obsession with π, as the numerati will deduce from the quote under my avatar. Utterly wasted on the little darlings at school, who are largely unaware of the symbol, and the fact that the decimal places continue beyond .14. But I like them. I started with green as the main colour, but found it didn’t quite ‘pop’ enough for my liking, so the second glove uses the red. It’s Teddy DK, wholly acrylic. They’re a little tight on my hands, but I was in a hurry. The pattern is a free Ravelry download.

Because I am a sucker, I made the skully convertible gloves and the Tam of Rassilon for X at Christmas. He has somehow become totally unequipped for winter, no jumpers, coats, gloves, anything to keep warm. I’d always intended to make both for him anyway, but the separation got in the way. The tam had to be blocked on a pizza dish! It is vast – though doesn’t look it worn. It’s now March, and I think he’s probably lost them already, doubtless on a binge. Certainly haven’t seen him wearing or carrying them since January.

I have deleted all the patterns I had favourited for him on Rav. That’s all, folks. I’m done.

On the right is a Drops shawl pattern, a basic garter-stitch domino specifically for long-repeat yarn, somewhat enlarged by m’self. The yarn is Teksrena 4-ply 100% wool, a Lithuanian yarn I got off eBay. The photo doesn’t do justice to the glowy colours. I call this Burning Embers.

It’s not a pretty-pretty shawl, but what I wanted was a big blankie that I could wrap around myself. It’s been very useful in the late and bitter winter weather we’ve had. It’s big enough to wear like a Faroese shawl, tied at the back. People like it a lot: I always get compliments when I wear it.

And finally for this post, Mickey Mouse. The Mighty Offspring has developed a real fondness for Mickey’s Playhouse, to the point where I am actually prepared to take him to Disneyland Paris for a few days this summer. Not going mad and considering a fortnight in Orlando, just 3 or 4 days. I… do not share his enthusiasm. Never have, even as a child. That squeaky voice just infuriates me. At least he’s dumb at Disneyland.

The pattern is Leisure Arts #3293, Disney Home: Mickey and Minnie Dolls, which I scored off eBay. I want to make it in Sirdar Snowflake, but while collecting the necessary colours, I made this in Teddy Vanguard DK, Spectrum Strata, and Robin Bonny Babe which I had to hand. The shorts come off, and I have an order for pyjamas already…
T’ra!

Monster Post II

Let’s see, a good long while ago, the father of the Monstrous Offspring’s playmate at the childminder’s asked me if I could make a replacement blankie for her. He is also the Head of IT at work, so I ain’t gunna be p!ssing HIM off, with the state my laptop’s in! I had a look at the pitiful remnants of her blankie, and there was just enough left for me to make out that it was definitely crochet, three long stitches together and a chain between each group, into which the next row’s three stitches went. The long stitches might have been trebles, the number of stitches in the chain might have been 3 or 4 – the poor thing was too matted to tell. But I had a go at it for her birthday, and she was delighted. I was worried she would feel it was trying to take over, but she wrapped it round herself, twirled with it, was a butterfly, etc. Honour was satisfied.

I should really try to crochet more. It’s starting to be a little ouchy on my hand, and that’s not good. I may even have a project in mind…

Tiny Husband has expressed an interest in tie pins and waistcoats – now that his workplace has made ties optional for all but front of shop staff. Contrary beast that he is. So I made him a 1940s knitted waistcoat! The yarn is from a massive cone of natural 100% wool – Herdwick possibly – that I bought for nothing when I was still leaving the universe of dolly-mixture acrylic – didn’t even know Herdwick was a breed! There’s probably more than enough left for Louhi, once I get the courage together for such a long project – and a decent pair of gardening gloves: that stuff is rough! Currently, I’m making a Noodle Shrug for the bridesmaid, using this wool doubled.

This is all by way of diverting attention from the fact that I went on a big me me me drive recently. I attempted to make this for myself using some no-name chunky wool blend from LIDL. It was a very fast knit – all done, plus other knits, on our two weeks in Ireland – but it was just too. Low-cut. And there’s just no way I was going to add even more bulk by wearing something underneath it to hide Pinky & Perky from a curious world. It awaits frogging and a possible rebirth as Owls. My Ruffled Collar Pullover continued apace, but there’s only so much time I felt like devoting to ribbed mohair. Making considerable progress is my Clarice bag. No photos, but it is almost finished, which I am quite pleased about. I’ve only been able to work on it for short periods, as the multitude of bright bobbins tends to attract cat, son and husband, to the detriment of the work.

Then I saw these, and had to have them for my own. They are Penispoopcakewaffle Socks. Brainchild of one Wendy Moreland, it is a free Rav download, not available elsewhere I’m afraid.

For a time, this was all I had completed for myself to wear to UK Rav Day, and durned if I could find a pair of shoes, among the millions I own, that I could wear them with – even just a pair I could wheek off easily for showing-off purposes (why does that sound dirty now it’s in print…). I had slaved and slogged into the wee hours many a night trying to finish off my Joan Crawford (in a black variant of the mystery yarn mentioned in the previous post) for the day, only to be defeated at the last by the finishing. Sew a hem on a jumper, will ya, Biddy Ann? Aye right. I ask you.

And then, the blindingly obvious hit me. Funny how often that happens. Some time ago, I answered a plea from someone about the infamous February Lady Sweater – or as thee, me and the cat would call it, bed jacket. Cardigan if you’re being charitable. This is viral knitting as its finest. The Susan Boyle Youtube video of knitting. Now That’s What I Call Knitting #6306 (which is the number of times it’s been made so far, according to Ravelry) – you get the idea. It’s the adult version of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Baby Sweater on Two Needles. I first came across it a good while ago, being touted as suitable for a maternity cardi, and thought good luck to it. It’s mostly lace, which is not something I’m dying about at the best of times. What with neither being pregnant nor having the prospect of pregnancy, not to mention having a very great hatred of the current fashion for looking pregnant (even though it worked in my favour when I was) I had no interest in the thing. But a plea went forth, and I answered it.

The whys escape me. I mean, it’s not like no one out there had ever made one. Some people have made – well – quite a few. They’re a bit like sock knitters: they’ve found what they were born to knit, and, well, they go to it with a will. Anyway, this is about me me me, so back to your normal service.

Her questions were quite complex, possibly made so by a difference of language, and in the end I had to cast on to check that my reading of the pattern was correct. For handiness, and because it was roughly the right weight, I started off with an apricot cotton – Paccia La Lana Cinzia – which I got in a fire (or possibly bomb) sale in Belfast about 18 years ago. I had tried doing things with it before, but nothing had quite worked. Undaunted, I plugged on with FLS to the point – at the end of the collar/start of the lace – where her questions ended, and was pleased to report that I was correct (as was she, just confused, but then this is about me me me. I don’t know why I have to keep saying it). By then I had invested a substantial amount of time on the project; I thought I might as well use up this stuff after all that time in a box, moving countries with me.

Okay fine, I just couldn’t stand the thought of ripping it out again.

So I continued. I soldiered on with the lace – it wasn’t too hard, especially after I put 15 million stitchmarkers at every repeat. I could even do it without looking, managing half a row or so (there are about 85 giblillion stitches per row…) on the bus. Then I remembered I was doing a maternity tent – sorry, smock effort. Never a good look on one so sumptuously endowed as moi, and thanks to my recent success in vanquishing the Weed, I am packing a smidge more round the waist than I like. So not just huge jugs to make it sit out, but a muffin top to keep it from sneaking back in. By jaze sez I, I’ll need to do something about this.


So I shaped it. Hah! Pheer my madd skillz. I narrowed it in to my waist, then widened it out again for my hips. Then along the way I thought, you know, for ages I’ve been longing for something a bit piratical, a bit Jacobean, something with booty and flounce and that certain Laurence Llewellyn Bowen sensibility – something with oomph and tra la and a fol de rol to set the cat among the curtains. So I SUPER-sized the hip increase for a bouncy little peplum, ha har! Then I added cuffs, collar and hems in a vintage Astrakhan I have about me, and some gold-and-black buttons I found in the market, and voila! The effect is not fitted, but semi-fitted: I can still wear a jumper underneath. Though part of me is tempted to unpick and re-do it, because I feel I didn’t start the decreases early enough. But whatever.

I just about finished it in time to travel to Ireland, where I wore it almost constantly. The photos had to be taken that evening, before it was finished, or blocked or anything – you can see the ball of astrakhan balanced on my shoulder. I’m not sure now why it was so urgent, but it was. One day I’ll get nice pics. Ones where I don’t get exasperated by the photographer’s fear of pressing a button on my very complicated camera phone while panicking over the location of the passports…

Next installment: UK Rav Day!

TTFN
K

Foot Loose! Fibonacci

Yet another pair of socks for my mightily hoofed offspring. Ye gods I am bored with this sock business. The only thing they have going for them is that they are handy bus projects for my 10-minute commute. But I shall persevere until he has a reasonable supply – by which time he’ll probably need bigger socks – because today, for the first time EVAR, he has been willing, nay, demanding to wear something I’ve made him – yes, these socks. Ripped from my hands as I tried to finish weaving in the ends, which is nice because it’s not my favourite task, with shouts of “Mommy, put a socks on!” Guess they won’t get blocked for a while then. He pootled around the house until bedtime, when he adamantly refused to have them taken off. Half an hour after we put him to bed, I looked in on him. He was sitting on the floor, facing the window, chatting to his socks…
Again based on the Lion Brand pattern but modified for gauge as described previously, these are the Fibonacci socks I mentioned. So what’s Fibonacci when it’s at home? Well, HE discovered a sequence of numbers where each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers, hence 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21, etc. So what? So, most flowers have a ‘Fibonacci’ number of petals. Fibonacci numbers also show up in the shapes of coastlines and clouds and other natural phenomena. Also, if you divide each number by the previous number, you get a result that is very close to the Golden Number/Section/Phi/Divine Proportion (1.618), whereby all sorts of The Weird And The Wonderful… ~Cue Twilight Zone music~. It’s all terribly amazing until you realise that mathematics exists to describe the universe. So it’s not exactly surprising when the universe just happens to conform with the maths, is it?

It is a little sad that this glorious stuff is too complicated to explain to kids who think maths is boring.

I have also – in two days! – completed a Valkyrie helmet for my cousin’s daughter Anna, who is a cute chubby little Brunhilde. It’s based on a Viking Girl Hat I saw on Ravelry. However the thought of forking over $24.50 for a kit had the predictable effect on my bowels, so I reverse-engineered it from the photos. I couldn’t tell for sure if there were horns or wings on it in the photos, but as a Viking re-enactor, I couldn’t in conscience put horns on it so wings they are.

I wanted a smooth, helm-like shape with no obvious decreases. To get this, I phase-shifted the decreases on each round (i.e., starting at the 1st stitch on one dec round, and on the 7th, 5th, 3rd stitch on the alternate dec round). The plaits are i-corded, though I thought about French-knitting them. In the end, though, I had the dpns in my hand, but the bobbins were somewhere in my knitting boxes…

(Modelled by my vintage fully-working Oopsie Daisy, with original outfit, for those interested in such things.)

TTFN
K

I should probably post more than once a month…

My dad died a year ago. We were not close, and disagreed about most stuff. I don’t recall him ever calling me by my name, and he certainly didn’t know where I lived – not just that he couldn’t remember my address off the top of his head: he didn’t know what country I was in, let alone what city. He only began to warm up a bit when my son was born, the image of him as a child. There was no broken home or damaged relationship to explain this. He simply wasn’t interested in his daughters. We were the waste product of having real children – sons. My sister lived nearby and was able to force some recognition out of him. In many ways I regarded him as a rather eccentric relative that I didn’t see much. I was fond of him and recognised his good qualities, even though I knew they would never be applied in my direction. He was a good man, loyal to a fault, kind, tolerant and good with children. I wasn’t terribly upset, just shocked when he died. Now mostly I’m angry at him for dying at only 69 and denying my son the chance to get to know him.

Mum is lonely since he’s gone. She has a lot of support in her church, and always had a life apart from him, so she is bearing up well. But she doesn’t have to run around after him any more – checking that he’s taken his pills, has his wallet, isn’t eating junk (he was a diabetic), etc. – and is a bit lost. They spent a lot of time together and they talked about everything under the sun. Except food. Dad could get her to stay off the subject of food for hours – I wish I knew his secret. She was on the phone daily over the anniversary weekend of his death, even though my brothers and sister were there for her. Not to talk about him – she didn’t mention his name once, even when she phoned minutes before the actual time of his death. I can’t have been much comfort, I just let her blather on.

Tiny Husband is in a poor way atm. He fell over in the car park at work a fortnight ago and wrenched every joint in his body and a handful of ribs. He had spectacular bruises from wrist to elbow on both arms but otherwise was okay (!). Then his calf muscle began to hurt. It bruised and swoll up about twice its size. He went to the Haemophilia Unit several times and was sent away because it was clearly a bruise, not a bleed. Finally they gave him Factor, crutches and 3 different painkillers including codeine phosphate, and an appointment for physiotherapy. It looked like it was working, but over the weekend it swoll up again: he spent Sunday at the unit, and had to go back the following morning. They didn’t keep him in then on condition he went home and rested. So he lied to them and went to work anyway.

Today at work, he had Disability Awareness training on blindness – how not to be patronising towards disabled people. Though come to think of it, One is not sure how he can tell people are blind over the phone. The chap had the grace to look embarrassed as he delivered his spiel to the guy on crutches…

It’s been a knackering few weeks. Emotional turmoil, and the bulk of the housework, shopping and childcare to do as well – TH is very useful about the place, deffo no Elektra complex in this marriage. However, I’ve managed to do quite a bit recently.

I’m just finishing a third pair of socks for Ickle Baby Cthulhu. They’re just quick acrylic knits. His feet are very broad but not big, so it’s a struggle getting his (shop-bought) socks on. I’ve been using DK yarn, but that’s a bit bulky. I’ve some 2-ply pure wool I might try next.

I also made a Bloody Stupid Johnson hat for TH for our wedding anniversary. The pattern’s not 100% clear here and there, and I goofed a bit on the crown. Also, the head band is supposed to be grafted but with the cabling that’s just as messy as sewing it. So I did. It turned out fine, a bit better if anything as it’s longer to the crown than it should be. Just like TH.

I really ought to have finished the Drops Hooded Cardigan from the Bullring mystery cotton blend for my niece, but decided it really needed to be lined. And that, as we know too well peeps, means sewing (~shudder~).

More specifically it means finding something to line it with, which translated into a couple of weekends bombing round the Rag Market. Then a few more weeks umming and ahhing as I tried to figure out the best way to line it – before or after assembling the pieces? during, whilst sewing it into the seams? and when should I knit (and line) the hood – before or after or…? Oh the dilemma. Trilemma? – there are 3 options. See how I suffer for my art? Oh the PAIN!!!!!!!!

Cillian’s Trellis Cardi is also finished, apart from tidying up the ends from sewing on the buttons. As he’s now 15 months, this may have to become Adam’s Trellis Cardi – depends on which size I made. Durned if I can remember. I also have a crocheted knitting-needle roll (OH! the irony…) almost done, just a closure to do. I also found this very, very old (well, from just after I restarted crafting) project lurking in plain sight on the Baba’s bedroom floor: a rug crocheted from old sweatpants*!! My sister sends me these things even though she knows I don’t wear them (?!?!). So I cut off the cuffs and waistband, slit them up the inside leg and one side-seam, then cut them up into a single strip about 1″ thick, which I crocheted up with the thickest crochet hook I had – an 8mm I think. It would have looked neater if I’d rolled the strips so only the ‘knit’ outer was visible, not the fleecy lining, but PATIENCE IS NOT MY VIRTUE DAMMIT!!!!!!! The Ba used to lie on it for his kicky sessions before he was mobile – more comfy than the hardwood floors. Now he uses it to slide along the same floors, wheee!

What else? Plans for making a bunny from a swatch. Oh yes, and I’m now a Proper Ol Designer, Ravelry-accredited n evrathang! My totally amazing scrunchie pattern has been downloaded loads! LOADS! more than I thought it would be… both from my Ravelry Designer shop and from the linky on the sidebar here. Well, shucks. Thanks to all the lovely people who thought it worth the bandwidth. Srsly! Now I’ll have to put some more up. TH has been on at me to write up the pattern for my Corset Cosy, and there’s the neck-warmer thingy, maybe the toddler gloves

More pics to add later!
Kxxx

* aka fleece-lined track suit trousers. Aka Fat Couture. Aka Oxfam-bin fashion for the woman who’s given up the struggle with weight, pregnancy, baby puke, personal hygiene…

Baa-Baa-BaBa-Baba-Baa-Bamboo, ~or ~ Joining the Sock Flock

I is brekin mi duk.

I have #1 of a pair of socks for Tiny Husband on the dpns. They are from a Regia Bamboo kit I purchased from PurpleLinda, 10% off atm. The maddcolorz are befuddling my eyes a bit, but I have about 4cm done so far. The yarn feels nice, but the dpns included, man oh man, very loooong, very sticky.

The 100% bamboo Silk Slip now has 2 boobies, and I’ve begun the rib-band. It has two hundred and stupid stitches, so I am going to take my time!

I also have, on bamboo circs and in 100% mohair, a sweater loosely based on Irina Poludnenko’s Ruffled Collar Pullover, published in February’s Knitting magazine as Moonlight Cashmere Top. The gauge was fine, but I didn’t care to trust the sweater to fit itself so I started at the bottom with 7mm circs for about 10cm, and switched to 6mm for 3 rows and finally to 5mm. I shall reverse the process when I need to expand for the bust. I have no idea whether I will ever wear this. The pattern is HAWT, and the yarn is HAWT red, a colour that looks particularly HAWT on me. However – it’s mohair. The result might merely be hot, as in sweaty. And it’s mohair. As in, adds a stone to my already overloaded arse.

Oh yes: and the bamboo circs, they do not like the mohair.

Really must try to get back to my WIPs, too. I have crocheted another leg for my amigurumi unicorn – just another 2 legs and ears, a horn, mane and tail to go.

This really doesn’t belong here, but I’m venting anyway. I was perusing my local Freecycle (go join) posts today and saw yet another appeal for Playboy-related tat to decorate a girl’s bedroom – pictures, lamps, duvet covers, etc. This really disturbs me. Since when has it been socially acceptable to allow your daughter to indulge a morbid interest in the seedy world of pornography, much less involve others in your lamentable parenting? If you’re teaching your daughter that spreading her legs for the titillation of the smut-buying public (including her dad, uncles, brothers) is okay, then do it on your own – and take responsibility for the fallout from providing your child with her own Barbie Brothel.

Much as I want another child – no daughters, thanks. I cannot raise a girl in a society this sick.

K

Senior Moment

Truly the brain is dying.

This is one of the first things I ever made, and the first I made for myself, after I started crafting again. I wear it quite often, too. Though I have to say it has not endeared me to shrugs – there’s something about the ‘frontlessness’ of it that makes me look fat, pigeon-chested and middle-aged. Well, more fat, pigeon-chested and middle-aged than I actually am. Not that I’m pigeon-chested, I just have a very straight back, courtesy of mother, music and military, and larger than average boobies.

It is a fairly straight copy of the Noodle Shrug, excepting that I abandoned the yarn-overs as they were driving me bananas, in favour of using one 10mm and one 4mm needle. I’ve since discovered that I was doing the yarn-overs the wrong way round (sensibly I wrapped the yarn over then under the needles, whereas in fact one wraps under then over the needle) not that it matters a hill of beans either for this pattern or for my sanity. The yarn is undyed 2-ply 100% wool, and the ‘noodles’ are a cream cotton chenille. I did not pay much attention to the instructions for these, I think they’ve worked out longer on mine.