Monday, January 31, 2011

Transfiguration - Done!

For Transfiguration this month, we had to do a book report of sorts - basically, craft something related to the book and say WHY. For example, you could create something a character in the book might wear, or something representative of a particular scene. The book I chose was Watership Down by Richard Adams. This was my favorite book for a very long time (and may still be; it's been a few years since I've re-read it).

I knitted The Black Rabbit of Inlé (The Black Moon-Rabbit, or Inlé-Rah), the servant of the rabbits' god, Lord Frith. It is he who takes rabbits away to make sure that they die at their predestined time. He is a fear-inducing figure in the rabbits' mythology, the equivalent of the Grim Reaper in human folkore.

I like that I was able to get a semi-spooky photo. You'll notice, though that this is a Bunny Nugget. As such, it has attitude. (I got three nice, quiet, NORMAL bunny nuggets with Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail. Then I got Hamish... and this guy.)

"Hey," he said. "You're supposed to do stuff WITH FLAMES this month. Where's my WITH FLAMES?"

So, I knitted him a tiny cloak.

I think he's going over well, but I think I'm doomed with both him and Hamish in the house. WITH FLAMES.

And just because, I'd like to share this AWESOME carved pumpkin by Vampire Chicken that I found while looking for Watership Down info.

Not my photo. I wish it was my pumpkin!!

I wish I could do stuff like that - it's just amazing!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Aithmancy OWL progress

Rule number one for an Arithmancy OWL: count properly!

I may have failed to do this. You see, I'm making braided balls, 22 of them, in fact. 18 six-strip balls, 4 nine-strip bands. I'm into the third week now. Did you catch all the numbers there? (18*6)+(4*9)=144.

I have to make ONE HUNDRED AND FOURTY-FOUR strips. Here's what I've got, and this has been my commuting project since I started:

I've got eighteen finished - I'm one short of enough for a nine-ball with the thin strips on the left, and enough for one six-ball on the right (plus a couple of partials). I've got three strips underway (one not pictured) - and roughly sixty days left.

Do the math... and remember, I've got another OWL, too.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

State of the Unknit

So, it's getting close to the end of January. I've got four classes turned in, five finished, and three in progress. (Yeah, I was *going* to just do six classes... that may not pan out.)

Here's what I have left:
History of Magic - make something Unity. This is a set of coasters (really) WITH FLAMES in house colors. Red heart for the main; Vanna's Glamour for the metal. Yes, that's sparkly black for Hufflepuff!

Here's 7 of the 12 block faces for Divination. It's going to be a set of UFO countdown blocks, wiht yellow numbers and red trim - since I'm not quite sure how else to work in WITH FLAMES.

This is my Transfiguration book report, I think. I need to re-check the class requirements, but I think I can use Watership Down as my book. This, then, will be the Black Rabbit of Inle, the Lapin equivalent of Charon (or so I've always thought). Even though he's not finished yet, I've already been informed that he wants a stylish cloak WITH FLAMES. *Sigh.*

So, a few days left, we'll see which of these get turned in!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

When you're sick, dress a rabbit.

*cough hack*

Sorry, I was out sick today - actually, I went home early yesterday, too. I have learned that if I'm sick, I really need to rest; best way to keep myself resting and entertained is, of course, knitting completely strange things.

Some of you may remember my bunny nugget, Hamish. Well, for DADA class, we're supposed to make something that will protect against the Twitchy Ear Hex. Hamish pointed out that, for sheer surface area percentage, he's got way more ear to protect than I do, so, clearly, I should make him a hat. WITH FLAMES, of course.

So, I did.

He looks quite dashing in it, and I'll be turing it in to Defense Against the Dark Arts once I'm on a computer keyboard bigger than my netbook. Hopefully, that will be tomorrow, but with all the snow... it might not be!

(Okay, he does look pretty good in it.)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

OWL at 10 hours

The Ancient Runes O.W.L. is going to be interesting. At ten hours of knitting (with some distraction from TV, admittedly), I've managed 25 rows. In theory, it should go faster for about 40 rows - the stitch count doesn't increase, and I've got my stitch markers placed for the 15 12=stitch repeats.

It's pretty... but man, I don't know if I'm going to finish it by the end of March!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Quidditch Squares #1 and #2

So, as the "relaxing" (non-O.W.L.) knitting this weekend, I did two squares for RyRy's blanket:

I was pretty much just winging it on both, but since I had the lovely forest green, I decided to use it. I think it was originally for an all-over cabled sweater for me, but I think a Blanket of Love and Support is a better use.

I'm going to see if I do any others before *ping*ing Karity, she-who-collects-the-squares.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ancient Runes O.W.L. Proposal

RavID: CraftyGryphon
House: Slytherin
Year: Third
OWL subject and option: Ancient Runes - Craft something using an intricately-charted design.

Hello Examiners! Here is my proposal:

Identify the pattern(s) you will be using (original designs encouraged).

I will be making Some Knitting Required's Pretty as a Peacock Shawl - "Knit from the neck down, the various lace patterns combine to look like the open fan of peacock's tail." The pattern is charted - over legal-sized pages - and they're crazy-dense at that! I believe the version of the pattern I have is correct, but I've obtained the related errata just in case.

The desired result:

Photograph of the yarn(s) and any unusual needles or materials involved.

I will be using Claudia's Handpainted Silk in the Ocean Depths colorway. I have 2 skeins, or 2,200 yards. The pattern calls for 3.5 mm (US 4) 32-inch circular needles, a 3.5 mm (US size E) crochet hook, and approximately 1,500 yards of a fingering/laceweight yarn. This pile of materials is deceptive in its simplicity - until you notice the charts (!!!) spread out under it all. There's a whole lot of chart happening here!

Two or three sentences describing the planned crafting sequence and analyzing any areas of potential difficulty or new skills needed.

Planned sequence: I will be reading through the pattern several (dozens?) of times to make sure I understand what's going on here. I will be following the pattern, exactly. (I have done this exactly once in my life before: my Charms O.W.L., so I know it's possible, just really, really hard.) There are a LOT of charts, and some are big - while others are frightening in their tiny-ness - and most say things like "repeat five times" or "repeat fifteen times". (I really think this counts as "intricately charted" - or "insanely charted", whichever you prefer.) I am *so* very not worried that this will be "6-8 weeks of work" - I'm just hoping I'm actually able to finish it in three months. (And even if I don't, I'll still be really close to done, so, yay, new shawl for spring!) Plus, I'm doing another OWL - which isn't really a consideration, as to the amount of work in this OWL, but does cut down on my "reasonably available crafting time. (You'll see that proposal later - or you already saw it, depending on when I post this.)

New skills: I have never in my life done a "crochet cast off". I can crochet, but more along the 'make a pretty free-form toy or similar object' path, not the 'follow this pattern and actually achieve the intended result' vein. The fact that I will be developing this new skill near the end of the Examination Period (when the pressure is on!) should be, um, interesting. As I mentioned above, I also have some trouble keeping to an actual pattern - I'm usually compelled to embellish, or change, or fix up, or what-have-you. I will be knitting this shawl Per The Pattern. Also? The big giant holes for the "eyes" on the peacock feathers are totally freaking me out. Purposely making big giant holes? Never thought I'd do it, but it looks like I'm going to learn how!

Photograph of your swatch.

There is an actual suggested swatch in the pattern. As the shawl is designed to be approximately 88" across the top and 43" deep, my gauge (20 stitches over 24 rows = 3.5 inches wide and 3 inches high) should put me right right in the ballpark of the official finished measurements after blocking.

I hope this Ancient Runes O.W.L. proposal is acceptable, as it's finally giving me the push to attempt the crazy-beautiful shawl pattern that I fell in love with and bought when I started knitting seriously (and finally think I'm up to finishing), with the crazy-beautiful yarn I got to make it. Please let me know if you need any further information.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

There are some amazing people in the world.

Have I mentioned that HPKCHC is a pretty amazing place? One of the Cuppers, known by most as RyRy, got hit hard by tragedy: his house burned down. He lost everything. He's otherwise okay - but dang, he lost EVERYTHING. Enter the House Cup, and the amazing folks in Hellion House (yes, the chatroom has formed its own house) - and all the other Official Houses. We're making him a blanket, with as many folks as can kicking in a square or two. I've officially signed up for one, but will probably do more than that. I started yesterday:

The word came down from On High that squares could count as Quiddy projects, which was sweet of Those On High. I think everyone would make the squares anyway, but points are never a bad thing! I'll show you what I get as I finish them; I've got a couple of ideas, since the colors are greens, blues and blacks. (Yes, I'm going to put secret binary messages in a square or two. How did you know?)

And, on a completely different note, I have yet another new Ravatar:

And yes, I want that ring!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

...and one for me.

Well, I made so many Olivia's Butterfly hats that I decided to make one for me with some Aurora 8 I'd bought back when Stitch DC still had a Georgetown store. It matches my lightweight winter coat perfectly, and I've been meaning for years to make a hat to go with said coat. Enter 2011, and a fun hat pattern!

Being me, I couldn't let my little hat go without embellishment. I'm not sure about it - I like the double-ruffle I added on, but it does give the whole thing an air of being a turn-of-last-century bathing cap. Or a baby bonnet. Possibly not a hat to wear for reals. I'm not frogging it yet, since it's actually finished, but I am considering it.

And, just for fun in a behind-the-scenes sort of way, this, kids, is why you crop blog photos. Not everyone needs to see what's in your medicine cabinet!

Uncropped - see why I cropped it?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Quidditch: Just the Hats, Ma'am!

Here are the last three Quiddy hats. The whole lot of them (plus the Breast Cancer Bunny) are winging their way to somewhere in Michigan, where the lovely T's mom will get a hat-and-bunny-filled package later in the week.

This one is my favorite, I think, because the butterfly shows up so well. I wish I'd done this with all the hats, but I didn't think of getting creative with the butterfly until I ran out o the pink-and-yellow yarn!

Here they all are, ready to be packed up and shipped:

Woohoo! I think my next Quiddy project (for February) will be Snuggies for one of the local kitty shelters. I can't adopt because of allergies, but I can care, and I can make kitty beds!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Charms - Done!

So, yesterday was The Baby Shower, and I managed to finish the Blankie WITH FLAMES on time (or, rather, with at least 10h to spare before start time). I'm not certain which of these photos is better; I think it's cool that you can see (if you squint) the center "X" that divides the four quarters. Pretty much everywhere there's a color change? There's probably an end I had to weave in. I worked from the center out, and just did blocks of color as much as possible. Still had a ginormous number of ends to weave in - and remember, they had to be invisible on BOTH sides. Worth it, though - I really loved the result.

Also finished up the Quiddy hats - and, from all that crocheting, here's the yarn that was left over:

That's not a lot of yarn left - and I actually threw it out, instead of saving it for the Ort Ball. Seven skeins of yarn, totally out of my house! Woohooo!

Friday, January 14, 2011


I'm on the border row of the baby blanket; I'm on my sixth Olivia's Butterfly hat...


That's Cool Running's "Couch to 5k Plan" - basically, go from being a non-runner to running a 5k in nine weeks. Woohoo!

The exercise is cutting into my knitting time - and my blogging time, but I'll try to have more actual content next week. Thanks for your patience while I reorganize my life!!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Blanke for Charms...

Here's my Granny Square Baby Blanket WITH FLAMES for Charms as it was at the end of January 2:

... and here it is now:

This is a shower gift for a baby shower this upcoming weekend. Since I have yet to get the couple's wedding gift (a sampler with the date, etc.) finished, I figured I'd better come through for the baby-to-be. And I think the to-be-parents will like the fact that it's not the Usual Baby Colors. Yay!

As of now, it's got two complete skeins (at 165 yards each) of Black, and one each (same yardage) of Cherry Red and Yellow. I may have some yellow left over, but I'm not sure about the red. The black bit in the center is, well, going to be off center - but since when was a fire ever balanced? I think it's going to be pretty cool. Hoping to finish it tonight!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Boot follow-up

Um, I have now finished 4.5 hats for Tangledskein's mom's treatment center; photos later. I'm near the end of my first week of eathing better and daily exercise, and I am EXHAUSTED. Luckily, I know it gets better next week, and much better the week after that.

Re: My new boots: They're from LLBean, with Gore-tex and good treads, the works. I think this style just comes in green this year; they retail at $179 (and figure add, what, $10 for tax/shipping? Although if you go over $x, shipping is free right now). since I expect them to last a really, really long time, I figure it'll work out to around $10-$17 a year for Super Comfy Wonderboots.

Buying them on-line gets me my size (which is wider than most - I have boxy little feet, which is great for ice skating, but not so much for off-the-rack shoes). Most department stores can measure your feet for you if you don't know FOR SURE your exact size (and remeber - as you get older, it DOES change). But, if for some reason the LLBean boots you bought didn't work? S'okay. They're terrific about returns/exchanges; they want you to be happy with what you wind up with!

Um. Okay, that's the boot report. Hopefully back to the yarn tomorrow - and hopefully I'll be awake. I think my spelling just went off the deep end...!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


We interrupt this blog with a late-breaking newsflash: Just in time for (as it turns out) a whole lotta ice and not much snow, my new boots arrived!

These are probably the most expensive clothing-bits I own (with the exception of my Frye Eagle Harness boots - but those are, like, 6 years old by now, and depreciation has probably set in). But, as they're LLBean boots, I expect them to last a decade, at least - the last pair that I decided to go for top-of-the-line instead of skimping lasted almost 20 years. (Then I skimped; they lasted ONE.)

I feel much better knowing that I'll have traction and, more importantly, footwarmth tomorrow. Since the alternative is sneakers & cleats!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Being healthy cuts into my knitting time.

Well... I didn't finish any more classes over the weekend as I'd planned to do. I didn't even manage to finish my swatch for OWL #2, but it's at least halfway done, and I did all the math on the worksheet for my sweater for Transfiguration. And hats. I made some hats for The Weasley Challenge/HoH Hat Challenge/Quidditch - I'm at 3.5, and I'd like to have five for the month, at least. Two are Olivia's Butterfly:


and the other one... I'm making up as I go.

Because why use one of the zillions of proven patterns out there, when I can play with yarn and swear a lot when it doesn't work out? The fourth one doesn't look hat-like enough to photograph, but it's another Olivia's Butterfly.

Hopefully, tomorrow, there will be something other than hats, but don't count on it - I have to attempt to walk/run two miles when I get home!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Potions - Done!

First, a moment of silence for the Serpentine Valentine Sock that almost was... here it is, just before it was entirely frogged on New Year's Eve:

Thank you. Now, on to today's finished item: my Potions drink-cup cozy WITH FLAMES. This time, I just said to heck with the pattern; I can do these cozies in my sleep (really, I have!) at this point, and I just decided to wing it on the flame pattern, which worked pretty well! Here it is late Wednesday night....

... and here it is by the end of breakfast on Thursday...

... and here it is at the end of lunch!!

Yeah, this is a nice, quick little project for me now, and hey, everyone can use a pretty glass/cup cozy, right?

Insulates from the heat in the winter, stops condensation & melting in the summer. And now, WITH FLAMES!!

Because I decided to go all Ravenclaw on at least one assignment, and Potions tends to best lend itself to same, here's what I turned in (minus the two photos, which are above):
Hello, Professors! This is CraftyGryphon, Third Year Slytherin, turning in her assignment.
Invigorating Potion Ingredient: Caffiene

Caffiene: a vital component to many common Invigoration Draughts. (fig. a) Oddly enough, this component is *not* a stimulant, as most people assume (or are, erroneously, told); it is an anti-soporific, which is to say that it doesn't wake one up; it keeps one from falling asleep. This is why it is helpful to consume a caffiene-containing beverage in the mornings - an anti-soporific helps banish the last vestiges of drowsiness, and why it is NOT helpful to consume in the evenings (if one desires sleep) - it will, of course, prevent one from falling asleep easily.

fig. a

Unlike most people of my acquaintence, I tend to favor a version of the Invigoration Draught brewed for commercial sale by one "Doctor Pepper", and the usual container in which I obtain it is much like the following illustration (fig. b):

fig. b

The only problem with these containers are that they have limited to no insulative properties. Cold beverages, placed in an environment only a few degrees warmer (let alone thirty to fifty) than the beverage when decanted will cause condensation ("sweat") on the exterior of the container, rendering it both cold (as the "sweat" evaporates) and slippery (as it is now a smooth container with a thin continuous coating of fluid). Before the Draught is consumed, one's reflexes aren't quite up to par, and dealing with cold hands clutching slippery containers should be avoided. Thus, I have created a Invigoration Draught Container Cozy to use daily. The cozy itself is stretchy, and can accomodate both the size container in fig. b above, and the "large" container, pictured below (fig. c). It is made from available scrap yarn; approximately 30 yards combined of the three visible colors.

Invigoration Draught Container Cozy

[photo above]

[photo with cup, above]
fig. c

Thanks for the assignment, Professors! You have helped me saved my poor hands from the dreaded early morning chill - or the even more drastic Loss of Invigoration Draught!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Flying - Done!

Got another class turned in - this time, it was "make something warm/make something at least 50% animal fiber" for Flying. I like the candle flame pattern; making a close-fitting cowl that has WITH FLAMES colorwork seemed a good fit. Since, you know, January is WITH FLAMES month. Started it on the 3rd...

... finished it on the 5th. Quick, and fun!!

I probably should have put one more pattern repeat in - it fits my neck snugly, but getting it over my head is tricky (and forget keeping my glasses on while I do it!!)


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

First finish of 2011!

It's Twelfth Night tonight, and you'll all be happy to know that I finally, today, got my Christmas cards in the mail. Yes, it's late, but DARNIT I'm sending them, late or not. The time leading up to Christmas was insane, and the new year hasn't been much better as yet - but they're done! They're done! Woohooo! (Well, except for the couple for whom I don't have addresses. Like my cousin, whose Christmas letter I have, but envelope I don't. And my college roomie, who moved, and whose change-of-address card has gone AWOL.)

So, on to the knitting - here's my first finish of 2011, my Flames Hat to match my Flames Mittens!

I'm finally making hats that actually fit well; I hadn't been making the brims anywhere near long enough previously. From edge to where-the-decreases-start need to be between eight and ten inches for me and my mom; a bit over a foot for my husband and/or dad.

The assignment was to either make mushrooms/fungus, or something that makes us more of a fun-guy(gal)... so I made a hat WITH FLAMES. Everything - spinning poi, fireworks, movie explosions - all more fun WITH FLAMES. Especially marshmallows.

Anyway, hat fits, wore it today, love it, totally keeping it.