Switching gears….

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My focus lately has been more on colouring than wool but with winter here, my feet are cold! I made house socks.

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I based them on a pattern by DROPS (with edits on the ankle and toes) and will likely make more edits on the next pair. I might even change the cable pattern. The yarn is Magic+ by Bergere de France – 50% wool, 50% acrylic, aran weight and very warm. I think I would also like them to be a little longer. The warmer my feet are the colder my ankles and lower legs get. The human body is weird. Or, at least, mine is.

This doesn’t mean I haven’t been colouring.

My husband spoils me. I can’t remember if I asked for a surprise or for something specific from CassArt but he came home with a set of Chameleon markers. I have been wanting a set of these markers since I first saw them and had them on my Christmas list so I was delighted to get them.

The Chameleon Color Tone markers are an alcohol-based, twin-tip marker with a bullet nib at one end and a brush nib at the other. Each of the 20 colours comes with a mixing chamber that feeds a colourless toner into the coloured nib so that you can use one pen to colour from the palest hint of colour to the original colour of the marker. The longer you have the nib in contact with the mixing chamber, the larger the area you can shade in.

writhing chameleon
Today I finally did a full design test page. I missed out using a couple of the palest colours in the set of 20 and didn’t use the black but I like how it’s all come together. Well, I say ‘come together’. I wasn’t as careful with colour placement as I would usually be because it is just a practice piece.

The markers take a little getting used to because markers don’t normally change colours like these do. They’re fun though and the colours are good.

 

Conversations with my husband….. (#1)

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wax dinosaur

Me – Russell, why is there a wax dinosaur on our (bedroom) light switch?
Russell – ‘Cause I couldn’t leave it on the ladder.
Me – Why was it on the ladder?
Russell – ‘Cause I couldn’t leave it on the floor.
Me – Why was it on the floor?
Russell – I don’t think it was. Ever. Cause I wouldn’t do that.
Me – …..

Russell is my 40 year old husband, not my 13 year old son. You are forgiven for being confused.

A couple of weeks ago, he (my husband) was tinkering with one of his many skateboards. In amongst his equipment for said tinkering are several sticks of wax. I don’t know why he had them and I don’t know what prompted the bout of creativity but he made several figures with the wax, including an Asian style dragon and the above mentioned wax dinosaur.

The Great Cataloguing Adventure 2015 – Colouring Pencils Edition

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In case my absence hasn’t made it obvious, I’m struggling at the moment. My head is not a happy place right now and my son has just gone back to his grandmothers after the summer holidays. I miss him. It’s lonely here after 6 weeks with his constant company.

My husband took him on the coash (no car!) yesterday so I decided to finally sort out a final, expandable version of the Big Book Of Colour (BBoC) for my pencils. This is the third version because I keep adding to the collection and the book isn’t big enough to hold everything anymore. Also, I want to record the colours in their brand groups as well as in their colour groups.

There are many swatch books/colour charts available online but they all either have space for colouring but not for colour names or are for ‘grown-up’ pencils and I don’t have any of those so I had to make my own. I used an Open Office document to create a simple table with squares for colour and space for colour names and numbers beneath. As I’ve said before, I flit between crafts which means I have a lot of things that can be repurposed and this time was no different. I knew I had an A5 folder on a shelf and was preparing to cut some printer paper down to size when I found some A5 sized card and A5 plastic sleeves, which was perfect because pens won’t bleed through card and watercolours won’t warp it either.

Print your own blank pencil swatch chart – A5. Check that your printer is set for A5 sized paper (half an A4 page) and that your borders are at 1.50cm for top, left and right and at 1.3cm for the bottom. You can also print this 2 to a page.

It took me about a day to finish but with a total of 492 colours (336 coloured pencils, 83 watercolour pencils and 73 markers & pens), it was a big job (set up the printer, print 50 double sided pages, sort pencils that aren’t already sorted, label and colour as appropriate).

Faber-CastellWant to see more?

This is the third version of the BBoC I have made but because this one is expandable and easily added to, I am unlikely to need to make another version.

I have pages for each of the brands/lines that I have and will be making a section for the coloured pencils that shows the colour groups. When I have more watercolours and more pens/markers, I will do sections for them too.

I’m also going to make laminated, oversized pages as dividers but I want to make them pretty so they won’t be done quickly.

And of course, I hadn’t finished this post before my husband got home so I get to tell you how awesome he is – he brought home a set of 12 Inktense watercolours and 24 Polychromos. So very very delighted! I have a few Inktense already but there are only 2 repeats so I now have 16 individual colours. And Polychromos… sooooo beautiful! They are my first set of proper ‘grown-up’ colouring pencils and they are even more gorgeous to use than I thought they would be.

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There is a lot of hype about Prismacolours and Polychromos, and there are many of each but they are also prohibitively expensive. And you know what? I love my Crayola pencils so as much as I wanted to try the fancy pencils (and they are fancy) I was ok to wait for them. But now I don’t have to!

I am very very spoiled. My husband will say I am very very loved. He’s awesome and I love him regardless of the fancy pencils.

Day 121

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I had forgotten how long the large squares take to knit. I guess I don’t notice the time passing while I craft.

Anyway, bright orange and yellow large square today.

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The boys had a great camp out and though the sparse timetabling of the Sunday buses adding 2 hours to their return, they got home safely. Last year it rained but with the forest canopy, they were mostly dry. This year it was windy. I imagine they’d have been less bothered by it if they used an actual tent instead of building a bivouac but that is how they all camp at this event. It’s cosy enough I suppose…

bivouac 2014

I’ve discussed my affection for Carole King’s ‘Tapestry’ album in the past. I love the intimacy of the music produced by singer-songwriter-musician. In today’s music industry, they are as scarce as hen’s teeth but they are out there. One of my modern favourites is Sarah Bareilles. I have all of her music but it is her ballads that I love the most. One that struck me most is the final track ‘Gravity’ from her debut album ‘Little Voice’. The clarity of the vocals and the simplicity of the accompniment are just beautiful.

I’d not seen the video clip before today and was impressed by it – it’s a simple enough idea and doesn’t detract from the music.

Day 80

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Do you know what one of the worst parts of having depression and anxiety is? It’s not the way people think you’re being lazy or flaky. It’s not how hard it is to do everyday things as simple as getting out of bed and getting dressed. It’s not how getting good treatment is so difficult. It’s being unable to control something as simple as your emotions.

I was watching tv and knitting earlier today and quite suddenly and without any prompting I was sobbing. I still don’t know why. And before you suggest it might have been prompted by whatever was on the tv, I was in the middle of 2 hours of Scooby-Doo cartoons so there was nothing even vaguely emotional happening on the screen. I’m sure that I can point to a dozen things going on in my life that are misery making but this was so abstract.

Anyway, it’s ridiculous. I’ll be 36 next month and I respond to emotional situations like an angry and frustrated toddler, crying at the stupidest of things. I still don’t handle change well. I don’t handle being on my own well but I don’t want people breathing my air. And my poor husband is inundated with demands for his undivided attention. I am fully aware of all of these things and no matter how much effort I put in, there are times I have absolutely no control over any of it… of course, this all just makes it worse.

So I’m feeling drained and wobbly headed but I did the finishing on a friends cowl, got more of the tablecloth done and did today’s square. I even cleaned the floors, and washed my hair.

Then cheered myself up with some more Horrible Histories songs. This is one I have yet to learn and you’ll see why. You’ll also learn all the English monarchs since William the Conqueror. You’ll be humming this one too. Not sorry :p

Orange/lime/yellow rectangle!

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Day 79

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Pretty sure I should apologise for today’s music again except I’m not sorry :p

There is something of a cinema institution in the UK that started when movies were still in black and white. It’s a series called ‘St. Trinians’ and is about an anarchic Catholic Girls School that houses the ultimate in ‘naughty school girls’. Recently the franchise got a modern makeover with stars like Gemma Aterton, Talulah Riley, Rupert Everett (as both a man and a woman….) and Colin Firth (and a dog named Mr Darcy which is understandably hilarious). Oh! And Paloma Faith as a goth chick which was a surprise. It’s ridiculous and terrible and that sort of awful that is both fun and brilliant.

There’s another British institution – the Brit Pop pop group. Equally awful and ridiculous and addictive, so it’s no surprise that one of the biggest groups of recent years sang the theme song for St Trinians. It’s catchy and I’ve been singing the chorus all afternoon, much to my husband’s dismay (he *hates* factory pop music, which, if I’m honest, is half the appeal for me. I am of the Rita Rudner school of marriage – “it’s so nice to find that one person you want to annoy for the rest of your life”. He knew this when he married me. Silly man.).

Bet it gets stuck in your head too 🙂

I was looking at the blanket this evening trying to decide which yarn to use for the square and noticed that this section of the blanket is looking…. more muted than the rest of it so I’ve put in the bright ‘Brasil’ stripes by Regia. Which, now I think about it, is appropriate given that the World Cup finished today. (Congratulations Germany).

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Day 77

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One of the most valuable pieces of advice I have been given on relationships is to never let the day close on an argument. I extend the term ‘argument’ to mean any sort of ill-feeling.

I have been unusually emotional these last few days and it came to a head today. Being able to say sorry – even if it’s about something I am not entirely in control of – is liberating. Being forgiven immediately is a great blessing.

And along those lines, here’s a flashback to my teens – Monica with ‘Don’t take it personal (Just one of dem days)’.

Still no handspindles (seriously awful day). Have a blue rectangle as an apology.

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Day 66

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Fourteen years ago today I married my best friend and soulmate, and yes, today’s music choice is dedicated to my husband (again). It was tricky to choose a song but I fell back on ‘The Sound of Music’ for the perfect solution of movie and music star (Julie Andrews is incredible!). Did you know that this scene was filmed in shadow because both Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer had the giggles while filming?

selfie 30June2014Today is also the day I debut my new hair. I was going to wait until tomorrow to put the  turquoise over the section we bleached yesterday but I am an impatient sort. It looks pretty awesome regardless and I kinda love how it turned out.

The colour is actually more turquoise than green. I did warn you all at the beginning about my awful photo skills.

To get that look, I divided my hair into 2 roughly equal halves diagonally along the top  of my head from hairline to the back of the crown then straight down to my neck. We applied the bleach to the part that had less on show, then applied the dark colour and washed them out at the same time. I used a really cheap shampoo before and after the dye/bleach. I left my hair to rest for about 18 hours before I applied the Manic Panic ‘Atomic Turquoise’ to the bleached section and left it to develop for about 3 hours. I didn’t use any shampoo when i washed it out but i did use a coloured hair friendly conditioner. my hair is soft and shiny and pretty 😉

It’s a bit of a paradox that when I dye my hair, it’s much softer and better conditioned than when I don’t.

I used my favourite colourway today fro the large square – Opal’s ‘Sweet and Spicy Plum’.

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Day 65

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A cozy weekend at home with my husband and son with the added bonus of my mother-in-law’s company. It has been a good weekend. Nothing to report except that the husband and I have started the process of dyeing my hair. There is blue hair in my future.

An icon of movie and music in the 50’s and 60’s, this is Dean Martin singing ‘Sway’, a much covered song and one that I have wanted to learn ballroom dancing for.

Fair isle patterning for today’s trapezoid.

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Day 63

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Oh, the things I have discovered this day. Did you know that there are wearable electronics? I mean, these are specially designed to be sewn onto your clothing or bag. It can be as simple  as flickering LED’s or you can make yourself a knitting bag that will use the LED’s to tell you your pattern on each row!  I haven’t found all of the materials by that company but Adafruit has compatible materials. They also have the materials and a tutorial to make yourself an imitation arc reactor for a seriously awesome Iron Man t-shirt/Halloween costume. Yes, you do need one! (Adafruit is named for Ada Lovelace, daughter of the poet Lord Byron, and 19th century mathematician. Look her up on Google. She’s pretty awesome.)

Anyway, this has given me ideas, so very many ideas and my poor hubby will be dragged in because he’s better with the practicalities of this sort of thing. That’s not to say that I couldn’t do it, but I like my husband and I like having his help/input in things. Plus, I want my version to tell me the row count as well as the pattern and I want more than 10 lights so I’ll need more than the single board but how awesome is the sewn circuitry?!

And then there’s this –

Jesse Seay is an electronic arts teacher in Chicago. She has a series of blog posts about knitted circuit boards and it’s brilliant. I love the fusion of textiles and electronics.

I’m just about ready to join the front and the back to begin knitting in the round for the sweater. I’m still really enjoying knitting this. I’ll take a photo for tomorrow’s blog post, once it’s all joined up.

Continuing yesterday’s 1950’s-60s music and movie star, meet Bobby Darin. He was married to starlet Sandra Dee (the real one, not the character portrayed by Olivia Newton-John in ‘Grease’) and is probably best known for his performance of ‘Mack the Knife’ but of course, that’s not what I’m sharing with you. This is ‘Lazy River’, a terrific piece of big band swing.

And now, for the thing you have all been waiting for….. today’s addition to the banket is a small red square.

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