Monday, November 13, 2006

A cranky Monday

I stuffed up something rather badly today, so I'm in an amazingly bad mood. I managed to spend 45 minutes working on 1 strip of my dad's Christmas quilt. And I had already done it, but not crossed that line off on the schematic. You want annoyed? Come on over.

On the knitting front I have been somewhat distracted since last Thursday. I went into Clegs and found the most squishy soft beautiful yarn from New Zealand called "Me", and it is so me! It's a scrummy deep purple that is almost edible, and it's 80% wool and 20% cashmere and very soft and yummy and scrummy and - oh wait, I already said that. Sorry.

Most importantly it's almost all gone. 1 ball equals one set of cabled fingerless gloves (yes, Chantal, this is why I planned to yell at you). On Cup Day I saw the "Fetching" fingerless gloves in progress and in hot pink, I might add. Despite this colour I was not put off and have now finished the set, sewing in the ends not included.

I did plan to work on my tank top, but I had to finish these gloves. Really. And I couldn't knit it at the movies on Saturday night because I need to keep untwisting the yarn and wrapping a hair tie around it (I recommend "Children of Men", by the way. Excellent movie. If you don't cry, you're heartless.).

So tomorrow morning, another early wake up - not as hard as I thought they would be - and back to work on my tank top.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A slacker than slack Tuesday

Ah, Melbourne Cup day... An excuse for locals to slack off and do naught but drink. Or sleep in. Some do both. I myself slept so long I missed the race. Ooops.

A weekend of voracious knitting has in fact just passed - true joy, verily. I spent Saturday doing new and exciting tasks that I've never tried before; washing dishes, mopping floors, vacuuming. Hey, did you know you can clean a bath tub? Weird, huh?

I managed to leave my started knitting at work on Friday. Luckily, I have another set of 5.5mm circulars so on Staurday afternoon, post cleaning, I began the front. Why waste a weekend alone when you can knit and watch "Bleak House"? All 7.5 hours of it... I cried at the wedding. Again. It reminded me that I need to rewatch "North and South" and "Vanity Fair" and buy "Wives and Daughters". I also cried at Charlie finding the 5th ticket while flicking channels on Saturday night. That's when I realised I needed to go out.

Hrm... Saturday night? Alone? Fairly poor? Borders!!! God bless the Jam Factory Borders store. They don't mind you spending four hours reading a book that you'll never purchase. In this case "Handknit Holidays" by Melanie Falick. Oh, drool. I've already planned to use my edible purple Colinette to make the twist scarf. This woman is a genius, a veritable goddess of knitting (until Divine J writes her book. Then look out Mel...). Anyone who describes this book as "nice knitting" must be killed immediately. There's a St Lucia wreath for mercy's sake! I sat in Borders whimpering for half an hour (mainly at the $59.95 price tag and lack of money on me) and I swear it shall be mine...

As a result of two days hard labour at my knitting I am pleased to announce some results. My cotton tank top (front) is currently measuring 21cm (just over 8 inches) which means I'm well over halfway to knitting 13 inches as the pattern requests (hey Americans! The rest of the world is metric. Your military is metric. Catch up!"). Unfortunately, spare time between now and Saturday? Practically non-existant. I'm going to try my old "get up early and knit" routine I used to do last summer when N. was away. It worked rather well, so hopefully I can do it again. Problem is that it requires a good sleep the night before and I'm not even tired right now. Ah well, one can only try.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A calmer Wednesday

Rumours of my death? Exaggerated. Rumours of my crippling? Sadly, terribly true.

I haven't been able to knit for pretty much the last month. I spent so much time knitting my sleeves to "Bleak House" that my hand cramped up. Normally, I would (very reluctantly) put my needles down for a day or two and rest my hand. However, I started my new job working on the census, and I had to type. A lot. Really a lot.

Say hello to my leetle frien'! (Always wanted to save that for a good reason.) This is my typing glove. It makes sure I don't scream in pain every time I sit down at a keyboard. The nails are now gone, decimated in the name of typing without crying.

So, I picked up my needles the last few days in the hope that I can ignore the pain shooting up my right arm. And I can.

Behold! The red jumper! All finished! It was so much fun to knit. It's the first time I've ever designed a jumper and this one is all raglan in the round. I still had to sew up the sleeves, but as I like sewing up sleeves, not a big problem. Carrying around the knitting was worse - it's very hard to walk and knit with a whole jumper on a circular.

However, there is a problem...

It's huge. I made a ribbed cowl neck and it's too wide. I look like a picture of Ann-Margaret from the 60's in it. The current plan is to thread elastic through the neck and hope it isn't too noticeable. *sigh* The best laid plans etc etc.

So, now I'm back, what's next to work on? Started an aran cotton tank top to wear over summer, and then I'll go back and check up on the list to see what's next. I really feel like sewing some more though - stupid warm weather makes me want to drop my needles and sew instead. Maybe the circular needle holder from the first S'n'B book...

Monday, October 30, 2006

An aggravating Monday

Yesterday, in a fit of joy I purchased Vogue Knitting (Holiday Edition). I got home late last night, so I didn't get a chance to read it until today. A few scrummy patterns in there, along with an article that screamed "Andrea, you must read me!": "The book on knitting". There's a small mini article entitled "Books to Knit by" written by Joanne Seiff, with additional reporting by Carol Huebscher Rhoades. I sat down to read it and, I believed, happily agree.

Not a bloody chance. Under the heading "Novels" is a brief review of "Knitting" by Anne Bartlett. Here's what it says: "Knitting and friendship are the common threads that help heal Martha's illnesses and Sandra's grieving heart as the two are brought together first by an accident, then by fate." I borrowed this novel from my library last week and read it in two installments, a fact which should surprise anyone who knows my reading style (3am? Bah - I'll just finish this row chapter...). It took me two nights because the first night's reading depressed me so much that I had to stop.

This novel is just awful.

The two main characters are completely unlikeable, as they are written. Sandra comes across as an elitest, disdainful and almost stupidly selfish. Martha - well, lunatic comes close. I refuse to believe that anyone who can't finish work that has a mistake in it ever worked for a "famous designer" as a knitter - what did she do then? Remake under pressure of a deadline? The final scenes are an apparent redemption for the two revolting women - Martha has no insanity anymore, due to a fever breaking, and Sandra appears apparently happy at the gift of a hand knitted dress that she receives with such a lack of gratitude that makes me wonder why Martha doesn't strangle her with it.

This was a waste of paper. Truly, truly awful. I threw the book across the room when I had finished I was that furious.

So, you can imagine how impressed I was by that brief snippet. But wait, worse is in store. Under the final heading - "Victorian-Era Novels with Mentions of Knitting" - we find the sloppiest piece of writing I've ever seen. "Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities" ("Yay!" says Andrea's brain. "I love this book!"). "The complex plot focuses on Madame DeFarge, whose knitting appears to absorb her but in reality symbolizes her control over the masses. This knitting reference has become synonymous with the book."

"...plot focuses on Madame Defarge...". What?! Are they on drugs? Madame DeFarge is not the focus of the plot, but a secondary character, and the knitting doesn't "symbolize" anything, but a register and an attempt to hide her blood thirsty nature. Although, the old style steel needles are rather pointy...

It took me an hour to calm down after reading this article, I suspect because of the innacuracy of the latter review. The ending of "Tale of Two Cities" is beautiful and one of the most moving pieces of literature ever created (..." It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest I go to than I have ever known." Try coming to that and not crying - you have a stone where your heart is, I swear.)

Luckily, I am easily distracted by pretty pretty pictures, so the patterns lulled me in, but I'm still peeved.

I promise, I'll explain my long absence tomorrow, if only so Chantal has something else to read.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A tiring Friday and Saturday

Friday was another long day at my new job with almost no knitting achieved. Possibly four lines, tops. Luckily for me today required a long boring train journey. Oh, poor me, whatever will I do?

Knit my sleeve? Correct! I have eight rows to knit and my sleeve will be completely finished and I can join my whole jumper up. Unfortunately, my right hand doesn't seem to like me, and my knuckles keep cramping up - old athritis problem rears it's ugly head again. I don't know if I should take a break tomorrow, or (bad pun approaching - take cover!) knuckle down and join my sleeves to my jumper? It's a tough decision, and - with your leave - I think I'll sleep on it.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

An exhausting Wednesday and Thursday

I started my new job yesterday, so my breezy days of non-stop knitting are all over. Until the work runs out next May and I slack off for another three weeks.

Yesterday I managed a grand total of twenty rows (above left), and that was only due to the need to travel by tram to and from work.

Last night at the V.E. it was non-stop and I barely knitted 6 rows. So I was determined to manage a bit more today.

So far, I've managed fourteen - work was non-stop and the V.E. is always busy on a Thursday. This is hopeless! Luckily I have a two hour lunch break tomorrow, and I plan to spend a lot of it knitting. I need to finish this jumper - read the list; I need to keep going.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A knit-free Tuesday

Not a stitch today. Not a single solitary stitch was knitted. This was not only due to my extreme busyness (is that even a word?) but also because I wanted to rest my hand. Instead I cleaned.

This is my wool cupboard. It's an old 1920's oak and walnut armoire I bought years ago and I've been using it for my knitting supplies for the past few years. It was a mess up until a few weeks ago when I separated my stash into two groups - 1. projects to make, and 2. pure stash. This tidied up the worst of it and made it easier to control.

I put the divided stash into two large boxes I got from Ikea, and then set about cleaning up the rest. The top section contains an antique weaving shuttle and my knitting needle roll. The top drawer has a few knitting patterns I plan to knit up, the second drawer has my niece's projects that they are coming over to knit next holidays and the third drawer has a pile of old knitting patterns my mum gave me that make me laugh. Good ol' tacky 70's knits and crochet bikinis...

The bottom section has a bag with a project to be finished and my ball winder. Now here's hoping that this might make me a bit more efficient.

I'm crossing my fingers even now.

A lazy Monday

A lot of knitting but very little else achieved, unless you count nine episodes of "Bleak House" viewed. It really is awfully good to knit to, especially when the knitting is nothing but stocking stitch with the occasional increase.

As you can see, I have now finished the first sleeve and started my second. I would have been further along, but I mentioned to my boyfriend that my right hand felt a bit strained and he made me promise not to knit again until tomorrow. Actually, it's just past midnight - it might count... I think, however, he may have meant me to sleep on the idea and continue in the morning. Tuesday is to be very busy as I start my new job on Wednesday morning and my lax holiday will come to an end. So I must clean voraciously, because I can't be organised and juggle three jobs whilst living in chaos. Although I've somehow managed it before, albeit not all that well.

I was worried at how short my "cuff" was, as the stocking stitch curled straight away, but two rows of double crochet soon fixed it and it's beautifully flat. I think I'll do the same to the bottom of the jumper. I'll be finished it soon enough, I'm sure.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

A very busy weekend

Non stop action in everything but knitting this weekend. Burlesque shows, electric eclectic string quartets and Father's Day x 2. It seemed as if the days were neverending.

But end they did. My da liked his doll, but didn't seem over enthused, which worries me greatly.

I think Bobby (short for Bobby Jones, a name still invoked by golfers with a hint of awe) looks quite spiffy, myself, but I shall let you be the judge.

As for myself, what next? I work now on my red cabled jumper, knitted in Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed in the rather scrummy colour of "Posie". The jumper is knitted in the round and I am up to the armholes, and now I need to knit the sleeves. Instead of knitting those in the round I plan to knit them on straight needles, and then join them up with the rest of the jumper to continue in the round, finishing with sewing down the sleeve seams. I know that sewing up seems to be a chore for other knitters, but I rather enjoy it, even though I delay as long as possible in the action of it. Not from dislike, but from a fear of making it look clunky and very much hand made.

This is how much sleeve may be knitted whilst watching three hours of "Bleak House" on dvd. It's all mine now, and is very wonderful, and a Victorian soapie as all Dicken's stories were. Great to knit to.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

A balmy Friday

Today was minimal knitting. I finished working on the golf cap for my da's present and I think he looks quite spiffy in it. It's cashmere again, four strands this time, which makes it chunky but very flexible.

Technically it is a 6ply (4 x 1.5ply), but it felt closer to an 8ply, especially when I was knitting the brim.

Isn't he cute? Now to finish the rest of his outfit for the Sunday presentation.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

A bleurgy Thursday

Woke up, threw up, went back to sleep. Repeat literally ad nauseum.

So, no knitting today. Well, okay I started my da's golf cap, but nothing much was done. Tomorrow, hopefully.

A rocking Wednesday

Ladies and gentleman, here they are... the hottest, sexiest girls in "melancholy indie guitar" today...

WE'VE GOT OVARIES!!! (crowd goes wild as if at a David Cassidy concert)

Finally! It's taken far too long, but they're done. I shall hand them over to Petria tomorrow night and pray she doesn't hate them.

Just look at that luxurious hair...

(I'd like to point out a girl actually died due to a David Cassidy concert. See? Riotous fun times.)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A shiny Tuesday

Early to bed, early to rise etc etc. Late to bed, late to rise, lay around knitting is much better I think. Today is semi-triumphant as I have finally finished Petria.

(author pauses as applause, accolades and flowers are showered upon her)

Anyone who knows Petria will know that she has far sleeker, sexier hair, but there is no chance of me styling this doll's hair to look like her. If she wants it layered more, she owns scissors.

Julia, in the meantime, looks somewhat bedraggled. Her hair is not even an outline as yet, and as I now know that Petria's hair took four hours from start to finish, I'm not is a big hurry to finish. Soon. I still have finish Da's doll by Sunday...

A very large thank you goes out to Jodi for my beautiful stich markers. These are perfect for the decreases in my red jumper (once I get up to the arm joins). Jodi, you rock.

Monday. Meh.

It started out ever so nicely. Lots to do, lunch with my nan - Happy 90th Nan! - and went downhill from there.

These dolls are driving me crazy. I can't work on anything else until they're done and I keep thinking that will never happen. This is how much hair I managed to create tonight. Three hours work - half a head of hair.

First you take a strand of Jo Sharp DK Cotton, split it in half so that you have two lots of six strands, then use your 0.75mm crochet hook to start pulling the hair through each stitch.

It is time consuming and tedious and I hate it with a fiery passion that makes me think of burning the dolls at a home-made stake. Or the microwave. I'm not fussy.

Monday, August 28, 2006

A pleasant Sunday

I got a bit of knitting done today. I had family party to attend - my nan's 90th - which was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it immensely and escaped as soon as I could. After I got home I needed a nap, followed by a bath, then - finally - knitting.

I started working on Julia's neck which is a tedious knit in the round, just as Petria's was, and I got bored very very quickly. Luckily, there's always more to do. Including estimating the worth of these dolls...

40¢. Per doll. Technically. I wanted them to be able to stand with some assistance, so I put a 20¢ coin in the bottom of the shoe for Petria's doll. Not only handy but shiny too.

Then came the hair. Oh dear Heavenly Father, the hair. All that you see here is the outside line that delineates the hairline. This took me over half an hour. I'm currently trying to work out what is worse - that I've ony managed to achieve an outline in half an hour, that there's the rest of the head to do, or that I have a whole other doll to play hairdresser with.

Tough call.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

A very satisfactory Saturday

Today was a nice slow knitting day. Got up late, had a very healthy breakfast of coffee and a large jammy biscuit - thanks greatly to Chantal - and sat down to knit the Petria doll a head. The pattern is pretty simple but 5 stitches per needle is never fun. The true fun started when I got to stuff the doll itself.

All you really need is a chopstick, stuffing and a warped sense of mind. Hence, the bust - I couldn't find anything round to stuff up there, so I rolled up some stuffing into little hard balls and shoved them up there. Petria will be happy that she has boobs. I can pretty much guarantee that.

I was about to start the shoes when my boyfriend arrived earlier than expected and ended my knitting session abruptly. I shall have to continue tomorrow night after my nan's surprise 90th birthday party.

Look - boobs!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

A wonderful Friday

2:50am - done.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Plans 1 and 2

Here's the list of knitting I need to finish up (in the order listed):

1. Petria’s dolls
2. Dad’s present
3. Red jumper
4. Orange shrug
5. Intarsia cardigan
6. Day of the Dead dolls
7. Rug

And here's what I plan to make after that because I already have the yarn put aside (no particular order):

1. Kirsten’s skirt
2. Blue/green cardigan
3. Gloves from Rowan
4. Glove puppets
5. Friendship cuffs
6. Silver necklaces
7. Brown two yarn jumper
8. Raspberry top
9. Hexagon Top

See? I have plans.

An ak-tacular Thursday

Knitting? Knitting...hrm, lt's see... Isn't that what I'm meant to be doing? Oh yes, it is! Silly Andrea...

A day wasted on minutae. Filling in at ak for about four hours, with Divine J, Linda and Jodi all providing the best part of said four hours. Arriving home with plans to knit only to discover my boyfriend had dropped round after uni for a few hours. Knitting? Not a chance, I crave hugs.

I took my knitting to the V.E. (other other job) to work on, but it's Thursday. Many, many orders and the need to erase some internet viewing files. All 6000 odd of them. Ooops.

Therefore the only knitting accomplished today was the sewing in of the argyle ends. That's it. That's all she wrote, folks. There's always tomorrow, and I know that I am definately going to have Petria's dolls finished by Saturday night to take round to give her. I have plans.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

An ordinary Wednesday

My knitting was not a joy to me today. I sat, watched four episodes if Firefly and attempted to finish the dolls for Petria. And after 4 hours had I finished? Of course not - I'm up to the sewing up stage which always takes twice as long as you estimate.

I think the Turkish pants for the Julia doll are a bit silly, but in a cool way. The reason for the heigh discrepency? Petria's 5 foot high and Julia is closer to 6. See? It all makes sense now.

As for my remaining task - the argyle jumper - I still haven't finished sewing the ends in (please see previous statement re sewing). I started, but being easily distracted, failed to finish. However I did manage to knit along the back up to the armholes, so all is not lost. I plan to finish that off at ak tomorrow morning while I'm working.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A very moody Tuesday

Late to bed, early to rise, makes a knitter... cranky, dark circled and so desperate to find coffee she will buy it at McDonalds - bleurgh. I shudder to think exactly what they are filtering it through.

I had an early doctor's appointment which depressed me no end (don't they always?) but the drive afforded me a lot of time to knit away at my bedsock. You put the car into neutral at red lights with the hand brake on and knit away. I do not advocate knitting while the vehicle is in motion, steering with one's knees. Do not ask me how I know this - do as I say, not as I do.

The end result? One neatly finished pair of bedsocks for my mum. The viewers with sharper eyes will note that the rib at the top of the socks is not the same length, due to me knitting these socks 6 months or so apart. SSS, I'm afraid, plus a myriad of other reasons.I also ran out of yarn just as I started to graft the toes together - I had to use a different yarn. However this is my very first pair of socks and I'm stupidly proud of them. Really. Even though I want to re-knit the first one (will you just look at that heel? - awful!).

The rest of my day included lunch with my wonderful boyfriend and attempting to sew up these rock dolls for Petria. It's harder than I thought it woud be. There is a need for a strong wire frame inside the pieces, and I wrapped padding around it. My sewing machine needle does not like wire and snapped, flying into my face - no injuries other than to my intelligence.

I still need to finish knitting half the darn things and I may have already told Petria and Julia I'd finished them. Sins will out. Such as avarice:

Rowan have created a Kidsilk ballgown.
It will be mine, oh yes! It will be mine...

In the meantime, I managed to knit about 10 rows of the back of my argyle vest during knitting group tonight. No, I still haven't sewn the ends in yet . Tomorrow, sometime.

I have a plan for tomorrow - banking and cleaning in the morning, knitting in the afternoon. I may even clean the stash cupboard. Maybe. If someone will lend me a canary.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Any given Monday

It's almost unbelievable, but I actually accomplished what I set out to do today.

I sat down and knitted my design for a doll's argyle jumper for my da's Father's Day present. I'm actually stunned. The front of the design is entirely finished. Now I just need to work on the back, which being plain red should knit up nice and fast, add grey ribbing for the neck and armholes and I'm done. The sheer extravagance of knitting 1.5ply Belisa cashmere for a doll's jumper still has not sunk in, but I'll think about it afterwards.

The other thing I really need to do is sew in all the ends. I'd been sewing them in as I went but the minute I got to the division, it became a case of "meh". I sewed away all the ends on the left front after I finished that side, and have only to stitch in the right side now. I learnt my lesson of sewing in ends after the Nicky Epstein bag incident that shall remain as a permanent record of how not to wait until the entire project is finished until you sew the ends in. Nice pattern though. As you can see, I'm not brilliant at sewing ends away neatly and surreptitiously - but if they don't show through the front, I'll be happy. This is my first ever argyle project and it is being knitted on 2.5mm needles, so I will be kinder to myself.

I managed to watch the end of "Emma" and knit away merrily at my mum's bedsock. This is how much bedsock you can knit whilst watching most of "Emma" and two episodes of "Wesley: The Vampire Anthology". I'll hopefully finish it off tomorrow (doctor's appointment first thing followed by another day of slack knitting).

Tomorrow's knitting? My mum's bedsock, most likely to the remainder of the "Wesley" dvd, but even more importantly - I must must MUST finish the rock god dolls my darling Petria needs for her music video. No dolls, no We've Got Ovaries releases. The wire stuffing is probably going to kill me.

An atypical Sunday

A very unusual day in that I managed to get work done. As in finished.

First off was my teacosy, from J's old Rowan mag.

It took me a while to knit it, but as you get closer to the end, you tend to speed up somewhat I find. Unfortunately, when I finished the second side is when I discovered that I didn't have the right navy cotton to sew it up (yes, it was machine stitched. There was never a chance of me hand sewing this).

I like the look that the alternating colourways gives me. The yarn used is Jo Sharp Silkroad Tweed DK, green being Beanshoot, purple being Festival and navy being Serpentine. The lining is Kaffe Fassett "Autumn Roses" and was surprisingly fun to use. I've never been a fan of the showier prints from Rowan, but this one seemed to set my work off nicely.

I also managed to hem the bottom of my Liberty pyjama pants I made, set a zip into a skirt and finish sewing all the ends into my black rib jumper.

I adore this jumper. It's knitted in SouthWest Trading Co Soy Silk Phoenix in black and it was a joy, nay, a beautiful dream to knit with. It glided off my needles like water and I loved knitting with it.

The pattern is from Rowan's "It's a Tape Thing" and was heaps of fun to knit - any pattern that includes "k1, drop 1, k1" is fine by me. I actually knitted most of this jumper during the Great Vic Bike Ride last year, so you can guess why I'm glad to finally finish it - 8 months afterwards.

Today's challenge? I need to finish knitting the front of an argyle vest for my da for his Father's Day present, and finish watching "Emma", the Gwyneth Paltrow version.
Now, knitting argyle during a dvd doesn't work all that well,

so as part of my "Finish all those stupid unfinished projects, darn it!" plan, I'll start the second sock in my alpaca bed socks. They were for me until I grafted the toes too soon. Fit my mum perfectly she was happy to say.

(You best know that I've knitted two rows of my argyle while I waited for the pics to upoad)