Finished object 6 – the specialest of shawls

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I was gifted the most special of yarns. 

Keri (of whendidibecomeaknitter) sent me a skein of her hand spun. 

It was sent with a knitted dalek and a Canada Mug (which I use most mornings and I now know most of the words to Oh Canada) and a very precious skein of her own hand spun yarn! From the date on the original photo it has been in my stash since 2013 just waiting for the right pattern to come along.

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Well in the end I devised the right pattern. 

After casting on 5 stitches I repeated the following two rows. 

Row 1: Knit 1, Knit front & back, knit til last 3, knit 2 together, knit 1

Row 2: Knit til last 2 stitches. Knit front & back, knit 1. 

Then every now and again I would do a row of yarn over knit 2 together (while following the increase at one end, decrease at the other pattern). 

   

It still needs blocking to even out the 4 rows of yarn over-knit 2 together to end the shawl. But the kittens have stolen my craft room and so now I don’t know where to block anything. 

It’s also awkward given my blocking matts have become their scratching pads.  

 I really don’t want to put such a pretty shawl onto a cat scratching pad!!!

Firstly it was awesome to be gifted some hand spun yarn! It must have taken so long to spin and ply and wind. Seriously just the effort alone is awesome and a wonderful gift. 

Secondly as a novice spinner it was really interesting to see the imperfections, the quirks, and idiosyncrasies of yarn that has been hand spun. This isn’t to say that it wasn’t fantastic quality, because it was and is! But seeing hand spun up close is going to help my own spinning (once  a part is fixed on my wheel).    

 

So not only did I get a lovely gift which resulted in a fantastic finished object, but I got a lesson in working with hand spun yarn. 

Reason #7482929 knitters are brilliant people. 

THANK YOU KERI!!! You’re the best!!!! 

Unbreakable

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This week – I can’t even begin. 

There’s just been so much going on. 

If you want a better articulated version of my week visit TeaTimeTails

The one thing that’s kept me slightly sane has been the prospect of a long weekend (which means football!!!) and the sage advice from the latest Tina Fey produced TV show ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’. 

Like nearly every other person who’s written about this series on the Internet, I watched it all in one night and have a really strong desire to watch it all again. 

If you don’t live in the US, or pretend you live in 90210 like we do to watch US Netflix you may have not have seen Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt but the basic premise is this. After 15 years of living in a hole with a cult leader, they’re rescued and instead of returning her life before, Kimmy takes her Unbreakable spirit and starts a life in New York. 

It’s not all smooth sailing. It is a television show and there is a narrative to drive. Naturally there’s conflict and hard times and Kimmys strategy is one that I’ve employed this week. 

“You can handle anything for 10 seconds.” 

10 seconds at a time. Then another 10 seconds. Then another 10 seconds. 

That’s been this week. 10 seconds at a time. 

  

The theme song is also catchy as anything. So that absolutely had to go on a cuff. With a little 10 as a secret reminder to take things 10 seconds at a time. 

But if you can watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – do so immediately!

Embroidery hoop art

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There are some things you just can’t do when you’re a cat owner. 

One of these things is having a tea cup on your bed side table as a jewelry holder. 

Cats will jump on it causing the clinking of China to wake you up at 4am on a Saturday. It may be pretty but sleep does come first. 

So I needed to hang my jewelry out of cats reach.

I am pretty obsessed with embroidery hoops so I picked out a couple in my crafty stash which I had painted and put away for future use.  

I took some fabric also from stash, secured it in the hoop, cut around the back, and poked some earrings into it!   

 

Then I screwed a couple of hooks into the wall and hung them. 

 Then I screwed a couple more hooks behind the embroider hoop to hang some of my necklaces on. (If you’re renting or don’t have walls that you can put holes into, 3M command hooks work as well.) 

   

 

 This has got to be one of easiest DIY I’ve ever done. 

  

I now know that I’m missing some earrings which I’ll have to track down. And I found some that I need to return to their original owner! 

It also has the added bonus of being almost entirely from stash, keeps my necklaces untangled, and looks pretty cute to boot. That makes it a winner in my book. And the cats aren’t really all the interested!

   

 

 

Fun with permanent markers

Possibly my favourite part of grocery shopping is checking out the stationery section.

It’s not even a whole aisle but depending on what’s in stock you can usually find something interesting, new, or pretty.

Recently I spotted some metallic sharpies and they somehow slipped and found their way into my basket!

I sat down on the couch with some glass jars, some coloured permanent markers, got comfy and started experimenting.

My drawing didn’t go too well. The glass was slippery, my drawing skills are limited, and once you draw on the glass it doesn’t come off!

I experimented with text by taping the design on paper and sticking it to the inside of the jar.
That was not easy. It was fiddly, I didn’t have enough light, and half way through the paper moved.

I had the most success when I went to basics. Horizontal lines and geometric patterns. They’re my strong suits. Nothing too tricky but striking.

 

        

I then ran out of jars, so I moved on to the pot I use as a yarn bowl. I had bought it from the hardware store with a little plant because I thought I’d try my hand at keeping 1 solitary plan alive.
I was quickly informed by the gardener in the relationship that the pot was too small for the plant.

So it’s been holding my yarn ever since.
Using the gold metallic sharpie I gave it a scalloped top.

  

It was exactly how I thought I’d spend my friday night, but there you go.

Oh and naturally I filled the jars with pompoms because that’s how I roll.

PS for those readers who use feedly or by email. I’ve redecorated! Come have a look and tell me what you think?

We may be able to work it out, but just in case we can’t I wouldn’t get your hopes up

It started off so well.

– The colour is beautiful (why thank you I dyed it myself),
– The cat photobombing is freakin adorable
– The mindless garter is perfect watching all of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt in one night,

and then came the lace……. (use your most ominous tone. I suggest the voice of Cecil Baldwin)

The pattern is Nurmilintu by Heidi Alandar and it’s lovely. The pattern is well set out, the finished pictures look great, and even the finished items from other people look great.

So why oh why am I having so much trouble with this?

There’s only one answer I can come up with.
I can’t count.

Maybe my pre-primary teacher felt sorry for me and passed me instead of holding me back.

Perhaps by the time I was in high school doing calculus my parents had written letters to my teachers warning them to not shatter my illusions of being able to count.

Is this like my colour vision and I’m just suddenly realising that actually there is no such number as the number 7 and it’s all a figment of my imagination?

I honestly believed I could count, but for some bizarre unknown reason whenever I do any kind of counting in this pattern it doesn’t add up. (Pun well and truly intended.)

I counted 3 times (if there even is a number three) that I had the correct number of stitches before starting the first lace part.

Even after the first row I had the right number of stitches left and followed the chart exactly.
But the lace section just does not look right. It’s nothing like the pictures and I can’t work out how.

Then (and this is some seriously wack shit…. ) I counted the number of stitches I had AFTER completely the lace section and I had LESS than what the pattern said I should have had BEFORE I started the lace section?? But I still have increased the pattern????? (All my twitter followers have just had a collective moment of ‘OHHH!!! That’s what Bek was yelling about last night!”)

I just don’t know. I really don’t. I’m flummoxed.

It’s definitely not getting frogged. In spite of my inability to count I’m still in love with it already.
I shall call it a design feature and flaunt it.

Here’s hoping that we can work it out for the second repeat!

  

finished object 5 with 100% more ratbags

Well it’s actually finished object 6 but as finished object 5 is currently winging its way overseas and I stupidly don’t have any proper photos of it, I’m calling this finished object 5.

 

It will need a good blocking but my blocking mats are currently play toys for the two (yes two) kitten shaped ratbags that have decided they now own our house.

Say hello to Snow.

 

He and Tina are sort of playing nicely with each other. Currently they’re both resting at my feet while I’m writing this in between trying to defeat a boss in Dragon Age 2.  (Which hell yes I just beat!! Last quest and I’ve been battling this Blood Mage, a Pride Demon and a fuckton of Shades for what seems like hours but yeh I finally beat them!!!)

Tina just blends in with everything in our house. But trust me she is there.

So there are plenty of kitty hugs to go round at the moment.

I wound my cling wrap dyed yarn into a ball and it looks just as gorgeous as it did in the skein.

 

However both kitten shaped ratbags were utterly captivated by the swift and ball winder. Plus Snow photo bombed my yarn shot.

I think I can expect more of that in the future!!! As a friend said, I’ve just invited two cats into a yarn palace!!! What have I done.

FO # 4 – crickety cricket shawl + talk about doctors. 

I feel like there is so much happening at the moment that’s a secret. 

I have secret tutorials happening, secret patterns that I’m writing and editing, secret projects for friends who read this so I’m totally not telling!!!!

There has been a lot happening, but not much I can blog about.

Fortunately my health is going really well! For those who missed my Twitter meltdown I had a really shitty appointment with my pain management specialist where I ended up dumping him. So I went to my GP who is lovely and actually takes time to listen to me and prescribe me new medications that won’t conflict with current medications (unlike said specialist). 

So the new medication I’m on is helping me feel like a person who can actually sit on the couch without rubbing her neck in pain. Albeit a drowsy person, but I can deal with that. Knitting needles aren’t classed as heavy machinery. 

Anyways I have finished an object that I can show you. 

The yarn is the 5th doctor in YarnvsZombies Doctor Who yarn club. As the 5th doctor being known for his cricket vest I wanted a cable pattern that I could call my crickety cricket shawl (the designer called it storm warning.)

My name comes from the Children in Need special Time Crash where the 5th Doctor and the 10th Doctor meet. 

“The hat the coat, the crickety cricket look, the stick of celery….. Brave choice celery, not many people can pull off a decorative vegetable.”

Kiki (the mastermind behind YarnvsZombies) cleverly included the decorative celery in the yarn. 

It makes for a really gorgeous shawl. It was a breeze to knit up, the yarn is supersquishy and lovely. Once I got a hang of the pattern, including putting in an extra stitch marker to help me count, it went really quickly.

I love this shawl and cannot wait for it to get cold enough to wear it. 

I got a grand total of one shot of me, in the aircon, before it got too hot to wear. And unfortunately eeyore doesn’t have the figure to model a shawl!!!







 

Kitty cats, crafternoons, and alternate universes. 

So many exciting things I am going to split them over two posts!!!

I have one more quest before I’m finished (well getting to the credits) of Dragon Age 2. 

Then I can start Dragon Age Origins. Because the obvious way to play video games is play them in reverse release order. Still I’ve nearly finished 2 video games! I think I’ve only ever finished one other game previously which was Final Fantasy 7. 

I’ve been doing a lot of cool knitting and crochet related stuff which you’ll find about soon enough, but that’s strictly need to know at the moment. (I feel really super cool just being able to say that. It’s the small things.)

I had a lovely crafternoon picnic hosted by the lovely Lisa of teaandcrafts (and recently Frankie magazine fame!!!!) and some other Perth crafty ladies. PLUS PLUS PLUS!!!!! I got some crafty presents including the coolest cup! 

Her drawings are super cute and I love it so much. It’s just purrfect. It’s a cat with glasses, polkadots, purple hair and knitting. Sound like anyone you know ☺️





I already have some ideas up my sleeve for a thank you gift! 

I’m predicting an ongoing exchange of thank you pressies. 

I also got a lovely package of goodies from Megan from crafternoon nap





Look I’m even wearing matching socks! 





Seriously crafty people are the best!!!

How cool is this scarf?! It has a slip in the pattern which makes it into a sort of tie. It’s super awesome. (I had to show off the dragon earrings I made for myself at the same time.)

I’ve absolutely zipped through Lois Lowry’s – The Giver series. I bought them on a whim before a doctors appointment. One of favourite book shops is right near my doctors office. I use book buying as a treat for going to the doctor.

I read all 4 in one weekend! They are aimed at children so the print is large and they are short, but the concepts are pretty big. Definitely thought provoking. 

I definitely have a bad case of the reading bug because Thursday I plucked Night Circus off the bookshelf on a whim and proceeded to read in one whole night. I did not stop. It was one of those books that I made and ate dinner with one hand so I could keep reading. 

I was only planning on a few chapters while HWFishes was watching an episode of Top Gear that I didn’t want to watch. Ended up with the whole evening with a nose in a book. 

Somehow I’ve managed to save the most exciting news for last. 

There is now a new addition to our household. Everyone say hello to Tina! 





Tina after my cartoon hero, Tina Belcher. 



She’s an absolute cutie that we adopted from our local vet. Currently her home is my crafty room which is the cleanest it’s ever looked. We’ll try and gently introduce herself to the rest of the house.

She’s 14 weeks, adorable, and has taken quite a liking to under the spare bed. She’s already exploring and adventurous. And loves reading over my shoulder. Cute as a button.







Well that’s enough for now. Maybe next time I’ll talk about knitting! 

Led down a rabbithole

So I was listening to one of my favourite podcasts Talk the Talk and they mentioned Google Ngram which searches an incredibly large selection of books and then graphs how many times they were used over time.
Inevitably, given how many things are on my to-do list at the moment, I spent way too much time typing in random words from Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and other fandoms to see what came up. Muggle was used as early as the 1800s and TARDIS spiked in the 1820s.

Naturally this piqued my interest and I had to test out some knitting words.

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Knitting and embroidery are significantly more widely used than crochet.
Tunisian crochet and loom knitting turned up no results.
Finger knitting started to turn up in 1960 and machine knitting started in 1880 with a huge spike in usage around 1940.

Then I fell down the rabbit hole and started comparing needle types, sock construction, colour work, basically all the knitting specific words I could think of.

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At first glance it looks like toe up is more well used than cuff down. Then I dug a little deeper and looked at the books with references to Toe Up. I went through 3 pages and not one reference to knitting.
I don’t think this graph will be able to settle the toe up vs cuff down debate!

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That really sharp spike of DPN in 1960? “Diphosphopyridine nucleotide (DPN) : DPN, formerly known as coenzyme I,* contains one residue each of adenine and nicotinic acid amide, and two each of ribose and phosphoric acid.”
So again, nothing to do with knitting just pure coincidence. Maybe don’t talk about lending your DPNs to a scientist. They might just get very confused.

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Without DPN to skew the graph axis, it becomes clearer that circular needles entered the scene around 1860 and double pointed needles around 1940. I tried guessing what correlations there could be with words like circular knitting, knitting in the round, world war, and measles but none of them had a similar spike. I had a vague idea that I could just stumble on a spurious correlation but it wasn’t to be.

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Fair Isle has been around since the 1800s, but Intarsia appeared in 1850 and Entrelac slightly later in 1905. Or at least the word has been in usage since those times.

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And then just for fun I typed in three different spellings of polka-dots just to see which usage is most popular.

Turns out polkadots it is.
There you go! I still like polka-dots. It appeals to me aesthetically.

Graphs are fun!

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So much yarn so little time

I feel like I’m trying to knit everything all at once!!!

I have my Sunshine Shawl making good progress after watching Australia beat England and India beat Pakistan over the weekend.

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Then I am so close to finishing my crickety cricket scarf it’s just beckoning for me to finish it, even if that means staying up all night (which I am vehemently resisting but a girl is only so strong!)
I’m definitely on the home stretch.

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Then there are my spirally socks. I’ve just turned the heel which means that these are also nearly finished. I’ve already planned the next project for my sock needles.

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Then this shawl has gone missing and I’m systematically turning the house upside down looking for it.

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And then there’s also this yarn that I dyed and just can’t stop petting.

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More about that later…. When I have time!!!!

There’s still Dragon Age 2 that I’m trying to finish, and Mass Effect 3 which I’m really starting to get hooked on, plus the desire to play Dragon Age Inquisition which I have played until the final quest but there is still so much I need to do!
And so many feelings!!!!

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Plus you know a full time job, plotting for birthday presents & surprise mail, and some big ideas for my blog.

I need a nap just thinking about it.

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