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? 

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!