Monday, 24 December 2007

town and country socks from Sirdar

Here are my socks, finished this morning. First they are Christmas decorations on my small tree, brought when I moved out. This tree was a real bargain. It cost me.75 cents from Woolworths in post-Christmas sales several years ago and the price included ornaments! It had originally been marked at $17.50. Unfortunately, the background is very bright and this has muted the colours. Wesley, the bear, was also packed, along with Susannah, his mother, and he's a tourist. He's on the house's third floor balcony and he's surveying leafy Killara and beyond. The socks decided to keep him company. They can see a long way from up here, all around Sydney, out to the Blue Mountains and well south. I need to use binoculars, but I think I can see down to Southern Highlands on a clear day, so Wesley is getting a good view. Mind you, he's being naughty , sitting on the balcony wall. it's a very long way to the bottom if he were to fall.

I have others made from Sirdar Town and Country. They are comfortable, wear well and wash well too. I even throw mine in the dryer with no ill effects. I'm sorry it won't be available any more.

I hope you all have a Happy Christmas.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

saturday sky

This is the view from the middle storey balcony where I now live. Minutes before I took this photo, the sky was clear. Minutes after and I could not see more than a hundred metres or so because of the heaviness of the rain.

This place looks south and west and down below in the valley on the other side of the Lane Cove river is the industrial area of Top Ryde and Macquarie University. This can't be seen in this photo. The balcony on the top floor of the house has now been cleared of years of dust and leaves. I spent a long time on it yesterday. It now has two old armchairs, a coffee table and a lounge. I'm spoilt for knitting comfort. Both my bedroom and that of my son and DIL open onto the balcony which is huge. It's partly oval shaped and is about 7 metres from the house wall to the long end of the oval and about 5 metres across. Nothing in this house, built in the 1920s, was done on a small scale. There are three of these balconies, one above the other, two others on the top side of the house without a roof and about three small juliet style balconies off various rooms. It's good because space is provided where I don't need to feel that I am on top of my son and his wife and imposing on them. I'm quite sure they don't feel like that, but I do.

Friday, 21 December 2007


I have been knitting, socks mainly as they ar easy to transport in the train.

I hope to be back in here before christmas, but will make no promises. To any who call by here, have a Happy Christmas.

I've been minding my mum who is currently at my brother's up the line. She's 87 and was diagnosed with leukemia at the end of September. Last week she had a nasty infection and had only just finished antibiotics two days before when I realised all was not well. Yes, another urinary tract infection which has many very nasty side affects in elderly women. So off to the doctor down here. (She basically lives in Forster with my sister, though has her own house near Castle Hill.) Much stronger medicine with a repeat and the possibility of weeks of medicine.

I took my sock but forgot to take the first one to use as a comparison. I've gone too far and will have to pick back to do the heel.

More emotionally draining is that I have moved and am now living with my son and DIL on Sydney's leafy north shore. I haven't been able to bring much with me yet, as they have just moved here and have not unpacked properly. It was hard to decide what to bring but I have brought some heirloom jewellery, some pictures and photos for a wall... things like that to which are precious to me. It's amazing how much is only "thing" which can be replaced when a long hard look is taken at them. I thought I was prepared for such a move mentally, but I am exhausted and go to bed early. I've been walking heaps, going to and fro from my brother's. That's good in one way, but my brain is still very tense at night, so I get little sleep. The doctor gave me some tablets which I won't use. They make me sleep, at least to begin with, but leave me feeling not hungover, but very morose and weepy.

I am planning on some knitting here over the holiday time. Not tomorrow, we have a working bee planned here with more unpacking and sorting. I'm hoping for a comfortable chair to put in my room which has an amazing view south and west over a large area of Sydney. Then I'll sit and knit.

This is still the season of Advent, the beginning of the church year. Next Sunday is the end of Advent and then there's Christmas. I'm trying to look at this as looking back at the past and forward to the future. Hopefully Christmas will then be a beginning of happier times for me.

May you all have a happy Christmas.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Town and Country sock

Another half a pair this week so far. They are from Sirdar Town and Country sock wool bought on sale at Tapestry Craft. Alas and alack, this brand of sock wool has been discontinued. I have made other socks from this and really like it. Neither of the two pictures is really indicative of the colour which is somewhere in between . It was raining this morning when I took these, and somewhat dark, so I used the paper to reflect some light. Didn't really work.

The wool is soft to knit and I love these colours. My other pairs from similar wool have worn really well and I'm disappointed it's no longer being made. I bought this colour, just because of the brand but am really pleased with the way it's knitted up.

Will I make them identical or fraternal twins? Not sure. In all that sock, there are only two and a half colour repeats. That's a lot of wool to unwind to find the same starting point. The repeat goes all the way down to the thinnish mustard stripe. I've done the pattern before but made the foot part plain this time. It has pulled in on the leg, but is really very stretchy and fits nicely.

I wasn't planning on doing socks this week, but spent a couple of days babysitting young granddaughters while their mum was out SESing in western Sydney after the last big destructive storm on Sunday afternoon. She spent most of Sunday night on one roof where almost every tile had been smashed. Since then, she's been out another two days and another night. She's exhausted. Socks were something I could easily grab on the way out there and also something that did not need too much concentration.

Have just investigated the second ball to see where the stripes start. Wouldn't you know it! Just past the beginning of the sequence already done in the first sock. so I think these will be fraternal socks.

Later again:
Breaking news! Have look for lots of Christmas gifts and other free patterns. Set up like an Advent calendar, one heart opens each day with a free pattern. Socks, bootees, wristwarmers and lots more.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

celery again and candles

Here is another pair done in the Bendigo celery colour. The pattern is a set of vertical zigzags, then stocking stitch and then more zigzags. They don't stand out too well in the photos, and I think I would put a couple of purls between them if I did them again. Perhaps that would help.

As can be seen from the photo, there was still some wool left after two pairs of adult socks. As this was bought on sale, it's making for cheap socks. Of course, that's materials only, but I'm not into knitting for money. Too much stress and pressure. I'll probably keep both pairs. I'll handwash mine, although it is machine washable. It doesn't take long and I save up the handwash socks till there are a few pairs. Others, from "proper" sock wool, get thrown in the machine and often are dried by machine too. I've had no problems ever. And just remember, once upon a time... all socks were made out of ordinary wool, even hand-spun. None of this adding something in for wear like nylon.

The candles are my take on an old tradition of an Advent wreath for the season before Christmas. Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day. A candle is lit on each Sunday, adding to the previous week. Then the larger one is also lit for Christmas. It stands for Christ. I like the sense of connection with ancient tradition and my day. Not just my day, but I'm part of a much larger whole. I think there's often a bit too much stress on individualism today. My devotional book of commentary can also be seen. It has quotes from writers centuries old, about the first five centuries AD.

Actually, this is tied in with my love of knitting. It's an old craft, centuries old. I like using old patterns and have found some great books in op shops. Vintage needles are another favourite thing of mine. I sit and think things over while the needles move, expressing creativity and concern for others.

Monday, 3 December 2007

pink and pretty raspberry ripple

Another pair of socks for grandchildren. This time for Miss Pink, alias Miss Five who wants any colour, "so long as it's pink." I love rich purples but I'm not a pink person. This little girl chose a warm top for me when she was at some markets in Canberra, pale pink. The top is a useful style,I wear it a lot around the house on cooler evenings, but I would not have chosen it for myself. Still I remember she apparently insisted to her parents that they needed to buy something for me, so I'm grateful to her and wear it remembering she chose it with love.

I also chose this colour with love and knitted it likewise. Ii was heartily sick of shades of pink when I had finished, although they were a quick knit. I wasn't going to bother making them identical, or close to, but the dark stripe stood out so much I really had to. Heirloom Jigsaw and I don't now whether I would bother with it again. I like Heirloom Argyle and wish the colour range was greater, but this wasn't cheap. I found it just so-so and look at the patterns in the stripes. Although the socks are mirror reversed, it's obvious that the pattern within bands is nowhere near the same on some colours. Stitch count hasn't changed to influence it.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

celery socks, yum, yum!

These are my celery socks, so-called because not only is that the name of the Bendigo wool, but it really is, IRL, the colour of a stalk of celery. This is 5 ply and feels a firm fabric. Pattern is just a simple stem pattern with knit 2 together and an SSK in reverse positions to the normally expected so the leaf faces out a bit. Six stitches and four rows, very easy. As can be seen in the photo, there is still quite a bit of wool left in the big ball.

They've taken me a while to finish. I ripped out an almost completed raspberry swirl ice-cream sock and am about to start another pattern with that. Then I was away for about a week on a much needed break. Technically, I was cat and house sitting for #1 son, but I didn't spend much time sitting around knitting. What knitting I did was a shawl from some more of the wool from Bendigo. I took out some tension and aggression trimming some rampant wisteria in the garden he and DIL have just taken over.

Colour in photo is reasonably correct. The light was not good here, evn though it's the middle of the day. It was raining while I took this.

The men's socks which I made as a present for a longtime friend were gratefully received. His mum was a knitter but she died some years ago. During one meeting, I had been surreptitiously staring at his feet to try to guess the size. it worked and they fit well. I don't know if I mentioned it, but the camera does sometimes lie. The legs are a good deal longer than they appear in the photo. I think he appreciated the gift.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

knit and rip, knit and rip

I have actually been knitting and had one sock of two different pairs done. However, I've put one sock aside so I can consider if I really do like it more than I think I do. If so, then I'll start the second sock.

The second sock I made quickly and was halfway down the foot. Then this morning, I was up early after a fairly sleepless night, took one look at it in the first light of dawn and decided I would never really be happy with it. So tug, tug and a couple of minutes later all that remained of it was a pile of wool on the deck table.

It was some Heirloom Jigsaw in a bright pink set of tones. I'm not a pink person really, despite my little granddaughters' tastes, although I do like purples. This was not baby pink which I find disgusting, nor was it barbie doll pink, also disgusting to me. It really looked like raspberry ripple icecream and I had been disciplining myself not to start anything till other things were done. I decided to do a very simple four row pattern on the leg to pass the time more quickly and give it a bit of interest. I knew the pattern would not show too well in the variegated yarn but I pressed on. As I knitted, I decided I was not as keen on the colours knitted as in the ball, but I insisted to myself I had to finish it.

I turned the heel and stopped the pattern. Halfway down the foot I thought WOW! I really like this now. The difference in the colours and stripes from patterned leg to smooth stocking stitch was amazing. I was still determind to press on and the silly thought even passed through my mind that just perhaps I could do a plain one and call it two socks together. Shows you the state my mind was in...

All that was last night. The morning dawned and I had returned to my senses. I was never going to be happy with it, so out it all came. I'll re-knit it in plain stocking stitch, possibly with a picot edge which would go with the raspberry.

Doing it again will give me the meditative aspect of knitting again. I find there's something very soothing about the repetitive action, something very soothing about the counting of stitches. If I'm knitting for others there will be prayers for that person woven in with the stitches. This week has been very hard with things thrown at me from several directions and knitting has helped me cope. Not only with its soothing action, but also even being in control of something and deciding its fate when life was in turmoil.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

comfort eating - not worth it

I've been thinking about the pattern a day calendar and had decided not to buy it this year. I think it was 2005 that I made quite a few of the patterns . I bought both 2006 and 2007 but the number I knitted has decreased. Many of them are free on the net and even if not quite the same, there is such a huge range that really, why spend the money. Once again they were not available on the calendar stand at my local shops. When I was last in Borders in the city I looked, as that was where I bought the last one. No luck. That sort of cemented my decision.

However, today I had plans to go to the city and do the remainder of my Christmas shopping. I need to buy something for my mum, brother and sister and top up things for the littlies. We all buy for the children and one adult whose name is drawn from a hat, this year done by Miss Seven who's old enough to read exceptionally well and who read out the names for us. On occasions, things have been a bit jigged to suit preferences, but not this year. LOL.

Now in addition to my messy personal life which is an ongoing saga, Mum developed leukemia a few weeks ago. Perhaps developed is the wrong word. She has had it a while and tests for a urinary tract infection revealed it. She's not coping with the chemo very well at all, and is sick a lot. I don't think the actual diagnosis bothers her, but certainly the treatment does. Now my sister lives with her and gets a carer's pension. She needs a break and we had promised her all of December and some of January . However, unilaterally, she has made decisions without involving my brother or me, and this has made things very difficult both practically for us and in the way she has acted. I wasn't feeling wonderful this morning at all.

So what does this have to do with knitting? I went to the city to Kinokuniya. I wanted a small novelty for a friend's birthday, some nice wrapping paper, a good card for him, an American magazine, possibly a book for myself if one jumped off the shelf into my basket, some children's books. I was going to Borders too with some % off coupons but didn't have the time because of another altered arrangement, thanks to my sister again. A trip to the ABC shop was canned because of lack of time. I could spend a long time there.

So what did I buy? Next to nothing at Kinokuniya. Card selection was poor and I didn't bother looking for paper. Didn't like the children's books I saw and lost heart trying to find something. No novelty items I wantd at price I had availabe to use. Only English magazines and I was after an American one.

I did choose a fancy card for a secret Santa swap I'm involved in. My "santee" as they are known, lives in England. Then I saw the calendars while I was looking for an easy to pack calendar for her. Somehow I bought the knitting calendar.

Like most comfort eating, I later wished I hadn't done that. The editor is new this year and is also a newish knitter, In previous editions, some lengthy patterns have spread over a couple of days with a very small number taking three days.

This year, there are some rather pleasant sock designs but nothing out of the ordinary. Some I would never consider knitting, but that's just my opinion.

However, there are nearly ninety days which are taken up as continuing a pattern. Not much under 25% of the whole calendar is like this. It's not as if many of the patterns really need the spread. One hat pattern writes out every row of the decreases in full to make the second page. Anothr hat tells us to draw thread through remaining stitches, pull together and fasten off , then darn in any ends. Others are similar. I felt ripped off and I won't be buying it next year. It comes all sealed, so there is no way of checking. At least if there is just a wall calendar, I can see the pictures on the back. While I don't actually expect a set of 300+ on the packet, I really was unhappy with this.

On a brighter note, I did see a hanging calendar with pictures and patterns for sock monkeys. Twelve patterns. I really don't see the appeal of these, although I know many who love them. So if you are looking for a calendar and like sock monkeys and have some small people in your life who would love them, perhaps this will do you. Don't buy the other one. $25 could get some more sock wool!

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Bendigo sale

Bendigo Mills is having a sale. Free postage in Australia over $30 of wool.

Each of these balls is 200 gm. The three in the front left are part of the Classic range which comes in 5 and 8 ply. This is dark plum, celery and blue in 5 ply. Possibly socks for grandkids, although I like the plum myself and also other goodies. I have some other Classic in my stash and think I will make some 8 ply hats and scarves to be given to a charity which works with those on the streets here. I know someone who works with this group.

The two balls of lilac to the right of them are for a shawl. A mix of merino, bluefaced leicester and some mohair, about 10 %. I haven't used this before.

The 5 balls at the back are all 8 ply alpaca. Black, grey, pistachio and a beautiful soft blue. They are gorgeously soft and squishy and I could sit and pet and squeeze them for a long time. They feel beautiful. i've just made myself an alpaca hat and short scarf and have no real plans yet for this. However, at the price, I could not resist.

All up, about $120. Click on image to enlarge.

men's socks

The birthday socks are finished and blocked a full week before the birthday. I've even put them with the other present I bought some weeks ago which I chose well before I thought of making socks. I have a bad record of putting presents bought early in a safe place which is then promptly forgotten, but I think these will be fine.
Material details: an old Patons pattern with calf shaping. I think a similar pattern is in their Winter Warmers book. Suggested wool was Totem, 8 ply. These are made from Bendigo 8 ply classic which is their machine wash 8 ply. It knits very evenly and is currently on special till sometime in December. I rather like the big 200 gm balls with no joins needed. Needles were to be 3.25 mm but I knit loosely so went down to 3 mm. This has made a good firm fabric, great for socks and my tension was absolutely accurate to that recommended.

They are very long on my leg, coming up onto my kneecap. I made them 2" shorter than pattern suggested. Even so, the leg seemed interminable. It went on forever. The amount leftover from the 200 gm ball can be seen with the yellow needles stuck in the ball. These needles were bought last month from St Vinnies in Burwood. They are superquiet. Bendy whihch tok a bit of gettng used to, but really pleasant to knit with.

I was in Burwood yesterday and went into St Vincent de Paul. Nothing knitting related there. As I was about to come home, I walked past the local Anglicare op shop. I haven't had much success there with knitting things but went in. The picture shows my haul. I wonder if it all came from the same knitter. The tortoiseshell needles are fine and some of the dpns may be 1.5 or 1.75 mm. The gauge I used yesterday did not go down far enough to tell. I'll need to get my bigger gauge out. I'll wash them all. The dpns are quite dirty and four of them, on the far left, very fine, have been held together by an elastic band. Urrk!

All up, just over 40 needles for the utterly exorbitant price of $2!

Sunday, 11 November 2007

voilà! One sock done.

First man's sock done. This is a present for a close friend of mine whose birthday is in a couple of weeks. I bought him a present a few weeks ago and then this week decided to make him some socks. His Mum was a knitter and he appreciates hand crafted things.

I haven't done a man's sock before and am so pleased I chose 8 ply for my first one, not 3 ply. This is 8 ply machine washable wool from Bendigo and it knitted up quite quickly. The pattern is an old Paton's pattern with shaping at the back of the calf. The leg is over 12 inches long, and I shortened it by about 2". I seemed to have been knitting forever.

Not a wonderful colour here. Late afternoon light. It's really a café au lait colour, like the crema on a good coffee. The needles are some of the vintage sets I bought at St Vinnies a while back. $2 a set. The pattern said to use 3.25 but I knit loosely, so went down to 3 mm. It's certainly a firm fabric. He wears Holeproof Explorer socks often, so I figured these would still fit his shoes as the Explorers are quite thick.

I'll do the second sock next, so they are done in time for his birthday. It will feel srange going back to toddler socks in 3 ply after doing these.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

lovely new yarn

I ordered a book from Pierre the Yarn Snob and received not only the book but a lovely surprise as shown in the picture. Its colours are so lovely and fresh and springlike. I've wound it and weighed it and re-wound half into a second ball. I'm thinking simple toe-up to see how far I can get. I do have some patonyle in white which I could use for heels and toes.

The colour is not quite right in the photo. There is more of an aqua tone to the wool, a bit like the photos one sees in touristy magazines of people snorkelling on some island at an expensive resort. I've tried fiddling with the photos and can't get it right so have given up on it. We need the rain, so I won't complain. The weather is funny today. There are very heavy dark clouds, sudden showers, brilliant sun, sun showers. The photos were taken in that fresh greeny yellowy sunshine which sometimes comes immediately after some rain. In another minute it was pouring again.

second sock of many colours

I had loads of time waiting yesterday for my hearing aid to be fixed, so managed this second sock. It has only 42 stitches and it's perfectly plain knitting so it went quickly. At least I can now hear again as I have a loan hearing aid while mine is fixed. This is the first problem in over five years, so I've been lucky with these. Mum often has problems with hers.

I'm a bit bored with toddler socks and these were an unintended knit after fiasco with 8 ply and needles mentioned a couple of posts below. I may do another pretty pair now.

Monday, 5 November 2007

stashbuster socks

Here's the little sock made after much exasperation as detailed in the post below. The tiny blue stripe and the green foot are Wildfoote which I won't buy again, and the others are from Elann. I like the knitted fabric from the Wildfoote but find it very splitty. It felt good using up odds and ends which were hanging around.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

a ripping good time was had

My little Brittany birch dpns have been running hot the last couple of weeks, so I thought I would give them and my hands a break and knit something thicker. I looked around and found some machine wash 8 ply Cleckheaton. Decided to use the vintage plastic(?) needles I found at St Vinnies.

I cast on 48 stitches, thinking that the thick wool and big needles would make for a quick knit. However, the needles kept splitting the wool and driving me crazy. I persevered and got past the ribbing. I worked three repeats of a small chevron pattern and had a good look. The wool is fairly loosely spun and plied and the pattern didn't stand out.

So I ripped it back to the ribbing.

Gave up on the plastic dpns. Not only were they splitting the wool, but they need to be cut down and re-sharpened. the points were catching in my sleeves after using the tiny birch needles.

So I ripped it back to the ribbing again, not as far back as the first time.

Looked for some metal needles but could not find a full set in either 3.0 mm or 3.25 mm in my accumulation on the coffee table. I suppose I might have had more upstairs but I was lazy.

Got out the Knitpicks options and set up for magic loop which I often use on hats. Found I did not like the length of the cable I had chosen so swapped the cable over and set off again. Still did not like socks and magic loop.

So I ripped it completely out, right back to the very beginning.

Now I've just finished another sock for youngest grandchild in an attempt to use up a lot of bits and pieces. It looks good but it was a real pain to finish off all the ends from the stripes. It's dark now, so a photo tomorrow.

Rain, rain and thunderstorms. That was what was behind this Saturday sky. It was lovely to hear and more rain is forecast for all the week. I hope the forecasters are more accurate than they have been lately.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Ashes socks done

This is the second of the Ashes socks. I did take a photo of them both on my feet. It was very blurry, I thought I must have moved my camera. However, the battery completely died minutes later, so perhaps that was what was wrong. The leg is longer than it appears here. It has been foreshortened by the camera angle.

The socks are very stretchy and feel comfortable on my feet. There is a small amount of wool left from this ball. I had already done another sock in this wool a couple of years ago, a free on web vintage pattern by Nancy Bush. it looked good but I succumbed to Second Sock Syndrome with it, a disease I don't often catch. I'll frog that sock, basically 50 gm worth of wool and do something small or striped with it.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007


One finished sock for probably the present basket and one pair for the youngest grandchild. He's not long turned two, but already has a bigger foot than his three year old cousin. I've made this pair very big, but he'll grow. They are intended for next winter, so hopefully they will still fit then. I've now quite an accumulation of browns, bones etc and some green as well. I can see a stripey pair for little Finn on the list of projects.

The other single sock is called "Ashes" and I found the pattern in the list at Knitting Pattern Central. It's a ridiculously easy pattern to do and the fabric pulls in nicely to be snug but will easily stretch to a much larger size. In fact, the rib pulls in so snugly that the rest of the foot looks enormous after it. I cast on for the second sock today and am about a quarter of the way down the leg.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

it's wet in the frog pond

Well, success at long last! This is the fourth time today I've tried to upload photos. I could choose them but upload? Not at all, even though I waited for over five minutes at one time. This is today's Saturday Sky, very pale at first light, taken very early this morning, not long after 5:00am and a few minutes after sunrise. The sun is just touching some flowers on my bottlebrush tree. Clicking on image will give a (much) bigger picture where the flowers can be seen clearly. Tomorrow morning it will look like that but at just after 6:00. Clocks go on an hour for daylight saving. It will be nice to wake up at 5:00 am, instead of 4:00am. Well, who am I kidding? I'm sure that won't last. However, next week is the last week of the academic term for me. There are a couple weeks more of stuvac and exams, but that's it for me till some time in February.

This wool lost its battle with me. I won. After my earlier post about it being extremely twisty, I cast on and knitted slowly and carefully for some anklet socks for me as I wear a lot that style. I have to wear "closed in" shoes (i.e jogger type) at work by OH&S regulations. I turned the heel and had tiny, even stripes in white and granny smith apple green. Heel stripes matched up reasonably well. Then I noticed the pooling starting on the front of the sock. Why should it do that now? So I've ripped it all out and climbed out of the frog pond. I'll put the wool back in my stash but have no idea what i will do with it. Perhaps a scarf, although it would look pretty as as bolero or shrug for one of the granddaughters. Still, I knitted them all shrugs last Christmas as part of their presents.

The top picture shows the even striping and the reasonable match of colours on the heel. I've pulled it off the needles in preparation for ripping it out. The bottom picture is the sock, looking at the instep and front of the foot. The pooling can clearly be seen and it was continuing every row. Same number of stitches, same needles. What a nuisance and I really liked the wool too. I have the seller's email and website. I am not sure whether to get in touch with her or not. I suppose I'll put it down to an unfortunate experience. 200 gm in the ball too.

In the last couple of days, I've made pair of socks for Master Two who has bigger feet than his cousin, Miss Three. Dark brown with pumpkin heels and toes, made big enough, I hope for next winter. No pictures as yet taken.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

frog, frog, sob, sob

A question before the whine...can anyone identify these needles? I was hoping to buy needles from a particular vendor at the Spinners and Weavers Day. However she wasn't there this year. Two years ago I bought some vintage needles from her, small dpns. As I walked down Burwood road a couple of weeks ago after leaving the Open Day, I saw these needles in a tin in the local Vinnies. There were eight of them, five yellow and three pink. They feel quite bendy and flexible and I wondered how they would go. They weren't dear at all so I bought them all. To my surprise, I really liked them. They are too long and I'll have them cut down, but they feel good to use, almost like my favourite casein needles. They look oldish plastic, have quite a bend to them but knit well. These are equivalent of 3 mm.
Now I bought this wool at the Open Day. it says 5 ply crepe. Certainly crepe finish but I think it resembles the thickness of Lion Brand Magic Stripes more than 5 ply. That would make it 6 ply, American sportweight. The needles shown are 3.0 mm and the fabric is very firm.

This is the spring green colour I wanted when I made the brown Zokni socks. I loved it and bought it immediately I saw it. Not expensive, but not cheap either. 200gm in hank which wound well. I tried two different patterns but frogged them both as the design did not show up well. I decided to let the colour speak for itself.

Now for whine #1. The wool is splitty, no matter what needles I use. It's as bad as the Wildfoote luxury sock yarn which makes beautiful feeling fabric but splits constantly. I've done several pairs of sock in Wildfoote and vowed never again.

Whine #2. I could sort of put up with the splitting of the wool, but I have another problem. It seems to be badly plied. If I hav more than about a handspan of length of wool between needles and ball of yarn, that length immediately folds up on itself and twists as if making a twisted cord for a belt etc. If I disregard it for a few stitches, it seems to easily fall into a knot, or if I pull at the two sides of the twist, another knot forms. I need more yarn than 9" to work with an even tension. Is this a problem with the plying? I'm not a spinner although I do have a traditional Ashford wheel and did some many years ago.

Is thre any way of fixing this or of handling the yarn in a particular way so I can use it? Or do I jsut put it down to experience and put it back in the stash. It might work if crocheted but I'm not about to try that in a hurry either. I have the seller's email and a webpage on Ozemail so I could contact her about the wool, but thought I'd ask here first for ideas.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

combubble socks. or another convert to handcrafted socks

I gave Miss Just-Three the first of this pair. They were made for next year so I made them long in the foot and they were also a bit loose in the leg. Her eyes lit up and she said, "Grandma, these are real combubble (comfortable) socks." She did not want to take it off.

The first sock was a product of three hours on the train last Friday along with some time waiting for connections. The second sock is actually a few stitches smaller. Same foot length, but just a bit snugger around the leg, although the leg length is good. I still have enough left of the two colours to make a pair for her cousin in reverse colours to these. He's a year younger, but takes a larger shoe size than she does. Takes after his dad, my son, who is 6'5" and wears an Australian size 14 shoe. I don't make socks for him or his brother who is same size.

Not bad going for 100 gm of two different colours. Two pairs of adult socks, one child's pair and another to come.

Friday, 19 October 2007

crosshatch socks all hatched!

Crosshatch socks all hatched and ready to sit in present basket. I really enjoyed doing this stitch and will do it again, I think. This is done in Hotsocks sock wool I bought last Saturday at the Spinners and Weavers Open Day. I've actually been quite busy at work all week, but the business has been in spurts. There were times when I could sit and knit and the eight rows of this pattern go quickly. It's from More Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. I have both these books and think the info contained is great. Lots of variations to suit needles, tension, yarn, size foot etc and lots of useful information about knitting. However, I think I like the second book more than the first. Just personal preference, but I like the stitch patterns more. I have several stitch dictionaries, but don't seem to have most of these stitches.

Wool here is HotSocks knitted on 2.5 mm Brittany Birch needles which I bought from Daphne at the Knittery.

Why the mints tin? I was sitting looking at the empty tin the other day while knitting and thinking there had to be a use for such a tin. Wool and darning needles sprang to mind. Just perfect, and a good, tightfitting snap lid too. Such needles have been rattling around in my container of stitch markers for quite a while. Now they have been transferred.
As can be seen, there was a surprising amount left of the HotSocks wool. The dark chocolate Essential Sock It to Me sock yarn from Elann goes well, so this will be another pair. Possibly for one of the grandchildren. It's my day off today, I work Monday-Thursday but DIL has asked me to do some emergency babysitting this afternoon. That means an hour in the train each way for about three hours child minding till my son arrives home. More knitting time. I'm also minding the other lot tomorrow afternoon and evening while their parents are at a wedding. I doubt I will get much done then.

Monday, 8 October 2007

mosaic sock

One mosaic sock finished and shown with a bad photo. Coulours are really quite intense and deep. However, it was late afternoon when I took the photo and I seem to have also taken it on a funny angle. The sock has 2x2 rib across teh top of the foot and it's hard to see that here. Purple should be really deep, roay purple. Unfortunately, the pattern on the sock has also been scrunched up a bit. That's not there in real life.

The mosaic from More Sensational Knitted Socks was easy to do. 28 rows in the pattern but only 14 needed counting. the others were repeats of the row before.

It was fairly quickly done, made quicker by my sitting with my foot up all day yesterday and doing nothing but knitting. I was babysitting on Friday and Saturday at Woy Woy. Just before DIL was due home, we started tidying up. I turned and put my bare foot down, right on the solid grader blade of Master Two's handcrafted wooden tractor. Ouch and a lot more too. I stumbled and there was absolutely nothing to grab so I fell full length on the loungeroom floor. Lots of bruises and a very sore foot, bruised underneath on the ball of the foot.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

zokni socks

Here are the Zokni socks finished. They were an easy knit and very quick to do. The pattern was ten rows long. so I tried to not leave off knitting in the middle of a pattern repeat. Of course, once I was on the foot, there were only two needles involved in the pattern, so it went extra quickly. Brittany Birch needles from the everhelpful Daphne at the Knittery. The sock wool is some I bought a couple of years ago from Elann, Essential Sock it to Me. It's not super-luxurious but knits up nicely and wears really well. Other socks from it are machine washed regularly and often thrown into the dryer. No problems.

I changed the pattern slightly. 2x2 rib instead of single. Why? Couldn't really say, except that I just did it, for a change, I suppose. I also did a different toe, a star toe and saved the trouble of grafting. Not that I really mind Kitchener stitch, but usually have to look it up to make sure I get it right. This one I can do off the top of my head.

I've also cast on for another pair. This chevron mosaic is from the second book, More Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Scurch. I started mosaic socks once before and found the pattern dead easy. However, I could not work out number of stitches I needed to allow for the tighter knitting of the mosaic pattern. Thanks to the great tables in the book, I think I'll be OK with this pair. I'm doing the leg on 2.75 rosewood needles and will go down to a smaller size for the foot. Pattern is a 10 stitch pattern, so 60 stitches works just fine. Some more Elann wool. These needles make me feel that I'm knitting with curtain rods. The Brittany Birch needles are 5" long. I love the rosewood but the length feels odd after the short ones.

I don't know how many have this book but here is a link to a list of corrections for it. Six pages of them.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007


I've finished this sock for the KAL. Now for the second one. I used the little row counter with a sheep's face right through the pattern. My other one seems to have disappeared and I found this one useful. It came as a freebie with Simply Knitting. Which reminds me, It's more than time for Yarn to have appeared in my letter box!

I was planning on trying two socks on two circulars, but realised I have nothing smaller than 3.)) mm in circ, so will have to have a look around. I'm fussy about the joins. Do Knitpicks make them smaller than 3 mm? will have to have a look next time I'm in the city.

So what comes after this pair? I'm now considering a mosaic pair from More Sensational Knitted Socks.

Must fly, am back at work this week and I need to get ready. Will give KAL's URL later today.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

saturday sky (not) and some photos

At 6:00 am, just after sunrise here, I went to take some photos in the early morning light. The battery on my camera was completely flat. I have an enormous memory card in the camera and can take several thousand photos on it. I forget to check the battery. It took several hours to recharge, it must have meant it when it said the battery was completely flat, and by that time the light had changed dramatically. No soft early morning glow. Heavy, thick, very dark grey clouds covered the sky and I just could not make myself take another Saturday sky looking like that.
These two photos are the alpaca socks which I did. I love these soft, muted tones, but unfortunately, they don't love me. Make me look like death warmed up, as my mother would say. However, I don't think I'll worry about the colour down on my feet. I bought the alpaca to make my brother a scarf after the death of my sister-in-law three years ago. I think I could see it would take forever to finish, so I frogged it and have had the yarn ever since. I used something else for him. I had both it and the remainder of one of the colours of Wildfoote side by side on the coffee table, when I realised how well they matched. So alpaca for legs and feet, and Wildfoote for ribbing, heels and toes as it is sock wool and more durable than alpaca by itself.

I think I said earlier that I used five dpns to knit these. Each of the moss stitch sections down the inside and outside of the legs went by itself on a needle. No accidental missing to purl! The moss stitch does not show up fantastically well, but that's the nature of the alpaca. It made the socks a bit more interesting to knit than if they had been all stocking stitch. These will be handwash only but that's OK, they're for me. I'd rather not use five needles, but four, but would do it again in similar circumstances. The alpaca makes the socks exceptionally soft and cosy.

Here's some more alpaca. It's the second ball of the 8 ply I bought at Berrima a couple of weeks ago. This matches the hat shown a few posts down. I wondered what to do with a second ball which I had expected to use on the hat. I cast on a couple of stitches, used garter stitch throughout, increased evenly to eighteen stitches and knit from there. I had estimated how much I would need to do the decreases at the other end, but overestimated, so turned the remainder into tassels. I pulled out the innards of the skein and measured it off, tied a loose slip knot and shoved the rest back inside the ball. Unfortunately too much came out at first, so I had to wind it up and this made a small ball which kept falling out. being 8 ply, it didn't take long to knit and it feels beautiful, very soft and cosy. It really should have been blocked before being photographed. I might even keep it for myself. It's not particularly long, but will be long enough for me. I don't wear scarves a lot and certainly don't use them to make a fashion statement as some of the girls at college do. I've seen some of them lately wearing spaghetti strap tops and then a huge scarf to keep warm. Comfort first is the way I feel! I must be getting old.

Yet another scarf. This will go in the present box. It's the 8 ply Kmart Homemaker brand, pure wool, unidentified. Cast on forty (I think), stitches. Knit in stocking stitch. On every plain row, increase one in the first stitch and knit the last two stitches of the row together. Eyelets are knitted straight across, but the increases and decreases make it appear as if they are knit on the bias. Colour shown here is reasonably accurate. I prefer my purples to be more like the alpaca scarf, sort of purple/cranberry. Quite a different tone to this. This is the dye I had in the house, so I used it as an experiment.

Finally, yet another scarf. This is made in Anny Blatt kid merino with again, forty stitches. There are well over two hundred metres in the ball and I have another one, bought a couple of years ago at a Tapestry Craft sale. I'm using 8 mm needles, the Knitpicks again. I started out doing a cat's paw stitch, but it didn't show too well in the mohair,so out it came and this was done instead.

The colour is a bit washed out here. It's a rich red/brown/orange. A bit like the colour Burnt Sienna in the old fashioned sort of paintset watercolours I had in primary school. The yarn is lovely to use, not much thicker than a spider web. It's really windy outside, even on my sheltered deck and I had trouble with the scarf fluttering in the wind. Even with the mohair, the scarf is supersoft with no sign of a prickle.

Speaking of spider webs...I really don't mind spiders at all and rarely kill them. However, it was a bit much when I was up in the dark at 4:30 this morning and a spider web caught in my hair in the hall outside the bathroom. I could still feel bits some hours later, even after pulling at it and brushing my hair a couple of times. I live in a very old house and it's just about impossible to eliminate spiders and insects from every nook and cranny of the building. I wonder if this was a hint that it's spring time down here and I need to spend my week's holiday spring cleaning? I hope not, because I will do some, but don't intend to let it monopolise my week.

Mum is home from the hospital and feeling better. She has to see her GP on Monday and my sister has been trying to make her an appointment with the specialist. She has now been told she has lymphatic leukemia. She actually does not really sound worried, and I don't think she's kidding herself. I think that she felt so absolutely dreadful while she was sick and then again while she was still in hospital, that anything seems like an anticlimax. I'm sure she thought she was about to die on the spot. She doesn't want to die while her youngest grandson is still in the USA on an exchange visit. He won't be back till the beginning of November, so while she knows the disease is incurable, she feels better. Strange ways our minds work sometimes! Her other grandchildren are adults and she has great grandchildren. This boy was born to my brother and his wife after eighteen years of marriage, so is much younger than the rest of them. My sister-in-law died three years ago when my nephew was on the point of turning eleven.

Friday, 21 September 2007

right, so who hid my pins?

My day off today. Actually, it's the start of a whole week off, mid-semester break. I managed to sleep in and now I can't wake up! I still wasn't dressed at 9:30 when I usually leave the house at 6:50 am.

I found some dye in a purple colour. Now I like purple, but have done a lot of it lately. As I haven't done much dyeing, I decided to use it instead of buying more. I found a new stockpot which I bought last year for the canteen but couldn't use there. The bottom is not really flat and I use electric hotplates there. Soup would just not heat.

However I have a good gas stove here. I set everything up and slowly added scarf which had been soaking all night. I left it barely simmering for an hour. Success! A pleasant even colour, even if it was purple.

Then I went to block it. I cannot find my pins anywhere. I daresay they will turn up when I least expect them, but cannot work out where they have been put.

I set up a big towel on the table on the deck and have carefully arranged the scarf on the towel. I've pulled it as straight as possible and will see what the finished result is. if I have to, I'll buy some more pins and do it again.

Then I remembered my husband's grandmother. She knitted all her life, even when all she could do at the end was misshapen squares for a rug. Her mother had lived with her till Nana was forty. Nana never did housework and when her own mother died, housework passed to Nana's daughter. I don't think she ever cooked anything beyond rice custard and frankfurts. She certainly didn't know how to use an iron. Oh, I forgot. She used to grill cheese slices on Sao biscuits for morning tea. One day when slices came individually wrapped in plastic, she grilled a slice, plastic and all. Didn't know any better.

Her blocking was to stretch out garment and then put it under the mattress. She spent a lot of time in bed from age forty on. At first it was just what she wanted to do, then she became incapacitated with a broken hip and knee and was confined there. Her knitting always looked OK, so a week in bed must have worked for the blocking. LOL. Actually, she would be horrified to see how busy my life is. Somehow I prefer it busy to constant bed.

When I was shopping this afternoon, I decided to get more pins. Of course, the ones I have will turn up in a few days, but that's life. I was in Coles and had a look. Hmm..$2.87 for a pinwheel of forty glassheaded pins. I went upstairs to KMart and bought two plastic containers from Birch, one hundred pins, $2.49 per container for 100 pins. OK, So the ones I had were a bit different, but what a difference in price.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Blogger Play

Here's a neat site showing the photos as they are uploaded to BLOGGER. You can click to pause and then click to go the the blog displaying a particular photo.

finished objects

Three lots of finished objects. All very simple stuff. My brain seems to have turned to mush (see post below for causes). I have been working on easy stuff which I can pick up and drop at a minute's notice at work. Nothing which involves much counting or calculation or thought.

Hopefully, there wil be some pictures on Friday. That's my usual day off and I have a break till October 2 after that. I am really looking forward to that.

First: I wondered what to do with the second ball of alpaca from Berrima. I started a scarf with a couple of stitches and increased evenly till there were eighteen. I used 8 mm needles, the Knitpicks Options. Just garter stitch. As I said, I needed mindless knitting. I roughly measured out how much yarn there had been in the increase section and pulled that from the centre of the ball. Far too much came out and I had to wind it into a small ball and poke it back inside after I had measured off the amount for decreases at the other end, plus a bit to make sure. Decreased, cast off and found I had a few metres left. So I made a tassel for each pointy end. It's very soft and cosy and adequate in length but by no means long.

Then yesterday I finished the socks with the Wildfoote toes and heels and the alpaca for legs and foot. These too are very soft with a band of 8 stitches of moss stitch running up both sides of leg. I used five needles although I much prefer using four. The knitting is more stable with stitches on three needles and a fourth to knit with, rather than using five altogether. They need a bit of blocking to look their best for a photo.

The last is a bias diagonal scarf from 8 ply Kmart Homemaker brand. I's very similar to this one, but longer. I think I paid well under $3 for 100 gm and I had a choice of colour.For some reason I chose white. I suppose I must have had my reasons, but cannot recall any of them now. I'm going to dye it, possibly dark blue or green.

I'm feeling a bit better now so I'll have to consider what's next. Possibly another scarf, but something lacy.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

a week I'd rather had never happened

Last weekend started brilliantly. In fact the whole weekend was a great gift. I was away with friends, new and old. Lots of time talking, listening, eating, socialising. Then, as the saying goes, everything blew up. Home as I have known it for some many years is no more. I'm past my use-by date and will be traded in on a new, younger model. Not that she's the first younger model tested at all, but this one has led to my trade in.

Scarcely had that shock registered than my sister rang. Mum, who is 87, very independent and intellectually strong and full of vigour, had had a stomach upset which left her severely dehydrated. The dehydration caused symptoms of incoherence and garbled speech, similar to a stroke, so my sister called an ambulance and Mum was taken to hopsital.

They dealt with the dehydration with a drip and some drugs to stop the vomiting and started many tests including a lumbar puncture which greatly distressed her. It was possible she had meningitis. Blood tests results which came back on Tuesday morning after being done late Monday revealed something much worse. She has leukemia. As yet we have no prognosis, although she has been started on some chemotherapy. An oncology nurse friend says there is some gentle stuff for elderly patients. While she is no longer incoherent, some things do seem to be passing her by. She does not recognise the seriousness of her condition and thinks she can go home today. On the other hand, she can recite all the family birthdays in September and can say what she bought for each. She's worried that she has not yet bought anything for my granddaughter, her great granddaughter, who turns three at the end of the month.
I've been grateful for my knitting in these circumstances. It's all been small stuff which has not taken much thought but which has been calming to knit.
The second photo shows Wesley modelling an alpaca hat I did through the week. Fortunately my head is not the same shape as Wesley's and the hat looks better on me than on him! The yarn is gorgeously soft. It was bought at the Alpaca Centre at Berrima on the NSW Southern Highlands. I paid extra to buy the all Australian alpaca yarn, rather than the import from Peru. The Peruvian yarn had suggested needle size and tension on the ball band. It also had a yardage shown of 100 yards. Now, as it came in both 5 ply and 8 ply and both said 100 yards for 50 grams, that seemed a bit strange. However, it was an attempt. Other than a name, Coolaroo Alpaca 8 ply, the Australian product had nothing like that on the label. No needles, no tension and no yardage. I mentioned this to the people in the alpaca centre and although one seemed to be a boss of some sort, it meant nothing and they could not see why I asked about it. Because of the lack of information, I bought two balls. The hat has quite a bit of stocking stitch rolled for an edge, a panel of moss stitch and then stocking stitch for the decreases. I finished it in one ball with about 8" left over. So what do I do with one ball of leftover alpaca of uncertain yardage? I could do another hat as a gift but would have to make sure I gave it to someone who would treat it carefully and not felt it.

Top picture is Saturday sky today, a beautiful spring day. It looks more cheerful than I feel at the moment.

Othr projects have been a simple diagonal drape scarf. Stocking stitch. Every plain row increase one stitch at the beginning of the row and knit last two stitches together. It's done in white homebrand wool from Kmart which was some ridiculous price for 100 grams. But white? Whatever was I thinking of. I'll probably dye it, but no idea yet of the colour to choose. I've also nearly finished the alpaca socks with heels and toes of the Wildfoote.

So all simple stuff which has allowed me to knit meditatively without having to pay much attention to a pattern. I find knitting very calming and that effect has certainly been needed this week. The family has closed ranks around mum and particularly around me as I try to deal with this double blow. My sons have been amazing and and my DILs have been caring and gone out of their way to be helpful and compassionate. I know they are all hurting too as things have come to light which show a great deal of hypocrisy towards them. Enough said.

I'm a christian and pray regularly. Knitting has helped in meditation. I also at times use Anglican prayer beads as an aid to prayer. Touching each beads helps me concentrate. I pray both set things like the Lord's prayer and the Creed and Psalms as well as my own words. This is a difference to a rosary. While I was knitting this hat, I found myself using the stitches like the beads to help me concentrate on my prayer. I'd really appreciate it if those of you who pray could pray for both me and my mum and our family at this time. I have a strong sense of peace and calm for myself. I do not know particulars of where I will live etc but strangely am not worried. Mum has had a long, full life but leukemia is horrid.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

wildfoote socks and saturday sky with spring flowers

First, a couple of photos of Saturday sky. These were taken out both the front and back of my house. We face northeast at the back and the light and sky are often totally different to out the front.

I'll probably be moving soon, so am taking photos of all sorts of bits and pieces. This is more sky and the flowering star jasmine. It's actually intertwined with a beautiful creamy briar rose which has grown enormously in a few years. Photo looks south east. The last week has been beautiful, although far too warm for the time of year. Today there is a change on the way and the clouds are probably the first sign of that.

One more photo before knitting content. I have several tubs of freesias, a long time favourite flower. I also like sweet peas but haven't planted any this year and remember fondly the enormous deep purple violets from the neighbour's house where my parents lived at Lawson. All flowers with a beautiful perfume. When I come downstairs in the morning, I can smell the perfume from the freesias which wafts in th kitchen window. This week it has been joined by a bowl of hyacinths which were a birthday present to me from my brother. Sadly, those flowers are now almost dead and the perfume is faint. Just a lingering trace. Sad, but life and somewhat typical of my own life at the moment.

I've actually done a few hats but have given them away before I took photos.
Here are the wildfoote socks finished. A strong contrast with the white legs which haven't seen the sun all winter! This is a very simple pattern which was done on a five stitch repeat around the sixty stitches each round. I was concerned that it seemed to have begun to spiral on the bias as I knitted them, but it can't be seen when wearing so it was probably the way I had the stitches and needles placed. I did have one pattern with a lot of lacy knit 2 together patterns begin to spiral. The pattern reminds me of ladders.

I used a heel flap with these, 28 stitches for the flap and 28 rows. The extra two stitches became a purl edge to the pattern down the instep.

Some years ago, I bought some alpaca to make my brother a scarf after his wife died. I was having a lot of trouble with the arthritis in my hands at the time, and they did not like the alpaca which has little elasticity, if any. I've tried a few things and frogged each time. I have quite a bit of both the green and red Wildfoote left after socks for me, even with longish cuffs. I realised the alpaca and the green Wildfoote are a perfect match, so I've started some more socks. Wildfoote for ribbing, heels and toes. The alpaca is blissfully soft, so I've used sockwool for the toes and heels, hoping it will wear well. Handwash only for these, I think. I started them on Strathfield station yesterday while waiting for a train to Woy Woy to see son and DIL who cuts my hair for me. It was long overdue yesterday and I'm sure I could have made a pair of socks from the clippings on the floor! Well, perhaps, not quite, but it felt like that. I've now done a short row heel and am just about to start the foot on the first sock.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007


I'm now Shalom at Ravelry. I haven't added anything except a bit to my profile. I think that may need to wait till the weekend and I'll need to upload some more to Flickr. Since I started this blog. I haven't used my Flickr account much at all. It all looks interesting, but will need exploring.

Saturday, 25 August 2007


I have been doing some knitting but not much. A week ago, I cast on a pair of socks from the geranium colour of Wildfoote which I bought last year. I already have made up the other colour and I enjoy wearing the socks which are soft and easy to wash. However, I find the wool very splitty to knit and the geranium colour shows differently on every reseller site I have looked at. The colour in real life is much more muted than I believed it to be. It's fine but it's not what I chose. Clicking on the photo linked will show largetr picture and what i thought the colour would be. As I said, it's acceptable but not what I bought it as, even though I know cameras and monitors can vary. However, it's only the second time I've been diappointd in a lot of wool, so I'm possibly lucky.

This sock, which I just finished tonight, has a very simple pattern of ladders of eyelets regularly arranged around the sock. I really like shortrow heels, but the last four pairs I have made have had heel flaps and gussets and so does this pair. Don't know why. I don't think I consciously decided that way. It just happened.

Actually, conscious decisions have been few and far between this week. I went to work on Monday and out for a birthday dinner with my sons and family that night where i didn't feel very well. I haven't had the flu, but it seemed more than a cold. perhaps one of those bugs which have mutated over the season. As usual, when I get something in winter, it's towards the end of the season. I've been off work all week, although Friday is a normal day off for me. Not much thinking. My brain was in a fog but seems to be reappearing now.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

grey saturday

As you can see, quite a lot of cloud today, even though the morning was clear. At the top of the hill near the station, I could see lots of very heavy black cloud to the south. Some more rain would be nice. It's turned quite chilly too, although the morning was quite mild. It's good weather for curling up and knitting. I'm not sure what I will do next.

I have some Romney 5 ply calling to me from its prison in the cedar chest which used to belong to MIL. It's dark brown and there is quite a lot of it. I bought it at an Open Day for the Spinners and Weavers' Guild, NSW. For those in Sydney, their next Open Day is October 13th at the hall of St Paul's Anglican Church, Burwood, a couple of blocks up from the station, readily accessible by public transport. If I go, I'll probably walk there. I do actually have another possible engagement in the Southern Highlands that day. So what will I make? Lots and lots of socks perhaps, or charity hats. I know a couple of organisations working with those on the streets at King's Cross and they are always wanting hats and scarves etc. There is also an Australian Yahoo group knitting for charity. They have special projects and are happy for knitters to donate to their own personal choice of charity.

I've signed up for some google ads which are in the top right of sidebar. They seem discreet and any time I've looked, have all been knitting related. I supposedly get some money when they are clicked but haven't really been following if anybody has looked at them. One click/computer/day if you are interested. I plan on using any income generated from them to buy wool for more charity knitting as I am actually using stash lately. The Zarina in the post below was bought, but I've basically resistd buying wool for many months now and am concentrating on using stash. I'll probably be moving soon and anything less to pack and move is a bonus.

Now I'm off to make cheesey cauliflower soup from a recipe in the Better Homes and Garden Diabetic Magazine, latest issue. My husband is diabetic, diagnosed about 18 -20 months ago with Type II. Good weather for soup.

Update on the soup
Very yummy. I make a lot of soup and have done so for many years. This one is a keeper. Onion, some potato, half a small cauliflower. Cook in stock and either mash or use a stick blender on it.pepper and salt to taste. Just before serving, I stirred in some good, very grainy reggiano cheese, some finely chopped red capsicum, and some parsley which had been growing in the garden just a few minutes before. The soup was creamy without having had cream added and the cheese gave it an interesting flavour without being distinctly "cheese." My soup was an adaptation of the recipe I saw, and I downsized it. No point in making a recipe for 6-8 when there are only two here.

I might try this at the small canteen I run. I make a very large pot of soup every day, usually vegetarian and it's hard to come up with something original for a change. Soup there runs from Easter till the end of September, so it's quite a few times i make it. I make it vegetarian to suit people and then add meat balls etc for those who like their meat. I also have to avoid gluten so don't thicken it except sometimes with arrowroot, rather than cornflour, as some brands are not gluten free.

odessa hat

Here is Wesley , the bear, modelling my latest Odessa hat. I made about five or six of these last year, and the beads you can see here were bought for the the first hat last year. Leftovers. They have a metallic sheen to them and look OK on the hat, even though they are grey. Hat itself is basically an aqua.

The wool is Zarina which is finer than the pattern says, but it has turned out OK. I like the wool to knit, it's soft and easy to manage. Needles were 3.5 mm for the ribbing and 4 mm for the hat. I put the beads on individually using a crochet hook. They are quite heavy and the wool is soft. I really didn't want to be pulling all the wool through the beads. The pattern suggests placing a bed every sixth row. Because I used finer, lighter wool, I increased the spacing to 10 rows which I think is fine.

Here it is , flat on teh fence n the late afternoon light. it was a beautiful morning but a change came through about 11:00 am and the sky went grey, with lots and lots of clouds. The picture was taken at 4:30, and although it's getting lighter longer now, today has been quite dark.

The hat is just off the needles. I have woven in the ends, but absolutely no blocking has been done. I was in a hurry to get a photo taken.