Thursday, 26 August 2010

just off the needles

Just off the needles, toe grafted.  This is one lot of the Fibranatura wool which I bought last week  from Granny Square, in King  Street Newtown, the old Champion Textiles shop.

It was an easy knit, all stocking stitch apart from an extended bit of ribbing on the cuff.  I still had about 15 gm left to be halfway down the wool which came in a hank of 130 gm.  The leg is quite long, well over 9" and the foot fits well.  It was pleasant to knit with and has made a solid, warm sock, ready to be new next winter.  It had knit very evenly too.

I'm not 100% satisfied with the striping but I love the colours.  At the toe and the beginning of the leg just under the ribbing,  large diagonal stripes can be seen.  Not quite pooling, but on the way.  The part in the middle is lots of very busy, narrow, horizontal strips.  Now that must be the way it was dyed as I did nothing different there.  I'm expecting a reversal of this order on the second sock which I began this morning with my morning coffee.

I started the sock, planning to do Ailsa's Mountainfold pattern which is easy, effective and quick.  I was about through the 40 or so rows in the leg pattern when I realised it would look better plain.  The colour changes just did not work with the pattern which I first did in a solid colour.  I ripped it back to the cuff and just went round and round and round from there!

I can't say I'm surprised at the election results.  It was a lacklustre, uninteresting campaign which seemed to me to be basically one side taking potshots at the other and then the reverse. Very little showing of initiative and lots  of being short on facts.  Don't blame me, I should have lived in Tasmania!  While hung parliaments are not usual at the federal level in Australia, they do happen in the states and are not uncommon overseas.  I hope both major parties can take the lesson from the slap from the polls.  Hope but doubt, actually.  Having only two entrenched major groups is really part of the problem.  Both the  electorate I live in now and my previous one are safe Labor areas.  Very safe, even with a swing against Labor.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

so, do I need more sock wool?

I was out and about in Enmore this morning so decided I'd go back down to the new shop, Granny Square, where Champion Textiles used to be.  I was there Monday, the only day of the week that they are shut.

It's certainly different.  I was talking to Ruth there and mentioned the dust and grime from before.  She told me they took three large skips of rubbish from the place and they are still working on parts of it.  Their time and effort shows.  It's bright and airy and clean.  She also said that they found a mummified cat between two of the very old brick walls.  I found this both horrifying and fascinating.  On my way home I remembered that some very old places down near Woolloomooloo had had similar items found and shoes had been found in many chimneys.     All part of builders' superstitions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Sydney.

So do I need more sock wool?  Few sock knitters would say no to that question.  As you can see, this is Yummy sockwool and very yummy it looks too.  There are 130 gm in the skein, plenty for a large pair or perhaps knee high socks.  The colours looked like a gelato bar or perhaps a bag of boiled lollies.  I could easily have bought at least another six colours.  They all appealed.  Other brands were available too.  370 yards/340 metres approximately in each hank.  It feels very pleasant too.  I was also taken with the Morris and Sons bamboo/merino mix which was ultra soft.

Yes the trains are close here.  This is an old are of Sydney and used to have a chocolate factory here.  It burnt dow and eventually some units and these town houses were built on the site.  We are close to the trainline.  Inter-urban trains run in both directions on the side closest to this place, then outer Sydney trains and then the inner city lines are furthest from me.

This photo shows what is both the window and doorway in my room.  As you can see, the trains are close, about ten metres away on top of the brick wall which was built in the nineteenth century.  Trains first ran past here  about 1850.

There are doors here with a gap of about half a metre between.  The outer door also opens on to what could be used as  a place for plants. There's a screen door on that one.  The system works really well.  The three floors above ground all have a similar system, although those at the front have a much wider gap making a couple of small sunrooms.

It works really well as a sound barrier and is great insulation too.  My room is the coldest part of the house, apart from the below ground bit.  I have not yet used a heater in here, although it's been close a couple of times.  We haven't had any form of heating used in the rest of the house either, all winter.  Only the boarder here watches TV so we rarely sit in the lounge  area.  It's quite warm there.The sun comes in from the front through the small sunroom and into the house.  The office on the third floor gets the sun through the glass most of the day and is very warm with warm air rising through the house.  In summer, we shut the blinds and open the door to the below ground area.  A lovely cool breeze blows through the whole house all day then.  If the weather is not too hot, we keep the doors shown open as well.  The area gets a breeze which I think comes from the harbour. We're not far away, as the crow flies.

Monday, 16 August 2010

winnings and purchases

Witty Knitter and I won a prize each for comments on Fee's blog.  Fee emailed me on Friday to say she had posted it, and I picked it out of the post office box, early today, Monday.  That was super quick, even though we are not far away from each other as the crow flies.  That doesn't always mean much as I found when I used an Express Post envelope to post something urgent to a friend a couple of years ago.  I could have walked to his place in about an hour.  The envelope, express and all, took eight days to get there.  The only recompense offered by Australia Post was another express envelope.  And they wondered why I was sarcastic.

Look at this lovely project bag, perfect for any number of things.  It's lined  with deep blue, is well made and sturdy, something much needed for carting small projects around.  I love it.  Thank you so much Fee, it will be much used by me.  There was another surprise, totally unexpected.

Inside was this skein of Artisan laceweight in a gorgeous soft grey, called pewter.  It's NZ merino and there are 300 metres in the hank.  It's hand dyed, hand wash, 20 gm in the skein.  It's beautiful to look at and to touch.  As I said in my email to Fee, I once shied off lace.  Now I feel lost without something lacy on the needles. So thanks for this too.

I went out to empty the PO box this morning and then caught the bus back to Broadway shops.  Did  a few things there and then decided to come home  for lunch.

I caught the bus back down the highway and decided  to go to the new shop, Granny Square as it was on the way.  I just ran out of time to do that on Friday.  Hopped off, crossed the road and was admiring the window display in the old Champion Textiles premises.  Then I realised  I could see no one in the shop.  Looked at opening hours and they are closed Mondays, so I'll make another trip sometime when I know they are open.

Now to purchases.  I've been admiring lots of asymmetrical jackets etc lately.  Then I decided to make one.  This will be to something I have thought of myself, but I need to finish tweaking the pattern to double check my numbers.  Top down, no seams.  It's a deep, tweedy green which I rather like.  It too was in the PO box this morning.

It will be asymmetrical and will probably have an extended shoulder line but no real sleeves.  Some big buttons, perhaps wooden.  Garter stitch edging and I'm contemplating perhaps a cable  or something for a bit of relief from  acres of stocking stitch.  I'll consider that again probably.  Then I need a swatch.  Hopefully it will still be useful in spring.

It was very spring like in the Southern Highlands on Saturday.  Clear and crisp and there had been an early frost.  My friend and I would have liked to drive around sight seeing but we came home earlier than we often do.  One of the reasons I felt bad was a very poor sleep Friday night.  There was trackwork on this train  line.  About 3:00 am I was woken by the sharp yapping of the Jack Russell pup next  door.  She's tiny and even her barks sound like yaps.  She was yapping at these two huge engines which had pulled up, about 10 metres from my bedroom window.  She yapped about an hour and kept me awake even though the engines had been turned off and no workmen were around.  I took these photos in the morning and there were still no workmen but I dressed in the bathroom as I wasn't comfortable in my room.Attached to the two engines were many carriages like this one, two more diesel engines and probably about forty large trucks carrying ballast for the train line.  The length of the train stretched almost to Stanmore station which is ten minutes walk from here.  The train moved late Saturday night, but fortunately the dogs next door were inside when it went.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

fan socks and words

My sole project at the moment.  Pun on "sole" entirely unintended!  I'm well down the sole here on this sock which I've named "fan sock" as the pattern when material is straightened really does look like a series of vertical fans.

It's an eight row pattern over eleven stitches and I did twelve repeats of the pattern before the heel.  I usually carry the pattern down the instep but decided not to in this case.  I think I was influenced by a large bruise on the top of my instep at the moment, which is too sore to wear fancy socks or lace up joggers.  Even my cushion-soft Rockports are hurting it.  I have no idea how I managed to get such a large, deep, lurid bruise on the top of my foot.  It's so sore  I can't understand not knowing what I did.

The leg part is good and long.  I have plenty of yarn left, am nowhere near halfway through the ball as shown by weight left. I could have done at least another two or three repeats.  The pattern will show up much better with a bit of blocking, even wetting and smoothing out a bit will help.

I think it was at Cindy's blog that I was reading of her fascination with the English language.  I can easily understand it.  I share a fascination with words and sayings and their origins.  This stems I think from being read to a lot in my early childhood and being an early reader myself. My teacher in Grade two when I was seven or eight lent me her own copies of all the Anne of Green Gables books, the Nora of Billabong books and others  similar.  Several a week, all year.   For three of my four years of primary school I had teachers  who loved teaching, particularly English.  Lots of word derivations and origins. Lots of reading.  They also taught grammar well and I learnt a lot in primary school so that I did no new grammar in High School at all, not even things like subjunctive mood in my Latin studies.  It's interesting that after some years of little emphasis on grammar, the wheel has turned and pupils, at least here, are beginning to learn again some basic constructions.  Another benefit of reading is that one learns spelling, almost unconsciously.

It's also little wonder that I did Latin, French and German at uni and taught those subjects.  Since leaving teaching, I've picked up  koine Greek but have forgotten pretty well all the Hebrew I did in a second, later degree.

I  was reading an advertisement two days ago in a foodie magazine for a sink.  It said, "It works as good as it looks."  Aargh!  I nearly choked on my coffee.  I turned the page and the same firm was advertising an oven, using the same words.  I was so appalled that I emailed them.  No response yet.  I know it is said that any notice taken of an advertisement is good.  However, I had no recollection of the brand being advertised, just of the appalling grammar.

The book shown here was given me by my youngest son.  I think he bought it at an ABC shop.  I've enjoyed reading it.  The author journeys through Wales and other parts of Britain, serendipitously picking up lovely phrases and words and tracing their origins.  It rambles in parts and could do with some tighter editing, but it's interesting to me.  It's the sort of book which can be picked up and opened almost anywhere in the book with interesting discoveries to be made.

Thanks for the comments on my new blog address.  I really wanted something like "rites of passage,"  but any way I twisted that phrase was already taken so I tried turning it around.  It is said that many get a new hairstyle after ending a relationship.  There's not much I can do with my hair as it's short and very curly.  The curliness makes most hairstyles merge into the one style.  However,  divorce was also more than ending a relationship.  Having left him 30 months ago, I was still surprised at the way I felt when I held the final bit of paper in my hand.  Single again, but different to all those years ago.  So I'm looking at ways of marking this change.  When the house is sold and I have more disposable income, some of that income will go on something substantial to mark the change.  I'm not happy to have things end like this, but am happy to have emerged from something damaging to me.  I should have been more courageous a long time ago.  So "passages of life" it is.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

new domain

I've finally done it.  Followed the example of some others and spent a very small amount of money and bought myself a domain.  You'll still be redirected if you used the address but if you want the new address, here it is for  your bookmarks.  The blog should show up as normal.  I'm still working on bits and pieces, but so far they are behind the scenes admin things which won't show.  Hopefully all looks well.

It is possible that a couple of days may pass before automatic transfer to the new address.


test please disregard

Saturday, 7 August 2010

lacy socks

Back to my first love, socks.  I haven't made many pairs at all this year, but am having a break from shawls.  Actually, I've ordered some 12 ply from Bendigo to do a top down cardigan sort of thingy and am waiting for that to arrive.  Am still mulling over quite how I'll do it, hence my hazy description.

This is some cheap sock wool I bought at a sale from L*ncr*ft a couple of years ago.  I also bought some black yarn and made myself some socks from that to satisfy a granddaughter's comments about needing black socks with black shoes.  Those socks have been fine.  Usually machine washed and I think they may have been through the drier a few times too, although they are usually air dried.  OK, they don't feel as luxurious as some yarns, but they knitted up well and have survived the washing machine just fine.  No holes yet either.  As everyday type socks, they have been good.

The pattern is an eight row, eleven stitch pattern from the book shown with them.  It's a simple, easy to memorise pattern called something like feathered fan pattern.  I'm doing the socks on four needles with a fifth to knit with, as the pattern fits well that way and I don't have to watch that I start  the pattern in the correct place.  Eleven stitches for the pattern and then some spacer stitches.  I've done seven or eight repeats and will do more before the heel.

I like many of the patterns in the book and have post-it notes poking out all over the place for stitches I really like.  The pictures are  clear, as are the instructions.  Unfortunately, the patterns are not charted although there is graph paper at the back of the book if needed.  I haven't used that as it would still mean carting the book with me.  I have a small notebook which has graph paper suitable for knitting in it.  If I need to have a copy of the pattern I use that.  That's much lighter to carry around.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

brandywine II

Early morning here, a bit cool but it's sunny!  We've had a lot of grey days lately and to see the sunshine is just lovely.  It hasn't done much to the temperature outside as yet, but it's light.  Not only that, but the galeforce winds of yestrday have stopped too.  I went walking yesterday twice and will probably go out today too if things remain as pleasant as they are now.  No guarantee of that.  The weather has been very variable lately.  There's no cloud around, so perhaps it will be good for a while.
I went out very early yesterday to post a letter back to the solicitor.  It was a form and needed to be signed in the original.  I usually use email and attachments, but couldn't do this this time.  By early, I mean around 6:00 am.  It was dark, wet and very windy with lots of debris on the footpath.  I'd checked the location of mail boxes in the district.  However, when I reached Stanmore shops, there was no box.  Nothing at all.  I asked in the newsagents and the woman there suggested the other side of the station.  I finally found one, but the website for that part of Australia post is out of date.  According to it, there is definitely one where I first looked.  So I came home and made a cup of coffee to warm up a bit.
So here's Brandywine II finished, blocked and ends woven in.  It's navy, although that's a bit hard to see from either photo.  One is taken in backyard, the other from the front footpath.  Made in Bendigo Melody on 5 mm needles.  It's lovely to knit but I was a bit disappointed after I blocked it.  I think the microfibre content prevents the fabric from stretching as much as I had hoped.    The last photo shows the cast off  edge which produces an effect similar to I-cord.  It's strong but still soft and stretchy.  Cast on 2 stitches at beginning of the cast off row.  Purl 2, purl2 together.  Transfer these three stitches from righthand needle back to other needle with yarn in back.  Take yarn behind the fabric and repeat from purl 2 purl 2 together across the row.

Monday, 2 August 2010

bits and pieces

Lots of messy bits and pieces today may perhaps make a unified post.  That's what I'm telling myself, anyway.

I had a weekend on the Central Coast with babysitting grandchildren and a ring-in for one of the nights.  I guaranteed the weather would be perfect by taking my umbrella.  It was.  It was mild, too warm for this time of the year really and sunny both Saturday and Sunday.  I've been caught three times lately when the weather has changed and I've been wet.  Not this time, perfect weather all weekend, although a change has arrived here now.  It's dark grey and quite chilly in the wind.

DIL and I took Miss almost 10 and her best friend, a boy, shopping at Erina Fair to spend birthday money they both had.  I was surprised how discerning they were in their purchases.  Very little rubbish at all and heaps of comparison shopping for quality and prices.  So  much of that that we were very glad to sit down for lunch.  It's only the second time I've been there.  I really don't like shopping malls very much, preferring smaller individual specialty type shops, but it wasn't crowded, so I coped.

The weekend had been planned for almost three months.  They went to a fundraising trivia night while I babysat.  It worked out well.  Divorce papers finalised, were emailed to me on Friday.  Even though I left 30 months ago, I still felt strange and somewhat at sea for most of the weekend.  So it was good to be occupied with different things to normal.

My second Brandywine shawl is now soaking, prior to blocking and weaving in a lot of ends.  I used 50 gm balls so lots of ends.  I'm pleased with it and will post photos when it's dry.

Another FO was the scarf in Bendigo black alpaca for my son.  No photos of this as I finished it up there and left it there, forgetting to take a photo on my phone.  I used the one stitch scarf pattern from the Yarn Harlot.  Super easy, it makes a reversible fabric which has no curl in it.  They all loved the softness of the alpaca.  I was glad to finish it.  He's tall, 6'5" like his older brother.  The scarf was about 3.5 metres long so it could be wrapped around his neck.  Woy Woy station is right next to a large stretch of water in Woy Woy Bay and near part of Brisbane Waters.  There's a really cold wind on the station most winter mornings.

Sunnies needed now!  I bought these tights from We love Colours.  Many years ago when I was at Uni,  I paid what was then to me a small fortune for some bright red tights.  They lasted years and years and became almost a signature piece for me at Uni.

I bought some good thick black tights at the beginning of winter and decided I would like some coloured tights as well.  Growing Old Disgracefully*, as the poem puts it.  I couldn't find any easily around here.  Then I saw a link to the We Love Colours site.  Socks, tights, leggings, long socks, over the knee socks, plus and regular sizes.  51 colours!!  While the scarlet here is bright, the purple and the green are more muted than they show in this photo.  The firm has free shipping to Australia and NZ for the month of August.  Enter the code WELOVENZAUS in the checkout box to get free postage. US$15 pair.  They cheered me up too.

When I returned home last night, I checked email.  There was a lovely surprise from Fee.  I'd won a prize in a blog comment competition.  A bag!  Thank you, Fee, very much.  A lovely end to the weekend.

"When I am an old woman I shall wear purple with a red hat which doesn’t go and doesn't suit me. 
I shall spend my pension on Brandy and Summer gloves and say we have No money for Butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired and gobble up samples in department stores and ring alarm bells.
And I will run my stick along public railings and make up for the sobriety of my youth. I shall go out in my slippers in the rain and pick flowers in other people’s gardens and learn to spit."

(It goes on and then ends with)...

"But now we must have clothes to keep us dry and pay our rent and not swear in the street and set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
BUT maybe I ought to practice a little now so people who know me are not too shocked and surprised when suddenly I am old and start to wear PURPLE."

Jenny Joseph