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!

 

O Hai! I’m Not Dead In A Ditch!

Gentle reader,

It’s been ages since I last posted. I do apologize! I’ve been meaning to get around to do a proper posts but, it just never happened. I’ve been a bit preoccupied. But, I’m back now, and here’s a recap of what’s being going on in my forest.

I did some work, and I played some games.

I finished the bunny sweater (though, I’m going to unpick the sleeves and restitch them, and fix some wonky intarsia bits with duplicate stitch)

I got an amazing parcel from my American Mom, Beth, with a bunch of lovely gifts and some of her beautiful glass work. We’re going to combine her glass pieces and my crochet into… something!

I bought some yarn. Naturally.
L to R: Rowan Colorscape Chunky, Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball, Noro Kogarashi

I got some new shoes. Green, of course.

I did some scribbles. The side two are plans for some lino block prints.

I smooched some cheeky pooses.

Listened to some tunes.
L to R: Emi Hinouchi – “Me”, Midlake – “The Trials of Van Occupanther,
The Civil Wars – “Barton Hollow”

I did some wandering around Melbs and enjoyed the turn of the season.

Aaaaand, I started some big, chunky bedsocks with the Kogarashi for my friend, Alf!
I’m using the pattern “Thuja” from Knitty.com

Phew! Did you like “My Life In Pictures” recap? Hope so! I’ll be back to posting regularly now. I think I might do more of these – unless raiding my Instagram is cheating… Hmmm…

How have you been!? Catch up in the comments! ^_^

An Interlude: From Grizzle-Guts To Genuine Insanity (With A Bit of Kate Bush)

Gentle reader,

I’d like to think that, over the months or more that we’ve been engaged is this odd little exchange between blogger and reader, we’ve become friends of a sort. And friends share things, and sometimes these things maybe don’t show the sharer in the best light. Or perhaps it reveals just how silly they really are. Well, I’d like to tell you about the day I had on Friday. I think it’s a pretty good story; it has the lows of grumpiness and tantrums, and the highs of unadulterated silliness and delirium. Mostly, I hope you get a laugh, rather than thinking me a brat. It’s a long one, but I hope you’ll come with me on this little trip.

It all started on a high note, but little did I know that this was merely a starting off point. At my temp contract, I finished all the work they had for me ahead of time (cuz I’m, like, properly awesome! Kidding!), so I had an early mark and left at lunch time. It was then that I realized that my earphones – my favorite, fancy, green Skullcandy ones – were busted! I couldn’t get sound in both ears without fiddling with the the cord, and even then, I had to constantly move it around, I couldn’t just hold it in a certain direction. Well, hurrumph! Off I went to JB HiFi to purchase a new pair (working full-time is nice, because you can just go out and do that).

I found a super-fancy pair of new Skullcandy ones that had a microphone/volume/play-pause clicker on it so I could use it with my iPhone as well (which is bordering on unnecessary anyway because I’ll turn myself inside out to avoid speaking on the phone), but they were very pizzazzy and white, and even though they were expensive, I could justify it because they came with a little zip-up case to keep them safe. Perfection! So, I wandered towards the counter to pay for them when I saw a wireless keyboard with a trackpad where the number pad usually is. And I stopped.

You see, Joel has a wireless keyboard and mouse, and his computer is set up through the ginormous television and he sits on the couch to do his web trawling and game playing. But, the wireless keyboard is a bit old, and many a time recently I have found him cursing the thing and pounding keys with an accusatory finger while stamping closer and closer to the computer tower. As amusing as his little huffing fit is to behold, I knew he wouldn’t buy himself a new keyboard until it completely gave out, and honestly, it’s no way for a nerd to live. So, here was a wireless computer, with a built-in trackpad no less, for sale and staring me in my face. I spun on my heels and put my back earphones and chose a cheaper (but still seemingly good quality) earphones so I could afford the keyboard as well.

By the time I’d walked a few city blocks to the yarn shop I realized that the $30 earphones I’d bought were complete and utter rubbish. To be fair, my hearing is pretty atrocious to begin with, but the sound quality through these suckers was like listening to someone singing with their face firmly planted into their pillow. I sat at the table in the yarn store, feeling a little grumpy, but still buoyed by my early mark from work. All of my friends in the yarn store encouraged me to take them back. I was a little doubtful because they’re in-ear buds, and that would be aaaalmost like returning a pair of underpants that you’d warn, wouldn’t it? Which is rather unsavory. But, they reasoned that it couldn’t hurt to try. So, I walked back the three or four city blocks to try my luck.

As it turns out, returning earbuds IS JUST LIKE returning underpants you’ve already worn. The gentlemen was very apologetic (I suspect he was aware how garbage the earbuds really were) but it was store policy. I tried to think if we had spare pair at home, and Joel even texted to say I could use his (which would leave him without any, and I’m not that mean!) and I really didn’t want to spend more money, but I gave in. It’s a first world problem, but I really can’t live without my music. It’s as much a love of tunes as it is protection against sensory overload and social anxiety when out-and-about. So, I went back to the headphone section and bought the pair I’d chosen in the first place like a Little Stupid, and pushed the budget-panic to the back of my head.

Lessons Learned (Skullcandy image from Headphones.com)

Now, I could enjoy the train ride home in my musical bubble, which I did, along with some knitting. All was well until I started walking up my drive and realized that I didn’t have my keys. Joel and I usually meet up after work, so I never needed them and therefore never checked that I them. I’d left them in my other bag. Geesh! After a few choice cuss words, I took a few deep breaths and thought what I would do. Joel said he could come home if I had something to do to tide me over for a bit, but he had planned to go out for drinks with his bestie and I didn’t want to be a party-pooper. In the end, I decided that since the real estate agent was five or six blocks away, so I would go get a spare set of keys from them. We had never received keys to our back or side doors (I know, I know, we should have sorted that out long ago), so I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone.

I got to the real estate agents and they were happy to lend me their set of keys, with one catch: they had to be back in the office by the close of business, which by this time, was in about half an hour. Oy. Well, I had two options. I could not worry about getting the back and side keys and just go home, let myself in, get my keys, bring the agent’s keys back, and go home again. It’s not a long walk, but not a walk you want to do four times in a row, lugging all your stuff with you, so that was properly unappealing. Or I could go to the row of shops and get some keys cut. The downside to that was that the agent didn’t know which keys were which, there was just a whole bunch of keys on a ring. Even all the tops of the keys and colors were all the same, so the teeth were the only differences. I figured I’d try my luck.

Hey, dufus! These are important!

I called Joel and asked him to take pictures of the teeth of his keys and message them to me, so I could figure out which keys we didn’t have by a process of elimination. I was feeling very smug and clever with myself as I walked to the shops and waited for Joel’s message to come though. Only, it didn’t. Between my calling him and arriving outside the store, my phone’s battery had died! Well, that was perfect! I almost had a stampy-tantrum at this point, but managed to contain myself, though I did get a few sidelong glances; I must have looked particularly unhinged by now. I calmed myself and tried to reason. If I only got one key cut, and it was for either the wooden front door, or the front screen, then I wouldn’t be able to get in. If I got two keys cut, those two keys would either both be for the front doors, or one key would be a front door and the other would be for the back or side door, or both would be for the back or side door. So, no matter what I’d be able to get in. So I picked two keys at random and had them cut, returned the agent’s keys, and headed home.

I tried the screen door. Neither key worked. A feeling of satisfaction swelled within my chest. Even if one of these keys was for the wooden front door, the other was for one of the doors we didn’t have keys for, and maybe both keys were the ones we were missing! I made my way to the side door and tried the keys. Nope. That was odd. I circled round to the back door and tried both keys. Nope. Suddenly, it felt like that feeling of satisfaction shriveled up into a lump of coal, and my heart fell out of my butt. Seriously!? I was crazed now. The whole week and had been overcast and cool, but of course today was sunny and warm, and I’m a ginger! I was hot, sticky, exhausted and I could feel myself getting sunburned and I couldn’t get into my house! I began frantically going from side door to back door, trying the keys over and over again, just to make sure. No. Neither key did anything. One of them didn’t even fit the keyholes.

My rage turned to the real estate agents. Even if one of those keys fit the wooden door behind the screen door, at least one of these keys was completely useless. Why on earth would the agent have multiple keys that didn’t fit any of our locks? Did they collect useless keys? Was that a thing? Then my rage turned to myself. Why couldn’t I just be like every other functioning adult and make sure I have my keys with me every day. Then I just felt sorry for myself. “Aww, Little Stupid,” I thought, “you’re really not very good at life, are you?”.

Feeling very sheepish, and giving over to the exhaustion, I sat down on the back step in the shade. Then I remembered, my iPod was fully charged, and I was pretty sure I could get our house’s wifi signal from there! I switched on my iPod and sent Joel a few emails to let him know what had happened, and to see when I could expect him home. No replies. Siiiiiiighh. It was going to be a while. Luckily, me being me, I had some knitting in my bag. So, out it came and I knitted away at the back piece of a cardigan. I descended into that crafty bliss you feel when you’re doing nothing but working with your hands, no distraction, no clock-watching, just pure and thorough enjoyment. I was in my happy place. That is, until I ran out of yarn.

Noooooooo!

I packed my project up again, and pulled out a book and read for a little while. At this point, I had been sitting on the step like a bedraggled little orphan for almost three hours. After a while it became a bit too dark to read in the shadow of the house, and so I listened to music on my iPod. The warm, sunny day began to set and turn dark and the wind picked up. I’d gone from actually feeling myself burn to shivering in the gloom of evening. As if on queue, my iPod shuffled to Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush, one of my favorite songs of all-time, and it seemed almost eerily fitting thematically. I decided to write a last ditch attempt email to Joel, which read as follows:

Subject: Let Me In Your Window

It’s starting to get cold and windy here. By the time you get home, it will be like Wuthering Heights. I shall be dead and my ghost shall be rapping at your window. “Joelcliff! Let me in your window! It’s so cold outside!”. After which I shall don a red dress and take to the moors, singing in my Kate Bush falsetto and interpretive dancing all over the hizzy. “Joelcliff! It’s me, your Raynie! I’ve come home! I’m so co-o-o-o-old! Let me in your wind-o-o-ow! Ooh, let me have it, let me gra-a-ab your soul! Who-o-ah, you know it’s me, your Raynie!”. And then I’ll disappear. And then reappear. And then disappear. 

 And then reappear. And then disappear.

Now, if you’re not familiar with the “red dress version” of the Wuthering Heights video, I’ve included a little montage for reference.

Out on the wiley, windy moors…! (Image credits from here)

At this point, I honestly can’t explain what my thought process was. I had well and truly lost my mind. I can’t truthfully say that I hadn’t set a precedent of Kate Bush impressions. They’re not entirely uncommon, per se. At any rate, I was cold, crazy, and possessed by the musical and poetic spirits of Kate Bush and Emily Bronte, and before I knew it, my email – at least in part – proved to be prophetic. I took to the back yard dancing like a dervish to the small, tinny strains of Wuthering Heights from my iPod. It didn’t take me long to realize that my iPod also had a camera. Why I felt like that was a good idea, I’ll never know but, there you have it. And, once one has done such a thing, I’ve found it’s best not to look back or get self-conscious about it because one’s friends usually will get a laugh or two out of it at the very least.

So naturally, I posted photographic proof of my delirious Bush-Bronte break-down to Facebook.

There may have also been a video, but unless you have me as a personal friend on Facebook, I shall refrain from sharing that with you in the interest of salvaging some dignity ^_~  but without further ado, I present you Wuthering Heights: The Shy Lion version.

(a friend pointed out that if you clicked through the photo gallery quickly it looks rather impressive, but in the absence of such things, I shall post them in single file so perhaps to can scroll down quickly for a similar effect)

I hope I haven’t frightened you all away, and you’ve at least gotten a giggle from this this malarky. Joel arrived home from drinks and was so happy with his gifty keyboard and so pitied the pathetic little fool dancing about the backyard that he didn’t raise an eyebrow at my spending splurge. He had switched of his cell phone email to conserve battery which is why he didn’t get my emails, which is really alright, because I feel closer to Kate Bush than ever. All’s well that ends well, I suppose! ^_^

Have you had any silly misadventures lately? I’d love hear them! 

A Sock, A Beret, And A Tune

Gentle reader,

After the Loch festival, I’ve been laying low – also because of some dental work, oy! – but I’ve been pottering away at some thing here and there, and I also had my phone upgraded to an iPhone 4S, so I figured I’d test out the camera and show you some stuff!
First up, while I was visiting my folks over Christmas, I’d decided that I was going to knit my Ma some socks. She’d bought me the book “Closely Knit” by Hannah Fettig for a Christmas gift, and then I asked her to pick out some sock yarn. Now, Spotlight in a smallish-biggish town doesn’t have the greatest selection, and the yarn my Ma chose didn’t even have a ball band, so I’ve got no idea what it is. It’s not what I’d have chosen for myself, but it’s not for myself, now, is it?

I like to call him "Halfie".

At any rate, I’ve knit the first sock which I’ll send to Ma for a fit before I do the other. I feel like it’s a little big (considering it fit me comfortably), but I knit it by the pattern according to shoe size and my Ma’s foot length, and my tension was slightly tighter – maybe two or three stitches less over four inches – so, I dunno, I’ll see what she thinks when she tries it.

The pattern in the book was really easy to follow, and explained the stuff I hadn’t done before really clearly. I’d never done the folded picot edge before, and I probably squealed myself silly when I’d done it and declared “I’M GOING TO KNIT ALL OF THE THINGS WITH A PICOT EDGE!!!“. Also, I’d never done a top-down sock or used Kitchener stitch to cast off before, so they were good times had.

It wasn’t all fun and games, obviously. It never occurred to Little Stupid here that knitting a heel flap with self-striping yarn looks pretty naff and I ought to have used a plain yarn or an afterthought heel. Which I already knew, but my mind left me for the duration of this sock. I particularly hate the single-row stripe on the top of the foot. Oy. Well, next time I shan’t be so daft, promise. Another weird thing: my stitches are usually quite even and neat, but they’re a little bit cray-to-the-azy here… I did notice that the yarn was particularly twisty and I had to de-twist a LOT more than usual, so I’m going to put it down to that.

Anyway, the book is super nice, and I’d definitely recommend it. For the Australian peeps, Ma and I found it at Lincraft for $7, which is a serious find considering how neat this book is. I almost felt like we were stealing it, y’all! Anyhoo, I’m planning to knit up a few of the projects and reviewing it. Hands up if you’re interested. There’s also a really nice plain sweater for gentlemen in here that I’m pondering.

Meanwhile, all summer my receding hairline and I have been bemoaning my lack of summer hats to hide my hair trauma and prevent scalp sunburn, but other things took precedent and I neither bought nor made any. And then, after Loch, I figured I’d put my new-found crafting freedom towards more hats, but really, summer’s nearly over, so I thought to heck with that idea, I’ma make me a new beret! I do love a good beret. So, I pulled out this Cleckheaton book, “She Knits” and, FYI Cleckheaton, He Knits too.

Gettin' my beret on. Well, not for a while yet.

Now, I love the Cleckheaton Country yarns, but I love Morris Estate better, so I bought myself some balls of Estate 8 ply in a lovely dusty, tweedy green (Sage 8046) and got started. It was really hard to make the color to come through accurately on my iPhone, so you’ll just have to trust me on this one. It’s green and yummy; truth. I know, green is so unusual for me, right? The pattern is not the most exciting thing as far as knitting it goes, but it’ll be a nice pick-up-put-down project while I do other things. I’ll keep you posted!

To finish off, I wanted leave y’all with a song! It’s been a while since I’ve shared some tunes, and this album is making me fall in love with it all crazy-like, so here ’tis. I love me some shimmery, shiny, melancholy, synthy deliciousness.

Do like knitting socks? How do you deal with Second Sock Syndrome? Also, feel free to share your fave tune of the moment! Commentses? I heart them!

– R

Putting Pen To Paper

Gentle reader,

I’ve been pondering posts I can do that don’t require a camera, and Robbie over at Knitxcore must have unwittingly read my mind, because he posted this handwriting meme which seemed like a fun thing to do. So, here ’tis!

Green pen!
1. What is your name
2. Blog URL
3. Write: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
4. Favorite quote
5. Favorite song (at the moment)
6. Favorite band/singers (at the moment)
7. Say anything you want
8. Tag 3-5 bloggers

I’ve always been really fussy about my handwriting, which is not to say this is terribly neat, but I can’t write crazy fast. The moment I try to write something quickly, it just explodes into an incomprehensible mess. It made taking notes at school and college a bit of a production, I’ll tell you that much.

Here are the peeps I tagged; go check ’em out, they’re lovely:

Tony at BonitoClub
Katie & Reuben at House of Humble
Stacey at Veggie Mama
Sian at Sian Lile Makes
Laura at Kit & Nancy 

I occasionally love to write letters or notecards, there’s something special about handwritten notes. Do you like your handwriting? Do you write with pen and paper very often? If you do this meme, comment with a linkie!

– R

Finding The Silver Lining

Gentle reader,

I’ve been in our new house for almost two weeks now, and our internet still hasn’t been switched on! The ETA is tomorrow, so hopefully regular posts will begin again very soon! Cell phone internet is convenient, but it’s not the same.

Anyway, today I wanted to share some Pollyanna-style gladness. I’ve been in the foulest mood the last few days; maybe it’s a crash after the stress of moving, or maybe it’s my man-time-of-the-month or maybe I’ve just been getting out of the bed on the wrong side. Whatever it is, I decided enough was enough! It was time to start looking for the silver linings instead of the being an irksome jerk all the time.

Sometimes this can be easier said than done, but sometimes you just need that lightbulb moment, or that one little success that just makes everything else seem like a piece o’ cake (white chocolate mud cake, please). And today, I had that moment.

Struttin'? I'm doin' it!

I had some errands to run, so I popped in my ear buds and chose the funnest, up-beat-iest tunes I had, and off I went! You know when you’re walking along the street and you’ve got some crazy-town awesome track playing with delicious beats and you can’t help but strut like you’re a rockstar? That was totes me! And then…

I got caught behind a gaggle of slow walkers.

What could I do!? I was hemmed in by shop fronts on one side and street signs and alfresco cafe tables on the other, and these slow walkers were ruining my vibe!

I’ll tell you what I did: like a game of Frogger, I ducked in and out where I could, careful not to bump anyone or seem rude (I didn’t want the vibe-ruining to become contagious!), and when just the right opening presented itself, I emerged victorious – energy renewed, completely in sync with the beat and strutting like nobody’s business!

Let’s be real, re-finding your strut after an obstacle has that same tingly feeling and smile-inspiring rush as an epic key change in a power pop song. Best. Ever.

And, so, gentle reader, though it may not sound like much, that’s how I beat the down-in-the-dumps and found my silver lining.

What silver linings have you found lately?

– R

Music To Make To: Brett Domino & Steven Peavis

Gentle reader,

I love music, and also love a good laugh. And that’s why I love Brett Domino and Steven Peavis. Their unique brand of cover songs make me so happy in my dorky little heart that I can barely stand it. It tickles me that they’ve gone for humor without sacrificing quality; I love how their musical production has such depth and texture when a lot of it is done without crazy expensive studio tools. Sometimes all you need is talent. ^_~

You can find more Brett Domino here. They’ve recently posted a cover of Katy Perry’s “Firework” to their Youtube (which, IMHO is better that the original).

What songs make you crazy happy or tickle your funny bone? ^_^

– R