Busy, Busy Bee

Gentle reader,

Remember how I was procrastinating the other day when I was supposed to be photographing my works-in-progress? Well, by the time I got around to it, the weather was so overcast that the lighting just wasn’t working for me, and all my pictures came out too dark and dreary. That’ll teach me to procrastinate!

But today, the beautifully gloomy weather (my favorite!) cleared long enough for me to get my butt into gear and snap my stuff before breaking into some crazy storms. So, without further ado, here’s what I’m working on presently:

"Eddy" Cardigan by Rowan

This one is the one I’m most excited about; it’s my first bash at a cardigan/sweater. I’m using a Rowan pattern called “Eddy” from the Cotton Classics book I bought a month or so ago. Morris Yarns recently brought out a new yarn called Norway in 8, 10 and 14 ply in natural tones and 100g balls, and I fell in love with it. It’s reasonably priced, and the colors are so lovely. Also, when I did the spit join when I started my second ball it felted like a dream and I can’t even tell where my join was. So, thumbs up for that. You can find my Ravelry project here. I’m completely obsessed by this pattern and it’s been getting a lot of tram time.

Boneyard Shawl by Stephen West

This one is another tram project, and I’m really quite enjoying it. It’s no secret that I’m quite the Jared Flood fan boy, and I had seen someone on a Ravelry forum refer to Stephen West as a “poor mans Jared Flood”, and I’d not really paid much more thought to West Knits. Then, I saw some lovely knits that my friend Kate had made only to find out that they were Stephen West patterns, so I checked out his site and Ravelry page. I can assure you that Stephen West is indeed NOT a poor man’s Jared Flood. In fact, aside from both being men, they have really quite different styles, and I’d definitely recommend checking them both out on their own merits.

But, anyway, I picked the Boneyard Shawl to do, because it’s quite attractive but also easy to memorize. I’m making it for my Ma, and I’m using Rowan Silky Tweed (which is sadly now discontinued). It’s super nice, so that made me sad. I’ll have to snap up a few more skeins. I’m on my first skein, and I have two waiting to go. I’ve not looked at the yarn requirements because I’m vague and lazy, but I’m thinking that should be enough. Maybe I’ll buy two more just in case; I can always make amis with the left over.

Lace Dress by Lily M. Chin

So, this one is quite fun too. My lovely friend Marelle and I are doing a swap; she’s knitting me a sweater and I’m crocheting her a dress. So, she chose this Lace Dress pattern by Lily M. Chin. She also chose some Morris Paddington yarn that she had left over from another project she’d been doing (maybe she frogged it?). It was difficult to photograph, as you can see with the vastly different tones in the collage above. But, it’s a nice dark grey/charcoal-y black called Bow Tie. It still looks a bit abstract at the moment, but the piece in the top left is the beginning of the bodice. I may yet have to rip it out and start again. Usually, if I size up my hook by a half-size (ie. go up from 5mm to a 5.5mm – yeah, I pull those suckers tight) my tension is bang on, but it’s off in really weird ways with this one that I can’t figure it out. Meh. I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

Morris Pure

And finally, this project is in such early stages that I haven’t even balled the hanks yet! This is some Morris Pure which I’m going to be crocheting into a fox for my friend Jules (who’s beautiful blog you can read here). We’re doing a swap as well, and she’s making me a beautiful color work beanie using some of the Norway colors. I can’t remember the pattern, so I will follow up on that for you. I’m not quite sure how I’m going to go about making this little fox, but that’s half the fun.

But enough about me, what are YOU working on?

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Procrastination: I’m Good At It

Gentle reader,

Throughout my entire life, the biggest obstacle between me and what my mother calls “living successfully” is a habit my father calls “fiddle-farting around”, known to the wider population as “procrastination”. If I had a paper to write for university, my house would have to be spotless before I started; to the point of completely reorganizing even those areas that were already clean and tidy. If had a class to get to, that seemed the perfect time to check my Youtube subscriptions. And sometimes, it would just be the good ol’ Xbox getting in the way of chores and what not.

iMacs offer endless possibilities for procrastination. Case in point: Photo Booth

Well, today, I ought to be photographing my works-in-progress to post here and on Ravelry, designing buttons for my Etsy store, working on my WIPs, designing titles for some videos and filming said videos, and most of all, starting to pack my house up for a move. And yet here I am, pinching a blog meme from Tony of BonitoClub (excellent chap, excellent blog). That’s just how I roll, y’all.

A. Age: 28 (I had to think about that far longer than is reasonable)
B. Bed size: Double
C. Chore that you hate:  Diiiiiissssshhhhhhesssss! I will turn myself inside out just to get out of doing dishes.
D. Dogs:  I live in a cat household. We have a cheeky younger puss named Jingles and a crazy old lady cat named Lady P.
E. Essential start to your day:  If I can just manage not to sleep through my alarm, it’s a good start.
F. Favourite colour: Green! Had you noticed?
G. Gold or Silver: Totes silver. I just think it’s nicer, but also I’m a ginger and gold clashes with my coloring. Eugh.
H. Height: Six foot, on the dot.
I. Instruments you play: None competently, but I learned piano to Grade 2. That doesn’t count does it?
J. Job title: Crochet instructor, retail grouch and office temp.
K. Kids: None, but I have names for them if they happen. Is that weird? Creepy? No? Do people do that? Hmm.
L. Live: Melbourne! That yummiest city in Australia.
M. Mother’s name: Mama, of course. ^_~
N. Nicknames: Mostly Raynie or Pie (Pie is a long story and derives from Gatsby, believe it or not). I also get Ray-Ray which I’ve come to silently hate.
O. Overnight hospital stays: Well, once when I was born, months and months when I was a wee bairn because I had some crazy disease that no one could figure out at first, and I nearly died (exciting, huh!) and then a few years ago for a week and a half because I had cellulitis. It’s a skin and tissue infection, not dimpley skin. I don’t think they hospitalize you for that…
P. Pet peeve: Ugg boots and flip flops in public. Unsavory.
Q. Quote from a movie: “Every shadow, no matter how deep, is threatened by morning light.” – Rachel Weisz in The Fountain, one of the greatest films ever made.
R. Right or left handed: Right
S. Siblings: Nada
T. Time you wake up: It happens when it happens, hopefully on time.
U. Underwear: I just got some new ones with retro space prints. ^_^
V. Vegetable you hate: Cauliflower. Blech. It’s like the gross evil sibling of Broccoli (which is awesome).
W. What makes you run late:  Oversleeping or procrastination usually.
X. X-Rays you’ve had: I’ve had a bunch of dental ones, I can’t remember how many though.
Y. Yummy food that you make:  I’ve been making lots of ricey things with the new rice cooker. Not that it takes much effort to make… throw it in the pot, press a button. Blam! It’s done.
Z. Zoo animal: Lion! Of course.

My Talented Friends – Jacqueline

Gentle reader,

While I no longer work in theater, one of the things that I will always be grateful for is all the amazingly talented friends that I made while studying and working on shows. One of those incredible peeps is my friend Jacqueline, who I named Quoise (pronounced “kwahz”; long story). Here she is wearing a cat hat I made for her. I don’t have many pics of us left since the Great Hard Drive Crash of ’09.

Quoise in a Cat Hat

She acts, she writes, she sings; she does it all! And her singing voice is riDONKulous. Here she is singing La Vie En Rose.

https://theshylion.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/quoise-la-vie-en-rose.mp3

And while you’re at it, you MUST go to her blog on Tumblr, The London Bunny, and read all about her exciting move to London.

The Bear & The Cat

Gentle reader,

Amongst my wanderings, I’ve also been quite productive. I really have my sights set on getting enough items together to start my Etsy store. It’s been a while since I’ve done some serious amigurumi stuff (excluding the bits and pieces I made for the Dirty Granny show, but that was deadline crochet which is never fun).

First up is this little bear. I used the Pop Merino I got from Pierrot Yarns, and I have to say that it was a delight to work with; very soft, but didn’t split too much for an un-plied yarn. I love how the colors came out too, even the muddier sections where the overlap was. I wasn’t entirely happy with the proportions, and his legs turned out a little short and club-footed. I’ll probably snip those off and remake them – I have plenty of yarn left. He has a wonky eye, which I actually love, and I’m super pleased with how his nose and mouth embroidery turned out.

Pop Merino Bear With Muto Legs

Next, I made a cat with the left over yarn I had from making a beret for my friend Leeana (I’ll be writing a post on our swap later in the week!), and he turned out pretty much exactly as I wanted. The yarn is Cleckheaton Country Tartan, which I must say I loved crocheting with, and his snout is just a bit of random acrylic. His proportions are right on, and I love his longer legs (I usually get impatient and start the body sooner), and I made some i-cord for his tail (the first time I’ve ever done a knitted i-cord rather than using a knitting nancy! Super pleased). Also, his confused look kind of makes me happy.

Tartan Kitty

What crocheted critters would you like to see me have a go at? I feel like I’m on a lion-bear-cat-bunny loop, so suggest away!


Raynor

Wanderings

Gentle reader,

I’ve been out and about quite a bit this past week, and I feel very good about it; lots of walking, lots of exploring and some yummy food. One of my favorite little wanderings was when I popped into Meet Me At Mike’s, the shop of the wonderful Pip who also has a blog which you should go and read right this moment. I picked up some awesome trinkets and I’ll definitely be going back for more goodies.

Meet Me At Mike's Haul

The lion and deer buttons and the circus tent key chain are for me, and the owl ring is for my bestie Panda (Shh! Don’t tell her! And, if you’re reading, Panda… it’s for.. erm… another Panda that I know…). I can’t tell you how obsessed I am with the lion button, obviously. Clearly it was made for me.

While I went on my many walks, I made sure to take my camera, because I really want to improve my photography. So, I took lots of snaps on my way. I’ve got a long way to go, but practice makes perfect!

My Neighborhood Under The Sky
My Neighborhood Under The Stars

You should wander around your neighborhood and see what you can see, and take some snaps maybe! Fun times!

Music To Make To

Gentle reader,

I love Midlake so much it’s almost unhealthy (they made me increase my ‘Holy Five of Music’ to my ‘Holy Six of Music’), and their most recent album, “Courage Of Others” is one of my favorite albums to chill out to while I knit or crochet. This song, “Roscoe”,  is from the album before and is one of my fave songs of theirs. I love the story in the song, and the sentiment, and it gets me all fired up to make things. I have to thank my friend Jonathan for putting me onto Midlake a few years ago. N’awww! Friends.

If you have any awesome tunes that get your creative juices going, send them my way!

Words To Live By

Gentle reader,

I’ll not talk around it: I’m an only child and I love my parents and often I miss them. Sometimes so intensely that I can barely think about anything else. I’ll own it. I think being a Mama’s and Papa’s boy is a far better stereotype to live up to as an only child than a spoiled brat.

So, as it goes, I’ve been really missing my Ma the past few weeks. I’ve been knitting her a shawl using some totes yummy Rowan yarn. But, I can knit all I want and she won’t know I was thinking of her until she gets it. So, I decided some snail mail was well overdue, and I picked out this card a few days ago in my travels:

Words to live by.

I thought the sentiment was bang on, although I’m sure my Ma would say that there was a relatively lengthy period that began somewhere around the fourteen-year mark when I did nothing but question my mother (she might even say that this period hasn’t truly ended even…). My family also has a running game of sending mail to whacky made-up names. The envelope I’ve just written out is address to “Myfanwy McGillicutty”.

That’s all for me, tonight. I’ll be dropping this little letter in the mail tomorrow. If she’s not close, why don’t you send your mama some love, perhaps in amusing card form!