February 28, 2006
Thank you every one for the emails and comments! I'm feeling a little better this week, but completely unmotivated and uninspired. For my week off, I have very little to show.
The pink cardi continues.
Two very curly, unblocked fronts.
Two half done sleeves. And that's the whole of the knitting I have achieved. Realisation has been slowly dawning that Em needs her tutu at the end of the month, so I've had to work on that a bit.
(click for big)
It's coming along, but there's still some work to be done. More diamonds, some of the flower motifs are still only pinned on, the whole top plate needs to be sewn on, the elastic straps aren't sewn down, and the bodice needs to be decorated. Thant's all!!
And the colour is all wrong in the picture!
Christy tagged me to show the view out my front door. Well, now you'll all know that I don't live in a gorgeous big mansion! Here's the view down the driveway.
And here's the view up the driveway.
They all look the same, yes. We live in a block of villas. At least that's what we call them in Australia. There's 24 smallish houses on the same (large) block, all with a common driveway and a handkerchief backyard.
Twinkie says "The important thing is that it's where we keep the food!"
February 21, 2006
First front of the lacy edge cardi is nearly done.
Usually, I knit both fronts together, but the wording of the shaping wasn't making any sense to me, so I'll do them one at a time. I've not felt very motivated in the past few days, so I haven't got as much done as I should.
I've just not felt myself for the past day or so, so I'll be laying low for a few days. I'm okay, it's nothing that won't pass in a couple of days.
February 18, 2006
Where do the days go?
Em and I went to the Stitches and Craft show today. If you like scrapbooking or quilting, it was great, but not so great for yarn. There was some nice stuff available, but on the whole, I was underwhelmed. I bought a few nice beads for Em's tutu, some sewing machine bobbins, a couple of patterns and some fabric, but that was all. Yes, I even come home with no yarn. I think DH was even more surprised than I.
There was not much available in the way of yarn at all. Ecoyarns had some nice Bamboo and Soysilk yarns, and Ashford Australia were there, but nothing called out to me. I nearly bought some Opal Cotton, but I resisted temptation. We met up with Donni, Ailsa and Donni's mum for lunch, and all in all it was a good day out.
Speaking of sock yarn, I took part in Beth's Unloved Sock Yarn Swap. None of my sock yarn is unloved, but it was a fun swap. I sent some of my sock yarn to Helen, and yesterday, I recieved this cascade fixation from Christy.
Thank you, Christy! I haven't used Fixation before, although there is some of the Elann version aging gracefully in the Stash.
Knitting? Yes, I have been.
The back of the Zhivgo cardi is done. It has a decidely apricot cast in this pic (on my monitor, anyway), but it's definitely pink. It's a nice easy knit, but I think I'll be glad to get to the lace edging.
Hey, remind me of that when I'm whining about how long the edging is taking! ;)
February 15, 2006
I hope everybody had a nice Valentines day!
Look what DH gave to me.
A tiny Polar Bear and a bunny in a bottle! For scale, here is the Polar Bear beside a row counter.
They're gorgeous! And I had a most excellent mail day, too!
The Zhivago that Carol snagged for me arrived.
Only nine balls, because the tenth is already busy becoming the ruffly cardi.
Something appears to have happened to my knitting. I have always had to go down a needle size to get gauge. On the last 2 or 3 projects, I have gotten gauge with the needle size suggested in the pattern. What is with that? And more importantly, are the Gauge Gods laughing at me, just messing with my head? As soon as I assume that I'll get gauge with the suggested needle size, it will change again, won't it?
The pattern for the cardi is from a Patons Australia pattern leaflet, called "Zhivago Summer Knits". It's a fairly new pattern leaflet, released in the last year or so, and nearly all the garments are knitted in the new variegated shades, which they've already discontinued. Good going, guys!
There are other shades of Zhivago available, but I like these nice bright colours.
Knitting on the main part of the Mystery project is done, but I can't show you until May. Sorry :)
And the postman brought me another great letter. The Stitches and Craft show is in Sydney this week, and I entered a competition in the local paper to win tickets, then promptly forgot all about it. Then yesterday, I couldn't figure out why the local paper would be sending me a letter.
I won a double pass, yay! There's not usually a great deal of knitting stuff available, (it's definitely not Stitches West or Rhinebeck!) it's usually more scrapbooking/patchwork type of stuff, but a free double pass is a free double pass! And it's probably a good thing for my wallet and the stash if there isn't too much yarn about!
February 12, 2006
Once again, it's a picture of my trying not laugh, and telling the DH to just get on with it and take the picture already. Am I happy with it? I guess so.
I had a few issues with it. The pattern is from Family Circle Easy Knitting, Spring/Summer 2005. It's knit in Cotton Ease, which I won in a competition from Lynette a while back. Thanks, Lynette! However, the pattern called for 9 balls, so I hunted some some more until I had enough.
It only took 5 balls.
I quite liked the Cotton Ease to knit with, though. The pattern told me to get a 20" zip, so I did. I need more like a 26". When I looked at the schematic, the front measures 22 3/4" without the 4" collar. (Which I knit to 5") There was no way that zip was going to fit. So right now, it has no zip. I probably wouldn't use it anyway, so I'm not too worried.
Overall, I like it, but it's over 30C today, and it was hot to try it on! The collar hasn't been blocked, and it needs it, to avoid the shrinky collar syndrome Evelyn mentioned in the comments a few days ago. The sleeves are a little long, but not so long that I'm willing to rip it!
I'm sure it will get plenty of wear when the temperature starts to fall.
I've been waffling about knitting it, I really like it, but I have too much yarn to justify buying more for another project. I wanted the pink variegated Zhivago. Patons have discontinued it, but Carol spotted it in her local Spotlight on clearance and managed to snag a bag for me. There's my justification! So, it's on it's way to me. Zhivago is a Tencel/acrylic blend. (See, I'm not totally averse to acrylics!) I've only used it for small projects (gloves and a hat for DH), but I liked it. It did have a tendency to fuzz up, though.
Still behind on my sewing, and that's what I should be working on until the Zhivago arrives, but we'll see.
February 10, 2006
Sorry, the Cotton Ease cardi isn't done yet.
Mrs Stripey went to San Fransisco a few weeks ago, and let us know in advance, so that if we wanted anything, she could get it for us. So I placed an order for the Knit Picks Palette Sampler, and she picked it up and brought it back to Oz for me. I don't really know what I was expecting, but yesterday I met up ith Mrs Stripey and her two and a half adorable tiger cubs for morning tea, and to collect my yarn.
Wow! Here in Australia, most of our 4ply (fingering) yarns are baby yarns, and come in 25g balls. Maybe that's what I thought I was getting. Not quite.
I think I'll be able to make a dolly or two out of that!! I have nowhere to put this yarn. But it's so nice to look at. And I love the way they pack the bag so that all the colour groups are shaded, with the neutrals down one side.
I haven't actually pulled it out yet, but I had a little feel, and it's softer than I expected. I thought it'd be scratchy, but it isn't. I'm tempted to cast on for a Knitted Babe, but I have to finish a few things first.
For Sandy, who tagged me, here is my knitting spot.
That's my seat, as you can see by the various books, yarn and stuff laying about. We need a new lounge suite!
And here's the view from my seat.
Twinkie thinks she has a better seat!
February 09, 2006
I have no idea why I thought that I would have more free time when Em went back to school, becuase now the chauffeuring is taking up my time.
However, there is a light at the end of the Finished Object Tunnel.
This Cottonease jacket was started back in September, then got tossed aside for a bit, but now it is approaching the finish line, with only half a neckband, seaming, and a zipper to go.
Oh, and the dreaded crochet edge. Not much really. Especially considering that I was much further along yesterday.
The pattern says to pick up 80 stitches around the neck for the collar. The most I could neatly and evenly pick up was 68. So I decided that they were wrong, and I only needed 68, so I worked the 10cm for the collar. Then, ready to cast off, I looked at it and realised that 68 stitches made a very narrow collar.
After cursing a bit, I ripped back to the row of picked up stitches. I had 68 stitches on the needle, and I still didn't feel that I could pick up 80 stitches, so I just worked another plain row, evenly increasing to 80 stitches, then started the ribbing. I'm much happier wth it now.
So hopefully in the next few days there will be a finished object to show, stay tuned.
February 06, 2006
Just a quick ranty post.
Rachael mentioned the other day that she had seen Red Heart in her local Spotlight store (I believe Spotlight is somewhat like the US's Jo-Ann's or Hobby Lobby. At the time I remember thinking "What, we don't have enough crap without importing more?" then, I just sort of forgot about it.
Then on Saturday I had to go to Spotlight for fabric and bits and pieces of crap, and thought I'd have a quick look through the yarn, because one of the ladies had mentioned a few weeks ago that they were getting in "some lovely new yarns" and it certainly appeared that they had got more stock in.
Lots of new ones. Let's not get carried away with the "lovely". TLC, Moda Dea and Red Heart. Oh, and something that is proudly labeled "8ply acrylic" and nothing else. ('Scuse the crappy pictures, I only had my phone with me)
Even Panda Yarns, Australia's answer to Red heart has a blurb on their home page which states "The re-entry of plain yarns to the forefront of knitting sees the return of Panda Woolblend crepe".
Will someone please alert Spotlight? They now have the entire back wall of the yarn section devoted to floof. And it's not even nice floof! And now, the plain yarns they stock are Red Heart, Panda Magnum, TLC and 8ply acrylic. The better quality yarns (such as they are) are stuffed into one small section.
If I'd been braver, I would have taken a picture of the ladies waiting at the checkout. One had 4 balls of Red Heart, one had 8 ply acrylic and one had floof. At the time, I had my possum lace with me, to match beads and I felt like running over and saying "Ladies! Feel this! Now feel that!" Thank heavens for Stitch n Bitch and the internet, or I'd be led to believe that I'm the only one who knits with wool.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that there's no place for acrylic, there is, and I have used it myself on occasion. If you want to knit floofy scarves, go ahead, you don't need my permission, or even my blessing, do what you like.
But it sure would be nice if they stocked some nicer yarns too!
February 05, 2006
Both Donni and Danielle posted this week about being in a knitting funk, and I think it's catching.
I finished all the pieces for the Cotton Ease jacket on Thursday, and was ready to block and seam it so that I could do the collar. We had really hot days Wednesday and Thursday, and I need hot days to block, because I block on the floor, and we have a tiny little house. Friday dawned cloudy, and so did Saturday. Today was a little better, but family days are not the best for blocking, either.
So I was faced with "What next?"
I had some more cotton ease that was intended for Wendy's "Girlfriend's School Spirit Sweater" for Em. So I pulled out the pattern and the yarn, and realised that Em is actually just a tiny bit bigger than the chest measurement for the size 10. At first I thought "It won't matter" and I cast on. Took a few goes to get the gauge right, but I got it going.
Then a few things occured to me. Em is 13 next month and she's growing if you know what I mean. If she is just a bit bigger than the 10 now, by winter she might be even more bigger than the 10.
And I hate the cotton ease knitted at 19sts/10cm. Hate It. It was quite nice to work with at 17sts/10cm, but too stiff and crunchy at the tighter gauge.
So after working on it Thursday night and most of Friday, I ripped it out.
Then I decided to start the mystery project. It's a small thing, will be done in no time! Knit and knit and knit, Friday night. Used a needle one size smaller than recommended, becuase I always need to go down a size. I half finished the first piece, measured the length as required, and realised my gauge was off. Did I swatch? No. I always need to go down a size!
Not this time. This time, my gauge is perect on the recommended size needles. Rip it out, start again.
So that's going quite well, but it's a mystery project, and I don't want the recipient (or I should say the recipients mother!) to see it before I give it to her. So I need something that I can also knit on, so I'll have blog fodder.
Am I the only one who considers the blog when I decide what to knit?
Danielle sent me this gorgeous Cherry Tree Hill Possum Lace a little while ago.
I have scarf ideas. So I went out yesterday and bought some beads, and I think I'll play with this for a while.
Don't you love those colours? The scarf ideas are very vague right now, but I'm sure I'll come up with something!
It has also occured to me that I am way behind on some of my sewing, so I need to get stuck into that this week. I'm just not in a sewing frame of mind right now.
Hasn't this been a long post full of nothing?!?
Oh, and late as usual, my word cloud!
It's tempting to order the tshirt, isn't it?
February 03, 2006
I decided to participate in the "Bloggers Silent Poetry Reading" seen on many blogs, originally from Grace's Poppies, even though I'm a day late. My excuse is that I didn't know about it until this morning, and it was already February 3 here by then!
The Drover's Sweetheart
An hour before the sun goes down
Behind the ragged boughs,
I go across the little run
And bring the dusty cows;
And once I used to sit and rest
Beneath the fading dome,
For there was one that I loved best
Who'd bring the cattle home.
Our yard is fixed with double bails,
Round one the grass is green,
The bush is growing through the rails,
The spike is rusted in;
And 'twas from there his freckled face
Would turn and smile at me --
He'd milk a dozen in the race
While I was milking three.
I milk eleven cows myself
Where once I milked but four;
I set the dishes on the shelf
And close the dairy door;
And when the glaring sunlight fails
And the fire shines through the cracks,
I climb the broken stockyard rails
And watch the bridle-tracks.
He kissed me twice and once again
And rode across the hill,
The pint-pots and the hobble-chain
I hear them jingling still;
He'll come at night or not at all --
He left in dust and heat,
And when the soft, cool shadows fall
Is the best time to meet.
And he is coming back again,
He wrote to let me know,
The floods were in the Darling then --
It seems so long ago;
He'd come through miles of slush and mud,
And it was weary work,
The creeks were bankers, and the flood
Was forty miles round Bourke.
He said the floods had formed a block,
The plains could not be crossed,
And there was foot-rot in the flock
And hundreds had been lost;
The sheep were falling thick and fast
A hundred miles from town,
And when he reached the line at last
He trucked the remnant down.
And so he'll have to stand the cost;
His luck was always bad,
Instead of making more, he lost
The money that he had;
And how he'll manage, heaven knows
(My eyes are getting dim),
He says -- he says -- he don't -- suppose
I'll want -- to -- marry -- him.
As if I wouldn't take his hand
Without a golden glove --
Oh! Jack, you men won't understand
How much a girl can love.
I long to see his face once more --
Jack's dog! thank God, it's Jack! --
(I never thought I'd faint before)
He's coming -- up -- the track.
I chose this particular poem primarily because I wanted you all to see something Australian. Henry Lawson was an Australian author and poet who lived in rural Australia around the turn of the century. Most of his writings capture the Australian way of life at that time. It's my favourite Lawson poem, one that I learned in High School.
I had thought about posting "My Country" by Dorothea MacKellar, but it's still under copyright, so I'll just link to it here.
"My Country" is a poem that pretty much all Australians know (at least part of it) and as far as I know, all Australian school children learn it or hear it at some point or another. It describes Australia and all the things we love about it, in such beautiful language and descriptiveness. (Is that a word?)
Edited to add:
I'm horrified to say that when I read the poem to Emily, she asked "What's a Drover?" (Link to Wikipedia) If you don't know what a drover is, the link will explain a lot about this poem. I don't expect the non-aussies to know, but what are they teaching the kids in Australian schools? ;)
February 01, 2006
Hooray for school! The interminable summer holidays are finally over, and Em returned to school this morning. I walked back from the bus stop, and sat down in the quiet with a cup of tea.
Then I did a bit of housework and sewing, with plans for a nice quiet afternoon of knitting until it was time to pick Em up. That all went sour as soon as the temperature started climbing. It's hot again, stinking hot, so little knitting was accomplished.
I got to hold the TV remote though!
Twinkie was hot too, and let us dribble cool water over her head until she looked like she had lovely little curls on her head.
Then she actually posed for the camera. As soon as I pointed it at her, she sat up straighter and showed me her good side.
The sleeves are growing. I only have 15 or so rows until I reach the raglan shaping.
I also got some 2mm bamboo circs from Donni at Moggy and Me, so hopefully the Trekking XXL socks will move along more quickly now. I really wasn't enjoying the Inox metal circs, and these Crystal Palace bamboos are so much nicer. Hopefully I'll like the two-socks-2-circs technique now!