Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fit for a (royal) wedding?

I do love to wear a hat to a wedding.  It's a dying tradition in Australia (perhaps everywhere) but I have done my bit to keep it alive.  There's just something about a hat that makes an outfit special.  I suppose it's partly because it's so rare to see them at weddings any more, that's what makes you stand out!

I'm seriously considering wearing a hat on Friday as I watch the royal wedding on tv ... I watched Charles and Diana, and Andrew and Sarah, and Edward and Sophie, and even Charles and Camilla.  I will totally be watching William and Kate!  I'm not a monarchist by any means, but there's just something about a royal wedding which totally appeals.  It's probably the frocks.  And the hats.  I'm sure it's the hats!

I made this one a while back, but didn't get a photo shoot for ages, and then I sort of forgot to blog it, until now!  Thanks to my friend Miss J for modelling so fetchingly for me!

Pattern:  Modest Cloche by Jennifer Hansen.  I have long admired this pattern, I do love a cloche hat, and there was just something about this one, perhaps it's the flower, perhaps it's the angle of the project photograph, I don't know.  But I was glad to be able to finally make it!

Yarn:  Silky Merino by Malabrigo, 2 skeins in grey green (a lovely birthday gift from Bells).  This was actually not quite enough - I didn't have enough to do a full flower, so only managed a small one (which also curls somewhat annoyingly), but I think it's ok.  If you did the flower in a different yarn or colour, 2 skeins would definitely be enough!  This is a gorgeous yarn, especially nice to crochet with.

Hook:  2.25mm hook - the pattern suggests a 2.75mm hook - I didn't have one, so tried 3mm (too big), 2.5mm (still too big) and then 2.25mm (just right!).  I'm not actually sure I've ever seen a 2.75mm hook before, I shall have to keep an eye out for one in future.

Time:  30 January 2011 - 21 February 2011.  I actually finished the hat itself on 7 February (crochet is SO QUICK!) but tried to get some extra yarn to ensure I had enough for the full flower (via the ISO thread on the Australian Knitters board on Rav).  None was forthcoming (I knew it'd be a long shot) so I just went ahead with what I had.

And I'm pretty darn happy with it, really!  The cool texture is done by front post stitches, and the "gathered" part on the top of the head is done by varying the stitches on each row (treble at back, then transitioning through half treble to double crochet - I'm using english terminology here!).  Very clever pattern!

Now what hat to wear on Friday...I think it should have some feathers...

Friday, April 22, 2011

I read a book!

I read a book!  I even read two!  Or, more accurately, I listened to two books.  I have become a fan of the audiobook.  So good for listening while knitting.  Or on public transport.  Or doing the dishes.  Or holding a sleeping baby.  I buy my audiobooks from Audible - I have a monthly membership, which is good value right now that the dollar is so good.

The first is Bill Bryson's At Home:  A Short History of Private Life, read by himself.  I love his travel books and I thought this sounded interesting - a history of private life, themed around each room in the 19th century rectory house in which he lived in the UK.  It's an interesting book, crammed full of facts and anecdotes, but I found it a bit of a slog.  I'm not sure if it suffered by being an audiobook - it might be better read in the traditional way, because it would allow you to skip around to find whatever next takes your fancy.  It also doesn't display nearly as much of the humour Bryson has in his travel books.   

But if you are the sort of person who goes on wikipedia (or whatever) to look up, say, when the first house was built, and end up going on a journey including skara brae, whale hunting, the poorhouse, manufacture of bricks, the history of medical discoveries and treatment in particular as it pertains to women and so on, then you will love this book!  And if you are me, you will come away with a sense of gratitude that you are a woman now and not in the past when you might have had a breast removed due to cancer, without the use of anaesthetic.   Urk.

The second was a refreshing change (which is kind of weird, since the story itself is almost a horror story!).  Coraline, by Neil Gaiman, read so delightfully by Dawn French.  I just loved this, and the narration was perfect.  I found it really difficult to "put down", and had this one read within a few days (whereas At Home took me a few months to finish).  It is a kid's story, but doesn't overly read like one, and had just enough suspense without leaving me totally freaked out, if that makes sense.  I highly recommend it!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Advance Australia Fair!

I picked up a little something something in a shop on our way to the country for the family reunion - one of those shops country towns have where the locals sell their handmade goods and produce - jams, chutneys, relishes, quilts, knitwear, crochet, sewing, woodwork etc.  And this particular shop had a small op-shop/thrift store at the back.

On the shelves was this book.  For $1.  I couldn't leave it behind!

Published in 1984, when oversized shapeless bright knits were totally IN!  Not that I think I'll ever knit one of these garments - but I might one day incorporate one or more of the uniquely Australian motifs into something I knit - maybe a version of Bellyphant with kangaroos instead of elephants, or something like that...

It would be cruel of me not to share more of the patterns (there is one for each state and territory as well as a few more general patterns).

This one is for the Canberrans:

And my Tasmanian friends:

And this one is just perfect for Sydney:

Brash and loud!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!

I promised you a holiday post, so here's a few shots - not many, as we had a quiet few days on the coast.  Mostly, we sat on our front verandah and enjoyed the view!

Including the sunrise - yes, I think I saw the sun rise every day we were there - I say that in a slightly sad way - I'd much rather be still asleep when the sun rises!  Although it is gorgeous to watch the light come in and the colours change, and see the increase in activity on and around the beach.  One brave soul went for a dawn swim every day in the ocean.  To that I say brrrrrrrrrr and no thanks!

We made the obligatory trip to Berry (the source of the yarn which I showed in the last post), and of course the famous donut van - mmmmm hot donuts!
There was car knitting galore - my nutkins, although you can't tell from this photo!

And most excitingly, Connor's first time at the beach!  It looks like a miserable day but it was actually quite warm and almost as soon as we left the beach, the sun came out (but of course!). 

Well, he wasn't so keen on the water - really did NOT want to have his feet, or any part of him, put in the shallows - but he did quite like the sand.  And only tried to eat it twice.  I call that a win!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

StashDownUnder 2011 - March

Sorry for the blog silence - we went away the last week in March and I've only just caught up with my blogreading (not to mention uploading photos etc). Sorry also for the weird paragraph spacing in this post, I tried to fix it and only made it worse. First off we went to my home town for the weekend for a family reunion of the descendents of my mother's parents (both of whom died before I was born). They had 10 children, and now have over 300 descendents, the youngest of whom was born about 5 days before the reunion! Then we had almost a week on the south coast - this was the view from the front of our cabin. Not bad, hey. Made the early morning wakeups you get with a small child so much more bearable!

And of course, there is an excellent yarn store down that way, which was a "must see". And maybe I bought some yarn...

Not much, really! I was very very restrained. But you see, to celebrate 3 months of no yarn purchasing, I bought myself 3 new books - I figured a book a month was a suitable reward! And one of the books has these socks: I LOVE Missoni - the way they use colours, and how they have made the chevron pattern iconic, I just love it. So I had to have that sock yarn in that exact colourway, so I can make these for my very own!

I was also lucky enough to win a prize from MissFee: I cannot tell you how many times I have almost bought this yarn in this exact colourway! Weeeeee, now it is mine without even needing to purchase it, and since it is gift/prize yarn, it doesn't count, heh! And now that I come to think of it, it would look pretty good as Missoni style socks too...

I'll tell you more about our holiday in another post, but for now, here's my March StashDownUnder totals:

In: 2 x 50g (or 4 x 50g if 8ply equivalent)

Actual balls used: 5 x 50g - but 3 x 50g if the "in" yarn is taken off

8ply equivalent: 9.5 x 50g (lots of 4ply and laceweight knitting this month!) - but 5.5 x 50g Metres used: 1030m (I'm not going to take the "in" yarn off this, I'd like to use it as an actual record of what I've knit for the year)


Actual balls used: 18 x 50g

8ply equivalent: 24 x 50g

Metres used: 3203m (woohoo, over 3km!)