Friday, May 28, 2010

I never promised you a rose garden

Well, husby never did promise me a rose garden, but we got one (albeit a small one) when we bought our new house the year before last.

But it was in a sad state of affairs, our little circle of roses. Only one of the bushes really flowered (surprisingly profusely, given it hadn't really been well looked after) and a couple were close to, if not already, dead.
Until a month or so ago, when my mum suggested we replace the past-it roses with nice new ones. It seemed like a good idea at the time. So off to the nursery we headed, and bought 5 nice new bushes, each a different variety and colour (red, white, yellow, pink and yellow/pink) (there's a gap still for one more rose variety, which the nursery didn't have at the time). We pulled out the old dead bushes (leaving the tallest one, that still flowered well) and dug out the grass from the circle. And put a sandstone edging around the circle, using old stones that had been lying around the house. And put down weedmat and bark mulch. And a few small gardenias to act as groundcover below the roses. It was hard digging, especially with the fading light and approaching cold.
Of course, when I say "we", I mean husby and my mum, who worked darn hard to do all this (that chair in the "before" picture was my perch, supervising the workers!) I think we did a pretty good job!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A finished object!

So we've been home from hospital for a week today (OMG a week today! Hasn't that flown!) and I have actually managed to do a wee bit of knitting. Not much mind, only about 10 rows, but enough to finish my qiviuk scarf. Which I'm counting as a win!
You probably won't recall (as it was over a year ago) but DrK picked up a teeny tiny ball of qiviuk yarn for me when she was in the UK - only 28g but a very nice 218yd/199m of laceweight softness. I decided on this scarf as the best way to use it, and now that it's done, I need some advice (which I'll get to shortly!)

Pattern: Scroll lace stitch pattern - which is the same as that used in Anne Hanson's Alhambra scarf - but which can be found free on the internet (here, for example). I really like this pattern, although it is lace on both sides (with a p2tog tbl thrown in just for extra "fun"!).
Yarn: Windy Valley Muskox Qiviuk, colour 3005 burgundy - a reddish brown ball of softy soft softness. I managed to get just over a metre of scarf out of the 28g of yarn, which is a nice length for the mild winters we get here. And oh my, it is lush stuff. Have I mentioned how soft it is?
Sticks: 4mm bamboo straights - old school!

Time: 12 April 2009 - 19 May 2010 - I don't know why, but after leaving this for ages, I suddenly picked it up again a few weeks ago and worked on reasonably solidly. And if I hadn't gone into labour two Saturdays ago, it would have been done then! Not that I've needed to wear it in the last two weeks anyway!
My question is, do I block or not? I really like the textural look of the stitch pattern (both front and back) as is, but I do wonder if the already soft yarn will become even softer with a wash. And will it look nicer with the pattern blocked out too? I've pinned it out to give you an idea of how it would look:
Tell me dear blog friends, what do you think? Block or no?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ambitious, much?

So this was the knitting I took with me to hospital last week:
All carefully thought out projects - nice easy stocking stitch or garter stitch, none requiring much concentration - from the top - husby's Retrofit cardi - one sleeve done, and plenty of yarn to start (and finish) the second sleeve; then at bottom right, a Baktus scarf, using the same yarn as my Happy socks; then bottom left Cascade Heritage sock yarn for simple stocking stitch socks.

And here's my progress while in hospital:
Yes, the observant - or even the most unobservant - amongst you will notice that it is in fact the same photo! I did not knit a stitch in my 4.5 days/5 nights in hospital. I thought about it once or twice, and I had at least one project beside me within arm's reach at all times, but I did none!

Yes, I probably was a bit ambitious. But I figured if I took none, I'd miss it.
Thanks so much to you all for the lovely comments (and emails and texts and gifts) on Connor's arrival - it was so lovely to read all of them from hospital, many during the night feeds (thank goodness for netbooks and mobile internet access etc).

Coming home was surreal - same familiar environment but everything so different! But we've settled in very well so far. On the plus side, he is an excellent sleeper and feeder (so far...touch wood!) and on the down side, he is also an excellent explosive poo-er and wee fountain (although at least I know his internal systems are working!) (and I've also become a lot quicker at getting a cloth over his bits while I grab a new nappy!).

A couple more gifts which gave me a giggle, not because they are funny, they are just lovely - but the giggle came because not only:
are they the same lovely garment, but they were also made by knitting blog friends both named Kylie!! (DrK's version on the left, KGirl's on the right!) Great minds! And so thoughtfully made in different sizes too! Thanks Kylies!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Welcome to the world, baby boy!

Introducing Connor James (sorry about the crappy webcam photo!), born 11.15pm Saturday 8 May 2010. Weighing in at 8lb6oz (yes, despite Australia using the most excellent metric system (tee hee), most people still refer to babies in pounds and ounces - but for those who don't, 3.81kg) and measuring 51.5cm, Connor arrived via c-section, because despite the contractions, he stubbornly refused to engage - living up to one of the "meanings" of his name - strong-willed! Wonder where he gets that from...

Friday, May 07, 2010


After what seems like an age, I finally have another pair of finished socks! Although not Personal Sock Club socks, I'm afraid. I have seriously dropped the ball on that idea!
Pattern: Generic stocking stitch toe up sock, using Judy's Magic Cast on and Wendy's toe up gusset heel flap instructions for the heel, and a sewn bind off (after earlier trying to be clever and failing with a tubular bind off - and you all know how that turned out!).
Yarn: Wendy Happy, a 75/25 bamboo/nylon sock yarn, in colour 2502 Gemini. I picked this up in Tasmania last year, to match these shoes:
Pretty happy with these!

Sticks: I knit these at a tighter gauge than usual, as I was a bit worried the bamboo might stretch - so 64 stitches on a 2.25mm KnitPicks 80cm circular (normally I'd do a 64 stitch sock on 2.5mm at least). And they fit great! Hope they'll hold up with washing and wearing.
Time: Oh my...I just checked and I started these on 21 May last year!! I didn't realise it was quite that long!! That's what happens when you keep a project for commuting and rarely commute! I finished them on 10 April - so not quite a whole year...
One of these things is not quite like the other one!

I actually didn't intend to make the stripes match between the socks, but as it turns out, with the exception of the toes, they did! Totally on accident! I did the sock with the orange toe first - and there was a knot in the first grey section - obviously, the first bit reversed the colours. But I can still hardly believe that the second sock matched the first so well. I'd never have achieved that if I'd actually tried!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Cook from a Book challenge #6

I have a small confession to make - this is not actually from a book I own - I found the recipe in the paper a couple of weeks ago - it's an extract from a new book which is called Recipes My Mother Cooked.

I thought it sounded easy and yum. And I had a friend coming over for lunch, and I happened to have a couple of sheets of puff pastry in the freezer, so the ideal time to make it!

Egg and Bacon Pie:
(Check out the puffiness of that puff pastry!) It was delicious! I downsized the recipe - which uses 10 eggs (plus one for the pastry glue!), because I don't have a pie dish big enough to hold a 10 egg pie! But it was still plenty for 6 servings, which meant leftovers the next day! Woo hoo!
Very very easy to make as well. And could easily be tarted up with the addition of other ingredients too I think. Peas or corn, capsicum, maybe tomato, perhaps some grated cheese.

And can be eaten hot or cold. Very versatile!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Keeping Track - April 2010

Obviously last month (with NO incoming stash) was such a shock to the system that I had to make up for it this month. With this:
and this:
(although the latter, Fleece Artist Somoko, was the last shipment of a year long sock club, thanks to Knitting Inspirations!).

The Cascade220 is for a zipper cardi for husby - I have been promising him one for a while - and since the Webs sale is on (and still is - until the end of May!), I went for it. Except of course, now that he knows I've got the yarn, he wants the cardi immediately!
So I've even swatched. And am about to cast on the first piece. Lucky husby! (although I make no promises about when it will be finished!)

In: 18 x 50g balls
Out: 7.5 x 50g balls
YTD: +22 x 50g balls - giving a monthly average of 5.5 x 50g balls. So still not toooo bad!