Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

picket knit #Outlander infinity scarves! September 16, 2014

DSCN1259I have been knitting on the picket line, and have listed five scarves for sale on eBay.  They’re various lengths, widths, and colours, all based on the scarf Claire wears outdoors in episode 103 “The Gathering” of the Outlander TV series.  They each start at an auction price of $29.99, or a Buy-It-Now at $40.

As an added bonus, you can see me modelling the scarves in my belly dancing wig! 🙂  You know you want to see what I look like without white, fuchsia and blue hair, right? <g>

Here is the link to the scarves on my eBay seller’s page

So that ^ link has expired, but I still have some scarves for sale, so if you’re interested in one, drop me a line via either the ABOUT or CONTACT pages and I’ll get back to you.  Eventually I’ll try to upload photos to this page.

For you crafty types who end up on this page because you want to make one, most of mine were knit in garter stitch over 15-25 stitches (depending on whether you want a cowl that doesn’t wrap, or a scarf that does) using 25 mm needles.  To get Claire’s look above pick a chunky yarn of your choice, plus a coordinating worsted weight, use both together to cast on 15-18 (as you like), knit away until you run out of yarn (a meter to 1.5 meters), then whipstitch the ends together.  You can add a twist if you like for a mobius strip, which does lie nicely on the shoulders, I must say.

Very easy! The costuming department was in a real hurry when they commissioned all these scarves, and I’m not sure I’ve seen one on the show that couldn’t have been knit in a day. I chose fancy chunky yarns- nice German boucles or variegated types to go with a solid worsted.  You might prefer all solids like Claire has on.

 

music-Skye Boat Song on harp May 29, 2014

Here’s a little break from ranting poems or pugilistic poetry!  In honour of the upcoming Outlander TV show, here’s an ‘arrangement in progress’ I’ve made of The Skye Boat Song, which I’m betting is incorporated into the TV show theme.

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For the technically curious:

I am playing a double strung harp.  (This was definitely easier before I had bifocals, though it was challenging enough then).  There are three octaves on each side of the harp, tuned to the same notes.  44 strings in all.  This is a low-head Celtic harp, in the style of the famous Irish Brian Boru harp or the Scottish  Queen Mary harp.  It is also known as a Scottish clarsach.  Specifically, mine is a Brittany harp, built for me by Stoney End 15 years ago or so. (When I bought it the Canadian dollar was around 70c US, so it was pricey!)  It still has its original strings!  This says it’s a tough little harp, and that I’m a lazy harpist (some people change strings a couple of times a year, to keep the sound bright).  It is made from a lovely, shimmery grained cherry and has a Baltic birch soundboard with a pretty inlay strip at the base of the strings.  It keeps its tuning brilliantly- rarely needing more than a titch of adjustment here and there.  This is a rare blessing in a harp!

Here are The Skye Boat Song lyrics as I say them to myself while I’m playing (which does not in any way imply they are the correct lyrics!)

Speed bonny boat like a bird on the wing

Onward the sailors cry

Carry the lad that’s born to be king

Over the sea to Skye!

Loud the winds blow

Loud the waves crash

Ocean’s a weary bed

La la la la

la la la la                           (< < < < pretty sure those aren’t the right lyrics)

Watch o’er your weary head

oh                                        (That’s the soft D sounded to start back into the chorus)

Speed bonny boat… (etc)

I always thought somehow Flora McDonald was on this boat with him, but I think that’s just me.

 

I promise OJ the standard poodle is only sleeping, though he certainly does look dead.  He is snoring now, in the exact same position.

 

 

poem- wall whispers February 2, 2014

Listen

to whispers,

stories in the wall.

Poems found,

Titles titillate,

tease, and

tantalize.

Writing on the wall

whispers

through the room.

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Last weekend I started wallpapering my dining room with pages from a book.  I was given a copy of Diana Gabaldon’s Drums of Autumn last fall.  I already have a copy, and the gift had a broken binding, so I pondered ways to use it for practical purpose.  Today I’m putting the finishing touches on.  Most of the wall layout is fairly straight-forward, but I had 9 extra inches that I centred, and there I’ve been playing.  I’ve included copies of autographs we have in other Diana Gabaldon books (copied onto a blank page of the book to match perfectly).  I’ve cut graphic  bits from Part divisions and used them decoratively.  I’ve taken chapter titles and made them into little poems.  I’m really liking my very unique wall!  

 This is a close up on a ‘poem section’ made with section and chapter titles:

Je t’aime

beaucoup

passionnément

pas de tout.

Blame

Forgiveness

The toss of a coin.

wall-jtaimepoemdry

Here are the dedications (John’s is actually in the copy of The Scottish Prisoner and says “For John- No one looks better than a man in a kilt!”  Mine is in The Exile and says, “To Shawn, Wonderful to meet you in person!”):

wall-dedications

Here’s a step back at the wall.  The diamond medallions spaced across the top were from dividing pages:

wall-fullfinished

 

let’s pile something else onto the plate, shall we? November 19, 2012

Filed under: projects,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:34 pm
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For the first time since Day 4 of NaNoWriMo I am actually above par.  Whoo hoo! I should be at 31666 and I’m at 32,058.  The last couple of days I’ve done several hundred extra to catch up from some slower days.  There is no respite when you’re heading to a goal.  If you slow down, you just have to work harder later.  Steady, consistent effort is less stressful in the long run.

I recently found a gorgeous knitting magazine called Filati Handknitting.  It’s a marketing and design vehicle for Lana Grossa yarns, which though it sounds Italian, comes from Germany if I read the abbreviations correctly.  I found 3 projects I love in the magazine, and decided yesterday to start on the first one, this coat:

So here’s yesterday’s effort.  To get gauge I ended up using 12 mm needles, which is really speeding the project along! Instead of buying the very expensive mohair yarn recommended for this pattern (Elle, total $235 Cdn), I am mixing acrylic yarns.  The silver blue chenille I purchased in a liquidation style 5 lb bag of unlabelled yarn at a department store and I am mixing it with on sale James C Brett Fusion Chunky, which is a grey/pink/purple varigated  boucle with threads of yellow and orange twisted in.  I think the combination is quite interesting, and I suspect it will be even nicer than the model’s coat when it’s done.  Here’s the first 12″ of the back, showing the varigation through all three colours.

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Day 19 NaNoWriMo total: 3486   (November total, 32,058)

Actually, about 800 words of this total was actually written yesterday, but my internet cut out before I could update the count for the day.

 

sonnet 61 shoes February 17, 2012

Filed under: Poetry,projects — Shawn L. Bird @ 5:54 pm
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When we were in Paris last March, I found a shoe sale. I ended up buying a pair of black leather wedge shoes (for just 12 Euros!  John said, “How much?  Why don’t you buy the brown pair, too?” lol) Now, I don’t really believe in plain black anything, and those wedges seemed to me to be a black board just waiting for something to be written upon them.

So I looked for some fine tipped, permanent opaque pens.  I couldn’t find them anywhere within 100 km, so bought the Sakura pens on eBay direct from Japan, and waited for the day when inspiration would strike.

The day has arrived!

My plain black wedges are plain no longer! They sport the complete Petrarchan sonnet Canzoniere 61, in Petrarca’s original Italian. You might remember that this is the poem I translated for Grace Awakening.

Where there are inadvertent spaces (like where I needed to even up a line, and where the next word didn’t fit) I added roses. For each line of the sonnet I switched colours.  I completely free-handed these, and I was quite delighted that the entire poem fit EXACTLY between the 2 shoes!  Lucky fluke, eh?

I am quite contented with the result, and even more content that I did manage to get the project done before a year was up!

 

and it was good December 10, 2011

Filed under: projects — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:54 am
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I have seen The Kilt worn.  It is good.

  • The way the pleats fit smoothly from waist to hips, accenting the slight curve.
  • The way the pleats swing with the stride.
  • The way it accents the positive.

>>sigh<<

We had to adjust the length of the sporran chain, though.  Hubby stared aghast at the initial placement and exclaimed, “No!  That’s like saying ‘X marks the spot!'”

After I stopped laughing, I moved up the chain, and then investigated proper sporran placement at X marks the Scot and the Tartan Authority.  2-3″ below the belt buckle is correct for the top of the sporran, apparently.  We’re still waiting for the arrival of the belt and buckle, but I think we’ve got it close.

Photos? you suggest.

Umm.  Well.  The Husband is a trifle shy.  He is nervous of appearing on the internet in a kilt.  I’ll work on him.  When all the accoutrements have arrived, I will take a photo.  If I have to remove his head, I will.  I keep getting requests for the final product.  Patience!  ;-P

I have seen.  It is good.

Trust me.

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1. hem the approximately 8 yards of fabric

2. set the lining

3. pin the pleats according to hubby’s preference

4. press the pleats

5. manipulate the pleats from the fit at the hip to the narrower waist

6. hand stitch the 7-8 yards of hip pleats into position

7. baste pleats onto the lining

8. hand stitch the waist pleats

9. add apron fringe fabric

10. add waistband

11. pull threads to make fringe

12. add buckle closures (2)

13. figure out inner closure…

14.  add hanging loops (sporran loops- rather than hanging loops, actually)

15. sigh dramatically as spouse models completed kilt!

 

All done! December 6, 2011

Filed under: projects — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:38 pm
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Today, the straps and buckles arrived from Scotland at last, and so I was able to finish off the kilt.

I started by sewing down the waistband. You’re supposed to match the plaid across the front apron. If you look closely, you’ll see that the very centre matches, but the print on the band is smaller than the apron. This is because while it turns out the the Saskatchewan tartan is balanced left to right, it isn’t up and down (though it looks like it is!). I needed the full width (divided in half) of the fabric for my tall husband, and so I was forced to cut the waist band from the end.

I made the under closure with a strap of velcro on the apron that connect through a loop on the inside of the kilt.

The leather straps from Scotland needed stitch holes, so I used my Dremel drill to make them. The buckles are attached using fabric straps, that are matched to the plaid. The hole for the buckle prong is a half inch button hole. The fabric straps are hand stitched down, and well camouflaged.

And that’s it! My first kilt is complete! After some 30 hours of ironing and stitching by hand and machine later, the project in Saskatchewan tartan is complete. The sporran has arrived from Scotland via eBay, as has a pair of “Lovat green kilt hose.” The garters and a set of flashes are done. Now, we have to wait for my November 22nd Scotsweb order. Apparently the kilt belt is still not in, and the order won’t be shipped until Friday (December 9). A clan crest buckle, ecru hose, and a kilt pin will arrive with it.  An additional purchase was a kilt hanger.  A regular skirt hanger can’t take 3 lbs of kilt, but a kilt hanger is wider and has 4 clamps.  With luck, we should be able to completely outfit the husband of the house in his finery by Christmas. Stay tuned!

Would I do it again?

Well. Yesterday I picked up 4 metres of green and blue Alberta tartan…

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1. hem the approximately 8 yards of fabric

2. set the lining

3. pin the pleats according to hubby’s preference

4. press the pleats

5. manipulate the pleats from the fit at the hip to the narrower waist

6. hand stitch the 7-8 yards of hip pleats into position

7. baste pleats onto the lining

8. hand stitch the waist pleats

9. add apron fringe fabric

10. add waistband

11. pull threads to make fringe

12. add buckle closures (2)

13. figure out inner closure…

14.  add hanging loops (sporran loops- rather than hanging loops, actually)

15. sigh dramatically as spouse models completed kilt!