Sunday, 24 August 2008

Unmasking the Stealth

My stealth objects are slowly being revealed... slowly...

. . . t o o   s l o w l y. . .

So, to assuage my thumb-twiddling, clock-watching and hum-hahing I have decided to reveal (drum-roll, please...) the Wire Treasure Chest.  Dun dun DUUUN!

 uh... the Wire Treasure Chest...

Okay, so it's a treasure chest. And it's made of wire. You can tell my naming capabilities have been stretched to the max on this one...

There are a couple hundred gold, silver and pearl beads and bugles adorning the the chest...

pearl necklace an optional extra

The front, back and lid are all 25 stitches wide and roughly 12/13 rows long. (Ah... one of the beauties of knitting with wire is that it can be manipulated to make everything look the same size! Jolly handy!)

arty-farty lid shot

The sides were roughly 15 stitches wide and 16 rows long and I attempted to mould the last couple of rows into an arch shape by doing a k2tog at the beginning and end of each row and I curved the lid to make the overall casket/chest shape.

After sewing all the pieces together, with the exception of adding the lid, I decided that the chest needed a little re-enforcing.  The wire frame itself was quite sturdy, but the box was just on the wrong side of wobbly for me to be happy with, so I cut some board to size, covered them with black velvet then sewed them onto the frame. I did the same to the lid and then attached it to the box. And bygorrah, it fit and everything!

and it opens and closes, too! w00t!

Now I just have to wait and see whether the recipient likes it...

cue music of the nail-chomping variety and fade to black...

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Q is for...


Ravelry icons
Our favourite knitting site is a host for many wondrous things, one of my (many) favourites being the quixotic nature of some words... (I use this in its 'whimsical' and 'fanciful' sense.)  If, when conversing on the forums, you type the words 'cup of coffee, cake, killer rabbit (there's a long story there, but not for the telling right here) and ice cream, to name but four, the magic of Ravelry then depicts the words in a delightful little icon which follows your text.  It is very amusing, and the 'cake' especially has come to mean a lot to the members of a certain CPaAG...

I decided I liked these little symbols so much that I'd try to turn them into 3D knitted representations... I found patterns that I could adapt for three of them, and so determined was I to make the fourth, I made it up myself!

But I run ahead of myself...

Firstly, may I present unto you the ice cream:

um, ice cream...
Notice the waffle cone and the blueberry and strawberry scoops! Heh! This is from the marvellous pattern by Marcie Nishioka, called 'Scooped' of all things!

Next we have some cake. This is a very important part of the 'Very Longest Thread' in the 'Completely Pointless and Arbitrary Group' on Ravelry. Newbies are asked for cake when they post for the first time and it occasionally incurs a bit of confusion along the lines of:

"How can I bring you cake?" 
"Oh. I see." 
"When I type 'cake' the icon turns up and you all get Rav cake..." 


(There's a small possibility that I'm re-living my first postings on the VLT for your delectation right here and now...) 

Childish? Well, yes, but good, clean childishnessy-type fun!

And so: cake.

cake (like you'd never guess it by now...)

Now, I don't know exactly what kind of cake the Ravelry cake is supposed to be - it has a cream-coloured sponge, pink icing and filling and some cream on the top edge...  For me, I think I shall go with a Victoria sponge with a strawberry filling and fresh double cream piped around the edge of the pink icing on top.  And now I'm getting slightly peckish...  This cake is only slightly altered from the 'Let them knit cake' pattern by Hannah Kaminsky.

Then we have the killer rabbit.  Um. Well. How to explain... It involves cake, or the lack thereof...

Once upon a time in a Ravelry Land not far away, cake stopped being followed by its icon. Gnashings of teeth, howls of frustration and tears of despair ensued (indulge me, people, I'm writing a story!) causing an outpouring of grief on a main board.  The multitudes were uneasy, scared and lonely for the lack of the pretty pink frosted cake but were delighted to find out that in fact the cake was being guarded by a killer rabbit. I think Casey, one of the founders of Ravelry and the code monkey, was drinking rather too much coffee that day. But anyhoo, the killer rabbit and its cute little bunny icon made it onto our pages, and therefore onto my knitting needles...

watch out for the fangs...

This little beastie was designed by MeganAnn and called 'rabbit'. (And I shall hug him and squeeze him and call him George...)

Lastly I decided I wanted to make a cup of coffee, as... well, it's as important to me as it is to the list of icons... But could I find a pattern?  Um, well, yes actually, I could, but it was a crochet pattern, and I can't crochet my way out of a wet paper bag... So I searched again but to no avail.  Well, thunk I, maybe I can just do one myself...  It can't be THAT hard, right? RIGHT?

cup of coffee (oh, for a latte icon!)

Actually, RIGHT! Heh. 3 stitches cast onto 3 dpns, m1 on each stitch for the first round, and k1, m1 for the next few, a couple of purl rows for the base of the cup, then k1 and m1 whenever I thought it needed to curve out a bit more... Then a length of browny i-cord for the coffee part and a small i-cord for the handle and Bob's your Daddy's Bro!

And so you have it. My own quirky versions of some Rav icons...

huzzah for arty-farty shots!

(Ah, pants - Q could've been for quirky...)

Monday, 11 August 2008

P is for...

Pianto di Maria

 Tears of Mary

'Il Pianto di Maria' is a marvellous sacred cantata by Giovanni Battista Ferrandini (although the piece itself was attributed to Handel for many years) and is one of my all-time favourite pieces of music, and I've just come back from performing it in Germany.  YEEHAH!  The concert was 2 years in preparation, but the director of the ensemble and I have been dreaming about doing this for much longer...

The concert and rehearsals were in the catholic cloister church residing in the tiny wee town of Pfaffen-Schwabenheim in Germany. I know. Catholic? Germany? And there goes another of my presumptions... WHEEEEEEEEEE  It was a charming church, with a not-too-boomy acoustic which was perfect for this kind of music.

choir screen of the Cloister-Kirk

I was particularly drawn to one of the statues on the choir screen. We adopted him as our mascot although were never sure if we were making him cry with the beauty of the music, or by my coughing all the way through the rehearsals.

39゜ fever or just some amazing music?

Yes, coughing. I was (still) sick all last week, and only now am I able to pass more than half an hour without the need to go searching for bits of lung.  Ick!  Such is the lot of a singer - you are your own instrument and if you're ill, then you're... well, you're rather unfortunate, to put things politely.  My speaking voice was VERY husky due to all the coughing, and that meant that my lower range was also husky and it really hard to produce the sound. Man, I am oh so glad that my concert as an alto was last week and not this one. Funnily enough though, my high notes were easy and pingy. Cool? Well, sort of, in a Murphy's Law kind of way...

I did manage to soothe my throat a couple of times with the local beer, an arty-farty photo of which I shall now present unto you:

 mmm bier

Unfortunately I didn't get much chance to do some major sampling, as most of my free time was taken up by trying to sleep off the lurgy.  I think I knitted (hmm, knat? OO! I like the look of that!  Heh!) 3 lines of a super secret square project, and that was it. Meh.  I have a LOT to catch up on as there are some deadlines looming like thunder clouds on the horizon.  Ach well, I work better when there's a to-do-by date close to throttling distance...  My next post WILL have some stealth objects revealed.  This I promise!  And I'm absolutely gagging to show them off!

P is also for 'Patience is a virtue', I guess...

Mair Bloag Weejits

Footerin' Aboot

Footerin' Aboot
Heh! I'm so funny!

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