Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A slew of FO's

This week, I've decided, is all about the FO. Partly because I have finished a couple of things, and also because I remembered I haven't posted these socks yet - so here we go - get ready for a big one later this week (I'm pretty excited about it!)
Pattern: Hedera by Cookie A, a freebie on Knitty - I decided to do this pattern in preparation for the release of Cookie A's new sock book (which I had pre-ordered on Amazon). I think it works quite nicely with a semi-solid or lightly variegated yarn. I didn't love the pattern at first, but I soon got into the swing of it. And when I finished them, I tried them on before blocking and I didn't want to take them off!
Yarn: Sundara sock yarn in Grey over Rose, a lovely generous gift from some MadMad person! My only ever Sundara sock yarn - really nice to knit with, quite similar to Koigu in the way it is twisted I thought. Very soft and lovely, a joy to knit with.
Sticks: 2.75mm KP Harmony magic loop. I went up a stick size as Cookie A patterns are quite small (I think) - for me, 60 stitches on 2.5mm sticks are for people with legs a whole lot thinner than anyone I know!! Especially with the twisted rib, which I love the look of, but which does make it a bit less stretchy.
Time: 13 February 2009 - 29 March 2009
Modifications: I made the heel flap about 8 rows shorter than suggested - unless I was reading the pattern wrong, it asked for a 46 row heel flap, which seemed way too long for me. I think I did 38 rows. I also continued the twisted stitch on either side of the top of the foot pattern, all the way down to the toe shaping.
What I learnt: Interestingly, I really noticed in these socks that a YO between knit and a purl stitch (where the pencil is pointing below) tend to be a lot larger than a YO between two knit stitches. At the same time as I was knitting these, I happened to see an episode of Knitty Gritty featuring Cookie A (knitting a different pattern) and she talked about this very issue!
To avoid it, she suggested not doing the YO when it is between the knit and purl stitch, but rather, doing a lifted bar m1 on the next row, where the YO should be. It still makes a hole, but of a similar size to a regular YO between knit stitches. As I'd already half done the socks, I didn't do it this way, except for one time when I forgot the YO, and so did a m1 next row - and she is right (but of course!) - it does look more even! So a nice little tip, if you care about the relative size of your YOs!
I'm really so very happy with how these socks turned out - very special socks indeed!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Over already?

I can't believe Knitting Camp is over sad! Even though I took my camera, I didn't take a single photo - lucky there are plenty on the internets already, since her, and her, and her, and her, and her, have posted about camp with pictures and all. It was so great to knit all weekend with them, everyone else from the 'Gong, as well as her, her, her, her, and her. Oh, and Lee!

Some of you might remember that I started these at knitting camp last year - my first fair isle. I had put this project aside over the summer, but I thought it was time to finish them - a nice way to bookend this project and the last 12 months (well, 10, since camp was in June last year).

So I've been knitting away on the second mitt this past week, to get it almost done by the weekend. And I didn't quite get it finished at camp (in order to cast off with a flourish!), but did on the way home in the car - phew!
Pattern: Endpaper Mitts by Eunny Jang - described by many on Ravelry as the perfect first fair isle project - and I agree! Small, only two colours, in the round, relatively easy pattern. Fabulous!

Yarn: Rowan True Botany 4ply. About 30g of col 584 (browny purple) and 20g of col 573H (pale lime green). I love these two colours together!
Sticks: 2.25mm and 3mm KP Harmony dpns - nice choice of needles for this pattern - slippery but not too much, nice and light so they don't pull on the fabric.

Time: 28 June 2008 - 26 April 2009 (although I finished the first one a fair while ago, and only started the second one on 18 April this year!)
What I learnt: Wow - lots! I didn't do the tubular cast on for the pattern, but did do tubular cast-off - pretty fiddly, but looks quite good and is nice and stretchy. Although my finishing on the last stitch was not as good as I'd like.
Oh yeah, and fair isle! I didn't think I'd ever do colourwork knitting and look at me! I haven't mastered two handed colourwork though, but I manage ok.
What's that, you say, the mitts aren't the same?! Yes! I decided I'd try the second mitt in the reverse. I'm interested to hear your thoughts on which you like best, because I am keen to start another fair isle project at some stage. I know there is meant to be a dominant colour in fair isle, but to be honest, I'm not sure which is which, in both of these mitts. Tell me what you think!

Overall, I'm loving myself sick with these babies! But I wish there could be knitting camp every month, not just every year!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lest we forget

Today is Anzac Day - our national day to commemorate those who served and fell in wars across the world.

And since I've been inspired by Amy and others posting poems for (US) National Poetry Month, I thought I'd share this one, by Australian poet Kenneth Slessor, written during WWII.

Beach Burial

Softly and humbly to the Gulf of Arabs
The convoys of dead sailors come;
At night they sway and wander in the waters far under,
But morning rolls them in the foam.

Between the sob and clubbing of gunfire
Someone, it seems, has time for this,
To pluck them from the shallows and bury them in burrows
And tread the sand upon their nakedness;

And each cross, the driven stake of tidewood,
Bears the last signature of men,
Written with such perplexity, with such bewildered pity,
The words choke as they begin -

"Unknown seaman" - the ghostly pencil
Wavers and fades, the purple drips,
The breath of wet season has washed their inscriptions
As blue as drowned men's lips,

Dead seamen, gone in search of the same landfall,
Whether as ememies they fought,
Or fought with us, or neither; the sand joins them together,
Enlisted on the other front.

El Alamein

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sleepy Sarah

A quick, cute little project I whipped up this week for one of my friends from my (former) work, the lovely Lady Sarah.

Pattern: Sleepy Sarah by Mia Zamora Johnson (Owlishly) - free pattern via Ravelry - I had to make this one for Lady S, since it is named after her!!

Yarn: One of things I love about crochet amigurumi is that they are great for using up leftover yarns (oh, and the other thing is how quick it is to do - weeeeeeeeeeee!) For this one I used Heirloom EasyCare 8ply (purple) and Cleckheaton Machinewash 8ply (I think, since I've lost the label) for the face. The other good thing about these patterns is that you can use any size yarn - the designer used worsted, I used 8ply/DK, but you could easily use 4ply/fingering. She'd just end up a bit smaller than the 6"/15cm that 8ply gives you.

Hook: 4mm hook

Time: One day only - 22 April 2009

What I learnt: I learnt a couple of things on this little project - how to do an adjustable ring to start (a bit like Emily Ocker's cast on for knitting in the round). Very clever method. I also learnt it is a lot easier to sew on the face features before you stuff and sew the head to the body (d'oh!). And I learnt how to chain stitch - a very neat method for hiding the colour changes between her hat and her face.

And best of all, Lady Sarah loved her!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Just in case you were wondering...

Just in case you were wondering, this:
(between the needles) is how much knitting you can do on a sock whilst waiting in the Emergency room at the hospital after your husband has had a spill off his pushbike.

And this is the outcome:
Plaster from the upper arm to the wrist, to treat a fractured radius (I think) up near the elbow. With any luck, he won't have to have the plaster for the next 6 weeks. Hopefully it will be off sooner. We'll find out later this week...

Friday, April 17, 2009


This month the Australian federal government is sending most Australian taxpayers a payment of up to $900 to "stimulate" the economy. There's been lots of advertisements for holidays and furniture and so on costing around the $900 mark. And lots of discussion in various Australian groups on Ravelry about what we're all planning on spending our stimulus money on. Not surprisingly, most of the discussion centres around yarn...

Me, even though I haven't received it yet, I've already started the spending. Except it's not exactly in Australia. Hey, I figure we're in a global economy, so there's nothing wrong with helping the US economy by way of the UK economy, is there? (Thanks Kylie!!)

Hence, this little gem:

Unwillingly, although fetchingly, modelled by Nelly. At one point she looked at me, as only a disdainful cat can, as if to say "what are you doing, you stupid human?"
I'm sure I heard her harrumph before she went back to sleep.

Anyhoo, 218 yards of softy precious burgundy goodness. I've already started to knit it up:

Lace but not lacy. Perfect for this yarn, I think. The only question is, should I block it? I quite like the textured, unblocked look so far.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, I think the qiviuk might just be a scootch softer than the cat!!! (I think I just heard another harrumph in the background).

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What I did on the weekend

So I managed to finish a pair of socks for husby on the weekend:

What's that you say? "Not a pair?" Well, ok, if you must be pedantic about it, they aren't a matching pair. But I did finish them both on the weekend! I guess I'll make the second one of each of them, if you insist!

I'm pretty darn happy with them though. The stripey plain one is done toe up in Regia Kaffe Fassett yarn (Landscape Fire colour) - there's perhaps a bit too much brown, and the blue and green stripes don't pop quite as much in real life, but they are very cool socks. Very surprised (but happy) when husby chose this particular yarn, as he had the option of a few different ones.

And the Buried Treasure sock - love it! I thought it would be very slow going (there's cables on every second row!) but I put in a good solid effort when I was visiting my mum, and got the leg done (92 stitches around, the leg is!) and so the foot (only 72 stitches) positively flew in comparison!

The only problem is I am not going to have enough yarn! All those cables really chew up the yarn, and even though the STR lightweight is a fairly generous skein, I will be about 10g short.
So I'm putting a call out here, anyone with 10g of STR lightweight in Beryl, please let me know if you would be prepared to part with it - I can pay, swap yarn or send chocolate! I'll also do the same on Rav, and hopefully I'll come up with some...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Day in My Life: Tuesday 14 April 2009

The 14th of the month has rolled around again - that means it's a month since I finished work. My how time flies. Especially when I'm sleeping - I didn't wake up this morning until 9.30am! Obviously making up sleep time from yesterday, when I was up at 5.30am (nothing more exciting than because I couldn't sleep...)

So a slow start to the day, but since it was a lovely sunny one, I put on a load of washing - line dried sheets are the best!

There's a little bit going on in the garden right now - this lovely little violet - which became obvious after we'd weeded the garden bed on the weekend.

And isn't this the most perfect gardenia? It's the only one on the bushes right now - don't know if it is a late bloom or an early one!
I'd love to have it in a vase inside but I know it would only wither and go yellow within in a day so I've left it on the bush to admire from my kitchen window.

Wrote my daily to do list then sat down to have a quick look at emails and blogs and about an hour later (sigh - where does the time go?) thought it was time for breakfast!! I'm going to have to limit my computer time every day, because I get sucked into Ravelry or whatever and find I get nothing done during the day.

Tidied up around the house, showered, got the mail in, emailed my former boss about catching up for lunch soon, and then decided it was time for my own lunch. I wasn't very hungry, and I'd been reminded about apples and peanut butter recently from some blog or other - I've never had it, but have wanted to since the West Wing episode where all the schoolkids are locked in to the White House because of some security scare and it's kind of a running joke.
So I was a bit hesitant about trying it - do I dip the apple in the PB, or do I spread the PB on the apple? I opted for the spread, and after the first bite I wasn't sure, so figured I should try it again. And before I knew it, this happened:

Hmmm, I quite like apples and peanut butter.

My mum phoned about our trip to Tasmania - checked the flights and found some on sale and booked them quicksmart - so we'll be winging our way down there in May. It's for her birthday, she wants to visit a few friends down there - and I hope I'll be able to do that too!

Time for coffee, and a leftover Easter Nest (you can read about those here, if you haven't already!). The final season of Buffy is on foxtel, and look, here's lovely Giles in his drizabone. It's funny that I have all of the Buffy episodes on DVD, but I still watch them on foxtel, with ads and all.
Husby got home early tonight, as I was ironing his work shirts - when he first started working, he would only wear white shirts, and the occasional blue one. I tried and tried to get him to buy some coloured or patterned shirts but he wouldn't go for it. Until we went to New York a couple of years ago, and he bought 5 (yes FIVE) coloured and/or patterned shirts! Not the most out there ones, but really nice shirts. I was so happy, and he loves wearing them - now he leaves the white and blue ones until last. Of course, they are starting to look a bit worse for wear around the cuffs and collars, so we'll have to get some more.
(The green checked on is my favourite - I know it looks a bit gingham in the pic, but it's not!)

It's been a week since I did the grocery shopping, so the fridge is a bit empty. Decided to make pizza for dinner - I'm quite pleased with this recipe, which makes it, base and all, from scratch. Yum! We ate the whole thing between us, with a nice glass of wine...or two.
Ended the evening with some knitting, some tv, and of course blogging this. Hope you all have had a great Tuesday (or have a great one ahead of you, if you are reading this in the morning!)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Scones, woodchopping and clowns: It must be showtime!

Husby and I went to the Sydney Royal Easter Show yesterday - a good, but oh so tiring day. So many people! Gah! But has to be done, especially if I want to see the knitting and crochet, and have these:

Mmmmm, CWA scones, fresh and hot straight from the oven, delivered to the counter wrapped in a teatowel (but of course!). This was the first thing we did when we arrived, after collecting Kylie on the way to the tearooms. Very good way to start the day.

Then off to the knitting and crochet. I really do think the work displayed this year was better than last year - not necessarily better quality knitting, but I thought there was a larger number of modern garments, and more quality yarns used.

There seemed to be more lace, and not all the baby jackets were pastels!

But of course the way the garments and items were displayed was atrocious - mostly suspended from the ceiling using fishing wire and paper clips.

This champion cobweb (1ply) lace wedding shawl was suspended using 3 paperclips. Oh my. I'm amazed the knitting holds up - at least it proves how strong a fabric knitting produces!

Nor does it display the lace, in particular, to its full advantage - glorious lace scrunched up and the patterning barely visible. Such a shame given the work that goes into them.

We watched a lot of woodchopping as well - I do love the axemen. It's not their fine phsysiques (because they mostly don't have them!!), but it's more to do with the white trousers and dunlop volley tennis shoes, and the handicap system (the more experienced guys start well after the others, and quite often catch up and overtake them!), and the skill involved.

And that the older guys are often far better than the youngsters - one of the few physical sports where this is the case. (sorry about the mosaic being cut off - no idea why this happens or how to fix it. Sigh...)

And we ended up looking at the district displays - these are made by representatives of each of 5 districts in NSW (and SE Qld), using pretty much entirely fruit and vegetables, and other regional produce like fleeces, seeds and grains, preserved fruits and wines and oils.

This one was my favourite - a fish, made of apples! And the waves were either (or both) fleece and cotton! Very cool!

More pictures of everything in my Easter Show flickr set, if you are interested.

We got home very tired and collapsed on the lounge - didn't even get any knitting done! But I have managed, now, finally, to catch up on all my blogreading from being away last week!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

It's that time of the month again

And I'm going to mix it up a bit this month.

In: 40 x 50g skeins (!!)

Out: 19 x 50g skeins

And no, that "In" amount is not an April Fool's Joke!! OMG! And the "Out" amount only looks respectable because I gave 11 skeins of yarn away this month, some to a good buddy to make a beret, and the rest to the blankets of friendship project - so a good deed and a stashbuster (does it make my good deed less good because of the dual motivation?!)

YTD: 44.5 x 50g balls - yep, almost doubled my YTD figure in one month. And no, that's not an April Fool's joke either!!

So what additions this month?

Hmmm, I did go a bit crazy during a Wollmeise update that I managed to catch by complete accident. I couldn't help myself.

I couldn't pass up her new semi-solid sock yarns in this gorgeous gorgeous red, now could I? Although, I could have bought even more (!!) but didn't. So I do have some restraint! (did that sound convincing?!).

And some Patonyle in the new red - because you can never have too many red yarns, can you? And it's such a nice red too.

And darn Cassidy's having a sale on their Rowan. Darn them, they led me astray!!

But I don't regret it, no I don't!

I just need to knit a bit more. You'd think I would, now being a lady of leisure, but I'm finding it's not working that way - this housework stuff takes a lot of time, when you have time to do it properly. And gee, homemade bread from scratch tastes good. And homemade biscuits. And cooking extra food for husby while I'm going to be away for the next few days (with no internet access - sob!). And as for the rest of it...well, I'm going to have to force myself to take time out from the computer, because I've got so many knitting plans...