White Knight Syndrom

In designing this chess board, my goal was to make each piece as close to the “traditional” pieces as possible.  For the most part, this was easy.  The pieces are fairly simple – bulbous and plain.  My challenge came with the knight, which is most often represented as a horse.

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I left this piece for last, because I knew it was going to be rough and I thought that inspiration would strike while I was working on the others.  Well, I finished designing the other pieces and was left staring at a blank page and a ball of yarn as I thought about what to do next.  There was a terrible urge to stuff the black and white pieces into a bag and tuck them into a corner for another year.

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Do I knit it in separate pieces and sew it together?  Do I utilize short row shaping as though I were turning a heel?  How can I keep it relatively simple and understandable?  I started knitting, then ripped it out and started over.  I sent my notes to my tech editors and they tore it apart, changed things around, and tried again.  None of us were quite satisfied with the way our knights were looking, and, speaking only for myself here, I was getting awfully sick of staring at this knight.  It was the collective effort of the group that kept me knitting away on this piece.  If they hadn’t been bugging me for updates and providing words of advice and encouragement, this picture would never exist.

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I just finished the latest design, and I think I nailed it.  Increases on one side to create a muzzle, then short row shaping combined with decreases gave me the head and “ears”, and then the body follows suit with the rest of the pieces.  An I-cord is then knit and sewn to the back and head to create the mane.  It is by far the most challenging piece of the game, yet I think it is not too difficult and it is definitely interesting.

Now, of course, I have to make 3 more before I am officially finished with the frackin piece.  If you don’t hear from me soon, it is probably because I am lying comatose in a black and white pool of fiber. Please remove the double points from my hands and administer generous amounts of whiskey.

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Interrupted

I know I failed to deliver on Monday with pictures of the weekend.  It wasn’t until early evening that I discovered I left my camera sitting in my yarn basket sitting under the counter of the juggling shop at the fair.  I think that is fine, since I was only out on Sunday and on Sunday it rained the entire time.  There really were no good pictures, although somewhere floating in the world wide web are photos of me pretend jousting on a zipline.

By the time I made this discovery, it was already late, and I had sort of been in a slump all day.  Work had been exhausting, and I had personal things to deal with that I was not happy about, and upon arriving home, attempted to craft.  I started a new project, deciding it would look nice in crochet, and pulled it out because I started with too many stitches.  I tried again, and pulled it about because, this time, instead of making a rectangle I had started making a triangle (one of the reasons I dislike crochet).  Pulled it out, started over, counting every single double crochet across every single row.  I made it four inches before I realized that, not only would I not have enough yarn for the project, but I hated the pattern.  I pulled it out, rewound the yarn, and fetched my knitting needles.  Cast on once, cast on too many stitches, pulled out.  Cast on again, realized I didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t like whatever my hands had improvised, pulled it out.  Flipped through stitchionary to no luck, cast on again anyway, created a rather pleasing zigzag.

The cowl on the left is a seed stitch and the one on the right is the hellion from Monday.

In any case, the slump was not condusive to blogging.  I was rather upset all evening for no apparent reason and Odin took the brunt of it for a moment.  Sorry.

I could have blogged yesterday, and I had every intention of doing so, but I was having data connectivity problems with my phone and couldn’t upload anything.  Besides, I got into the zone of crafting and didn’t stop until 11pm.  At that point, I was pretty tired and fell into bed.

This morning, I remembered to take photos of the things I have been working on in order to share them with you so I could blog.  The above is the product of a few days work.  And this is the other thing:

I have been working on these all summer, but just recently began adding the finishing touches.  I have a handful of them complete, and for the rest, I just need to sew on flowers, buttons, and any other embellishment I can think of.

Tonight, it is all zombie for me, as I have yards of pink cording to sew into the dozens of zombie hats I have been cranking out.  Not to mention, wings and tutus to wrap up, a number of tiny top hats that need to be sewn to headbands, and a baby blanket that only has a few rows completed.

This weekend marks the last weekend of the Renaissance Fair, which I am a little bit relieved for (maybea lot relieved – I’m exhausted), and I will be happily managing the juggling shop for Rebecca.  Unfortunately, this means that I won’t be spending much time walking around, getting photographs.  Since it is a three-day weekend, whatever photos I have will be uploaded on Tuesday.  I’m thinking about getting a couple of appropriate after-hours shots as well, since that is a seldom seen side of the fair.

This may be my only post of the week – I will see how much I complete before I leave Friday evening.

Friday

Odin and I took the day off to celebrate his birthday.  Last night we drove to Milwaukee and went dancing with our old crew.  We played bar dice and stayed out really late and woke up this morning with a full amount of sleep and found this amazing diner for breakfast.  I had an amazing vegetarian eggs benedict that had curried tofu, fried bananas, and came on naan instead of an English muffin.  We are staying at the house we used to live in with the coolest roommate we have ever had, chatting in the backyard and drinking La Fin du Monde.  The sun is shining and there is a refreshing breeze coming off the lake.  We are talking about polarized lenses and knitting and we’re celebrating this guy:

 

Happy birthday, darling.

As for knitting, I am still cranking away at the pawns.  I have this many:

The one that is on the needles has since been finished.

12 pieces completed.

20 pieces to go.

38% complete.

Day 8 of the Olympics and Ravellenic games.

9 days to go.

Average production rate of  1.5 pieces per day.  Need to complete 2.5 pieces per day to realize my goal.

Diminishing probability of having enough yarn and enough time to complete the board.  Next week I am hoping to make a big push, since our social calendar will not be as full.  Wish me luck.

 

 

Tiny Blossoms

I did not get nearly as much work completed as I anticipated this past weekend.  The Complete Fool received a shipment of new toys, and I ended up blowing a day’s wages on toys and all of my free time learning new Diabolo tricks.

Then, on Sunday, Ellette came down with a fever and we lef the fair early.  It was hot and sticky and the thought of working with merino was more than I could handle.  I just tried to get my kid hydrated and myself showered.

Yesterday, she still had a fever and I kept her home from camp, which meant that I stayed home from work as well.  It was a remarkably relaxing day for us.  Ellette was just exhausted/feverish enough to not want to do much, but not so feverish that I was worried about taking her to the hospital.  I pushed fluids and she sat on the couch with me watching Dinotopia and Rocky and Bullwinkle.  Around 3 or 4, she asked if she could lay down for a nap, and she didn’t wake up again until quarter to 8, when I made her drink a cup of juice and took her temperature.

In the meantime, I got a lot done.  I cleaned the bathroom, did a load of dishes, finished the laundry, and cleaned the attic top to bottom.  Swept, dusted, mopped, and started to turn the enormous space into a studio/spare bedroom/game room/Ellette playroom/mommy escape room.  All encompassing.
And I knit.  I knit a lot, actually.  I got almost all of the way through one Zigamorph scarf.  And if I hadn’t been so exhausted, I would have finished.

And I spent quite a bit of time crocheting tiny flowers to stitch into those loops of cording.

 

I am going to try to make a big push on those tonight and have them all finished, as well as the last leg of the zig scarf.  Then, I need to do a yarn run for Zombie hats and count how many pairs of wings I have in stock.  Make more, and make more tutus to go with them.  A few more top hats to decorate, and some to felt, and I should be set.  Oh, and I have to buy fresh face paint, which is a chunk out of my wallet, but will be worth it.  Also, the Ravellenic games begin on Friday at 3, and I am hoping to add “completing the chess game” I started so long ago to the list of things to get done (i.e. wip wrestling).  We are going to the Windy Knitty kickoff party at Fireside on Friday evening for anyone interested.  It should be a laugh.

Sticking Too It

I have been a little all over the place as far as my craft is concerned.  I’m not sure if this is because I am getting bored in one task so I jump to another.  If I’m working on one task but realize that this other thing is just as important so I should work on that too.  Or if there is maybe a lot more on my plate than I can deal with efficiently.

Last night I sat down for 20 minutes and put ribbon wings in between doing loads of laundry.  And then my mom called, so I pushed the wings aside, forgot about the laundry, and spent I don’t know how long talking about my sister’s first date.  I’m so excited for her, and I have probably just embarrassed her a bunch, but I don’t really care.  That’s how our family works.  If your boyfriend can’t handle the embarrassment, he won’t be able to handle you.

I have intermittently been working on tutus.

But the heat makes it a little difficult.  The tulle sticks to me and then I start to itch all over.  Also, my kitten likes to try to dive roll through the mountains of tulle I create.  Distracting.

Then, I realized this week that I really need to pick a goal and a time frame each week, and just stick to it.  What do I need to do, how do I get it done, and when will that be possible?

Every morning this week I have been able to churn out cording for a new item.

 

It takes about 15 minutes or so to turn one ball of 200+ yards into I-don’t-know-how-many-feet of cord, which gets looped and looped and looped until I get a perfectly sized necklace.

Which I am packing along with me to begin the embellishments.  Maybe I will have 20 completed by the end of the weekend.  That is my goal.  Twenty should be all I need.  And if I need more, piece o’ cake.

Tuesday

Monday saw the completion of the steampunk wings:

I do really like them and will definitely be making more.  If you are interested – I do custom orders, but these pre-made ones will only be available online if, by chance, they do not sell by June 20th.  The only way to get them is to come to one of my shows.

I also finished making coordinating bias tape for the Celeste wings so that I could complete the sewing (not complete yet) and I began framing the wings.

By midnight, I had completed two full pairs of wings, minus the finishing at the very edges – that’s kind of time consuming and my lighters were all dead.  Today, however, I picked up several more lighters and set to work.  Unfortunately, tea lights (which I have plenty of) do not offer the same amount of control that lighters do.

The ribbon is the most tedious part.  Once started, it is near impossible to stop wrapping until the wings are done.  I always dribble glue on my fingers which is never fun.  The Celeste wings are especially difficult because the center spirals flop around – and metal is kind of sharp.  I have several cuts on my forearms and am very grateful to my glasses for protecting my eyes.

Today, Tuesday, has seen the gathering of supplies that I had run low on so that I can finish some things – such as one of the custom orders.

These have been fun to make and explored a new technique – which I will most definitely be utilizing in the future.  They are cute and dynamic.  The moss is fun and adds an extra dimension to the look.  I have used moss in the past, but my experience has been that it dries out and becomes brittle, or gets so saturated with humidity that it starts falling off.  This is a faux moss and a new glue – a higher quality model train glue – that should lend more durability to the wings.  The only problem is the wings are porous and the moss isn’t sticking.  I must find a new glue.  This is a back step I was really trying to avoid.

 

*groan*

Pink and Purple

I have been trying to tell myself to work on the big things.  The little things are not difficult and do not require much time (although, granted, I do need more little things than big things).  The big things are not things to procrastinate.  Especially the big things that require a lot of waiting, like paint drying.

One corner of my studio has become the “painting”  corner.  The tarp is semi-permanent, and there has been a steady rotation of wings needing to be painted.  Unfortunately, the wings I need are all of the pink and purple variety, and I am really starting to resent little girls’ obsession with those two colors.  You could say my biggest loss from sales comes from the lack of remaining pink and purple wings.  It’s kind of a bummer to realize that this is truth.  So, I am trying to preempt that by having on hand dozens and dozens of pink and purple wings.

While batches were trying, I was steadily making roses and pompoms, and at least that is something I can do while talking/playing games/watching movies with the family, so we all are satisfied with “quality time”.

On the subject of drying, I have also been felting and blocking top hats and other felted goodies:

It has been getting increasingly difficult to find appropriate articles of clothing to throw into the washer with finished knitted items.  I had to take a shower just to have a “dirty” towel to toss in with them.  Not that I wouldn’t have taken a shower otherwise.  Maybe.

Moving on.

Tomorrow, a friend is coming over to help in any area she can.  I am handing her the bolts of sparkly fabric for the “Celeste” wings and the template and having her cut for the rest of the day while I sew.  Either that or putting her to work making wands and hair clips while I work on top hats and wings.  In any case, tomorrow will be a big crafting day and I look forward to showing you what I have finished.

I feel like I’m a little ahead.  Enough so that I am making dinner for the family before the bolt of lightening strikes me down again.

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