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...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Day in My Life: Friday 14 November

I'm a day late with the day in my life - yesterday (and today) I was attending a work conference, with a dinner last night as well, so no time to post, until now. And no pictures either, sorry!

I'd like to start by noting 14 November is the birthday of Bells' husby, Sean - Happy Birthday! And also of Prince Charles. You know, I do not know why I can remember that the 14th of November is Prince Charles' birthday - it is one of those things that I seem to have always known!

As is usual on a workday, got up around 6.15am, showered, dressed and went to work. The conference started at 9.30am (it was held in-house) so had some time beforehand for breakfast, coffee and some blogreading, as well as some work.

All members of the team I work in from around the country were attending the conference - about 40 people all up. Even though lunch was provided I had to escape and buy some lunch and eat at my desk just to get away from the crowd - I find having to be sociable ALL the time very draining - as an introvert I needed to have a little quiet time.

We finished at around 5pm and dinner was at 7pm, so the Sydney based people headed to the pub for a drink, and then headed off for dinner, to a good restaurant in the Rocks. Set seating - ugh! more enforced socialising was my first response - but which was actually very good! I really must try to look at things more positively. We had a lot of fun at dinner, and avoided talking about work stuff as much as possible. I left at around 10pm, taxi home and to bed, very tired and stuffed full of information.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lovely things, lucky me!

So many lovely gifts for my birthday this year - thought I might flash a few - as well as the Australian Swappers Red swap (Ravelry) package which also arrived on my birthday - such good timing, swap pal!
Lots of lovely red goodies!
My mum embroidered this linen tea towel for me.
My workbuddy Sarah gave me this fab-o RoseRed ring! How cool is this!
Mmmmmm chocolates, silly dvds, yarny goodness, wish tickets (very cool!) and other lovely stuff.
From wonderful Bells - Knit So Fine, more yarny goodness (mmmm chocolate malabrigo sock yarn), tea and other good stuff.
And this fabulous card from Snoozen - look - those are all my shoes! It's amazing seeing them all together.

So lucky I was this year. Lots of things to be happy about, which is not always easy to remember, but which I've been reminded of lately.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

SHOESday: Confessions

I have a confession to make.

Remember how I bought new shoes last week?

Well, I might have bought two pairs...
In my defence, this pair was for husby to give to me for my birthday. And how could I leave these behind - look at that cool cut-out in the wedge heel!!And I have no tan summer shoes! So clearly I needed these - which are, again, surprisingly comfortable!

I do love me a wedge shoe. And a woman has to have new shoes for her birthday. It's one of The Rules!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Miss F's Fabulous Forties

Since the gift has now been gifted, I can tell you all about Miss F's Fabulous Forties scarf.
I've gotten into the habit of knitting gifts for a bunch of friends turning 40 and at the start of October I remembered that Miss F was one of the soon-to-be-4o crowd. Gah! Since her birthday is this week (but her party was yesterday) I had to get a move on! I thought a lace scarf would be do-able in a month (and fits in with the Long Lacy Summer) and since Miss F is a bit sensitive to wool, I decided on lovely Handmaiden Seasilk. And when I found a colour called Topaz, which just happens to be the birthstone for November, I figured it was perfect!

Pattern: Andrea Reversible Lace Scarf - from the Knitting Pattern a Day calendar for 2008 (one of the few decent patterns!!). I made the scarf 3 pattern repeats wide, plus 6 garter stitches on either side - so 48 stitches all up.

Yarn: Handmaiden Seasilk - 1 x 100g skein in Topaz

Sticks: 3.5mm KnitPicks Harmony Options

Time: October 8 2008 - November 5 2008 - pretty good effort I thought!
What I learnt: Seasilk grows a lot on blocking! Pre-blocked, the scarf was 143cm/56" long by 14cm/5.5" wide. Post-blocking it was 175.5cm/69" by 22cm/8.75". Wow! I did block it pretty severely but I'm so pleased with how it turned out.

And I think Miss F is too!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

SHOESday: Flatforms!

It's been a while, you know, since I bought new shoes. I decided to rectify that yesterday.

These are the result:
They are so extremely comfortable!

And perfect to elongate a short-ish person without having to wear high heels.
They are basically flat shoes with a platform - or, as I prefer to call them - flatforms! (yep, I totally think I'm SO CLEVER for that one!)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Keeping Track - October 2008

I had high hopes that October would be a good month for the stash. Well, I guess it depends on whether it's "good" for the stash to grow, or to shrink! Yeah, it grew. Sigh. Most of the additions are for knits for others, that's the best excuse I have!

Not this pretty though.
(STR Mediumweight in Jubilation). Or these pretties:
I have at least started to use the Cleckheaton Bamboo though:
It's Kathy Merrick's Boteh Scarf from Interweave Crochet, Spring 2007.

In: 37 x 50g balls
Out: 8 x 50g balls

YTD: 135.5 x 50g balls

As for my November goals, I'm going to focus on finishing the goals from October that weren't done, and maybe, just maybe, I'll do NaKniSweMo (National Knit a Sweater Month - yes, it's American - so in my case, it'll be a cardigan - I think...)