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!

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!

December Travels – Chapter Three – Thrifting!

Gentle reader,

This will probably be the last of my December Travels posts before I get back down to business. But, it’s also probably the post I’m most excited to share with you!

I don’t know about you, but I love, love, LOVE a good poke about a thrift store. Back when I used to do costume design, I would hit the thrift stores hard – I once costumed a cast of 30+ on $200 with change to spare – but I didn’t come to love it until I quit theater and started thrifting for myself. Some things just aren’t fun when it’s work!

Well, while I was up in Queensland, I managed to do a bit of crafty thrifting and I think I did pretty well! First up, while I was in Brisbane, Panda and I dropped into this crazy antique store that we happened upon. It was quite big, and was more of a serious antique/collectors store, and some of the treasures in there were mind-blowing (with prices to match, in a good way!), but they also had some small little lovelies with more thrifty prices. Naturally, I managed to sniff out the craft accoutrements and patterns in no time, and I picked up these babies with change out of a tenner.

Lower left! Totes adorbz, yes?

After my few days in Brisbane, I caught the bus to my home town. After Christmas, my fantastic friends, Alf and Robert, drove up from Brisbane to visit me and we went thrifting! Now, my home town has some amazing thrifting. Because it’s a smaller town, and perhaps a little bit conservative, it’s not yet caught on that thrift stores are a bit “cool” these days. Or at least, that’s what it was like last time I shopped there…

But now, they’d finally caught on! And prices reflected that. Which isn’t a bad thing, mind. Most of them are charity stores, remember! So more money in their pockets are a good thing. But, I still felt a small niggle of nostalgia for the days of filling a bag for two dollars. Ahhh!

We popped into a few stores (in spite of my nearly getting us horribly lost a few times – it’s been a long time since I’ve had to get around town, everything had changed!), but nothing struck my fancy. Until we got to the big Lifeline store, and I managed to find a taste of the old days with some ridiculously cheap gems!

It seems that while it’s caught on that thrifting is “cool”, it’s yet to catch on that knitting and crochet is now a bit “cool” too! I found two pattern books and… A DROP SPINDLE!

I love the aran sweater on the front, but there are some tragic beauties inside!
"Raynie! Take me home! I've been waiting for you!"

Now, none of their patterns were priced, and I don’t think anyone knew what the spindle was. I took them to the counter, and I was served by the most gorgeous elderly lady named Vera. She looked them over, and not seeing any prices, she ummed to herself for a bit.

“How does fifty cents sound?” she asked with a lovely big smile.

I was floored! “Really!?” I exclaimed. I rummaged in my wallet and found a two dollar coin. “Let’s make it two dollars, shall we?”

“One dollar!” countered Vera, bless her!

“Vera! Why are you trying to talk me down? Take the two dollars!” I said with a laugh. She looked at me for a second and then giggled as she took the coin and bagged up my purchases. Too adorable!

I think vintage patterns are becoming a compulsion for me. I don’t even really intend to make most of them. Definitely some of the mens patterns. But, even if I don’t plan on using them, I just adore them! And I feel like, what will happen to them if sympathetic crafters don’t take them home? I can see this becoming a hoarders-like situation. Oy.

Things will be back to normal after this one, I think! Be prepared, I have a finished object parade busting to be blogged, and I have lots of exciting news (classes, anyone?). So, stay tuned!

What are your favorite thrift store purchases? Share, share, share!

– R