Knitting for a new arrival!



Soon after hearing that friends would be expecting a new arrival, I began planning my knitting projects around the happy news. I’ve never knitted for a baby before, so I hope my efforts turn out okay! I’ve been using a book called What to Knit When You’re Expecting by Nikki Van De Car. (Here’s a link to her blog.) It’s a cute book, with lots of sweet patterns. I couldn’t resist starting on the booties first. I have a feeling I’m going to end up with a rainbow selection of these cuties…


I’ve discovered that I love knitting baby clothes! It’s amazing to watch the pieces come together so quickly. And I like that these are knitted in the round, so I could watch an actual tiny shoe forming. The patterns in this book are clearly laid out and easy to follow. I even got to learn a new cast on technique, which I probably find way more fun that any sane person should… =P



Another thing about knitting this, is that it’s almost impossible not to think about the new life that will be wearing the booties. So every stitch is made with thoughts of health and happiness for the baby and parents. =]


London Film and Comic Con

Hello! Long time, no blog. So I thought I would launch myself back into the blogosphere with tales of my Saturday spent at London Comic Con.


It was a blazing hot day and the place was completely packed, even though this year the con was spread across two halls. It seemed like there were more people there than there has been before. It was something of a difficult and dangerous quest to make it from one end of the con to another. But there was so much to look at along the way!



Some of the set and props from the TV show Sherlock were making a guest appearance. I just love Sherlock’s taste in sofa cushions and wall art. XD

Because it was so crowded, I wasn’t able to indulge in my favourite con hobby of hunting down cosplayers and begging a photo of them. Although I did manage to take this one of Batman and Bane relaxing together over a pint.


I also had three photo ops, so I was able to spend some time safely ensconced in a queue, watching people walk past. I saw some amazing cosplays.


The main hall was were the merch and photo ops were going on. I made the trek across to the other hall, and found….



Yes, Batmobiles! This hall seemed to be mainly for artists and video gaming stuff. A whole load of retro arcade games were set up, which I could have stared at for hours. It was also less crowded and nice and air conditioned in there. 🙂 

But back over to the main hall for my photo ops…


I kind of thought the queuing for photos could have been better organised. The queues didn’t seem to be being looked after as much as they have been previously. Although, with people (like me!) turning up at least 15 minutes before the shoot is due to start, I understand that getting an organised line set up must be difficult. The Juliet Landau queue was a bit of a confused crush at first though. 😛 Juliet Landau herself was lovely. She’s like a tiny cartoon character. And so softly spoken! She was very sweet to everyone.

The Summer Glau shoot was even more hectic. I turned up late to that one – thanks to my poor sense of direction, haha. A line had formed where there wasn’t meant to be one, and of course that was the one I tagged onto the end of, but I managed to join the right queue in the end. It didn’t help that the Lena Headey photo op was taking place at the same time, almost right next to it, so people were getting quite confused! By the time I joined the right line, the shoot was really rushed. I practically didn’t have time to stop moving to get the photo taken, they were rushing it so much. I look absolutely awful in the picture, like a rabbit in the headlights, but Summer Glau looks radiant. She was such a sweetheart!

Curtis Armstrong was a more relaxed experience. It was towards the end of the day, so there were slightly less people around. One of the best moments of the day was thanks to a Castiel cosplayer having his photo taken with Curtis Armstrong – just before the photo was taken, he unfurled massive black wings! So impressive. ❤ Curtis Armstrong was lovely, shaking hands and talking with everyone. He seemed happy to be there. My photo with him is one of my favourites so far – we look like we’re conspiring against Heaven together. 🙂


Overall, I had an awesome time and can’t wait for my next con!


University Books


All the books I’d ordered for my uni reading were delivered the other day. It was like Christmas all over again! I’ve never seen so many parcels come through the door.

Comparing this haul of books to last semester’s, it looks a lot less academic, which makes me sad. Last semester I had text books and classics in the pile. It was very impressive, hehe. I’d put up a picture for comparison, but I never got around to taking one.

I’ve already almost finished The Orchid Thief for my Creative Non-fiction class. Unlike everyone else in the class, I’m really enjoying it. It’s the true story of a man named Laroche who was arrested for stealing rare orchids from the Fakahatchee swamp in Florida. It ties in nicely with my American Studies course, too, as it talks a lot about aspects of Florida culture. After reading it, I’d love to visit there.

Since I was ordering so many books, I added a couple of Patricia Highsmiths in for casual reading. She’s been one of my favourite authors for years, but I only recently read The Talented Mr Ripley. It was awesome, so I got the second Ripley book she wrote, along with a Highsmith I’ve been coveting for ages – The Cry of The Owl.

Gothic Knitting Books

In my teenage years I was a goth and a knitter. Now in my twenties I still knit, and although I may not dress the part anymore, the goth subculture is still close to my heart. To  me, knitting is the perfect gothic craft. The act of knitting itself is soothing to the angst-ridden soul, and it allows the knitter to create something as beautiful and unique as they are. Knitting is subversive and can be challenging to those who don’t understand its appeal. So here are my top 5 goth knitting books. And one crochet book for good measure.


1. Gothic Knits by Fiona McDonald

Create a host of adorable dolls from the brooding Violetta to the flamboyant D’Anton. The book contains patterns for nine dolls, complete with individual outfits. Making the dolls covers a range of non-knitting skills that are explained at the beginning of the book, including embroidery and making hair pieces. The effects are amazing! The knitting skills required are probably beginner to intermediate, but because of the detail that goes into these dolls, I think you would have to be confident with a sewing needle. Which is the reason I haven’t made any of these dolls yet, but I still enjoy looking through this book.


2. Knit Your Own Zombie by Fiona Goble

Stitch together your very own zombie horde! This book also utilizes skills outside of knitting, instructions for which can be found in their own chapter. The best thing about this book for me is that although there are nine zombies, all their parts are interchangeable, allowing the knitter to create their own custom zombie. Fiona Goble suggests four of these ‘mash-ups’, including an adorable biker chick zombie. Because of all the small,  fiddly parts, I’d recommend this book for intermediate knitters.

Image3. Evil Knits by Hannah Simpson

I love this book! So far I’ve knitted the creepy clown cushion cover and my beloved clockwork monkey, but I plan to make so many more. Each pattern starts with a short piece about the inspiration behind it, which is especially fun to read if you are a horror buff. This is such a fun book and the projects covers a range of household objects such as hand puppets, cat toys and iPad covers.


4. Domiknitrix by Jennifer Stafford

This book will take knitters through from beginner to expert, covering objects for the home, accessories and garments. I knitted my  first sweater from this book – the big bad wold pullover. It also has patterns for some very cute hats and hoodies I want to get my needles into. I’d recommend this book for its wry humour and its range of patterns and abilities.


5. Vampire Knits by Genevieve Miller

I don’t have this book, although I would love to own it along with Genevieve’s upcoming book Once Upon a Knit. The patterns range from the elegant ‘pulse protectors’ to the cute werewolf hat. The projects are inspired by the Twilight films, although if like me you’re not a fan, this shouldn’t put you off. These patterns are beautiful. As a bonus, Genevieve also has a blog with WordPress!

ImageAnd for the crocheters…

Creepy Cute Crochet by Christen Haden

I’ve never been able to get the hang of crochet, but this is the book that makes me want to persevere. The little creatures would make such cute gifts and ornaments. Again, it covers a range of skills with each pattern listed as beginner, intermediate or ‘epic’. My favourite are the Day of the Dead couple and the adorable grim reaper.

FO: Scarf!


“Knit me a scarf for the winter times?”

How could I resist when that message from my sister flashed up on my phone screen? I headed straight for Ravelry and searched for scarf patterns. I settled on the Cranberry scarf designed by Kirsten Hipsky. I chose it because it’s knitted in chunky wool, so I knew I could get it done quickly, and it was a simple pattern to follow.

You can’t really tell from the picture (red never photographs well), but it’s a dark red, knitted using Cygnet chunky. It was knitted on 6mm needles, cast on sideways. It was a bit of a struggle to fit all the cast on stitches onto the needle, but I just about managed. When I cast it all off, I thought that I should have cast on more than the pattern suggested, as it seemed a bit short. But now that the sister has been wearing it for a few days it’s stretched to about normal scarf-length.

The pattern was just the same line repeated, so it was quick to pick up and I didn’t have to concentrate on it. For a few days it traveled around everywhere with me. It even watched the Doctor Who 50th anniversary show with me. It made me think about how much knitting can become a part of you, especially if you’re the type of person who takes knitting around with you. It becomes a part of your life, almost an extension of you, so when it’s finished and you give it away as a gift, it really is like giving them a part of yourself. I think that’s why I like knitting gifts so much.

So I guess I really should get back to all that Christmas gift knitting I still haven’t finished…


Inspiration at London National History Museum


Drawn by the talented sister.
It made me laugh excessively.

Last week I went to the Natural History Museum in London and I was struck by what an inspirational experience it was. Not only in a ‘wow, look at all the amazing stuff there is in the world’ way , but also in a creative, arty way. Depending on where you live and how you have to travel to get there, the Museum is cheap for what you get out of it. Entry is free, and I could have happily camped out in it for a week and not run out of things to see and do. The place is huge.

As a writer, and someone who admires artists, this place was such a rich source of inspiration. My friend and I started off with the dinosaur section. It was brilliantly  under-lit to give it a creepy atmosphere. There was  a walkway which ran across the room, accessed by stairs and from it you could view the dinosaur skeletons hanging from the ceiling. It was like a scene out of a nightmarish laboratory, with various bits of skeleton and animatronics on display. So much fun!


Awesome shadow 🙂

It also included a section dedicated to humanities interpretations of and fascination with dinosaurs across the ages. A screen cycled through various films and television programmes that have featured dinosaurs, from the stop-motion original Godzilla to the more sophisticated models in Jurassic Park to cartoon dinosaurs.

Not only the dinosaurs were amazing, but I loved looking at the more contemporary animals. I think most of them were taxidermy specimens, but old ones because the Museum doesn’t support that form of collection any more.  Some of them were like something out of the fantasy art books the Brother owns, which I like to look through on occasion. I mean, just look at this crazy guy…


Lesser Egyptian jerboa

I don’t know if it comes across well in the picture, but its legs are freakishly long. I also like how the reflection on the glass kind of makes it look as though it has a unicorn horn. I can just imagine him as a piece of fantasy artwork, set on an otherworldly desert background.

The Earth section was also pretty cool, although some parts of it were shut down for maintenance so I didn’t get to look around all of it.  Eerie space-like music played and an escalator took people up into a hollowed out globe. The whole thing looked like something out of a H.G. Wells novel. It was very impressive.


Just beyond the escalator was a group of statues of mythological figures. One of these was a cyclops. Beneath the cyclops was a skull of a mammoth which was found in Greece. The cavity in the skull from which a trunk would have protruded looked just like a single eye socket. It’s thought that the ancient Greeks found skulls like it and thought they belonged to an extinct race of one-eyed giants, thus giving birth to the myth of cyclops.

The section on the minerals was like something out of a science-fiction film. Some of them glow under ultra-violet light and although I wasn’t able to get a picture of it, it looked just like a Borg Cube from Star Trek. It’s amazing to think that such colours and constructs appear naturally. Some minerals looked like space-age weapons or glowing magical wands. There was even one that I was at first convinced had a city skyline painted on it, but it was in fact naturally formed.

I wish I could have stayed longer and taken more of it in! It was such a great day.

Supernatural meet-up at London MCM


Photo from the Supernatural Cosplay Facebook page

The Saturday that I was at MCM London Comic Con, my sister and I cosplayed as Sam and Bobby from Supernatural. We also went with a couple of friends who were dressed as Castiel and Dean. So when we heard there was a Supernatual meet up going on, we hightailed it on over there. It was great fun, and if you get the chance to go to a fandom meet up at a convention, I highly recommend it. Especially when everyone is in cosplay!


(Picture not taken by me, I got it from the Facebook page)

The meetups are an awesome photo shoot opportunity, to recreate scenes from the show or to make up ones the fans would like to have seen! There were quite a few calls for ‘ship’ photos, such as Castiel and Dean together, or Castiel and Crowley.


Dean and all the Castiels! (Taken from the Facebook page again)

I went to the meet-up not really knowing what to expect, apart from a lot of tan trench coats and plaid of course! What really surprised me was that the Bobby-love that I received. So many people were shouting ‘Bobby!’ at me and coming over to ask for hugs and pictures. A lot of them said they’d never seen a Bobby cosplay before, which is sad because he’s such an awesome character. I got a lot of compliments on my hand-knitted beard, which was nice. 🙂


What I really wasn’t prepared for, was being involved in the photo shoots! I guess I should have seen it coming, but when the call went out for Bobby, it was scary. I’m not used to so much attention being on me and I froze up a  bit, any poses I might have idly thought of went straight of my mind and I think I looked awkward in a lot of the pictures. I kind of wish I could have been warned in advance and had time to mentally prepare myself, but I guess it will get easier with time! This was only the second time I’ve cosplayed. Even though it was scary and awkward, I still really enjoyed myself.



And I got to re-enact the Crowley/Bobby kiss scene with a lovely Crowley cosplayer!

It was also awesome to see a few Welcome To Night Vale cosplayers. A few of them hung around on the fringes of the Supernatural meet up, and the couple I spoke to were so friendly and their cosplays were awesome. I did see one Cecil wearing what looked very much like a hand-knitted tank top with an amazing WTNV fair isle design, but unfortunately I didn’t get a picture.



The day was everything I love about conventions – getting to geek out with fellow nerds who love the same stuff as you!



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