Friday, September 29, 2006

T's London scarf

My work colleague T is making the great Australian expedition to London, for (at least) a year. Today is her last day :-(
At her farewell dinner, T described me as her "mum, in a good way" - and like all good mums, I have ensured that she has her winter woollies - nice warm beanie and now a nice warm scarf.

Details: T's London scarf
Wool: 2 balls Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky, in black. My first time knitting with the DB cashmerino range - it is a gorgeous gorgeous yarn. Not cheap but worth it both for knitting and wearing pleasure!
Sticks: 9mm bamboo. Recommended stick size for the superchunky is 7.5mm but I usually knit a bit tight, and I wanted the scarf to be a reasonable length and to not take very long, so I went for the 9mm and I think that was the perfect size
Pattern: Made it up. Very simple 2x2 rib. Cast on 18 stitches and knit 'til there was no more wool. One ball made about 80cm, so the finished scarf was 160cm, which I think is a good length - you can wrap it round or do the loop and it still works. I didn't block it as I loved the way it turned out, just the right width and so so so soft!
Time: Started Wed 20 Sept, finished Tue 26 Sept (with, of course, other knitting in between).

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dabby's cloth

As promised last week, here is the cloth crocheted for me by my grandmother (Dabby).

It is the same pattern all over (repeat of the two squares you can see the detail of in this picture), plus a zig-zaggy edging (I suspect there is a proper name for this but words fail me right now). It is probably about a metre square in size and is in need of a good press, I have to admit.

It is kept in the crochet cotton box, in which it was given to me - in 1977 - I still have the card in the bottom of the box.

(A semi-interesting aside, I saw boxes the same as this at an antiques fair a couple of years ago - the dealer was trying to sell them, I think for $5 or $10 a box - empty!!)

Here's a close up of the pattern. I could recreate it (lucky filet crochet is very easy to chart) although I'm not sure about the edging. The crochet changes direction, so I think it might be added on afterwards, quite possibly bit by bit - all those maddening ends to darn in! One day I will investigate it a bit more closely. I know my aunts (Dabby's daughters) would no doubt be happy if I could write out the pattern. But it would take sooooo long to make!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I know knitting is magic but...

Grey's Anatomy took it a bit far last night - Izzie knitted a sweater (apparently man-sized!) in ONE day - oh, and that day was less the 3 hours she wore it, oh, and yeah, she's a DOCTOR in a HOSPITAL and was apparently WORKING. Yeah.
Now returning to the land of reality from the wonders of television. And I wonder why my brain is shrinking...Heh.

Monday, September 25, 2006


My chicks with sticks buddy KO and I went on a wool shop crawl on Saturday - I emailed her through the itinerary on Friday - was soooo excited! (I know - I'm a LOSER!) It was tops! We started off at Champion Textiles (47 King St, Newtown) - a funny little shop with some treasures - some very nice cottons. Then over the bridge (why are most of the wool shops on the North Shore??!!) to Greta's Handcrafts Centre, 321 Pacific Highway, Lindfield. Very large store with selection of Rowan (only stockist in Sydney, I think?) and other lovely wool, plus some great books and lovely sticks (Brittany, Addi etc). I bought some teddy bear buttons for L's baby cardi. V. cute! Also HAD to stop in to the bakery for a gingerbread man for husby, and a choc eclair for me (and KO too!)

Next was Rubi + Lana, bit further down the Pacific Highway (No. 767) in Gordon. Mmmmm lovely store with wool by colour (mainly), very pretty ribbons and lots more goodies - bought lots of accessories plus latest Yarn magazine. Keeping on down the Highway, next on the list was Turramurra Drapery (No. 1319) which stocks Opal sock yarn. But sadly closes at 1pm so we missed it (probably a good thing!). Finally, Hornsby Wool and Craft Nook in the Piazza near the Westfield in Hornsby. Good range of books and, of course, wool. Plus other crafty items, ribbons, buttons, quilting stocks etc. And then we HAD to go to Borders at the Westfield...I try not to shop at Borders generally (I like Arial and other independent booksellers) but Borders DO have a good range of knitting books - and so I ended up with this and this (I've already tabbed far too many pages for my square for Grandmother Purl...). And that was our day - AND NO WOOL PURCHASED BY ME AT ALL! Amazing!

Friday, September 22, 2006


Today I had lunch at BaySwiss. I had beef stroganoff - it had sliced gherkin in it. Broccoli or carrots, I can see that. But gherkins? Random.

I also saw a woman, in her early-mid 20s I guess, wearing a black skirt, brown patterned tights, and cream faux snakeskin shoes. It looked a bit random to me.

Differences sure make life interesting.

Husby's secret socks

It is husby's birthday on 6 October, so I decided to make him another pair of socks - even though he has LOST the first pair of socks I made him (not happy, Jan!). He is soooo lucky! (And he better find those socks!)

I'm using one of the Regia balls, the blue one (didn't even have time to become stash) - I'm pretty happy with the way it knits up - quite denim-y looking - good to wear with jeans.
But because it is for his birthday, I have to knit in secret, which means mainly at work and occassionally on public transport - I even caught the slow bus the other day to give me more knitting time! I think, though, that I might only get one made in time for his actual birthday, but since we're coming into summer I figure I've got plenty of time to finish the second one. I'll even cast on for it immediately to try and avoid SSS.

I'm using a pattern from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks - it is one of the basic rib ones (can't remember the name of it off hand) - a 3x1 rib, so that I don't have to worry about ankle shaping (I just hope I cast on enough stitches - I'm not quite sure I did...). I changed to knit with 5 sticks as I read somewhere that this helps some people avoid ladders. It doesn't seem to matter how tight I make the first stitch, I still get the ladders. So I just move the stitches around the sticks every few rows. This is going to make lacy sock patterns a nightmare...May have to stick to plains.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Why I crochet

My Grandmother (who we all called Dabby, for reasons not quite known to me but accepted as the rule) was a gun crocheter. She would sit and crochet tablecloths for hours, never used a pattern (as far as I could tell, anyway) and each cloth would turn out exactly the same. She made one for each of her granddaughters - there would have been about 10 or 15 of us (and about 25 grandsons - the male gene runs strong in my family - my dad had 5 brothers, my mum had 7 brothers and I have 4 brothers). I should have taken a pic to post (of the cloth, not the male gene!), will do that on the weekend.

Dabby died when I was 12 - my last living grandparent (and the only grandparent I had known, the rest passing away before I was born). I have always envied people with grandparents - but that's another story.

So when I was a teenager I decided I'd like to learn to crochet, kind of in memory of Dabby. So I went to an evening course at the local TAFE (techical college) once a week for a year or so, in a class comprised mostly of women more than twice my age. I really enjoyed it. I was pretty quiet (was always a shy child and am an introvert by nature) but I'm really glad I did it, and it made my mum so proud, and I think my dad too (Dabby was my dad's mother).

I was going through Dabby's old craft bag the other day (unfortunately, the craft bag has died too and so I was cleaning it out) and found a linen doily with crochet edge - one of my projects from my crochet class. It was finished except for the end being sewn in, and being blocked and pressed. I know it is old-fashioned but since I made it I figured I should at least show it off. So here are the before and after blocking photos. My tension was a bit tight so the pattern isn't as lacy as it should optimally be, but I'm not overly bothered by it. I have another linen circle to make a pair, but I don't think I ever will - it would never match right up anyway. Am having trouble with my photos so can't upload the close up of the post-blocked pattern (full size below), but trust me, it's a bit better than the pre-blocked!

I don't do so much of the lacy doily type crochet any more, but there are some really nice crochet patterns for bags and some baby things (bootees especially) so am getting back into it. I do have a lot of crochet edge handkerchiefs (another old-fashioned item) which I like to think are a bit more classy than a tissue. My mother-in-law has requested one for Christmas so will have to dig those patterns out. It's actually quite a good summer craft activity because you use a mainly cotton. You just have to make sure your hands aren't sweaty!

And on that note, I'll end this quite long post!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I ran up to the shops at lunchtime on Monday, only had an hour flat before another work meeting - needed to buy more wool for husby's NY scarf (3 balls just not enough!) plus a ball for his NY beanie. Dropped into Dymocks and headed straight for the knitting books (the only ones I seem to read anymore) and was pleasantly surprised to find the books actually sorted and neat looking (maybe they do it every Monday) and even more surprised to find the Yarn Harlot's latest book - hurrah!
When you've got a good book, what more do you need, apart from hummous, rice crackers and a nice cold beer...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Knit a square for Grandmother Purl

One of the blogs I've enjoyed reading, and I link to in my sidebar, is Crazy Aunt Purl. Regular CAP readers will know Grandmother Purl is a little poorly and the lovely knitblog community has rallied to make a blankie for her (and by the numbers already signed up, for some of her friends too!). I figure since I've enjoyed participating vicariously in CAP's life I should give something back as well, or at least to her Grandma, so I've signed up. All you need to do is an 8 inch square, preferably machine wash, by 10 November (and send to US). So if you are interested, head on over and sign up. I'd add the button to my sidebar but I have no idea how to do that...

Silk wrap cardi

Here's an old FO which I have only just managed to actually finish - ie to sew on the ribbon. This was one of my first knitting revival projects, sewn up by my mum (have I mentioned how I hate to sew up) and then finished off, finally, on the weekend.
Pattern: garter stitch wrap cardi from Erika Knight, Simple Knits for Cherished Babies. No variations. Great pattern as is knit in one piece, so only have to sew arm and side seams (even that is sometimes too much for me - just ask my mum!!).
Yarn: Jaeger silk 4ply - completely impractical for a baby but I fell in love with the romantic way Erika describes it in the book (and I do love the softness and feel of it)
Sticks: 3.25mm faux tortoiseshell (inherited from my mum)
Time: Pretty quick, from recollection (as it should be, given it is garter stitch!!). A couple of weeks (in 2004...)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sumer is icumen in, lhude sing cuccu *

Nothing says summer to me more than painted red toenails

I know I shouldn't be singing summer's praises too soon (look what happened with the weather last week) but I figure that it doesn't really matter what I say, if it is going to rain it is, or if it is going to be sunny, it will be. While we can all make differences to the world in some way through the way we live, what we say and what we do, I think in the grand scheme of things, it is pretty much pre-ordained as to how things are going to turn out.

On a completely different subject (getting a bit too serious there) can I say how much I love Helen Mirren. And how, if her portrayal of Elizabeth I is to be believed, Elizabeth did a lot to progress the cause of women, and did a lot to hold it back too. Such decisive action but yet with such emotional highs and lows. Although, thinking about it, any monarch with such absolute power was probably no different - all were subject to whims and suspicions. And I liked the Shakespeare quote thrown in towards the end. Nice.

Getting serious again. Red toenails to absolute power. Hmph. Must be Monday.

*Summer is a'coming in, loudly sing cuckoo - translation of ye olde englishe folke songe learnt in primary school...a mind for trivia!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Prize giving

Yesterday I received my 10 year prize at work (it is a length of service recognition) - a $500 gift voucher at David Jones!! I had completely forgotten about my anniversary - very unlike me! Goes to show how busy I've been at work recently! So my dilemma is - do I buy a pair of the superfantastic shoes now, or do I wait until DJs has a 25% off sale (which they seem to do reasonably regularly, and get more bang for my buck) or do I wait for the post-Christmas sales and get 2 or possibly 3 pairs of the fantastic shoes (but quite possibly not the superfantastic shoes), and by waiting go without the joy of wearing them between now and then...

Of course, husby thinks we should spend it on something far more practical (and mundane and less rewarding) such as outdoor furniture for the deck...

What to do, what to do?????

(And of course I say all of this fully recognising how lucky I am that this is the current big issue I face in my very fortunate life).

To change the subject, I never really intended to be one of those knitting ladies surrounded by cats, who talks (and posts) of nothing but knitting and her cat/s. But of course I have succumbed to the lure of posting pics of my Nelly and I'm going to again - here she is all schmoopy on my lap.

At least I post about shoes from time to time...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Looks as good from the back...

as it does from the front:

It is husby's Interlocking Balloons scarf, viewed from the back - me likey!!! Not quite as good as the front view but still pleasing that it is attractive - a very clever pattern I think.

You can see the pattern chart at the back of the pic, I have this flat metal "plate" with magnets - very handy for charts or patterns generally, as it keeps them flat, I can write easily on them and in the case of charts, the long magnet marks the row I'm working on, so I can easily see where I'm at. I'm glad I've used charts before for crochet patterns - they are much more straightforward than knitting charts I think, but I got the hang of this one quicker than I thought I would. Lace charts still scare me but I've bought wool for Ene (also from Scarf Style) so I have to give it a go. Might be a summer knit project for me I think.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I LOVE the internet

Every day I marvel at the wonder that is the internet. Not so much from a technical perspective (thinking about how it actually works gives me a headache) but because of the way it enables people to link to each other - I am constantly amazed by the number of knitblogs out there - I keep following links and finding new ones that inspire me - my list of favourites is getting out of control!

And of course the other thing about the internet - a whole new world of shopping opportunities! Have I mentioned how I LOVE the internet!!

I received a great present from Mr/Ms Posty on Monday at work - my first Regia and Trekking sock yarn ordered on eBay - how exciting and how difficult to chose which to make for me or husby and which to make as gifts - I want to keep them all - and I want to gift them all as well. I should have ordered more... I'm so pleased with the colours, the Trekking looked bluer on the net but is really shades of purple, which is even better!

Then when I got home, another surprise - I subscribed to Interweave Knits and they had a special where you get 5 editions for the price of 4. So I've received my first edition (the Fall edition) a couple of weeks ago and my freebie arrived on Monday (the Summer edition). Hurrah! More inspiration and projects for the unending list. I think if I locked myself away for a year and did nothing but knit (and NOT look at the internet, knitting magazines and books) I might only just get through the stash and would still have projects on the list.

(Who am I trying to kid, I could never go without the internet, knitting magazines and books for a year!)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

What I learnt, pt 2

I also learnt that knitting a sock in a taxi at dusk is not a good idea, when I found the dropped stitch about 3 rows down. Oh well, ripped back a couple of rows and picked them all up, some with the help of a crochet hook as they'd unravelled (I've never done that before either).

Nice Mr/Ms Posty brought me some lovely packages yesterday - pic tomorrow. Mmmm, like Mr/Ms Posty. And Mr Spendy (aka my credit card).

Monday, September 11, 2006

What I learnt on the weekend

My first cable - isn't he cute!

I know the photo is a bit blurry ... need to get a camera I can do a manual focus on I think. Or, just live with it (I think it will be the second option). I had fears there would be a hole or some other disaster where the stitches cross over but it all worked out like magic. Knitting is magic I think. Looks so hard and sounds so complicated (sometimes anyway) but if you just do what it says, it works - hey presto - a cable! (or a pattern, or a decrease, or whatever). I love it!

But this isn't actually what I learnt on the weekend.

What I learnt on the weekend was not to wind my wool on a ball winder after I've started knitting with it (and still have the knitting attached). What happens is that the wool that is still attached to the knitting gets really really twisted ... so much so that you can't untangle it, or knit with it. Lucky you can cut it off and rejoin after the twisty bit (phew!). I know I probably should have thought of this potential issue before I started winding but as is my usual way I just figured it would work out. So Knitting is magic, but sometimes there is still an idiot on the end of the sticks!

Notwithstanding this, I managed to finish one pattern repeat of husby's scarf - and look, now there are three (count'em, three!) cables done. Only 9 more repeats to go ... think I need to buy me some more wool - 3 balls probably won't quite make it.

Friday, September 08, 2006

New project (or why I blog, pt 2)

My, I was a bit tired and emotional last night. Back to normal now!

Here is the latest project - the one I promised I wouldn't start until I had finished my shawl collar cardi. Oh well...
It is husby's NY scarf (Interlocking Balloons, from Scarf Style), in Zara - I love the way it looks already. And it will be my first experience with cables, although they are not the traditional looking cables. Mmmmm, cables, can't wait...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Why I blog

As I discover other bloggers, especially knitbloggers, and admire the way write, and how they make connections between things I would never think of connecting, I think about why I blog. I don't think I'm particularly imaginative in the way I write - I tend to pick up other people's ideas or topics of posts, think how good or clever they are, and wish I'd thought of them myself. Sometimes I use their ideas as inspiration. But mainly I just wish I'd thought of them myself... And then I post a progress update or finished object picture and details!

I'd like more for my blog but I think my desires are beyond my capabilities. So I guess this will mainly be a progress and FOs blog, maybe it will evolve into something else as I go along. Obviously a part of me thinks (and hopes) others will be interested in looking, or there would be little point in doing it beyond a permanent record for myself.

Anyway, enough of this self-indulgence. I will admire and enjoy other blogs which provide me with the things that mine cannot, and will enjoy mine for the record of my growing obsession and continue to be very excited every time I get a comment from a reader (because I am, I know I am a total nerd!).

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Getting somewhere

You know when you feel as if you've been working so hard but have gotten nowhere? (well, not that I know what it is like to work hard, but I sure how it feels to get nowhere - go figure!)

I actually feel as if I've been getting somewhere with my knitting in the last few days (well, with some of my knitting, anyway). Gent's Fancy Sock - tick; Jo Sharp shawl collar cardi - tick; baby rib cardi - tick. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Baby rib cardi sleeves and left front (now finished too!) (plus new grass in back yard)

Although clearly should not let myself get too carried away - I haven't actually finished any of these items yet.

But of course, I have started something else - details to follow soon...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

New York, New York!

Husby and I are discussing going to NY in of course, my thoughts turn to beanies and scarves - because it will be COLD in NY in January...and so now I've picked a pattern for his scarf, and probably his beanie, and think I know what I will make for my scarf, although am undecided on beanie at this stage...but yet I still have numerous UFOs and I must finish them before I start anything for NY (especially as we haven't even booked flights and so might not end up going...). But it will be too hot soon to knit beanies and scarves. Oh that life is so easy that this is my greatest problem at the moment.

And since photos make posts much more interesting, here is Nelly on the new doormat on the new deck:

And don't get me started on the shoe possibilities that NY has to offer (oh, and the sales, and more particularly, the wool shops/sales - weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Nancy Bush socks

In my web-roving at work today (have I mentioned I am the best procrastinator in the world?) I discovered there is a Nancy Bush sock knitalong. I think the theory is that you knit a different pair of her socks every month. While I love this theory, I am glad I haven't subscribed, as I would be an abject failure...witness the progress on the Gentleman's Fancy Sock:

Actually, I'm pretty pleased with the progress - I started the gusset on Saturday morning (woke up at 7am and actually got up (!!) and did some quiet knitting on the deck while watching the US Open on Foxtel) but I believe I started this pair of socks in June!!! At least this is the second sock. In hindsight, given the mohair element in the Schaefer Anne, it would have been quicker to use metal sticks rather than bamboo but I do have this (idiotic) romantic attachment to bamboo. And if I'm really lucky, this unseasonably warm weather in Sydney will go away as soon as I finish them so I can actually wear them this year!! (although the thought of them wearing through is almost enough to make me cry...).

I do love this pattern though. And the colour (are you surprised at that!!)

Ribbons and Braid

I went to Aviamentos closing sale on Saturday. Here are some of my goodies:

It was supposed to be a (somewhat) arty shot of the very pretty ribbons/braid but of course with my (somewhat) non-exist photography skills, all we end up with is a nice focus shot of the bricks of my house, and a blur of ribbons in front. Oh well, you (kind of) get the picture (no pun intended).

But this one worked - it is my favourite. No idea what I will use it for and it is a bit 70s, but I couldn't not have it.

Of course, I forgot to buy what I actually went there for, the ribbon for my lace bonnet. Oh well, will just have to go back!!

It is sitting on the pavers for our back path - which husby and I moved from the pallet out the front into the back yard yesterday - my back is now killing me. But the beer on the new back lawn (rolled out last weekend) afterwards was sweeeeet.

Friday, September 01, 2006

By jove, I did it!

Yesterday I managed to conquer one of my secret fears. I was on the bus going home from work and I had read the paper, my iPod battery was flat and I had nothing to do. So after some time of debating with myself, I psyched myself up and I did it...I knit in public!!!

And no-one saw me and backed away s-l-o-w-l-y, called the police, stared and looked away then furtively looked back again or anything. Someone even sat next to me as if I was a normal person! So I figure I might even do it again...