The Neverending Sock! Also, Singlehanded Knits, Tiny Circs, and Stickers

Gentle reader,

I have a song for you. Here ‘tis:

“This is the sock that doesn’t end! It just goes on and on, my friend! I started knitting it not know what it was, and I’ll continue knitting it forever just because this is the sock that doesn’t end…”

Neverending Sock 1

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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…

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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? 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

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!

Confession: I’m A Jared Flood FanBoy

Gentle crochet hooks,

You’ve probably noticed lately that we haven’t seen much of each other.  And when we have seen each other it was in my crochet classes, so it was almost a case of keeping up appearances and showing a united front to the world. It’s not that I don’t love you anymore. I do! I always will. But, I think we need to see other crafts. In fact, I’ve been spending more and more time with the knitting needles that live in the other pencil case. We get along so well; it’s new and exciting. I’m always learning new things about them.

Darling crochet hooks… I love you, more than you will ever know. I’m just not IN love with you right now. I know that we’ll stay the best of friends, forever. You were my first love so you’ll always be a part of my life, and you can never be replaced. I just need to see where things go with knitting and me.

Yours forever (truly!),
Raynie

Gentle reader,

As y’all know, I LOVE crochet. And I’m far better at it than I am with knitting. But, you might have noticed that I’ve been knitting more and more lately. Knitting to me is still so new and exciting. I love that I’ve barely scratched the tip of the iceberg, I love seeing my stitches getting neater and more even, and I love that there are still techniques I haven’t yet tackled. It’s exciting to me to throw myself in the deep end and see what happened. That’s what I did with the Fenimore cabled tam by Jared Flood. And while making that tam, I fell in love with cables and I feel in love with Jared Flood’s designs.

I have a confession to make. I’m a Jared Flood fanboy. Not even ashamed.

Ever since then I’ve browsed his Ravelry designer page and oogled his designs trying to figure out which one to tackle next. Whenever a friend has some Brooklyn Tweed, I make crazed grabby hands to give it a squish. My Rav queue is littered with his patterns. Well, after driving myself to distraction with an unprecedented list of obligation knitting, I just HAD to cast something on for myself, just something to break up the cuz-I-have-to knitting to keep me sane. And I remembered that my totes amazing friend, Jules of Woollen Flower, had gifted me Terra, a J-Flood (as I now refer to him) shawl pattern, and feverishly ran to my computer and started printing it out. I dug around in my multiple yarn caches like some wild animal for some delish anonymous-backroom-specials-bin yarn from Bendigo Woolen Mills (where did I put it? When did I see it last? Was it still in the bag?) that was perfect and got to it! BLAM!

I love the yarn so much! It smells properly delicious, and the colors are completely cray-to-the-azy, but kind of subtly cray. I like subtly cray.

Here it is laid out so far. This part is super easy. It’s knit from the center out towards the edge, so I don’t get to the patterned charted bits until I get near the end. So, right now, it’s super chilled and relaxing, and then it’ll end with excitement plus!

Here you can see the crazy mess of colors and the ridged pattern repeats. I’m super stoked with how the colors are coming out. Because it’s knit in a thicker yarn and the lace pattern is pretty low key, I’m hoping I can wear it highwayman stylee and pull it off. We shall see!

So, I promised y’all some legit craftiness. I’ve got more too, but the Spock hat is proving more difficult to photograph than I’d expected, and all the socks and mitts I want to wait until I have finished pairs. But, watch this space!

Do you occasionally cheat on your main craft? Or are you a monogamous crafter? Sharezies!

Instagram Catch-Up!

Gentle reader,

I have a confession to make. I’m addicted to Instagram. If you’re a fellow addict, you can find me there as theshylion. But, the good thing about Instagram is that it keeps me snapping pics whenever I get the chance, which I can’t always do specifically for the blog. I’m just not gelling with my new camera, and I end up having to do way more post-processing that I usually do, and it doesn’t like low-light which isn’t helpful because I’m a night-owl. Eugh.

 

Anyway, I figured that to keep up with y’all and show you some sneaky peaks at some of the stuff I’ve been working on, I can do a little Instagram Catch-Up and share with you some of the little snaps I’ve taken along the way. So, here goes!

 

One of the first things you need to know before you follow me on Instagram is that I snap pics of these two brats a LOT. I’m a crazy cat man. I’m not even ashamed about it.

 

But, I also take pics of all my projects in varying stages of completions, like this sock. I’m a big fan of train knitting so that happens fairly often. (To the top left of the finished sock pic, you can see a bit of cat-butt. See!? I even snap them when I’m not even trying!) I just made this pattern up to test out doing afterthought heels. Pretty happy with the outcome!

 

I’ve been playing Civilization V on my iMac a lot lately since our consoles were stolen. Which is rarely a good idea on school nights because I may or may not have been up playing well into the wee hours of the morning on a few occasions. It’s a pretty epic game, y’all!

I’ve also had a voracious appetite for some delicious, shimmery pop so I haven’t strayed too far from my K-Pop and J-Pop playlists. This one features Meisa Kuroki, Crystal Kay, Perfume and Sophia (who are more rock, actually).

 

I made some fingerless mitts for my friend Seth! The pattern is “Swirling Gauntlets” by Susanna IC and I have to say, it was a super fun knit. I gave them to him before I could take decent pics, but I did snap a few on IG. I found that my cast on stitches for the thumb hole were a bit loose and messy even though I even did them on a smaller needle. I think next time I’ll just knit in waste yarn, rip it out later and bind off the live stitches with a stretchy bind-off.

 

I also take random shots while I’m out about. Here I am looking rather pleased because the weather finally allows me to rug up and wear scrummy warm things. My eyes are so beady! Oy. That fair isle hat – though you can’t see it very well here – is incredible, and it was made by friend Jen over at Little Yellow Cat. I’m somewhat obsessed with it. Then we have the lights of Melbourne! I’m completely enamored with good ol’ Melbs, and I’m loving the miserable, wet, cold weather. Yeah, I’m one of those people.

 

Here’s a sneaky peak of the Dartmore hat that I’ve been wrestling with. Well, I finally finished it and it’s in the post as we speak to my bestie, Panda! I miss her a lot, so I decided I’d send her a big ol’ care package stuffed with goodies including this hat. I sewed a little tag in the back so she can tell the front from the back easily, because there’s a slightly visible squiggle up the back where the rounds join. I’ll write more about it when she models it for me and sends me some pics.

But that’s all I have you for today! I have another project that I’m properly dying to share with you, but I need to get some decent pics.

But how have YOU been!? Sharezies!