Tuesday, April 29, 2008

SHOESday: Mmmmm, cosy!

So it's been cold yesterday and today! A maximum of 17C (63F)! I know that's not really cold for lots of people, but when you are coming off a weekend where the temperature was 25C (77F), that's a big change.

Last night it was all about the pyjamas, dressing gown and slippers - even Nelly got in on the act!
She's now resumed her usual winter position of cosying up in my lap, after ignoring me all summer. Cats are truly a fickle (but smart) creature.I love these slippers, which I bought about 3 or 4 years ago from Next, in the UK. Clearly, red. With a cat on them. And machine washable! They so are "purrfect" for me - a crazy knitting cat lady.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Joy of Socks

My friend Miss J stayed with me on the weekend (a long weekend, what's not to love about that - even better when friends are visiting!). One of our plans this weekend was for me to teach Miss J how to knit socks. Fortunately, J already knew how to knit, it was just about the socks. We discussed whether to start on a practice sock (a little one, just to cover all the features quickly) but J decided she wanted to start on adult sized socks, and if they were a bit ordinary, they'd be good house-socks. I figured 8ply/DK would be best, and also quickest, as J was determined to finish a sock while she was staying with me.

So with some sale Zara from my stash in hand, a basic 8ply sock pattern from a Patons book and my KnitPicks Harmony 3.25mm dpns in hand, away J went. And she rocked the socks! Did a couple more rows of rib than was needed, and had a little ladder at the start of the stocking stitch section, but fixed that up (I am so jealous, I still get ladders!!), and had an extra stitch at the end of the kitchener grafting, but all in all, a pretty darn near perfect first sock, which fits beautifully!
I'm so proud! (and what a great stashbuster - teaching someone to knit, or a knitting technique, by using yarn from your stash!)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

SHOESday: an oldie but a goodie

These may just be the oldest pair of shoes that I own and still wear. I can't even remember when I bought them, but I think it must have been around the time I was at uni, or just after...and that's at least, oh, a very long time ago indeed (last century even! OMG!!).And yeah, they look it too. (Although I suspect Converse traditionalists might just say "you've only just worn them in".)Perhaps it is time for a new pair. Because I can't be grown up and still wear Converse All-Stars, can I?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The kindness of (almost) strangers

Last week, there was a discussion on Ravelry about making bangles out of vintage plastic knitting sticks - which inspired much heating of knitting needles and bending them around jars by Zephyrama (and then Rachael)! I suggested to Zeph that she should sell them and that I (of course) would take one in red!

Lovely Zeph offered to send me one for free! A few days later, these arrived in the mail:
Accompanied by this - a rose red knitting/tote bag (which I've already used!).How cool are these bangles! I love them! I've worn them every day since I got them (one of my work colleagues thought they were circular knitting needles but couldn't figure out how you would knit with them!!)

I've said it before, and I'm sure I will say it again, knitters are the best people!

Friday, April 18, 2008


I'm pretty pleased with my efforts on the monthly goals lists in my sidebar. I've now finished my February goals! Heh, only 6 weeks late! But I'm doing well on March, and even April.

Including this little bit of lovely:
Pattern: Koolhaas by Jared Flood, Interweave Knits Holiday 2007 edition. A very popular pattern for good reason - it just looks so fantastic.
Yarn: Mmmmmmmalabrigo worsted in Sealing Wax, about 70g. What can I say - a fabulous yarn which deserves all the praise it gets. Yum.
Sticks: 4.5mm and 5.5mm KnitPicks Harmony Options - I went up a stick size from those recommended - I do wonder if I should have done this, as the hat is marginally large for me. Not ridiculously large, but it possibly could be a tad smaller. In the end, I think it's ok!
Time: 29 March - 6 April 2008
What I learnt: I re-learnt how to cable without a cable needle (using Grumperina's excellent tutorial). This is definitely a project where that is a good skill to have, particularly given that you cable on every 2nd row, with every 4th row being cabled the entire way around.
(why yes, I did take this picture of the top of my head. It only took me about 5 tries to get one of my head, not the wall of the house, the table, etc!) Love this hat!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

SHOESday: Gumbies for a Gumby

I never had a pair of gumboots when I was a kid. I was always jealous of kids who had gumbies.

Now I need be jealous no longer!
Check these out! How could I not buy these:Red! Knitting! Perfect!

And thought my husband scoffed that I would never wear them, so here's proof that I did:
Taking photos of the new plants in the garden on Sunday in torrential rain (which of course you can't see - but trust me, it was raining. Heavily). And in case you are wondering, my umbarella is red.... Yes, I know - hardly a surprise!

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Day in My Life: 14 April

Installment two of A Day in My Life: another standard day in the office...

Some ungodly hour: woken by Nelly meowing to go outside. Roll over and fortunately fall back to sleep.

6.15am: woken by the radio. Which fortunately has a snooze button, unlike Nelly.

6.22am: woken by the radio again. This time, I get up and have my shower. Today is hair washing day (every second day is hair washing day). After my shower, I decide what to wear, get dressed (after putting on a pair of pantyhose and discovering a huge hole and ladder just below the knee. Sigh and get out new pantyhose) and make sure I've got an umbrella. Wet weather for Sydney today.

7.15am: leave home. Read about the appointment of Australia's first female Governor-General and rejoice. Got a bit wrapped up in reading the paper so didn't finish the sudoku before I get to work.

7.50am: arrive at work, grab breakfast from the kitchen and check bloglines while I eat and have my coffee. See Little Jenny Wren's reminder about today being the 14th and think "d'oh" - knew I'd forgotten to diarise something!

10am: I have to give an induction presentation to new starters to my organisation. I haven't done this particular one before so spend a while beforehand familiarising myself with the content. All goes ok (I think!)

10.30am: my regular weekly catchup with my boss, where we discuss what work I'm doing, any questions I have, and what she is doing. Also discuss her renovations and how sore my legs are from doing the gardening yesterday! I knew there was another reason why I only garden about once a year! The agony today! I could barely walk (I know, I am pathetic!)

11am: Get back to my desk to discover this:
Hope you can read it - if not, it says: I saw these at the Surry Hills Festival on Saturday and thought of you. It contained this:
How perfect are these!! Red Shoe Girl badges! I totally love them. I'd like to frame them and put them on the wall in my house! I spend the next 15 minutes flashing them around to work colleagues and thank the mystery giver! They are modelled on sewing patterns and little girl dresses.

12.40pm: Hungry. Mainly the fault of a work colleague who is eating delicious smelling lasagne at her desk. Decide to have same for lunch - mmm comfort food, perfect for rainy grey weather. Fortunately get the second last serving from the food court.
Spend some time on Ravelry whilst eating, I'm on of the organisers for the most recent Australian Knitters swap, so have to check for questions and discuss the answers with the other organiser. I think this is going to be a bit of work. But that's ok, it's good to contribute, as the last two swaps have been really good.

2.40pm: Need to go to the newsagents to buy some envelopes for a work thing (non-standard sized ones) and also grab a bus ticket while I'm there. And my afternoon coffee on the way back to the office.

4pm: On a work phone call when a colleague (the one who gave me the Red Shoe Girls badges) throws a jellybean over the dividing wall between our desks and hits me on the head. Lucky the people I was on the phone to didn't mind! We get on very well!

5.45pm: Phone husby to see if he is leaving work early to pick me up. No. Which means I catch the bus. Shut down my computer and head out to the bus stop, which is right near my work. Fortunately it's not raining, as there isn't much shelter at the bus stop.

5.58pm: Get on bus, take out my knitting. Have to cast on the second CanAssist sock. Have never cast on on the bus before! I always try and do it at home. I also wonder what people think when they see someone knitting on the bus. I hope that it encourages someone to take up knitting!

(I'm not a very fast knitter!)

6.45pm: Arrive home. Change into pjs and peel and chop veges for dinner. We're having leftover BBQ chicken with mash and peas/corn - one of our recent favourites. Can't beat a good BBQ or roast chicken.

7pm: Watch Home & Away - my guilty secret. I only started watching again this year to see Sally leave (since I did watch it way back when it started...sigh, I am getting old!). And now I've been sucked into the Who Killed Sam? storyline. Honestly, once that's done, no more Home & Away!

7.30pm: Husby arrives home, I cook the mash and veges and we have dinner.

9pm: I make us both a cuppa. I have mine while watching Project Runway (fantastic show!) and knitting on the socks and he has his while doing some work in the front loungeroom. We both have a couple of Anzac biscuits, which I made yesterday afternoon - two dozen, and there's only about 5 left!!
9.45pm: I log onto the computer, check ravelry and then start this post. Nellie jumps on the back of the desk chair, and then climbs onto my lap. She's sitting there still. Once I post this (pictures take an age to load) I'll feed Nellie and be off to bed - about 11pm.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

And it's not even Spring!

I know that as we in the Southern Hemisphere move into Autumn that our posts are supposed to turn to thoughts of raking fallen leaves, knitting warm jumpers and rugging up in front of the fire/heater, but I don't mind bucking the trend from time to time.

So today, we gardened. We had to cut down the cordylines in front of our house as we had to have all the mortar redone in our brickwork (the enclosed balcony on the left front of the house is single brick - in some places you could see right through the gaps in the bricks into that room! Not good when I store yarn in there...). I hoped they would sprout again from the stumps, which they have, but they still look pretty ugly. So we thought we'd try and cover them up while they grow back.
And on the right front of our house, we had to cut out the hebes we'd planted originally as we let them get all leggy. Lucky we didn't replace them before we got the mortar done! (look how good it looks now!)
And we never did buy enough camellias for the camellia hedge on our neighbour's fence. So one more to go in there (after bulk weeding to get rid of the t. pallida - or what is commonly called "wandering jew" - I thought there was a new name for this weed, but couldn't find one on the internets).
We bought the plants yesterday so we could plant early this morning. Lucky, because about 5 minutes after we finished planting, it started raining - yay for lovely rain to soak the new plants! We put cuphea in front of the cordylines - easy to maintain, flowers pretty much all year round, and won't grow too high. You can't see them, but they've got hot pink teeny tiny flowers.
Replaced the hebes with new ones. Must remember to trim them after they finish flowering... . And put in a red standard rose for my dad, to go with the standard peace rose we planted for Husby's dad (you can just see it in the photo above and also in the first photo).
And the final camellia - hopefully it will spread nicely and in about 100 years (well, maybe 5 more) there'll be a nice camellia hedge along this fence. We still have to plant something in front of the camellias. Maybe I'll replant some of the agapanthus from the back yard. Of course, that's pretty much my gardening effort for the next 12 months. Not my favourite task I'm afraid. Especially when it involves weeding, which I did as well. Stupid onion weed. But yay for pretty plants which are low-maintenance and even grow flowers from time to time! Like our lovely tibouchina tree!
Answers to a couple of questions on the Rugz 4 Kidz blanket in my last post:
-there are a set number of knitters for each blanket - about 20 (although some have volunteered to do two strips!). So it's almost done, I think there are about 5 or 6 to go on this rug.
-I won't get to see the finished blanket in person, but there should be pictures posted on the blog.
-I didn't mention this, but along with the rug is a little book - each knitter writes something in the book, like a hope or a prayer, and the book will be given to the child along with the blanket.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Rugz 4 Kidz

Last year, I signed up for a charity knitting project - Rugz 4 Kidz - the idea is that a bunch of knitters each knit a 7cm stripe on a blanket, which will then be donated to charity for a child. The first knitter starts the blanket, does their 7cm (x 230 stitches, in 8ply yarn) and then sends it, still on the needle, to the next knitter, who does their 7cm, and so on.
The rug came to me in late March, and after finishing up my Bag Lady Swap knitting, and buying some machine washable 8ply yarn in a suitable colour (because, oddly, I have very little 8ply yarn in stash that isn't designated for a jumper or cardi - hmm, looks like a GAPING HOLE in my stashing strategy there, which I'll clearly have to remedy...heh!). I bought a couple of balls of Patons Totem from Wool Addiction at Bowral on my recent Sunday drive. Silver Grey for a contrast between the last stripe and mine, and the next stripe, and a raspberry pink (because that's about as pink as I get. Or dusty pink, but that wouldn't have worked as well in the scheme of the blanket).I choose the Chevron Eyelets stitch pattern from Jan Eaton's 200 Knitted Blocks, as I worked out that it had the right stitch and row repeat, and off I went. Surprisingly, it didn't take as long as I thought, for which I was most grateful.

Now just have to get a few little goodies together (lollies to nibble on whilst knitting, I think) for the next knitter and post it off.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

SHOESday: Something different

Going into the shoe department of any department store in Singapore is quite a sight! Shoes everywhere! Huge huge range of shoes in a very small area. Think of the whole floor of shoes in the David Jones Sydney store (what would that be, maybe half a football field?), halve it (in terms of number of shoes) and then put all those shoes into an area the size of, say, a netball or basketball court. Or maybe half a court. That's a lot of shoes in a very small space.

So it's a bit overwhelming. And I have to say, there are quite a few fairly ordinary shoes. And ugly shoes. But there are definitely some gems as well.
Of course, I was attracted to these by this:Red criss-cross feature and red sole. How could I not buy them?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Keeping track

Yes, that time of the month again - stash honesty time...eep, I had a shocker this month (well, on the acquisition side - but it's all top stuff so good from that perspective!):
-the cone of Belisa cashmere from the Show
-the bag of alpacky from Berrima
-the gift yarn from Tink with my bag lady swap goodies
-the gift mmmmmalabrigo from Bells for our anniversary

All of which totals up to 17 x 50g balls!!

And not much better on the out side - because I had to buy yarn for a couple of the projects for my swap partner, and because of the sock frogging calamity, I only ended up using 5.75 x 50g balls of stash yarn.

So it's a big +11.25 balls for this month. Oof.
Year to date: +32.75. Double oof. Or oof oof. And that's only 3 months worth...sigh.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Bag Lady

To wrap up my posts on the Bag Lady swap, here are the other two knitted bags I made for my swap partner Vanessa, to go along with Wednesday.

As Vanessa doesn't carry much stuff around with her day to day (having 3 kids to wrangle doesn't leave your hands free for much!) and she wears denim a lot, I thought a small bag with an over the body strap would be the most useful - and what better to make it of than Rowan Denim!
Pattern: I love the "Friends Activity" tab in Ravelry - so many people were very helpfully queuing bag patterns...and I found this one through that. It's the Best Friends pattern by Kristen Goedert from Knitty Winter 2005. I modified it by adding a garter stitch edging and not using a bag frame for the top and handle. I lined it and used D rings to attach the fabric strap, and used a press stud for the closure (oh I wish I'd found a magnetic one though!)

I also made the strap adjustable - one of the buttons is just sewn on, the other actually works!
So if you undo the button, you can pull the strap through the D-ring, and then button it onto the other (sewn on only) button, to make the strap a lot shorter - if you wanted to put it over your shoulder instead.Yarn: 1.5 x 50g balls of Rowan Denim in shade 229 (lot 1E4)
Sticks: KnitPicks Harmony Options, 4mm
Time: 22 February 2008 - 26 March 2008 - actually much quicker to knit than this, it was just the finishing and sewing in the lining etc that took the time - because I was procrastinating!What I learnt: Try to get the lining to be the exact same size as the bag (only a fraction smaller) - otherwise you have to ease in the bag while sewing in the lining, and that's a bit of a pain - trust me on this!

The second bag was a market/string bag - good for shopping, or holding yarn, or for having a spare bag in the car, or whatever!
Pattern: I used a combination of Amy Singer's Everlasting Bagstopper from Knitty Summer 2007, and a freebie from Plymouth yarns' website, Plymouth Yarn Fantasy Naturale Market Bag - I gave the bag a square base, rather than rectangular (as in Amy's pattern) and I used the lacework pattern from the Plymouth bag as it was less open (and I figured less likely for stuff to fall out!).

Yarn: Spotlight generic 8ply cotton in col 5055 spring green (or "green bag green" as I was thinking when I bought it) - 3x50g balls - exactly - I think I had about 2m of yarn left over when I cast off!

Sticks: KnitPicks Harmony Options 4mm, 6mm and 7mm (love love love the options and being able to change tips! Very handy for a project like this)
What I learnt: a bag like this takes longer than you think it will - but not really that long! I'd possibly make the handles a bit longer next time - it's hard to know, as the bag will likely stretch, so you don't want the handles that long that you have to put them over your shoulder, but equally you want them long enough so that you can if you want to!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

She's creepy and she's spooky

Ladeeez and Gennelmen! It is my absolute pleasure to introduce Ms Wednesday Addams! And don't let me forget her pet spider, Homer!
(thunderous applause from the stands...or at least from me! I can't help but say that I loved making Wednesday and most especially her clothes - so addictive!!!)

So I cannot resist flashing a few of Wednesday's outfits. You can see the rest on flickr. I made Wednesday, along with a few other things which I'll blog later this week, for the Ravelry Australian Knitters Bag Lady Swap. My pal, who lives in Darwin and has a 7yo daughter and twin 2 yo boys, posted that she loves Wednesday Addams. And so I got this crazy idea that I'd make her very own Wednesday, that she might even just share with her daughter!


Pattern: Knitted Babes by Claire Garland. Both for the doll and for most of the outfits (except the Wednesday dress and the denim skirt, which I "designed" (iemade up)). I made lots of modifications to the patterns, mainly to knit them in the round where possible, rather than flat. Even the doll body is knitted flat in the book, which seemed crazy to me (the only reason it makes sense is that it makes it easier to sew on the facial features, but even so, it wasn't that hard to do it after knitting in the round). For the arms and legs I did i-cord (my first time!) rather than knitting them flat (they are supposed to be done in stocking stitch, so they curl in anyway - why not use i-cord?) The gauge of the patterns seemed to be totally off as well, so I made the doll body first, and then made the clothes to fit.
Yarn: For the doll body, Rowan 4ply cotton. For the Wednesday dress, Rowan Cotton Glace. For the denim skirt, Rowan denim. For everything else, I used a bag of 4ply cottons given to me by Shazmina Bendi before her departure for colder climes! The clothes are a great way of using up scraps of leftover yarns!Sticks: For the doll, 3mm dpns. For the clothes, I ranged from 2.5mm sticks (leotard, undies, cream top) to 2.75mm dpns, 3mm dpns, 3.25mm dpns/sticks (party dress), and 4mm dpns (denim skirt, Wednesday dress). I also used a 2.5mm crochet hook for her bag and shoes (mary-janes, ballet slippers and slides)Time: I started Wednesday on 3 March 2008 and finished the last of her clothes the night before I posted out the package, 26 March 2008.

What I learnt: Making doll clothes is the best fun ever! And that a wrap-top for a doll has just as many ends to weave in as an adult garment!! Gurk! I hope you love Wednesday. A couple of my work colleagues didn't want me to post her off as they wanted to keep her for themselves. Maybe, if they are good, I might make another one so we can play dress-ups at work. Except I'll make lots more red clothes and far fewer pink ones!!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

SHOESday: Red Red Red RED!

Not sure if anyone's noticed, but my last 3 posts have been very red. Now I know that's not particularly surprising, but it did strike even me as a lot of red! I figured I may as well continue the red with today's shoes.Mmmm, red patent leather slingback wedges. Each element perfect.Love the wedge - not the usual wedge shape in that it doesn't widen as it approaches the sole but stays narrow - and extremely supportive - you know, I think wedge heels are the most comfortable heels you can wear. And to think I was quite anti-wedge when they first began to appear back into fashion. Silly silly me!I love the small peep toe (doesn't flash all those toes, just a discreet big and second toe) and the well-constructed slingback - unlike many slingbacks I've worn, these don't slip down my heel at all. Love these shoes.