The Dutch Baby Project – First Installment – Sunnyside Cardigan

Gentle reader,

This post comes a little late, I’ll grant you, however, I have stuck to the previously outlined parameters and the first installment of The Dutch Baby Project was given to The Dutch Boss (who actually requested I refer to her as Cruella DeVille for reputation’s sake, but truly she’s a doll) on April 1st, fully completed, soaked, blocked and with buttons and all!

Dutch Baby Project - Sunnyside

Sunnyside FO

I’m so pleased with this darling little cardigan; won’t you let me tell you all about it? Read More »

Introducing The Dutch Baby Project

Gentle reader,

Well, it has certainly been a time, hasn’t it? I hope you’re well and happy. I’ve missed you sorely. I’ve missed writing, and I’ve missed interacting with you. But, let us not dwell on the time we’ve lost, and say hello anew! I’m so happy to be back again.

I’ve been pondering a return to the blog for so long now, and there have been a few false starts that you may have noticed. I decided once and for all that I need to commit to The Shy Lion once again, but there had to be something – at least initially – to a) keep me honest, and b) give me the impetus to keep making, making, making and writing, writing, writing. And so, friends, I came up with a challenge for myself. It is with trepidation and excitement that I introduce you to “The Dutch Baby Project”.

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Let me explain it to you. My boss recently announced that she is preggers. Excitement plus! Now, I’m quite fond of my boss; she’s Dutch, doesn’t tolerate bullshit, and is absolutely hilarious.  Let me tell you, she had my in tears, gasping for breath, arms wrapped around my aching ribs no less than THREE times last week. It was incredibly embarrassing but amusing, though I digress… but since I’m already in the thick of a digression, let me also add  that truthfully, it should be “The Half-Dutch Baby Project”, but why let accuracy ruin a zippy title? Also, as the (Half-) Dutch Baby is currently baking, the above (public domain) child is neither the Dutch Baby nor even Dutch at all and is merely for illustrative purposes.

My immediate thought on her happy announcement was “Raynor, you really must knit this child something.” (I lie, it was actually “You bitch! You’ll be leaving us!”, but that was quickly brushed aside) and then I didn’t think too much more about it at first. But later I was yet again pondering how to rekindle the blogging flames, and the two ideas converged in my head. Why not turn the Dutch baby knitting into a challenge for the blog!? And so, gentle reader, please let me outline The Dutch Baby Project for you.

  • I will knit (at least) one pattern per calendar month for The Dutch Baby until Boss goes on maternity leave (unless I’ve calculated that horribly wrong  – likely – it should be about four months)
  • The pattern must be something reasonably substantial. I would say a pair of booties would be my ABSOLUTE minimum effort baseline
  • I may substitute another craft eg. sewing, crochet etc so long as it results in something for The Dutch Baby
  • The projects must also be documented on Ravelry in my “projects” section.
  • If I should fail, I expect you all to shame me and tell me how legit actual garbage I am. (Well, maybe don’t go that far, but keep me honest, yeah)
  • I may complete more than one project a month, however, these are bonus projects, and cannot be carried across to next month’s project

If I think of more rules, I shall add them. Feel free to suggest any too, though I am reluctant to make it too complicated for myself. The intention is to encourage me to knit, not impose too many boxes to tick.

For my first project I have selected Sunnyside by Tanis Lavallee of Tanis Fiber Arts to knit by the end of March. It’s a super cute little cardigan. It gives the option of doing regular cables or a lacy version.

Sunnyside

I expect I will do the regular cable version, because I think it will suit the delicious yarn that I’ll be using which is “Lollisox” by Mayhem & Chaos in the “Dashboard” colorway. It’s a lovely dark, rich green. You can visit their Etsy store, but I believe I bought this at  the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show one year.

It’s a sock-weight yarn and is 100% Superwash Merino. The color is not perfectly, totally, truly accurate, but I did color correct it in Photoshop, so it’s preeeetty close.

Yarn

And there you have it! The comeback blog post, and the first installment of The Dutch Baby project! Please, do feel free to send me suggestions for rules or patterns. And more generally, let me know what you’d like to see in The Shy Lion 2.0.

And by all means, feel free to join me! Do you have a knit-worthy friend or family member ready to drop a child-person in the near future? Challenge yourself along with me; I’d be so stoked!

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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.

lifeislikeknitting-pic

 

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!?

knittingmojotitle

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.

lunchknit

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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.

FinishFreeKnitsCover

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Giving Is Properly Awesome: Brooklyn Tweed Kits

All images used in this post are property of Brooklyn Tweed and were taken directly from the BT website. I claim no ownership at all.

Gentle reader,

I know I promised you the story of the sock that never ends, but, I couldn’t get the pics I wanted and something turned up in my Facebook feed that made me legit actual squeal with delight, so I wanted to talk to you about that instead. The never-ending sock will follow soon, I promise.

Now, gather round close and let’s keep it all secretive and whispery, because we don’t want any of our crafty loved ones to hear or it might ruin the surprise. But, remember how I told you that I’m a TOTAL Jared Flood aka Brooklyn Tweed superfan? His patterns are basically knitting crack. Well, just in time for Christmas, Brooklyn Tweed have made available the most incredible knitting kits all done up in beautiful brown-paper-and-twine gift packs! I know, right? Your heart is beating so fast with excitement that you may as well be a terrified guinea pig at this point. Except, y’know, not terrified or dropping pooplets (that’s a portmanteau of “poop” and “pellets”, because… words), but I digress…

Read More »

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?