Monday, July 30, 2007

Scavenger Hunt

To celebrate her birthday, Jody decided to have a scavenger hunt - here is my entry -I didn't quite get everything, but am pleased to note that some things I've got twice in the same pic! Woo hoo! Does that earn double points or what!!

Here we go:

1. Birthday cake - this is actually my birthday cake from last year - and, guess what, is also #10 - a non-knit thing I made! Oh, and a close second for #5 - favourite food - chocolate pavlova with chocolate cream and raspberries on top. Oh my goodness, it is a mouthful of heaven!
2. Wildlife - heh - this is about as wild as it gets around here!! Nelly, snoozing on the back of the lounge.3. Knitting in a local tourist spot - I know I'm not actually knitting, but it was a bit hard to knit and take a picture of myself at the same time (I felt weird enough taking a picture of my knitting in front of the Sydney Opera House as it was!!) This is my sockapalooza sock.4. A delivery truck - to tell the truth, I completely forgot about this as I was wondering around at lunchtime taking the city shots. My first miss!

5. Your favorite food - I know this doesn't look great, but it is my favourite winter warmer meal - shepherd's pie (although as I used beef mince, I think that makes it cottage pie...not to worry, no need to split hairs!). Lots of veges as well, and sweet potato mash on top! Yum! Oh, and #10 - I made it myself!
6. Street art - not sure if this qualifies as true street art, as I'm sure this piece was commissioned and paid for, but I thought this was really good - very lifelike and historical (it is painted on the side of a building, to represent what it would have looked like in 1901 - it is in The Rocks area of Sydney - those people you can see in the picture are painted! How cool!7. Obnoxious looking yarn - this is the only obnoxious yarn in my house - bought as part of a lot from eBay, with some much nicer yarn. I know this doesn't even look like yarn, but trust me, it is. At least it is red (like that is any consolation!)8. A bowling pin - this was on every scavenger hunt I ever did so I had to include it.
Yep, I lucked out on this one. I thought about drawing one and taking a picture of it, but that seemed a bit of a cheat!

9. An amusement park attraction - it's a bit hard to see, but under the bridge (yes, the Sydney Harbour Bridge) is an amusement park called Luna Park - you can see the smiling face at the entry, and the ferris wheel behind. And I think this pic also qualifies at #12 - water not in a glass!
10. A non-knit thing you made - crochet panda bear which I made about 5 years ago. It was intended for one of my best friends, who was having a baby, but the baby was born about 3 years before I finished it!! And a confession - my mum did the embroidered eyes, nose and mouth! And if my submission for #2 (wildlife) doesn't count, does this instead? Even though it is in captivity...11. Stash - and this isn't all of it! This is just the messiest part. Although you will notice all yarn is in ziplock bags, as per the Rose Red Standard of Stash Systemisation!12. Water not in a glass - more of Sydney Harbour, this time with a Manly ferry as well. And the building I work in (the tallest one to the left).

Happy Birthday Jody - hope you enjoyed this peek into my world!!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Quick apology

Sorry to any bloglines subscribers - since I still haven't received my inviation to Ravelry (unlike others!!) I've taken the opportunity to finally(!) update my blog template to the new blogger layout style, so I've also added labels to my FOs and I think I've probably republished a bit!! No more mucking around now, promise! Ravelry - only 672 to go!

Friday, July 27, 2007

A quiet day

I've been feeling a bit flat at work this week and don't have much to report knitting-wise after the high of finishing Trellis, which will be gifted tonight - if it ever dries! I washed it again on Wednesday night and it is now Friday morning and it is still not dry! I have it hanging in the meagre sunlight from my desk window at work, so hopefully it will dry ok today. Will try and get a picture of my nephew wearing it, I think he will still be up by the time we get there tonight after work. His mum will also get her socks! Surprises all round!

Before I sign off, a bit shout-out to a special someone (you know who you are!) - I'll be thinking of you today!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Yes it's Trellis!

Most of you got the hint posted last Friday - the (if I may say so myself) lovely cables are the back of Trellis, blocking in the hint of sun we had in Sydney the weekend before last. Of course, as always seems to happen, almost as soon as I'd pinned it out, the sun went away and I eventually had to bring it inside to finish drying. Not to worry.

Then it took me another week to psych myself up to sew it up - a task which has as its only redeeming feature that you end up with a complete garment at the end of it! And boy, was this worth it. I love love love this little cardi. I wish I could shrink myself so I could wear it! I just hope it fits the intended recipient, my nephew L!
Details: Pattern: Trellis, from Knitty. I really like this pattern - once I got over my initial cursing of the twisted cable stitches, which I hated, but then grew to admire once I saw the effect and got used to doing the twist. It's just a shame it doesn't come in larger sizes (the largest is for an 18 mo) because it is so cute - love the shawl collar and the moss (seed) stitch edges.
My only modification was to leave off the bottom buttonhole - and to be honest, I can't remember if that is because I forgot to do the buttonhole, or if I decided to leave it off. I think tradition dictates that the bottom button of a cardi is never buttoned anyway - that's what my dad always told me! (note - the photos above use stunt buttons only - actual buttons pictured below)

Yarn: Rowan All Seasons Cotton shade 219 lot 21B6 (Dusky I think is the shade name - a lovely dusty dark blue, with almost a hint of purple) - the pattern calls for 5 balls but I had to order some more, which thankfully were the same dyelot! I think I ended up using just over 6 balls. Quite neatly, each sleeve took exactly one ball. I was most pleased with that! I don't know why, but it made me very happy!

Sticks: 5mm bamboo straights. I started this pattern BKPO (Before KnitPicks Options), or else I would have definitely used those - a nice pointy stick is good for the twisted cables! As usual, upsized the sticks from the 4.5mm recommended by the pattern to accommodate my tight tension.
Time: Sigh. Not a quick knit for me, as usual because I've got too many things on the go! Started on 3 March 2007, finished (buttons and all - see above and below) on 24 July 2007 - just in time, I hope, for continued cold weather!What I learnt: My first experience of aran style knitting. I don't know enough about aran knitting to know if this pattern is a true aran pattern or not - but hey, it's got cables and moss stitch and all, so it's close enough for me! I'm not sure I could do an adult aran jumper/cardi - such a lot of work! But it was worth it, most definitely!

Monday, July 23, 2007


Yes, the inevitable post-HP post. For the 5 people in the world who haven't got a copy and read it already, don't worry, no spoilers ahead (or at least, I hope not, I've tried anyway).

The thing that interested me the most as I read it, and afterwards, was the language and the themes, and how they would be read by kids - kids under about 10 or 12 especially. At one point in the book, Ron says "effing". I have no problem with "bad" language and it was totally realistic both in the context and for a 17 year old boy generally (in fact, I suspect most would probably say the word infull, not use the shortened term!). But how would it be taken by a child?

And more importantly, how would a child deal with the violence in the book? Of course, there's been increasing levels of violence (both in the present and in past events the books discuss) but in this one it's very much in the present, to characters (in some cases) who we know, and it is for fun or enjoyed by the perpetrators.

I'm not a parent, or an educator and I don't have any theories on how well a child would deal with this in the context of a fantasy world, albeit one which is much loved. It just interested me, because in a lot of ways, I think the books have become adult books, rather than kid's books. Maybe I had the wrong impression from the start!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Shall I show you mine?

Like Bells, I received a lovely surprise in the mail on Wednesday - wish I'd posted yesterday too but this week really has been a shocker - can't wait 'til the weekend!

A package from the Mad, Mad Housewife (aka RachelW, or, affectionately, our stalker) - what could it be?
Squeeeeeeeeeeeee! Sundara sock yarn! This is totally my entry for Fibrelicious Friday (except that I forgot to make it look like food. Dang it. I have been coveting Sundara yarn for so long. Every so often I have a little looky at her site and always find the colours amazing.
An extreme closeup of the yarny goodness - such gorgeous tones and shades and variations. Must search out the perfect pattern for these (although I think they'll have to go in the queue after the Rose Red yarn - sigh - so many possibilities, so little time!!). Thank you so much Rachel - such a lovely thing to do - no doubt there'll be loads of good karma coming your way.

And a teaser for next week - hopefully by Monday this will be an FO. That is, if I don't get sucked into the Harry Potter vortex (which, clearly, I will - I'm not sure why I set such unrealistic expectations of myself!!)

What could it be?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Clearly, we all ROCK!

Yay! I've been tagged - I am officially a Rockin' Girl Blogger! Thanks Diana! You rock too, but of course you already know that!Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! (just a slight quibble - do all girl things have to be pink!!)

I'm supposed to nominate 5 others, but since I rock, you rock, we all rock, I'm going to do 6. I feel bad for not nominating all the blogs I read, but clearly they will all be tagged at some stage (if they haven't already!).

First up clearly is Bells - I "met" Bells through Good Yarn Karma and since then we have met in person, started up a new blog together and exchange multiple emails daily - Bells you ROCK!

Next, Michele - I "met" Michele through Domesticat's Knitterly Letter Exchange, and we have exchanged letters, gifts (well, I've been a bit slack on that front, but I haven't forgotten), emails and experiences. Michele, the lucky thing, is having a 5 week remote holiday so won't be blogging for a while - Michele you ROCK!

And RachelW, the mad, mad housewife. I've already mentioned how hilarious she is - always makes me giggle - Rachel you ROCK!

Nora - for the most beautiful photos, design and ideas, and because she and her family are going through a tough time right now - Nora you ROCK!

Shazmina Bendi - too too funny and naughty, and a recent convert to the joy of sock knitting - Shaz you ROCK!

And finally, BrownPants - who always tells it like it is, and also knitted 3 shawls for a wedding in about 3 weeks flat (amazing!!) - BP you ROCK! (does that make up for not winning the Malabrigo/Koigu??!!)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Trekking Socks

It feels like a while since I've had an FO, although on reflection it is only 2 weeks, so that's not that bad (although these have been on the sticks for some time now!). These are a surprise for my sister-in-law, who is due to have her second baby at the end of August.
Yarn: Trekking XXL, col 109 (mainly purples), lot 4392 (the colour in the sunlight photos is closest to real life). Love the way the yarn stripes in a completely random way - am not sure that you could get a matching pair with this yarn, but I don't think it matters.
Pattern: My own standard size (68 st) in 2x2 rib - I think a ribbed pattern shows off this yarn best. On reflection, I should have made the legs a few cm longer - I had plenty of yarn left over - I think I got a bit bored with the seemingly unending ribbing! The socks do look kinda weird when they are off the foot (or in this case, the sock blocker) - as if for a giant with huge feet and exceptionally skinny legs.
Sticks: 2.5mm addi dpns Time: 15 April 2007 - 14 July 2007 (the horror, the horror!). Mainly these were my bus knitting project, in between a bunch of other projects (as usual!)
What I learnt: I decided to go with the eye of partridge heel on these socks, which I love - I'm pretty much a convert to this type of heel now - I really like the effect it gives (although it shows up much better in pictures than in real life!)
Now must get on to actual knitting for the baby!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Tutorial Part II: The Proper Use of Ziplock Bags in Organising Your WIPs

Part II of the RoseRed Standard of Stash Systemisation (thanks Georgie!!) coming at you, here and now. Just for Bells (Happy Birthday Bells!) (see Part I here).

By now, I know you all will have purchased multiple sizes of ziplock (or snaplock) bags. But what to do with the ones leftover from your stash organisation? Why, as a WIP organiser of course! And here's how you do it.

Step 1: Select appropriately sized ziplock bag. I rarely use the small (sandwich) bags, as they are generally too small for yarn, needles and WIP. But if you have a teenytiny project, knitted on a circular needle or short dpns, you could get away with a small bag. For a larger garment, you'll need a large bag. For socks, a medium is, in my view, best. Today, I'm bagging a sock project, so have selected a medium bag. In this case, it's a new bag, but I do recommend re-using bags where possible.
Step 2: If you haven't already, remove label from yarn and place in bag. This is most important, if you want to avoid this problem.
Step 3: Knit swatch/es. Label with needle size, yarn info (in the highly unlikely event that the swatch will be separated from the bag and project) and any other details considered relevant. Place in bag. Labels may be purchased from your local newsagent or stationery store, or of course made from bits of paper.
Step 4: For maximum portability, place photocopy or print-out of pattern in bag. This avoids the need to carry large or heavy books or magazines with you and ensures you always have a piece of paper to write your mods or other notes on. And since a photocopy of your own book or magazine for personal use only is (to my understanding) acceptable, we're not breaking any rules here, right!
Step 5 (where more than one piece of the WIP): As this is a project I've previously prepared, I have one completed sock. Place this (or any other pieces you knit as you go) into the bag. This is extremely useful for socks so that you can measure the second sock against the first. For larger projects, you may need to bring a second ziplock bag into play.
Step 6: Place WIP into bag. An optional part of this step is to place any accessory you may need, such as tape measure, sewing needles, scissors, pencil, stitch markers etc, into bag. I have all this junk in a small zippered bag which I take with me when necessary.
Step 7: Squish excess air out of bag and seal (thanks for reminding me Shan). My preferred message of squish'n'seal is to hold the bag against my chest and squish the air out from the bottom of the bag, then while holding closed with my forearm, start sealing the bag from left to right, or right to left, as you wish.
And there you go!

Pack WIPS in ziplock bags into your knitting bag and you have a ready to go bag of WIPS, or you can easily select a project at a glance before you rush out the door to work, children's dance or sports, etc.
Tips for new players/Questions and comments from readers:
1. Be careful with the ziplock bags in the sun. Like any natural thing encased in plastic, your WIP might have a tendancy to sweat. We don't want a soggy WIP now, do we!

2. Ziplock bags are perfect for holding your yarn whilst knitting - as Tinkingbell noted in the comments to Part I, if you don't have your yarn in a centre pull ball (or even, let's face it, if you do), leave it in the bag, zip it up most but not all the way, and place yarn on the floor. You will still be able to pull yarn out easily, but will avoid yarn rolling in dust bunnies, cat/dog hair, etc (because, as we know, all dedicated knitters are bound to, shall we say, "avoid" the housework to do just one more row). And click on Tinkingbell's link above to see her awesome stash cupboard!

3. If you are using Knitpicks Options or dpns (or, really, any knittng needle), the needles will have an unfortunate tendancy to poke holes in the bags. This can be avoided if desired through the use of point protectors. Or, you know, you can just live with it. But be careful when digging around in your ridiculously oversized handbag looking for your sock WIP bag (trust me, I know from experience!).

4. Bells asked: Is the use of a bag desirable for leftover teeny tiny balls of yarn? Yes. If you want to keep your teeny tiny leftovers in bags. I'd suggest a small/sandwich size be used to hold multiple varieties of leftovers. Remember to include the label attached to the leftover (I usually punch a hole in the label and tie the yarn end through it. When I can be bothered, that is).

5. Diana noted that small ziplocks are very useful for keeping yarns separate while doing any type of colourwork.

6. Georgie and Carson noted the failure of ziplocks (even, shock horror - Glad ziplocks!) - I should mention I do use snaplocks rather than ziplocks and it seems from their experience this might be preferable. But you never know, so feel free to experiment!

7. Any other tips welcome! (As is a sponsorship deal with Glad. Happy to take your money to advertise your snaplocks, Mr Glad! I'm sure your revenues will be going through the roof right now!)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

And the winners are...

Lookee lookee, over 50 names in two hats (one for the Aussies/Kiwis and the other for Everyone Else). Thanks everyone for stopping by and outing yourselves! Husby was very excited to see all the names in the hat and asked if he could draw them - so thanks to Husby, here they are!
Aussies/Kiwis first. Shuffle shuffle, and third prize, lovely Classic Elite Miracle, goes to:
Second prize, lovely Malabrigo, goes to:
First prize of lovely Koigu, goes to:
Now for Everyone Else - the lovely Jo Sharp Alpaca Kid Lustre, goes to:
Congratulations Donna, Fiona, Catsmum and Amy! Hope you all enjoy fondling and/or knitting your winnings. Email me on roseredshoes AT yahoo DOT com DOT au (you know the drill, replace the AT and DOT with the appropriate symbols) so I can get me to the Post Office and send out the yarny love, packaged neatly in ziplock bags!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tutorial: The proper use of ziplock bags to enhance your stash

As requested and promised, here is part I of my how-to on ziplock bags (hang on, just wait until I pop my tongue firmly in my cheek...ok, good to go).

Step 1: Go to supermarket and purchase a range of ziplock bags. There will be a range to choose from - some with "zips" and some you just squeeze together. A word of warning: some ziplocks are better than others. My bag of preference is made by Glad. Good sizes, zipper thingy rarely fails and they have a writing panel on them if you wish to label your yarn. They also come in an "easy to dispense" box with a zipper flap (how much fun is that!)
Step 2: Keep ziplock bags in convenient place near your yarn stash, for ease of use.
Step 3: Each time you purchase yarn, ensure you select an appropriately sized ziplock bag for storage. Label, or not, as you wish.
To give you a feel for size:

A small bag (sandwich size) will hold two small skeins of sock yarn.

A medium (lunch) size will hold around 4 50g skeins/balls

A large bag will hold up 8-10 50g skeins/balls of yarn.

My preference is not to mix the yarn in a bag - one type of yarn (eg 4ply, 8ply, sock etc), one bag. Different yarns, different bag.
Step 4: Carefully pack yarn into selected bag, ensuring labels are (as far as possible) all facing same way and so that you can, depending on the structure of the yarn label, read the colour, dyelot and gauge information without needing to open the bag.
Step 5: Pack bagged yarns into yarn storage cupboard/chest of drawers.

Step 6: Gloat at your level of organisation. Do not tell anyone that the rest of your stash is piled up in plastic bags in the corner of your stash/junk room, waiting for the never-to-arrive day when they will be bagged and packed.

I know this is breaking the rule in step 3, but these are set aside, in their ziplock bags for a special purpose - the draw will be conducted tonight, so there's still time to leave a comment on this post! (And ziplock bag will be chucked in as well!)

Tomorrow: Results of the draw

Friday: Part II: The proper use of ziplock bags in organising your WIPS

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Was all ready to go with the first of a two part post on, wait for it, ziplock bags and the proper use thereof for WIPs and in the stash. But then the postperson had to go and ruin my plans by delivering this to me yesterday.
Oooooh, what could it be, what could it be? (Well, clearly it's yarn - the customs label says so, but what yarn? What colour? What a teasing sample that is attached to the outside...) And so prettily wrapped, I almost didn't want to open it.Look at this - how good is this yarn - two skeins (TWO!!) of lovely lovely red sock yarn. But not just any red:Yes, "Rosenrot" translates to RoseRed! RoseRed sock yarn - how good is that!!! Bought for me as a present by the lovely Michele. How good and kind she is (and a very good knitter and dyer of cool indigo dyed yarn, plus has very interesting and thought-provoking posts about clothes, which of course I love!). I feel I am the luckiest knitblogger in the world! The yarn is from here - I've already had a peek - to find that I can get RoseRed yarn in laceweight and worsted as well - I may have to purchase some in all the yarns she offers!! And in the meantime, dream about the pattern possibilities for my RoseRed sock yarn. Mmmmm new patterns, new knitting possibilities (must.resist.casting.on.until.have.finished.sockapalooza. sock!! At least!!)

Monday, July 09, 2007

Gimme a...

Gimme a "C"

Gimme an "L"

Oh, can't be bothered with all the rest - you know what it spells:
C L A P O T I S !!!

Yippee! All done and dusted, blocked and all. I did quite like the unblocked look, but thought I'd give her a wash and block, just to see her in all her glory. And BrownPants assured me that hers sprang back into pre-blocked shape after a few wears and that sealed it for me.

Here she is in pre-blocked state - you can't really see the dropped stitches from the knit side, although they do make pleasing bubbles on the purl side (which I think is my preferred side, not sure why I didn't take a picture of the purl side instead!!

And post-blocking - but still drying - much wider, can see the dropped stitches in their loveliness!

Of course, when I put it in the wool wash to soak yesterday, it was a glorious sunny day. Almost as soon as I laid it on the deck table to dry, the clouds came in. Then the rain. Lucky the deck has a roof.
I had to bring her inside to finish drying so I could complete the photo shoot!!
Pattern: In case you are one of the only people in the world who hasn't knit it or put on their to-make list, it is Kate Gilbert's Clapotis, from Knitty. I only did 5 increase repeats (rather than 7) as I had only 3 skeins of the yarn and I also wanted it slightly narrower - worsted weight wraps are pretty much not needed in Sydney (although, with the weather lately, I'm not so sure about that!). From feeling a bit "meh" about this pattern when I first saw it, I now am a complete convert! I've worn Clappy twice at work and have had compliments both times. I loved knitting this as well - it was my "easy" knit, my break from the Traveler's Stockings, and I was quite sad when I finished this.
Yarn: 3 x 100g skeins of Claudia's Handpainted Yarns, Worsted weight, in colour "Black Walnut" (lot 009) - gorgeous mix of reds, burgundies, little bit of purple, brown and grey. Bought in New York. Love it to bits!

And it was lucky I only did 5 increase repeats, or else I would have had to end this quite short - as it was I didn't quite make it to the end, but have only had to cut off a little piece of the corner, which you can't notice at all.
Sticks: 5.5mm Knitpicks Options. These are great needles - one of my best knitting investments.
Time: 11 June - 30 June 2007 - a quick knit (for me!) How exciting is it to get to your first dropped stitch row. It made me do a little happy dance every time - and is a good incentive to keep knitting as well!
What I learnt: Thanks to Donni and Nora for their good advice about purling the stitch which will be dropped rather than using stitch markers - that made it sooo much easier. The main thing though is really that I should always keep an open mind about patterns.