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

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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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Bendigo Yarn Haul!

Gentle reader,

I’ve caught you up with my day at the Bendigo Sheep And Wool Show, but the real thing is the yarn, right? Well, here’s my yarn haul, just for you!

For the most part I’m going to show them in the order that I bought them. I only have one clear favourite, but even then I’m super happy with all the stuff I bought. In some cases I can’t remember where I bought it, so if you were there and happened to see that yarn and remembered the stall, please let me know so I can give due credit and linkies!

I had decided that I would try to expand my boundaries and go out of my comfort zone a bit. And you might be rolling your eyes at me. Green yarn? Oh, that’s new and exciting for you, Raynor. But, I really don’t usually buy a lot of 4ply or sock yarns, so it kinda is. And when the colorway is named “Emerald City”, you’ve gotta forgive me for making serious grabby-hands. I bought this at a little hall that was set up with shops, but it wasn’t in the actual show grounds. I can’t remember what the hall/set-up was called, but the vendor I bought this from is called Gin and Tonic Yarns.

Yarn Info
Gin and Tonic Yarns
4ply (sock) organic Australian ultrafine merino yarn
“Emerald City” colorway
400m/100g
ginandtonicyarns.etsy.com

It’s super nice and squishy! I’m not sure what I’ll make with it, because I only got one skein. I’m thinking probably a really simple, light hat for myself.

Next, we went to the Bendigo Woollen Mills where I dug around in the back discount room like a cheeky mole. There wasn’t a lot that grabbed my fancy this year, but they did have little bags of this nice twisted color yarn. They were 50g balls of 8ply, 100% wool (I think?) at $2.50 each, so that was pretty decent. Beyond that, I have no idea what they are.I’ll probably use them for amigurumi.

Once we got to the actual show, these were the only things I bought on my “preview” lap. They were so cheap and cute that I couldn’t resist. The Nostalgic Crochet one is hilariously kitschy and weird, and since I want to do some fine crochet work this will give me some ideas. The Crochet Blouses one has aged super well. Almost all of the tops in it you could make without any changes and they’d still be totes nice and classy, and not at all dated or naff. It was just a really lovely book.

This yarn is the first yarn I bought when I realized that it was almost four o’clock and I was the only one who was still sticking to the “preview lap first, buying lap second” plan. Everyone else was all loaded up and I was empty handed! “Aww, hell naww!” says I and start lapping that show ground like a man on a mission. Because, of course, I was on a mission, gentle reader. A mission to “BUY ALL THE THINGS!”.

This yarn is from Kathy’s Fibers, and I adore it. I’m not hugely into variegated yarns usually (at least not for knitting) but I just really loved this one and snapped it up.

Yarn Info
Kathy’s Fibers
12ply wool
“Spring” colorway
140m/100g
www.kathysfibres.com

Again, I’m not sure what I’m going to make with it, but I have two skeins of it so I’m sure I’ll get something super neat out of it.

Since I bought some Rowan bamboo tape last year, I’ve been kind of obsessed with tapes. I have no idea what I want to do with any of these tapes, but I love them. I’m not sure which stall it was that I got this from, but the yarn is called Wigwam by Colinette.

Yarn Info
Colinette “Wigwam”
100% cotton (aran weight)
“Pharaoh” colorway
130m/100g
www.colinette.com

I love that the colors are bright crisp here, and then a bit muddy there. It’s really soft and smooth and of all the yarns I got, I’ve probably spent the most time squishing this one.

Now, I mentioned in my last post that the Stranded in Oz stall was totes my fave, and so is the yarn I bought there. So, we’ve got green and we’ve got a Wizard of Oz reference but to push my comfort zone it’s 4ply sock yarn and it has a really neat fiber blend.

Yarn Info
Stranded In Oz “Toe Toe”
4ply, 50% superwash wool, 25% soy silk, 22.5% cotton, 2.5% chitin.
“Spring Green” colorway
400m/100g
www.strandedinoz.com

Again, I have two skeins and I’m not sure yet what I’m going to make. I mean, the only thing on my shopping list was a swift which didn’t work out, so all this yarn was a bonus to me and I wasn’t planning on getting much. I just adore this yarn though, and I want to make something really special with it. Suggestions?

I somehow ended up with these buttons. I think the stall was called the “Button Lady” or something, and had tables full of buttons and some stands with old pattern books. I’d bought a few things there last year, and I really loved that stall. I looked through the buttons and found these. I like wooden buttons, and I like Mickey Mouse so at first I thought this was neat. But they didn’t have the price on them and I didn’t really love them enough to bother asking. I don’t know about you, but I have this weird thing that if stuff isn’t priced I’m not gonna ask, I just won’t buy it. I have to love something a LOT to ask how much it is. I don’t even know what that’s all about.

Anyway, Hal – perhaps thinking my reluctance to ask a price was more out of shyness than a bizarre shopping neurosis, bless her – took it upon herself to ask. Meanwhile, I’d decided that they were actually kinda creepy, what with the sewing holes punched through his face, so I’d moved on to patterns. The woman returned, Hal asked on my behalf, to which the woman said that the button card was $6.

“Mmm, no thank you,” I declined, thinking the price was perfectly reasonable but the buttons – and Mickey’s repeated facial trauma – were just not for me.

“Oh, look. I’m over today. I just bought myself an electric rat trap, so I’m as happy as can be! You can have those buttons. They’re a freebie,” she replied. I looked at Hal, Hal looked at me. The woman turned to another lady and began espousing the merits of electrocuting rats in her new contraption. I decided taking the buttons was the best thing to do at that point.

So, that’s my yarn and goodies haul from Bendigo! I’ll keep you posted with whatever I do with them all. Feel free to drop suggestions in the comments or on my Facebook page!

What would you make with these yarns? What are you making with your Bendigo haul? 

Bendigo!

Gentle reader,

It’s finally time to tell you all about my day at the Bendigo Sheep & Wool Show. I had a super great time, as if you couldn’t guess! And I went with super great peeps! I could write all day about it, but instead I’ll just show you pictures and tell you some of my fave things. I’m not going to talk too much about what I bought, because I’ll do a separate “Bendigo Haul” post.

I was totes excited about going this year, partly because I knew what to expect and partly because I actually had a budget this time. So, that always helps, right?

First, my lovely friends Kate (who’s blog is here) and Hal met at Flinders Street Station. That’s them in the lower left (Kate) and right (Hal) knitting on the train. In fact, we were so busy knitting that we missed our station to meet up with the also lovely Jane (top pic, right) and Jeanette (top pic, left). Now, I wash my hands of responsibility for any part in this mishap.

“I was following Kate,” I said.

“Why me!?” she asks.

“Because you’re a lawyer,” I said.

It made sense in my head, cuz, y’know. Lawyers know stuff. To be fair though, we all averred that we didn’t hear the announcement, and were all unfamiliar with that train line.

No harm done though, because Jane was a saint and picked us up at the next station and we all went to meet up with Karen (top pic, center) who is Irish and fantastic and we were on our way! We stopped at a lovely cafe in Kyneton for coffee and eggs, though I neglected to get its name. Kyneton was quite delightful and pretty and I’d like to do a day trip there some time.

Once we got to Bendigo, we stopped at the Bendigo Woollen Mills first, natch, because their discount back room is a must. I bought a few small balls with lovely twisted colors, and a bag of pure wool filling, because they were practically giving it away. While Kate, Hal, Jeanette and I waited out the front for Jane and Karen to finish their purchasing, we ran into the gorgeous Jules of Woollenflower briefly, just long enough to say hello and exchange big happy hugs.

It was a lovely day. Sure, I usually love wet, miserable, gloomy days being a sun-allergic ginger and all, but it was the perfect compromise. It was sunny enough that it was lovely to be out and about, but cloudy enough that I didn’t feel like I was getting skin cancer at every turn. Because we went on the Friday, it didn’t seem that the aminals (deliberate spelling, don’t judge me, I just like saying ‘aminals’) were really on display as much as they were on the Saturday we went last year. Some sheepdogs were practicing, and there were some colored sheep in a tent. See that little guy on the right? Oy, I fell in love him. His little face was so adorable it would break your heart and stick it back together with cuteness. Not even joking. I couldn’t really get the best picture because of the fence and my camera has personal dramas. Also, I didn’t want to blind the poor schnookums with a flash, so that’s the best I could do.
Also, I had bitterness with adulthood when I saw they had a bouncy castle. I don’t care for Shrek so much, but BOUNCY CASTLES make my heart sing. When I called the WAHmbulance, I was promptly informed by a number of individuals that it’s possible to hire adult bouncy castles, to which my response was “THIS DOESN’T HELP ME BECAUSE THERE ISN’T ONE HERE RIGHT NOW, KTHNXBAI.” I had to restrain myself from lecturing the children through the mesh windows: “Enjoy it while it lasts, kid! One day you’ll be too big! TOO BIG FOR BOUNCY CASTLES, you hear me!? And you’ll never be able to go back! Because people don’t EVER hire adult bouncy castles. You got it!?” Thankfully for everyone’s sake I managed to keep my inner old man to myself. (Meanwhile, do you guys need to enforce a “caps quota” on me? Eek.) But I digress…

Kylie of Ms.Gusset Yarns and Fibers was there, with crazy amounts of beautiful cormo yarn from the Ton of Wool project you may have seen on Pozible. I didn’t buy any because my budget was already spoken for at this point, but I’ll tell you what, I was super tempted! Kate and Hal bought some and were very happy. If you go to the ms.gusset Ravelry group, you can find all the relevant linkies and buy some o’ dat yarn!

Now, this was my FAVORITE thing EVER at Bendigo. I practically lost my mind at the Stranded In Oz stall. I really can’t even articulate it, it was just overwhelming. Just something about the colors, and the yarns, and the pattern samples just made me all spinny. The Wizard of Oz references also made me heart explode. Kate and Hal bought some of the sparkly yarn in the lower left and I bought some twisted green yarn called “Toe Toe” . Geesh. It’s like it was made for me and waiting for me the whole time. The lady who ran it was an absolute delight also, so you know my inner dialogue was “HERE, TAKE MY ALL OF MONEY!” So, please, please, please do go check out her website here and the Stranded In Oz Ravelry group too. Caps again. Oy. I’m so ashamed of myself.

We had a little debrief before we left and I snapped some of our purchases. There’s my Stranded In Oz ‘Toe Toe’ in the middle there. I’m kvelling just looking at it now. I think everyone was super happy with their efforts, though I’m sure we all would have liked bigger budgets. There’s always next year.

Jeanette, Hal, Kate and I were all dropped at the station to go our separate way, and unfortunately, we got there with a long wait to go. Never mind! We all started knitting of course! First we decided to add up how many kilometers we’d bought each. I bought 2.25 kilometers of yarn, and I had the least. To avoid the risk of incrimination, I won’t say how much the others bought ^_~ Look how proud and happy Hal looks! N’awww! I heart those peeps. Finally we all got home, and I pretty much crashed as soon as I walked through the door. I was plum tuckered out! But, aren’t those the best days when you have so much fun you’re completely demolished when you get home? I think so!

Did you go to the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show? What yarny/crafty festivals do you go to in your area? 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! ^_^

Cameras, Birds (And Their Downstairs Mix-Ups), A Prelude to Intarsia & A Dash of Zombies

Gentle reader,

You may recall that our house was broken into… TWICE, and the second time they took Joel’s camera (which I had somewhat commandeered). While we’ve vowed not to replace any of the game consoles until we move, I was getting very itchy not having a decent camera, though I admit my iPhone does a pretty good job up to a point. So, I did some reading and I decided on the Nikon Coolpix L120 because of the cray-to-the-azy lens, some good reviews and the amazingly good price. You can get them for $198 at Dick Smiths, if you’re in Australia, which was about $60 cheaper than I saw at other places.

Joel and I got some dinner afterward at QV, and I decided to test it out on some birds.

I pointed my camera at these birds and this is what happened.

I love birds! I mean, I really know next to nothing about them like different breeds etc, but gosh I think they’re the cutest things ever. But then I remember they have cloacas which then kinda grosses me out for some reason and it mars my enjoyment of their cuteness for a few seconds, and then I push the idea of a one-stop poopin’, peein’, breedin’ shop from my head and then all is well again.

In fact, let’s do that now and move on from that unsavory thought and just enjoy these mighty adorable little critters. I LOVE that little nugget in the bottom left! Look at his little chest and face! Eeeeeeeeee! I would totally have given him a gentle hug in my hands if he’d let me. HIS. LITTLE. FACE!!!! ^_^     Cloaca. Dammit!  >_<

Meanwhile, I’ve been knitting a bit! I recently discovered the wonders of having a library card after not having one since I left college. I pretty much borrowed every knitting book that wasn’t totally naff from the library on Flinders Lane, and I decided that I’d tackle some intarsia. I’m making a wee bairn’s sweater from Picture Perfect Knits by Laura Birek. The design is called “I ❤ Mom“, and it’s a heart with a banner around it that says “Mom”, but I’m going to switch the chart out for a different design from the appendix at the back. So far, I think the book is awesome and probably worth the purchase. The pattern has been really clear, concise and easy to follow, but, I haven’t gotten to the intarsia yet and there was no shaping on the back piece, so, the wheels may yet fall off (I daresay that would be my own shortcoming and not the books though).

It seems on of my balls of yarn has become irradiated. Whoops.

I started with the back panel to safeguard against my finishing the intarsia and then getting bored with it and never finishing it. Geesh. I pinned it out for the sake of photographing it, I’ve not blocked it yet. I’ll pin the tar outta it when I do, cuz it’s super curly. I haven’t been slipping my first stitch to get a nice edge so it’s mega rough and curly at the edges. I dunno why I didn’t do the slipping thing. I think Marelle told me not to bother, so I’ll see how that goes. I’m using Cleckheaton Basics DK which I got from a sale. It’s a perfectly decent yarn, but I shan’t rave about it. I suppose that’s neither here nor there though, since it’s now discontinued. If you find it cheap though, it’s worth picking up.

I have a few projects on the go – I’m still working on my own sweater and Marelle’s crochet lace dress (which I’ve been taking to work to do on my lunch break) – but they’ve all gotten too big to to be suitable for public transport projects. Sure, the intarsia sweater is small, but since I’ll be starting the chart soon, it will be a sit-quietly-and-concentrate project. Luckily for me, I recently traded in some games and got Resident Evil: Revelations for my Nintendo 3DS (the only game console that wasn’t stolen) to while away my commute time. I don’t know if I can stress this enough: I love me some zombie-killin’. Yes, I do. The very first Resident Evil was one of the first games I got when we first got a computer. I’m fairly sure it gave me nightmares, but they were AWESOME nightmares (my parents may disagree on that fact).

“Resident… Eeevillll”

I played a couple hours of it over the weekend, and it’s pretty off-the-hook cray-to-the-azy. The graphics are super neat and definitely the best I’ve seen on the DS. It’s also compatible with the extra thumb-stick attachment, which I don’t have, but I really haven’t felt that controls are lacking without it. It’s very intuitive and fun. Are you guys even into games? Zombies? Yes? No? Lemme know. If you likey I’ll talk more about it, if no, I’ll keep it to my own nerdy self.

Have you tackled intarsia knitting yet? Have any tips? Share-zies!  ^_^