Ripple Throw Progress Report: making waves

(*no, this is not exciting for anyone but me)

As you know, I have wicked intentions to make a ripple throw. As the first ripple pattern I tried seemed quite triangular, almost a chevron pattern, I wanted to try something more subtle and opted to translate my way through Attic24's ripple pattern.

This is just me, but I found it extraordinarily difficult, haha! Let me clarify again that this is just me; I have a general ineptitude towards pattern-reading of any type. Even with pictures I really need to see it done to understand whether I am doing it right or not, hence my reliance on YouTube. This swatch is only about 2/3 of the size of my chevron-esque pattern practice square, and it took me about three times as long to do... with the exact same hook and the exact same brand/thickness of yarn.

Even though it is almost exactly the same as the steep chevron-esque ripple pattern, the only differences being the number of stitches you make and the fact that you repeat the stitches for the "valleys" and "mountains" twice instead of only doing them once (and also how the row ends), I had to re-start it about six times before I got the hang of it and thought, "Oh, this isn't so bad..." For some reason it is more confusing for me, regardless of its similarities. The chart of stitches provided were extremely helpful towards the end, where I understood what I was doing a bit more but needed to rely on having everything exactly laid out for me to essentially copy.

I actually enjoy doing the sharper pattern more. It seems both faster and easier. However, I really think the smaller and wavier ripple of this pattern is more of what I'm going for. I hope I can learn to love it.

double Blythe mail day

Ooh, double Blythe mail all the way 'cross the skyyy! My trade package from Care of StitchWhipped got here today! Now Bonnet has her very own teensy-weensy little dresses (seriously, they're so tiny). So happy!!

Care's amazing. These dresses are so well-made and they are so small that the construction of them blows my mind! I really have to learn to photograph Middies... they seem to have their own unique thing going on that I haven't really learned how to capture yet.

My two little cannonbelle cardigans got here today too -- gorgeousness! Can't wait to start layering with these babies. I can't believe they arrived already! I only blogged about these things a couple of days ago!

Just because, a little bit of listery:
  • listening to this cover of "Somebody That I Used To Know" a lot the past couple of days!
  • this song by Sucré is my jammmmm!
  • still making my way through Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon
  • cleaned my room like a crazy person yesterday... it just made me realize how cluttery it is in here and how I'd like to get rid of a bunch of junk! Matt Paxton, Extreme Cleaning Specialist of Hoarders fame, would be so proud... wait, what's that, he has a podcast? Must listen.

Ripple Throw Progress Report: babiest of steps

I managed to learn a nice ripple pattern last night via YouTube (videos are how I must learn just about everything -- no shame!). This is the back of my practice square, which uses some of my left over worsted-weight randoms, so I apologize for the stray yarn bits here and there and for the... interesting colors.

Here are the videos I learned from, in case you're like me and cannot make sense of patterns until afterwards:
(I must say, even so, it took me three re-starts to get this right and took a little while to "gel" in my brain. The actual wave part isn't hard at all; it's always chaining the correct number and then counting stitches and stuff that is where I go wrong with anything. Numbers, arrrghh!!)

This particular one, done in multiples of 16, is actually quite a marked V-shape, which I think would be absolutely lovely in Indian Summer/retro kind of colors! (Future idea? Hmm!!) But as I am going for a really more subtle and me-ish white/ivory/pale pinks theme shot through every now and then with a slim gold or rust color, I think I am going to look for one that is less of a strong V. A gentle wave, if you will.

This seems less severe and looks to be a wonderfully helpful tutorial, but it's also in BRITISH CROCHET TERMS so it might as well be in Ancient Sumerian to my tiny brain! British crochet stitches have slightly different names than American ones, for reasons I cannot begin to make out, and I'm sorry, but this will confuse me no matter how apparent it may be to anyone else. But I have a sense of determination this morning, so it's on to practice square number two.

dolly acquisitions...!

Care of StitchWhipped and I arranged a little trade last week. She makes the cutest Middie duds, and Bonnet does not have a single thing to wear... so I asked for a yellow dress and Care created this, and also this adorable brown gingham dress that I just can't wait to pair with a sweet cardigan and some cute tights. We we we so excited!!

Also, I bought some pearly Middie Mary Janes from Jemgirl Creations. There's just not enough Middie stuff out there but I feel like these will be great neutral shoes that will go with almost anything! Don't worry, Bonnet! Soon you will have something to wear besides your stock!

I bought this blue Napoleonic jacket and knitted kitty dress (and the top underneath it) from one of my very very favorites, Reve de Rui. The Napoleonic jacket is going to be a present for a lovely Bloomy Bloomsbury belonging to the lucky L...

I also got these two sweet knitted cardigans from cannonbelle! My girls love to layer... you might have noticed!!

I can't wait till I start getting dolly mail... man, are these duds going to cheer my typically very dreary and annoying February right up!

Rachel's Ribbon

I'm on a never-ending quest for a pink-haired Blythe, so Rachel's Ribbon of course piqued my interest. Her hair is described as "Cinnamon brown with shades of pink" and, interestingly, is "parted on the side with bangs." I love side-parter girls! In real life they can be hard to style (a fact my Very Vicky, Miss Petaline, will attest to), so having a side-parter girl with bangs is like the best of both worlds!

However, Rachel's Ribbon is clearly a peach-haired girl. I can see the pink tint in the picture up against the yellow wall, but even Vinter Arden's hair looks pinker to me. And this girl looks like VA's RBL cousin. That's not a bad thing; she's super-cute and I love VA's hair color even though it wasn't as pink as I'd hoped from the concept art. Her olive eye chips are lovely with her muted salmony-peachy-browny hair too.

I sort of wonder if I took this girl and dunked her scalp into some pink RIT, would she work out for me as the pink-haired girl of my dreams? I've kind of become accustomed to the fact that my Perfect Pink may only be achievable through some amount of custom work. I loved muted tones and I'd prefer a more orangey/melony/reddish pink so it seems like just dipping her hair to enhance the color just a little bit could work. I do love the side-part with the bangs, it's so cute!

Something to think about, sigh...!

I saw the pink-haired girl of my dreams on Flickr the other day... a vanilladolly custom named Phoebe. Double sigh!!

Moon power makeup!

Today I began watching Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, which is the ambitious live-action version of the I'm-pretty-sure-you've-at-least-heard-of-it manga/anime. Sailor Moon was not my first brush with anime (many of the cartoons I watched growing up in the 80s were anime, but people didn't call it "anime" back then -- or even "Japanimation"), nor is it by any stretch of the imagination my favorite anime. But I feel a nostalgic fondness for it anyway as something I enjoyed when I was twelve. I love Power Rangers, too; whatever it is about nonsensical senshi series, I apparently like them!

A heavily butchered dubbed version of Sailor Moon, a notorious atrocity which nevertheless was many girls' first exposure (and gateway drug) to anime, aired in the mid-to-late '90s here in the USA. Even though almost everything was changed, from character names and relationships... and genders... to background music, somehow it retained a certain beauty and mystique. The transformation sequences, both in the strange watered-down English version and in the original Japanese, are mesmerizing to watch. I still like to go to YouTube and watch compilation videos of them to this day.

Still, when I saw pictures from and clips of the live-action version many years ago, I was like, "This looks totally ridiculous. I don't even love Sailor Moon but that looks like a rip-off." So I am not entirely sure what moved me to watch it today, other than seeing a playlist of it on YouTube and really wanting something to watch while I made Blythe hats. But I'm actually really really enjoying it! It really is ridiculous, but in a delicious way. It's bright and colorful and yet the quality is so cheap (I feel this way about many jdramas -- they are not very cinematic in comparison to a lot of British or American TV) that it feels very popcorny and entertaining. Regardless, I feel like this version, which is in some odd way even more cartoony than the actual anime, does the characters and their relationships justice in a way the anime somehow didn't. It differs in some key ways from the plot I remember and somehow has less of the cats and less of the bad guys so far, but I find myself actually liking the characters in PGSM more than in the anime. It's quite a strange feeling to like Sailor Moon herself, who is very, very endearing in this version.

Conclusion: PGSM is better than you think!

tackling 2012

Oh, January, already you have brought me changes. Who can tell what kind of year this will be? It's both daunting and interesting.  Last year, I didn't have a ton of personal time. During 2011 I often found myself too anxious and energy-depleted to enjoy my usual hobbies. If it wasn't for taking up the guitar... which required so much of my attention and dedication to slowly learn that it was the only thing that distracted me from my anxiety completely... I might have gone insane!! I am so thankful for my guitar and I love spending time playing on it every day, and so I cannot regret 2011 even if it was so busy that it soaked up my life forces. Because I wasn't crafting with the same vim and vigor, I also began to write a little more. Writing is a treasured pastime of mine, so I am happy to be writing again too.

Happily, this year, I have immediately found myself freed up again a bit. I have been practicing knitting again, inspired by a friend, I, who asked if she could knit me a pair of socks!! I was like, "Man, I want to knit, I don't know if I remember how!" But I magically remembered not only how to cast on and knit, but to purl. I couldn't believe it. I'm still so poor at it that I am just making practice squares with spare yarn... but I'm really enjoying it a lot. With a Christmas gift card, I got some extra knitting needles to add to the small, varied collection I have acquired in various ways throughout the years in my journey to Try And Knit.

In further yarny news... It has been on my mind for the past couple of months: I am also going to attempt to crochet a throw. I've crocheted one before -- for my grandma. It was back when I had very first learned to crochet and it was simple, thick stripes of burgundy-red, cream, and navy blue, to match colors in her living room. It took months! But it was worth it. To this day she snuggles up under it. I think it sounds very pleasant to have a long-running project that I can pull out anytime, even if it takes a long time. I am a short project type of person usually. That's why I like to make things for Blythes.

Through the years my skills have expanded very slightly, so I am going to attempt a ripple blanket. Can I do the ripple? NO! But I'm going to learn! I usually have to look stuff up on YouTube because I'm so terrible at understanding patterns and written instructions (a big problem I have with expanding my knit/crocheting skills and why I really can't sew either). So I excitedly picked out a bunch of yarn that is already cheapy but which was on sale!

It's going to be mostly white, cream, and more muted pinks, but with zings of golden and rusty tones, and if I can find any, some sherbet orange or peach. I'm super-excited. If I get this puppy going I'll be sure to post in-progress pictures.

By the way, my sweet Middie finally got named...

Her name is Bonnet! Look forward to seeing Middie hats in my shop fairly soon.

beary beary January

Happy 2012! Man, I'm going to take a while to adjust to that. I still want to type "2010."

I had a good Christmas! One of my favorite things was a doing simple handmade gift of bear-eared barettes for my little sisters (and me, of course). I saw a tutorial and knew I had to do it immediately, and it was super-easy and fun, and they are really adorable!  They stay put well.

I've just been wearing mine around. I'm making more, because I bought a half-yard of fleece and half-yard of fur and I have a ton of leftovers.

At the end of every year I put together a playlist of the songs I listen to the most and label it "Hot Summer Jams." This is just a silly phrase that cracks me up, it has nothing to do with summer. Here's this year's. Lots of Chord Overstreet, I know...