Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Llani, lacy foliage scarf

At long last Llani is finished.  I found this to be a frustrating knit, although I like the end result.  I had to buy another ball of yarn and even then I have not put the arrowheads on the sleeve cuffs as I thought I might again run out of yarn.  Actually, it hasn't really taken all that long, it just seems like it.

I found the arrowheads which are what make the garment stand out from many similar patterns,  quite annoying to do.  The first lot were done without any need for a cable needle, but the next reverse section definitely needed one.  Needed the cable needle once in every three stitches so lots of using it.  The cotton pulled and stretched  unless I was very careful in the cabling.

On the other hand, I just love the colour of this yarn.  It will suit youngest granddaughter, now just five, perfectly.  She's  the odd one out in her colouring of all the five cousins.  She's pale and blonde with an often wistful glance.

The second picture is the lacy foliage scarf from Evelyn Clark, done in sock wool.  The colour is called Lava but is an apricot/orange mix.  This does not really show against the blonde brick.  This is for the present basket which is currently well understocked.

I wrote to Interweave Knits about the appalling set out of the Lacy Kerchief scarf which I detailed in the post below.  No reply as yet.  After emailing them,  I sat down with pen and paper and spent over an hour working through the messy pattern.

I put a bracket around the beginning and close of each of the pattern sections, then wrote a prĂ©cis of each of those sections.  I have numbered both the sections as I re-wrote them and in the original printout.  All pages are now stapled together and when I have some time and inclination. I'll type up  the results of my perusal of the pattern.

The scarf itself is coming along nicely now I've sorted the directions.  The inner garter stitch pattern increases by one yarn over every six rows of an eight row pattern.  When I do it again, I'll work out a better ratio of increase.  It's a very gradual  increase in the curve, very, very gradual.  It's awkward to be increasing every sixth row out of eight.  I wrote out the sequence and now mark each time.  When I repeat the pattern, I'll omit the yarn over, two stitches from the end of the section and do a knit front and back.  I would prefer the section to be unbroken by the yarnovers.  Live and learn and test out patterns for modifications.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

FOs and others

It's somewhat hot through  Sydney today, forecast maximum of over 40 deg C.  I have two finished objects so was up early this morning to put them in to soak.  If the weather is reasonable, I'll take photos tomorrow.  I'm sure they are dry already.  It's very hot here and there's a nasty northerly wind and very low humidity.  However, I'll leave them pinned till tomorrow.

The first is the fancy foliage lace scarf, yet another Evelyn Clark design.  I made this from sock wool I bought from Wired for Fibre about eighteen months ago.  The colour is called Lava.  An easy knit, this will go into the present basket.

The second is part of a present for the youngest granddaughter of the three girls.  It's Llani, a top down garment from Katya Frankel at Bingeknitter.

So what now?  I decided on the Lacy Kerchief Scarf, from Interweave knits.  I had the pattern and found some Bendigo fingering in a plummy shade in my stash.  When I see how it goes, I might get something more luxurious, as I like the look of the scarf.

However I have a problem with the pattern.  No, it's not difficult.  It's the whole set up or should I say layout of the pattern which is a downloadable PDF.  When I look at it, I would  think the whole pattern is just taken from whatever file they had set up to print it originally in the 2005 edition of the magazine.  The layout looks remarkably like the patterns in the back of those editions I already have.  This probably means the publishers are making fairly easy money from the sale of the pattern.  It's downloadable once payment is made, a fairly easy thing to  set up.  It's also cheap to manage.

This pattern costs US $5.50.  Not a great deal more at the moment in Aussie dollars as the dollar is currently high.  Now the latest actual magazine I bought was a couple of weeks ago.  It was $13.50AUS.  It has a lot of patterns in it, many more than the 2.5 patterns at $5.50 each.  So selling individual patterns is probably a nice little money spinner.

Now my gripe is this.  There are three pages in the pattern itself.  The first is a good clear picture.  Great.  The third page has a few pages of the pattern written out and the chart.  The chart is reasonably clear, not minute type, but it could be much better according to the standard I've been using.  Evelyn Clark's charts and also those of Gudrun the Shetland Trader are very clear and easy to read.  This one is passable.

The middle page is appalling.  There are two columns on the page, so each is fairly wide.  A smallish picture, different aspect to page 1 takes some of the first column.  The last quarter of that column and ALL of the second is printed instructions.  No, not the pattern rows written out in full.  That starts at the very bottom of the second column and I use the chart anyway.

Some 60 rows form that column and it's one long paragraph.  No space anywhere, just row after  row of typed instructions.  I mean instructions, not pattern.  Things like, "do set up row, then finish pattern repeat.  Do rows 1-8 5(five) times.  By then ..."  "Work in patt., repeat, work rows 2-8 then 1-8."

You get the picture.  It's in small type and everything is crammed up  together.

It's unattractive and confusing.  When I start a new pattern, I take a highlighter and a coloured pen.  I work my way through the pattern before I begin to even cast on.  I highlight important area and things like stitch numbers.  I underline major instructions.  I put asterisks in the margin which to me denote something to be careful of and occasionally I may put a tentative question mark near something which does not seem clear.  I may even annotate the pattern in a different colour ink again.

I find this helps me in my understanding.  Working this way is a hangover from student days, even my recent Honours degree.  It used to help me understand what I was reading in a scholarly journal and also helped in the notes I made.

There's no way I can easily do this here.  I did try .  The pattern is a PDF  (fair enough), so I can't put returns etc in myself.  I can do some highlighting online when I open the PDF but it's not enough for me.   I could do some cutting and pasting in Word, but that would be very laborious and time consuming.  I may as well go through it with a fine tooth comb on my printout.  The point it that this should not be necessary.

I really think IK need  to address this sort of thing.  It makes the pattern totally unattractive to use and it makes me very wary of buying another from them in case  it is the same.  I really guess it would be, as it's come from their files.

Many patterns now are easy to read, clearly and attractively set out.  Space and clarity have been considered.  Why not this?  After all, the publishers depend on purchasers to keep them going.

Friday, 20 November 2009

more prizes

I have had a windfall of prizes over the last few weeks, unexpected but very welcome. I've never been what
some would call a lucky person and rarely win raffles and such 

things. These prizes, three of which came from giveaways on blogs have been very welcome indeed.

This year has been very hard with many unbloggable things. An 
unscheduled move and purchase of a house was a shock to all of 
us. Son owns a couple of houses and several units, all rented, but 
the purchase of a home at this time was not planned. Moving 
house with fewer than ten days to Christmas was definitely not on 
the cards. However, life throws these things sometimes and the 
three of us here have been affected by the stress and rush.  

Mum's death a few months ago was hard and although we all knew 
last Christmas that we would not have her for this Christmas, the 
reality of her absence has hit me strongly lately. Again I would say 
thank you to these generous bloggers.

Cashmere! Two balls of the softest pale aqua. Luxury on the skin, 
indeed. Thank you, Jen, from A Little Bit Crafty. When DIL brought this home from the post office yesterday, we both oohed and aahed over its softness. I'm envisaging myself, all unpacked, sitting 
relaxing and enjoying knitting this as a featherweight shawl, soft as gossamer. It was wrapped in the material you can see in the photo and the flowers on the material match the cashmere. Another 
 nudge towards more sewing, I feel.

This was not from a giveaway, but was one of the 
many generous prizes donated to knitters who took 
part in the Cancer Council's Relay for Life in West Australia. There were some very generous donors indeed and tickets were allocated to those who made a 
donation through the knitting group. They had 
anticipated raising $1000. Instead, a total of over 
$4000 was raised. Well done! Those participating 
knitted as they did the relay and gave the results of 
this knitting to charity too.

This beautiful yarn is 50% cashmere and 50% silk. It's a very vibrant aqua, more so than shows here. DIL's 
comment was that I needed to keep a close watch on this, as it just might disappear. I taught her to knit a couple of years ago and she's done a beautiful 
handspun scarf for herself. She's really too busy to 
absorb herself in knitting, but that didn't stop her 
eyeing off this yarn.

I donate to this charity every year and hadn't done so this year yet when I heard about those knitters. I was very happy to make a donation and would have done so without any incentive of prizes. The yarn is from Posh Yarn, dyed in Wales. There are 1300 yards here and 
I'm going to let this sit in the back of my mind while I work out what I want to do with it. Thank you again.

On a different note - I've had a great deal of trouble formatting this entry today. Any one else having trouble with blogger? It seems to be related to the breakjump function now introduced. That's the last icon on the 
line in the compose page. It should give a small amount of writing and then a jump to the rest of the entry 
which is concealed. What I'm getting is words split over two lines which require an actual return to write the
word as a whole. There seem to be many forum entries about this facility and its ability to mess posts 
around. Refomatting and changing the justification hasn't helped so I've fixed things manually. (hopefully)

Monday, 16 November 2009

slackford sock yarn

I've been enjoying knitting blogs for many years now, since I came back to knitting.  The forerunner of this blog was started in 2004 on the old Blogger platform.  One of the first I started to read was Stitches of Violet by Marguerite in Michigan, USA.  While I used to read a great many  USA blogs, I have cut down and now concentrate on Aussie bloggers.  However, I have continued to read Marguerite's blog all along.  She has lovely socks, great jumpers, pictures of the birds nesting on her property, chitchat about her dogs.  Her blog started around the same time as my first use of Blogger.

Here's a picture of one of the first pairs of socks I made.  They are called Old Shale socks, made from one of her original patterns, still in her sidebar.  I think I changed the heel to a square, possibly Dutch heel.  Under the turnback cuff is ribbing, giving the sock a comfortable fit.  These were a well received gift.

I first started charity knitting at a suggestion in her blog.  She makes many items for Children in Common which takes them to orphanages in Russia where it is bitterly cold in winter, even inside with little or no heating.  I did send socks but now support Aussie charities.  It was very expensive to send even small items to the USA, money which I could spend on more yarn for homegrown charities.

All this leads to my latest acquisition, Slackford Studio sock yarn.  Marguerite had three skeins of this lovely wool to give away.  We were asked to say how long we had been reading her blog.  As she had a date on her Old Shale pattern, I knew it was before that time.  I won this lovely yarn which arrived in the PO box a few days ago.

The photo was taken at 5:30 am this morning and the yarn is slightly lighter in colour than shows here.  Colour is aptly named "Meadow."  I think it's crying out for a leafy, lacy pattern.  I have several which could suit and I know there are plenty of others around.  I'm putting the yarn to the back of my mind because I can't start them right now.  Usually when I do this, the ideas roll around in my subconscious and finally just the right pattern emerges.

It's wonderfully soft to the touch and feels great.  With it came the pretty envelope which has a business card inside and two stitch markers  in green, matching the yarn.  I've lost a couple of stitch markers recently, so these replacements are very welcome.  Thank you, Marguerite for this.

Friday, 13 November 2009

please miss, the dog ate my homework

When I was teaching , this was one excuse that I wasn't given, although there were others somewhat like it.  Just about as credible.

What I'm about to relate is probably just as credible as the dog story, but, let me assure you, it's quite true!

Yesterday I wrote about the fourteen rows I had done in laceweight wool on a shawl.  No problems at all. My  mind  and fingers worked well together and I thought I was over  the problems of a few weeks ago.

I did that knitting on the balcony in the good light from the afternoon sun.  The yarn is deep green and stitches weren't easy to see when I was inside, particularly when doing nupps even over a small number of stitches.  I'd been shopping earlier and bought a small easy carve leg of lamb which I marinaded and we cooked on our snazzy new little BBQ.  When I did this, I put the knitting and the stapled pages of instructions on a chair outside, away from the food.  This chair had its back to the way the wind comes.  We ate dinner to a marvellous light show of spectacular lightning from a thunderstorm.  The temperature dropped and later on in the evening a southerly change came through with some wind.

This morning I went out on to the balcony to get my knitting.  It wasn't on the chair.  Now I know laceweight is light, but it was attached to quite a large ball of wool.  I eventually found it.  It had been blown off the chair and was caught up in some candlesticks and other odd shaped bits and pieces which had been put there to be all packed together.  It was a tangled mess!  The dog had really eaten it.  It was definitely in no shape to be continued.  I tried to sort it, but ended up discarding what I had done.

Then I looked for the five stapled pattern pages.  They were nowhere to be found.  They had been blown over balcony rail and they apparently sailed through the air.  I found them about ten metres away in a pile of leaves under a tree.

So next time you hear that excuse about the homework and the dog, spare a thought for the one presenting such a sorry tale.  It or its equivalent might just be true!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

shetland lace triangle

This is the second Shetland lace triangle shawl I've done from Evelyn Clark.  This is done on 5 mm KP needles with Naturally Harmony 8 ply from New Zealand. It took just under 600 metres of wool.  It's a silvery grey and since blocking, it feels very soft.  I have no intended recipient for this yet, but it will be packed away and I'm sure the right person will turn up in due time. I'm counting this as part of my Summer of Lace knitting.

Packed away is the right word.  In a fit of efficiency and zeal a few days ago, I packed all my bits and pieces from sewing like buttons, thread, elastic etc.  I know sewing makes a mess but I don't enjoy sewing in a mess and probably will wait till I've unpacked before I do more.  However I was just too efficient for my own good.

After the shawl dried from blocking I went to get my wool needles to darn in the ends from new skeins.  Rats!  I had packed them too.  I was out shopping today and went into the wool shop at Hornsby to ask about something.  I totally forgot to buy some more needles.  Sewing in those ends is something which will have to wait till I'm unpacked or till I remember to buy some more needles.

Now listen carefully, I will say this only once and very, very quietly, as the old comedy Allo, 'allo  would say.

I tried several times to do some laceweight knitting a couple of weeks ago.  I got myself in a terrible mess although last year I was quite capable of using this weight.  Last night I gave myself a stern talking to and declared that yes, I could and would do this.  Now I have known several people who have messed themselves up a lot by using such tactics, even if it was not for knitting.  They have gone quite over the top in their declarations and fallen apart when they could not fulfil them or they didn't magically eventuate.  I use the word "magically" deliberately because that is basically what they were doing.  However, I have no intention of being like that at all.  I am just reminding myself that this is not beyond me.

I have started some more lace weight knitting for the Summer of Lace.  So far I have done the set-up fourteen rows and all has gone well.  A few weeks ago I ripped back several attempts well before fourteen rows were done.  Hopefully progress reports will follow.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

ticked off mightily

I am somewhat cranky.  I'm going to have to make an unscheduled trip to Morris and Sons to buy some more Jaipur cotton to finish the Llani top for granddaughter as part of her Christmas presents.  I thought  it would be close but this is ridiculous.  I still have another 4 centimetres to knit stocking stitch on the body and then ribbing after that.  Sleeve stitches have to be taken off holder, eight rows knitted, some sharp decreases to pull them in and then the edging.  I have enough yarn left for perhaps ten stitches.  My stitch tension is spot on and length is given in inches and centimetres, not rows.

In fact, what I need to do is turn it inside out and see just how far a ball does go by counting rows.  Then I can calculate number of rows left still to do and see if I might actually need two balls.  Must be disciplined in the shop, must be disciplined in the shop, must be...

I think these arrow heads are pretty but they were a pain to do in this cotton.  It's really a crossover of two stitches  and the cotton stretched out  and went sloppy no matter how careful I was in doing the crossover.  The outer twist four rows  could be done without the cable needle but the lower twist needed the cable needle.  With or without made no difference to the stretch and I was worried it might continue stretching as I knit the stocking stitch.  It's fine however.

I'm pretty well packed.  Yarn is in plastic tote boxes and clothes on hangers will be transported like that and re-hung.  I have a few books to pack and my emergency knitting projects are in a bag to pick up and go.  DIL is still packing away and refusing help.  She's right, she's probably quicker by herself but I feel bad about not helping.  So today I've done more cleaning of fiddly bits which won't really need re-doing.  I've been through the place with the very long Turk's head broom and got rid of a lot of spider webs.  I've also rubbed the broom over any of the outside windows which can be reached.  Balcony ceilings have been done.  I've dusted up high where we often pass over those areas and washed window sills and the little niches dotted through this place.  The large curved inside staircase has a beautiful polished wood banister rail, neatly turned to fit the shape of the hand.  It gets too much use to get dusty, but the heavy metal brackets which connect it to the plaster side of the stairs were quite grubby.  I think we probably inherited them like that, but they are now quite white as I washed them with some warm water and bleach.  I've cleaned out those drawers which have been emptied.  Hopefully there won't be too much cleaning at the very end which is heavy/messy and we will have the carpets steam cleaned.

DIL is having a day off and I think she needs it.  A friend's sister lives at Mittagong and they have gone down to the Bong Bong Picnic Races.  It's a beautiful day to be out down there.

Monday, 9 November 2009

heart to heart scarf and a break-in

Second last present needing my creative attention.  This is Evelyn Clark's Heart to Heart Scarf, take 2. It's for one DIL and is made from the lovely Grignasco Bambi again in the same dark green as the second Aestlight that I made.  Very deep green a lovely, restful colour.  Green, I tell you, not deep charcoal.

My model has claimed all the attention for herself and taken the colour from the scarf.  Actually, she's one of the many naked ladies around here.  Neither DIL nor I are in that category!  This one has a light inside her and she glows softly.  I chose her to model the scarf so the lace edge could be easily seen.

There are several shop dummies around too.  A dressmaker's model is in one of the bedrooms, there's a black wire display model outside my room, and probably another three shop ladies around the place.

Add to those, the busts of naked ladies which are grouped on the sideboard and the rather beautiful painting of a nude in the main bedroom.  None of my grandchildren likes any of them.  They don't giggle and are not shy about them, but they don't like them.  Each of them has expressed a dislike for the naked ladies who live here.

I've been packing, sorting and throwing out  today.  I feel guilty about watching DIL pack, because after all I live here and enjoy the benefits.  I should share the less pleasant bits too.  However, she has so far refused all offers of help and is well on the way to having most of the easy bits done, like books in the thousands and a lot of crockery.  There's the pantry to go, personal stuff, clothes.  We have had date confirmed as 16/12 to move.

Last night I saw son photographing the door.  He pointed out where the lock had been forced with a screwdriver and bits gouged out of the door frame.  There are two locks on the door and I think this would be about 80 years old.  It seems that when this one did not give, the would-be burglar ran off.  We're not quite sure just when this happened, but think probably Friday.

Actually, I think I may have scared the thief off.  I was home alone on Friday, all weekend actually.  DIL was out in the morning and early afternoon.  I was upstairs and heard a noise as of lock being opened.  I called out to what I thought was her, as I went downstairs because I knew she would have parcels to get inside.  There was no one there, although there had most definitely been a noise.  The lock itself has had a screwdriver forced inside it and the back handle is floppy although the key still works.

Owner is very annoyed about the damage. He just about worships the place here.   It's not as if we did it ourselves!  We spoke to police this morning and were given an incident number.  Surprisingly only 45 minutes later we had a very jovial Senior Constable and his sidekick at the door.  Their comment was that the only way to secure the house was to have bars and security doors.  There are nine doors to the outside.  He said he'd put in a report but not to expect results although he would send finger print people around.  We report it only to be able to tell owner we had done so.  We're well aware nothing will come of it.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

heart to heart and yet more jacaranda

I've been working sporadically on the Heart to Heart scarf.  It suits my mind at the moment as there are just a few stitches of lace on one edge of the scarf.  I know the pattern and do a twelve row repeat at the one time, so  it's progressing nicely with a three stitch increase/decrease over those twelve rows.

I'm now past the halfway mark and am coming back down the stitch count. As with the Aestlight shawl I made and gave away, I'm really liking the Grignasco Bambi to use in scarves.  It's easy to knit, the garter stitch part is very even, the lace will be fine when blocked and the drape of the scarf material, done on 4 mm KP Harmony  needles is lovely.  It's soft to the touch and will be lovely around the neck.

Another couple of photos of the biggest jacaranda here.  There are others but  this is enormous.  It's probably 12-14 metres wide and a good deal higher than that. At dusk and just before sunrise the flowers almost glow with a deep  luminous brilliance. I tried to capture the width of the tree in this photo, but there is more on both sides of the picture I took.

I watch very little TV, none of us watches much at all.  However, I'm alone here this weekend and turned it on last night.  Better Homes and Gardens was on.  I haven't seen that for at least 15 months and tuned in to hear Graham Ross the gardener saying that if you wanted just one tree, then a jacaranda would be it.    I doubt it.  These trees can become huge. They can completely dominate a small backyard.  The shade is good and the flowers are truly beautiful.

There are big drawbacks.  This purple carpet looks lovely.  That is, until the rain falls on it when they become very slushy.  The bees love the flowers even when they are on the ground.  One of my sons has two beautiful jacarandas in his yard.  Every year there are several bee stings because at least one of his children goes outside in bare feet and treads on a bee.  They do learn but it's an easy thing to happen.  Painful too.

This is the start of the carpeting, taken from two storeys up and it will  go on for several weeks unless a gale blows off all the flowers.

After the flowers come the leaves, delicate little fern like fronds, arranged in larger leaves of the same.  There is the same problem with the leaves as with the flowers.  The tree is deciduous and in autumn, they too fall to the ground.  Not in the larger gatherings of fronds but in thousands and thousands of little pieces not much bigger than a thumbnail.  They get every where and particularly over any washing hung to dry on the line.

In the right spot, they are gorgeous trees with great summer shade.  Being deciduous, they allow sun through in the winter.  But the tree to choose if you want only one?  I doubt it in a suburban garden.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

winnings and purchases

Here is my lovely prize from Selina's blog giveaway.  It arrived very quickly in the post office box and DIL brought it home this afternoon.

All wrapped up in some pattern paper were lots of goodies.  I remember that paper.  Sometimes it seemed as if it took as long to cut out all the pieces of pattern as it did to make a simple dress. You can see a lovely needlecase which I definitely needed and had planned on making.  The button on the case shows an old wooden cotton reel.

There was a cute card printed with her name and blog address.  Almost hidden is a piece of lovely chenille.  I'll have to think carefully about that but it just may become a cushion in my new room when I move.  The room is big enough to have a small lounge in it.  DIL has a small old Parker lounge which I'll probably use at first till I work out what I really want.  It needs cushions.

The fat quarters are great and I'm thinking at least some could be in a skirt  for a granddaughter.  Will thinks some more about that.  Old buttons fascinate me.  They remind me of my grandma's button jar.  I have some old ones myself and will add these to my stock.  When I look at them, I can envisage the sort of clothing they would have been on.

So, on to the purchase which also came from the post office box.  A couple of weeks ago I bought the cerise bag at far right of the photo.  It's an Ecosilk bag made from parachute nylon and totally recyclable.  It makes a great holder for  my knitting and I can pick it up and go, knowing everything is there.  I've been on the lookout for these for a while.  They are a good size and can hold 13 kg in weight.  I wouldn't be carrying them with that weight in them!

I looked on their website and found I could order them in packs of six.  With postage  this was about the same as buying the same number in a shop, although the pack discounted the price of the bags.  These colours represent Spring. The tiny yellow bag is a drawstring freebie.  I'm thinking lipgloss or similar.  They were all packed in the larger blue bag, also a drawstring bag, on the left.

Packing is proceeding here.  Moving date seems to be settled on December 16th but there's lots to pack.  I'm not looking forward to it.  I know some people move regularly but I've not been one of them before and I find it hard to handle.  The collected family Christmas gathering is on the 19th December.  We were tired of traffic etc on Boxing Day so made it early this year.  No idea of upheaval beforehand, unfortunately.  We can't easily change it.  We've booked months ago a large shelter in Fagins Park at Galston and it's going to be brunch.  I have quite a lot of presents bought already.  When I was packing today, I put them in a very recognisable container so at least I'll be able to find them.  Not much more to get now.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

lacy summer not so lacy

Goodness me, Blogtoberfest is over but I'm still posting daily.

I think my brain is working overtime on moving house.  Without being  conscious of dwelling on the topic, I find little bits and pieces keep cropping up.  Suggestions, queries, size of areas etc, thoughts I've had.

As a result, my brain is not coping well with lace yet.  I have cast on several times for two patterns from Victorian Lace Today.  I've gone varying distances before fouling things up and ripping it out.  Last night I tried a simple pattern to  make a scarf.  Still  a mess.

Today I walked down to Greta's at Lindfield and bought some more Grignasco Bambi in the dark green I used on one of my Aestlight shawls.  I've cast on and done about thirty rows of Evelyn Clark's  Heart to Heart Lace Scarf.  I've done this in black before for me, and the green should work well and be easier to see.  So far, so good.

Perhaps I'll ease into this summer and I think it might not be till the Christmas break that I get stuck into something more involved.  Then we'll have moved.  Moving date has been fixed at 16/12.  BY Christmas I'll be looking for some respite from unpacking,  I think.

I need to block the Shetland Triangle I did in the 8 ply.  That too may wait till things are more ettled.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009


UFO alert!  Not the little flying saucers and I haven't been abducted by green aliens or beamed up, Scotty at all.

I've started packing and sorting my stuff prior to move.  It's a good few weeks off yet but time goes quickly.  After all, it should still be February and here it is November.  It's certainly hot enough for February today, the Bureau of Meteorology has Sydney's temperature at 2:00 at 36.3°.

I decided there must be stuff I don't want to move a second time and that I would sort things.  Now most of my kitchen stuff etc. and books are boxed in the garage.  All I have up here is some bedding, clothes for all seasons and of course my wool.

The first bag I picked up had a variety of things in it.  Now I could have sworn I knew my UFOs and they were few.  There was stuff there I had totally forgotten.  A cabled white men's jumper.  The front was nearly finished.  It was moth eaten and a good deal of the wool had already been pitched because it was mothy.  I think this dates  from an "earth mother" stage probably over thirty years ago.  The pattern was no longer attractive and I doubt it would now fit its intended recipient.  Not that I'm considering making anything at all for him. I threw it out and with it went some revived memories.

Then there was the apricot cardigan for some little girl.  That was acrylic and can't have been too old as I took the pattern from a freebie site on the net.  It was made in one of the better acrylics.  I'm not sure who the little girl was and I remember abandoning it because the pattern shaping went very strange and I found it difficult to work out where it should be going.

There were a couple of scarves, made to use up some remnants.  Again, no recollection of these, but they had obviously been abandoned through sheer boredom. They went too.

I found the large, plain triangular shawl I had started and left.  Don't remember why.  It had been better stored and was salvageable. It was made from Optim  and I will finish that although I may frog it and use the wool again in another design.

Now I do remember that shawl and had been wondering where it was.    However, the others were mysteries.  Now gone and I can forget about them again.

I have put aside some winter tops and will give them to charity.  Most of my clothes remain reasonably well sorted.  The needed to be because of lack of space. At the change of seasons I would go through them as I brought some inside and repacked others.

I've been working in the heat most of the day apart from a brief lunch break and was filthy.  I've now had a shower and washed away the heat, grime and dust and put on some comfy pants made  from an old sheet to an Amy Butler design from >In Stitches.  A much better feeling and I'm going to knit.

I've been perusing the floor plan of the new house and looking more closely at the photos.  My son is desperate to change the oyster style light fittings but there's not much else to do.  I asked DIL about the built-in wardrobes and were there linen presses.  Wardrobe in my room is more than twice as long as  the one I have now.  I'm sure this one was made for men's shirts and jackets or perhaps children's clothing.  Even my skirts can't hang straight because it's not very tall and everything is squashed.  More space will be a luxury.  The wardrobe goes to the ceiling as  well.  I'll have to be careful to work out what goes there.  I'm not tall like son and DIL.  He's 6'5" and she's 6' tall.  They wave their hands around and can put stuff really high.  However, kitchen steps may be my friend.  I'm 5'3".  When I asked about a linen press, not for me in particular but just as a general enquiry, I was told there were two and I was welcome to the one just outside my room for  my own use.

Talk about luxury, my stash may well get another good sort over the Christmas period.  It's a pity about the large mirror doors on the wardrobe.  Certainly I would not choose them, but I'm more interested in the actual space available than the fact that the doors are mirrored..

Monday, 2 November 2009

my weekend

I was minding my small grandson and his older sister at their place on the Central Coast for most of Saturday and the night while their parents attended a wedding in Sydney.  Big wedding with over 300 guests.  DIL left very early on Saturday morning as she was doing the hair for large wedding party and assorted others.

All went well, although I've forgotten just how messy a four year old boy can be.  I should have remembered - after all I had three myself!  Weather was beautiful, mild, sunny with a light breeze.  Older sister was picked up for a sleepover and we settled down singing, painting, climbing.  Well, he climbed, I watched.  He ate an enormous dinner, had a bath and went quite happily to bed.

I'd been asked to take him to the bathroom before I went to bed.  At 11:00 I went to do this.  Heard a noise from his room and thought perhaps he'd got up by himself.  Unfortunately, he must have caught the gastric bug  going around pre-school.  It was everywhere, all dinner and goodness knows what.  That was something else I'd forgotten from my son' childhood and it was a memory I would rather have left undisturbed.

Cleaned him up, changed bed, wiped down, found new pillow,  put washing machine on, washed soft toys by hand.  Rang his parents who said they would return from reception then.  They were extremely apologetic, but hey, something like that is part of life with children.  Reception was beginning to wind down.  Problem was that they had a 90 minute drive  to return as they'd been the far side of Sydney.

Just settled down to await their return and it happened all again and again.

Fortunately, by the time we all got to bed about 2:00 am, things seemed better and we got some sleep till he woke up at 6:00 am and came into my room.  Reluctantly I got up, made breakfast, giving him only a little bit and we went outside.  I thought that since his mother had been so busy the day before, I'd let her sleep.  She surfaced sometime after 9:00 and my son some time later.

Grandson seemed to be over the worst, although he was pale and tired.  We went to the waterfront for lunch, buying fish and chips  which was a treat I don't have here.  Haven't had well cooked, battered fish for a very long time.  Crispy batter, very well drained.  Then I caught the train back down here.  I was delayed by a faulty signal which stopped the train for 30 minutes.  Just as we approached Hornsby where I had to change, it was all I could do to keep my eyes open.

So a good weekend at either end with an unpleasant disturbance in the middle. Early night last night and packing and sorting stuff today.  Settlement date on new house is December 10th, although moving date is still somewhat fluid.  I don't want to leave it all till the end.  This is a big house, so I'm helping start on cleaning now.  Windows etc won't bet too dirty again if they are done now.  After all, spiders here can cobweb a window in hours of cleaning off old webs.

His photo is old, pre-school from 2008 and not taken by me. Must update my library.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

bloggy prizes

I've seen several blogs commenting on the community raised by bloggers.  I've found this among knitting blogs and also in other areas.  I regularly meet cyber friends from a large international forum where I participate.

Both these areas represent a caring community.  Knitters and other creative folk are generous.and kindhearted.

I've enjoyed Blogtoberfest and enjoyed finding so many interesting new blogs..  Some of these show creativity in ways I would not normally attempt.  All have beautiful work to display, yummy recipes to try, words of encouragement and sympathy when down.

I've entered a few giveaways and refrained from others.  When I returned from my weekend babysitting (and more of that later when I've had a sleep) I found two delightful emails in my inbox.
At Selina's Vintage I entered a giveaway which I won.  Some vintage fat quarters, some vintage buttons, a needlecase.  Photos to follow when the parcel arrives and is collected from son's PO box.  I have been debating making myself a needlecase for a couple of weeks now.  A serendipitous prize indeed.  I used to have a lovely, very vintage needlecase given me by a great aunt many years ago.  It was a red felt Red Riding Hood.  I used it for years, but somewhere it disappeared and I don't know if I still have it.

Not only that but the knitting powers have confirmed that I do indeed take part in a Long Lacy Summer. I made a donation to Knitters for a Cure who were doing relay for Life in Perth.  I have won some lovely lace yarn with 50% silk and 50% cashmere, 1300 yards.  Absolutely gorgeous.

Now I made a donation here and was entered.  However, I donate to this cause every year  and hadn't done so yet.  It supports breast cancer research and my sister is a 12 year survivor although she's had problems at times.  I have also supported Movember where one son grew the most amazing moustache.  Another cancer cause. Yet another son has  several times shaved his head for Canteen and I've supported him there too.  So the prize was not the main attraction.  These knitters knit during the relay.  They have raised over $4000, a fantastic effort.  Congratulations.

Thank you to Selina and to those who donated prizes for the cancer relay and to those who participated in the relay.