Knit-Worthiness – or – Bedsocks For Buddies!

Gentle reader,

Within knitting circles, there’s a term you might hear thrown about: knit-worthy. Something I’m sure all crafters can relate to is the outside, non-crafty world not always understanding or appreciating just how much time, effort and thoughtfulness goes into the handmade treasures we make. Regardless of your skill or talent, if you sat down and made something, the product of that has an intrinsic joy and sincerity that store-bought things just don’t have. When a knitter refers to someone as being “knit-worthy” they’re essentially saying that this person gets it. Y’know? If you knit something for this person, they’d understand that you haven’t just given them a garment but rather you’ve taken your time, your thought, your love and the skills and knowledge you’ve accumulated since you first picked up a pair of needles (or hook, or loom, or paintbrush, or glue gun) and you’ve wrapped all this up in a little parcel just for them, and that this is a special bond between friends. Because, sadly, not everyone – no matter how much you love them or they love you – is knit-worthy.

Well, I’m super lucky because I have lots of knit-worthy people in my life. Some of them are by my side every day, like The Beard. Some of them I get to see every week, like my knitting friends. And some of them I don’t get to see very often at all, like my bestie Panda, or my dear friends Robert and Alfio.

Robert and Alf are those special kinds of friends that you can not see for ages and ages, and then when you do, rather than having grown further apart, it’s all the more exciting  to see them. And, because they’re such lovely, decent humans, and because Alf asked ever so nicely, I knit them a pair of bed socks each, and I just managed to scrape them in for winter.  They took a bunch of pictures for me too, so all the credit for these snaps go to them.

 

Enough of the mooshy stuff and down to bidniss! Here are Alf’s socks, which I’ve mentioned before on here. They’re made from Noro Kogarashi yarn which is rather luxurious. It’s 51% silk. Yumz. The pattern I used was Thuja by Bobby Ziegler which you can get for free from Knitty.com here. I really enjoyed the pattern. The combination of the yarn and the pattern soften the impact of the moss-stitch rib, but it gives enough interest while letting those lovely colors and squishy wispy bits take the spotlight. I was very pleased.

 

For Robert’s sock, I used Creative Fibers Hand Dyed yarn which is DIVINE. I loved it so much. You get it in a giant yummy hank and it smells delicious, though I’m not sure if that was the fiber or the dyes. The colors have to be seen in person because it’s nearly impossible to get an accurate idea of the colors from photographs. For the pattern, I took a risk and just made it up. I wanted to try doing an afterthought heel, and I think it turned out pretty neat.

 

Robert and Alf seem pretty happy with their socks, and I think they were pretty excited to get a parcel in the mail. I mean, who doesn’t? I love getting parcels.

I’ve said before that I’m not a huge fan of knitting socks and it was a long haul for me to finish both of these. Luckily, there were bed socks, so I got to use a heavier weight of yarn, but let me just tell you that Alf’s foot is massive and these socks felt like they were going to go on forever. But, I feel like I’ve reached a personal milestone now. I, Raynor the Shy Lion, can knit socks if I so choose.  Heel flap or afterthought heels. Hurrah! But, most of all, I love thinking of my two dear friends having toasty warm feet in the colder months. And that makes me properly happy.

Who are some of your favorite knit-worthy (or craft-worthy) peeps? Sharezies!

 

 

 

 

 

Pepsi Max Kick: A Review In Pictures

Gentle reader,

Here’s a thing you may not know about me: I don’t drink. Nor do I smoke or have a ghastly drug habit. But, I do have nasty habits that aren’t good for me. One of those is soda. I LOVE soda. I try really hard not to drink too much – with varying degrees of success – but, I love, love, love it. I rank my favorite sodas in the same way a fancy-schmancy wine taster might compile a best-of list for a hoighty-toighty magazine.

 

My favorites are the Pepsi family of sodas and my bestie, Panda, also has a well-developed Pepsi-fancy. Recently, Pepsi released a new drink – presumably to compete with the “power drink” market – named “Pepsi Max Kick”. I was ever so excited. I ran out and bought two cans and I sent Panda a message:

I got two! One for me and one for you (which I shall drink in your honor – thought maybe not all at once in case my head ‘splodes)

To which she replied:

YAY I WANT A RUNNING COMMENTARY PLS

Well, naturally, I complied with her request, and I did so in pictures. And so, gentle reader, for your consumer information, I present you a pictorial review of the beverage “Pepsi Max Kick”.

 

It all starts with a “ksssshhhhhtt”.

Mmm… tastes like Pepsi Max, but, like… more.

You may also notice that I forgot it was still winter and decided it would be a good idea to shave my head. O_O
Oh, Little Stupid.

I approve.

I DO love you, Pepsi! Don’t ever leave me!

Twice the caffeine? Indeed!

ILUVPEPSIMAXKICKPLZKTHNXBAI! SRS BSNS!

The excitement took its toll.

Please also take note of my extreme lack of neck. I’ve always wished for an actual neck, alas.

It’s THAT good.

What? That’s it?

Swift onset withdrawal.

Grief and acceptance.

In conclusion, I would like them to start selling Pepsi Max Kick in 2L bottles. I don’t even care if it shuts my body down one organ at a time… such a sweet way to go…

In seriousness, it tastes just like Pepsi Max, but slightly more flavorful. I didn’t really go bonkers on it, it’s not that intense, but I’ll qualify that by saying things don’t seem to quite affect me as easily – it’s like trying to drug a buffalo. But, I think it provides a good alternative for a caffeine boost to people who, like me, don’t drink coffee and think power drinks taste like fetid cat urine.

Also, please note that this was in no way a paid advertisement by Pepsi…. but it could be! If you’re reading, Pepsi, have your people call my people, we’ll do lunch.

What’re your habits that you can’t kick even if you know better? Sharezies! Don’t let me suffer alone! Hehe ^_~

The Ravelry Kindness Project

Gentle reader,

Do you ever feel like just doing something nice just because you can? I often feel that way and I was never sure what to do. I think for me it’s partially because I don’t drink or go out so it’s not like I can buy a round of drinks for my friends and things like that. But, sometimes I just want to make a nice little gesture to my friends and other people who I think are lovely just to say “Hey, you! I think you’re totes neat!”. And, here’s a tip for all my knitting and crocheting peeps out there: Ravelry makes it super easy to do just that!

I’m a lucky guy, peeps. I really am. In this yarny-bloggy-knitty community I’ve made some awesome friends and I’ve met some totes nice peeps both online and in real life, and a lot of them are on Ravelry. Sometimes, I like to look at my friends’ queues and see what patterns have caught their eyes and what they want to make. Some of them even make use of the “wish list” function so I can see what they’re really keen to do next.

Well, every now and then, for no reason other than I want to, I gift a pattern to a random person or two in my friends list. I just want to show them how swell I think they are and do something lovely just to add a bit of warmness to someone’s day. You know that fuzzy, giddy feeling you get when someone does something nice for you totally out of the blue? Do you love that feeling? What about the equally fuzzy, giddy feeling you get when you’re the one who makes someone feel all fuzzy and giddy! It’s the best!

So, I was trying to think of a thing that we can all do together, like a KAL or something. But, there are plenty of KALs out there, and I think I’d like to participate in a KAL or a swap before I get grand ideas about hosting one of my own. So, instead, why don’t you join me in spreading some kindness around the interwebs? Yeah? What do you think? I wanna call it The Ravelry Kindness Project, and I want us all to send out some love! I know everyone’s budgets are different, but you can gift as many or as a few as you like, as often or as occasionally as you like. And, you never know what might come back to you! I’m sure some of you are totes familiar with buying patterns on Ravelry and gifting, but in case you’re not, here’s how:

Go to your “Notebook” on Ravelry, and go to your friends list. Have a bo-peep through your list and find the peeps who you think especially deserve a virtual hug. Click on the friend you want to gift a pattern to.

On their profile page, to the right you will find their queue and their favorites. I usually start with their queue, but some of my friends tend to only queue free patterns so in that case I go to their favorites. You can look under their favorite patterns or their favorite designers.

Some people make it really easy because they make use of the “wish list” function, where they put patterns that they’d like to buy but haven’t gotten around to it.

Once you’ve found a pattern that you want to gift to them, click on the “send as gift” link. If you’re feeling super generous and you notice that the pattern is available as part of an ebook, you can click through to that and gift that instead. Now, the example here is towards the expensive end of patterns, but some are as cheap as a dollar or two!

Once you’ve clicked the “send as gift” linkie, it’ll take you to a screen where you can write a message if you want to, but also make sure to look closely, because this screen will also tell you if they actually already own the pattern, so you might need to choose again. From here, it’s all self explanatory; pay for it with Paypal etc and then it’ll give you a receipt. Hurray! You just brightened someone’s day!

Now, it’s not the sort of project where you really have to check in or compare notes like a KAL or a swap. But, I hope some of you join me in being a sneaky pattern-giver! It’s totes fun! I promise! ^_^

Do you have any ideas about how to make The Ravelry Kindness Project even more fun and awesome? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook!

Bendigo Yarn Haul!

Gentle reader,

I’ve caught you up with my day at the Bendigo Sheep And Wool Show, but the real thing is the yarn, right? Well, here’s my yarn haul, just for you!

For the most part I’m going to show them in the order that I bought them. I only have one clear favourite, but even then I’m super happy with all the stuff I bought. In some cases I can’t remember where I bought it, so if you were there and happened to see that yarn and remembered the stall, please let me know so I can give due credit and linkies!

I had decided that I would try to expand my boundaries and go out of my comfort zone a bit. And you might be rolling your eyes at me. Green yarn? Oh, that’s new and exciting for you, Raynor. But, I really don’t usually buy a lot of 4ply or sock yarns, so it kinda is. And when the colorway is named “Emerald City”, you’ve gotta forgive me for making serious grabby-hands. I bought this at a little hall that was set up with shops, but it wasn’t in the actual show grounds. I can’t remember what the hall/set-up was called, but the vendor I bought this from is called Gin and Tonic Yarns.

Yarn Info
Gin and Tonic Yarns
4ply (sock) organic Australian ultrafine merino yarn
“Emerald City” colorway
400m/100g
ginandtonicyarns.etsy.com

It’s super nice and squishy! I’m not sure what I’ll make with it, because I only got one skein. I’m thinking probably a really simple, light hat for myself.

Next, we went to the Bendigo Woollen Mills where I dug around in the back discount room like a cheeky mole. There wasn’t a lot that grabbed my fancy this year, but they did have little bags of this nice twisted color yarn. They were 50g balls of 8ply, 100% wool (I think?) at $2.50 each, so that was pretty decent. Beyond that, I have no idea what they are.I’ll probably use them for amigurumi.

Once we got to the actual show, these were the only things I bought on my “preview” lap. They were so cheap and cute that I couldn’t resist. The Nostalgic Crochet one is hilariously kitschy and weird, and since I want to do some fine crochet work this will give me some ideas. The Crochet Blouses one has aged super well. Almost all of the tops in it you could make without any changes and they’d still be totes nice and classy, and not at all dated or naff. It was just a really lovely book.

This yarn is the first yarn I bought when I realized that it was almost four o’clock and I was the only one who was still sticking to the “preview lap first, buying lap second” plan. Everyone else was all loaded up and I was empty handed! “Aww, hell naww!” says I and start lapping that show ground like a man on a mission. Because, of course, I was on a mission, gentle reader. A mission to “BUY ALL THE THINGS!”.

This yarn is from Kathy’s Fibers, and I adore it. I’m not hugely into variegated yarns usually (at least not for knitting) but I just really loved this one and snapped it up.

Yarn Info
Kathy’s Fibers
12ply wool
“Spring” colorway
140m/100g
www.kathysfibres.com

Again, I’m not sure what I’m going to make with it, but I have two skeins of it so I’m sure I’ll get something super neat out of it.

Since I bought some Rowan bamboo tape last year, I’ve been kind of obsessed with tapes. I have no idea what I want to do with any of these tapes, but I love them. I’m not sure which stall it was that I got this from, but the yarn is called Wigwam by Colinette.

Yarn Info
Colinette “Wigwam”
100% cotton (aran weight)
“Pharaoh” colorway
130m/100g
www.colinette.com

I love that the colors are bright crisp here, and then a bit muddy there. It’s really soft and smooth and of all the yarns I got, I’ve probably spent the most time squishing this one.

Now, I mentioned in my last post that the Stranded in Oz stall was totes my fave, and so is the yarn I bought there. So, we’ve got green and we’ve got a Wizard of Oz reference but to push my comfort zone it’s 4ply sock yarn and it has a really neat fiber blend.

Yarn Info
Stranded In Oz “Toe Toe”
4ply, 50% superwash wool, 25% soy silk, 22.5% cotton, 2.5% chitin.
“Spring Green” colorway
400m/100g
www.strandedinoz.com

Again, I have two skeins and I’m not sure yet what I’m going to make. I mean, the only thing on my shopping list was a swift which didn’t work out, so all this yarn was a bonus to me and I wasn’t planning on getting much. I just adore this yarn though, and I want to make something really special with it. Suggestions?

I somehow ended up with these buttons. I think the stall was called the “Button Lady” or something, and had tables full of buttons and some stands with old pattern books. I’d bought a few things there last year, and I really loved that stall. I looked through the buttons and found these. I like wooden buttons, and I like Mickey Mouse so at first I thought this was neat. But they didn’t have the price on them and I didn’t really love them enough to bother asking. I don’t know about you, but I have this weird thing that if stuff isn’t priced I’m not gonna ask, I just won’t buy it. I have to love something a LOT to ask how much it is. I don’t even know what that’s all about.

Anyway, Hal – perhaps thinking my reluctance to ask a price was more out of shyness than a bizarre shopping neurosis, bless her – took it upon herself to ask. Meanwhile, I’d decided that they were actually kinda creepy, what with the sewing holes punched through his face, so I’d moved on to patterns. The woman returned, Hal asked on my behalf, to which the woman said that the button card was $6.

“Mmm, no thank you,” I declined, thinking the price was perfectly reasonable but the buttons – and Mickey’s repeated facial trauma – were just not for me.

“Oh, look. I’m over today. I just bought myself an electric rat trap, so I’m as happy as can be! You can have those buttons. They’re a freebie,” she replied. I looked at Hal, Hal looked at me. The woman turned to another lady and began espousing the merits of electrocuting rats in her new contraption. I decided taking the buttons was the best thing to do at that point.

So, that’s my yarn and goodies haul from Bendigo! I’ll keep you posted with whatever I do with them all. Feel free to drop suggestions in the comments or on my Facebook page!

What would you make with these yarns? What are you making with your Bendigo haul? 

Instagram Catch-Up! Gettin’ Snappy Wit’ It

Gentle reader,

So, I have a whole bunch of stuff to share with you over the next week or two. One of those things will be my Bendigo haul which a few people have tried to hurry me up on. Tomorrow I will snap them! I promise! In the meantime, I hope an Instagram Catch-Up will tide y’all over.

So, one of the things I’ve always been a bit self-conscious about with my blogging is the pictures. I look at my fave blogs and their pictures are so great and fancy. But, the thing I’ve learned is not to let these things get you down or to start being all bummed out, but to be inspired and use these things as motivation. And I mean, once you stop learning you may as well be dead, right? Well! I decided I was going to just take pictures as often as I could. Since my proper camera and I aren’t on speaking terms at the moment, it’s been mostly me and my iPhone.

I’ve tried out different apps, I’ve tried to snap things from different angles, but most of all, I’ve tried to keep my eyes open. I mean, I’m sure some bloggers go looking for amazing things to snap, but I think most of them just look at everyday stuff with a different perspective. That’s what I used to do when I used to write all the time, and costume shows, and keep a journal, so I says to myself: Raynor, I says, just open your eyes and see what speaks to you. So I did!

I decided to start with my journey to work. It wasn’t too hard on this particular day. It was super cray-to-the-azy foggy on this morning when I left my house. By the time I got to work, the fog had shifted, and it became really crisp and bright and cool. When I put these pics together, it reminded me of The Wizard of Oz going from black and white to color. I thought it was kinda fitting – going from my dreary suburb to the beautiful public parks I work across the street from.

Then I decided I should try taking some pics of myself. I mean, it’s kind of a bloggy/Instagrammy thing, isn’t it? Well, I don’t particularly love taking pics of myself. I’m not emotional about it either. But, I thought, why not, and if anything perhaps taking snaps of myself might make me be less of a scruff-bag and put some effort into my appearance. ^_~ Well, I had mixed results. The bottom right one came out super nice in terms of colors and everything, but I don’t even know what’s going on with my face. I SWEAR I thought was smiling somewhat naturally at the time, but clearly I was mistaken because that’s a veritable case of stinkeye right thurrr. Don’t even ask me to explain why. I can’t.

The pic above it was taken by The Beard when we were out for dinner. I think not having to take the pic myself and the prospect of stuffing my snackhole with pancakes and maple syrupy bacon banished any possibility of unintentional stinkeye.

Lastly, I am completely mystified how people manage to take halfway decent pics of themselves in mirrors. It’s the single most awkward thing I’ve experienced in recent memory with the exception of just day-to-day socializing. Look, I understand that being a hottie with a naughty body would make the process a LOT easier than being the human personification of Fizzgig from The Dark Crystal. But even that aside, holding the camera in a way that it isn’t too in the way and still being able to press the button? BLERG THAT’S HARD! I did the best I could, and in the end I had to run it through a bunch of filters before I was even remotely happy with it. Ignore the photo in general, and just take note of the green overalls please and thank you. I ❤ them like whoah.

Now, this diverges a bit from my photographic journey of improvement. But here’s the thing. I used to write all the time. I mean ALL the time. If I didn’t have pen and paper handy, I’d start to feel like I was losing grip on sanity. But, after I quit theater and started working full time, it slowly died off. And I MISSED it, y’all! A whole lot! But, for me, it’s not the sort of thing I can force. It kinda has to tell me when shizz is going down. And then, this last week, it was like “Oi! Raynie! I’m ready! Get yo’ pencil, fool!” and this came out. I almost didn’t share it, because it’d been a while and I’m not as confident in my writing as I was back then, but I figured, what’s the point of writing something down if no-one’s going to read it? So I did share it, and peeps liked it, and so I’m sharing it again. And I hope YOU like it too! If not that’s cool too because words are a subjective thing and it just may not be your jam. I still heart your face!

Today, I met up with the incomparable Kate to run some errands and go shopping. Also, she had a parcel for me but that’s another story! We went to some pretty cool places. Now, Collins Street in Melbourne has some pretty shi-shi shops, and the first one we went into one that had the most amazing plaster moldings, cray chandeliers and a massive glass ceiling (top pics). I’m usually a pretty happy chappy to go shopping with lady friends and being a bag-holding, advice-offering accomplice, but I had to duck out of the shop and get some snaps. I must have looked mad. Later, we went to a shoe store that had these fat, smooshy looking flowers in glass bottles hanging from ropes. I thought it was super neat, but don’t ask me what it has to do with shoes. I was sold. Later, one of the arcades we were in had the open area above the food court full of floating umbrellas (the first pic in the post). It took my breath away, but I’m sure I didn’t do it justice,; it was so surreal and awesome. And such a simple idea. Oy! My skin prickled!

Probably one the biggest lessons I’ve learned since my personal challenge to improve my photography (yeah, yeah, sure, it’s just my iPhone), is that Melbourne’s beautiful, manic, changeable weather means that snapping the sky is almost always a good idea. Maybe that’s just me – I’ve always been obsessed with taking pics of clouds – but a few times I was like “Did I take that!? Gold star, Raynie!” A few of these I took through the train window, and I kind of like the imperfections you get from the reflections in the glass.

I’m gonna keep being a snap happy little odd person. I’m really enjoying going through all my pics and deciding which ones I like and which ones I don’t and why. My addiction to iPhone photo apps has only intensified also; trying to see if I can salvage a pic by making it all retro-fied and such. So, I hope you enjoyed that in lieu of some craftiness. And if you have any photo tips or advice, I’m all ears (well, I have two ears. If I was all made of ears that would be totes gross – but potentially an ah-mah-zing pic – and anyway, I’ll be using my eyes but I digress). Meanwhile, that pic just there is of my buddy at Thread Den. He lives on a way-high-up shelf and is all kinds of creepy, but that’s why we’re tight, y’all.

What’s your favorite thing to take pictures of? Clouds? Finished projects? Your kidlets? Sharezies!