On Knitting and Good People

Gentle reader,

I’m hoping this finds you well and happy and positively brimming with mirth and satisfaction after spending some quality time with your family – whether that be the family you were born with or the family you chose, or both! – and if not and this time of year is just a big ol’ pain in the rump then, drat it all to hell and tell me who I need to give some seriously stinky side-eye to, cuz I got yo’ back.

I suppose it’s also that time in which people take stock of the year behind them as they leap into the year ahead, and this Shy Lion guy over here isn’t any different. And so here are my ruminations on life and the people in it.

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Sometimes, life is like knitting, and you are the knitter. As you pass the time, your knitting grows and grows and stretches down from your hands, the fabric gradually becoming neater and more assured. Your tension evens out, becomes steady, consistent and reliable. Your stitch definition becomes crisper and cleaner, and the patterns more and more complex and interesting.

Sometimes you will encounter people who just don’t get it. They won’t understand your knitting. They won’t see the time and effort that goes into every stitch. They won’t see the difference between garter and moss stitch. They won’t see your winding stretches of cables and understand that hanging, breathless moment when you crossed those stitches without a cable needle for the first time. They don’t understand that you couldn’t just sell your knitting, or see the difference between what you spent days, months, years learning to do, practicing, refining, and what someone programmed a machine to do.

But, there are other knitters who understand that this fabric – your fabric – took time and that sometimes it was a joy and sometimes hard won. They understand the time and control it took to knit smooth, even Fair Isle without puckering or Intarsia without holes. They know exactly how it feels to frog hours of work, they understand that sometimes you just don’t feel like weaving in your ends once in a blue moon.

And there are people who don’t knit but wish they could. They don’t know how those folded hems came to be folded, or how a few different stitches repeated over and over turned into the most intricate lace, but they love it and appreciate it all the same. They can sense the effort and the knowledge that went into it and they’re content enough with that, and perhaps are more special because of it. When you share your knitting with them, they treasure it, and handle it with care.

These people are your friends and your family. They are close to you because they can read your life the way other knitters can read your knitting. They understand your bumps and scrapes the way knitters understand your frogs and tinks. They know your joys and sorrows like knitters know your favorite colors or your preference for DPN over magic loop. And in the same way that someone doesn’t know how a sweater knits up but admire it enthusiasm anyway, maybe some of them don’t know how you came to be in their lives but are grateful that you’re there.

And in the same way that you go back to your favorite knitting groups or yarn stores or blogs, you keep those people close because they’re priceless and they’re special and you have them in your heart, always.

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Thank you so much for joining The Shy Lion for some crafty adventures in 2013, I’m super grateful for your company.  I hope you’ll come along for 2014, too! Share what you’ve been grateful for this year below!

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Is My Knitting Mojo Back!?

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Gentle reader,

I don’t know about you, but I go through these awful, restless phases where I find it difficult to even do and enjoy the stuff I love. Sometimes it’s just me being a dumb poop, and sometimes it’s because of other things going on in my life. Sometimes it doesn’t bother me, depending on what the thing is; like, with video games it doesn’t bother me because I generally don’t feel productive when I play video games, as much as I love them. So, if I go through a phase where I just can’t sit still long enough to spend an hour or two beating in zombie faces, then I’m not gonna be too mad about it.

But then there are some things that I feel are VITAL to my entire existence and when I go through phases in which these things don’t come easily to me, I go balls-to-the-wall, flat out crazy.

When I lose my knitting and crochet mojo, I’m basically a miserable shell of a human, and I just managed to break a spell where I knitted maybe twice in four or five weeks, and those two times were pathetic so they basically don’t count.

Prior to my crafty dry spell, I had started the Copenhagen Hat by Rachel Brown because a) I was legit actual obsessed with it and wanted to make it NAO, and b) I really wanted to tackle some fair isle and show it that it’s not the boss of me. I figured this hat would be the perfect way to jump in – two colors, traditional star pattern, nothing too small and fiddly so I have plenty of space to manage my tension. And, bonus, I could learn an i-cord cast-on while I was at it. YES. WINNING TIMES.

And then, my mojo decided to forsake me.

I’d gotten my i-cord cast-on finished – which took me FOREVER, but, I had made steady progress – and then… it just kind of stopped.

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Remember Me!?

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Gentle reader,

Hello, my name is Raynor and I’m the Shy Lion. I write a blog about crochet, knitting, and crafts with occasional interludes…

I thought I’d better introduce myself to y’all again since it’s been legit actual FOREVER since I’ve posted here (and if you’re a new reader anyway, well, the intro still stands. Welcome! Pull up a comfy seat, and engage in some crafty behavior and we’ll have a swell time).

I mean, I’m fairly sure it’s no news to anyone that life doesn’t always go according to plan. My plan had been to take  easy, casual, no-brainer temp contracts so I could devote most of my energy to writing super neat fun posts for Le Lion Du Shy (that’s French for The Shy Lion), make things for my Etsy store, and generally just be a total nana.

Well, I’m now working full time for a big online department store and it’s so full on (for me) that when I get home, my brain is all mushy and I just want to play video games and eat candy. Exciting, right?

So, my casual temp contracts turned into a legit six month contract with more responsibility and expectations than I would have thought any sane person would ever give me (don’t get too excited, I’m still a total peon. Let’s keep things in perspective here, I’m basically an eight year old in a thirty year old body, so y’know… grown-up stuff = drainer), and I’m working on an online store… just not mine. So, not entirely how I planned it, but, I have money in my pocket and I’ve met a whole bunch of really rad, neat, and all together ace people and I heart them.

I got a secure job with great people, so I’m very grateful. But, sometimes I feel like I’m tripping balls and I’m like “Wait… how did this all happen?” It’s so far from what I thought I’d be doing!

returnofthelion 1Here is me and my super fave, Yen, goofing off in the office after a late finish. She’s the wind beneath my wings.

That is why my wee poor blog has stood in solitude without much attention from me for the last while. I have a massive backlog of things that I’ve photographed to write posts about and my plan is to start rolling them out. So, I’m not dead! I haven’t forgotten y’all, my lovelies, my puddings, my pals. There are rumblings of future activity, promise.

Meanwhile, my Etsy store may look a bit empty at the moment, BUT, I’ll be teaching again soon! Hurray! I have some classes lined up at The Handmaker’s Factory. Check ‘em out! Class details are listed on the “Classes” tab, so if you’re in Melbourne and you wanna learn, go have a sticky beak. 

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To tide you over in the meantime, here is my cat in a dress. You’re welcome.

 What have you been up to!? Tell! Tell!

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Knitted Gifts Are Warm And Fuzzy In Two Ways

Gentle reader,

Some people don’t care much for cold mornings and winter days, even many of the knitters and crocheters I know! But I love them. And you know what I love about them even more? I can wear the knitted gifts I’ve received! And that’s pretty amazeballs.

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This beautiful hat was knitted by my beautiful friend Jules from Woollenflower. It’s from a Brooklyn Tweed pattern – Vega by Alexis Winslow – and I think the yarn is Morris Norway 10ply.

And don’t I look pleased about it! It was so snug and warm. This knitted gift keeps me warm and fuzzy on my head and in my heart, and I’m not even mad about how cheesy that sounded. ^_~

Are you knitting any gifties at the moment? Share in the comments!

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Magical Mornings

Gentle reader,

On mornings such as these – when the light has that very particular and indescribable quality and extends itself out in flat, deliberate sheets, rigid and brittle, broken in places by branches, power poles and twisting leaves and dispersed into silent, dappled shards – I think to myself that perhaps it would not be such a foolish thing to believe in magic after all and maybe I ought not go to work but instead search for an entrance to Oz, or Narnia or Wonderland or somewhere entirely new.

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Do you ever have mornings like that?

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June IG Catch-Up!

Gentle reader,

How are you? Are you happy and well? Fear not if you didn’t score a giftie in the giveaway; I already have idea seeds to grow into giveaway plants.

Things have been quite busy-busy around here, and not in the happy-joy-joy crafty way. There has been crafting, but not nearly enough because I’ve recently started working full-time. Overall, that’s a GREAT thing, because money lets me buy yarn and get my sewing machine serviced (it was PROPERLY overdue, and I’m sure if I’d waited any longer, it would would have murdered me in an explosion of needles and machine parts). But generally the whole grown-up thing tires me out. Getting my sleeping pattern back to regular human cycles has been tricky; I was almost nocturnal before, I’m a happy-chappy in the nighttime. But, after three weeks of learning the ropes and going to bed at reasonable times, I’m gradually finding the energy and space to squeeze more SRS KFTY TAIMZ into my week. Hurray! So, since I’ve been in a state of flux, I figured the best post for now was an Instagram Catch-Up, which we’ve been a bit overdue for.

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Last Reveal and OFF YOU GO!!

Gentle reader,

I’m so happy to reveal the final prize and open the giveaway! I’m also really excited, because through the generosity of my last benefactor, every will be getting a little something! ^_^

One of the lucky winners will receive a free copy of “The Old Man & The Sea” cardigan by Melissa of Singlehanded Knits fame. This is a gorgeous pattern, y’all. I just finished mine – it’s waiting for a soak and a block – and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. The other awesome thing is that you’ll be able to join the Singlehanded Knits Old Man & The Sea Read/Knit Along. Seriously, this prize is basically a ticket to big fun. ^_^

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A Book Is A Thing I Can Give You, Hurray! PRIZE REVEAL!

Gentle reader,

Before we start, I’ma just give the disclaimer that there is lots of caps lock happening all up in here. What can I say? I’m getting more and more excited about the giveaway. Cue: next prize reveal, aaaaaannnnndddd…. GO!

A while back I bought a couple series of Knitting Daily from Interweave (because I’m a total Interweave and Eunny Jang fan-boy. Not mad.) and one of the episodes featured Kristen TenDyke demonstrating some of the techniques she implemented in her book “Finish-Free Knits”. Picture if you will my shrieking “WHAT IS THIS FANCY YARN MAGIC!? I NEEDS IT IN MY LIFE, I DOES! TELL ME FOR HOW, KRISTEN, PLEASE AND THANK YOU KINDLY TO YOU PLEASE!” while pawing frantically at the screen.* I promptly ordered the book from Interweave. And then Kristen began selling signed copies from her Etsy store. So naturally, I bought myself a signed copy too.

*may or may not have been embellished for dramatic effect but preserves the essential essence of the moment as I recall it.

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