A little bit of everything

I was flicking back through last summer’s photographs for something to brighten the place up. I think a bit of pink grevillea will do the trick.

It certainly makes me feel happier than listening to the Mad Monk, aka Tony Rabbit, aka the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. But since he and his party seem to be doing a rather nice job of slowly screwing up their chances with the independents, I’m not feeling as ranty as I could’ve been. Indeed, I’ve been rather pleased by the sudden appearance of European-style minimum winning coalitions and the shocking idea that federal politics and government may require cooperation. I suspect a Labor government supported by the independents since that would be the only way to ensure stable government when the Greens hold the balance of power in the Senate. At any rate, it’s going to be very interesting for a while to come.

My crafty projects continue at a pleasing rate: reworking the lad’s beanie so it fits – I’ll do a separate post on that because I’ve used some interesting construction techniques to fit his design; my plum jacket is reading for sewing up this weekend; I’ve cast on for Acorns in a lovely heathery foresty green; crocheting away on the flower rug with crescent mesh; and about to pounce on a couple of wristwarmers and berets for myself. The lass’ car rug fails to inspire me so I’m going to see if I can persuade her to change patterns. Stripy treble is not my favourite form of crochet. And sometime next week I will cast on for Red Oak in a chunky burnt orange. There’s another trip to the Netherlands lined up, this time for late October/early November, so I get the fun of more winter knitting.

The lad is having some occupational therapy assessment as part of our Asperger’s management plan. It means another two questionnaires for us and I decided to photocopy one so I could fill it in for myself. It’s all about sensory integration – how we receive and respond to information about our environment through our senses. Typically, aspies have a profile of sensory integration ‘deficits’, particular stimuli that trigger an exaggerated response. The professionals are beginning to understand that if you actually take this sensory profile as a means of understanding the person rather than just a guide to behaviour management (for example, moving away from ‘let’s avoid loud noises so he doesn’t have an aspie meltdown’ to ‘tactile experiences are a really positive way he can learn’) then maybe quite a few difficulties can be resolved.

The lad and I have a few things in common here. Auditory processing difficulties (loud noises, trouble understanding speech in some circumstances etc); high sensitivity to touch – which explains a tendency to wear the same clothes because they feel ‘just right’; strong preferences for certain smells or tastes, that sort of thing. The lad is quite happy to play with icky gel kind of stuff, playdough and what have you. I avoid it like the plague. I refused point blank to ever make playdough for the kids – I hated the smell and feel of it. It’s a good thing my mother stepped into the breach.

But there are other tactile experiences I love – yarn and fabric, clearly. I love the feel of different types of yarn running through my fingers, manipulating fabric for fold and drape. It’s heavenly. When I’m drawing I prefer to use charcoal or pastels, materials I can feel in my fingers, rather than pencils. Embroidery seems to me a fabulous way to draw, getting colour and texture and swirling them around.

Maybe I’ve figured out my sensory profile after all.

Falling flowers

38 flowers. Not bad, eh? Being laid off work for an entire week with a sinus infection can be productive in other ways.

They’re still to be blocked out for proper shaping and I’m planning a crocheted mesh background for the actual blanket bit. Something similar to a sashiko stitch would be interesting if I can figure it out.

A few of the clover leaves are small enough to fill some of the spaces and lead the eye around the blanket. The larger leaves of the original pattern I found too distracting. Plus I would have heard that little aspie voice every time I saw the blanket: if there were leaves on the ground with the flowers, they’d have to be autumn leaves, wouldn’t they? Or else eucalyptus leaves and they’re too big to work with the design.

And that voice gets a little annoying after awhile.

The left-handed crocheter

I think I may have cracked the problem of the left-handed crocheter.

Or, the problem of directions for right-handed crocheters that don’t take into account that left-handers will work in completely the opposite direction. Telling us to hold up the diagram to a mirror doesn’t solve the problem. You try holding up the pattern to a mirror and crocheting AT THE SAME TIME.

So what is actually happening when I follow a crochet pattern? I pick up the hook and I start working clockwise which is the same direction that diagrams indicate. BUT. That’s not what’s happening when a right-hander crochets. They read the directions clockwise and work anti-clockwise (take a minute to visualise the hook in your right hand and working right to left).

To get the same result, left-handers need to read the diagram anti-clockwise and work clockwise. We’re working the whole damn thing backwards.It’s okay while you’re working flat, whether it’s in the round or row by row. But a complicated garment with shaping and so on? That’s going to need practice and a lot of good red wine.

I don’t feel quite so bad about the crochet thing now.

Colouring in

I’ve knitting and crocheting steadily over the last little while and I’ve finally had the time (home with the lurgy) and some sun to photograph it.

These are flowers I’m crocheting for the Irish Floral throw in Comfort Afghans and Throws. While I usually have a love/hate relationship with crochet, I’m enjoying these flowers and using wool remnants from projects long finished. I’m improvising the flowers quite a bit and I can highly recommend my picot as a source of well illustrated crochet stitches. If you look under ‘Flowers and volumetric’ stitches, you’ll find some gorgeous butterflies. I’m going to try one of those soon.

The lad has commissioned a beanie and wristwarmer set, according to his own design. This one’s being knit flat to accommodate the colour work.

As gorgeous as this silk shawl is, I’ll be ripping it out. The lace border just wasn’t the right choice for this yarn weight. I’ve decided to go for a crochet border with a knitted, shaped body for its next incarnation.

This was my travel knitting – a bamboo yarn for a short-sleeve, v-neck tee. I’ve changed my mind about the pattern for this yarn a couple of times but didn’t start until I was quite sure. This is being knit in the round and I’ve just got to the point of dividing it for the front and back.

I’m quite ambivalent about this one. I substituted yarn in this pattern and I don’t think mohair was the way to go. This style of asymmetrical jacket needs a little weight to help it drape and show off its angle but the mohair is simply too airy to do that. I’ll see what can be done with shawl pins and other arrangements.

Now to finish off three other projects on the needles.