Tuesday, December 30, 2008

SHOESday: Out with the old, in with the new

Forgive me my chipped nailpolish in this photo - a bit like 2008, it's getting old and tired. Perhaps I should freshen it up tomorrow in time for the arrival of 2009.
Then they will match my shoes - nice and new and ready for action! I had half an hour to shop today in the sales before lunch with friends and was very happy to find these in my size!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

SHOESday: Merry Christmas!

When is a shoe not a shoe?
When it's a stocking!

Hope you all have a joyful and relaxing Christmas or whatever holiday you choose to celebrate or enjoy at the end of this week!

Monday, December 22, 2008

I've survived!

It's been a week since we moved house, and while I've still got a few (ok, a fair few) boxes to unpack, most of the house is done, and it is definitely liveable. I've just got a lot of stuff...even the removalists said so!

What I don't have, though, is very good internet access right now - won't have that until after Christmas (ugh, how will I cope??!!). So expect some more detailed posts then. Hope you are all surviving the lead up to Christmas too.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

SHOESday: Special Guest Appearance #2

This week, SHOESday is brought to you by my friend Ms S, who wore these fabulous shoes to work last week for our team Christmas party.

Are they not superfantastic!

I had to feature them - particularly because, as you might have noticed, I'm running out of shoes of my own.

These are so fabulously made - not sure if you can see, but the leather sole continues ever so slightly up the sides of the foot, with the seam at the top - so unusual and evidence of a real eye for detail in the designer, I think.

Really very very delicious!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Day in My Life: Sunday 14 December

The last Day in My Life for 2008!

I had a bit of a sleep in as I came down with a bit of a flu yesterday - just what you don't need when you have to pack up an entire house ready to move on Monday! Fortunately, my mum came up to help us, and my brother also had to be in Sydney for work reasons so he's helped us this weekend as well. It's been an absolute godsend having them both, I know we wouldn't have finished everything without them.
I had a long-standing appointment with my Chicks with Sticks girls (a few former workmates who gather every month or so to knit and eat, drink and gossip) - one of our number is moving to Melbourne for 6 months and so it was her last CwS, and we'd put it off a few times already, so husby gave me special dispensation from the packing for a couple of hours, which was very good of him.

I did take a load of things in the car to drop off at the new house on the way back - fragile things or awkward things to pack - lamps, drawers, dinner set, food processor, pictures and frames, that sort of thing.

I spent a lovely couple of hours catching up with my friends and knitting, and all too soon had to leave. I dropped off the miscellaneous stuff at our new house (fortunately near where we met for CwS!) and headed home.

Arrived home and packed a few boxes, then it was afternoon tea time.
Donni, your fabulous biscuits came in so handy! It was just what we needed to pick us up and prepare for the final packing onslaught!

Is this not the best (non-knitting related) invention in the world?
Why yes it is!

We had dinner at the local RSL Club (my brother is still a member, and he had some "member dollars" to use up) which made for a quick, cheap and easy meal for a tired bunch.

Then the final push once we got home. The bathroom stuff, and the final bits and pieces in my study and my knitting corner of the loungeroom. Oh, and some laundry stuff. I think that's everything!

And a final cup of tea whilst blogging this. Then off to bed - it's going to be an early start and a big day tomorrow!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Twists and Turns

Back in October, you'll recall, I bought a couple of balls of Cleckheaton Bamboo in a lovely orange, and I couldn't resist making something with it straight away.

But alas and alack, I was this close to finishing, and I ran out of yarn. Gah!! Seriously, I had less than 1/4 of the scarf to crochet around (the pattern has you do a row of half-trebles around the entire scarf to finish it off). I reckon I probably only needed 5 or 10 grams of yarn to finish.

I posted on Ravelry to see if anyone had some leftover, but I got no takers - until Ailsa so very very kindly offered to buy a ball for me at her LYS (heh, any excuse for a visit to the LYS!). As soon as it arrived today, I sat down and finished the scarf! (one might think I was looking for an excuse to have a rest from packing...)

Pattern: Boteh Scarf by Kathy Merrick, Interweave Crochet Spring 2007. I love this pattern - it's really easy and looks great I think - a very cool, modern crochet pattern.
Yarn: Cleckheaton Bamboo #57 burnt orange, 3 x 50g balls - plus another 8g for the final bit of the edging! This is a really nice 4ply/fingering weight 100% bamboo yarn - it's sort of a woven construction, so not splitty, but oh so drapey - really very lovely to work with.
Hook: I used a vintage bone hook, about a 4mm equivalent.
Time: 24 October 2008 - 11 December 2008. It only took this long because I had a bit of a gap in November when I didn't work on it. Otherwise, it's very quick!

Big thanks to Ailsa, and also for the little hank of Optim she added - she posted about it a while ago and I asked what it was like - and now I know - it's so lovely!!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

SHOESday: mmmm comfortable

So as of this evening, I am officially on holidays until early January! Woo hoo!

But don't get too jealous - the rest of this week will be spent packing, ready to move to our new house next Monday. And then the rest of next week will be spent unpacking and putting stuff away. And probably changing my mind about where to put stuff so re-putting it away. And moving furniture. And re-moving it. And maybe moving it again.

But I'm not complaining, not really. I can't wait to be in our new place!

And what's this to do with SHOESday?

Because these are the shoes I'll be wearing most for the next 4 weeks:
I bought these birks on my first trip to Europe, way back in 1996 (before husby and I were married even!). We did an organised tour, and one of the American girls bought a pair in Germany. I thought they were so great, I had to have a pair too. But by that time we'd left Germany, so I picked these up in Switzerland. I've got a great photo of us lying upside down on a lounge with our feet in the air, flashing our birks!
And you know I can't just have a pair in one colour, here's the alternate (bought these ones in Singapore about 3 years ago):
Ok, pick yourselves up off the floor - I don't wear fancy schmancy heels all the time!!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

so many more good goodies!

I've been a bit remiss in posting a pic of a fab-o birthday present from George:

Looky! She made me placemats which match perfectly with my garter stitch blanky!

So clever and kind of her! I can't wait to be in the new house with the blanky on the lounge and the placemats on the table!

But because I was slow in posting, I get to flash pics of some other birthday goodies too - I think this has been my longest birthday ever!

These lovely things from Kylie:
I'm thinking the yarn might become another February Baby Sweater - maybe with a contrast colour for the lace part? Hmm, will think on it a while longer.

And this great package arrived last week from Shazmina, all the way from the UK:
More lovely lovely malabrigo sock yarn (not the best photo of the colour, it's really a lovely purply burgundy - Rayon Vert), chocolate, pig lollies (I may have opened these as soon as I opened the package - before I'd had breakfast even!), a kitty badge and a great keyring:

Can you read it?

Oh, and a DVD, which I stupidly forgot to photograph - it's called Lost in Austen and it's a UK series about a girl who swaps places with Lizzie Bennett in P&P! Am saving it to watch while I'm on holidays - can't wait!

And my mum arrived this weekend, in time to help us pack before we move on Monday week...and this was in her suitcase for me:
A perfect match for my tea set (which is lucky, since that was the purpose in making it)!
And it won her second prize at the local show!
I asked her what won (because it must have been good - see how the back up there looks almost as good as the front!) and she said it was something else that she made!! Heh!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Are mullets really making a comeback?

Are mullets really making a comeback? Gah, I hope not! Except on husby's feet!
Yarn: Opal handpainted yarn, bought on sale from Little Knits some time ago (yay me, stashbusting!) - thought it was a good "boy" colour. My first experience knitting with Opal - it didn't feel too bad to knit with, and it softens up so nicely with a nice soak in Soak. Plus the obligatory Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Bold Red for husby's signature toes.
Pattern: Improvised - one of the things I love about knitting socks is that once you've knit a few, you can pretty much do a basic sock on the fly, with no pattern at all. Turning the heel needs a bit of concentration, but apart from that, it's all pretty much plain sailing. For these socks, I decided to rib the back of the leg but keep the front plain - hence the christening of these socks as the Mullet socks - business in the front, party in the back!
Sticks: 2.5mm KP nickel plate dpns. 2.5mm is really my sock stick of choice. I do wonder if I should use 2.25mm for a nice firm hopefully felting and sag free sock, but so far the 2.5s have done me fairly well, especially for husby's socks.

Time: I started these in Fiji ... on 2 August! With the vain hope to finish them in time for husby's 40th birthday in October. As you know, I got one done! And now the other - finished on 27 November after a big burst at Morris & Sons (Tapestry Craft) SnB, which I've been going to for the last 3 weeks (nice!).

(oh Fiji, was it really so long ago...sigh!)

What I learnt: Oh, not much on these - except that secret knitting takes a lot longer than you expect when you have to keep the secret from your husband!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Keeping track - November 2008

Well, you know, I never expected November to be a good month on the stash front - my birthday and all. And I was right! It wasn't a good month for working down the stash. But it was a great month for building up the stash!

First up, some Malabrigo sock yarn in Tiziano Red - a present to me from me!
Then some more Malabrigo sock yarn in Velvet Grapes - a present to me from Miss F!
That was added to by more Malabrigo sock yarn from lovely Bells.
And even more yarny birthday goodness from Kylie, in the form of a sportweight Waratah Fibres yarn - unlabeled so have no idea what sort of wool it is (any guesses, anyone?) , except that it is lovely!
And finally, Big Red:
A workmate did a direct order from Peaches n Cream (Elmore Pisgah) and so I said if she felt like throwing in a cone of PnC in red for me, I'd be happy to take it off her hands. So she did, and I did. Mmmmm, a whole cone. I just like looking at it...

In: 37 x 50g balls (same as October - eep!)
Out: 6 x 50g balls (doesn't sound like much but there was other knitting happening too)
YTD: 166.5 x 50g balls
And as for monthly goals - I haven't even given them a thought. But when I do, it will be something like: packing; moving; unpacking; putting up Christmas tree; surviving Christmas; and hopefully finishing one knitted Christmas item. I'll tell you about the moving in another post...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

SHOESday: summer! finally summer!

The arrival of December means summer has now officially started - and with it, finally, some warm weather! Huzzah!
And that means I can break out the summer slippers! I know, they're thongs, but they are slipper thongs. In red! With a flower! But of course!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Somewhere over the rainbow

Husby and I went to see Ausralia last night (at our new local, the Roseville Cinema!). You know, I really liked it. Yep, it was schmaltzy, and verged on parody (especially the first couple of scenes between Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman) and Nicole's accent was terrible (although became less noticeable as the movie progressed) and her outfits were ridiculous (albeit beautiful) but if you let yourself go, just be in the moment while watching it, and don't let yourself think too much, it was great.

Go on, go and see it. Amazing scenery, the gorgeous Nicole outfits (including a very nice knitted cardigan - very fine gauge so probably machine knitted, but could definitely be recreated in 4ply/fingering yarn if you so desired), and mmmmHughJackman. When he arrived at the ball all clean shaven and in a dinner suit, every woman in the cinema sighed - literally!! It was very funny!

And if you need some further entertainment you can play "spot the Aussie actor" the whole way through the movie - pretty much anyone who's anyone in the Australian film industry is in it somewhere.

To end on a serious note -see it if for nothing else but to remind us that the Prime Minister's apology to the Stolen Generations this year was well overdue.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

SHOESday: a pair a day for a whole year!

What could be better than a SHOESday post every week?

Why, a pair of shoes every day for a year!
I've been buying these calendars every year for the past 3 years - this year my mum bought the 2009 calendar for me for my birthday (thanks Mum!). I keep them at work to share the shoe love with my colleagues (all of whom happen to be women!)
Each year the calendar features shoes from a different museum or personal collection. Not mine though. I guess because I don't have enough pairs for a whole year!! Hmm, perhaps I'd better work on that ...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

As I finished up my pal's aran Christmas stocking last week, my stocking was winging it's way to me from the US.

Less than a week after it was posted (hurrah, USPS and Australia Post) it arrived on my desk - it's so lovely, so soft and squooshy and designed by my pal (Wren, on Ravelry) in a fair isle pattern using some of my favourite colours, just for me!
I love the Christmas trees on the foot, and see, the red and purple bit near the top?

It's a row of red shoes! SO COOL!

Wren used DiVe Autunno, a yarn I've never heard of but which looks to be a worsted single in semi-solid colours - it's just lovely. Thanks so much, Wren, it's perfect!

And as for my pal's aran stocking, here it is:

I'm pretty happy with it, I have to say!

Yarn: Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed, 3.5 x 50g balls in colour 140 (Ghost). I wanted to use an Australian yarn for my pal, since she's from the US, and I thought the tweedy texture would work nicely in an aran style pattern - it gives the stocking a bit more body than a softer merino yarn might have.

Sticks: 5mm KnitPicks Options, magic loop method.

Pattern: My pal had commented a few times on Ravelry about how she had fallen in love with a pattern for a traditional aran style stocking with cables and bobbles and the works - but she couldn't find the pattern. I used that as my cue - I figured I'd have no luck finding a pattern like that if she couldn't, so I improvised. Thank goodness for stitch dictionaries and cabled scarf patterns!

I used my Vogue Stitchionary (Cables) for the cuff - Holly Berries (pattern 129) - bobbles galore and a christmassy theme. Separated the cuff and leg with a garter ridge/vikkel braid sandwich. Then I used the cable and bobble pattern from the Irene scarf for the leg. The bobbles in those two patterns were done differently - all my first bobble experience. They aren't something I love, but I'd be happy to do them again (in moderation)! Ended the leg with another garter ridge/vikkel braid.

Even though pretty much everyone suggested doing a heel flap and gusset, I decided to do a short row heel, and did a Tree of Life all the way down the heel - picked this one up from Barbara Walker #1, but had to flip it upside down as I was knitting the tree from the top down. Another vikkel braid/garter ridge separator, then onto the foot.

I used another Barbara Walker #1 pattern for the foot - slipped hourglass - I really like the way this pattern looks - and what do you know, it's also used on a top in the current Interweave Knits Holiday edition!
And more vikkel braid before a standard wedge toe to end with.

Time: 14 October 2008 - 16 November 2008 - it took a lot longer than I expected - those cables and bobbles are pretty time intensive!! The foot was faster, thank goodness, as I was pushing the deadline as it was.

What I learnt: Stocking stitch based cables (like the Holly Berries on the cuff) pull in a lot more than purl based cables (like Irene Scarf cable on the leg) - I probably should have decreased a few stitches before doing the garter ridges and the leg pattern - although I like to think the tighter cuff is just like a sock cuff!

I really like how the leg pattern flowed into the heel pattern too - even though this totally happened by accident!!

And I had plenty of practice cabling without a cable needle, and making bobbles too!

And to end off, a photo of my stocking in situ:

Although we'll be in our new house by Christmas, so there'll be another fireplace behind the stocking soon. And I guess I'll have to make one for husby too, or else he'll feel left out!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Be very very qwiet...

Sometimes koalas venture out from their natural habitat into suburban areas.
They should be approached with caution but if you are very very quiet and respectful, they will allow you to hold them.
Before releasing back into the wild.
Shhhhh, don't disturb the koalas.

(details here) (and yes, I know it isn't the right tree - there's a dearth of eucalypts in my back yard!)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

SHOESday: Storage Solutions

It interests me that people think that because I have lots of shoes that I have great shoe storage as well. I only wish I did!! My dream is to one day have my very own shoe wardrobe, preferably as part of a walk-in wardrobe the size of a small room.

But since we've just bought our forever house, and it doesn't have a walk-in wardrobe or the room to put one in (unless we build a second storey...) I guess this will always remain a dream.

But I'll flash the shoe storage I do have - it's not very exciting, but it works!

The "good" shoes are in their shoe sleeping bags in their boxes - under the wardrobe (I have a lovely antique 3 door cedar wardrobe, which I love!):
Also in the wardrobe under the hanging space:

And again in the wardrobe, sharing the jumper space:
The everyday shoes are in bigger boxes under the bed:
Like this:
So not very glamorous but at least not all over the bedroom floor (like they used to be...). How do you store your shoes?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bits and Pieces

Thought I might flash a couple of small things I made for my swap pal in the Ravelry Aus Swappers Red Swap.
Yarn: I used Lion Cotton in Poppy Red for both - this is basically dishcloth cotton, but I found it softer than Peaches & Cream or Sugar'n'Cream. Spotlight were stocking it and I bought a bunch - now that I've knit with it I wish I'd bought even more, as Spotlight (or at least, my local) is no longer stocking it.
Pattern: Garter stitch mug cosy from Interweave Knits Holiday 2007 edition - modified to put the increases at 4 corners, as the mug has a square base. Very quick and easy pattern - about 2 hours I think.
The washcloth uses a stitch pattern from the new Harmony Lace & Eyelet Stitch guide - Loose Lattice Lace (p218). I cast on 49 stitches and did 5 repeats of the pattern, with a garter stitch edging. Pretty cool pattern, looks cabled but isn't!
Sticks: I used 4mm dpns for the mug cosy, 4.5mm rosewood straights (I love those needles!) for the washcloth

Time: Made both in October - the mug cosy in one day, the washcloth over a couple of days.
Nice, quick and easy to knit gifts - I probably should do some for Christmas...