Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What a difference a year makes

Last New Year's Eve in Melbourne the temperature didn't drop below 30 degrees until after midnight. Tonight, Felix and I are off to celebrate Hogmaney in Edinburgh with the expected temperature of -4. Felix is looking forward to any excuse that allows him to wear his Ni beanie.

I've been working on my nana's birthday shawl since Saturday night and I plan to get up to the border rows today, which is pretty great considering I added a repeat.

I'm pretty happy with the progress I've been making.

Looking back, this has been a fantastic year for my knitting. I've been very prolific, 40 finished items (yes I know it said #39, but I helped Jade knit a scarf so I'm counting that as well) although a lot of them were beanies. For Felix.

I plan to challenge myself further next year. Thanks to Bells and her Long Lacy Summer, I've become a lace addict. The fun of watching something that looks like uncooked 2 minute noodles become art as soon as you drop it in water and block it? Indescribable.

That's why I've already planned next year's first knit.

Insanity, thy name is "Andrea".

Have a great New Year's Eve, and I'll catch you all next year.

Finished Objects 2008


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Finished Objects 2008 - #37, #38 and #39

Saturday was a daemon day for knitting (doesn't "daemon" look cooler than "demon"?). I finished my cleaning up bright and early and settled down to block my Entrelac Socks and see what else I could finish.

While the socks were drying I finished off a moss stitch washcloth. No pictures, because it put to good use a few hours later! Then I decided that I needed some plain fingerless gloves for walking around outside and knitting, so I whipped up some Jogging Gloves.

That took me past three episodes of "Dexter" and on to the beginning of a new shawl (yes, another one), this time Celtic Hearts again from Simple Knits. This is fast, so I'm hoping I can knock it off before the end of next week as that's when I'll need to post it to Australia for my nana's birthday.

Yesterday was another day of knitting in the afternoon, and I finished off my Entrelac Socks.

I am completely overwhelmed by these socks. They took two months of knitting here and there and they were worth it.

I knitted them while watching "History of Britain" in the mornings and "History of Scotland" in the afternoons. Lots of history and lots of knitting.

The part I'm most proud of is that I did all of my entrelac squares without turning the knitting. I purled backwards. I did a p2tog backwards! It's easier to purl backwards than knit backwards and it did help me speed things up.

The tassels make it.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Finished Objects 2008 - #35 and #36

Due to work commitments I've been far too busy to do anything. This is what happens when you volunteer to decorate the hostel. And make a gingerbread house.

And a winter village. And hand sew 12 felt stockings.


However, I did find time to finish my Nosferatu shawl.

This was a fabulously easy knit - just knit the plain/eyelet base until you think it's wide enough, then knit the lace pattern.

Not too much lace, but just enough to make it interesting. I think this still counts as a lace piece for the Long Lacy Summer - what do you think, Bells?

I completely stuffed up pinning out the fish tail. It's very full, and ripples, so I think I'll claim it as a design feature, rather than a flaw.

This will be my reading in bed/slobbing on the couch (in style)/wandering the moors looking for my lost love shawl. It has that kind of vibe.

Another delay to my posting and knitting was the hostel's Secret Santa lists. I picked the first name and got the uber-awesome Jade, who is a knitting convert. Couldn't have been easier.

A yarn zombie keyring, two packets of red string licorice to make 302 Calories and these.

Clafoutis Bedsocks. If they were any easier it'd be illegal. I made them in ten hours. TEN HOURS. Be warned - these are my new present staple...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Yarnmas!

From the lovely climes of Scotland,

may your Christmas be filled with love, laughter, figgy pudding and fibre-related presents!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Insomniac knitting

So, it's 3:33am and I'm wide awake and sitting in the hostel dining room. I've spent an hour wathing the last episode of "The History of Scotland", and I'm still annoyed that they ended on James I. Boooo! I want Reformation, and the total collapse of the Scottish kingdom - blame Panama. Oh, and England. Technically. (See? Insomnia = waffling.)

Insomnia means I can knit while I watch tv on my laptop. My Nosferatu is blocking, so instead I've dedicated myself to finishing up my entrelac socks, resisting all urges to swatch for the One Skein Wonder using Noro Silk Garden. Why, yes, it did hurt to decide that - how did you know?

However, it looks like I'll actually have these socks finished up by Monday night (current rate continuing). My apologies for the awful picture - my camera is up in our room, and I decided to test out my webcam.

Still nice socks, though.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Finished Objects 2008 - #34

Meet The CARdigan.

So called because I knitted every piece of it while I was driving. The back, two front, sleeves and even the mega-huge hood - all while driving.

Feel free to call me irresponsible. I care not. I can drive and knit - hell, I can change gears and cable! The doubters are just jealous because they didn't think of it first.

Anyone who has driven next to the 'G at 6:10 on a Friday night will understand. 20 minutes to drive 200 metres is incredibly frustrating. This project made it less so.

Besides, I'm too far away to prosecute now!

I started this last September and almost finished it the morning of our departure, so recently when my mum insisted on sending me parcels for my birthday she included my CARdigan, with it's one, sad little side seam to sew up (see? Almost finished!). In half an hour last night I finished it up and now refuse to take it off.

The yarn was Patons Caressa DK and it was $2 a ball in the Cleggs mid-year sale last year. I was planning to dye it but I've changed my mind. I think I like it just the way it is.

In other knitting news, I went on a mild shopping binge for my birthday. Just patterns with a small teensy bit of yarn too.

I bought Habitat,

the Celtic Heart Shawl,

the One Skein Wonder pattern,

and the best one yet - Garden Shawl. I must be insane.

I asked Felix to pick between this pattern and another, and the response was "That one looks harder. Get that one." The man knows me too well.

The order is from The Wooly Workshop, and the owner Gill called the very next day to talk about the Jaggerspun Zephyr I ordered to knit this creation from, and the lack of matching dye lots, so it's delayed for two weeks. On the other hand, I've just found myself a local enabler!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Finished Object 2008 - #33

I've been a busy little monkey the last few weeks. I dedicated my life solely to finishing my Cascading Leaves shawl and spent half an hour yesterday pinning it out in my blocking room.

Felix decided that helping was exhausting. I hope this bodes well for my desire for blocking wires...

But let us start this story about eight days earlier.

As I worked on my shawl, my room-mate/work-mate Kay would comment on how much she loved my knitting as she watched. She liked the design, she loved the colour, she thought it was just great.

Now, I was knitting this shawl purely for the sake of the knitting. I had been planning to knit my Victorian Lace Blouse, but I could't find the yarn I needed for it (some has magically turned up, so that's January/February ready for the book group). I'd planned this shwal for my next book group project, so I just started it early.

In other words - I had a shawl, and Kay needed one (well, I say she did, anyway).

Then Kay announced she was leaving to start a new job down in London, so it became a race against the clock to finish the shawl. I blocked it yesterday and handed it over last night.

Kay was stunned (this photo was taken pre-stunned, and isn't one of my best. Kay's a very smiley lady) and very very happy.

I'm reasonably chuffed myself. Now, to finish my Nosferatu shawl for my "Dracula" book reading...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rant. A huge massive rant.

I give up.

I received an email from the suppliers of the DMC Baroque cotton that I wanted for my Victorian Lace Blouse. Apparently I'd been undercharged postage because I was ordering from the UK. Fair enough. Understandable.

Oh, wait. You want to charge me US$48.65 for my order, which had to be over US$50 to be placed internationally in the first place?


Go to hell you skeezy evil bastages. I'll die before I submit to that kind of robbery.

In the meantime, the alternatives suck also. No matter where I look here in the UK it's going to cost me a minimum of US$42 to get anything even close to what I need.

It's crochet cotton for feck's sake! How can it be this expensive?!? It's $5 a ball in Australia!

*sigh* Now I really do wish I was home.


I'm not known for my patience - yes, I know I'm a knitter, but still - so waiting for an order from the US is frustrating. Especially as the tracking number is never "available" to check.

I am this close to losing it, I swear...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Finished Objects 2008 - #31 and #32

I managed to lose my camera for a week. Considering it's brand new, I was more than slightly annoyed. Eventually, using my mad skillz of deduction I realised it was in the bag with my Amelia Shawl. Typical.

In the intervening period I knitted a lot. Last Thursday I went off on a teensy shopping trip to St Andrews, which is a charming university town, therefore filled with Australian and American students. Want fun? Catch a bus with an American student two days after the US election, especially if they voted for the losing side.

I'd read on Ravelry that there was a knitting store on South Road, but for some reason I didn't twig that Di Gilpin was the same Di Gilpin whose ads I read in Vogue Knitting. The store was a treasure trove of yarn and it took a lot of self restraint to leave with only four balls. Well, not really when you consider I went in for two balls. But I could have bought a lot of Kidsilk Haze and I didn't. Just this Noro.

Yes, I bought Noro. I've spent so long proclaiming that the colours were all murky and then I saw this. The sods. Still not quite sure what to make with it.

The main yarn bought was a ball of Rowan British Breed Suffolk Steel Grey and a ball of Rowan Scottish Tweed Aran for a project for Felix. The project? Dwarven Battle Bonnet.

It was requested and I delivered. Everyone else seems to think it's pretty awesome, and it does make me laugh, but it feels like a waste of knitting skills.

However, knitting to make Felix happy is always satisfying, so that's how I'm thinking about this one.

Knitting that makes me happy as well as Felix can be summed up in two words: Cobblestone Jumper.

If you make only one jumper this year (or ever) make this one. It's just darn awesome, as shown by the pose.

I finished it the night before we left, and Felix wore it to the airport and as we arrived in Edinburgh, but I've only just blocked it (lazy, I know).

When I cast off the neckline, I got Felix to try it on. He wandered off to where a mirror was in the bathroom and from down the hall he yelled "I love it!" Cheers babe - that's why I knit for you.

* * *

My plan was to start my Victorian Lace Blouse for the Long Lacy Anti-Summer, but finding crochet cotton in Scotland is impossible. I gave up and ordered the DMC Baroque from the US. Hopefully, it should be here tomorrow, which means a weekend of knitting lace (my new favourite kind!). In the meantime, I cast on another project: Cascading Leaves Shawl.

I had planned to knit this for my January/February Knitting 19th Century Novels project ("The Blithedale Romance" by Nathaniel Hawthorn), but I need something lacy to knit now. I'm worried about having two lace projects on the go, but considering this is about 3 hours work, I think I'll be fine.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Fun with graves

I had planned to take some pictures of my finished Snowdrop Shawl at Glamis Castle, but we didn't make it last weekend after all. Instead I give you pictures of somewhere equally historic - the Howff.

The Howff is a graveyard, situated in Dundee on the site of the gardens of The Greyfriars monastary founded by Devorgilla Balliol in the 13th century.

Devorgilla was also the founder of Balliol College at Oxford, and the mother of King John I of Scotland.

The Howff is just fun - the tombstones are all old, some crumbling, most illegible.

This one belonged to one John Sim, and I did apologise for borrowing it briefly.

Not sure who this one belonged to. But I think I may have stood on the owner's head.

Next up? Well, I'm reading "Dracula" for my 19th Century Novels group, and Bells is having a Long, Lacy Summer, so to satisfy both, there can be only the Victorian Lace Blouse by Michelle Rose Orne. I obviously have a lot of time on my hands these days.

I suspect this may have belonged to a pirate...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Shoesies and glovesies*

Another productive few days here in Dundee. The sudden cold snap (yesterday was 5 degrees, today is 6, overnight 0) has necessitated gloves for Felix. Luckily, I brought the pair I needed to finish overseas with me, and so they were finished last night.

As usual, Felix couldn't have a serious picture taken with his knitting.

*sigh* Wouldn't have it any other way.

My own knitting has been productive, too. I've nearly finished one of the entrlac socks, most likely by the end of this evening. Depends if I can pull my gaze away from "Silent Witness" or not.

Today's knitting has been in the warmth of the Reading Room - now with chairs and a huge floor lamp - while watching the latest two episodes of "Spooks" that I downloaded from the BBC. Their download system is just perfect for a knitter with a huge laptop (Felix's today) and the need to vege out. The download speed would make all other Australians cry, so I shan't tell.

I've planned my next project, but I need to wait until Saturday to announce it. That's when the Knitting 19th Century Novels group start their next book... "Dracula". Now see if you can guess what I plan to knit.

*If you got that reference, you are either the biggest nerd alive, or Felix.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Things that make knitting easier

I have my own blocking room. It's called the "Resource Room", but there's nothing in it, it's a nice size and has two very toasty radiators. I hereby claim it in the name of my knitting!

Here's my Snowdrop Shawl blocking quite happily in my new room - I'll be taking some very nice pictures when it's done.

But with what? Why with my nice new Samsung L200 my lovely Felix bought me at Heathrow Airport.

Felix knew how much I hated my clunky old camera (a loaner from an ex that I never returned, just because I kept forgetting to) so he bought me a new one. Isn't he sweet?

Well...kind of. When I was blogging or on Ravelry I needed his laptop because we only brought one
with us to Scotland. Felix had to sit around playing on his DS (which he loves) or just waiting for me to finish, causing me to feel guilty and him to feel bad.

Behold. My new baby.

An Acer Aspire One. The shiny pure pearl one. My birthday/Christmas present. Best part? Linux OS.

Never doubt my love for my husband - he knows me. He loves my knitting.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Oh @#$%*!!!!!

Having finished my Snowdrop shawl, I launched straight into my next project - Entrelac Socks (yes, I had already done the tension swatch). I only brought two projects with me, and I thought it'd be smart to bring some nice long difficult ones. Truth be told, they're not after all. The Snowdrop Shawl took a month, but one week of that was tinking 24 rows to fix a mistake, so it went pretty fast. As for the socks, I got up to the heel in a day.

Then I noticed the problem. The heel had somehow located itself onto the side of the foot.


The next day, I ripped back and relocated it. I'm now halfway through the calf.

If it wasn't for Christmas rearing it's ugly ravenous head, I'd be worried about the speed in which I'm working.

Monday, October 13, 2008


I've been working on a shawl for my "Knitting 19th-Century Novels" group on Ravelry, the Swallowtail Shawl. I'm in the midst of the edging and I keep stuffing it up. I started tinking back to where I went wrong and now I'm dropping stitches in a lace border.

If this goes on I will either scream or use some scissors, I swear it...

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Maybe knitters should sue?

I've been on a walking tour of Dundee - well, a knitter's walking tour. I had a look at the "Local Yarn Store" listing at Ravelry, and went out to the three listed for Dundee.

1. Woolcraft, The Forum Centre

My first wool store in Scotland! Only one problem - there were only four balls of wool there. No, they weren't out of stock, it was all petrol-based. All of it. Four balls of wool total. I ran away very quickly.

2. The Wool Shop, Broughty Ferry

I sat on a bus for this trip. It was raining, miserable, Felix was off at a Magic pre-release (again) and I was off to check out another shop. I stepped in and instantly realised the problem. If the store was set on fire, over 80% of its stock would melt, rather than smoulder. Why on earth is somewhere called The Wool Shop if it has sweet Fanny Adams of stock that has ANY wool in it?!? After being patronised by the owner, I left in a hurry. Yes, people under the age of 60 can knit.

3. Knitting Pin, Dundee

This shop is at the top of a killer hill. KILLER. I took Felix with me, as it was my first day outside after a small cold turned into a mutant virus and wiped me out for five days. On the map it looked flat, and I'm sticking to that argument, alright? Anyway, we finally made it up the hill - gasping due to our complete lack of fitness - and headed in. Knitting Pin is really quite teeny sized, but with a redeeming feature: wool. Actual wool. Carded, processed, spun, dyed and wound into balls. I could have fallen onto the owner's shoulder and wept, but she's teeny-sized too, and I don't like talking to people at the moment, due to some dental accidents (try saying "Leith Path" with no front tooth sometime. Felix laughs everytime.) and my "odd" accent.

The best part? Jamieson & Smith cobweb yarn. I got to touch it. I may even bribe Felix into buying it for me (he still owes me for the airport stuff up on the way to Port Macquarie last month).

The winner? Knitting Pin - the name is accurate, at the very least, and the store has a wider stock range than the other two, carrying, Sirdar, Wendy, Rowan, Patons and - *shiver* - Jamieson & Smith.

Still miss Jo Sharp though, and now the Serenity is coming in new colours for summer...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Finished Objects 2008 - #21 - #28

Yep. 8 finished projects. See this smile? It's smug satisfaction, that's what it is. Tis almost a smirk...

To be fair, most of these have been done for a while, I just hadn't listed them here. Now I'm in Dundee with a LOT of time on my hands (except for Friday nights - Emmerdale, Coronations Street Part 1, Eastenders, Coronation Street Part 2, but no Hollyoaks. Thou shalt not watch Hollyoaks.) I can relax a little and blog to my heart's content.
First off, we have a set of Saartje's Bootees, also known as the most popular free baby pattern on the interwebs.

I thought I'd use up some leftovers from my Nana's Rainy Day Socks, and these are really really quick to knit. Scary levels of quick. An hour to knit a pair. I like these bootees.

Next up, we have Felix's "Surprise!" Beanie, so called because I was bored, hated what I was knitting and whipped this up in three days, all in secret.

See why it took three days? Fair isle heaven! The green is far more flourescent than the picture allows. The pattern is called "Syncopated Caps" and the design is by Kate Gilbert, who also designed my Passepartout Beret. I love her work.

It seems to bring out the worst in him, unfortunately, but it was well worth the effort for the look of joy on his face. Green and orange are his happy colours (no, not even a little bit Irish, actually).

I joined the ranks of the converts to Elizabeth Zimmerman and made a Baby Surprise Jacket. The surprise? It's amazing!

I love the ease of knitting just garter stitch, and the decreasing/increasing is just genius. I amazed my mum with the pattern and even my sisters were impressed with the origami-like nature of it all.

The Surprise element is that the jacket is knitted entirely in one piece. One. You have two small seams to sew up at the end. I see another 20 of these being made - so easy! No wonder the creator is referred to as Saint Elizabeth...

Next, we have a basic baby hat, using the ak traditions pattern.

Pretty easy pattern - short row shaping, all garter stitch. I used a ball of Patons "Gypsy" that I bought about 8 years ago for a friend having a baby. It's acrylic - which I loath - but it is pretty fuzzy and cute.

Some really easy baby bootees - really easy. I just wanted something to use up some 8ply, and this is pretty fantastic for that!

There's another 4 sets waiting to be sewn up, but I ran out of time before we left Australia.

My Ice Queen - a work of true beauty. Chantal and I were working on this at the same time, to the point where we were sitting in Koko Black doing the cast on! It's an amazing piece of knitting, and I adored it.

Shame my old camera sucks so much.

I can't take any pics with my new camera because Ice Queen is in Australia with everything else. *sigh*

My Trinity Stitch beret has been pretty popular on Ravelry - 90 projects. I just wanted to use up a ball of Arymtage fluffyness, and another beanie won't hurt, right?

It didn't turn out quite as I expected. Too tight, hardly any slouchyness. I added the button after I ripped out 16 rows that made it go all pointy instead of slouchy. I still like it.

Nice colours for me, I guess.

Lastly, we have my cat toys. Or, we would if I had the photos. No idea where they are. Stupid moving countries.... *grumble, grumble*

Next up, an assessment of the knitting stores in Dundee area. I may need to shop even...