Monday, 30 March 2009

hedera and sky

I mentioned below that I had found some hedera socks from Knitty when I had done some tidying up. When I had a good look at them I realised they were practically finished. Indeed, it took less than the hour I had envisaged to get them done. Three pattern repeats were needed, just twelve rows and only over the instep. That didn't take long. I had a good look and saw that the first sock had been finished with a star toe, so I looked carefully and worked out what I had done. Sew in the ends and there it was, all done.

Why they had been left I do not know. I do know things were tough then but I usually finish something once started. These were done mainly sitting on the covered back deck area of my old home. When I gave up on them. I put them on top of a pile of knitting magazines on the end of the table there. They were moved around, put under things, shifted and so on. I did not want to do them for some reason I have since forgotten. Anyhow, they are now finished. When I started them again yesterday, I realised what an easy but effective pattern they were. I may well repeat it. I seem to remember that the wool is some sock wool I bought from Elann years ago. It is perhaps more green than shows here, which is probably why I chose it for that pattern. After all, hedera is basically climbing ivy.

As they had been sitting out on the table for so long before they migrated to this house, they were fairly dusty. I gave them a good wash and here they are, almost dry.
I've started another Liesl cardigan. Well almost Liesl. I used Ysolda's pattern but made the increases in the yolk in stocking stitch. For the body, I've found another stitch pattern, a peacock tail, which fits the stitch count. Actually, it's similar to the original feather and fan stitch in that there is a decrease of three stitches at each end of the repeat and then some YOs in the middle. I've seen some people who have taken a pattern, adapted it like this and then called it something else of their own choice. All they have really done is change the original. To me that's cheating, plagiarism, passing off something as theirs when it isn't. They have not even deconstructed a finished garment. I'm perfectly happy to give Ysolda the credit where it's due. It was just that I could not face so much feather and fan again at the moment and wanted something different. As Shakespeare said, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. LOL.

I was sitting outside late yesterday afternoon working on this on the balcony when I glanced up to see a most beautiful sky. I raced upstairs and grabbed my camera and took a few shots. The fanned out clouds were taken looking east to the city but the other shot was looking west. It was hard to capture as it was difficult to avoid taking it directly into the sun.
There must have been quite a bit of wind up there, although the afternoon was warm and mild here. I haven't done a Saturday sky for ages and I think the concept has been modified towards something to do with directions now. However, this was too attractive to miss, so I give you Sunday sky instead.
The conjunctivitis is beginning to go at last. I still have another course of antibiotics but can phase out the drops now. The cream is still going in every four hours and hopefully the house arrest can come to an end in a day or two. I really often don't leave the house for several days at a time. However, to be actually confined is another matter. I could think of all sorts of things I just had to have that very minute and places I definitely needed to go to, or people I desperately wanted to visit then and there. All because I'd been told to keep myself to myself. Son had received the same advice from a different doctor. Conjunctivitis is terribly contagious. I would not have wanted to pass it on to anyone.

I need some stuffing for some soft toys, so hopefully in a few days I'll be able to go out. I see Lincraft has moved back to the city from Alexandria. They are now in the basement of the old Gowings building. I imagine they lost customers after they shifted to Alexandria. Wadding and stuffing can come from there and it's not far from the station. It will be good to get out. It's been a rough couple of weeks.

Friday, 27 March 2009

thank you so much

Thank you so much to all who have sent good wishes and sympathy to me on Mum's death. Times have been quite stressful here with some family problems and it's been good to look back over the messages which I found very comforting.

I'd have done this sooner but, despite stringent hygene measures, I caught the conjunctivitis which my son developed just on a week ago. His was a bad dose, because like many men, he thought things would "clear up" in a couple of days, so he didn't go to the doctor. It was well developed before he started any medication

Two evenings ago, I realised that I'd caught it so yesterday morning I hurried to the doctor. What a régime to have to follow. When I told him about the strength of son's infection, he gave me 10 days of antibiotics. EEEK, must get DIL to get me some good yoghurt. Then there are both drops and cream each going in evey four hours. In effect, this means cream, two hours, drops, two hours etc.

Gluggy eyes and cream have meant that very little knitting has been done. I've done some tidying up both on the balcony outside and in my room. The room is not tine, but it's not big either. A lot of my wool is in tubs on the covered balcony, along with some winter clothes. In my room are three sets of smallish bookshelves, a small wardrobe, a big desk which goes around a corner and a double sized futon bed. More hanging space for those things that don't fit in the wardrobe, a plastic suspension file box for important papers and a heater. Whew! It's OK as the rest of the house is big and I can get outside., but it definitely needs a good tidy every month or so, or I would disappear beneath the debris and detritus of living.

Today I found several UFOs. One was a pair of Hedera socks started goodness knows how long ago. Certainly back at my old home. I've made a box wit the UFOs, all of which are fairly minor and I've also put a mini-stash in there to save ransackng tubs outside.
The Hedera socks will soon be finished and gifted. I have no idea why they aren't finished. The first is finished, the second needs a coupe of pattern repeats and then the toe. Why did I put them aside? There's perhaps an hours work to finish the pair.

Thank you again. I was warmed by your thoughts.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009


I had a catchy, upbeat title planned for this entry but I am neither catchy nor upbeat today. I had been stalled on the second half of the second sleeve of Liesl for a week and was determined to finish it yesterday. I had just finished sewing in the last end yesterday morning when my sister rang to say Mum appeared to have had a massive stroke. Could I please come to the nursing home. Mum had been unable to stand or to use her right hand since a stroke last year, about four months ago. She had been fine early in the morning when washed by nursing staff but when breakfast was delivered at 8:00 am, she was in a deep coma and could not be roused. Staff explained that they thought this was the end.

My brother, sister and I settled down to watch. I had knitting but could not do it. Various family members arrived and stayed for a while. My sons and DILs came. The day dragged on and it was apparent Mum was indeed near the end. Her pupils showed no response, she gave no sign of hearing anything, even loud talking down her good ear. Her breathing was horrifying to listen to, large raspy breaths and coughs.

As the day went on, every breath was a struggle for her, although she did not seem to be in any pain. She had always held our hands in bed, but there was no response to this. There was often a horrifying gap between breaths and I found myself hoping that she would not start again. I came home about 11:00 pm convinced she would not see the night through. She died at 2:15 this morning. I had been asleep about an hour but woke at 2:17 and knew she had gone.

We've been back there this morning. Taken all her stuff, someone else will be in the room tomorrow. She looked so much better. This nursing home leaves them in their beds till undertaker comes and she was peaceful. Looked as if the strain of breathing had given way to peace. My sister had picked some gardenias from the garden and put them with her. We are glad for her sake and ours that the end was really quite quick, a blessing.

Neither Mum nor my sister had wanted a funeral. My side of the family really would prefer one but my brother won't rock the boat, so no funeral. There will be a private family gathering at some time in the future, probably at Pearl Beach, a place I have loved since I was very young. She would have been 89 in two weeks.
The pictures are of finished Liesl. I took about three metres more than three big balls of Bendigo Aran to make this. Colour is perhaps best in the last picture but it's really a very dusky pink. The body is made longer than suggested - I like the small of my back to be warm. Sleeves on this version are full length so i think I had good value for the three 200gm balls. I've made a slight flare/ruffle on the ends by knitting front and back of every second stitch and then doing two rows plain before casting off. If I do another one and I think I will. I'll make sleeve 3/4 length and finish with a picot edge.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

proof of knitting and some expenditure

Once upon a time, long long ago, when I did my first degree, the current Fisher Library at Sydney Uni was the then new Fisher Library. I had spent many happy hours in the old library, hidden away at a desk in the stacks with my feet in winter waming up on the light coming through from the stack a floor below. Now all was new, bright, open and breezy. The floor was soft and porous in the new building and the wearing inside of shoes with a heel smaller than a 10cent piece was forbidden. Many times I sat there with my shoes next to me on the floor. Friends often said they could trace my desk even if I wasn't there by the pretty red shoes on the floor.

I loved red shoes then and still do. Rosered has been posting pics of her red shoes on a shoesday, sorry, Tuesday. I bought these this morning so thought I would post a picture. They are actually a very cherry red and are ankle boots with zip up the side. Strictly speaking, I probably really didn't need to buy them. However I threw out my old winter red shoes a while ago. They had given several years of very hard wear. I wore them to the station one wet morning and found they leaked through several gaping cracks in each sole. The uppers weren't good enough to consider a resole so I ditched them. The water coming in made the dye in the shoes stain my beautiful handknitted socks. Now my feet will be warm and dry this winter.
There has been some knitting done, quite a bit actually, since my last entry. I had started the February Lady Sweater and indeeed had even finished the yoke and was onto the lace part. However, to get the stated tension, I had to go down a few sizes of needle and the fabric was very stiff and unyielding. Not to mention that pushing over three hundred stitches aound in the tight fabric was very tiring. So I ripped it all out and tried a few more bits and pieces, including some crocheted granny squares for a rug. Nothing suited, so I sent the wool to time out. Then I found Liesl from Ysolda and found that Rosered, mentioned above had done one.

I cast on and never looked back. I think the colour here is not good at all. The wool is Bendigo Aran and the colour is really a dusky soft pink called Woodrose. I gave it a few modifications and will be very happy when I finish the second sleeve and can block it, hopefully tomorow. I made the body a bit longer than shown to come down my back a bit. I've also done sleeves to the wrist on this version. Pattern puts 36 stitches aside and then picks up another 12 for the sleeve. I actually picked up 24, two pattern repeats. I wanted to perhaps wear this over a warmer shirt and didn't want the sleeve tight. I was marginally over the tension required so have done a size down. The knitting is easier than on the FLS with fewer than half FLS' stitches. It worked well. All that is left is another few rows of pattern repeats on the second sleeve, sewing on some buttons and sewing in some ends. Then a nice soak for it and a blocking. Then I'll have a new jacket ready for chilly weather and it gets quite chilly up here even in the house.

I have some more wool in a pleasant green and may do another, substituting perhaps a different pattern stitch. It's been a very quick knit and I'm please to be doing something for myself. I've had a few unpleasant days and am also fighting off a cold so was glad to do something for myself.

Not only did I buy some more shoes this morning, I bought myself a new wallet. I've always had happy wallets, bright pink, crimson, purple. My last, bought a couple of years ago is a very drab uninspiring brown. It was an emergency buy as my previous wallet fell apart when I was in the city one day, disgorging its contents, fortunately through my bag. I'm fussy about the design as well as the colour and in a hurry, all I could find was a brown wallet. It's worked well, but I hated the colour. I walked past Strandbags in Hornsby this morning after buying the boots and on an impulse looked in. Not that there's anything really wrong with the old wallet. I found one which I liked with all the pockets and slots I needed. Joy oh joy, it was a deep purple. So I bought it. I've just spent a happy lunch time on the balcony transferring the contents of my old wallet to this one. New wallet, new boots and a new jacket for myself... hmmm, perhaps enough for a while.