January 31, 2007
It's my 600th post! Is that like an anniversary? Should I buy myself a gift? What's the traditional gift for the 600th post?
Maybe I should have more 600th post anniversaries!
Seasilk, in Ocean. Divine!
Today was the first day back at school after the summer holidays. My baby is in Year Nine!
And she missed the bus.
Day one, and she missed the bus.
Lets hope that this doesn't set the tone for the rest of the year. But hey, her hair was straightened and looked pretty, and that's what matters, isn't it?!?
Pardon my frustration.
In other news, the Jo Sharp Cardi is coming along very nicely, thankyouverymuch.
Yes, that's a pair of sleeves you can see. This all went by very quickly, didn't it?
And the Bloomin' Feet socks are also behaving nicely.
I think Twink got a bit scared when Em missed the bus.
She went into hiding.
January 29, 2007
Monday morning, Saturday sky.
I call this photo "Oh shit, I nearly forgot the Saturday sky, and now it's almost dark"
It was cloudy and gloomy all afternoon, though.
We spent the afternoon as Stitch n Bitch, and despite the fact that I actually remembered to take the camera, I forgot to take it out and use it.
Knitting has been happening!
The Bloomin' Feet sock.
I cast on with the Touch Yarns, but I felt it was too fine for socks. It's labelled as a 4ply, (Aussie equivalent to fingering weight), but it doesn't feel like it to me. I debated just casting on more stitches, but I didn't want the socks to be too thin, and have them wear out quickly. So it was back to the stash to find another alternative.
See, it's good to have a disgracefully large sock yarn stash!
I've decided on Lorna's Laces in "Old Rose", but I stuck with the Sockbug pattern, "Sheri's Lace"
I'm pretty happy with it so far, and I'm enjoying the pattern, it makes the knitting go so much more quickly.
I've also been working on the Jo Sharp cardi.
It's coming along nicely, but the stocking stitch is driving me mad.
I took the sleeves along to Stitch n Bitch on Saturday, and I managed to stuff them up entirely. I did far too many increases, and I ripped the whole lot out on Saturday night when I sat down to look at what I'd done.
I thnk I'd better stick to really plain knitting when I go to SnB. It seems that every time I go, I stuff up whatever I'm working on.
I promised a Twinkie photo, so here you go. She's been a big baby the past couple of days and wants me to pay constant attention to her.
I was cutting out a new costume for Em the other night, and Twink was most put out that I wasn't paying enough attention to her.
So she took matters into her own paws, and made sure I knew she was feeling needy.
January 26, 2007
Happy Australia Day!
A day where all across the country we celebrate being Australian by having the day off and doing next to nothing. What's not to like?
We've done very little all day, and will top off the day by going out to watch the local council's fireworks display.
I thought I'd toss out a few facts about Australia that many of you may not know or realise.
A lot of people look at a map of Australia, and think we live on a little island. Let me assure you, it's not small. The total area is 7,741,220 kmē (2,988,888 sq mi). For comparison, the area of the United States is 9,631,420 kmē (3,718,695 sq mi). 1% of our total area is water, 4.87% of the USA is water, bringing the total comparison of the land masses even closer.
However, our population is estimated at 20,555,300, and the USA's is estimated at 301,019,000. Our largest city is Sydney, with a population of 4,254,900, compared to New York City's 8,143,197. We have the lowest population density in the world - about 2 people per square kilometre.
Australia is a bit like a donut though. The vast majority of our population lives in the coastal areas, and the centre of the country is more sparsely populated.
Kangaroos and koalas are not all over the place as many people assume. In fact I have personally never seen either one in the wild, although I'm a city girl. We are possibly the only country in the world that eats both of the animals on our Coat of Arms. (The kangaroo and the emu). Personally, I have never eaten either one, nor do I have any desire to do so!
Voting is compulsory here, and you must register to vote at age 18. We don't vote for our country's leader. We vote for our preferred political party, and they choose the leader of the party. The leader of the winning party becomes the Prime Minister of Australia.
We have no Bill of Rights.
Australia was the second country to give women the right to vote.
In 1954, Bob Hawke was immortalised by the Guinness Book of Records for sculling 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds. Bob later became the Prime Minister of Australia.
You can also drink and go to bars and clubs at 18.
School begins at 5, although some parents keep their kids back a year and start them when they turn 6. In NSW, you go to Primary School for the first seven years (Kindergarten, then grades 1-6) and then to High School for the next 4 or 6 years (Grades 7-12). There is a leaving certificate at Year 10, but most kids now stay until Year 12. I believe that they Year 10 certificate is about to be done away with, though.
A school day is generally 9-3, the work day is usually 9-5, although a lot of work places are pretty flexible about that now, and business hours are often extended.
Our seasons are opposite to the USA (It's currently summer here), and we drive on the opposite side of the road.
Our cable television is fairly recent. Personally, I've had cable for around 10 years. Many people don't have cable at all. And the cable we have is vastly different to the USA. We have about 40 channels. There are four free to air television networks. That's all that many people have, although Emily believes that that would fall in the category of cruel and unusual punishment.
We like a party and a drink, and are much more laid back about swearing and nudity than much of the world seems to be. The J*net J*ckson wardrobe malfunction would barely have rated a blip on the radar here.
We have universal health care. To put this into perspective, David had cancer in 2003. From the start to the end, including all the tests, the doctor and specialist visits, the medication and the chemotherapy treatment, it cost us about $AU600 in out of pocket expenses.
We are the world's largest exporter of sheep. I'd prefer it if they kept and processed a few more here!
Speaking of wool, knitting has happened, but I've gone on long enough tonight. Here's a hint - I changed my mind again about the Bloomin' Feet socks.
More next time.
January 22, 2007
Thank you all for saying such lovely things about Spring Blossoms. She's still on the back of the couch, so I can look at her.
But today I have another finished project to show you. Although this one was over so quickly that it may not deserve the title "project"!
It's the cashmere scarf kit that I purchased from Rabbit Tree Farm!
The true colour is closer to the picture of Em modelling, but it's somewhere between the two. This is supposed to be a scarf, but it's almost big enough to qualify for a shawl, I think.
The yarn is an 80% cashmere, 20% silk fingering weight blend, and it was lovely to work with. The pattern was relatively easy, and worked up super quickly.
The pattern called for US 10.5 needles, and I couldn't figure out precisely what size that is. Some places say 6.5mm, some say 7mm. As I usually need to go down a size anyway, I used a 6mm. I had heaps of yarn left over, so I improvised an extra 2 rows, then added the crochet chain bind off, which isn't part of the original pattern.
The pattern is a variation of the "Roman Stripe" from The second Barbara Walker treasury.
A quick knit was just what I needed. I started the scarf on Friday afternoon while Spring Blossoms was blocking, and finished it on Saturday night.
Not an awful lot of knitting has been accomplished since then, because it's just been too hot.
I was invited to join the Bloomin' Feet sock swap, and I received my swap partner information on the weekend. Most of today was spent figuring out what I want to do. I ransacked the sock stash and decided on some yummy Koigu. But I couldn't find a pattern that did justice to the yarn. So I tossed the yarn aside and went back to square one. I finally decided on this yarn.
This is "Touch Yarns" from New Zealand. Apart from the fact that it's pretty, I thought it would be nice to use something (reasonably) local that isn't readily available to my pal. It's 100% merino, so it has no nylon content, but most of my favourite sock yarns don't have nylon - Fleece Artist, Koigu, Socks that Rock to name a few.
And I've decided on Sockbugs "Sheri's Lace Socks" pattern to go with it. I hope it all works out nicely.
It's really hard to knit for another knitter.
What if she doesn't like the yarn? Or the colour? Or the pattern?
What if she weaves in her ends differently to me? Better than me?
What if she's disappointed?
I have until May 1 to deliver them. So I think I'll try to knit them quickly. Just in case I'm not happy with them and need to start over!
January 20, 2007
You know what my most favourite thing in the whole world is?
I love it when you have this
And you soak it for a while, then you do this
And in a couple of hours, it's turned into this.
Spring Blossoms is done. And I love it.
I am so glad that I persisted with the extra repeats. The pattern called for Zephyr on 3.5mm needles, and 8 repeats. I used a finer yarn on smaller needles, but it still came out to the same finished size - 115cm, or 44".
Pattern: "Spring Blossoms Shawl" by Eugen K. Beugler, from Fiber Trends.
Yarn: Lane Borgosesia Cashwool. It's a 100% merino yarn that feels so unbelievably soft. It was sent to me by Chloe in the Lace Swap last year, and it's gorgeous to work with. I used 90g of a 100g hank. (1460yards per 100g)
Changes: None, except that I worked 11 repeats instead of 8.
The yarn is superfine, and here's a picture to show just how fine the shawl is now that it's blocked.
And a close up of the stitch pattern.
I love it. I'm also very glad it's done!
So, what's next?
Well, I started something yesterday while the shawl was blocking that's almost done, so there'll be another finished project here next time.
And the Jo Sharp cardi is still on the needles, and so are the new blue socks.
I've signed up for La's Faina Scarf-Along, which starts on February 14. I have bought two different lots of yarn for Faina's scarf, some Jo Sharp Alpaca Silk Georgette in "Musk", and some 80% Mohair, 20% Merino from Wagtail Yarns in purple. I'm not being very adventurous in my colour choices, am I? I have 3 weeks or so to decide which yarn to use. I'm not usually much of a knitalong person, so we'll see how it goes.
I also purchased the "Fern Garden Stole" pattern from Alpacas with a Twist this week, so I think I'll cast on for that as soon as the pattern arrives. I may also have bought the "Heere be Dragone" shawl from there, too, but I thnk that's a long term project. (Like I need any more)
It's Saturday, here's a sky.
It's already well over 30C outside, and it's only going to get hotter. Tomorrow it's predicted we'll see 41C. We're going to the movies. Or the shops. Or the Library. Somewhere with air conditioning, at any rate.
Oh, and see what I picked up at the supermarket this week?
Hot cross buns! In January! I bought them anyway.
January 17, 2007
The p-p-p-p socks have landed. Or they're done, or something.
It's hard to think, it's a bit hot today. Like 35C. (95F)
But they're done, and Em loves them. Mind you, she didn't love them enough to keep them on, and I don't blame her. She tried them on, I took a picture and she ripped them off as quickly as she could.
I enjoyed the first sock, and it was done quickly, but the second sock not so much. No idea why, but I was over it halfway down the leg. The way the yarn patterned differently on the second sock may have something to do with it.
Spring Blossoms has 2 rows to go and then just a crochet chain cast off. So I don't care how hot it is, I'm going to sit and finish it. Now.
January 14, 2007
Saturday sky on a Sunday morning.
Another lovely Sydney day, and only 28C.
We went out and bought some flowers. At this point, I should let you know that my gardening skills are right up there with my cooking skills.
So I'll show you pictures now, while they're still alive and healthy.
Miniature apricot roses.
Sweet William. Pretty, for now.
The purple blob is ongoing. However, it isn't always convenient to work on a shawl that currently has 850ish stitches, so when I can't work on that, I'm working the p-p-p-p socks.
I'm past the heel! And the gusset shaping! On the way down the foot! Then they'll be done! I'm only allowing myself to work on these two projects, because otherwise they'll both get tossed aside and never done.
And frankly, at this stage, I'll be glad to see them both done.
As you are all probably will aware, I have a great love of laceweight yarns. Up until recently, there was little or no quality, affordable laceweight yarns in Australia. There is a much better selection here now, (especially of my beloved Zephyr, thank you Yarns Online!), but despite the fact that we couldn't get much locally, I have still managed to build up a half decent stash of the stuff.
I was sitting, knitting on the purple blob on Friday night, and dreaming of new projects. So I started to mentally list the lace weight stash. Then I was a bit amazed at the amount I thought I had, so I got up and wrote it down.
I have 23,200 yards of laceweight yarns.
And that's only counting the ones I can think of off the top of my head. I haven't actually gone and checked it yet.
20 kilometres. That's a lot of shawls waiting for me.
Twinkie fainted at the idea.
Or maybe she was just flopped out on the bathroom floor, staying cool.
January 11, 2007
We have been pretty lucky this year in terms of the weather, it's been apretty mild summer. Certainly no ridiculous heatwaves like last New Years Day.
But today has been hot. And tomorrow is going to be hot. This is interrupting my plans to finish the Purple Blob.
I'm having visions of still working on this in 2008. Or 2009.
Of course, I'm kidding myself that it might be finished any time soon, no matter what the weather.
Up until last night I had convinced myself that I could finish it after this, the tenth, repeat. This is the same part of my brain that tells me that I can lose weight without exercise, and that one piece of chocloate, or one bar or one block, won't hurt.
Then I had a good, hard look at it. Even accounting for the fact that it's unblocked, it's still very small. And I still have this much yarn left.
Nearly 35g. Out of 100g. So the only reason that I'd be stopping after this repeat is laziness. Pure laziness. And yes, thats something I've been known to be guilty of on occasion.
There will be an eleventh repeat. Only because I'll kick myself when I'm done if I don't do it. That means I still have 20 rounds to go. Boring blogging ahead!
Twinkie is starting to love us again.
That may be because of the liberal offerings of food!
January 07, 2007
I think I'm overdue for a knitting project round up, aren't I?
First off, the purple blob, aka Spring Blossoms.
It's coming along. I'm trying to do at least 2 rounds a day, but I've been failing miserably. Each round is taking an hour, and I just seem to run out of time.
I've got 2 rounds to go on repeat 9, then I'll do at least 1 more repeat. I still have 35g of yarn, so I might manage 2 more repeats. It does look awfully small, and I'm using finer yarn and needles than recommended. The original pattern had 8 repeats. I don't know if I could bear 2 more full repeats. We'll see.
I'm over them. This is the second sock, I have just 4 more rows until I turn the heel, but I am totally, completely, utterly Over it. I'll finish them, but I have no idea when. Probably when Em's nagging drives me to it.
I spent Boxing Day playing with patterns and numbers until I came up with something I liked. I just wanted to use my new needles!
The yarn is The Knittery's Merino Cashmere sock yarn in "Water Lilies". I'm writing the pattern down as we go. The cables seem to slow down the production a little. I worked on these while we were away, and while I wasn't working on this.
The Jo Sharp "Tweed Cardigan" from Knit 2. I'm using the recommended yarn, Silkroad DK Tweed in "Fleece". I got the yarn from an eBay seller a while back, but I noticed today that she's listed a bunch more here.
Nearly finished the back. I'm going to short row the shoulders and do a three needle bind off, rather than the traditional shoulder shaping used in the pattern. I think I'll also make the sleeves a little wider.
Twinkie came home from the boarding facility yesterday, and she's unhappy. She's in her usual favourite spots, but she's avoiding David and I like the plague. She still loves Em though!
We're bribing her woth food, and it seems to be working.
I forgot all about Saturday sky yesterday, my body is still in holiday mode, so here's a Sunday sky.
It was blue and clear yesterday!
January 04, 2007
We had a great time, and I think this will be one big blog post. I was going to post last night, but it took me all night just to go through all the pictures. There is a little stash enhancement involved, but it's mostly beaches and touristy type stuff, despite the fact that we were visiting David's hometown. (It's still touristy for Em and I!)
Day 1. Did you all know that they do a 4.30 in the morning now?!? It was a rude awakening, let me tell you, and not a good start for the trip, considering that I am not at my best on a normal morning, let alone at hours I've only seen from the other side.
All packed and ready to go we got to Sydney airport.
That's a pic for the Lost fans. Although that's the domestic terminal, not the International one.
We flew Jetstar, and it's definitely a budget option. You have to walk out on the tarmac to board the plane.
And they're not big on leg room.
I've eaten sardines that weren't packed in as tightly.
I didn't take a Saturday sky pic this time around, so here's a Friday sky.
We got to Hervey Bay, and I wanted to make sure that we did the important things first, so we headed to Wagtail Yarns immediately.
We were greeted by the stars of the show.
300 mohair goats in this field. The baby goats are pastured near the house.
Emily made new friends. They were very friendly little things, but then again, they thought we had food.
They had very cute little tails to go with their gorgeous curls, but this picture doesn't show the wagging that was going on.
They were dyeing in the huge outdoor vat, but I have no idea what colour.
But there was blue yarn drying on the line.
Their yarn is gorgeous. There is a choice of 100% mohair, 80% mohair/20% merino and 60% mohair/40% merino, in a variety of weights. Despite planning ahead to go there, I still had no idea what to buy once I was gazing at and stroking all that gorgeous yarn.
But I managed.
The dark purple is sportweight (5ply) 80% mohir/20% merino, everything else is fingering (4ply) pure mohair. She had a tiny hank of pink laceweight pure mohair, but I resisted that, becuase it wasn't really enough to do anything with. She mentioned that she'd had 6 cones of laceweight, but they'd been sold. Lucky, or I may have had to grab them all.
There was a farewell commitee at the gate.
That was the first morning of the trip. Nice way to start, huh?
We then headed into Bundaberg. We saw some sugar cane.
Em, as usual, jumped into the pool as soon as she could. The family dog helped.
We did some sightseeing. There was baby sugar cane.
We went to the Bundaberg Rum Distillery, where the sugar cane byproducts are processed into Rum.
I had plans to kidnap the Bundy Rum Bear, but they were thwarted by a locked cabinet.
Someone must've warned them I was coming.
Right next door is the Sugar Processing plant. Are you getting the picture yet that Bundaberg is a sugar town?
On New Year's Eve, we headed to Mon Repos beach.
We'd hoped to book in for the turtle watching, but more on that later.
New Years Day was spent here.
Not a bad start to the year. Although, as a result of all this beachgoing, there has been sunburn.
Unfortunately, it got worse. By Tuesday evening, I was glowing.
Tuesday we went to another beach.
Em learned to boogie board.
I love that pic!
Tuesday night was the highlight of the trip. We headed back to Mon Repos for turtle watching.
Every year, marine turtles return to Mon Repos to lay their eggs. It's primarily Loggerhead turtles. The Queensland Government has turned it in a conservation park, and you can only get to the beach at night by booking in and going out with a tour guide.
The turtles come ashore at night, dig a hole and lay their eggs, then depart, never to lay eyes on their babies.
We were lucky, we only had a short wait before we were taken down to the beach to see it all happen.
The turtle we saw was a first time mother. It was just amazing to watch her dig a hole, lay her eggs, cover the hole, and then head back out to sea, all by instinct.
The tour guides are very protective of the turtles, and you are very restricted in when you may take pictures and where you may go on the beach. I loved every minute of it, exept for the rude people who refused to listen to the tour guides, and pushed in front of everyone and tried to hog thewhole thing for themselves, but there's always some of those about.
Absolutely the highlight of the trip, closely followed by Wagtail yarns.
There was a little knitting done.
I started the plain cardigan from Jo Sharp Knit 2 the night before we left, and worked on it in bits and pieces. Here's a picture I took while waiting for the turtles.
I had also taken along a lace scarf kit, sent to me by Tammy with all good intentions, but lace knitting and holidays don't really work together, I discovered. I just didn't get time to sit down and read the chart - easy knitting is much more convenient for holidays.
I have started a sock on my gorgeous new needles and got a little bit done on that, but failed miserably to take a picture. At least I'll have blog fodder for next time!