Hey everybody! I still exist! Before all the holidays, Septicemia was nice enough to nominate me for that Liebster award thing and I was all set to work on it when the holiday rush began and tore me away from the computer. The kids started winter break, Mr. Robot got seriously ill, and while I was focused on all that I kinda lost track of the blogging. Now that kids are back in school and Mr. Robot is feeling better, I finally have time to check in. So hi! I hope everyone’s having a spooky January so far. Here are 5 random things I’ve been doing and dreaming about amid all the chaos:
I got a cool new tank top from Disney’s online store. My mom’s always been obsessed with Disney and I inherited a tiny bit of that obsession. Over the years I’ve really fallen in love with the Haunted Mansion ride, and I couldn’t resist this tank based on one of the ride’s paintings.
While driving around one night looking at Christmas lights, we discovered that one of our local cemeteries was full of tiny lighted trees and nativity sets on and around the graves. Nothing really huge or gaudy, just little personal touches for the season. I’ve never seen them do this before, but I hope it becomes a tradition. The whole thing was very peaceful and sweet. Our pictures are terrible because we were too busy enjoying it, but hopefully you get some idea of how lovely this graveyard full of twinkling little lights was.
I’ve been mooning over the bed sets on the Ink & Rags site. I decided to spend my money on yarn this month, for the shawl and another project, but someday I’m going to get one of these beautiful duvet covers. I just can’t decide which one, they’re all so cool. These are my top three contenders so far (pictures from their site):
Over the break, I took the kids up to Salt Lake City to visit relatives, and we had a rare foggy evening. The western U.S. is pretty short on spooky castles, but we do have a great big Mormon temple smack in the middle of town. It’s spires looked mysterious and castle-like in the fog, so I snapped a couple of quick pics while I waited to cross the street.
There you go. That’s what I’ve been doing on my break from blogging. I’ll try not to be such a stranger. I hope all of you had time for some fun and are excited for the new year starting. I’d love to hear about your interesting plans and projects. What are you dreaming of doing, seeing and maybe buying this year?
I think Bane’s psychic, because I ordered yarn for this butterfly shawl one day before she announced September’s “Things With Wings” theme. The pattern is from Crochet Between Worlds. I found the link browsing through Ravelry. I treated myself to a hank of Madeline Tosh wool. For big projects I can’t afford it, but for smaller stuff it’s just so nice. One hank was plenty for this shawl–I even had enough to add a couple extra rows of butterflies.
Looking at my pictures, I realize how terribly pinned this is. And maybe I shouldn’t have worn it with a black shirt but who are we kidding? Almost all my shirts are black. Even the best picture can’t do justice to how soft and foamy it feels anyway. It’s lovely.
There’s one comment I should make on the pattern, in case you decide to try it. You’ll notice the written part goes straight from foundation chain to a row of double crochet, but the chart clearly shows a row of single crochet right below the official “Row 1” in the written part. I went ahead and followed the chart and it made a nice border below my first row of butterflies.
The pin is an octopus my son spotted for me in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia this summer. Octopus! Shiny! I love it!
I’ve been taking time to relax, put my feet up, and work on my shawl. It’s working up really quickly and fits Bane’s “things with wings” theme, so I’m hoping to get it finished in time to post for the craft-along. The original pattern is sparkly butterflies, but in black they look more like moths. I’ll do my best to finish it up and get some nice pictures by month’s end.
To keep me company as I crochet, I’ve been watching Slow TV on Netflix. I worked my way through their “sheep to sweater” world record attempt and it was very pleasant to watch and crochet to, plus I learned a bit about Norway and its knitting history. I especially liked the bit about feminist “hen knitting,” which seems like such a grandmother to pussy hats and saucy cross stitching that are so big right now.
My kids have gotten into the Slow TV, too. They get way too into TV and YouTube sometimes, and this time instead of just taking their devices away I had them watch nature documentaries. That went really well, actually. The kids got really into them.
When I put on Slow TV, though, they got really annoyed. What was this boring crap?
By the end they’d all grabbed yarn from my stash and were crocheting chains like champs. Yes, they tried to knit but couldn’t get it, so they switched to crochet. I’m not prejudiced, I like them both. 😉 I’m just thrilled they want to do something quiet and useful for a change. Enough boring TV and they might even learn to turn those chains around and start a second row.
I actually finished a project! I’m so proud of me! Just in time, too, because I have two other projects waiting to get started.
I’ve been obsessed with interlocking crochet for maybe a year and a half, when I took a chance and bought a book on it. Probably the book on it, considering the title. The book is worth it if you like this style at all. It has pretty clear instructions for getting started and some nice project patterns in the back, but what I like best is picking a stitch pattern I like and then inventing something to do with it. Which is how I semi-invented the Rosebud Book Bag.
If you’re not familiar with interlocking crochet, you’re basically making two blocks of filet crochet (little open boxes) at the same time, one behind the other, and weaving them into a pattern row by row as you go. It makes a thick, reversible double layer that looks fancy as hell even though it’s pretty simple.
Make a nice, big rectangle of your favorite interlocking pattern. I eyeballed mine against a large-ish paperback novel. With this yarn and hook, mine was 26 boxes across and about 46 rows high.
For the handle I made one long row of red filet boxes and threaded a nice, tight chain of the green through it. I made it long enough to run down the body of the bag, creating skinny little sides for it.
I used slip stitch crochet to join strap and bag. I just like the structured effect it produces. I counted about 18 squares up the strap and started attaching from there, stitching those 18 squares to the front side of the bag. when I reached the strap end, I made three stitches across that, being sure to stitch through that green chain as well, then stitched up the other side until I reached that 18th square. At that point my skinny bag side was done.
Instead of cutting and doing the other side separately, I continued my slip stitches around just the top of my interlocking rectangle (how the top flap of the bag. This created a nice, continuous slip stitch line while also joining the red and green interlocking layers neatly.
Once I got across to the other side, I carefully counted the joining stitches from step 3 to make sure I started joining at the same place on the second side. Making sure not to twist the strap in the process, I counted 18 squares from the free end and started joining.
Once that was all joined up I continued the slip stitches across the front edge of the bag (joining the red and green layers again), ending in the corner where I started.
Hi, I’m still alive. First I was traveling, then I was hosting family, and now I’m finally getting back to my normal routine. My travels weren’t very spooky, but I did stay in a cursed hotel room for three nights.
Ever seen the movie 1408? I did, years ago. It’s based on a Stephen King story about a haunted hotel room. It was an okay movie, as I recall. Anyhow, my son and I went to Detroit for a tournament and stayed at the MGM Grand, in room 1408. Something about the number rang a bell, but I didn’t connect it until the morning we left. Now, I’m not saying I believe in curses, but a number of stange things did happen . . . our key refused to work, someone tried to break into our room at midnight (they were given room 1403, according to the desk, but their card clearly said 1408), they checked us out a day early and almost threw all our stuff away, and the staff was very unfriendly about most of this. It’s almost as if they knew the room was cursed and were trying to warn us off.
Or maybe they’re just bad at their jobs. Either way, I’m playing it safe and avoiding that hotel forever.
And now that I’ve either properly spooked you or made you sad about bad hotel service, I’ll give you a couple pictures of my and the same son visiting family in Baltimore. I look fat and sweaty and I didn’t even bother with makeup in that heat but my hair is a wonderful Nuclear Red, so that’s nice. Now that I’m back, I really need to redo my color and maybe bother to look nice once in a while, but all I’ve really done so far is clean house and start a new crochet project. I’ll try to be more interesting next time. Maybe.
I tweaked the challenge. I was supposed to show you clothing I’ve altered but I couldn’t think of a single thing. I’m just such a lazy and terrible tailor that the only thing I’ve altered in the last year is my kids’ taekwondo pants. (They’re all so very, very short.) So sure, here’s a picture of that, but I’m also showing the sweater and shawl I crocheted from scratch. My youngest is home with a cold today, so she kindly agreed to be my model between sneezes. I might have to steal her shawl-as-headscarf idea.
While the winter storms have come one after the other, piling up snow and icing the roads, I’ve been snuggling up in my memento mori blanket and catching up on all sorts of entertainment.
Over the last few weeks I’ve watched the new Dirk Gently series twice. I read the books back in the day and I felt this series was true to the spirit of the original while creating a whole new storyline and cast of characters. But don’t let kids watch it unless they have a high tolerance for blood and weirdness.
This week season 4 of Bates Motel came to Netflix, so that’ll keep me company for a week or two while I work on my skully lap blanket. I found some silvery grey yarn in my stash and decided to alternate that with the red. So far I’m excited about the color combination.
My music has been tending toward the moody and atmospheric, like Tones on Tail and Dead Can Dance. All of that put a very specific song in my head, only I couldn’t remember what it was called or who did it. Took me an hour of googling to figure out it was Scott Walker’s Farmer in the City. This time I made sure to find out what album it was on (Tilt) and download it so I wouldn’t forget again. If you like avant garde music or somber chanting stuff, which I do on occasion, you’ll like the album.
I’ve also been in a reading mood. I just finished a nice dark fantasy novel inspired by Alice in Wonderland (called, unsurprisingly, Alice). The pacing was a little off for me, taking a long time to wind up and then rushing to a conclusion, but I was into the dystopian world the author created and I’m a sucker for stories that blend grimy cityscapes with magic and fantasy, which this book does well. I always found the dream logic of Alice in Wonderland creepy (especially in the original books and the Disney movie) so this explicitly dark take feels natural to me. There’s a sequel I’ll have to get to one of these soon days, but I’m finishing Broken Monsters first. I’m liking that one so far as well.
So that’s what I’m up when I’m not working. How are you keeping busy lately?
While browsing on Etsy for something completely different, I ran across some lovely skull-themed crochet patterns (shop name Spider Mambo). I’ve been slowly revamping my bathroom and that’s kind of sucked up all my creative energy lately, but I couldn’t resist the skull infinity square. I already had some red yarn stashed in a closet so I got started right away. Winter has me dreaming of warm and cozy things, so I’ll probably just keep adding skull rows until it’s one giant square of a lap blanket. I don’t have enough red to finish a square that size so I’ll have to get out for more yarn in a week or two. I’m thinking of switching to black or dark grey at that point to keep things interesting.
I’ll be sure to post pictures when it’s done. And once I get around to painting it, I’ll show you my bathroom redo. Anyone else crafting their way through winter?