Wanna Learn the Magic Ring? I’ll Show You!!

Gentle reader (and now viewers, I guess!),

I finally finished my video tutorial for the Magic Ring technique. Have a bo-peep and tell me what you think!

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out in the end, but it was rocky road! I filmed and scrapped it about five times (I guess one-shot magic like a certain Kate Bush interpretive dance video you might remember is a rare and special thing. ^_~ ). Basically, it’s a pretty awkward technique to describe and show in a way that makes sense. Also, I apologize for the grainy intro section. I was trying a different camera which, needless to say, I won’t be using again unless I have full natural light. But, the point is not to look at my silly mug, and I just wanted to get the tutorial out already, so I let it slide. If it had been the demonstration footage – the important stuff – I’d have scrapped it. I try it make the actual process of doing these techniques really clear but I also try to add a bit of silliness to keep it fun. I hope you get a little chuckle here and there. ^_~

ALSO, I have some neat news!

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The Shy Lion Returns!

Gentle, patient, beautiful readers!

It is with great excitement and relief that I sit here and write “The Shy Lion returns!”

Since I spoke to you last, I have packed up a house, moved to an apartment, unpacked, and endured a few weeks without internet! I’m so far behind on my podcasts and blogs that it makes my heart heavy, but the silver lining to that is the excitement to see what everyone has been up to since then. Hurray!

I do hope I haven’t lost too many of you, and those who’re reading this, old and new, thank you so much! I’m so excited to be able to share with you again. If you’re new to The Shy Lion, I do hope that you’ll join the Facebook group, and that you will share your projects, craft questions and general chitter-chatter both there and in the comments below. I do loves the commentses, I do, I do! Feel free to send me suggestions for posts and projects or crochet-y questions.

Can I just say, that moving is properly not fun. Especially if you’re like me and have some hoarding issues. Oy. So. Much. Stuff. I threw out so much stuff, sent so much stuff to charity, and yet I still have a buttload of stuff. I’m certainly not under the illusion that moving is fun or easy for anyone, but my life literally stops for months when I move. It’s so overwhelming. I’m still walking around boxes and piles of half-unpacked things. But, I could not stay away from y’all any longer!

Now that the dust is settling, I can get back into my crafty routines. I have been knitting and crocheting, but it’s been very scattered, and has not had the attention I usually dedicate to it. Which is lame, but things are back on track.

Probably my most exciting news is that I’ve written a pattern to share with y’all! I crocheted a pig last year and wrote the pattern as I made it. Alas, the pig was stolen! Can you believe it? It was commissioned for a publicity event, and afterwards, someone pinched it right out of the display! They even had to cut the fishing line that suspended it. So rude! But, that’s the good thing about patterns, you can always make more. I’m halfway through a new one, but my super fantastic friend, Kate (who blogs here), did a test-crochet of the pattern for me! Here’s the piggy she made.

There are a few things to iron out before I release that pattern. I expect that it will be available on Ravelry and perhaps my Etsy store. I’ll sort those details out as well. I’ll probably also do a bit of a giveaway. A-woo! Excitement plus!

Well, that’s all for today, but I have some properly neat stuff coming up, so watch this space! Missed your fantastic faces!

What have YOU been up to? Let’s have a catch-up in the comments, peeps!

Of Giraffes, Cats, Lovely Friends And Stashes

Gentle reader,

If you’re a friend of The Shy Lion on le Book du Face (that’s Frenchie for Facebook), you might have seen sneak peeks of some of the things I have to share with you today. But first I want to espouse the virtues of excellent friends and stash organization, both as separate entities and as a confluence of goodness.

My friend Kate (who blogs here) is properly awesome. She met me when I had just started knitting. I was so self-conscious of my knitting that at Stitch’n’Bitch, I would set up a barrier of books so no-one could watch me plod along and fumble about. Ever since then, she’s been a voice of encouragement and an all round lovely friend, and now, thanks in part to her, I consider myself somewhat of a “proper knitter”. Ooh la la!

In recent times – last weekend to be exact – she’s given me the gift of organization. You see, when I discovered Ravelry, my stash was already out of control, but how I longed to have my stash all photographed and cataloged in my Rav Notebook. I attempted a few times, but let me tell you, that mess was legit cray-to-the-azy! It was so overwhelming! I’d recently done some thinning out and I decided it was now or never.

Now, Kate is the kind of person who records how many kilometers of yarn she’s knitted up each year, and weighs her partial skeins on kitchen scales. Who better than her to whip my burgeoning, undocumented cache of yarn? So, she came over to my house this weekend passed and we did a stash blitz! Now, if you go to my Ravelry profile, you’ll see the picture of organized deliciousness! I still have my partial skeins to add, but that’s a synch compared to this massive start. Thanks, Kate! You’re properly awesome!

I made this little critter a while ago with the yarn left over from Robert’s bedsocks. I tried something different with the face and used mercerized thread for whiskers. I think it turned out pretty well! My new friend Kellie seemed to think so too, because she snapped it up before I even had a chance to list it on Etsy (which is why the pictures aren’t super great; I had to snap it quickly on my phone at the Crafternoon S’n’B).

This is Miranda the Giraffe! She’s a new experiment for me; I’ve never made something with four legs where I’ve made the legs and body seamlessly. She turned out pretty well, I think! The yarn was some Naturally Yoshie which was on sale at Clegs, so I picked up a few balls. It’s a wool/acrylic blend, and is really quite lovely for an inexpensive yarn. I like the mix of colors. Miranda is in the Etsy store now, so you can totally buy her and squish her and love her all for yourself!

How have some of your lovely friends helped you get over a massive crafty rut? 

Of Veggigurumi And Undead Books

Gentle reader,

I had the lovely opportunity of visiting Stephanie and Megan at Can Do Books in Hawthorn today. If you’re in Melbourne and you’ve not been, you really must go. Their selection of crafty and arty books are totes amazeballs, and the prices are kind of jaw-droppingly reasonable (which is a bit of a rare thing in Australia, actually!). We had a chat about some opportunities to do some really cool stuff together, so I’ll keep y’all posted. In the meantime though, do you mind if I show off the purchase I made while I was there? The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt!

Back from the dead!

The 4-1-1 on this book is that it was well popular and then it went out of print for a number of years (the publication details lists it’s last edition as being printed in 1988!). Demand was so high though that people went properly crazy and apparently second hand copies were selling for the $200 ballpark on eBay! Oy! But, it’s been revised and updated and is back on the shelves. Zombie book! It’s alive! I had a quick flip through and was overcome with the desire to take it home with me, so I did, as a matter of fact. I think these will sell like gangbusters, because it’s the kind of book that if you only ever bought one book about knitting, this would do perfectly. Seriously, this thing is so big you could brain someone with it. I tried flipping through some more on the train and I nearly dislocated my arm! And considering it only cost $49.99, let’s be real, I kind of feel like a stole it, just a lil’ bit. I’ll tell you some more about it when I’ve had more time to pour through it (seated safely at the table, mind. No more dislocations).

Meanwhile, I have some crochet FOs to show you! Back when I was at the Loch Quilt and Craft Festival, I was crocheting while I was sitting at my table, and I don’t know what possessed me, but I started to whip up some vegetables, or ‘veggigurumi’ as I like to call them. I did the aubergine first. Now, I would sooner eat my own sick than eat aubergine, but I think they’re pretty and I love their color. And this yarn colorway was even named “Rustic Aubergine” (Morris Estate 14 ply), so I suppose that might have sown the seed for veggigurumi. And the carrot was next because I happened to have a red-orange yarn and I actually do like carrots. So, there you have it!

Do carrots and aubergine even go together? I haven't a clue.

Anyway, I was really quite happy with how they turned out, actually! I think aubergines are a bit longer, but I wanted it to a be fat little nuggety one. I can’t quite remember what yarn the carrot was made of, but I suspect it was Sean Sheep from Big W (don’t pooh-pooh the Sean Sheep from Big W, it’s actually quite lovely!). The green bits were from some Magnum Soft, which is a pretty decent acrylic yarn if you’re on a budget. It’s quite squishy and not at all scratchy or plastic-y). I feel like I need a few more items for the collection, for a fruit/vegetable bowl or cornucopia if you will. Perhaps an apple or broccoli, I’m not sure.

Also, if you missed it, I’ve opened an Etsy store, which you can visit here! And, if you go to this post and comment, I’ll send you a coupon code for 15% off, just ‘cuz I love you. ^_^ Truth be told, you can comment on any post and say you want a coupon code. Ask and ye shall receive.

Have you bought some awesome books lately? Share, share, share!

Who Has An Etsy Store? Mr. Thumbs Over Here!

Gentle reader,

The title of this post probably makes no sense to you right now because for it to work you’d need to see me pointing at myself with my thumbs… so, read that title over again and image me doing just that. Thanks for humoring me; you’re the best! ^_~

But, the point is, I have an Etsy store now! Hurrah! You can find it here. There are eleven amigurumi for sale at the moment, and I’ll probably add a few more smaller items over the next week. Also, I will be taking custom orders via Etsy too.

Cute critters for sale!

And as a special treat to all my lovely blog followers who make me feel all happy and squishy every time you say hello or leave a comment, I’m going to be giving out coupon codes for 15% off any item in my store. All you have to do is to leave a comment asking for one, and I’ll email it out to you. I’ll be giving out the codes until the end of February (though, if you miss that end date, try anyway, you might be lucky ^_~ ), and the code will be valid until the end of March.

Also, if you have an Etsy store of your own, feel free to share a link in the comments! ^_~

The Loch Village Quilt And Craft Festival

Gentle reader,

This weekend past I was fortunate enough to attend the Loch Village Quilt and Craft Festival. The committee that organizes it had seen my interview in the Sunday Age and invited me to attend as a “featured artist”. My dear friend Judith and her husband Charlie and I went down on the Saturday and stayed at the Royal Hotel in Loch before setting up a table at the festival on the Sunday.

Loch is a beautiful little spot to the south-east of Melbourne. It’s surrounded by picturesque hills and quaint little buildings. Sybil, the lady who saw my article and invited me was so sweet and generous, and went to so much trouble to make me feel welcome. I sold a few things, gave out some cards and got to chat to some really lovely people like Megan from Can Do Books, the ladies from Sunspun yarn store and Kay from Kay’s Artycles.

Unfortunately, this wonderful weekend was preceded by our house being broken into earlier in the week, and they stole my camera! So, I couldn’t take any pics, but luckily Judith snapped some for me.

You can see one of Judith's dolls in the background in the upper left. And stinky ol' me to the right. O hai!

Lessons Learns From Having A Market Table/Being A “Featured Artist”

  • Being on display or being made the center of attention is nerve-wracking and awkward and makes me really anxious. This seems completely stupid since I used to act and sing on stage. Oy. But, I kinda knew this.
  • Peeps are surprised to see a guy crocheting (but, surprised pleasantly most of the time). I kinda already knew this too.
  • No one laughed at my prices. This is reassuring! And I got some great compliments!
  • As a result of the nerves and anxiety of the first point, I start saying weird things that I’ve never ever said before, like answering questions in the affirmative with “Yeah, yep!”. Who says that!? I do apparently. Eugh.
  • If I keep selling things, it will defs be an online affair. Etsy? I’ma do it!
Pics courtesty of Judith, 'cuz she's wonderful.

It was such a great experience, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity and it was definitely worth it. Though, it did really reinforce for me why this malarky is called “The Shy Lion”. I’m much more at home doing business at a desk. I should work on that though. There are so many great peeps out there and I wanna meet ’em and craft with ’em!

As for the break-in, well, I don’t want this to become a place to vent some drama, but it was pretty upsetting! It’s the second time; we were broken into before Christmas too. At the end of the day, it’s just stuff, though not having a decent camera will make blogging a bit difficult. But, these things were sent to try us, and we must rise above!

How was your weekend? Have you set up a table at the markets before? How’d it go?

– R