Friday, September 7, 2012

Finished Undead Friday.

No time to participate in the blogging world the way I'd like to, still, but it feels wrong on FO Friday to not at least briefly introduce you all to the Season's First Owl---Buttons the Deranged, a hopefully-autumn-weather-summoning zombie owl.  Let's pretend that his button eyes were not at all influenced by the fact that I'd left my safety eyes at residence no. 2 while I was crafting him at residence no. 1, but instead by a completely purposeful aesthetic decision to make him look even nuttier.

I even made him a little brain gnaw on in case he gets hungry before he reaches his new home, whenever and wherever that is.  (Mr. Buttons is available for sale or swap, if his wonky eyes are looking at you with a particularly non-resistible beseechingness...)

Next up, a Hedwig-inspired owl, I think...worked in some nice Lion Brand Homespun so the body shouldn't take two shakes of a lamb's tail.  (My mom used to use that expression all the time when I was a kid, I hadn't thought of it in ages.  Huh.)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hello, August.

Apparently the way I'm saying  hello to August is with terrible photography.  (Sorry about that.  Sub-par camera, bad light, in a hurry...)

Just a quick WIP Wednesday and Yarnalong check-in with my latest crocheted silliness---a shawl for the Ravellenics.  I'd promised myself I was going to stick to little stuff---toys and hats for charity, say.  And I'm still hoping to do a couple of those!  But I also got all caught up in the spirit of Challenging Yourself and Using Awesome Yarn, etc. etc., and bought a pattern I'd been eying forever for this particular skein of gorgeous yarn.

So I'm makin' myself up a Dinosaur Tail.  I'm so jealous of all of those amazing, spiky-beautiful Hitchhiker shawls you knitter-types make, and I need some spikes of my own.  I'm a bit sad at how much these are curling (such is crochet), and am hoping that a stern blocking when I'm done (which, spoiler alert, will probably not be in time for a "medal" in Shawl Sailing) will fix 'em.  It's a really nice pattern, though---just two super-simple rows, so it's easy to keep track of where I am, which is a most excellent quality.  And I'm loving working with the yarn and watching the colours pop up.

In the way of reading, I've been remembering my love for graphic novels recently (pictures! and so quick to read!), and am currently remembering that love with Sarah Oleksyk's Ivy, which is...harsh.  Its central character is a high school girl, and the blurb on the back praises the novel for being about high school as it actually is, which is true---and a little bit difficult, because it reminds me in a tidal wave of regret about just how awfully people behave and treat each other at that age, how much everything hurts and seems huge and unfair and makes lashing out seem like the only solution.  Eek.  Obviously the fact that it makes me flinch and feel retroactively mortified at my teenage self is a sign that it's well-written (and it's also wonderfully illustrated), but picking it up to read can be a mixed-bag experience.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tentacles, Soot, Beach Glass, and Peas. And an owl.

Just a quick post-and-run today with some recent FOs for FO Friday.  (Despite my temptation to try to show you everything I finished since I last blogged regularly in May.)  First of all, I'd like you to meet Ms. Petula the Purple Octopus.  Made from my favourite ever tentacle construction pattern, I hadn't done one of these guys to-pattern-size since making my first one ever about two years ago.  I forgot how plush the tentacles feel in two strands of worsted weight worked with a big hook.  This is also the first time I'd ever attempted crocheted eyes and eyelids on a cephalopod, and I'm pretty pleased.  I've already got some skeins selected for the next one.  I think some of these guys will have to be craft fair fodder this year.  People like things with tentacles and personality-imbuing eyelids, right?

And here's the soot sprite, all sewn up and perched in a dustpan for authenticity.  I love it when I start a simple project and manage to keep it simple.  Even with the eye-creation and blogging breaks, this little guy took no time at all.  Most of the crocheted soot sprites I've seen around on the interwebs are done in eyelash yarn, but I used a fuzzy alpaca-acrylic blend for this and just...fluffed it up at the end.  Way less irritating.  (Also, I don't have any black eyelash yarn.)

In the way of non-anthropomorphic stuff, I made myself this necklace a couple weeks ago using a piece of my beach glass collection.  I think this is the first time I've ever done anything with said beach glass besides put it in a jar and admire it.  This was also my first attempt at this kind of wire-wrapping, and at incorporating beads into crochet---both were pretty much a success, which is all part of the payoff for my slowly, slowly learning to start small with new techniques.  More beads may be in my future.

I also (okay, fine, this is going back to June---last one for now, I promise) indulged my love of Happy Rainbows! by making a useless-but-fun peapod garland (with an adorable pattern by the always awesome Trish of genuine mudpie).  There was something really lovely about selecting skeins and working with the ROYGBIV spectrum like this, so my next useless rainbow project is already on the horizon.  I'm planning to start hookin' it for the Ravellenics mass cast-on later today, in fact.

I've never done the Ravel-thingie games before, and I'm not planning anything big, I don't think.  (Except the insane part of me that wants to start a ripple afghan, but I think I can avoid listening to that particular inner voice pretty easily, all I have to do is remember that I'd be working into a base chain of well over 100 stitches...)  I'm eager to get into the Olympics themselves, too.  Gymnastics! Diving! Watching people who are awesome at stuff do said stuff, while occasionally learning fun facts about various countries!

What Olympic (or Ravelympiclennic) events/projects are you guys excited about?

Ooh, and a late addition---since Paula has received him (and made the sweetest. ever. post about him over at her blog, Knit and Seek), I can also reveal my seeeecret progress object, Wendell!

Wendell is a wedding planner owl, made in Paula's wedding colours and armed with a helpful clipboard!  I haven't made an owl for ages, and I'd sort of forgotten how much I adore them.  (Well.  The parts that don't involve sewing the wings and beak in, anyway.)  Wendell was actually a team effort---my mom ended up sewing on his heart applique in exchange for my sorting through some of her receipts so she could check them off on her credit card bill.  Skills exchanges for the win!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Secrets and Sprites.

Have I made any progress on my WIPs from last week?  No, not really.  (Except for seeeecret progress that will be revealed when the results of said progress reach their new home!)

Did that stop me from starting a couple new projects?  Not at all!

The one up there is actually kind of a secret, too, although I couldn't resist some strategic button placement to reveal its silly anthropomorphic nature.

And my current reading is obviously present, too---this book (Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races) is an odd one.  I'm halfway through it and still not quite sure about it, in some way.  I think in part just because it wasn't what I was expecting. I knew it was about horses, but I wasn't counting on some of the horses being like...scary, carnivorous, vaguely magical horses who have to be tempered with iron and want to eat you.  I'm not sure how I feel about that!  I kind of overdosed on fantasy novels as a kid, so magical animals tend to make me back away slowly.  (The horses don't talk, though, so there's that at least.)  There's something compelling about this one, though, so I'm keeping on.  Malevolent magical horses aside, the characters and setting are interesting, the tension and scariness of the plot are effective, and it got inside my head enough that I think there were horses in my dream last night.

Back in the yarny WIP side of things, there's also this little guy, who will be an FO before the sun sets today!  He's going to be a Miyazaki soot sprite.

Imagine my glee when---as someone who cannot make symmetrical stuff. Ever.---google image search revealed to me that soot sprites' eyes are supposed to be a little wonky.  I made mine from Crayola Model Magic, which isn't the most durable material, but it doesn't require baking like polymer clay, which can be a very good quality.

Linking up, as usual, with  WIP Wednesday and Yarn Along.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sneaking Back Into Blogland, Day Two.

Hi, lovely people of the crafty blogosphere. <3  I've been in kind of a weird, living-in-two-different-places situation lately, and as someone who's very much a hobbit---happy about creature comforts and clutter and Home and second breakfast---all the shuttling back and forth stresses me out and leaves me with no time and energy for blogging. (I'm around more on Ravelry, though, so please do add me to your friends over there if you like!  Same bat time, same bat channel username.) But I miss seeing and talking to you guys about your amazing projects so much, and I'm in one place for today, so I'm going to breathe in, breathe out, share some love. 

As for what's currently on my hooks---one project that's actually (I can't believe it) appropriate for the weather: a crazy-rainbow-crochet-thread bikini top.  This is the first time I've done pineapples, and oh my gosh, they're magic.  They just...decrease themselves.  I'm still not great at keeping my tension in thread, but this is turning out pretty well anyway, I think.  I'm not sure yet how I'm going to make the two separate pineapple-boob-cozies you see in the photo into a single entity yet, but I've promised myself a bike ride around the block (at dusk, mind you) wearing this when it's done.

I've also (much less appropriately for the too-hot-to-live weather we're having here) started a second pair of socks!  And I'm going to cheat just a little, and show off the first pair, since I'm still happy and proud about them even if right now I don't want them anywhere near my feet.

 I totally understand why people like making socks so much now.  Not only is it awesome to wear socks you've actually made (and with nice yarn! that feels all sweet and cushy on your foot!), but they're an amazingly portable project---one hook, small ball of yarn, and in my case, a nice easy pattern that you can memorize and just keep hookin' on without very much concentration needed. 

And the red skein in the photo? Represents seeeecret ideas, for someone who very well may be reading this entry! 

Re: books, I've been drawn to the portability of paperbacks recently.  This morning, I finished Naomi Shihab Nye's Habibi, which I've seen on library shelves for aeons but never checked out.  It was an interesting read, really lyrical in a way that made much more sense when I looked at the author's little biography blurb and saw that she's a poet.  I'm also slowly making my way through Hound of the Baskervilles, my first Sherlock Holmes book, and finding it completely delightful. 

Now for the good part, in which I go see what everyone at WIP Wednesday and Yarnalong is up to. :D

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cute Rocks.

"I had to admit, for a rock, it was pretty darn cute.  And frankly, I could use all the inspiration I could get."

-from Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dowell

Trying to maybe sneak back into blogging in the smallest and easiest way possible, with a random-page-quote from my current read for Teaser Tuesdays.

I've been steadily reading Frances O'Roark Dowell's books this spring/summer, and she's a wonderful writer.  This book is her first YA (rather than middle grade) novel, and it was a great read---funny and quirky and truthful, made me grin ear to ear a lot as I flipped the pages.

When I flipped to a random page and selected this quote, I was happy to remember that I happened to have a pretty darn cute rock sitting around on my bedside table.  I try not to load up my pockets too much with rocks and shells and stuff when I walk on the beach, but I couldn't resist this one.  It's like an illustration from an Earth Science textbook about...uh.  Whatever type of rock it is.  (I swear that I did pass Earth Science.)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Baby Steps, in Hand-Dyed Yarn.

I'm short on time, so this post will be short on words.  But I have to share---look, guys, my first sock!  Really impressive so far, I know. ;)  I never thought I'd want to crochet socks, but the powerful persuasive skills of the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup have prevailed again, and here I am, doing a little tiny sock CAL with a new friend who has made crocheted socks before, so I know I have help if I need it. (...and I think I'm going to need it when I get to the heel bit.)

But so far, so good.  I'm keeping my expectations reasonable---these are going to be too bulky to go under shoes, and they're going to have some weird holey bits where the decreases are or where my tension sucks because I'm not great with fingering weight yarn yet.  I know these things, and I think I'm prepared to love the socks anyway.

Isn't the yarn tasty?  It's from Sunset Stitches on etsy, in the colourway "Potions Master."  So these are Very Harry Potter socks, which may be the best kind.

Accompanying me on my sock journey will be this too-cute-to-be-believed cupcake/muffin that Erin of the Knitting Squid sent me, because she's just that awesome.

The books in the photo are Small Acts of Amazing Courage by Gloria Whelan, which I chose because of the cover (look at those pretty flowers!) and then actually took out because it's about India at the time Gandhi was instigating for change, but from a British-living-in-India girl's point of view, and I just read another book (Keeping Corner by Kashmira Sheth) from the point of view of an Indian girl.  I'm not sure about this one.  I'm more than halfway through, and it's one of those weird books that created certain plot expectations (for me) and then...went somewhere else entirely.  And it's a little simplistic, being that it's for middle-grade readers and not young adult readers, I guess.

Also on the queue: Gregor the Overlander, because it's been recced to me by a few different interesting people (e.g. Paula of Knit and Seek), and while I had Reservations about the Hunger Games books, I can't deny that they were hard to put down!  I'm only a chapter or so into this, but I liked it a lot right from the first pages.

Go see what everyone else is reading and making at WIP Wednesday and Yarnalong. :)