Friday, August 31, 2007

I'm not a serial competition enterer, promise!

In a stroke of brilliant timing, just when I needed a pick me up, a package arrived from Jody - my prize for winning her scavenger hunt!
Look - lovely Koigu - I couldn't get the colour quite right - a fab blend of pinks, reds, orange, burgundy, even a bit of brown, just gorgeous.And sugar'n'cream - except that I'm really trying to hold myself back from starting anything new, I would have cast on for a quick and easy dishcloth tonight!
And finally, some great handmade sock project bags (well, any small project really, but I'll mainly use them for socks, I'd say!), post-its, chocolate and a sheepy card. The bags have a neat flat base, and a really cool construction method - I'm going to use these as a pattern to make some more! So generous Jody, thank you for your kindness, which arrived just at the right time!

After my post yesterday, Bells and I discussed her suggestion for a "Summer of Socks Down Under". A great way to bust some sock yarn stash, maybe make your Christmas knitting a bit more fun, try some new patterns and techniques, and ensure you'll have plenty of socks for winter. And of course, anyone can do it, not just Aussies! What do you think? Is anyone in?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

All things socks

I've been thinking about socks a lot lately, and sort of wishing I'd done "summer of socks" - because, seriously, even though it is still officially winter here, it is so totally summer weather that it is kind of freaking me out. Are we going to have winter weather in summer? Or just a really really really hot summer? It's a mad freaky weather world right now.

Ahhhh, weather, the best topic for conversations...what was I actually talking about? Yes, socks (which is clearly so much more interesting). A couple of weeks ago, I counted all the potential socks I have. At that time, it was 26 (that sum has since risen to over does this happen!!). Then I counted how many pairs of socks I've made - 11. I started knitting socks in about April 2006. So in 16 months, I've made 11 pairs of socks. And I've currently got enough sock yarn to last me at least 2 or 3 years. Will that stop me buying more sock yarn? I suspect not...and do I care? Not a jot!

Since I washed most of Husby's and my socks on the weekend, I thought I'd do a little photo shoot (inspired by a similar picture I saw posted on Flickr). All the pretties!
And in other socky news, my sockapalooza sockpal, M, received her socks - hurrah! Mine are almost on their way - my sockpal contacted me yesterday to let me know they were blocking as she typed - how exciting!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Apparently, I am nice (or should that be noice?)

A couple of weeks ago, Catsmum very kindly nominated me for a Nice Matters Award (aw, shucks, thanks Susan!)

While the evil part of me gives an insane laugh at my ability to hide my true personality (mwahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!), the good angel on my right hand shoulder says "weeeeeeeee! how nice to be thought of as nice".

I remember my 2nd grade (or perhaps it was my 6th grade) teacher saying that the word "nice" should only be used in relation to food. Am not entirely sure of the reasoning behind this position and clearly I (and others!) have ignored this portion of my education, at no apparent peril.

I have gained a much greater appreciation of the importance of kindness, and the impact of a kind word or action on others, through blogging. Kinda sad to admit that in a way, but really, I've been blown away by the kindness and generosity I've found through blogging. I think I sound like a broken record as I've said this a few times already. But still it amazes me. And blogging makes it easy to be nice, and kind. Posts are considered, written, re-read and then posted, feedback comes through comments and friends are made, and I am able to ensure that, for the most part, the good angel retains control. And I like it. The challenge is to do this more in real life too!

Even though being evil is fun! (mwahahahahaaaaaa!)

I think I'm supposed to nominate 7 bloggers. But heck, I'm going to nominate everyone out there - everyone who reads my blog, all those whose blogs I read (those listed in the sidebar and others). You are all nice (even you Madmad!)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Oh lucky me!

I was lucky enough to win Queen of the Froggers' blogiversary giveaway! A lovely skein of sock yarn was promised, and when the package arrived last Thursday I discovered not one but two skeins of gorgeous sock yarn, and lovely soap roses and a cool beaded bookmark! Not to mention a couple of ziplock bags, and the most perfect card!

Check out the booty! (not that booty! Because that would clearly be spelled "boot-eeeh" and would not be appropriate content for this blog!!!) How perfect is that card!!
Lookee the pretty yarn - such great greens - I couldn't quite capture the range of greens (and some grey as well) in this yarn - so excited to see how it knits up!Lookee more pretty yarn - do the colours look familiar? Check out my shoe!! OMG!! Same colours! (again with the colours - it looks a bit pink here, but is much redder in real life!)And lovely soap roses - I've never seen these before - they are far too pretty to use!!

Oh lucky me! Thanks Queen of the Froggers! If you haven't had a look at her blog, drop by (although she's on a little break now - computer problems - grrr!) - she's about to start a steekalong and also has Eunny Jang's Venezia in mind! Wow!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Gotta have some socks on the sticks

For the most part of this year, I've had 3 pairs of socks on the sticks. Last week saw the finish of the last pair still going - while I don't mind having many projects on the go, I was a little frustrated with myself for constantly having 3 pairs of unfinished socks. So I'm going to try and have only 1 pair on the go at any time. Of course, now that I've said that out loud, no doubt this weekend will see me start another pair of socks (and because of a package which arrived yesterday, I have even greater temptation to do this - but that's for another post).
Since socks are my bus knitting, I had to cast on another pair as soon as I finished the last (well, duh!). Since husby hasn't had a new pair of socks since Christmas, and he has been waiting so patiently for his jumper, I thought he deserved a new pair of socks. I even used sock yarn from my stash (although I have come to the realisation that Knit from your Stash is dead to me, dead. Clearly I was optimistic about my abilities to curtail my shopping habits when I signed myself up for that! Sigh).So here is the first - more from the genius of Nancy Bush - Spey Valley, from Knitting on the Road. If you are a sock knitter and don't have this book, I highly recommend it. I plan on making almost every sock from this book!
I thought this pattern would be ok with the variegated yarn (Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, in "Camouflage") - it's ok, not perfect but ok. Enough pattern to keep me interested but very easy and good commute knitting. And a very clever sideways braid (which Nancy calls Vikkel Braid) which you can see above, about an inch from the cast on edge.
I bought this colourway because I thought it was a good manly colourway. I'm not sure that if I had my time again I would repeat the purchase - the brown is a bit too "poo" for my liking, and I'm not quite down with the whole camouflage thing. But the yarn itself - lovely - soft - fab to knit with! And no pooling - yet!

Monday, August 20, 2007

What did you do on the weekend?

Picnic with friends on Saturday at Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden - little bit chilly but thankfully the rain held off - and besides, a good opportunity to wear the handknits! All while avoiding a group of cheeky kookaburras who, it seems, do most of their "hunting" in the picnic area, swooping on unsuspecting diners and taking their food, literally, from their hands!
And another guest also foraging but far more modestly and shyly. This was about as close as we could get, but you know, it's not every day you see a mother wallaby and baby (see the little shiny eyes in the pouch region!) in the "wilds" of suburban Sydney.
Quiet day at home on Sunday - I've had a craving for chocolate self-saucing pudding for about a month now, and despite my constant requests, husby just wouldn't make it for me. So I bit the bullet and made it myself. The perfect comfort food for a rainy Sunday. And, for a change, not Nigella!
Husby did run up to the corner store in the rain for the ice-cream though. Low-fat. See, he's always thinking of my well-being!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

A jaywalkin' we will go

What's gotten into me - two FO's in less than a week! Must be that old trick of having a week of work and lazing about house - man, it rocks for the knitting. And the spending of hours on Ravelry...

Anyhoo, these socks have been on the sticks for quite a while. First one cast on in January, as a good travel project for my trip to New York (New York - remember New York?!). And I used them as my subway knitting in New York, and plane knitting from NY to LAX and then on to Hawaii (thank goodness the US actually allows knitting on planes. About the most sensible decision to come out of the US government for some time!) It was the second one that took the time. Not that it's a slow knit, just one that, being for me, was easily put aside in favour of gift and swap knitting. But now they are done. Hurrah!

Pattern: Grumperina's Jaywalker. I did the larger size, although on reflection, I think I should have done the smaller size, as I think these might be a bit large. Not to worry! A clever pattern which I enjoyed knitting.

Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Multi, in Black Purl - 2 skeins - although I probably have about 15 or 20 grams left of one skein. This yarn worked beautifully on the leg, but pooled like a barstool on the foot - exhibit A:
Exhibit B (the other side of the same foot):
So to cure the pooling on sock 2, I joined in the leftover yarn when I was about halfway through the gussets, and alternated yarn from both balls every 2 or 3 rows. And it worked fairly well, not perfectly, but better. A true perfectionist would undo sock 1 and redo. Of course, I am not a true perfectionist. The foot is going to inside a shoe anyway, I figure!!

See - pooling fixed on sock 2!
Sticks: 2.5mm bamboo dpns. I like knitting with these, although one is slightly bent now - not quite sure how that happened!

Time: 15 January 2007 - 15 August 2007

What I learnt: Fixing pooling! But unfortunately, not twisting yarn when swapping skeins very well. But I'm not showing you a picture of that!! A girl's gotta have some secrets!

Baby update!
Baby James arrived safely yesterday morning ("early" according to my husband, who clearly omitted to get the pertinent details from his brother, the father of James! Not to mention failing to tell me until last night!). So the baby shower will no doubt be replaced by a visit to the hospital instead. Thanks everyone for your good wishes - James' parents went through many IVF treatments to conceive him, and then of course, wouldn't you know it, conceived him naturally! His big sister was so excited she didn't want to go to school!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

(non) Argyle Slipover

A quick baby knit which I haven't bothered to blog about before as it was basically finished before I got a chance to even think about a blog post!I've knitted this for a baby shower I was to be attending this Sunday - but mother-to-be is in hospital at the moment, so won't say much just in is due in 3 weeks, so hopefully all will be ok.

Pattern: Argyle Slipover from Special Knits by Debbie Bliss. Except of course I didn't do the argyle pattern - say no to intarsia! (one day maybe, but not on a garment that is going to be grown out of within 6 months!). I did, however, do contrast ribbing, just for something a little different!
I made the 0-3 month size, as figured it could be worn over an outfit (in cooler weather) or as a top (in warmer weather). I also converted the pattern to knit in the round to the armholes, which make so much more sense to me than knitting in pieces and seaming. I also did a 3 needle bind off on the shoulder seams. Amazing what you can do to avoid seams!!
The pattern didn't specify how to do the button loop, so I just crocheted a chain loop to fit the button, which I had in my button box.

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. 1 ball teal (col 340203 - just a tiny ball leftover), and small part of 1 ball cream (col 340005)

Sticks: 1 x 3.25mm 40cm circular for bottom rib and neckband, 1 x 3.50 mm 40cm circular for body, 3.25mm dpns for armbands.

Time: 23 July 2007 - 13 August 2007. I know that doesn't seem very quick, but there was a big gap in there when I did nothing on this knit!!

What I learnt: If you convert something to knit in the round, and have sewn up the shoulder seams as well, you have to use dpns for the sleeves!! Not that it mattered, as it was no trouble, but I didn't quite think that through at the start of this project.

Monday, August 13, 2007

You can't have too much of a good thing

One clappy just wasn't enough - which is odd for me, because generally I'm not fond of knitting the same pattern twice - I mean, I have done it, but usually only for fairly small things. But another clappy was calling to me, and I saw someone (can't remember who, but it was a blogger!) did a clappy in laceweight, and I thought that would be perfect! Especially for the ridiculously mild winters in Sydney.
So a laceweight clappy has been started, using some of the Kaalund Classic Two (colourway Bushfire - what a perfect name for this colourway - it's the one on the left above) purchased at the recent Craft Fair. This will take a little longer no doubt but that's ok, I can live with that! I also figure it is one project where it doesn't matter so much that both skeins, despite being the same colourway and dyelot, don't actually match!!

You can see a photo of the WIP here (can't work out how to post a photo from Flickr. Am clearly a Flickr moron!)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

It's not all it's cracked up to be

Travelling for work, that is. Sounds glamorous when you say you are going interstate for work. But what it really means is a 4 hour flight (to Perth - and 5 hours on the way back) which puts you two hours behind, and you just feel tired the first day, and even the next day and the next. (Too tired to knit much even - just to give you an idea of how tiring it really was!!) And combine it with giving 3 x 1-1.5 hour presentations each day and the fact that this is the only experience you have of daylight (ie looking out the window of the office you sit in - not that I'm complaining about the view) and you know, it's not that much fun.
But I did get to sleep in a humungous bed and have room service banana pancakes for breakfast: And freebies:
(albeit slightly big ones - what is it with fancy hotels - the bathrobes are for skinny minnies and the slippers are for bigfoot! Hmph! But there, I was trying to show a positive and ending up being critical again. Bit of par for the course for me lately!)

Tomorrow, to Melbourne. Just for the day though. Think I shall have to start lobbying Qantas or the CAA to change the rules about knitting on the plane. Have had this rant before but still can't believe that you can knit on US flights but not on Australian ones!!

On a brighter note, and just to bring this post back to the title, had a lovely day yesterday knitting with some good eggs (as my mum would say), which is clearly all and more that it's cracked up to be. Heh!

Monday, August 06, 2007

A travelling we will go...

All the way to the UK for my sockapalooza sockpal!
While these should have been finished on Saturday night, a little interruption in the form of my Ravelry invite arrived early Saturday evening, and so for the rest of the night I was glued to the computer!

But a sustained effort on Sunday morning (whilst brunching with these lovely ladies) saw the second sock finished, ends darned in and all!

Woo hoo!

Pattern: Traveler's Stocking, from Knitting on the Road by Nancy Bush (what a great book - highly recommended!). I love this pattern, although as I've previously mentioned, the patterned cuff is a punish to knit. I even bent one of my KnitPicks DPNs in the process! But they look so great, I am so happy with them.

Modifications: I did an eye of partridge heel rather than the pattern heel (which I think from memory was a standard slipped stitch heel). As Bells and I discovered on the weekend, our eye of partridge heels were quite different - we think it is because I slip purlwise, while she slips knitwise - the knitwise slipping makes a thicker squooshier heel. Does anyone know which is the "right" way of doing it? And whether it matters?

Yarn: The Knittery Merino Cashmere sock yarn (old version) in colourway Water Lillies. One skein and a bit (about half of the foot of the second sock is skein #2). This is a good colourway for patterned socks, as the colours don't obscure the pattern very much, and provide some interest on the leg and foot, which only has the clocks down each side. The new version of this yarn has more yardage, and so one skein of the new version might be enough for these socks.

Sticks: I swatched for these socks! And I never swatch for socks! Knitpicks 2.25mm DPNs. It produces quite a tight fabric - in fact, these socks were a little tight over the ankle before I blocked them. If I was making these again, I'd probably use my standard 2.5mm sticks. But you definitely need metal needles for this pattern!

Time: 25 May 2007 - 5 August 2007 - about a sock a month! The cuff part definitely took the longest - once I was past that, the leg and foot breezed along quite quickly!
What I learnt: Oh, lots of twisted stitches. Lots and lots and lots. I like the toe of this pattern very much too - not sure what it is called, but it is more of a spiral toe (might be a star of 4 points?). I found it much easier to knit than the wedge toe. And for those of you who hate kitchener, no grafting!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

One word (or 3)


I'm in!

Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! (ok, that makes it 4 words, no, 11, oh whatever!).

My username is RoseRed (but of course!!) Having fun exploring.

Friday, August 03, 2007

It's a red, red world!

As you know, I've been feeling a bit flat lately - my mood was much improved when I saw a package in my in-tray at work yesterday - what could it be? Did I secretly submit that shopping cart order for Socks that Rock or Ruby Slippers cashmere laceweight that I was dreaming about last week?
No - even better - I am the lucky recipient of Gift Therapy! And clearly from someone who knows me well!
Ooooooh, what's inside?
Yippee!! KokoBlack hazelnut chocolate, rose tea (in a red bag) (I had some last night - deeeelicious!), a red crochet bookmark and a Penguin Red Classic, Mansfield Park. Along with one of Jejune's fab-o cards! Who could my lovely giftee be, who else but the lovely thoughtful Bells!
A Red Classic - I love it!!! Read Red, y'all!
And for even more red, check me out knitting on the deck last weekend - what could be better - red lace, red iPod, knitting on the deck in the winter sun.
I've finally got a few repeats done on the centre panel of the Alpine Lace shawl, so I've got something to show off.
I've decided that I'm going to try and do at least 8 rows (which is one centre panel repeat) each week. That means it will only take me another, hmmm, get out pen and paper to calculate, yep got it, 42 weeks to finish this sucker!!!Although I am feeling a lot more comfortable with the pattern - I might even be able to do it while watching tv, that will vastly increase my available knitting time on this baby!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

What do you think of this?

Your Life Path Number is 3
Your purpose in life is to express your unique self.
You are a creative and artistic person with an interesting view on life.Witty and outgoing, you enjoy sharing your crazy ideas with anyone who will listen.A total social butterfly, you're the life of any party.
In love, you inspire and enchant your partner. You are often an object of fantasy and desire.
While you are very talented, you sometimes lack the ambition to put your talents in play.And while your wit carries you a long way, you occasionally use it to mask your true feelings.Your natural abilities can bring you all the success in the world ... if you let them
What Is Your Life Path Number?

It's all based on my birthday. So random!! I think the only place I'm an object of fantasy and desire is in my dreams!!! Heh!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Sockapalooza - slogging along

Oh dear. As I suspected, not only am I going to be a leeeetle late finishing these socks, I'm not going to have enough yarn to finish either. Gah!

Lucky for forward planning...

I reckon I'll have these finished by the weekend, blocked and ready to post on Monday - so only a leeeetle late. Sorry sockpal! No doubt I'll add a few little goodies to the package to make up for it!!

Now I'll just have to find a pattern for a short pair of socks to use up the leftover of sken #2. Or possibly a nice contrast yarn to do heels and toes...yes I think that's do-able!