Sunday, 28 December 2008

post christmas scarf

I hope everyone had a very pleasant Christmas. Mine was great, much better than last year when I had just left my home and marriage of forty years only a week before Christmas. One son remarked that it was good to see me smiling this Christmas, he hadn't seen much of that last year. We had a pleasant family time at my brother's and the young children all had a wonderful time in the pool after lunch. I went to church with my son and Dil in the morning, to the church they attend weekly. I know many of the people there and the service was really lovely, one of the best Christmas services I've been to in a long time. I usually attend a different church in the city but went with them for a change. It was good to go by car too, as I normally catch the train to city. LOL.

Here's another lacy scarf for Bell's Long Lacy Summer. This one is done in Heirloom Cashmino and was quite a quick knit. The cashmino is a blend of merino, cashmere and a bit of microfibre. The pattern is on the Knitpicks site and is called Victorian Spring Lace. While it did not say so, I knitted the scarf in two pieces and grafted them together. This gave me a good scalloped end at both beginning and end. The graft can be seen in the photos as a diamond with a yarnover in the middle. Grafting something with a directional motif like this arrowhead also ensures that the arrowhead goes in the same direction on both sides when worn, in this case, up to middle of neck. The yarn was pleasant to work with, easy to handle and knit with. No splits when knitting either. and the colour appealed to me. I gave it a fairly severe blocking yesterday to open it up. There are only twenty one stitches/row and eight rows/pattern repeat.

I gave the pink scarf pictured below to DiL's mum s a present. She sews and can knit but hasn't for very many years. She was intrigued by the lace on the blue scarf where "every stitch is part of the pattern," as she put it. She really liked the pink one. I offered to dye it, but she said the colour was lovely, so that's one task saved.

We're having a quiet week at home here. Son and DIL and her mum are playing World of Warcraft, and I'm knitting, eating too much chocolate and gearing up for some sewing. I've been feeling like making something for a while, but it's been some time since I sewed anything. I bought Amy Butler's In Stitches from the Book Depository a few days before Christmas. It took only five days to arrive, even in that busy period and cost me $24 Australian which I thought was a good price. I couldn't find it here in any online catalogues but I'm sure it would have been much dearer and postage is free from England. I was surprised a couple of weeks ago to find just how much I had saved by buying a children's knitting book, shown a few post below, from that Depository. I paid somewhere around $14-15 Australian. I saw it advertised in an online Aussie knitting shop. It was $26. Now, I've bought from that shop and the stuff is lovely. However, They charged me a mint to send a small package across the country. While I like what they sell, I now look for some online shop in Australia which has a policy something like "$7 postage in Australia." Or similar.

So why the urge to sew? I've seen several blogs mentioning the long legged lounge pants in Amy Butler's book. I'd been planning on trying something like that using some pyjama pants as a pattern. Now I have a pattern. DIL was looking at the book after lunch yesterday and said how much she like the long pants too. So it looks like some coming up for her too. Perhaps some sheeting which would be cool and comfortable.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

pink scarf finished

Here's the pink scarf finished. It's not blocked yet, but that can wait a few days. I decided as I was coming down the home straight with it, that I would give it to DIL's mum. She'll be here several days over Christmas. I don't like the colour myself, but she may. I'll ask DIL before I trouble myself dyeing it.

The grafting of the two pieces took me ages. I don't mind doing kitchener graft and there were only thirty three stitches, but it seemed to take forever. Fortunately I did not darn the end in immediately after finishing the graft as I really needed to ease my fingers across the scarf and loosen it up just a bit. Otherwise I was pleased with the graft. Toes on socks are one thing, but joins on scarves are another altogether.

The wool is 100% pure wool, 2 ply laceweight from Bendigo. I bought it to try something else out and it came from my stash. I have other better quality laceweight in the stash. I really don't like the colour. On upending the cone, I discovered it was called "musk." Hmmm. I never liked musk sticks as a child and still don't. I wonder if that dislike affected my reaction to the colour?

That now makes two lacy scarves for Bells' Long Lacy Summer. Looking back, I really wonder what bothered me about laceweight. I did make quite a large stole in laceweight cashmere for a friend's birthday a few years ago. The pattern was very repetitive but the cashmere was expensive and very fine and soft. As the picture from my original blog shows, it was quite large. Not a difficult pattern at all but I had to pay attention to which row I was on.
She loved it.

I might make another scarf soon, but will consider what to do. So many lovely patterns. I think my arthritic fingers need a break from the fine yarn. I usually have several different weights of wool on the go at once. I've been concentrating on the fine stuff for a while, so may do something thicker.

Here are two pictures of the scarf on one of my DIL's ladies taken in our upstairs hallway. She has about six of these, bought from Reverse Garbage at various times. There's a dressmaker's dummy, several shop figures. I think this would have been in a shop and she has another in woven raffia. The second picture is probably a more accurate colour and was taken using the flash. Just think musk stick.

Blocking in a few days, I think.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

more lace

I think Bells must be an enabler. I've started another lacy scarf, leaving aside my beloved socks and the two jumpers already on the needles. Not only that, but last night I found myself deliberately seeking out laceweight yarn on the net. I doubt I would have bought any as I have several lots and a little goes a long way, but I was definitely looking. I was even considering better needles as my Knitpicks options already have something on them in the size I want to use.

This is Bendigo laceweight, bought because of both its yardage and price when I was considerng a mystery shawl KAL. I had already done a similar shawl some years ago in thicker wool. However, this KAL fell apart before it even started. I don't mind the wool but found myself yearning for some merino/silk mix from several vendors. Some of the colours were absolutely luscious. Bendigo's laceweight came in some decidedly uninteresting colours and I will almost certainly overdye this scarf when it's finished. I'm considering several colours but haven't yet made up my mind.

I don't have the pattern with me at the moment, but this comes from the Inside Loop. It's called something like the Wild Strawberry scarf and comes from their archives. The pattern includes a larger wrap which is similar to the scarf but which has an extra panel with points on each side. They have some rather nice designs and I've made a couple of them. In this issue, I particularly like the man's jumper with the celtic knot and the braid on the sleeves. They also have jumpers in larger sizes which suit me as I'm, let's call it, "well endowed" and often don't like jumpers which are really designed for women with a smaller bust and then just upsized to make a range of sizes.

Just as well I don't mind grafting, although I will brush up on it again soon. The picture shows just over a half of the first section of scarf. Another half is then knit and the two are grafted to preserve the scallop edge. Obviously, blocking will make this look better.

The colour is pink, very pink. This photo was taken early this morning as I tried to make amends for no knitting for three days. I think it's picked up some of the deep violet of my Advent candles.* I had a very hectic few days and really did not want to carry around a cone of wool with me. I try to do several repeats a day. It's only ten lines and is easy. Much better than the boring single line pattern of the green scarf below. There are YOs and purl 2 together on every back row, but they occur in the same place each time, four times/row and are easy to do.

* Here's a very brief explanation of the tradition of Advent candles. Advent is the season in the church calendar of the four weeks before Christmas and Advent candles are becoming popular again with individuals and families. The violet is for the first two and the last Sunday and signifies repentance. The pink candle is lit on the third Sunday as a sign of rejoicing that an end to the penitential time is near. The extra white candle stands for the coming (advent, advenio, I arrive, Latin) of Christ.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Fern lace finished,200 pins later

Originally uploaded by Jan2132
Over 200 pins later, I've finished and blocked the scarf. It's hanging here from the crepe myrtle in side front yard. I'm pleased with it but found it a boring knit. Really only one pattern row which varied in its start to give the arrow head effect.

It's made from sock wool, 448 metres, from Live 2 Knit. I really did this as an experiment in lace for Bell's Summer of Lace. I do lacy insertions etc and I've done a shawl which taught me a lot but really have not done much lace. I still find laceweight a bit intimidating and sock wool was a progress step to it.

However, I have been eyeing off some lacier patterns. I still have a couple of other projects on the go, so will think about what's next.

Click to enlarge photo to see detail.

The colour was hard to capture. In some lights it's quite green. others show it as sort of washed out. I think this will be for me as it's very soft and squishy around my neck and is good and long so can be worn several ways. However, 200 pins later makes me see why regular lace knitters use blocking wires!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

knitting books for children

Two posts today. This book was bought from the the Book Depository as part of my Christmas present for Miss Eight. I taught her to knit, but I think this will be a help to her as her mum does not knit at all. Miss Eight is a very bright little thing and is a good reader, reading well above her chronological age. This has instructions and some designs to appeal to today's children. It's well set out with clear print and bright pictures and good illustrations.. Lots of ideas for projects too. It's published by Coats Crafts, Uk and is almost 100 pages. ISBN # is 1-904485-69-3. The price is marked as 8 pounds, sterling, but I bought it, a big hardcover children's book and two soft cover children's books, along with the lace book in post below for $52 Australian. Considering the horrible exchange rate currently inflicted on us and also the expensive price of children's books here, I think I did quite well, specially considering the free postage too. My order of multiple books was delivered over four days, so I was glad I didn't pay the individual postage costs.

long lacy summer

Bells' Long Lacy Summer unofficial KAL continues and there are some beautiful finished objects already. This is more work on the Fern Lace scarf, started about a week or so ago. The pattern is a repeat of twelve rows and I try to do some everyday. It's progressing, but slowly as I'm rationing my knitting time over several projects. I can at least see that the ball of wool is now definitely smaller than when I started. It took a lot of knitting for me to see a difference in the ball. I suppose I could weigh it to see how much was left. There was, I think, a bit over 400 metres in the skein.

Sometimes I can knit one or two repeats and they go smoothly. It's not a difficult pattern at all and the arrowhead pattern comes from adjusting the start point on each row. Otherwise, the rows are identical. However, I find that some repeats I tink back often because I find the last few stitches are not right. I count but still make mistakes. Were I doing a shawl, I would have markers between pattern repeats, but there are really only fifty-four stitches I'm dealing with.

It's nice and soft and will feel good to wear, although I bought it as sock wool. It's not a colour I normally wear near my face. Love all those gumleaf greens, olives, light browns, even khaki, but they don't suit my complexion. Still, a scarf may be OK.

I ordered some Christmas gift books from the Book Depository. It has free postage worldwide and even with the current abysmal exchange rate I got good value. At the last minute, I added this book which is a reproduction of a much older book. It wasn't expensive at all, and I thought I would get some lace help from it. It has quite an introductory section which sounds vaguely old fashioned but I can see will be quite useful. There are chapters and patterns for using two needles and also for circulars. I doubt I would make any of the actual patterns as they stand, I really am not into duchess sets, large supper cloths knit with silk or fine cotton and more along the same lines. However, there are definitely some patterns which could be adapted fora a stole, scarf, shawl etc.

As I said, it is a reproduction, so is in black and white, like the original. Book imprint has information about the book. It was first published in 1954 by Artistic Needlework Publications, England, with copyright held by the author in 1953. Another corrected edition was brought out in 1972 by Dover Publications, Mineola, NY. What I bought is a reproduction of this edition. ISBN for anyone interested is 0-486-22904-1. The second edition has an interesting dedication. It would seem as if the author and her husband were refugees after WW II. It reads in part, To England, refuge through the centuries or the persecuted, the proscribed, the people without a country...

Wednesday, 12 November 2008


One scroll sock from More Sensational Knitted Socks almost finished. I've used some more of Katie's lovely wool and am pleased with this one. Photos soon.

My little blue sweater from Interweave Knits with its lacy panels has hardly been touched this week. Despite this I've cast on, somewhat late in the action for a February Lady Sweater. I've dilly-dallied about this but finally succumbed. So not much there for a long lacy summer. Perhaps the "lacy" part has turned into "lazy" already and it's still only November.

I have made progress on my lacy fern scarf, so all is not lost as far as lace goes. I've now done about 12-14 inches of it and am pleased with it. However, there are just so many times the same colour, same pattern, same wool can be photographed and I think I've passed that. I try to do about three pattern repeats (36 rows) a day, hopefully more. This means I am about a fifth of the way finished, although that's really a guess as I'm using 100 gm of sock wool instead of laceweight and 3 mm needles. I'm really playing finished length and amount of wool by ear but it should be fairly long.

Monday, 3 November 2008

crafts and beauty

Wow! The second post here in a day. Someone must be on holidays. LOL

Lynne has a post on crafts, beauty and usefulness. There are several comments but I wanted to write more than was suitable for a comment. So here goes.

She said that many people regarded crafts as being "artsy" and needing to be useful, whatever that may mean. I disagree with that assessment in many ways, although I can see where they are coming from. Why should something that is useful not be beautiful too? I think of many classic pieces of furniture in different styles, all useful and all having some beauty of their own. It takes not much more to design something which is not only useful but is also beautiful, well made and a pleasure to hold and use.

Of course this barely skims the surface and does not even begin to touch the definitions of both "useful" and "beautiful." There will be as many definitions of these ideas, I imagine, as there are people asked to define them.To me, a beautiful painting or sunset or piece of music is not only beautiful but useful. The sunset with its ephemeral beauty has gone forever, the music will need to be played again. However each brings rest and relaxation and re-creation to me. Is that not a useful thing just as a pair of socks is useful to keep feet warm? It's all very subjective.

Tied in with this on her post is the idea of creativity. I believe probably most of us are creative, although some of us have often stifled the urge to create in whatever form takes our fancy. Many crafts make use of the ideas of recycle, reuse, repair and obviously this is a very good use for them. When my boys were small they often had holes in the legs of their overalls and jeans. These needed repair if the items were to be still used. Often a patch was the best way to repair. I'm not very good at drawing, but I decided early on that I would be imaginative in my repairs. Not much more effort and a pleasure to the eye. So one knee might have a large cat on it in soft suede lather offcuts for long wear. The other undamaged knee may well also be adorned with a small mouse. A jumper to which the two year old had taken scissors was repaired by an applique in pictures being sewn on, after the original hole had been darned. What might have turned into something to wear in the garden was kept good and extra warm.

I also feel that even when we knitters use others' patterns we are still being creative. The garment I produce is unique. To someone else's creativity, I have added my sense of colours, my choice of wool. What I produce is unique. Even my actual knitting is unique to me.

However, I can also design my own pattern to start with. I don't just throw a sock together purely because I need a sock. Apart from anything else, the time invested makes me disinclined to "throw something together." I choose wool, needles and pattern to fit together. I love making my own designs for lacy socks and enjoy mixing different stitches. I don't really have the skills yet to design bigger items with any accuracy, but can adapt patterns to what I want.

Knitting to me is not only useful but also an expression of something which is deep inside me, a longing for beauty expressed in my life in many ways.

I think my feelings on this are probably closely tied with my ideas on education. Here is where I may well part company with many. I know some in my own extended family strongly disagree with me . I'm a teacher, a High School teacher of languages, Latin, French, German and I also occasionally taught English when the school was shortstaffed. Since leaving teaching in schools, I have continued teaching and speaking, both adults and students. Different topics to languages, but still teaching. I have also done some writing, nothing really published but some used in statewide conferences etc. I love teaching and I know I am a good teacher. Results tell me this but more important to me than results are the comments I get from students about enjoying my teaching, seeing things they never saw before, suddenly understanding something etc. I have two diplomas, one with honours, two degrees, again one with honours status. I would dearly love to start a PhD. but things do not work that way at present. I also have most of a four year course in agriculture done, useful perhaps? The course was changed in such a way I could not complete it at the time. I'm no stranger to education.

I strongly believe that vocational training should not be available at school. I even think that practically any tertiary course would be better with a liberal arts component. I see too many who cannot think, cannot research, cannot string two words together in a logical sequence, have no idea how to reason or present an argument. All these things are a major part of education. With these skills, practically anything can be learnt. I could write a thesis on this so will stop here.

Perhaps there should be more emphasis on developing creativity as each is led. Who knows? We may then have more commonplace good which are both beautiful and useful and well made which is in itself something beautiful.In the meantime. I intend to concentrate on producing items which are not only well made but useful and beautiful, however that is defined is. In that way, I hope to produce satisfaction in the user. I know that knitting with this emphasis in mind will satisfy me deeply and produce joy, wonder and a sense of fulfilment.

Thanks, Lynne for raising the topic and helping me think a bit more about it.

fern lace scarf

After my abortive attempt yesterday at an apple, I frogged the lot. The apple and the chart worked fine. It's just that the colour did not work and I did not think the apple was well enough defined just by using purl on a stocking stitch background. I'll consider further moves.

So last night I was contemplating something more lacy for Bells' Summer of Lace. I'm doing the sweater from Interweave Fall edition but am used to using thicker wool for lace and find that quite easy. I think it's the laceweight that throws me. I like to feel something more substantial in my fingers.

The wool I had frogged that afternoon is three ply sock wool. Not quite laceweight, but much more that way than Patons Jet.So I looked back over my downloads from Ravelry and liked the look of the Fern lace scarf. Off I went. Ah, some satisfaction. I did one pattern repeat of twelve rows last night.

This morning was a lovely morning, some sun, some cloud and a pleasant temperature. I went downstairs and sat under one of our several jacaranda trees which are just beginning to come into bloom. I think I'm going to really like this scarf. There are nearly 500 metres in the skein. I'll see how long I go, although with a light scarf, longer may be snuggly wrapped several times around.

Friday, 31 October 2008

summer of lace

Bells is hosting a Summer of lace this year. I love making lacy socks and scarves but have mostly baulked at anything much more serious.

Some years ago, I participated in one of the Mystery Shawls KALs and found it a great learning experience. However, I made my shawl in a heavier wool as I really wanted something very warm for the recipient rather than the ethereal creation from using laceweight. I learned a lot from that experience, and valued the learning of how to use a chart. i till prefer words but do use charts and have actually charted some word only patterns. I also learnt the use of stitch markers and probably would have valued a lifeline too. I found I was beginning to be bale to "read" my knitting, even in complicated patterns.

However, while I have several lots of laceweight wool, I still do not really feel happy in its use. I'm currently charting some patterns for a simple scarf for the Summer of Lace and now I have long holidays am hoping to be able to put some concentrated effort into the scarf.

These pictures show a compromise. If you look at the magazine picture, you can see on top right that Interweave describes this as lace. Not lacy, but lace. I'm not so sure about that, but I'm enjoying seeing this take shape. It's called the Little blue Sweater and it's from the Fall 2008 edition of Interweave knits. I'm using Patons Jet, bought at Tapestry Craft's current sale.

What you can't see in the photo is the many inches of 2x2 ribbing under the lace. Eight inches in fact. I was glad to be over that bit, although I really like the effect of the lengthy rib.

Today is forecast to be a hot one, 36°, so I'm not sure how much of this will get done. It's the first day of my holidays and I'm planning on doing something to wind down. I have plenty of knitting time ahead. I work in a small tertiary college where, despite my several degrees and diplomas, I am currently running the canteen. Four days a week, lots of student contact. I seem to act as a sounding board there for many staff and i certainly get to help students with advice on essays, footnotes etc. Lots of discussion too. However, this is the last week of term. Next week is stuvac, then exams, then nothing till February 23 next year. You may think this sounds idyllic. However no work = no pay!

Now before it gets too hot, I'm off to the nearby service station to get some Lindt. How I came to be out of good chocolate is beyond me.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

king charles brocade

I adapted this pattern from the Harmony Guide, Lace and Eyelet Stitches, E. Knight, Collins & Brown, London, 2007. Something similar was the pattern on a vest worn By King Charles to his execution. It's an easy knit, very simple to memorise.

Wool is from Katie and is called Voodoo. the colour changes are subtle and the wool is lovely to knit. A better idea of the colour can be seen here. The western late afternoon sun has washed out the colours here.

winterwarm knitting for this week.

Here's my knitting for Winterwarm from this week. The hat and little purple socks were both quick knits as they were done on 4 mm needles. The Opal is from a ball which has done other socks and there are still more to knit from it. it just goes on and on...

Sunday, 26 October 2008

no photos, but finished

First I would like to say thank you for good wishes about my mum. She's still with us, although as I left the hospital last Tuesday evening, I would not have been surprised to have a nurse run after me to call me back. She was very ill indeed. However, she made an amazing recovery from the pneumonia, although the stroke is still affecting her movement of the right arm and hand. She's very hard to get out of bed and needs two or three nurses to get her into the chair by her bed. Early on Friday morning she was moved to Wynwood Nursing home at Mt Wilga at Hornsby, for Sydney readers. It's a high dependency unit on the first floor of the original Mt Wilga rehab and brain injury hospital. The whole nursing home is very small, just this one floor. Out the back is a very posh looking new private hospital. She has a lovely single room and the staff seem very pleasant. She looks over bushland towards Galston Gorge. Ironically, I have often walked past this building. Son and DIL with whom I now live, had a lovely house diagonally behind the hospital some years ago. The easy way to the bus was up their steep backyard, through the bush for a few hundred yards and then round the edge of the rifle range where the new private hospital now is. This was the alternate route to a good 15 minutes walk up a particularly steep hill.

So knitting? I have a finished pair of footies but no photo. The first one is here at Southern Summer of Socks. They are part of a belated birthday present for my sister. I wrapped everything up before I realiesd I had not taken a photo.

The longer sock shown in that photo has an almost finished mate and there is also a small pair of Opal children's sock for Winterwarm almost finished.

I've been busy also with a lacy jumper in Jet for Bell's Summer of Lace. I think this will be a bit small for me. I'm in between sizes given, and have adjusted my needle size several times and done proper swatches. However, I bought three lots of wool at Tapestry Craft's sale and one was always earmarked as a January birthday present for another DIL. If I'm not satisfied with this one on me, I'll give it to her. It's a colour she loves. Then I'll do some more swatching.

Monday, 20 October 2008

a bad case of the blues

Not a wonderful photo, I'm afraid. I think the western sunlight streaming through the window was a bit harsh for the soft blues.

I called at Tapestry Craft,oops,Morris and Sons, after work on my way home. I really hope that if there are changes to the shop that the lighting in the knitting section is updated. I'm pretty good at colours and can buy zips, buttons etc without a sample and still have them match. However, downstairs there today, I really had problems with some of the colours. Was that blue or purple? Perhaps this lot is dark green or black?

The Cleckheaton Country is for a present, possibly this A dreadful photo although I found the link on a blog with a much better photo of a finished object. Do you think I can find which blog now? If I find it again, I'll edit this post. I'll need to swatch carefully. The Berrocco is 15 stitches/inch and this is 17. I see an experiment with needle sizes ahead.

I was taken by Bell's invitation to a summer of lace. Now I have some lace wool at home from Bendigo, but it's pink, the best choice at the time from a limited range. I bought it for another mystery shawl KAL which fell apart before it even started after some snarky posts from some who had signed up. I really don't have easy facilities for dyeing here so will put it aside.

However, I found the dusky blue today. I really don't need it but did like the colour which doesn't show well here. Special price too.

The Araucanía is something I have lusted after for some time. It too was well reduced so I succumbed. I know I have just bought 500 gm of gorgeous sock wool but bought this one too.

I have holidays till February 23rd starting soon, so I wouldn't want to be without supplies, now would I? So I bought another cable for my Options set. I seem to use the smallest cable a lot. I love the Harmony needles too, so got another set.

All blues, a fact which had escaped my notice till the assistant pointed it out. A lovely, restful colour, good for contemplation. Mum is still quite ill and I really do not know how much longer she will be here. Levels of sodium are fluctuating violently and without explanation and on top of the stroke and shingles and swollen hand, she has developed pneumonia which is often fatal in elderly patients weakened by other problems.

Edited later: I found a much better picture of the Alpine cardi. have a look here. This is the blog I had been reading some days ago.

Friday, 17 October 2008

footies and charlie socks

The little white socks are for Winterwarm, a charity collecting warm clothing for Afghanistan. They are made in some old wool I've had for ages, at least 8 ply, possibly 12. Knitted on 4 mm needles. They were a very quick knit. I've decided to try to have quite a few garments for Winterwarm's next collection. so far I have a couple of pairs of socks, a hat, two shawls and two scarves. I appreciate all I have and want to share some of my skills and resources. I've always done charity knitting, but this is the first really concerted attempt to get quite a few things together, although a couple of years ago, I was able to give about a dozen hats and some scarves.

The pink footie sock is from my prize seacell yarn from last year. Its mate is on the way to completion.

The other sock is wool from Katie at Live2Knit. It's one of my own designs although the insertion comes from Lace and eyelet stitches by Erica Knight. It's called King Charles brocade, although it is totally different from another pattern stitch of the same name as shown by Barbara Walker. Apparently Charles had a brocade pattern on his vest when he was executed by Cromwell in 1649. Anyhow, I liked this and think the wool and stitch go well together.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

knitted yarn shop

Originally uploaded by Jan2132
My DIL found this yesterday at the op shop run by St Vincent de Paul in a shopping centre up the line. She already has about 20 of such things, including a knitted butcher with apron and long line of sausages over his shoulder. There's also a knitted bear photographer dressed in 20s style clothing and taking a picture on a huge old style camera on a tripod. Most of these creations have not been unpacked from the last move.

However she could not resist this one. Absolutely everything is knitted - dresser, counter, book cover, even the tiny balls of wool and their bands and the hair on both sales person and customer.. Look how neatly the balls are arranged in the dresser. See the tiny booties and mittens in the layette. The cover of the book is knitted and its title is "Knitted Toys." There are about eight pages in it, each with a picture of a tiny toy.. The customer has a purple cape with a red bow and fancy decorations, very true to form, on her hat. I can just see my own grandmother with something like this. The dog is knitted too, as is the basket holding yet more balls of wool.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

yarn pr0n indeed

Yarn pr0n indeed! Two parcels were waiting for me in the mailbox when arrived home from work a few minutes ago. Well, three actually, but one was batteries for my hearing aids, not exciting at all, even if essential.

The top three skeins are from Katie at Live2Knit. From the left, Lilacs, Spring and Voodoo. The other two underneath are from Daphne at the Knittery. Dark green is called Rainforest and the other is Daisy. Again I love these too. They are in the slim sock wool category of her website.

I'm particularly happy with both green skeins. I like green but somehow seem to have missed out on much sock knitting in that colour. I love these. The rainforest does not show really well here. It's a lovely rich green. Spring green from Katie is just that. A bright, chirpy spring green, quite a contrast to the Rainforest but again a colour I'm really glad I chose.

Wool from these two suppliers is always gorgeous to knit, so now I will let them tell me what to do.

The other day when shopping, I bought a copy of the ABC's cooking magazine, delicious. As a freebie there was a pack of the tiny post-it notes which can be used to mark pages in books. These came with cooking type labels on them like "desserts." Six sections. I used them to work my way through a couple of stitch dictionaries to mark possibilities for sock patterns. I've used about twenty and there are literally hundreds left. So perhaps not an intended use, but very useful for me. A pleasant way too to spend some time on a cold, wet and windy afternoon

Sunday, 28 September 2008

gift knitting

This is a bit of a catch-up for photos. The two scarves are both for charity gifting next winter. I've decided to try to get a start on such knitting early in the hope of having quite a swag to give. I often give hats. scarves etc to an organisation where I know some of the people who who work with Sydney homeless people. I'd also like to give some to the Aussie group collecting for Afghanistan. So that means busy fingers. It also means a chance to use some of the stash and perhaps also some of the remnants of balls can go for bootees, baby hats too. All good yarn, but in small quantities.

Both these scarves are well over two metres long. The red/grey could well look better with a better background. However, it was wet and blocking and I didn't want to move it from the back of the lounge where it's resting on an orange plastic protective cover. All moss stitch. I bought it in a hurry at Lincr*ft where I was getting some sock wool. I thought it was a 100 gm ball of sock wool and could see socks for grandsons. However, it was 8 ply so became a scarf instead. That will teach me not to grab wool off display stands as I wait in the queue!

The black is some very old merino, mohair, acrylic mix I bought years ago from a warehouse, coupled with some good mohair. It's a reversible, simple four stitch pattern which I am just about doing in my sleep.

I also have a shawl put away and a material (not knitted) wrap, so have a start for next year. I'm planning on some baby stuff too and some warm beanies and hats as I know how much I appreciated them here this winter. Afghanistan is very much colder than here, so should be useful there.

The pale green cotton is edging for a baby hat. A Debbie Bliss pattern and edging has to be sewn on. However, I have not yet finished the hat and brim with its increases. This too is for a gift but this time a baby here in Sydney.

Friday, 19 September 2008

nutkin socks

Another easy knit pair of socks from beautiful wool. I love the colours and the pattern was easy to memorise. I think it suits the wool. Socks are Nutkin and there is also a a PDF download on Ravelry. As I mentioned earlier, I have misplaced, well, OK, lost the ballband so can't really tell you just which vendor it came from.

I actually haven't yet sewn in the last end on the second sock, but have hidden it under the sock so a photo could be taken in good light. These colours are fairly accurate. The leg on the righthand sock really isn't as wonky as it looks. I just wasn't careful enough in arranging the sock for the photo.

The cotton came from Greta's at Lindfield on sale. Somewhere around $8 ball. I'm making another bag to my own design. Unfortunately I have discovered a mistake right at the beginning of the previous row so have to knit back about 150 stitches to get to it and fix it. Could be worse, I suppose. I like this Sirdar cotton. It has more body than the Cleckheaton I used on an earlier bag which I am planning on giving my sister for a birthday present next week. It's easy to knit, but I find knitting cotton is slower than using wool.

I've now done two weeks of work after the pneumonia and have only one more week till there is a break of just a week. I think I'm OK, but have been tired at the end of the day and still have a cough. Sometimes I wonder if it's just habit, but I really don't think so. I'm glad I work only four days a week.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

an unholy alliance or from the sublime to the ridiculous

This scarf really is a case of the sublime to the ridiculous or something like that. The olive green mohair is Anny Blatt kid . It's not a colour I normally wear, although I like it. I bought two balls of this at a sale and I have ripped out about five attempts at different patterns for scarves with it. So I put it in a corner for a few months for it to make up its mind as to its use. The black is something quite old. It too is mohair 25 %, 8 ply, made for GJ Coles. I have no idea when Coles last sold anything like this, but it's certainly not recently. It also has some merino in it and quite a lot of olefin which is a manufactured, artificial fibre. Like the AnnyBlatt, I've tried several uses for this, but it made my hands ache. I bought ten balls, no length given, from a warehouse several years ago for the total amount of $2.50. The ball band shown here has $2.58 printed on the back.

I've decided to get a start on what I hope will be a substantial number of warm beanies, scarves and socks to give away to charity for next winter and I decided to combine the expensive and the dirt cheap. For some reason, my hands haven't ached using the two yarns combined on 6 mm needles. It's certainly a warm scarf. I've finished the first ball of the black, but there is still quite a bit of the olive green left. So far the scarf is about a metre long. I'll keep knitting until the green is done and see if that's long enough. The pattern makes a reversible scarf and is only four stitches long.

I've done one Nutkin sock in the wool shown at the back. The pattern can also be found on Ravelry. The lovely colours suit the pattern which is quick to knit. Somehow I have lost the band but know that it comes either from the Knittery or from live2knit. Both have lovely wool in beautiful colours and even better, great service. The colour shown here is just a shade bright. The purple is not quite as bright but is tempered by very deep fuschia pink.

The coffee mug with chai tea in it is one of a set. DIL's mum gave us each a different one at Christmas. They too are done to benefit a charity. Various celebrities have decorated a mug and written a short message along with the words "whatever it takes" on a mug. A percentage of the profits from the sale of the mugs goes to a nominated charity. This one is done by Roger Moore. Mine is by Sir Michael and Lady Shakira Caine. They come boxed, hold a good amount and have a comfortable large handle.

First day back at work tomorrow after the pneumonia. I'm not really looking orward to going back, but think I'm OK now. My skin, (not to mention my hair) still looks bad from being so ill and I have a slight cough. I no longer have 2-3 hour nana naps in the middle of the day after waking at 9:30 am and doing nothing all day. However, stuvac starts at college in early November and there is a break of a week either late September or early October, so it's not long till the end of the year. I've been overwhelmed by calls, emails, cards, flowers and a magnificent large box of fruit from work.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

heart socks and hand and toe warmers!

Some finished socks. These are from the wool I received form Georgie for being close to date and time of Grace's birth. The pattern comes from Donna at RandomKnits where she knitted a trial pair of the new Patonyle. I love the colours of this wool. Shades and shades of aqua. It reminds me of the colour of the water under the Swansea bridge near Newcastle. When the old Pacific Highway passed through Swansea, I've been stopped in traffic many times and always loved the aqua swirls of water I could see from the car.

Normally I would reserve a pattern like this for solid colour wool, but the hearts appealed to me. They were an easy knit, although I made a few changes. Actually, I'm hard put to mention someone who doesn't make changes. I'm the same with recipes. I'll read through and use the basic idea but substitute according to store cupboard and individual likes. I used five dpns in total as i did a row of hearts down each side. I cast on 15 stitches (instead of 16) to each of four, used some stitch markers from Georgie to mark off the 11 stitches of the pattern. I also added another row between each pattern repeat. Four hearts down leg and three on the foot. The wool was soft and feels cosy and warm and a bit thicker than many sock yarns like Opal. If you look closely at the foot, you can see the stitchmarkers, also from Georgie.

Perhaps a suggestion? I'd try these again in solid colour sock wool and I think that they would look pretty with a ruffle around the cuff. Another suggestion I like better than the ruffle would be a picot edge to the cuff. I'm thinking of using just Donna's chart and placing some hearts on granddaughter socks. They are all girly little girls.

These grey socks are for my eldest grandchild. He begged me for some bedsocks which he could wear after his shower at night. He's nine and it's been a while since I made socks for him so it was a bit of guesswork. The last pair I made, he wrecked. He ran around the backyard in socks with his dog snapping at his heels in play. Socks did not really like this treatment! He had no colour preferences, just wanted something warm. These are like cast iron. The wool was something called Balmoral Tweed (????) from L*ncraft. I would not buy it again. It's thick and I actually found it hard to knit. It has some nylon in it and is supposedly machine washable. However, I was slack and didn't check the metrage on the ball. From memory, it was about 85 metes. Not much. You can see how little I had left over from socks for a nine year old.

The handwarmers are for his sisters. Again, a bit of guess work involved. Miss Three really does not need such things but I didn't want her feeling left out. Two colours so she has no real excuse to snaffle her big sister's gloves. Miss Six is tall and skinny like her brother and both feel the cold easily. She wants these for morning wear on the way to school. They are from some Caressa I found in my stash. It's so long since I used it, I can't even remember the original use.

I'm beginning to feel a bit better from the pneumonia. It really knocked me around but I had a very bad bout of the flu first which did not help at all. I'm still taking things easy and getting lots and lots of rest. Yoghurt every morning to help me cope with the ongoing antibiotics and lots of fruit and vegetables too. I've even taken to putting honey in a cup of hot black chai tea. I don't put milk in teas and can't quite come at milky chai. I never use sugar in anything, but the honey seems to be helping and I'm used to it now. Over the last three weeks I have been to work just two discrete days, not even consecutive. I decided I just had to get over this properly. Hopefully next week I may be back, but I'm not pushing things. I'll see how I feel Monday morning.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

almost anything but knitting

Hopefully I'll get some photos up soon. Finished objects? Two pairs of wristwarmers for little granddaughters. One totally in some leftover Caressa and the other pair for Miss Three in Caressa and some toning pink scraps I had. I wanted them to be quite different so there could be no quarreling about ownership. I need to darn in ends on these. I'm about to finish some bed socks for the girls' big brother. An entirely unexciting knit in some grey tweedy stuff, pure wool from L*ncraft. I bought the wool for socks, but there wasn't much in each ball. However, Andrew asked for bedsocks, so used it up here.

It was my birthday yesterday and it really was a mixed bag. I accidentally left my phone at home so found sons had all rung through the day but I had missed speaking to them. I went to work but felt quite ill. I've already missed all four days last week when I had the 'flu and I had Tuesday off this week as I felt really ill again. No work means no pay for me as I work for myself. I've been complaining about a mushy brain and poor concentration. I felt bad yesterday so finally went to the doctor. All explained. He diagnosed pneumonia! I apparently still have quite a high temperature and have been trying to live with that for days. I'm now on some powerful tablets which he insisted I had to absolutely take every single tablet. I know people who leave off antibiotics when they begin to feel better. I'm not one of them but he was taking no chances. i hadn't seen this doctor before so he didn't know me. However, I knew I really was sick and just had to see one, any one at all. Pneumonia on my birthday!

Came home to find son and daughter were delayed and I had to get dinner. Not impressed. I waited until they returned because I wanted to fit in a second dose.

Then the best part of the day. I pass a well established jeweller's shop on my way to bus in Druitt Street each morning from the train. I've bought a few watches there for people and actually have some jewellery given me years ago. Some months ago, I saw in the window an expensive pendant which I loved. I had the money at the time but being conservative, I finally decided I wouldn't buy it for myself. I had told DIL about it and had put it totally out of my mind. I thought about it just a few days ago and looked in the window. All the other designs were there, but this one was gone. I was disappointed but not upset as I had reconciled myself to not buying it. When DIL and son finally arrived home, she handed me a small packet. Yep, you guessed it. She had gone and bought it months ago. I was really touched. It was quite expensive and she had bought it at a time when they were under quite considerable financial stress because of some bad decisions made by others, not themselves, and because their house was on the market a long time.

So the day ended better than it started.

More update from Friday morning: DIL took me to college because of a delivery which had to be paid for and which I could not cancel. I did no work, just hung around for an hour. However, just as we were getting in the car to go there, her phone rang. #2 son had ridden his bike to work, pushbike that is. He'd been sideswiped by a truck and was in Liverpool Hospital. For those not in the know, Liverpool has a poor reputation in Sydney. Very poor. What's more, not even his wife could find out how he was. Very fortunately, there has been no serious damage done. He has no recollection of what happened but apparently was knocked sideways off the bike. He'll be very bruised, sore and sorry for himself for a while, but is alive and no bones are broken. It never rains but it pours, so it seems.

When we returned home, I felt pretty horrible and I'm sure son's accident gave me quite a scare. I know pneumonia is a nasty illness and realise that I have been much sicker than I imagined for several days. No wonder I felt so bad. I made a hot drink and have had several hours sleep, somewhat more than a nana nap!

I've posted a couple of photos. Miss Six's wristwarmers. I would have liked to knit a thumb, but her thumb is hardly thicker than a pencil. Far too skinny. The locket is gorgeous. It's silver, which DIL and I both prefer, and beautiful. What was even better was that it was such a surprise. When I talked myself out of buying for myself, I really had totally put it out of mind and I had not looked in the shop window at all, so I wouldn't be tempted.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

rangoli hat

The weather has been beautiful lately here. Clear Sydney August skies and sunshine. Here's Sweetpea, the resident Abyssinian who likes to think of herself as having the favoured status which ancient cultures gave to cats. She's stretched on my desk. Her rival, my bear Wesley, is between the windows, stuck in the corner in the dark shadow. Sweetpea loves sunshine and she's almost as good as a clock. She follows the sun around in the house. Late afternoon will find her on my bed. Early afternoon and mid-morning she likes my corner desk with northern sunshine streaming in. Breakfast sees her on a cupboard in the dining room, catching the eastern sun as it rises and shines through the trees bordering the Pacific highway. She made herself comfortable on my desk, pushing papers around so she would not have to lie on the bare wood. Here she is on the paperwork from my lovely new phone, a Nokia 6300, which does all sorts of things, more than I need or understand.

I think it's not too cold outside, but I can see from the movement of the trees that it's quite windy. I haven't poked my nose outside to check. I had the flu all last week and am only just beginning to feel a bit better. I missed a week's work and am not really looking forward to going tomorrow. I still have a really bad cough which reduces me to jelly with tears streaming down my face. My ribs are sore from coughing and I've been forced to take something to subdue it, for perhaps the second time in ten or so years.

The next two pictures are of the rangoli hat which has taken me a week to knit. A rangoli is an Indian design, not necessarily identical to this one, and is often drawn on footpaths outside homes to welcome visitors. It can be coloured in with coloured rice flour or powder. The Wiki link has some more designs and history.

I didn't know all this, in fact had not heard the word before when I found Paisleywombles's hat. From there I went to the PDF pattern.

The designer is right. It's not a complicated pattern at all. It just involves carefully counting the 8-repeat pattern, until the flow of the pattern is established. when one's head is full of mush and throbs with a headache and aches even more at every cough, then it becomes more complicated and I ripped out several centimetres twice. Even now, I know I have made some mistakes. I have more wool which would have been better suited to the design, but I was too sick to go through boxes to find it. This is 8 ply pure alpaca from Bendigo Mills, knitted on 4 mm Knitpicks options needles. A more tightly twisted and spun wool would have made the pattern stand out more disinctively. It's really a bit blurred and that's not just the photograph. Colour is called something like "dusty rose." The colour is definitely deeper than the second photo shows, and also a bit more intense than the first, although nowhere near the colour of the one Paisleywomble did. With a mushy head, the counting was quite meditative and I marked off each row as I did it, although the pattern progresses in a logical way. I followed the written pattern, I'm more verbal than visual, although I have trained myself to read and use charts.

I love the alpaca from Bendigo. The hat is so soft and light that I would hardly know it's on my head except for the warmth it brings. I'm having a weekend on the Southern Highlands in a couple of weeks. Last year at the same time, it was very cold when we played at being tourists on the Sunday. I'll be taking this hat then.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

learning from history? NOT!

Someone once noted that the one thing we learn from history is that we don't learn from history!

How true, unfortunately. DIL had the flu last week and now I'm sick. It started to come on last Saturday and I had yesterday and today off work and may very well take the next two days as well. That wraps up this week for me. Shivers, aches, headaches, sneezes, high temperature - the lot. We've both had it and I still have all the above symptoms, despite bedrest, staying warm, drinking lots etc.

Yesterday I decided to carry on with a hat I had started last week. That was a bad mistake. It wasn't a hard thing to do. it just needed attention to detail and some counting stitch repeats. I should have known that a head full of cottonwool does not count well. I had done about eight cm when I had a good look at my work. Now I tell people to check every couple of rows so mistakes are easily caught and corrected. Did I do that? No.

I discovered I had gone blithely on and had moved the pattern repeat over by one stitch, not just once, but twice. AAARGH! Nothing for it but to rip it all out. Two morals to this little tale. Check work often. Don't do things which need concentration when one's head is full of junk.

On a brighter note- I made up a pattern for a wristwarmer for Miss now-Six. She has a scarf made by her mum in crochet, but DIL could not get a wristwarmer to fit. Part of her problem was that she was using an el-cheapy chenille yarn with absolutely no give in it at all. Her other problem was that it was far too short. It's cold in the mornings where they live. Miss Six is very slight, not an ounce of fat on her and her hands were freezing. Like her brother, she is tall but skinny. I used some leftover dark pinky/red Caressa. it looks fine. Now for the second one.

However, a snooze calls me loudly.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

all wrapped up in sheepy paper

I arrived home this afternoon to find that my daughter-in-law had finally been able to get to their Post office box. They've both had the flu. Sitting on the stairs waas a parcel for me.

It was from Georgie and Grace as a prize for being the closest guess of the time Grace would be born.. It was all wrapped in some grassy green paper with lambs on it. Beautiful roses on a card announced it was from Georgie and Grace.

Georgie certainly picked as if she had known me for years. The lovely sock yarn from the Happy spider is in one of my favourite colours. It feels beautiful. I have a couple of patterns in mind for socks, but think I'll let it sit on my desk where I can stroke it for a few days and see what it may tell me.

Not shown is a small organza bag of lovely little stitch markers in blue and pink. As I've broken and misplaced a few lately, these are most welcome. I think I accidentally pushed the bag out of the picture when I leant over my desk to take a picture. Do you see the cute felt needle case? Wool needles inside. The booklet has knitter's graph paper pages. I printed out some a few years ago, but here's my own supply. And the pen? It has a sheep on the clip and another on the pen. Nici at the Jolly Mäh, (site is mostly in German). This morning I discovered the pen I have been using at my desk for many months now is almost finished. Just in time arrives another. This is doubly welcome. I have arthritis in my fingers as well as many other joints. Fingers have been sore and swollen for several days, so they will apppreciate the comfortable soft grip on the pen.

Thanks again Georgie. Best wishes to you and yours and blessings on little Grace.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

fishbone socks finished

A present finished early! Five weeks early, in fact. Now I just need to block them and put them somewhere safe for five weeks. Not too safe, or else I might lose them. LOL.

These are done in Opal, two different lots, bought back in 2003 0r 2004. My pattern, done using five needle so each pattern repeaat fitted neatly on its own needle. The fishbone pattern comes from Erica Knight's, Lace and Eyelet Stitches. I would much rather use a total of four dpns, but five suited this pattern and helped my head to keep the pattern sorted.

I've put my hand inside the needle and stretched it out a bit so the detail of the fishbone can be seen. Unfortunately, fingers have given it a decidedly peculiar shape. I need to block these, but fancy, five weeks early for a present.

Friday, 1 August 2008

so where do I live?

I doubt if there will be anything knitting related in this post, but it's here in response to Tinking Bell's meme on homes. I live with my eldest son and his wife on Sydney's green and leafy upper North Shore. We're right on the Pacific Highway on one side, with a major side street down another side. The block is already large and takes hours to mow, but used to be bigger. One side of it was subdivided some years ago and a house built there. The very bottom corner and the bottom side was already split off. the house was built in the late 1920s and is in the Art Deco style with lots of curves, glass bricks, balconies etc. It's heritage listed by the government. There are eight balconies in various places around the house, some of them covered.

These two pictures show the balconies on the western side of the house. The bottom on has sandstone columns, the other two have brick walls. We eat on the middle balcony all summer and I have a little section on the top balcony with a couple of old, disreputable lounge chairs and a small table where I knit when the weather is mild. The rain hardly comes in at all, so it's a refuge. Main bedroom and mine both open onto the top balcony, and since we put back the original wooden screen doors, I leave my door wide open on summer nights.

Late on summer afternoons, it's too hot out there as the sun shines in from the west. The view is amazing, particularly from the top floor where we can see probably eighty kilometres (fifty miles). We can see down the coast past Bundeena and Cronulla, west past Mulgoa and well into the mountains. Unfortunately, the New Years fireworks on the harbour are not visible because of the angle of the harbour to here. As you can see the place is high. Daughter-in-law and I childishly enjoy pitching dirty washing down the chute from top and middle floors. It makes a satisfying thud as it lands in the laundry behind the balcony with stone columns. Behind that laundry is a very large cellar, and a garage right at the front.

The house was built in a time of servants. There's a small bedroom upstairs which was the maid's. Between the kitchen and dining rooms are the pantry with a butler's pantry next to it. This has cupboards for glasses and a a large inbuilt dresser with cutlery drawers and shelving for linen like tablecloths.

Not only were there servants then, but deliveries by tradespeople. These back steps show the hatch right at left top of stairs where bread and milk in a pail would have been delivered. The hatch has been preserved for history's sake, but has been walled up from the kitchen side. Groceries, meat and green groceries would all have been carted up these stairs. The steps are a good fifty metres from the side street and drive. I picture the horse and cart with the horse waiting, hopefully, for the tradesperson to return.

Living here keeps me fit, LOL. You can see how far up we carry laundry or how far down we go to put stuff in the garbage. There are just as many steps onside to get to top floor. The steps at the front of the house have been split. There are six up to the front porch and door, and another dozen around the corner. The removalists just loved this place. Not.

I mentioned balconies. There are eight in total. the big back balconies are very large. Most of these others are very small. There are a couple of juliet style balconies from lounge room and two of the top floor bedrooms. These are uncovered. Shutters shield the rooms behind these. Downstairs, a partially covered one opens from dining room, although it's basically hidden behind greenery here. You can see the elaborate front porch, again very Art Deco in style. I sit out here on the steps and knit on hot summer afternoons as there is almost always a breeze and it's in the shade. Inside, the lounge dining and office rooms, have fireplaces with elaborate designs, mostly curved and arched niches in the walls for ornaments or vases. There's another niche on the curved landing of the stairs to top floor. Upstairs, above its roof is yet another balcony, this time opening from main bedroom again. It looks out onto highway.

I think that the original builders would be amazed by the traffic on the highway now. It never stops and many large trucks and buses use it constantly. Traffic goes down side street as it leads to a back way around Lane Cove Park to an industrial area on one side and Macquarie shops and Uni on the other. When outside, it's quite noisy. However, the house inside is very quiet. I think the walls must be quite thick.

It's a comfortable house and suits our style. there is plenty of space for me to give my son and his wife their space. A dozen people could sit around the garden and still not see any of the others there. At night, after dinner, I uually spend time in my room, although when there is daylight saving, we sit outside and talk until the mosquitoes arrive to devour son's wife.

The whole house is very comfortable and I'm glad to have this refuge.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

shiver, shiver (updated with photos)

This is really little more than a placeminder of an entry until I can take some photos at the weekend. it's been a week of mall finished objects. One sock of a pair with a fishbone fern leaf pattern on it. I meant to take my knitting today to start the second sock, but forgot as I had a bad headache when I left home. I also left home without my alpaca wristwarmers and and my newly finished neckwarmer. This of course leads to my next paragraph.

The first picture is the fishbone sock on fishbone fern! The wool is Opal Unisolid, bought years ago. I think it was a 100 gm ball and it's made baby socks, several pairs, and several pairs of little boy socks for my youngest grandchild last year. He turned three last week. I wasn't sure how far the wool would go. so divided the remainder by weight and wound two balls. Heels and toes are from scraps of more Opal. I could perhaps have just managed to get either the heel or toe out of the main colour. the pattern comes from the Harmony stitch guide to laces and Eyelets. Again, it was very dark outside, on the verge of rain.

It has been very cold here since the weekend. Cold in Sydney itself, and much colder up here. We had what the weather bureau called "mushy hail" on Sunday afternoon. It looked like snow, felt like snow, played like snow, but apparently wasn't snow. the temperature plummeted when it fell. There was more the next afternoon, although nothing like as much as on the Sunday. I've been out in falling snow and believe me, hail does not fall lightly and swirl in the wind as snow does. Monday and Tuesday were very cold for Sydney, with rain and a biting wind. Today has been cold, but no wind, so it has felt degrees warmer.

So what does one knit when one leaves home by 6;00 am in these conditions? Why neckwarmers of course. I've never been one for things around my neck or high, close collars. However, I've made three neckwarmers in the last few days and appreciate them very much. These are short scarves knitted as a scarf, narrow side up, but joined in a circle just allowing it to be pulled on over the head. Super cosy and very much appreciated this week. One was a black alpaca, with a drop stitch pattern. The pattern really does not show in the black but was a means to an end in knitting plain black for some length. Another was a merino/mohair mix in a lacy rib pattern and wide for a scarf of this nature. The third was done in some leftover 12 ply Cleckheaton Vintage Hues and a one row pattern from the Yarn Harlot. This makes a totally reversible pattern, is very easy and it looks good too.

Every day I've had one of these on under my well-used but still good quilted silk jacket. The neckwarmer has been pulled up well and the jacket collar has been turned up, buttoned and the drawer tie has been done up too. They've been marvellous in keeping out the draughts. The first two needed an extra tuck as I'd made them a bit loose. The 12 ply is just the right size. It goes over my head but is still snug on my neck. The beauty of these warmers is that, unlike a short scarf wrapped around the neck, there are no loose ends to wriggle loose and let icy blasts under my ears.

Don't you just love my model? DIL has several dummies, but I really like this particular one. The day was very grey but the flash did not produce good photos at all. these are a bit hard to see too. Model feels the cold and is wearing two neckwarmers in one picture, the black alpaca and the alpaca lacy rib. This one matches my fingerless gloves, made some time ago and now used everyday.

The Cleckheaton Vintage hues is also shown. This is 12 ply and needs to be worn by itself. Model is standing in front of our beautiful Art deco fire place. I could not take a picture of that in its glory as DIL is currently re-arranging lounge room and a lounge is in front of it. It's curved and has a marquetry front with hundreds, probably thousands of small inlaid pieces of wood. If you look closely, you may see a strange object on the mantelpiece. It's a handmade kaleidoscope, made of copper and glass by a retired naval captain. there are three discs with different patterns of coloured glass. these discs are turned by a small wooden knob. DIL bought it as a present for my son some year ago.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

cotton bag

I've been knitting this on and off all week. It's cotton and I find cotton hard on my fingers and wrists. I knitted too long one day and had some nasty swelling on my left wrist, so learnt my lesson and did less at any one time.

The pattern comes from the Inside Loop, an online British magazine. The actual pattern is here. Apparently, Traeth is Welsh for beach. I used Heirloom 8 ply cotton and have about half a ball left from three balls bought from Tapestry Craft. These balls are only 120 metres long, while the British product used is about 200 metres. I used more than the pattern suggested, because I knitted a ribbed handle from top to bottom of the bag. The original has straps to use it as a back pack. I had nothing suitable for straps here and rarely use backpack style bags. Even if there are two straps, I usually use only one and the bag was not the sort to be crammed so full that both straps would be used. The drawstring used came from Rubi and Lana's at Gordon. It really needs toggles or slides and I know I can get these at Paddy Pallins, the camping store in the city. However, Sydney is crammed over full of pilgrims for World Youth Day at the moment. I'll stop off there after work one day next week when hopefully there won't be so many people in the streets.

The bag was easy, but I see I've made a mistake in the decorative dropped stitch section. Between the two dropped stitch rows, there should be one purl, one knit and then another purl row. I can now see I've missed the second purl row on one section. However, I'm not going back now to rip it. I'll be more careful next time.

The blue is quite a soft blue, somewhat like a muted Aussie sky blue. The cotton was easy to knit, once I learned not to do too much at one time. It didn't split and knitted up quickly.

The holes around the top for the drawstring were spaced 14 stitches apart. I had some misgivings about this large spacing but followed the pattern. I was right to feel uneasy. The space was far too big and I found it difficult to draw up neatly. I pulled both drawstrings out and re-threaded them through the knitting at half the spacing. The safety pin I used went through the fabric quite easily and I did not have to go back and make more eyelets.