Sunday, 29 March 2015

I'm Mad As Hell & There's Nothing I Can Do About It...

 Yesterday the gentleman that commissioned me to knit this cardigan came to collect it.  When he tried it on, I was really pleased to see that it was a perfect fit and looked absolutely great on him - it was a case of real pride in my work.  He was very happy too, especially as he had had a not so pleasant experience previously trying to get this cardigan made.  We had a few email conversations over the past month while sorting out the colour scheme and yarn for this version, in which he mentioned the cardigan he had commissioned someone else to knit.

It would seem that this knitter was a complete con-artist - 'knitter' and 'con-artist' are not two words I would expect to appear in the same sentence.  The man went up to London to collect his cardigan, had a cursory look at it before paying up and going home.  Upon taking the cardigan out of the bag at home and inspecting it closer, he discovered that quite a few elements were missing....most of the aeroplanes in fact.  He brought this travesty to show me and I was shocked to see that this unscrupulous person had omitted any design whatsoever on the back of the cardigan - it's supposed to look like this:

There wasn't even a border.  The sleeves were completely bare too. No large plane, no border.  The collar was poorly knitted, loose and baggy, and there were some sad toggles with which to fasten the thing and no pockets.

The gentleman emailed the knitter straight away, but as you will not be surprised to hear, had no reply.  Someone somewhere pocketed a fee for some very shoddy workmanship.  What baffles me is how they expected to get away with it - although obviously they did!  The pattern has a chart for each piece, clearly showing the aeroplanes - they are the main feature of the garment.  The written instructions are simple and easy to follow, no excuse for anything to sag or bag.

I am surprised that the man bothered to try another knitter to be honest - but I am very glad it was me.  The cardigan I knitted has all the planes, stretch-proofed integral pockets, a zipper, roll-back cuffs and a non-saggy collar.  Which is what he should have got in the first place.

Maybe it's because I'm a Sagittarian, but I hate injustice of any kind and this one got me very cross indeed.  Not only was it a very unfair thing to do to a client, it gives the rest of us who have integrity a bad name.  I am left wondering how many other people this unscrupulous knitter has duped in the past and whether it is still going on.

It's not my place to pursue this, although I feel I would love to name and shame; I just needed to have a bit of a rant.  It's a sad old world when even a knitter will rip you off. 

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Playing With Sticks & String...

 It's been a busy week, but most of my projects have been quite large and I've not had anything to show unless you are interested in half-knitted wadges of yarn.  I've been knitting some small Easter themed objects, which I am sure you will be seeing soon on Twitter and Facebook.  The daffs are the only ones I can really show for now.
I have finally completed this rather splendid men's cardigan, which is a commissioned piece using a very old pattern - I can't find a date on it but looking at the style of aeroplanes, I'm putting it in the 1940's.  The yarn is chunky so it was a relatively quick knit, but the patterns involved a fair bit of concentration.  It also has integral pockets, a fitted zipper and a sizeable roll collar.
I don't normally knit clothing for other people (rarely for myself any more) but I could not resist this lovely design. 
In any spare minutes, I've been knitting this lace shawl - I'm hoping this photograph shows the little sparkles in the yarn.  It's a nice simple repeating pattern that I have knitted several times before in various different yarns and it is always effective.  The good part is that although you start with over 300 stitches, it decreases as you go, so psychologically seems to get quicker along the way....that's my story anyway!
This came in the post today - first copies of the latest Adventure Time comic with a cover painted son!
Nice big credit on the inside cover.  I'm a proud mum again - especially as he has done the cover for next month's issue as well!
And finally, now that the builders are just a (bad) memory, it's time to get the garden sorted with no fear of anything getting wrecked.  We have gained a long length of space between us and the new houses since they put a gate on the front end.  I noticed last week that it gets quite a bit of sunshine along our wall in the middle of the day, so I am going to try and grow some potatoes and beans in there - it's worth a try!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Lovely Lurcher

I've just put the finishing touches to this portrait of a young lurcher, so he's ready to go to his new home.  Sadly this little chap did not make it past two years old, so hopefully it will be a sweet reminder of a much loved pet.

This has been drawn using Derwent Drawing Pencils on a blue/grey pastel paper.  I just love doing this kind of dog portrait...or any kind of dog portrait for that matter!

So I am once again free for commission - just get in touch.

In the meantime, I'm knitting Easter eggs; very, very small ones...

Monday, 16 March 2015

Somewhere In The Middle...

Firstly, I hope you all enjoyed your Mothers Day yesterday - mine was pretty good, although probably not everyone's cup of tea.  My lovely daughter made this suncatcher card for me - I think it took a very long time!
I seem to have a stack of projects on the go but nothing finished as yet.  I'm knitting some very small daffodils...
...this thing that looks like a skinny octopus will eventually be a tree - honest, it will!
I'm on the home straight with the aeroplane cardigan, just finishing off the sleeves, but whenever it gets too much (it's very heavy!) I knit another few rows of this lace shawl.  A simple repeating pattern, easy to learn off by heart and I am using a laceweight mohair yarn in a soft off-white with sparkles threaded through it.  I think it will be very pretty.
And after a whole year, it would appear that we are finally free of builders.  Over the weekend we quickly walloped up an extra bit of trellis to fill in the gap the fencers left and covered the first panel with some bamboo screening.  Now I feel we are protected as much as possible from prying eyes.  I planted some clematis plants which will hopefully climb up the rest of the fence and trellis and provide a living screen.  We may get perfectly nice new neighbours, but it doesn't hurt to take precautions!

I also painted my sentry box blue last week - it's such a pretty colour that I was tempted to paint everything else blue as well, but then commonsense prevailed!

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Back In Time...

 I am working on several things at the moment, but unfortunately - and frustratingly - nothing I can show.  So here's a trip down memory lane to a few of my early paintings which still hide in my portfolio.  This is a pair of scarlet ibis - I just love painting birds in any shape or form, but particularly brightly coloured ones.
 A scarlet macaw - again with the red!  I don't wear it, rarely have anything in the house that is red, but I do like a red bird or two!  Another watercolour.

 A sleeping rhino getting a bit of grooming.  This hangs in our living room - I like the nuances of colour and texture in the rhino's skin.  It was great fun to paint and I think that shows.  Watercolour also.
A very long time ago, we went to St. Lucia for an unforgettable holiday.  W took a trip in the rain forest there and this painting is one of a few that I did when I got home.  Watercolour again, but with a very limited palette.

Having looked at these, I think it is time I went through my portfolio and put some of the oldies but goodies up for sale rather than have them languish hidden away.

On the needles - still that big cardigan
Sewing a tree (as you do...)
On the easel, a dog portrait

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Blue Jellyfish No.10

 I find it hard to believe I have painted ten of these blue jellyfish over the years, all because of some photos we took at the New England Aquarium in Boston.  It's not just the watercolour paintings, I've painted jellyfish on ties as well - perhaps I should get around to t-shirts too!

This has been painted in watercolours using a limited palette of Cerulean blue, indigo and purple.  I used clingfilm to get the rippled effect on the background, and salt on the fronds of the jellyfish to add a lacy texture.  No matter how many different versions of this I paint, it never gets boring.  This is now for sale in my Etsy shop.
A couple of weeks ago I forgot to buy filo pastry and had to make my own Greek pastry for a spinach pie.  It was so nice, I decided to do it again today.
Look, not a soggy bottom in sight! This and home made lentil soup are on the menu this evening.
A year ago, our garden looked like this.
Then for a very long time, it looked like this.
Now it looks like this - we finally have trellis fixed to the fence and are ready to grow whatever will shield us from this:
Short of putting up a twenty foot fence, nothing is going to prevent us from being overlooked, but at least we have insisted the builders do what they can.  Now we wait to see who moves in...gulp!  The plus side is that the noise must surely be nearly over?

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Lizards & Lace

This was a commission I received last week.  I'm not sure why anyone would want to have a gecko crocheted for them, but I am very glad they did!  Funny little thing, quite tricky to make due to its size.
Personally I am terrified of geckos - when I lived in Greece I would rather sleep in the living room than my own bedroom if there was a gecko on the ceiling.  Not sure why I have that fear, it came as a surprise to me as well - it's not lizards, just geckos....Not crocheted ones though, as they don't shed their tails or stalk you from above.
Amongst the paid work, I managed to knit this cute little scarflet.  I love the pattern, not just lace but wavy texture as well.
I also love the yarn - Sirdar Montana - with it's contrasting colour changes and good stitch definition.  This is currently for sale in my Etsy shop.

Still knitting the big cardigan with the planes, and currently sewing a very complicated small embroidered fish...but I MUST make time to paint, withdrawal symptoms kicking in.