Introducing The Dutch Baby Project

Gentle reader,

Well, it has certainly been a time, hasn’t it? I hope you’re well and happy. I’ve missed you sorely. I’ve missed writing, and I’ve missed interacting with you. But, let us not dwell on the time we’ve lost, and say hello anew! I’m so happy to be back again.

I’ve been pondering a return to the blog for so long now, and there have been a few false starts that you may have noticed. I decided once and for all that I need to commit to The Shy Lion once again, but there had to be something – at least initially – to a) keep me honest, and b) give me the impetus to keep making, making, making and writing, writing, writing. And so, friends, I came up with a challenge for myself. It is with trepidation and excitement that I introduce you to “The Dutch Baby Project”.

Dutch Baby Project.png

Let me explain it to you. My boss recently announced that she is preggers. Excitement plus! Now, I’m quite fond of my boss; she’s Dutch, doesn’t tolerate bullshit, and is absolutely hilarious.  Let me tell you, she had my in tears, gasping for breath, arms wrapped around my aching ribs no less than THREE times last week. It was incredibly embarrassing but amusing, though I digress… but since I’m already in the thick of a digression, let me also add  that truthfully, it should be “The Half-Dutch Baby Project”, but why let accuracy ruin a zippy title? Also, as the (Half-) Dutch Baby is currently baking, the above (public domain) child is neither the Dutch Baby nor even Dutch at all and is merely for illustrative purposes.

My immediate thought on her happy announcement was “Raynor, you really must knit this child something.” (I lie, it was actually “You bitch! You’ll be leaving us!”, but that was quickly brushed aside) and then I didn’t think too much more about it at first. But later I was yet again pondering how to rekindle the blogging flames, and the two ideas converged in my head. Why not turn the Dutch baby knitting into a challenge for the blog!? And so, gentle reader, please let me outline The Dutch Baby Project for you.

  • I will knit (at least) one pattern per calendar month for The Dutch Baby until Boss goes on maternity leave (unless I’ve calculated that horribly wrong  – likely – it should be about four months)
  • The pattern must be something reasonably substantial. I would say a pair of booties would be my ABSOLUTE minimum effort baseline
  • I may substitute another craft eg. sewing, crochet etc so long as it results in something for The Dutch Baby
  • The projects must also be documented on Ravelry in my “projects” section.
  • If I should fail, I expect you all to shame me and tell me how legit actual garbage I am. (Well, maybe don’t go that far, but keep me honest, yeah)
  • I may complete more than one project a month, however, these are bonus projects, and cannot be carried across to next month’s project

If I think of more rules, I shall add them. Feel free to suggest any too, though I am reluctant to make it too complicated for myself. The intention is to encourage me to knit, not impose too many boxes to tick.

For my first project I have selected Sunnyside by Tanis Lavallee of Tanis Fiber Arts to knit by the end of March. It’s a super cute little cardigan. It gives the option of doing regular cables or a lacy version.

Sunnyside

I expect I will do the regular cable version, because I think it will suit the delicious yarn that I’ll be using which is “Lollisox” by Mayhem & Chaos in the “Dashboard” colorway. It’s a lovely dark, rich green. You can visit their Etsy store, but I believe I bought this at  the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show one year.

It’s a sock-weight yarn and is 100% Superwash Merino. The color is not perfectly, totally, truly accurate, but I did color correct it in Photoshop, so it’s preeeetty close.

Yarn

And there you have it! The comeback blog post, and the first installment of The Dutch Baby project! Please, do feel free to send me suggestions for rules or patterns. And more generally, let me know what you’d like to see in The Shy Lion 2.0.

And by all means, feel free to join me! Do you have a knit-worthy friend or family member ready to drop a child-person in the near future? Challenge yourself along with me; I’d be so stoked!

signoff

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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I Enhanced My Stash With Yarn Vs. Zombies! Also, A New Project!

Gentle reader,

Perhaps it’s the new year, or perhaps it’s because the planets and stars have aligned, but I’m feeling so renewed lately about my knitting and crafting. The Never-Ending Sock I think had really gummed up the works a bit. It’s finished now, and I still can’t tell you why it dragged on and on. I enjoyed knitting it, I loved the pattern, I didn’t mess it up, I think my crafty mojo just took an end of year break. Who even knows? It’s clearly beyond my ken (please tell me that expression also reminds you of The Sound of Music. Yes? No?).

But, now that it’s out of the way, I’m so excited to look forward to all the new stuff I can do. And one of the first things that I’m legit actual peeing myself with excitement about is my first skein of Yarn Vs. Zombies yarn. I ordered it from Kiki late last year, I think as a birthday present for myself, but with everything going on, and my vow to at least finish the gusset of the NES (The Never-Ending Sock, not the Nintendo Entertainment System, although, I’d gladly have both), it sat on my desk in its packaging for a few weeks. Finally, I pulled it out to admire it with fresh eyes, and it’s quite possible that I squealed for no less that eighty-two hours and twelve minutes. Oh em gee, you guys, I love it!

Yarn Vs Zombies

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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!

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!

 

Of Oz, Clogs and Linocut Prints!

Gentle reader,

When I finished high school in Australia, I went on student exchange to the US to do the last half of senior year all over again. Glutton for punishment, right? ^_~ Not really, it was the best thing I’ve ever done in my whole entire life, and I met some of the most awesome peeps ever. And, I also got to learn how to do linocut prints! I wish for the life of me I could remember my art teacher’s name, she was so amazing, and I feel like a jerk that I can’t remember. But, that class was so amazing, and I learned more about art and craft in the six months than I did in the two years I took art at my Australian school.

Anyway, recently my super lovely friend, Amy (who blogs at Mildly Crafty, so you should give her some love!), gave me a whole bunch of linocut bits and bobs – all stored in a delightful old cardboard suitcase – and a book about different DIY printing processes. I already had some linocut stuff, but I hadn’t touched it in years so this got me all fired up about linocut all over again!

Amy’s Awesome Gifties.

I didn’t use the clean, new blocks that Amy gave me, because I wanted to save those for when I was more practiced, so I used some lino scraps I already had. The fabric paint didn’t work very well on my lino – it balled up and didn’t print very well – so I used the regular block ink that I already had. I can’t wait to do some fabric printing though!

My first carving went straight into the bin because I’d forgotten to mirror the letters so they printed the right way, but after that I did a Wizard of Oz print which came out really well! I was very happy with that one. Beginner’s luck. The next one I did was of the clogs. It’s somewhat of a tradition for bloggers to take pictures of their feet, I guess, which I’ve always thought was quite funny and cute. A bunch of the lovely ladies whose blogs and Instagrams I follow seem to love their clogs, so I asked GourmetGirlfriend if I could use one of her Instagrams as a reference and carved a tribute to bloggers who clog. ^_~

It’s slow going, but super satisfying!

I’m still finding the best amount of ink to use. The first time, I used to too much, and tried watering it down a little. I got the best prints from thicker ink though, and having a lot of ink had some trade-offs. I got better prints, and more prints from one application, but I also got more waste prints at the beginning from the ink squishing around the edges too much. So, the second time I used less ink, and got good prints, but not quite as good, and only one or two prints per application. I need to find the happy medium.

The roller is called a brayer. The more you know!

I did prints on brown paper and some canvas cartridge. I think I liked the brown paper best. I have lots of love for brown paper… brown paper bags, brown paper parcels, ah! I love it all! So, I was really happy with my brown paper prints. I found that I liked the Oz design a lot more when the print wasn’t completely even, and the paper showed through in places with the ink. But, for the Clogs one, I liked it more when the print was very crisp and even.

No Place Like Home, and Clog Lovin’

The canvas was more of a mixed bag. I think it was just a little too textured, and the Clogs design went right up to the edge so it was tricky to line up. I think I’d like to try printing on some other textured materials that aren’t quite as rough, like watercolor paper or something. I still liked them! Just not quite as much.

Click your Silver Clogs three times… (or Ruby Clogs for the movie peeps).

All in all, I’m properly happy with the carvings, but I still have some experimenting to do with the printing process. They’re definitely not Etsy-ready, but hopefully soon. Experimenting is the fun part, so I’m well keen to get on with it!

Meanwhile, I should have a finished sock to show you soon! ^_^

What other kinds of designs would you like to see? Have you done any printing before?

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! ^_^