Thursday, 31 January 2013

scraping in under the wire

As I mentioned a few posts again, I'm taking part in an informal sock KAL.  No rules except sign up and post an update and a photo.  These are the socks I was making.  A pretty terrible photo.  I didn't realise just how poor it was till now.  It was hot and I just wanted to get a photo and to take them off.  I had to crop the photo fairly severely.  There was a very large purple halo at the top, possibly a reflection from a car window down below.

I haven't even put them on properly.  They are baggy.  However, they are finished.  They did not have to be done in January, that was a condition I imposed on myself.  It was suggested that life is too short to knit things I don't like.  I would usually agree with that, but it was important to me to impose myself and my control on those socks.  So I have finished them with 6.5 hours to spare on January 31.

Two little granddaughters started at a new school  on Tuesday.  Their big brother goes there and is entering year 9.  He turned 14 two weeks  ago.  They can get to and from school with him so before and after school care is not needed and the sliding scale of fees means that they are still paying around the same amount as last year with out of school care fees.  I'll have to transfer a photo from my phone.  One girls hair is long and very curly.  Look in top right side bar.  For the first day of school it was tightly pulled back and plaited.  DIL must have spent ages on it.

Their cousin, Miss 12, started High School and came home with a smile on her face.  I hope it lasts.  She's still finding her way after the split between her parents.

Son is doing remarkably well although there are hiccups with a job in a restructure.  He had another visit to psychologist yesterday who is still amazed at his progress in such a short time.  They have mutually agreed that he is fine for now, although she will be very happy for him to return if he thinks he needs it.

He is settling into a townhouse and life by himself for a lot of the time.  He has had the children a reasonable amount in the holidays and they love that dad seems much happier than he was.

So I am thinking of some  tube socks as bed socks for the Western Suburbs three.  I hate the things and never wear them, but they wear them every winter.  I think I might  raid the stash to find  some machine washable 8 ply which will be quick and easy.  DIL is not a careful washer of knitted things.

Monday, 28 January 2013

word verification

I turned off word verification some time ago and all was well till the last few days when I have been inundated with spam comments, all worded in almost undecipherable English.

I've turned it back on for a trial and may yet go to comment moderation.  Sorry, I hate working out proof words myself, but needs must.

Something more pleasant.  It's raining here and has been all day. Quite cool too.

I did not realise how much the heat had affected the plants till I look over the balcony after the 46° C day.  I've always found it just about impossible to kill agapanthus plants, but these looked sick after the heat.

I watched a bit of tennis last night and actually knitted on my purple sock.  I was however bored.  Both with sock and the tennis final.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

the carnival is over...

Almost the end of  January.  Most schools go back here on 29/1 and three of my grandchildren will be at new schools.

The month has descended, or so it seems to me, into blahdom.  Most of the festival of Sydney is over, not that I saw much of that.  I am not a fan of crowds and feel uncomfortable in them.  The extreme heat of the previous week has hopefully gone.  Today is milder but February's humidity is descending on us.  The first three family birthdays have been and gone.

I remember that we spent almost all of January holidays at the beach.  Dad's teacher's salary was very low then and it was his tax refund which paid the rent on a beach house.  Houses at that particular beach are now rented for astronomical amounts of money.  As my mother used to say, you have to eat wherever you are and we had simple holiday food.  Easy to buy in the local general shop and easy to prepare with the limited facilities available.

I don't seem to have done much at all, not even knitting.  I have finished half the front yoke on my Low Tide jacket and am happy with the way it has turned out.  I keep reading ahead and can't make sense of the blocking diagram given.  I suspect my problem is similar to that of many new sock knitters.  Don't read ahead, do what it says when you get to that bit.

Speaking of socks, not much to speak of.  I am still working my way down the second sock for a KAL.  I am bored stiff with it.  I like the yarn colours but realise now that the yarn probably needs 2.75 needles as it seems to be sports weight.  The fabric is stiff and I'm not enjoying knitting it.  Hopefully the density of the stitching will mean extra wear .

One thing I have done is spend money.  I have been impressed with the improvement in the comfort of my back  and hips since I bought a Steelcase Leap office chair on ebay.  It has many adjustments to get the perfect fit and support  for anyone.  It bears absolutely no comparison to even the top of the range type chair from an ordinary office supplier.

Knitting however was a different matter.  Before I left my home and husband I did much of my knitting at a covered deck with a large kauri outdoor table.  Chairs and table were perfectly matched for me for height for working at.  Since then, I struggled to find something similar.  Nothing fitted.  My lounge is comfortable, but as it was just a two seater I had an arm rest at one side or the other.  I got into the bad habit of leaning on that rest, no matter what side it was.  This was not a good idea and stress was relayed up my arm to shoulder and neck.  My dining chair wasn't right either, although it's fine for eating at.  The balcony table was also the wrong height.

I have been looking longingly at these chairs from  the bus every week.  It is a Stressless Recliner made in Norway.  Finally I tried one.  Pure bliss, as it ought to be.  Very expensive.  When I knit in it, the arms are too low to lean on so no stress in neck.  There is an adjuster knob which adjusts how much pressure is needed to recline in it.  I've set it to a fairly light pressure and I can lean back and the chair follows my movements.  The foot stool is adjustable too.  Guaranteed for ten years, so I suppose that's also reflected in the price.  It reclines to almost flat and is wonderful.  There was a sale with leather the same price as fabric during January.  Since buying it, I have heard of people who have had theirs for very many years.  The leather will look as if it has been sat on, that's normal, but no other problems.

I also took advantage of January sales to restock underwear drawer.  It doesn't seem very long since I last did it.  No photos, however.  I did need and have been searching for for some months some more easy, slip-on shoes.  The pair I have had for probably ten years is wearing out and rubbing my feet.  The uppers are disintegrating and the soles have several cracks across them.  Definitely not worh repairing and I've certainly had my money's worth from them.  The other day I found these in Target, of all places.  They are leather, the strap is adjustable, the lining is leather and the insole is soft and squishy.  All for $25.  I bought a black pair for winter too, at that price.

It's grey and drippy here so  I will try to summon up some enthusiasm and do some more sock!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

well, hello there!

It came as a bit of  a shock to me to see that I actually hadn't written down any of the posts that have been swirling in my mind for the last couple of weeks.  I blame it on the heat, of course.  The fires of course have been and still are dreadful.  The damage is mind boggling and they still go on.  DIL was to go camping in early new year with children in a group which goes every year to Kangaroo Valley.  RFS suggested they go home.  That area is untouched but I can understand RFS concerns for lots of tents and children.

This is the first sock for a KAL I'm doing.  No set number of socks, just  report monthly.  The yarn is sports weight, so it's cosy.  The colours don't suit the pattern, called crosshatch, but I'm not ripping it out now. The pattern is in More Sensational knitted Socks by Charlene Scurch.

I have started the  second sock and am partway down the leg.  I'm not really happy with it because the pattern does not show, but I'll persevere having done one sock.  My feet will appreciate the sock, not the pattern.  Hopefully I'll learn from this and be more selective for both yarn and pattern next time.

I've seen some attractive patterns called after some of the characters in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series.  That would be different.  I'm sure my youngest son would appreciate some, but his foot is very wide and he takes a size 14 shoe.  Handknit socks for him don't have much appeal to me.

My little Roomba vacuum robot does a very good job provided I spend a couple of minutes checking before I turn it on.  The sofa bed in the spare room is just high enough for the unit to wedge tightly underneath.  It fights hard but finally gives up and sits sulking till I rescue it.  Now I put something across that edge.  I also check there's nothing on the floor to tangle in the brushes.  There is a long brush which as it revolves, sweeps dirt into the main container.  There are also three brushes around a circle on the edge of the cleaner.  These go at great speed and whisk in bits of fluff, crumbs etc.

I  realised I hadn't heard the cleaner for several minutes and checked.  This mess had been the right hand yoke from the Low Tide jacket/vest I had started.  I had put the yarn in  a tall jug because it kept bouncing all over the floor.  The knitting had been resting out of harm's way on the top of the jug.  I think the cleaner bumped the jug and the knitting fell.  It took over 20  minutes to untangle from both sets of brushes and a further 30 minutes to actually rip the knitting back and re-wind the yarn.  I wasn't going to pitch it.  It didn't seem to have picked up any dirt and it is the 50/50 merino/silk which Knitabulous used to sell till she could obtain no more.

Here's the knitting redone.  This is just over half the right hand front yoke, centre front at left of picture.  The pattern makes the bias of the knitting and left yoke will mirror it.  Back yoke is also patterned and then stitches are picked up for the body of the vest.  In a way, I was glad I had to redo this as I found I had totally misread the pattern in one  spot.

The garter stitch at top is 3.25 mm needles and the body is 3.5 mm.  I like the feel of the fabric but am not looking forward to knitting the length of the vest  which is quite long, in stocking stitch at that gauge.

Colours are a bit dark.  It's mid afternoon but the cloud cover is heavy. My brother on the North Shore had a  good storm yesterday, as did my sister who is housesitting on Central Coast.  We have just had cloud here.

Yesterday in the heat I had Miss 12 and her brother,7, here with DIL, the wife of eldest son.  She had been world's best auntie to them since last weekend.  The kids needed a break and some pampering after the dramas of the last couple of months and she really enjoys children.  They've been a bit spoilt but she's also had them out swimming, eating Chinese dumplings etc and generally having a good time.  My son picks them up tonight as this is his weekend for them.  We knew it would be hot so I made sure I had rolls, salad etc.  I found I had a bottle of the Cascade raspberry cordial in the pantry so got that out.  Shut blinds and windows and turned fan on.

They were here most of the day till the late afternoon.  They arrived early needing breakfast as they had already been at the beach for a couple of hours early in the morning.  She brought that with her.  They played around and were quite good considering the temperature.  It was bearable inside but Mum's begonia suffered despite lots of water.  I think I should have put an umbrella over it.

As they went out my door, it was hard to believe just how hot it was.  The heat hit them as they stepped outside and  the door handle on my front door was hot to the touch.  I came back in and looked at the NightStand app on my iPad.  I thought there was a mistake, so I turned it off and tried again.  No mistake.  I am near the water, I could walk to Parramatta River in 20 minutes or so and can see the Bridge  and harbour from the roof.  There's always a lovely breeze in the afternoon but nothing yesterday.  Just look at the humidity.  Terrible for the fires anywhere but the heat would have been much more unbearable had it been higher.  I don't think I've ever seen it so low.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New Year

A happy new year to you.  Health, happiness, crafting, family or whatever else appeals to you.

I've done a bit of knitting.  I joined a sock knitalong which has my type of rules.  Anything too rigid sets me up to drop out.  This one has a a goal, set by each participant, and a spread sheet to report progress once a month.  A picture posted in the first week of eery month.  Yarn and pattern is up to each person.

Now I know I once made thirteen pairs of adult socks and two smaller pairs in three months.  I also know why I did so much knitting at the time. I'm not planning on doing that again.

I have a heap of sock yarn, although some of that was purchased with other uses in mind. I'm not sure what this yarn is, I've had it a while.  When I wind wool, I usually tie the label to the end of the ball but it wasn't there this time.  It's thicker than most sock wool and I'm using 2,5 mm needles, although I think 2.75 would have suited the yarn better.

The pattern on leg is called crosshatch from Charlene Schurch's More Sensational Knitted Socks.  I have used this pattern several times, it's quick and easy.  Eight rows in the pattern and it's easy to see where to pick up.  Garter stitch short row heels.  I haven't continued the pattern down the instep as I found that this pattern does make my feet sore in lace up shoes.

The sock tones are indeed purple but the sock is resting on a very red stripe of my tablecloth.  Just one of those weird things digital cameras do to red tones.

I once had a swift but a friend of my husband put it  out from under the shelter on our back deck.  It was wet with rain and then in the sun  and it spit.  It had been made to what he remembered of his grandmother's swift.

Since then I've done various things and here have put some skeins over the narrow end of my balcony table.

Suzyhausfrau got some  Swedish swifts in just before Christmas.  I bought one knowing her good service.  I'm very happy with this and it came packed in a sturdy long cylindrical Postpak which makes ideal storage for it.  I have ball winder.  I saw it about a week before I bought the swift.  Now I cannot find it anywhere.  It surfaces like this and I have no idea  where it is.  I daresay it will show itself when I'm looking for something else.

My son has moved into a townhouse and is settling in.  The medication is beginning to kick in and he's beginning to understand  some things.  He sounds very much better and his children are glad to see him happy.  I think he's lonely at times, but that's understandable.  I thought I had a reasonable idea of DIL's character after 14+ years but she's not living like that now.  She refuses to see anyone to even discuss anything and there are a lot of nasty things coming to the surface.

I'm very glad to see son making some progress and to see him determined to positively reshape his life.  This has been a long time coming but the doctor seems to have found good medication for him at the first choice.  He hated what he had years ago and it didn't help and the psychiatrist  would not change it.  However, I'm devastated that it has taken this break up for him to get help. The children seem to be coping but Miss 12 goes to High School this year and such moves are unsettling.