Today is my birthday (Well, Sunday was)…

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Since I last wrote, I have been tweaking the Lilia design so all that typing made me think I’d already blogged this week. Obviously, I hadn’t. Oops.

But I finished version 2 of Lilia today and thought I’d share.

Veronica-Lilia2 - collageI’ve named this particular doll Veronica. No particular reason, she just looks like a Veronica.

I made a couple of minor shaping changes and added ears with this version. I doubt anyone else will notice the changes (except for the ears) and that’s good. I’ll make another doll to check that I’ve recorded everything that is needed in the pattern and that my maths works.

Bad maths in patterns is a pet peeve so I make an extra effort to be sure it’s right, no matter how simple the pattern. Having worked with a friend on a knitting project recently, I realised that not everyone even bothers with the numbers. I don’t get that. I don’t want to rip back so I count to make sure I have the right number of stitches as per the instructions. I am grateful that I have enough experience with patterns to be able to make corrections when things don’t add up.

It’s been a peculiar week, emotionally. Sunday was my birthday and for the first time I can remember, I spent most of the day asleep. I love my birthday – it’s the one day in the year I can justify insisting everyone pay flattering attention to me. Husband and Son were here and there was yummy breakfast and a roast for dinner and presents (one of which was delayed and only arrived today).

I got a Derwent Carry-All and a pair of extra leaves taking the potential capacity from 132 pencils to 220. Because some of my pencils are extra thick I have fewer than that but all my favourites are in there.

derwentcarryall3Well, they were until my delayed present arrived today.

I lovelovelove Crayola pencils. The colours are vibrant, the coverage is good, they sharpen well, the ‘lead’ can take a lot of abuse before shattering in the pencil, and they aren’t expensive. I already have a set of 36 but several of the colours are more rapidly shrinking than the others (red, green, pine green and black in particular). So today Hubby brings home a set of 50 new Crayola pencils!!! Sooooooo happy!!

crayola50

Of course, now I have to reshuffle the pencils in my case. It’s such a chore to play with organise my colouring pencils.

So, emotionally peculiar week. 6 years ago, our dogs produced a litter of puppies. All but one of them went to friends and family. Late last week I was told that one of them had been taken to a shelter because his family couldn’t keep him anymore. Then on Monday I was told that he had been put down because it had been decided that they wouldn’t be able to rehome him. He was only 6 and there was nothing wrong with him and I’m struggling with irrational guilt. He was one of my fur-babies.

My human son is 13 nearly 14 now. It’s starting to show. I don’t do shouting but trying to get him to wash or eat or go out… well, I’d rather have teeth pulled. It’s emotionally taxing. He’s awesome and the worst I can say about him is that he’s stubborn. It’d be nice if he could be stubborn about things I don’t ask him to do though 😉

It may not seem like much but it’s been an unpleasant rollercoaster. For example, finishing the doll feels awesome, but then I crash hard because it’s done and now I have to choose a new project. Birthday = high, no phone calls = low. This is among the worst I’ve been. The highs are so short, and the lows are so deep. I’m ok and I can get through each ‘episode’ but it wears me out. I’m doing the things that help – colouring, meditation, crocheting – and they do help so I’m doing something right.

On the subject of things that help me feel better, this week I coloured one of my most favourite pages in the ‘One Year Wiser’ book.

the mountains are calling

Green, and blue, and purple too

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So, today has been productive. Actually, the last 48 hours has been productive. I’m feeling really good as this week comes to an end.

Lilia is finished!Lilia

She stands about 20cm tall (just shy of 8″). I’m planning to make her some more clothes, although not all of them will be seperate from her body like this dress and shoes. Trousers would be almost impossible to get on over the feet, the same can be said of sleeves and the hands. That’s not to say I’m not going to try it at some point…

Anyway, I am delighted with how she has turned out. I’m going to try the pattern with larger yarn and needles to see if it scales well then I plan to release this pattern. I think I am going to make some pirates with this basic pattern so feel free to prod me in the comments occasionally.

I have 3 nieces. The eldest is in her 20’s. She is a writer, and a photographer, and an artist. You can find some of her work in the Australian Geographic – photos and articles (the link is to 1 article on the website).  She’s very awesome.

She has begun drawing again and today shared a stylised feather she had done.

I got to colour it! I’m very pleased with this too.

Antipodean Feather2

I limited myself to a red, an orange and all the greens, blues and purples in my pencil box. There were many.

It was really refreshing actually. I haven’t done any colouring for a few days. It was nice to return to it.

Now for the best part!

Charlotte Heilling  Brave the Shave - Google Chrome 14082015 221914.bmp

Do you see that?! It says we’ve raised £500 for Macmillan!!!!! Thank you again to everyone who has donated.

If you can, please share the page address. They fill an ever growing need in our society and need as much help as we can give them.

Now to return to my pencils, but this time to put them away….

antipodean feather pencils

My week in review

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So I had an idea for what I wanted to blog about today but it skitters away every time I go to write it. So let’s have some shameless self-promotion and a recap of some of my week.

Firstly, you may know that I crochet but did you know that I also design crochet toys?

‘Cause I do. And today I finally got around to sorting out some things with my Ravelry pattern store, so I’m celebrating with a week-long sale.

crochetdolls

No coupon codes needed, just buy one individual pattern and get one free. (There are 3 pattern collections which are not included.)

There’s even some patterns that are always free!

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So, go and download a freebie and if you like it, snag a couple of patterns cheaper than they usually are!

An update on the Brave the Shave campaign – I set my goal low to avoid disappointment and have been astounded by the response!

Charlotte Heilling  Brave the Shave - Google Chrome 06082015 171410.bmp

I would love to see the amount raised reach £500. If you are able to donate, please do so. I am not able to touch that money and Macmillan are a genuine organisation. Please share the link if you are able to.

We all know someone who has had to deal with a cancer diagnosis – whether they were diagnosed or someone they are related to is diagnosed. Macmillan picks up where medicine leaves off whether the patient is still in hospital or at home, whether they will live or the cancer will take them from the living world.

Since my post on Tuesday, I received 3 new colouring books and determined, after looking through the stack of books that I already own, that I need to finish a few pages before I start anything new. I only made this determination on Friday but it means that I have added 6 finished pieces to my gallery this week alone.

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These are up on my Deviant Art gallery if you want a better look at them. If you haven’t been over there, I also have a zentangle gallery.

Lastly, I discovered an incredible series of mandalas for colouring on a website called Black & White Mustard. The best part, other than the mandalas themselves, is that they are free! So far there are 37 and yes, I have downloaded them all. The artist is Helsinki-based Maria Ljungeld. The first sentence on her ‘About’ page is ‘Drawing is my meditation, let colouring be yours!’ Her designs were a major factor in my seeking out better printer paper for colouring on and I hope to have a completed picture from her designs next week.

So, overall, I would say that I have had a good and positive week. It’s been a week since I shaved my head and I still love it. I even got to add to my colouring book and pencil collections!

By the way, this is what 300 pencils looks like…

300 pencils

(Yes, that is one of my dogs acting as a prop. She was mostly gracious about it but she can turning grumpy sighing into an Olympic sport!)

Day 59

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Today’s music straddles the decades. The Screaming Jets formed in 1989 with their first album debuting in 1991. ‘Better’ is from that album.

blue shawlNo sweater knitting today. I’ve been working on the new shawl. I’m not quite sure where I will go next with this design. I’m trying to decide between continuing with the established pattern or if I will change the direction of the pattern and do something else. It’ll still be simple knit and purl if I do change to a perpendicular pattern.

 

Today’s blanket piece is all pink!

Day 59

Day 56

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More Australiana for you today. John Farnham made a comeback in the ’80’s with the song ‘You’re The Voice’ which is from an album I still love. By 1990 he had become a much loved fixture in current music. This is one of the most beautiful ballads I have heard. It’s simple, a little raw and heartfelt.

And so the epic venture that is typing up a pattern begins. I’ve not written a shawl pattern before so I’m a little unsure about approaching the formatting of it but I think I’ve worked it out. I’m nearly done with the knitting, close enough to it that I feel confident enough to finish writing the pattern while I wait for hubby to go into the loft for another ball of yarn for me. It’s already a big shawl, which are my favourite sort, but it’s still got another 50 or so rows to go.

I’ve really enjoyed this process actually. When I started knitting this shawl, I knew what shapes I wanted and that I wanted to keep it fairly simple. I have kept the stitches to knit and purl, and used a single type of increase. The numbers are straight forward and you can see the pattern as you work. I’ve used DK-weight yarn and knitted it with slightly larger than normal needles for the yarn weight to give it drape and softness. And while it could use a little blocking to straighten it up, it isn’t necessary which means that once the knitting is done it can be worn straight away. More pictures when it is finished.

day 56There is a lovely comfort in the simple stitches.

More simple stitches – a large triangle in shades of green.

Day 48

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The Hornpipe from Handel’s Water Music. A very familiar tune, I’m sure. Such a jolly piece. I love Handel’s use of horns in his music. They round out the sound and lift it in a way that string instruments simply can’t.

This performance was for the 2012 BBC Proms. From what I can see in this clip, many of the instruments are period authentic.

KC - swatchI knitted swatches for 2 more sweaters for my friend J. I know what size needles to use to match what the pattern wants. Which means I get to check the maths of each of those 2 patterns in the next few days.

Once I finished the swatches, I went back to working on the shawl I’m designing. I’m about halfway through I think and it’s looking pretty good. It’s interesting how much you can do to make a garment with textural complexity using only knit and purl stitches and basic geometry. I look forward to sharing it with you all when it’s ready.

I’m so close to finishing this square of 52 pieces for my blanket and I really, really, really, really want to finish it Right Now. But I shall behave…. don’t wanna though 😉

Day 48

Day 44

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On YouTube, I found the version of Caccini’s ‘Ave Maria’ that I listen to on the Swoon III CD. A beautiful, gentle, piece of music that swells and flows smoothly from beginning to end. It seemed an appropriate piece for a Sunday evening.

Sweater update The knitting for the button band, placket and collar are complete and work has begun on the right sleeve after yet another fussy edit to  the colour plan. Entirely my own doing.

I should be able to start the sewing in on Wednesday with a view to being finished (finally) by next weekend. Want it to be done so I can cast on the next sweater which will have a colour pattern/progression like this:

spring lines - test 2

So much pretty and it looks much better with the yellow stripes instead of the black we had originally been discussing. Yes, this is another sweater for my friend J.

The pattern is called ‘Spring Lines‘  (click the name to go to the Ravelry.com page). It’s by a different designer to ‘Driftwood’ but has a similar construction – start at the neck and use increases to create the shoulders as well as the body before putting the sleeve stitches on a holder to finish the body. The sleeve stitches are put back on the needles then and knit. this is a seamless construction. There’s sewing in of ends but no sewing up of pieces. This is one of the advantages of knitting over sewing and is something that is finally becoming more common in knitwear design. Why do we have to knit the parts of a garment into the shape of pieces  from a sewing pattern when it can be done with various stitches and stitch holders. It certainly makes it more easy to finish a garment. I *hate* sewing up! Nothing ever matches up neatly and I just can’t be bothered. And I know I’m not the only knitter out there who feels this way.

I began designing dolls in crochet because there is no reason to be sewing limbs onto body’s when they can be worked seamlessly together. (You can find my patterns here

day 44

 

Today’s piece is a trapezoid. We’re less than 10 days from finishing the first plan I posted. Anyone keeping up?