Wednesday, February 15, 2017

National Embroidery Month Stitch A Day Challenge

February is National Embroidery Month and though my post is coming in late, you could still try the challenge as an embroidery beginner or aficionado.  It's more fun than traditional "samplers", I think, because you can create anything you'd like with your practice stitches.

I saw this a few days later than it began, so I didn't try it, plus I've been working on my crochet and am not quite ready to move on to a different craft right now (though I've also been toying with my paper crafting supplies.)   I have saved it of course here and elsewhere, and I will give it a try soon.

http://commonthread.us/discover/community/dmc-gulush-threads-stitch-a-day-challenge-national/



Saturday, January 28, 2017

Crochet Madness

 Christmas Afghan

The New Year has been odd, so I'm now about to begin row 17 of 31 rows in the famous "afghan in a weekend" I adapted to be my Christmas Afghan.  It's getting hard to photograph the thing, since it becomes embiggened with each row rather amazingly.  It's still very relaxing to work on, and the yarn is soft and very warm covering my lap in the cold temperatures we've had.   I've learned how to attach a new color/new skein of yarn in the middle of a row while working on this.  It is so simple, and makes life easier as I make my way around this behemoth. 



 Yarn Lust and Finding Patterns

Think me a bad dog if you must, but I decided this would be a year where I learn to do scarves.  I love scarves of all kinds, and want some nice wide ones in colors of my choosing.  I am so much all about the color.

It seems to me one of the first projects any crochet book gives you is a scarf of some sort and length.  Ya, time to tackle the ez stuff I'm too stoopid to make.  Why not branch out, you say?

I confess I have been out hunting the yarn aisles as I vowed not to do. BUT.  I now hunt with a project in mind.  Either I've found something intriguing on the wonderful Yarnspirations site, or I'm looking at the yarn itself for one of the free patterns on every label.

I could write an entire post on Yarnspirations, but I'll say I really started looking at it in depth one day when I was looking for patterns for all of the colorful little skeins of Lily Sugar and Cream Yarn that I have accumulated somehow.

Yes, there are a few skeins of the soft, shiny Paton's Yarn in there too.  Soft and Shiny appear to be irresistible to me.




Caron Cakes


 Speaking of Yarn Lust, I thought I'd try the Caron Cakes yarn.  These were apparently made for the 100th Anniversary of Caron Yarns to be sold last August and not for a regular product line.  Apparently special spools are needed to create the "cakes" and there aren't many of these spools...
But people went wacky over them and wanted MORE.    http://thecrochetcrowd.com/future-caron-cakes-customers-unite-michaels-stores-caron-yarns-respond/

This sort of shortage feeds Yarn Lust.  I hope Caron knows this and will act responsibly.  I started by purchasing one skein of it, rather pricey, I thought, at $7.00, but it is big and fat and soft.

Then I find out about the scarcity, and my collector Spidey Sense goes whacko. Particularly since they are adding some new colors in January that are prettier than the originals.  Also, they plan to retire some originals and it looks like a few new colors will be introduced in June.  BOINK!!!!!   I've been to three Michael's stores so far looking for the new colors, and haven't seen them.  Don't think me discouraged!

I'm making (fingers crossed) three scarves with the Caron Cakes.  The pattern is very simple, really just single crochet.  But.  I've never made a scarf before at all and I am wondering it if is typical of them to twist up like a strand of DNA when you're just starting out.  Or is this another DOA epic bozo fail?








I love the variegation of the yarn, the softness of it, and I really like the three colors I have for scarves:  Blueberry Cheesecake (above), Bumbleberry (purple), Faerie Cake (soft greens).  None of these are the new colors, which I haven't gotten my mitts on yet.



https://www.michaels.com/on/demandware.static/-/Sites-siteCatalog_michaels_US/default/dw55dada9f/project_pdf/CaronCakesLookBook.pdf


So Many Scarves, So Little Time

Whilst indulging my Yarn Lusting, I liked this pattern for Red Heart's Stylish Stripes Scarf on some yarn skeins:



I like the width and the way it hangs, but I didn't care for the colors.  I bought three other colors of the Red Heart Soft Essentials (trying to use the right yarn for the right project, yay me) yarn instead:






PINK!  The Soft Essentials is very silky and a bit slippery to work with, but oh, so pretty.  Imagine me with that scarf, la la la.


Finally, who doesn't need to have a few afghans in progress, in case I should shockingly finish one.  It bends the mind, does it not?

Caron Pinpoint Crochet Blanket


This uses three of the HUGE Caron One Pound skeins of soft grey, which I like, because I have a gray couch.





How perfect, except for those centers, which are not in colors I ever would use.  I need 72 centers for the afghan, and I decided to use some of my leftover pastels for the centers instead.  It will be so very soft and pretty.  I'll share it with the beagle.


I can make these during commercials or while supper is cooking.  And, so wisely use up the leftover yarn bits.



I've "bookmarked" many more patterns, but haven't made the big step of getting the materials.  These will do for now!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Sherlock: The Final Problem

I really enjoyed this episode, for the suspense of what trap would be laid by the Holmes sister Eurus next, the bizarre fate of the little girl on the plane, and the mystery of Redbeard.

The Little Girl On The Plane

I don't quite understand how Eurus pulled this part off, how she was producing the voice of the scared child.  Pre-recorded?  On the fly?  I was certainly worried about her until the point were she remained in the air on that plane for hours and it never went any lower or arrived at the city in the distance.

The Trap Rooms and Forced Moral Choices

Having someone have to choose between who might be killed, or asking them to kill one of two who are held dear, it's always an impossible situation with no good outcome. 


Somehow the Holmes boys and Watson managed, with one "win" and one "loss".   I found Mycroft to be particularly interesting in these scenarios.  Such a fussy, fussy man.  Sherlock was brilliant but humane, a long in the making story arc for his character.

Redbeard

So much of the characters of Mycroft, Sherlock and Eurus was revealed in the childhood scenes were there was little dialog, but the children were so much what they would become.  The little girl playing Eurus was so cute, but she had sociopath writ large on her tiny features.

Heartbreaking enough to hear the story of Redbeard, Sherlock's missing dog, but so much more awful to realize there was no dog.  That poor little guy.

I've read numerous reviews that seem pretty upset about the episode.  Ridiculous, they think.  I felt it was a great character development episode.

I'm also seeing many noting it could be the end of the series, because the actors are sooo busy doing other things.  Pffft.  I'm hoping for many adventures to come.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Sherlock: The Lying Detective

Here's a bizarre episode, that I did not enjoy for the most part, yet it redeemed itself at the end.

While I was watching, I kept thinking of the old series The Prisoner.  Wasn't there constant maniacal laughter throughout that show?  With confusing, psychedelic visuals?  Maybe it was just one episode.


In any case, as you're watching Sherlock in his drugged, incomprehensible state, you can't tell what is real and what he is imagining. 

Somehow, the plot moves along and you're pretty sure he is actually seeing through the haze to the truth, and a cuddly looking little bear of a philanthropist probably really is a serial killer.



Flaw in the telling this week:

I know you have to write it off to Sherlock's reduced ability to observe and comprehend, but I feel Sherlock's analytics were working well enough so he'd notice the artificial lenses worn by the murderer's "daughter," and that she clearly did not need the cane she carried at all.  He spent a lot of time with her and he would not have missed these things among many others.

Mary

I was pleased to see Mary back haunting Watson's psyche, what a waste of a great character to kill her off.  That final scene!!! where Watson confesses to her that he cheated with the woman on the bus in a texting relationship, (sniff) that was so heartbreaking.  Even Sherlock was moved to give him a hug.  (sniff)

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sherlock: The Six Thatchers

I really enjoyed this new episode of Sherlock. 

In particular, I loved Mary as spy/agent/infiltrator.  I could have watched the Mary as Spy show, but unfortunately, they had her leap in front of Sherlock.



The mastermind behind everything was a complete surprise.  I was hoping it wasn't Moriarty, because I never liked this show's particular Moriarty version and am hoping he remains dead. 

John is being completely unreasonable, and I also don't feel for him as I might since he was having a flirtation with some woman on the bus.  Unworthy, John, completely unworthy of Great Mary The Spy and you haven't any leg to stand on being angry at Sherlock.



I suppose it's some form of Make Up/Break Up between he and Holmes, but meh.

Red Herring city, I thought The Black Pearl was surely in one of the Thatcher heads, but no. 

I thought the scene where they show Mary's old agent bud hiding the flash drive in the statue head was silly, he doesn't get it in there and seal it, he just has time to tip the bottom, stuff in the drive and tip it back.  The first person to handle it would have seen it and there would be no head Thatcher plaster heads smashed at all.



Mycroft's office was pretty creepy, more like a jail cell than an office.

I liked Sherlock's patience with the dog.


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Milk Street Radio

Christopher Kimball has a great podcast called Milk Street Radio.  You'd think cooking would need visuals, but the discussions and interviews on the podcast paint all the pictures you need of wonderful foods and cooking techniques.

I always loved Christopher Kimball's essays in issues of Cooks Illustrated.  Here is more of his warmth and wisdom.






Friday, January 6, 2017

Christmas Afghan Rows 7-10

I was zipping right along when I finished up row ten and realized I was going to run out of yarn.  Eek!  There are mathematical consequences to using fatter yarn than the original pattern, though unwittingly, since I still haven't seen a skein of the Red Heart Bulky anywhere I don't know how much bulkier I went.

As you go around, you need ever more yarn for a single row.  I looked at the skein in hand and thought it might make it, but it came up five spaces short.  There was no graceful way to attach new yarn for that small bit, so I pulled it out, went to the store for more yarn, and did the row over.  There was plenty of the white, and the green, but no red at all.  I was able to order some directly from Lion Brand, but still don't have it yet. 

I suspect I will still come up short for the 31 rows of the afghan, but, it is going to be lap sized and more pretty shortly, so I'll call it a lesson learned and be careful to have an overabundance of yarn any time I tinker with pattern requirements in the future.  There is no doubt I will tinker, because more often than not I see a pattern and think it would look so much nicer in another color, or, in the case of the many British based blogs I follow, we don't have access to the gorgeous yarns and threads they have.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Expanse Returns February First

Syfy's drama The Expanse returns February 1st with an extended episode.



I'm so excited to see it return, and now having read most of the novels in the series, I'll be more aware of what they keep and change from the books.  Having read the books after the TV adaptation last season, I was pleased that while the show changed some things, nothing was lost from the essence of the books and their story.

Additionally exciting, Syfy Wire will air a podcast after the show each week called The Churn.  The authors of the Expanse books --Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham --together they are James S. A. Corey-- will join the Syfy Wire show hosts to talk about each episode.

Both the books and the show are truly great science fiction.  Long live the crew of the Rocinante.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!



2016 was a real challenge and I am not sorry to see it go away.  Faced with a possible year of 2017 where anything awful might happen, eek.  We can only go forward, though, never stay in the present or revisit the past.

My thinking for the New Year personally is as it always is, look at what I like to do and do more of it, learn new things, try to spend more time with those I love and dodge those I don't.  I'm so good at that last bit!

Crochet

I love it to death now, and am a bonafide yarnaholic.  Mastering techniques and pattern reading are high on my list.  You'll see more more crochet here.



Embroidery

I've been collecting books and patterns for embroidery without actually doing any for a while now.  What happened there is, on two separate projects, my thread, careful as I was, became hopelessly tangled at the back of the project.  I have a huge dislike and zero patience for untangling knots.  I will find a way to untangle and get back in there, because embroidery is one of the loveliest arts you can spend time on.



Garden

Thanks to the seed companies who know we're all crushed in a ball by winter and the state of the world.  Life will find a way, the garden will thrive again in a few short months.  I will find a way to keep the rabbits out!



Reading

I had a good year of fine reading and am writing down authors to try, and series to read, and I'm ready to have a really good cozy year in books.  I joined Goodreads with my Merlyn book blog account and hope to do what I've not actually done, use Goodreads to share my reading and see what others like.   I may try a book challenge in 2017.  Have you seen those? You join the challenge on some site and it has a theme such as Historical Fiction, and you follow its guides to meet a reading goal.  I'll post those as I find them over on Merlyn as well.

Speaking of Goodreads, I think I'll try for 50 again.  When I was a librarian in Wheeling, WVa, we had a program "I Read 50 Books".   The customer would take as long as they wished and read the 50 titles, noting them on a form we had.  When they got to 50, they sat down with a librarian and had a nice chat about the books they'd read, fun for both! and they would get a red T-Shirt with the Library logo and I READ 50 BOOKS emblazoned across the front.  So 50 it is, and I'll buy myself a nice literary t-shirt when I get to 50.



DOA at the Movies

I like doing the Saturday Night At The Movies feature, and am behind a film, I saw Fantastic Beasts and will be seeing Rogue One this week.  I also would like to watch a film on Saturday nights from the comfort of my cozy couch, then write that up.



DOA on TV

There are so many good shows on, and coming up for the midseason.  I can't keep up, and I fell behind this fall big time.  I'll catch up somehow.




Utter Foolishness

Cryptograms, Crosswords, Cartoons, Word Searches, Rebuses, and more to come, because they're fun.  We are here solely to have fun.


Happiest of New Year's, travel safely, go forth and enjoy enjoy enjoy.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Afghan Rows 4, 5, 6

      

 Christmas, as you may guess interrupted the work on this.  Now I can relax and crochet away. This square is 11" x 11" . Big!  Wooly and so soft.  It is so cold out that it is a pleasure to work on this just for the warmth of it. 

Two rows of the original green next.  See? The New Me (as my husband would say) will be finishing projects left and right going forward.