Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Not gone, just offline

I have a bunch of projects to catch up with from December and new stuff as well, not to mention the doll hat pattern I have in testing and expect to release in a couple of weeks. So of course my laptop decides to pick this week to quit accessing the internet! Granted, it’s given me five years’ hard service…still, what a pain! So it will be a while till the next update, ’cause blogging from an iTouch is not quite as convenient as you might think…

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  • spending 12 hours straight knitting the world’s most epic garter stitch scarf
  • doing park cleanup and finding 1) a paring knife, 2) a lighter and metal spoon in suspicious proximity, and 3) a basketball in a pear tree.  No joke.  We donated the basketball along with several coats to Women In Need Victoria (but forgot to upload & submit the photo! NOOOOO!)
  • dusting off my composing skills, then walking a few steps in my choir director’s shoes – they pinch a bit – and having so much fun interpreting pop music in harmony
  • being one of over 100 000 people who have pledged to make November & December the kindest months of 2012 (what are we going to do next year?  A million people?  We could totally get there, because GISHWHES can accomplish anything!)
  • running to Home Depot with one hour left on the clock because WE NEED MORE GLUE FOR JENSEN SNACKLES
  • being asked on the bus if we were connected with the people running around downtown dressed as pirates because “you look like you’re in costume,” looking around, and realising we were all wearing our everyday clothes
  • a misty-eyed (on both sides) hug for the vet offering poppies outside the grocery store
  • working with the fearless, tireless, and creative members of Team Spacebees Loves Shenanigan!  Thank you all for an amazing experience!

Now I can get back to real life…I guess…if I have to…


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Dearli is finished and blocking.

I have some dolly knitting almost finished.

But right now I need to take a break…because GISHWHES!!!  No time for knitting (unless knitting something for points) – I have to help my international team, Spacebees Loves Shenanigans, compete to gather the craziest photos and videos imaginable to gain points to hopefully become the winning team that goes to Scotland and spends a weekend in a haunted castle with the insane mastermind behind the whole thing – actor Misha Collins.

If you are participating in GISHWHES yourself, GOOD LUCK and HAVE FUN!  If you’re not…you can still support Team Spacebees (or any other team you know to be participating)!  One of the challenges is to see how many people we can get to pledge to perform one random act of kindness (RAK) before the end of 2012.  Anything, from buying a coffee for the next person in line, to donating blood, to volunteering at your local soup kitchen.  Pledging is easy and painless and FREE, simply go to the pledge page, enter your name and email (and the act you plan to perform if you know what it is already), and enter my email address as the person who referred you.  [email redacted post-event]

GISHWHES will not email you (unless you choose to sign up to their email list) or share your email address – it’s just there to make sure you are a real person who’s not me.  I hope that even if you don’t want to pledge in my name (gaining my team 1 point per 2 people who pledge), you will consider performing a RAK this year and every year.  GISHWHES is about craziness, but GISHWHES is also about love, so let’s all share the love and good wishes and may the craziest team win!

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Once upon a time, there was a girl who bought some stitch markers for someone she loved.  The stitch markers were magnetized hematite spheres in a set of seven, the seventh one bearing a key.  The set made the girl think of Bluebeard’s castle, and the last key to the last door that must never be unlocked.  And like Bluebeard’s wife, she could not stop thinking about that key until she possessed it and all its secrets.  So one day she went back to the fabled land of Etsy, and visited once again the shining castle known as Exchanging Fire, and brought back not only the key that she had so long thought about, but other fairytale treasures!




In true fairytale fashion, the girl continued working on her spinning, although she could not yet turn straw to gold.


And seven tiny hats appeared on a shelf, waiting for seven mysterious heads to fill them.


And everyone knit happily ever after!

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And so we meet again, Sewing, my old nemesis!  But be warned, this time you cannot prevent me from creating something beautiful from woven fabric, no matter how vilely you struggle!

A while ago I started to suspect that at least some of my sewing misadventures were due, not to my incompetence, but to the imperfection of the free patterns I was using (of course, no pattern can take the blame for my ability to break sewing machines just by looking at them).  For whatever reason, I don’t feel like this is a problem where knitting patterns are concerned – I’ve encountered a few disappointments that were barely worth the zero dollars I paid for them, to be sure, but I’ve known way more patterns that were actually excellent.  Maybe it’s because, especially since the Ravelry-, Etsy-, and Patternfish-supported boom in indie designers, a lot of people who design for yarn think of free patterns as a fantastic advertising tool that lets people try out your design skills and style of pattern writing before they shell out for your pay patterns.  Maybe it’s just because I understand how knitted fabric works in a way I don’t understand woven fabric, so I am both able to evaluate a free pattern before I start knitting it and nix any real stinkers, and also capable of adjusting it as I go if I think something’s not working.  Either way, it was a bit of a revelation to find that, yes, I may have been shooting myself in the foot by sticking only to free sewing patterns (at least for dolls – I think there are some great patterns and recipes out there for people clothes that don’t cost anything, like Tally’s recent tutorials on making a dress from a t-shirt and making a hood for a Halloween costume over at I Could Make That).

See, I had this great idea for a Halloween costume for Rada & Posy.  But it required a dress.  And yeah, I could knit a Box-Opening Day Dress in a suitable colour, but I did that last year!  And anyway, I really wanted more of a Mori Girl feel for this outfit, a feel which is supported by woven-fabric garments.  And I looked around at some of the free patterns I have bookmarked, and the best choice was something I’ve sewn before with so-so results.  So I started looking at pay patterns and ended up on the Gracefaery site.  I shelled out for Seasons For Seola, which is actually designed for the DollsTown Elf body, but comes much closer to the measurements of the DT 7year body than most garments designed for minis (I had been looking at Adams-Harris as well, but all the dresses that looked right were only available for slim mature minis and I knew they would be tough to adjust for my chunky immature girl).  Anyway, it took me two arduous days (torturous, even, when it came to sewing the pleats along the bottom, because, remember, I’m doing this all by hand) but I came up with this amazing piece of work.  Sure, it’s imperfect, but I am in no way embarrassed to show it, unlike many of my other sewing escapades.


Like I said, there are a few issues (mostly at least kind of hidden) because I did some of the adjustments by guesswork rather than by measurement.  If & when I sew up other patterns from the collection, I will definitely be pulling out my tape measure.  But so many things went really well – the way the neckline and sleeves were made in particular really awed me; they turned out so neat and tidy!


There’s at least one more piece coming (if you’re following along at home, this is the Spring pattern from the Seasons set, so I have a pinafore to make; I am also planning to make up an apron, and if I have time I may put together a petticoat as well) as well as one or more props, but even if I had to take her to the local Halloween meetup just as she is I’d be super proud of myself.  Have to get that fancy wig out and give the bangs a trim, though, because as cute as she is in this wig my vision for the costume includes cascading ringlets.  Ooh, I’m so excited!

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I was all set to start on a neckwarmer and just debating whether to use some of my yarn from Fibrations, or maybe the alpaca I picked up at the Saanich Fair.  I’d spent all evening Ravelling for patterns and had settled on one for the neckwarmer and another to use up some Kidsilk Haze that has been waiting patiently in the back of a drawer for ages.  I opened my “fuzzy yarns” drawer (containing primarily alpaca and mohair, with a few bits of other things) and saw, crawling on my Saanich Fair skein, a moth.

I’m fairly sure it was a clothes moth.  Not 100%, we do get lots of moths in the house and some of them are small and I don’t always close the drawers tightly.  But it did look mostly like the picture I looked up moments later.  And as I started pulling yarn out and jamming it in zipper-lock freezer bags I started to realise just how much animal-fibre yarn I now have.  And I started to think about my sweaters and shawls and how devastated I’d be if the next time I pulled out my wedding shawl little beads pattered to the floor, released from their lacy suspension by holes eaten in the slender threads.  PURE TERROR.  So I’m treating this as a clothes moth infestation despite the approximately 16.7% chance that I failed to correctly identify the critter I saw.  All animal-fibre yarns in that storage area are quarantined to the freezer for 72 hours or until I can make time for them next week.  Then, I’ll be taking them outside to shake out – apparently while freezing DOES NOT KILL EGGS, only adult and larval moths, you can get them to fall out, thus identifying any infested skeins.  I’m hoping it’s just one (and I think I know which one).  If not that, I’m hoping it’s just that one drawer and that none of them found the wool drawer underneath or the silk drawer (which contained a large amount of silk-wool blend) above.  O god, please let them not have made it up to my “hope chest” which is not actually a chest but rather the space on top of my second set of plastic drawers (used for storing doll stuff, notions, needles, etc.) where shifting piles of future baby apparel hover with threatening cuteness.  Apparently by being open to the air that stuff might actually be safer?  But still.  I would cry if a year or two down the road I finally got to pull out some of that stuff I’ve knitted and it was full of holes.

Depending on what the affected yarns are, I may bake them at 150˚ for 4 hours (which kills the eggs, yay) or allow to thaw (and eggs to hatch thinking it’s spring, ha ha fuckers) and then re-freeze after 48 hours (hopefully before they have a chance to nom my yarn!) to kill the larvae with cold.  Either way, BOOOOOOOO TO INVERTEBRATES!  And if anyone knows where I can get Pyrethrum/Pyrethrin spray (derived from chrysanthemums and apparently quite an effective spray that’s not toxic to mammals) in Victoria, please let me know, because I was told to check Amazon, but they won’t ship it to Canada, dammit!

And of course this means I have to come up with a new plan for what to knit today, one that doesn’t involve any of my beloved squishy wool type yarns!  Curses!

Oct. 28 edit:

I found a good source of pyrethrins!  Of course the moth scare has blown over by now, but I am putting this out into the world.  Flea and tick sprays for household pets are based on pyrethrins, or at least the Zodiac brand stuff we have in the house is.  I was reading the label…it’s theoretically for spraying directly onto your pet, but I’m pretty sure they make a household spray as well that might be slightly different in composition.  In any case, it seems like a great option for occasionally spritzing my stash storage.

Also, once the scare blew over I totally knit that neckwarmer from the alpaca from the fair, and then promptly lost it.  Like, 48 hours after I cast off.  Headdesk.

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Picking up stitches for the February Dolly Skirt is a bit tricky to explain, so I took pictures.  Clicking on them will take you to the larger size (but fair warning, it’s veeeeery large).  It’s worth noting that I knit continental, and that since I wasn’t able to work out a hands-free way to photograph this, you don’t see my right hand working the right-hand needle.  You’ll have to use your imagination for that, I guess.  Or send me money so I can buy a head-mountable videocamera?

View the tutorial under the cut.


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New look

I might be messing around with themes a bit over the next few days.  For a while I’ve been slightly dissatisfied with the theme I started out with…not sure I’ve found the right replacement yet, but it will get there.  It’s just…got to be pink, one way or another.  Wish I knew how to code CSS!

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14 hours, give or take, before this adventure starts.

I packed last night…still catching last minute bits and pieces that I’d forgotten, but most importantly I have enough crafting supplies to survive the apocalypse.  Well, maybe not that many, but at least enough that I hope I can make it 2 weeks without being bored…!   You can see the silky wool (for my Ivy cardigan – starting the right front next) and my Tofootsies sock yarn that’s going to be a pair of Bintje Knee Socks, as well as my darling Killira who was either telling me she wanted to come along on the trip or helping to tamp down my clothing to make more space for yarnz!


I just have one doll project along with me, a swingy skirt for Vasilisa knit in my absolutely smallest cobweb weight merino from Colourmart.  It looks pretty nice (it’s a gorgeous charcoal), but I am never going to knit something this big for a large doll in such light yarn again…it is taking forever.  I think I started it around this time last year, to give you some idea.  When I get home, though, I have big plans for some Mini-Gem (and by extension Barbie) sized sweaters:


I may try a few sizes of the bunny-ear coat.  I think it would be super sweet for Minis as well, and Rada is all about the bunnies.

Anyway, next project photos you see from me may well be taken in brilliant tropical sunlight.  Wish me luck in avoiding seasickness…I’ll see you all in a couple weeks!

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Honourable Mention!

My Omnominatr0n got an honourable mention in the MochiMochi Land Photo Contest!  There were over 500 entries, so…wow!  to have made it into the top 40 is pretty special!  The semi-finalist photos are amazing, so if you like cute stuff be sure to surf on over there, check them out, and use your comments to help choose the finalists.  There are a few I’m rooting for, for sure!

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