Saturday, June 30, 2007

What a difference a day makes...

The remainder of the red wine helped too. I sat back and tried to knit the Paton's bag, but realised that I didn't have enough yarn to knit it in the merlot. Set back number one. I hit the net to find another cabled bag pattern - they seem to be a fetish of sorts with me at the moment. A beautiful one came up - "Bella's Quick & Classy Clutch" - and I was off and knitting again. I had enough yarn, but I now need to buy some new handles as I only have some bamboo circles and I really wanted them for the Patons bag.

Now, being the kind of girl who doesn't give up easily I decided to use two different colours for the Patons bag - Jo Sharp's Silkroad Aran in Batik (out of production now) and Cornsilk - and it's coming along slowly. The width is 66 stitches, and there's three pattern repeats - 8 rows, 16 rows and 32 rows. It's not easy, even with extra thick yarn and 6.5mm needles. So in other words, I love it. However, I need to finish it in the next 12 hours, because my Stashalong starts tomorrow.

Now, on Thursday morning I gave in and decided to make myself a holder for just my double points. All of my straights are in an ak felt needle roll and my circulars are all hanging up in a holder I made, but my double points were all in a vase so I decided it needed it's own pretty place. The holder is listed in the first Stitch'N'Bitch book, and I made mine using a jumper I bought at the Salvos and felted at home. I kept the sleeves and frogged them for yarn, but that's another story. The fabric on the inside is from Cleggs and was so mega-girly I decided I needed it. It took about two hours and I'm really pleased with the end result. I need to buy a matching ribbon to trim it, but that'll have to wait until I'm less unemployed.

So, now to do the traditional Saturday shop, before I come home and knit like crazy. In the meantime, to paraphrase South Park, "Look at the monkey! Look at the monkey!"

Friday, June 29, 2007

Oh, spare me...

I had a horrible morning, as only an unemployed person can have. I went to Centrelink in South Melbourne - "Oh sorry, I know our address is on the form, but you need to go to Prahran" - then Centrelink in Prahran - "Oh sorry, but your husband makes too much money" - then home again.

I knitted 10 rows of the second Funky Monkey sock, and I hate the world. My idea of cheering myself up? Season Three of "Scrubs" and a new bag, from Patons in Jo Sharp Silkroad in Merlot. I'm currently trying to work out if it's too early to start drinking...

I hate unemployment.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Cold weather = stiff hands

The current cold snap has put quite a crimp in my knitting plans. Whenever the cold hits my right hand knuckles pack up and start whinging and I also appear to have knitter's elbow in my left arm. If there is such a thing. If not, I shall make it up on Wikipedia.

However, all is not lost. I have completed the fingerless gloves for (big breath) my mum's best friend's birthday present and they're getting picked up tomorrow after a wine soaked luncheon. I love wine soaked lunches with my parents, especially when I'm broke and unemployed. The gloves look great, but I can't try them on properly because they're a tad too tight around my chunky little knuckles. I have over large hands and feet, as evidenced when measuring up Felix and myself for socks - he's 8.5" circumference and I'm 9.5" circumference. On the length side though, his feet are huge!

My feet aren't exactly dainty, however, and that's why I'll be knitting my Funky Monkey socks for a while. I misread the pattern, which is why the leg is so long - I did 9 repeats instead of 6, and would have actually knitted 11 pattern repeats, had I not re-read the instructions. No biggy - I'll just have longer socks, is all. Hideous colours or not, I love them.

I also love my new Kitri kit. It arrived yesterday an I've been giddy with joy ever since. Look at it! The colour is so me, and the yarn is so soft and squishy and I want to pet it like a small kitty... I spent most of "Spicks and Specks" winding the skein off. I don't have a skein umbrella so Felix did the honours. I'm not starting them until next fortnight, because I want to finish some other projects first, namely the Funky Monkey socks and my curly purple scarf. I need to buy another skein to finish it, then I'll knit up some fingerless gloves in a plain 4-ply and add a cuff in the purple ruffle to match. And then I'll give it all away to a purple-loving wonderful lady named Joanna. She's a customer where I used to work and she's invited me to her birthday and I can't think of anything I'd rather do than spoil this lovely woman.

As a parting gift, look at my gift from the Yarn Fairy. It came with my Kitri kit, and I'm still stunned. I opened the bag and free yarn appeared. I knew sacrificing that goat was a good idea!

Friday, June 22, 2007

My feet hurt

A lot. I walked a lot today, mainly uphill, and eventually gave up. I ended up in my very thin stocking-like socks, in the rain. I need nice thick warm winter socks. Felix has a pair - the blue/silver cabled socks, and due to my need to experiment he now has this pair of rather odd toe-up socks. He chose to have them made in two colour ways - dark green and orange fleck - and who am I to disagree when requests are made (no matter how odd)? As you can see he loves them, which makes me rather happy as well.

However, this doesn't amend the major problem of my lack of decent socks. As you can see I'm doomed to wear nothing but bad socks with my toenails poking through holes. It was this hole in my favourite pair of knee high socks that upset me the most and made me decide to knit myself something nice. Due to outside influences (yes, Yarn Harlot, I mean you) I decided to knit up the "Monkey" socks from and they're a blast! I was on public transport for fours hours today and the time just flew thanks to the lace pattern. More importantly, I'm using yarn from my stash which gives me masses of room and an excuse to buy more yarn in the future. It's Patonyle and the colour is that garish. I suspect that the socks will need to be re-named "Cheeky Monkey" or "Funky Monkey" due to this colour. But at least I'll have hand-knitted socks for me.

They'll be dropped by the wayside this weekend as I need to knit a pair of fingerless gloves for my mum's best friend's birthday. Can you see how much fun/danger these gloves are bringing into my life?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A new look for today

As you can see, I've been playing with my layout. Over the next few days I'll be trying a few new ideas and looks, so bare with me.

Oh, and fear not - the knitting will not be impeded, and my mum really loved my new jumper.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Some of us LIKE sewing up...

Saturday I sat down to finish off the last 6 rows of my sleeves while watching Debbie Reynolds being chirpy in "How the West was Won". Sad really. But not as sad as my three needle cast off on the shoulders. It was perfect. I'd been knitting on 7mm, so I used my 10mm to do the cast off. It was neat, tidy and perfect. Oh, and I'd managed to do it on the wrong side of my work.

I put the "v" side of the stocking stitch together which was very very wrong, as the purl side of the stocking stitch was the right side, just to confuse me. So, I did the only thing one can do: laughed hysterically, falling on to the floor. Not because I was upset, but because I actually found it hilarious. So much concentration during the cast off, but no actual thought...

Good thing I love sewing up. I really do. I find it very relaxing, and it makes me so happy to know I'm almost finished. I used to be terrfied of setting in shoulders, but I promised Divine J to stop being so frightened and to try it. I did on my favourite cardigan ("Ella" from Rowan's "Vintage Knits") and I was amazed at how easily it worked for me. I suspect that I may be the idiot savant of setting sleeves, because they seem to set nicely when I'm sewing too. Weird really.

Anyway - voila! I have a brand new jumper, and I love it. It hugs my waist better than Felix (well, almost) and I'm wearing it tomorrow as I'm seeing my parents and I love showing off anything I've knitted to them. It just makes my day, especially when my mum starts up her mantra of "You're so clever!". She taught me everything I know of knitting, and I still think she's the best.

Oh, and to round off today I finished the back of the fair isle vest that I'm knitting out of stash scraps. It's beautiful, and now I almost want to finish it. Soon. After the rest of it. Maybe. The blue Patons is calling though.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Stupid Secret...

According to "The Secret", the three steps to getting what you want are visualise what you want, believe in it hard enough and receive it as the end reward from the universe. Let's follow Andrea's steps in the last half hour, shall we?

1. Visualising one last ball of the brown varigated mohair that she bought from Lincraft three years ago, and that they don't stock now.
2. Believing that it must be hiding down the bottom of the stash box, despite having checked it three times in the last week.
2. Receiving nothing for her efforts, which means that her brown jumper's roll neck has to finish two centimetres short and in fact must be cast off with just one yarn.

Stupid Secret. Give me more yarn!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Sleeves update

36 shaped rows down, 24 to go. I plan to finish these Ta Ma Duh sleeves entirely by this time tomorrow.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

My sister is a genius

Apparently my niece loves her cushion. She sits on the couch hugging it and now her older sister wants to know where hers is. Their mother, my incredibly logical sister Bron, suggested that I just make cushions for all my nieces and nephews for Christmas. Can it really be that simple to use up my masses of stashed wool? Big cushions with their initials/hearts/flowers/stars?

I love my sister. I think she just saved me an awful lot of sanity and money.

Now to work on the time thing...

Stash madness

I hate knitting sleeves – have I mentioned that yet? It would explain why I haven’t managed to knit more than 14 rows of them, wouldn’t it now...

Instead, I spent two days knitting a companion bunny to Rohan’s bear which was a present for my friend Michelle’s baby to be (a girl! Excellent! Loads of pink!), which I handed over without taking a single picture of it. Luckily I also promised to make one for Carly, so I’ll take pics of that one when it’s done. The left over angora from the rabbit’s ears is being made into booties, along with the new angora. There may have been some shopping. At Wondoflex. Oops.

Not to mention the Cleggs sale. Patons for $1 a ball. One teeny little dollar? Pffft. 25 balls later, and as you can see I’m storing it in an Ikea hanging thing. Not actually hanging it yet, but I shall attempt to do so soon. I also managed to buy Patonyle sock yarn for $1.95 a ball – 8 balls of grey/white/black for socks for Felix, and 6 balls of pink/white/orange for me. Stop laughing, I really will knit myself some socks at some point.

Especially now I’ve finished Felix’s cabled socks. They’re the same pattern as all of my previous bedsocks have been knitted in, but in a very lurid yarn – part wool, part lurex. I got many hugs – his first hand knit from me. I feel somewhat proud and highly relieved that they’re not awful. Thanks to these socks I think I could Kitchener Stitch with my eyes shut now.

The main reason for not too much knitting is the rearranging/tidying of the flat. We decided to move the bed into the lounge room where it will actually fit in and turn the bedroom into a workroom of sorts – knitting/sewing for me, writing/music for Felix. So as a result I’ve been tidying the stash again. This is what my "wool put aside for projects" box looked like before and after the left overs of stash were added; the Cleggs bag holds the 14 balls of Patonyle. As you can see from the next picture, there really wasn’t any room to fit anything else into the "I don’t really have that much wool" stash box, but I still anally tried to organise everything into plastic bags.

The sheer size has sent me into a bit of tizz and a mild blue mood. How did I end up with all of this stuff? What do I do with it all? Especially the bag of 22 balls of burnt orange slub cotton that isn’t even in the bags. I think it’s time to find a "use up your stash" blog group to hang out with. It’s always nice to find like minded junkies...

He really seems to like them...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Dear Jo Sharp,

...why do you hate me so? I know you must, otherwise you wouldn't have such instructions:

"Working in rev St st AT THE SAME TIME shape sides as foll: inc 1 st each end every 4th row 3 times, the 1 st each end every 6th row 10 times [72 shaping rows]."

Yes, I know it's 72 shaping rows, because I need to mark off every row to make these stupid sleeves work. Tell me, have you ever considered working for Rowan? Because these instructions are almost as annoying as the left and right front for the cross over cardigan in "Vintage".

Well, actually, nothing could be as annoying as those instructions. I had a migraine and had to lie down afterwards.

But just so you know: I'm knitting vests after this.

Monday, June 04, 2007

To create a superstrain of knitting!

They said I was mad – mad! I’ll show them, I’ll show them all! Bwahahahahahaaaa!!!!!

….a’hem. Behold the list of insanity:

  1. A St Kilda beanie for my da.
  2. Bedsocks for my da.
  3. My niece's skirt being turned into a cushion.
  4. My cabled orange shrug.
  5. My scoop neck Fair Isle vest.
  6. An alpaca teddy for my new nephew, Rohan (hi!)
  7. My two yarn brown jumper.
  8. My purple scarf of gorgeousness.

See? I am somewhat capable after all. I’ve managed to create finished products. Miracles do occur. Now to turn water into Cointreau…

My da’s St Kilda beanie was awful. Horrible. A mini-nightmare of tears and recrimination. Stupid ribbing! First I picked it up on a 6mm needle, thinking “Rib, pulls in doesn’t it? Best knit it larger…” A very bad move. It was huge and very quickly frogged back. Next it was on the 5mm I started off with – now to try and remember the pattern. This is next to impossible when watching dvd’s at 11pm on a Saturday night. Trust me on this. Eventually I finished it, made a highly vindictive pom pom top and swore to beat my father with a stick next time I saw him. But only after I give him his bedsocks that I really want to keep for myself.

Here is the horror that was niece’s skirt. I promised I would never take any pictures of it and I kept that promise. It’s a cushion now, so the old vow still holds. She is going to love it, sadly, so some good has come of it. Oh, and I promised to make her cousin (no relation to me, mind) a pink beanie for her teddy bear out of the remnants. I must be either inane or nice, I can’t decide.

Here is Rohan’s bear. He is perfect, he is adorable, he is exactly how I hoped the bear would turn out – but better. It almost makes up for the fact that I made the right arm three times. That’s right – three. I made it, lost it, pulled a bootie I’d made to pieces, knitted up a second arm, lost that one, and using the absolute last remnants, made a third. Just. And I mean just – cut off tails of yarn were being used. But isn’t he just perfect?

The buttons were bought as expected, and I heart my gloves. A lot. Waaaaaaayyyy too much. I think they’re elegant, stylish, original and beautiful. This leads me to ask why I’m wearing them, but Felix says they suit me. So I’ll trust his judgement this once.

The brown jumper is kicking along nicely to the tune of “Bleak House” (yes again! It’s only the fourth time I’ve watched it, and it’s only hours long…) and this evening I started the sleeves. Now, the problem is that this is the last of the mohair. At all. I bought it at Lincraft two years ago, and I don’t think they stock it anymore. It seems to go far, but as far as two sleeves and a cowl neck? I don’t think even I’m that lucky.

In brief 10 minute increments, I’m casting off my Melanie Falick Christmas scarf. I can only cast off stitches for 10 minutes at a time, because otherwise I shall go mad. The final row had 1600 stitches, and took me three hours to knit one row, so casting off is a bit…well, painful. And yes my observant friends, that is a hospital bracelet being used as a needle stop. It works perfectly.

Isn't he adorable?

Saturday, June 02, 2007

...knitting time doubly so

I decided that avoiding knitting is very easy – just decide to spend time blogging on all the things you’ve knitted when you didn’t have your camera, and voila! Another way you’re not knitting. Although after I post this I plan to get back to watching series one of “Life on Mars”. That show is just too much fun to not watch if you can.

Recent highpoints in knitting include this amazing Juliet cap, from Alterknits. The pattern seemed like a good chance to try beaded knitting, and having shaved my head in March to raise money for cancer research, I could finally wear a cap (long thick hair + Juliet cap = disaster. Ali McGraw lied to me!) and I liked this pattern. It was pretty easy – cables and lace insertion in the round with beading in the lace. Threading 100 beads on was a bit tiring, but the end result was well worth it.

After the cabling and beading, the pattern decreases were all done in stocking stitch, which I felt detracted from the beauty of the pattern itself. So, on a long and incredibly tiresome drive to Mirboo North with the parents, I started tinkering. I just continued the cable pattern upwards, decreasing the lace sections 1 stitch each alternate row. When it came time to decrease the cables, I took one stitch off each edge. I think I didn’t do too shabby a job after all.

The first Juliet cap was in preparation for this one – the ΓΌber beaded cap. This pattern is from Knitty – Lacecap – and I wanted it for a special occasion. I threaded on about 180 pearls and let rip with an amazing 3ply unbleached silk from Queensland I bought during my degree for weaving with. It was a dream to work with, the patter was simple and all I did was add a pearl every sixth row. The decreasing was a lot harder than I expected, but all in all a welcome challenge. Unfortunately, I look awful in it. I appear to be wearing a very expensive bathing cap. I’m putting it aside until the hair grows.

I love these socks – I put them straight on as soon as I had taken the photo. They’re the Spa Socks from Knit 1, and I made them in aran cotton by Jo Sharp. Her new colours are driving me completely inane with yarn lust – hot pink’s, bright aqua’s, a really amazing turquoisey-emerald in the Silkroad. I don’t know what to buy next, darn her. These socks were knitted on 5mm double points and knitted up in about three days, including the entire right foot being knitting during "300", much to the annoyance of the man sitting opposite me on the aisle. I don't know why - I was looking at the film the whole time. It's called multi-tasking, mate.

Here’s a pic of my ultra gorgeous, completely divine, utterly perfect Rowan gloves. I still haven’t managed to buy the nacre buttons, but I’m hoping to grab some tomorrow from Elizabeth the Button Lady at Camberwell market. Just depends how early I can get breakfast over with. Can’t you just imagine how perfect these gloves will be with the buttons? When they’re finished, I think I shall actually swoon with delight. A real swoon.

At last, but never least, is the shrug, as promised. Pay careful note to the pattern as opposed to the person wearing it (I really do loathe photos) – I’m planning to make this in black and brown and red at some point. No really, I’ll have time. At some point. Eventually. Maybe after this year. I hope.

Time is an illusion...

Considering that my work break-up party was yesterday, you'd think I'd be lying on my couch, clutching my head in agony. No such need despite far too much alcomahol. Instead my stomach muscles are aching from a highly embarassing display of dancing, which included Andrew and Felix joining in for "Footloose". I'd say never again, but I know better by know...

Luckily, knitting is a stomach muscle stress free exercise, and for now, I shall continue to knock almost done items off of my list. Today I plan to finish my da's St Kilda beanie, as I struggle through the third attempt. Version one was too long, version two was too floppy, so hopefully this attempt will be the baby bear beanie. Instead of rolling up the brim, I'm picking up the edge stitches and knitting up a broken rib rim, which my da chose after I described it as the most "perfect of all ribbing". "That sound like it will suit me then", he said despite both my mother and I rolling our eyes.It's being knitted in the colours of his all too wonderful St Kilda Football Club, and like the matching scarf I made him last year, is knitted in undyed alpaca 8ply in cream and black, and an alpaca/silk/wool blend 8ply in red. As punishment for being the only person silly enough to make knitting requests, I'm planning to top it off with a black, cream and red pom pom. The pattern was given to me by the Divine J, the knitting goddess everyone needs.

The undyed chocolate brown alpaca bedsocks are finished in record time - the pair for my mum took about two months, these took a week. The pattern is from Vogue Knitting on the Go series - Socks Two. I'm starting to enjoy knitting these socks, so much so that Felix is getting a pair in this odd blue/silver combination for toddling round the house in. One day I may actually knit myself a pair, but I'm not holding my breath.

The brown jumper continues onwards. It's a reverse stocking stitch jumper from Jo Sharp. and it's a pretty easy knit, just boring. I managed to knit about 16 shaping rows at "Pirates of the Caribbean" last week, and I've ignored it ever since. I'm now determined to finish it up in the next few days, which shouldn't be too impossible, as I'm now gainfully unemployed. I just hate knitting sleeves, more than anything, even sewing up (not hard - I love sewing up). My problem is that I knit both sleeves at the same time, which is tiresome and annoying and the wool gets tangled, and this will be worse as there's two kinds of yarn... It's too easy to talk myself out of it, which is why I generally don't try. Otherwise we're looking at the cream jumper disaster all over again.

Worst of all the infinished ones is this bear, for my new nephew Rohan (I love that name. I must tell my friend Rohan there's another him). All I need to do is finish stuffing it and finish it, but you all know how much I hate finishing anything, so it's another "forcing myself" job. I feel dreadful about this: what kind of vibe am I bring to this present if I start hating it?

So all this is what I need to work on over the next few days. Nothing much, just a LOT of knitting. It looks so daunting, but after a few seconds of doubt that little voice in the back of my mind reminds me "You love knitting, remember?" Oh so that's why I keep doing this to myself. Fair enough then...