Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Gadgets plus

I know, I can's help it. I found the Knitmeter widget and I had to play with it. So obviously I've knit more than 34.5 metres this year but it's a start. I'm actually halfway up the second leg of another Arne & Carlos doll. This one is already called Rosie and it is yet to be determined whether she goes to Albany or not. The pattern is technically easy but fiddly with dpns going all ways. And after struggling to follow the instructions on the first foot and then second foot, I found errata on the Arne & Carlos group on Ravelry....where I should have looked first.

The KAL shawl by Stephen West is still neatly hiding in it's bag. The KAL for MaryMary (Andrea Black) stalled. My Gelati sweater (Craftsy)....stalled. Leaf Garden socks (Brewers Knitting Co) frogged and being reknit. A red Puerperium cardigan (Kelly Brooker) for the twins has been started.

In the meantime since finishing O Possum socks, I have completed a cherry red February Baby Sweater (EZ) for a one year old; Fern the doll and Fern's boyfriend jumper; a pair of lace socks for Chloe, and a green Puerperium Cardigan for one twin.

I have also been shopping at Jimmy Beans wools and purchased a set of LM sox stixs 6in in Ebony and a starter set of Addi Clicks, because it came with the three different types of tips and I could then try and decide which ones i like the best, and to top it all off I bought a dress form from Sew Much Easier.

LIfe is so short....

Septermber 11.....Our world changed. Please remember families and those gone.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Post sock breather

After knitting furiously for six days, Kendal's socks are done and making their way to Melbourne. I chose Waikiwi prints yarn. It has a really lovely feel and knitted up absolutely beautifully. They were in a variegated blue and close gauge meant they were quite thick. The pattern was a free Ravelry one, called Gravel Grid Socks by Jessica Baird. She's done a marvellous job writing the pattern, I didn't have to interpret it at all.
It has been really interesting knitting with 2mm needles, they are sooooooo skinny but because I treated myself to a set of Sox Stixs, knitting was amazingly comfy. However, I am waiting for a reply from the shop I bought them from about replacing one.

I knit the entire leg with 4 of the set (there are 5 in a set) and finally, smugly picked up the gusset stitches and started to knit when the 5th needle snapped. I wish I could have seen my face. John thought I was having another heart attack. Apparently, there was a swift intake of breath which was held, a muffled moan, obviously because the breath was being held and then a squall of tears. I truly think that the histrionics at this point were quite necessary, because at $6 a needle, these bits of stick are really expensive. So then afraid to use them anymore in case another baby snapped I used the cheap bamboo ones which, although only 2mm thick felt like they were 17 metres long. They were far from being perfect for the job but they were utilised for the rest of the foot. Yesterday I replaced them with Knit Pros and so socks got done.

Just finishing an EZ February baby cardigan in "Monza Red" (can you tell my ex was a car man), and desperately want to go into town to Mandy's and purchase Arne and Carlos's doll book and perhaps some yarn to make a doll. Maybe flippery is just what I need.....

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Test Failure?

There was once a time when quite honestly I could say I was as healthy as a horse. And apart from some problems at the end of my pregancies, the occasional flu but mainly colds, and a couple of back issues, it's been pretty much smooth sailing. Until the heart-attack. Then without warning this have to change. Quickly and almost dramatically. But after a year I've joined a gym, can go my version of flat chat for 45 minutes, which is actually better than before. But the doctor wanted me to do a stress echocardiogram test. So instead of cramming at the last moment I have spent the last 2 months exercising and stuff, jokingly I referred to it as training for the 'test'.

But I think I've failed, or at least not passed with flying colours nor a pat on the head for good cardiac function. Instead, there were mentions of "have you seen the images" to the other staff in the room, and my three amazing medical attendants went quiet when they looked at the scan. It was asked in passing when I was going back to the doctor, and then like "I'm sure ********* meant to see you before January. I'll give *** a call so *** can contact you." Brought up like I was, I actually apologised for my results as I left. And now I have an appointment on Monday next week instead of January 2013. Wow. So I'm feeling a bit scared, and overwhelmed, and disappointed.

Which unfortunately has flowed onto other things. I was making a EZ (solemn bow of the head) baby sweater on two needles (February baby sweater) for Knit1 Give1, because they asked for more baby jumpers and I felt so clever that I had a stunning red in my stash from a large chain store with the word 'craft' in it's name. So I figured I would have enough for the main piece and would dash out today to get another ball for the sleeves, acknowledging that the dye lots would of course be different. Well the large craft store had NO stunning red. In infact it had no black, dark blue, bottle green, or even a royal purple with which to knit the tiny sleeves with. It only had baby cack brown, olive bluck green, something that looked vaguely tan and one pink ball. Might have to take little cardigan to Mandy's and see what I can find there.
Gelati still in a vomit pile but it's back on the needles. Mary Mary is sooooooo beautiful but so delicate in Lace Merino after Gelati in Taiyo. Socks in project bags too numerous to actually admit to.......HEEHEE.
John's in Melbourne, Rob has a new mobile phone, Jo pregnant and Mandy I'm not sure about. Chris will be here for dinner tomorrow night so better make chocolate cake. Mum's paving done. I love my family. Life should be good, But I feel flat. I know, I'll be fine, but there's so much stuff waiting to be done, so I better start.

Monday, August 6, 2012

good intentions

I tried so hard to control the frogging. I had a lovely ball of yarn but I got lazy.........yarn vomit....pure and simple. My challenge now is to knit this into cardigan before bed.

Yarn vomit

My projects are getting more technical, but I think I am overestimating my skill set yet. I finished the blue cardi (Craftsy - Crazy lace bolero) but objectively there are things I can improve on. It's too baggy between my bust and underarm; I didn't think enough about how deep to make the V-neck and it's more like a round neck; I didn't put in buttonholes; the texture at the bottom of the cardigan is too dense for my liking; but it has some redeeming features like the yarn, the colour and its a cardigan. So after many months tinking, frogging, winding, blocking and fiddling it's done. Not perfect but enough I can put it on at home and not feel too unkindly.
Not satisfied I set about planning, measuring and thinking about Mark II. Hence the Gelati Cardi. Two weeks in the making and now several hours in that corner where I throw the failures. In between bouts of Gelati I have been working on a beautiful cardigan by Andrea Black, called Mary Mary. I feel like a newby knitter. First poor Mary Mary had not enough stitches on one side, then she dropped a stitch then I realized I couldn't keep my gauge right, and then I couldn't follow the chart for the front panels. My Mary Mary was very Contrary and nearly went in the corner but some very kind knitter set me right after an SOS went off in the discussion forum. By then all you could see of Mary dearest was a pile of frogged yarn, which looked like the cardigan had vomited. But I have concentrated hard and the mess has turned into beautiful knitting and all is right with the knitting world.
. So back to Gelati. I am sure that an entire cardigan vomit on my chair and floor is a bad idea. Not that Tom the cat would care he would just sleep in the billowing strands, but the galloping dogs will gather it up and move it all over the house so instead of vomit I'm frogging and winding as I go. And because it's multicolored I'm going to line up the balls as I wind them so I can reknit in the same order.
Maybe that's the skill I'm learning now. Patience and perseverence. Maybe I had to put myself under pressure to increase my skills this time. Or maybe I just didn't want to clean up vomit............

Friday, July 20, 2012

Obsessional behaviour

I used to call my father-in-law Supersonic Sid. I say used too because he's no longer my f-I-l, not that he is late! Anyway, Supersonic Sid had a way of going full tilt at a job that was admirable, but did end up with physical injuries of various family members conscripted to help, and usually of Sid too. But big jobs were done. All tools, materials, and personnel assembled at the same time, job undertaken and then all tools, leftover materials and old materials returned to the right place or dispatched. Job done. Generally straight, done to lockup, but done. The same about the little jobs, almost unnoticeable, minor, inconsequential jobs. He love going on holiday with m-I-l, in a converted minibus, across the Nullabor to Kalgoolie and Perth. Over the years he had bought video cameras updating to the next one and passing the older one onto one of the kids. When we had baby one, we were issued with said old video and issued instructions about care and use. We opened the case it came in and there it was in pristine condition. All stuff In the right space, all cords wrapped neatly and secured with rubber bands, manuals, labelled tapes, leads to go to the television....it was perfect. Over the time we possessed said camera, we lost rubber bands, leads, lense caps, tapes, even the bag (but that was found in a cupboard behind some shoes), and dad would ask to borrow it and when he returned it, it was like new again. MOTH and I chuckled, thinking how clever we were that dad would fix it for us, but this morning I was thinking that Dad's way was pretty clever. I was preparing for starting the second clue of shawl and literally spent half an hour finding stuff that should have been easy to find. Stuff like place markers, needles and the sort. I realized that stuff inside stuff inside stuff doesn't work if you want to be efficient and effective. That labeling things and replacing things when used, broken or lost, would in fact have made the first half hour knitting time instead of stomping and muttering time. Then I can start jobs, even big ones and do them like Sid (sans injuries). So big decluttering going to happen. Prepare a list and do it I say.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Skills. Next Part.

I'm shocked to realize that I am really only a basic knitter. I can follow a pattern, no problems. I can knit and purl, increase and decrease, knit lace and stocking stitch very well, but it's only basic. And I have just worked out my problem. I don't listen. My crazy lace cardi should be finished and I should be wearing but it's into reknit number 4. Because I don't listen. 1. Tension (gauge)swatches are vital. TICK. Pattern swatches are vital too. If you are experimenting with patterns don't wait until the garment is finished before assessing whether the pattern works or not. 2. Always finish the row before you put your knitting down.NO TICK Doubling back may not necessarily be noticed straight away and an inch of knitting on 200 stitches means a lot of ripping and reknitting. 3. Write down everything you change, whether it be amount of decreases or increases and row counts and number of stitches on a section. NO TICK Completing the item and then finding that you've increased one stitch more on the right side of a cardigan may not be so bad if it's in fingering (4ply) weight yarn, but in worsted (10ply) where it's only 4.5 stitches to the inch, it's a problem. 4. Love the yarn. Love the colour, the feel, the way it looks knitted up, TICK because if you do then reknitting number 4 will still be possible. Just as well.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Rainy May Day

My goodness it rained and rained and rained today. The driveway was 4 inches under water, the dogs were saturated, the chooks looked decidedly dishevelled and as usual the back verandah flooded so there is no dry land until you get into the house. But it was a wonderful day for knitting, reading knitting blogs, listening to knitting podcasts and catching up on my Craftsy lessons. I thought I had finally finished the Crazy Lace Bolero but I've screwed up the V neck and without the button band it overlaps by 2 inches and bags at the front. Guess my measurements may have been fudged. But I'm redoing it and it's coming together nicely, so I will block and measure and because it's top-down I can try on before it gets too out of control. I'm using Bendigo Woollen Mills 10ply Luxury in Lake which is like a washed out denim colour, and it's knitting up quickly so when it's finished I'll proudly post photos.
Speaking of measurements, I enroled in Craftsy's Curvy Knits course by Marly Bird. I love the no nonsense way she looks at life and very exciting, the third class is about making a real shaped duct tape wommanakin [sic] of yourself. Gonna buy lots of duct tape........
My word of the day is ingeminate. So at the risk of ingeminating myself (?) ....

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Skills I should learn. Part 1

Today was such a long work day, it seemed like it was just plant after plant after plant. But I guess when it's potting time and the weather isn't too disgusting there has to be long days. Still if all the new little plants grow and then someone buys them, I can buy more yarn, and winter is coming.... I really think the next knitting challenge has to be learning how to knit the continental way. It looks so compact and less jerky than my throw and it really would impress JK's mum if I could just show up at coffee morning and knit differently. Maybe just the leg of a sock... Oo should get some new self patterning yarn :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Positive times

Off topic - life is going well at present. Both mum and m-I-l are behaving, although I'm not looking forward to packing up mum's house ready for the move. M-I-l is ready to come back to water aerobics so at least now I have to go. Mandi got her drivers license yesterday and started at new place of work today, and I didn't have to supervise the drive! JK and I worked with a wonderful group of students planting grassland plants at their school this afternoon. All the animals are curled up sleeping, and JK has gone to get ice-cream. I have been working on my crazy lace cardi and although feather and fan is relatively straight forward 11 sts there's over 200 sts a row and it's getting heavier, but I'm still impressed with the colour and the yarn weight to persevere. I finished my first attempt at designing a sock so know there's just the second sock to knit. I must try the knitting two at a time and see if that's more efficient. Oh good JK's home.........

Friday, May 11, 2012


Since the heart attack I have spent more time thinking about my contribution to the world. In general I am aware of how unhappy a lot of people act, like every moment is an effort, that a smile will cost them a place in a line, that they are all in a rush. In specific, every day I make the effort to engage someone in life - to notice someone's gorgeous boots, hat, blouse, bag; to just say a hello; to offer them a place in line ahead of me. If they smile then that's good. If they chat back, then that's better. If they scowl, keep their head down but accept my offered place at least they can go about their business quicker. So it came to be I was in the chemist getting my treasure chest of meds when a reasonably young woman pushed her way through those waiting for a prescription with her 'elderly' mother in tow. Changes to her mother's medications meant reorganizing her dosage pack and general inconvenience. Her mum was standing just behind her when she barked for mum to listen to the instructions. In the meantime I sat and pulled out a sock I was about to start and 'Mum' came and sat next to me watching every movement of my long tail cast-on, my juggling of 4 dpns, and the jigging of my yarn as I worked. She leaned over to me and whispered 'I have five grandchildren but I can't knit anymore', in a heavily accented voice. I showed her the picture of Chloe in my wallet and she smiled and gestured to my work. 'I used to do two in, two out, two in two out'. I knew instantly that she meant K2P2 rib. She chuckled, 'I made jumpers and socks and hats for my three children'. At this point her daughter snapped at her to leave me alone, but I ignored her and asked about her early motherhood and her grandchildren. She struggled sometimes for the words but we managed. Then her medications were ready and she was gone. Then another woman sat next to me and showed me her heavily arthritic fingers and told me about the shawl with the scotch thistle flower scalloped border she knitted for her grandson, 'But I can't knit anymore because it hurts too much'. Then my meds were ready and I went home. But my new socks have a K2P2 rib, and I'm going to search for that shawl patter, and I'm going to take some knitting everywhere. Not so I get noticed but to hear the stories from the past.