I Am A Collector

The first step is identifying the problem… Yeah – I‘m always going to be a collector and usually several collections at the same time. I want to clarify that my jewelry and media libraries are not being considered part of my general collection issues.

 

The first thing I remember collecting was stickers – very age appropriate. I had a 3-ring binder with at least 100 pages of stickers.  I wonder if Mom still has it in the attic.  My next vivid recollection was a combination of starting my personal library and getting My Little Ponys.

 

Do piles of crafting supplies count?  Once I started beadwork – I had to have all the colors. And here is a pic of some of my scrapbooking supplies – yes – that is all paper in the slightly leaning tower.   20180818_220846

At some point in high school I found one of my passions that still continues: pewter fantasy figures (also I collected keychains from vacations but I’ve quit that).

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Mostly what I’ve settled with as my real passion for collecting is Dragons.  I’ve got the pewter, glass, wax, resin, ceramic ones, jewelry, a couple of t-shirts, one that I cross-stitched and a giant puzzle that is framed.  (Also see my dragon Christmas tree topper.) So I’m sharing a portion of my favorites with you. I have a preference for European dragons over the Asian dragons but there is love for all the glorious mythic lizards.

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Nightmares, Literal and Literary

The other night I had a nightmare about The Fainting Game, which I heard on the Pseudopod podcast.  I woke up with images of dissolving flesh and bone, and a vague feeling of complex undercurrents between young people and how those interactions are reflections of even more complex interactions with their parents.  Worlds under worlds.

It was a very cool dream, really, and the story is incredibly cool itself.  (There’s lots of good stuff on Pseudopod, check it out if horror short stories are your thing).

This month I finally got around to reading The Portrait of Dorian Gray*. Like many people, I’ve known the premise of the story for a very long time, but had never read the actual story.  Last year I picked up a free Kindle book “The Wolf of Dorian Gray“, and decided I should probably get around to reading the Portrait before starting it.  That was a mistake.

Portrait

Like most classics, there’s a lot more to it than I was expecting.  Knowing what little I do about Wilde, I wasn’t surprised by the never quite explicit homoerotic romantic triangle, but I was surprised by the teen suicide.

It’s about a subtle seduction, not necessarily sexual.  From the vantage point of a 21st Century audience, it hardly matters whether there is a sexual element in it, it’s more of the deliberate manipulation of someone’s personality and desires which shocks.  In fact, the more obviously sexual of the suitors, Basil, seems to represent goodness (if not virtue), while the more cerebral of the two (Lord Henry) is most definitely a corrupting influence.

Of course, I had a good idea of how the supernatural horror would play out before picking up the book, but it was the corruption of Dorian’s nature which I found really disturbing.  I’m not at all sure that Lord Henry realized what he was doing, but…   very creepy stuff, in a subtle way.

Wolf

Having read ‘Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters‘ a few months after finishing the Craftlit rendition of Sense and Sensibilty  I thought I knew what to expect.  That mash up did a good job of taking the same characters and situations, adding in Lovecraftian horror, taking out a lot of the complexity but hitting all the same beats and keeping the framework the same.

In the Wolf there’s a ‘prelude’ which is put in for ‘drama’.  It’s completely unnecessary (your audience is primed to expect the ‘boring’ bits of the original story, at least a little bit), and, worse than that, it’s trite.

In the opening scenes it’s clear that two sides of the homoerotic triangle have been gender flipped.  It’s a choice, but it’s such a boring one.  I get it that modern books really should have strong female characters, but why not flip all three?

Then there’s the setting.  This book isn’t about a Victorian society which is prim on the surface and has a seething underbelly full of barely suppressed sexuality.  No, it’s all on the surface, with upper class ladies openly cavorting with whores.  In short, it’s a fantasy setting which is more suited for high adventure than Gothic horror.

OK.  I’ve talked myself out of throwing my Kindle at the wall.

Note to self: next time, wait a year or more before reading the mash up.

Note to self: read more classics.  There is usually a lot more to them than the elevator pitch.

 

* No link here. You all know about the book, and shouldn’t have any trouble tracking it down if this makes you want to get a round tuit.

Acquiring A New Show Or When Your Friend Shows Up And Demands You Watch This OR ELSE

So I have just recently returned from vacation with my two besties, fellow crafter Jill and fanfic partner Kim, and Kim talked us (badgered) into binge watching almost 2 entire seasons of one of her new favorite shows…. to share the pain.

 

We started sharing shows in the dawn on the Internet.  We three met in YahooGroups for Hercules and Xena (You can put your judgy eyebrows away), specifically for Ares and the actor that played him.

Ares
Ares God of War – Kevin Smith

After, I think a lot of our shared tv shows were shared because we scoured the new show listings each fall and tried them together.  Most of the time they stuck and we all went down the rabbit hole together; I’m looking at you Supernatural. This was especially the case with all the DC Superhero shows – though at this point we’ve all watched and dropped the shows to various degrees. And a surprising number of shows have been acquired from being exposed at a fan convention through panel or more particularly vids.

 

 

The majority of new shows between us are because one or more of us are following a person from the old show to a new one.  I believe we all followed Michael Weatherly from NCIS to Bull, (and one of us followed him from, Dark Angel to NCIS) and then decided after season 1 if we wanted to watch more.

weatherly
Michael Weatherly

General yeses or noes and opinions are then shared as to whether shows are continued.  Then Netflix and a streaming became things and changes happened.

 

In recent years Kim and I have each strong-armed each other into shows/fandoms – I believe we are tied at this point with two each.  I was relentless in getting her to watch the BBC series The Musketeers which I started because I followed an actor to it and wow.  She retaliated by using some her of valuable visiting time to make sure I got through the first 5 episodes of Teen Wolf.  She has now written fic for The Musketeers and I have been to two Teen Wolf conventions.


Then I began the Hannibal campaign.  Eventually she caved and she and her husband blew through all three seasons at an amazing pace.  The comments she sent me after an evening of watching an ep or two were GOLD. “I can’t believe I’m rooting for the serial killer here!!!!  WTF???”  Her payback was to get us (yeah we dragged Jill into it while we were on our trip) to watch one and a half seasons of The Magicians.  Now I have to see how season 2 ends and binge season 3 when it’s released in hopes of being caught up for season 4 to air in January.

I’m currently making arguments that she needs to be watching Lucifer.  She hasn’t begun her next salvo yet.  Hopefully she’s being kind and letting me finish catching up on The Magicians first.  Lucifer

 

I heartily recommend any of these shows if they catch your attention.  I also happily accept any new suggestions with a decent PR campaign.

Shop Update 8/2

Sorry for the late update this week, yesterday got away from me.

 

Our First Cat Toy

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We’ve been talking about doing these for a long time (on our cat A-List), and now we’ve got our first cat toy in the shop.  Enjoy!

I wrote the pattern for this one about 13 years ago, when my niece Nora was born (her father has ties to the cod-fishing industry).  The one I made for her was much bigger, but it’s very much the same fish.

Also… fish earrings

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We’ve got fish for you too!  Here are some absolutely adorable fish earrings which Liz made.

…and Deadpool!

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Deadpool earrings, what else could a girl (or boy) want?

Status update:

There will be no shop update next week, and the shop will be on vacation over the weekend and into the week.

Meet Captain

In the second of my “Cats I Have Known” seres,  I will be talking about Captain today.

Captain came to us at a time when I wasn’t sure I was ready to let another cat into my life.  I had gone through a series of cat-losses in the previous few years (which will probably become a post at some later point), and I was just beginning to get ready to love again.

The parent of a friend of Abby and Dottie knew about our recent troubles, and also knew a lovely woman who had adopted a pregnant stray.  I thought it was a well met and lovely idea, and agreed to take the girls to meet the kittens.

I fell in love.  I mean, who wouldn’t.

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Cant See MeCaptain is totally a snuggler.  He’s not too much of a run and play sort of cat, (he’ll pounce at the red dot if it’s right up beside him, but part of that is he knows that if he chases it Comet will always get there first).

He’s the sort of who curls up beside you and purrs loudly.  Or jumps up on bed beside you and grabs your hand to let you know it’s time for pettings.

He is also very fond of being brushed.

 

catfightHe’s quite happy to hunt thing which don’t run away.  He’s also put on a lot of weight since the picture above was taken.

2 gingers

Captain was definitely Abby’s cat before she went away to college.  I think he has finally forgiven her for that, but he’s also adopted me as his human in the meantime.  (I think Abby was hurt, but she’s recovered;  she acquired a dog in Senegal whose loyalty is unimpeachable.)

Double the Fun!

Dottie’s Christmas Sweater

I had knit a sweater for my oldest, Abby, to give to her when she came home from Senegal, just before Thanksgiving. Let’s face it, going from Africa to Baltimore in November is a lot to ask of someone.  Immediately after that I cast one on for Dottie, because if I give one girl a hand knit sweater the other should really get one.

She had requested a cabled boyfriend sweater in a neutral color.  “ohhh! Taupe!”, she said.  I wasn’t sure I knew exactly what color taupe was.  Neither was the woman at my LYS, but with a little help from Google we decided Cascade 220 in River Rock would work nicely.  I found a great pattern (which is even called “boyfriend cardigan” from Lion Brand Yarns.  I found a Ravelry project (shared by the generous sewsweet) on this same pattern.  The early part went well.

Boyfriend cable swatch is lovely
The cable pattern blocked out to be lush and yummy.

The back of the sweater knit up quickly.  By a week before Christmas I had cast on both front pieces and gotten as far as the pockets.  That’s when I decided to try something a bit fancy.

I wanted to double knit the pockets.  The pockets involve a cable crossover.  I’ve done a lot of double knitting.  I’ve even done color double knitting (with various levels of success).  I’ve never done cables in double knitting.  I know it can be done, but I haven’t taken a class, and I didn’t feel like working it out from scratch or finding an online tutorial (though I knew they’re out there…).

Instead, I opted to try double needle double knitting.

I knit into the front of the stitch (as normal) on my first needle (which I chose to hold in back) and then, with a second ball of yarn) I knit (or purled, as appropriate) into the front of the stitch again with my second needle.  I duplicated every stitch in the pocket, but left my selvedge stitch single.

Double Cast On

Notice that I chose very distinctly colored needles for the front and back.  As you can see in the next picture, they also have very distinctly colored cables.  This is a trick I learned from my sister Alice, and is very helpful when you’re working with multiple needle sets.  This is even more true on this project, where I’m working both the left and right panels on the same sets of needled at the same time.  It’s a lot of complexity and a lot of yarn.

Boyfriend trouble.png

I have my two halves set up with Needle A in back (no cables), and Needle B in front (pocket and cables).  Needle B has fewer stitches overall, but it also holds the extra selvedge stitch.  On the right side I knit needle A, left front first.  I slip the first stitch and purl all the other stitches across.  Then I knit Needle B left side.  Slip the selvedge stitch, work the pocket stitches, then, before the last stitch (the one which doesn’t have a partner on Needle A, I wrap the yarn with the yarn from Needle A as though I were working a color change in intarsia.

Intarsia like cross
Notice how the last stitch on the green cable is attached to the red cable as well?

The front of the right side is worked in pretty much the same way.  Needle B first, knit across.  Needle A next.  Slip the selvedge stitch (which had crossed yarn from the row before), then work the stitches as the pattern dictates.

Then I turn the work and do the same thing on the back.  I wrap the last stitch when it is the joined side of the pocket, and leave it separate when it is the free end.  This works well, there’s been no trouble with almost knitting front and back together.  It does leave a rather obvious pocket, but the sample pictured in the pattern had a similar look.

In any case, I think the finished product turned out very well indeed.

DottieSweater

Shop Update 18 July

Pineapple Sunrise Shawl

Pineapple Sunrise Shawl
Just added – the Pineapple Sunrise Shawl

I love this shawl.

I crocheted it for myself over a summer holiday. I purchased the yarn (100% wool) at Salty Yarns in Ocean City, MD, and spent most of that holiday working on it. I adored watching the colors flow one to another like a flame, or like a beach sunrise, through the pineapples in Justyna Kacprzak’s pattern.

The thing is, I never wear it. It’s gorgeous, but it’s just not what I reach for (even when I am wearing a suitable outfit). It deserves to be loved and to be used, so I’ve decided to find it a good home.

Full disclosure, there is a small flaw in the shawl, a repair which is visible if you know where to look for it.

I love the shawl so much, I got Steve to come up with a drink for it:

Pineapple Sunrise

Pineapple Sunrise

4 oz pineapple juice

1 1/2 oz light rum (but he says you can substitute Bacardi Gold)

1 oz amaretto

1T limejuice

1 splash of grenadine

garnish with half moon of lime

 

It’s All About the Story

As I said in the last post, Liz has been taking some crafting ‘Me Time’ lately.  She’s come up with an absolutely amazing phoenix – Phoenix

Doing things a bit backwards this time, there are details of the creation process in the About section of the shop

But Sundays are generally when we post about something other than crafting, such as fandom or cats.  So I’m going to point you to “My crafting, like my feminism, is intersectional’  a blog post by Jasika Nicole which really inspired me to start blogging again.   I have a massive crush on Ms. Nicole, and not just because she is gorgeous and can write.

For those of you who don’t immediately recognize the name, Jasika is Keisha on Alice Isn”t Dead and Dana Cardinal on Welcome to Nightvale.  I first came across her as Astrid Farnsworth in Fringe, and she’s in a lot of great and geeky shows (Adventure Time, Justice and Action) as well as more mainstream fare (Underground and Scandal).

She’s terrifyingly multicraftual, she knits, sew, writes comics and does whatever else she puts her mind to.  Definitely check her out – Jasika Nicole.

We’ve Been Busy

Yes, CatAList Crafts is still a ‘thing’, but we haven’t been as active online as we would have liked.

Jill and I have both had work stuff going on (deadlines and a total change in work schedule) and that has gotten in the way a bit.  Liz and I have been working on personal rather than shop projects, and that has also gotten in the way a bit (more on that in the next post).

But we’ve been working on the shop as well.  There has been lots of ‘behinds the scenes’ stuff.  We’ve been (wait for it…)

Organizing

Jill’s spare room has been sort of a ‘holding space’, as in ‘I know I put those findings somewhere’ and ‘Hey, my neighbor just brought in some wine corks, where should they go?’ thing.

We’ve spent a couple of weeks answering those questions…

corks

It’s a giant tub of corks, and an old fashioned deli slicer, because cork earrings aren’t the only thing we can do.

If there are any ER trips, I promise to let you all know…