June IG Catch-Up!

Gentle reader,

How are you? Are you happy and well? Fear not if you didn’t score a giftie in the giveaway; I already have idea seeds to grow into giveaway plants.

Things have been quite busy-busy around here, and not in the happy-joy-joy crafty way. There has been crafting, but not nearly enough because I’ve recently started working full-time. Overall, that’s a GREAT thing, because money lets me buy yarn and get my sewing machine serviced (it was PROPERLY overdue, and I’m sure if I’d waited any longer, it would would have murdered me in an explosion of needles and machine parts). But generally the whole grown-up thing tires me out. Getting my sleeping pattern back to regular human cycles has been tricky; I was almost nocturnal before, I’m a happy-chappy in the nighttime. But, after three weeks of learning the ropes and going to bed at reasonable times, I’m gradually finding the energy and space to squeeze more SRS KFTY TAIMZ into my week. Hurray! So, since I’ve been in a state of flux, I figured the best post for now was an Instagram Catch-Up, which we’ve been a bit overdue for.

Autumn

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Pepsi Max Kick: A Review In Pictures

Gentle reader,

Here’s a thing you may not know about me: I don’t drink. Nor do I smoke or have a ghastly drug habit. But, I do have nasty habits that aren’t good for me. One of those is soda. I LOVE soda. I try really hard not to drink too much – with varying degrees of success – but, I love, love, love it. I rank my favorite sodas in the same way a fancy-schmancy wine taster might compile a best-of list for a hoighty-toighty magazine.

 

My favorites are the Pepsi family of sodas and my bestie, Panda, also has a well-developed Pepsi-fancy. Recently, Pepsi released a new drink – presumably to compete with the “power drink” market – named “Pepsi Max Kick”. I was ever so excited. I ran out and bought two cans and I sent Panda a message:

I got two! One for me and one for you (which I shall drink in your honor – thought maybe not all at once in case my head ‘splodes)

To which she replied:

YAY I WANT A RUNNING COMMENTARY PLS

Well, naturally, I complied with her request, and I did so in pictures. And so, gentle reader, for your consumer information, I present you a pictorial review of the beverage “Pepsi Max Kick”.

 

It all starts with a “ksssshhhhhtt”.

Mmm… tastes like Pepsi Max, but, like… more.

You may also notice that I forgot it was still winter and decided it would be a good idea to shave my head. O_O
Oh, Little Stupid.

I approve.

I DO love you, Pepsi! Don’t ever leave me!

Twice the caffeine? Indeed!

ILUVPEPSIMAXKICKPLZKTHNXBAI! SRS BSNS!

The excitement took its toll.

Please also take note of my extreme lack of neck. I’ve always wished for an actual neck, alas.

It’s THAT good.

What? That’s it?

Swift onset withdrawal.

Grief and acceptance.

In conclusion, I would like them to start selling Pepsi Max Kick in 2L bottles. I don’t even care if it shuts my body down one organ at a time… such a sweet way to go…

In seriousness, it tastes just like Pepsi Max, but slightly more flavorful. I didn’t really go bonkers on it, it’s not that intense, but I’ll qualify that by saying things don’t seem to quite affect me as easily – it’s like trying to drug a buffalo. But, I think it provides a good alternative for a caffeine boost to people who, like me, don’t drink coffee and think power drinks taste like fetid cat urine.

Also, please note that this was in no way a paid advertisement by Pepsi…. but it could be! If you’re reading, Pepsi, have your people call my people, we’ll do lunch.

What’re your habits that you can’t kick even if you know better? Sharezies! Don’t let me suffer alone! Hehe ^_~

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! ^_^

Intarsia & New Camera Part Two

Gentle reader,

You’ll be pleased to know that there’ll be no cloaca-talk this time (except for just now, whoops!). But, there will be an update on the intarsia sweater I’ve been working on! The pieces are all done, and it’s blocking; all that remains is to make it up and knit the collar ribbing!

Sloooowly finding my feet.

Look, intarsia is not hard. But, I’m finding that – for me at least – it’s one of those things that just comes to you with practice. You’ve just gotta be patient until you find your rhythm, like your tension when you first start knitting. I mean, I was doing it, but I was getting frustrated with uneven stitches, and I tried any number of things to combat that, and yet, I still ended up with some messy bits. I sat down with Judith and got some tips, and they certainly helped from a technical perspective, but… my intarsia still was not perfect, and that frustrated me! I suppose you can’t really expect things to be perfect the first time you do them, but I expected it to be a bit better than what I got! I was ready to rip it out and start over, but everyone told me to keep going and assured me that all of these little imperfections that were bugging the bajiggity outta me would come out in the blocking process. So, I persisted.

I may have gone slightly overboard with the pins.

And so, when I’d finished all the pieces, I soaked them overnight and then started blocking them. And… I guess it looks a bit better than before, but there are still all kinds of uneven bits and odd things happening! Blerg! I’ve always been really pleased that my knitting is usually quite neat and even so this really, really bothers me. On one hand, I think it’s a decent first whack. On the other hand part of me wants to rip it out and knit the front over again. But, I want it finished by tomorrow because I intended it to be a gift, though now I’m not so sure (note to self, a gift is probs not the best project to tackle a new skill on. Not too bright, are we?). I’ll see what it looks like when it’s sewn up and check in with my knitting pals to see if there are anymore tricks I can do.

I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer about it, though. I really enjoyed making it, and I’m keen to have another crack at it! Whenever I learn something, I have this habit of jumping in the deep end, because it can only get easier, right? And usually I struggle with it until the light bulb goes off and then I feel all giddy with excitement and satisfaction. I think what happened here is I finished this project a little before I got my light bulb moment. If I’d wrestled with it a little longer I might have gotten there. But, I’ll be content with this one for now, because it’s not awful, really. I’ll definitely give intarsia another bash, though!

Speaking of giving things a bash, the other week I took my new camera out for a wander to take some snaps. I’m really happy with how they came out. I haven’t done any post-processing on these except to rotate a few.

Wanderings

I think if I did any adjusting, I’d up the exposure on the statues, but the others I’m happy with. It was so nice also to have a little sticky beak around a part of Melbourne that I’d passed plenty of time but never had a closer look. I had such a wonderful evening wandering around, taking snaps, finding little interesting things here and there. It can be so easy to pass things by these days, and sometimes it’s nice to stop and smell the roses so to speak (or literally, even!).

I am having a few issues with the camera, sometimes the colors aren’t as accurate as I’d like, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out after some experiments and another flip through the destruction manual.

Have you ever tackled something that didn’t quite turn out how you wanted? How did you fix it? Sharezies!

December Travels – Chapter Two – Christmas Lights

Gentle reader,

One of my family’s traditions is to drive about town leading up to Christmas looking at all the Christmas light displays. There’s an especially large one held at Queen’s Park in my home town, and it was quite the show. Some of the pieces were a little random to me, but some were truly amazing.

A nice sentiment, yes?
Lights, lights, everywhere!

The lights were everywhere you could possibly imagine to put lights! And all varieties. Those candy canes were all made of some bizarre fuzzy stuff that was difficult to photograph, but looked really cute.

Christmas non sequiturs?

Some seemed completely arbitrary and non-Christmassy. Kangaroos? Sailboats? Wombats? Demonic owls? Umm… okay… I guess they were going for an “Australian Christmas” thing, but I never really got that sort of thing (I never really understood the whole “Easter Bilby” thing either).

The Blue Tree

In the middle of the whole display grounds was a giant blue light christmas tree set in the center of a pond! It was quite spectacular in person, and the reflections in the pod were magical. (You can also see more random lights like the windmill and the Eiffel Tower).

Beautiful Lanterns

My favorite part though were all the orb lanterns. They were strung through many of the trees and were just beautiful. Some were solid orbs that changed colors and some were wire frame spheres wound with fairly lights. It made me feel like a gnome living in the trees or something.

Lions, doves, and arches! Oh my!

Even without the light displays, it’s a really lovely park in it’s own right, and a few little reminders of that could be found in quiet little corners.

Flora!

And lastly, Toowoomba’s not called the Garden City for nothing! There were some amazing flowers and foliage about the place too.

There’s at least another chapter of December Travels to come, and it’ll definitely be craft-related, never fear!

In the meantime, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and everyone traveled safely! Many happy wishes to you, and thank you for taking a bo-peep at The Shy Lion in 2011, and I hope you’ll stay with me in 2012!

– R

Crafts & Newspapers

Gentle reader,

As I mentioned briefly in the last post, I was featured in an article in The Sunday Age’s “M” magazine lift-out last Sunday, and as promised I’ve scanned my section and the picture. You can read the whole article online here; the other people featured are quite interesting, especially the polo player.

"Don't Fence Me In" by Natalie Craig, "M", The Sunday Age, 27/11/11. Photo by Simon Schluter

Do you find it surreal when you get attention for things? It’s very strange when you stumble into attention. Lots of people have come into the shop and recognized me and said hello or asked after me. It’s very nice, but also a little intimidating. But, it’s all good publicity to get people crafting, I say!

Speaking of, it’s been far too long since I’ve done some proper craft blogging! Get on with it, Raynor! Oy! So, here is an update and a new thing!

Getting there!

The Boneyard Shawl is coming along; I’m into my third skein and I have another skein floating about somewhere. I mustn’t run out of puff! Christmas is almost here!

To recap, the pattern is by Stephen West (it’s dead easy and free), and the yarn is Silky Tweed by Rowan. I’ll tell you what, I’m totes upset that Silky Tweed is DISCONTINUED! It’s such a beautiful yarn, and absolutely scrumptious to work with. As I knit it and squish it I almost feel as if I’m mourning it. I actually bought the last skein of this colorway from Cleggs. So sad. If you see any in discount bins, snap that stuff up, kay!? You won’t regret it.

Katia Paper

Meanwhile, the store got a new yarn in; Katia Paper. It’s 100% cellulose (aka paper, funnily enough). Texture-wise, it’s more or less like raffia. The amazing thing is that it’s machine washable. My mind? Consider it blown. Anyway, my manager has wanted the store to have a market bag pattern for quite a while, and figured this would be a perfect project to do with this yarn. So, I’m now in the process of designing one.

The pictures above are just of a concept swatch. I tested out a few different ideas for stitches and different chain lengths, so it’s quite scrappy. Once you crochet this up, because of the variegation and the texture, pattern stitches or front/back post stitches really don’t show up so well unless there’s a lot of negative space.  The band above the mesh is a catherine wheel pattern, but it just disappears. I think for this one I’ll keep it simple, but I might just flip through some stitch dictionaries in case there’s a gem of inspiration.

It’s not an easy yarn to crochet with, but it is quite fun and rewarding. I’m working on a miniature prototype of the bag and I think it’s going to look really nice, actually, so I’ll keep you posted.

What’s the most unusual yarn you’ve ever used?

– R