Inside I’m Dancing

Knitted doll, Arne and Carlos

Self- portrait of me feeling more perky!

Well, actually, this is Veena, a doll I knit as a Christmas present for my Princess- niece, who is now a curly-headed strawberry blonde toddler and more adorable than ever. I used the basic pattern from Arne and Carlos’ book, and really enjoyed making it, because there are no seams to be sewn up and I was finished in no time, thanks to its well-thought-out construction. This was a lot more fun than my Nativity figure, that’s for sure! Using Cushendale boucle mohair for the hair was my own bright idea, though- it adds a certain liveliness, doesn’t it?

Knitted-on undergarments, Arne and Carlos

Again, this could be me, propped up on the couch as I still am -although I have no intention of trying to become so slender! After all, once older than about 30 or so, that kind of weight loss tends to make the face look haggard while the stubborn bulges persist anyway, and I prefer the healthy, curvy look. I’m nearly there, and my back will eventually thank me for it.

Anyway, I had a red-headed doll as a child, and my brother had one that looked just like him, called Vee- hence Veena. I’ve made for some pyjamas, and there’s an entire wardrobe in the book just waiting for Princess to get old enough to manage dressing a doll…

Lava with flow texture

This is basaltic lava from the Moon, isn’t it lovely? These geological photos are posted in honour of Mr S. Handimouse, the winner of my last post’s puzzle (runners-up are Malcolm, who came close, and Susan, for imagination, and making me laugh when I sorely needed it).

The reason we see these rainbow colours in some of the crystals is because the photo was taken through a special microscope (petrographic microscope, FYI) equipped with 2 polarised lenses, one on either side. It’s like looking through a sandwich with a 30 micron thick slice of rock between 2 Polaroid lenses from those expensive sunglasses, which “sieve” light coming from below. The end result is that different mineral crystals bend the light by different amounts, giving characteristic colours which help identify them, and are incidentally addictively pretty, if you’re a geek like me! The skinny white and grey rectangles are plagioclase crystals, which are all pointing in roughly the same direction (of flow) because the liquid lava froze suddenly to glass as it arrived at the surface of the Moon. The black background is all glass- in ordinary , unfiltered light it would look golden, like the drops in the last post, although the actual rock looks black and pretty boring.

1.23 12005 basalt x4 xp equant olivine enclosed within interstitial plagioclase; plus cpx

If science doesn’t interest you, just enjoy the view! This magma didn’t make it to the surface of the Moon, so the crystals had time to grow throughout the rock. The stubby rainbow crystals are olivine (you may be more familiar with the gem variety, peridot), the angular black clumps are metallic ore and both are embedded in a single large white-and-grey-striped (twinned) plagioclase. The 4 and a half billion-years-old crystals are still clear and beautiful because the Moon has no atmosphere, so they haven’t been broken down by chemical reaction with oxygen or water. Nothing this old has survived in the dynamic system that is Earth.

A24 Epidote amphibolite zoned epidote - xp.JPG

One more, because it’s so pretty. This crystal is “zoned” because the chemistry of the magma changed while the crystal was growing, so ย the composition of the crystal had to change systematically from the centre outwards, depending on what was still available to it (just like a medallion worked in colour-change yarn!). See why I like this stuff?

Also, dealing with things this old helps me gain some perspective on everyday worries…

Now, how about some more lovely colours, this time from closer to home- Santa brought a present from Coolree, and I’ve been playing with it:

Hand-dyed alpaca-silk lace, Coolree

It gave me an immediate yen for home-made strawberry ice-cream, as if we didn’t have enough food in the house!

Rosy Coolree Ball

I decided to swatch a couple of alternate edgings for my knitalong vintage shawl, as I will definitely not have enough yarn for the original one and, to be quite honest, I don’t particularly like it anyway.

Willow leaf (left) , Spider lace with insertion

I started with a willow leaf edging, from Jane Sowerby’s Victorian Lace Today, then tried the wider spider lace one, with an insertion which of course could be omitted (also Jane S.). I did this at about 2 in the morning, as a form of pain management, so there are a fair few mistakes, but you get the general idea! I still haven’t decided, but since the KAL is only starting officially on New Year’s Day, so what? Inspiration always comes when I relax, anyway.

I’m looking forward to the KAL. There are nearly 450 people taking part, from all around the world; as a newbie in cyberspace I’m getting a big thrill out of being involved, and interacting with so many people on a regular basis.

Today is my blogging half-anniversary, by the way. I’ve been at it for 6 months, and never dreamed how good I’d feel about it, way back what seems like an age ago! I remember my DS sitting me down for The Talk, warning me about spam, and Trolls, and other lurking dangers in cyberspace, in a weird sort-of mirror-image of That Talk, the one where I was the gentle guide/expert (we’ve definitely entered into the Accept-the -occasional-Role-rRversal stage of parenting!). He prepared me for the eventuality that no one would even realise I was here, and then proceeded to teach me so well that, well, here we are, you not only reading my stuff but giving me feedback and ideas, and cheering me up when my war wounds give me grief. At the risk of sounding sentimental, I consider myself a fortunate woman!

Vintage KAL Medallion in Coolree lace

Is this photo blurry, or is it me? Ooops, sentiment alert!

I haven’t forgotten the scarf pattern I promised, but I’ve been sitting too long. More anon.

Happy New Year, everybody!

19 thoughts on “Inside I’m Dancing

  1. Oh I love the doll with the twirly hair ๐Ÿ™‚ My blog was one year old last Friday and I had one of those “talks” from my daughter too. Thank you for visiting my blog and Happy New Year to you ๐Ÿ˜€ Avis x

  2. Okay, that doll is way too cute. I liked the face – but the body? That’s sweet. As to looking so gangly, yup, time to acknowledge that we change as we age!
    That is the most amazing yarn – what a beautiful color. And just so you know, I volunteer (I know it’s a hardship) to take any of your mistakes. Any. Got it? Your mistakes are better than most people’s good stuff.
    I am in awe!
    Now, onto the geology – very cool and just look at those colors. How can you not love this stuff.
    And I just have to ask – when did you visit the moon?
    Happy Newey Day (a left over expression from when my kids were little. Now I just say it to drive them nuts.
    Guess what?
    It works.)

    • Embarrassing ones offspring is part of a mother’s job description!
      I could tell you about my lunar expedition, but then I’d have to kill you….

      • Yes, it is! I see it as a form of payback for all those eye rolls and snarky comments about my lack of technical saavy… and we all know payback is, well, let’s keep this rated G and say- payback’s fun.

        and you, my friend, have been watching way too much tv. Come now, I was only asking the obvious question. NO ONE knows so much about our moon and dinosaur eggs from Planet X without having traveled there.

  3. The basalts are wonderful! My wife calls me a “space cadet” because I love all things connected to space and the space program. Although I have seen, and touched, a moon rock, I had never seen a cross-sections of one. These are absolutely amazing and I thank you for sharing. Despite not being a scientist, my wife, the artist, is able to also enjoy them for their sheer beauty.

    If you are ever in the States, I hope that you will have a chance to visit the Kennedy Space Center near Titusville, Florida. Although there are other places which will give you more information of geological activity (like the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. or the Natural History Museum in New York City) the Space Center presents an interesting overview of not only the space program but of some of their “finds” over the years.

    Also, for a geologist, the terrain in some of the western states is enough to “drive you crazy” because of not only the beauty but the sheer numbers of different strata present in a small area.

    We both wish you and yours the Happiest of New Years … Scott (and Rennie)

    • Visiting the US is on my wish list for when I get rich, but I’ve a son to put through college first!
      Universities sometimes sell off their old teaching petrographic microscopes for a song, if you’re looking for a new hobby? It’s great fun…
      I wish you both health and happiness in the New Year, too!

      • I think we all need to get rich … visiting Europe is on our wish list! Only thing is we don’t have anyone to put through college … so our excuse is more one of accessibility and lots and lots of pre-planning.

        You’ve given my husband an idea! He’s going to contact the local universities (there are several in the area) to ask about their old equipment.

      • I thought he might like it, as a fellow rock fan- ye can determine a rock’s history under the microscope in the comfort of your own home, or maybe even do a course…

  4. I love the colours of your dyed yarn! I have been wanting to try that myself, maybe in the spring or summer when I can do it outside and not make a mess of things inside.
    Just beautiful, what lovely patterns on that lace.

    • All credit for the colours goes to Alex of Coolree- I posted a few photos of his workspace several weeks ago, but outdoors in the sun is probably more comfortable!

  5. Pauline Dervla here. I met you at St John’s last Thursday! ๐Ÿ™‚ I am going to pop along next week to your class with little Alice. What should we bring as “starters”? I think you see my email in this reply/ Derv

    • Hi Dervla, a small ball each of double knitting or aran wool (real wool, not synthetic!), and 4mm (old size 8) for DK, 4.5 or 5mm (old sizes 7 or 6) for aran weight wool. Circular needles are best, the Constant Knitter (Francis St.) or This is Knit (Powerscourt Townhouse Centre) are very helpful.

      I can’t see your email in your message, which is just as well- this isn’t a secure way to share it! We can swap on Wed, looking forward to seeing you.

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