Friday, July 31, 2009

All done!

Well, that's July all wrapped up! I've posted every day - bar three days, and I blame mid-year Yuletide rush for that - and it's been rather fun.

I find writing up what I do as I do it helps me to consolidate what I'm working on, and helps me to want to finish it, because when I do I can post about it.

I'm a bit light on the WIP's at the moment. All I have is the Alphabet Blanket, Green Booties, Transformers jacket and a set of socks I just started for my nana today (no, the Garden Shawl doesn't count. It's in hibernation - shhhh! You'll wake it up!). Hopefully I can knock some of these over quickly, which means more posts.

Blanket Update: ........ well b****r me. I'm finished.

Now for sewing in ends and blocking the blanket without the cat sitting on it. Hrm.... Is it wrong to set booby traps for a cat?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Finished Objects 2009 - #9

I finished my baby argyle vest a very long time ago, in April in fact.

The base pattern is Debbie Bliss' Baby Tank Top, but I love argyle patterns so much I added it in. I can picture this tank top with some very cute matching burgundy and white tartan pants, or maybe something just plain. This top comes under the heading of "For Andrea's baby". Anything old-fashioned is for my child. Anything awesome or nerdy belongs to Felix's baby.

George volunteered to model again. I think he's been a bit cold lately.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Not *really* helping

Lolli insists on being by my side at all times, unless I let her outside to take on the might of next-door's Ginger Ninja. My cat is pretty placid and loves to be near whenever I'm making something.


I get the feeling she doesn't want me to iron the newly sewn tablecloth hems.

Uh-huh. Definitely not.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Finished Objects 2009 - #8

I apologise in advance for the vileness of these pictures. Awful, awful pictures.

This is my baby wraparound, in Rowan Wool Cotton. The very first thing I cast on when I found out I was pregnant. The pattern is from the "Knit Cafe" book, and while I did love it, I have a few problems with it.

The bottom hem is just terrible - loose, unstructured, bleurgh. I'm tempted to put a striped bias fabric hem along it, just to make myself feel a bit better. The slot for the front to slip through is huge, and not just due to my mid-row cast off/on.

I think the winner here is the pattern which is just great (even if it did make the bottom hem all loose!). It's an easy 4 row repeat, which I can probably do in my sleep now. I'll definitely be reusing it at a later date.

But I'll still hem whatever it is with fabric!

Blanket Update: two sides covered in triangles!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Finished Objects 2009 - #6 and #7

My entire weekend disappeared into a vortex of family and cooking, for I finally had my way and had a Christmas in July.

We had a nicely set table.

We had food. Waaaaaaaaaay to much food.

We had a tree with presents.

Whose presents? Well, those would be for my parents, who were the guests of honour.

My mum's present was the Endpaper Mitts she very unsubtly asked for. As in, "Oh that's a nice pattern. What colour are you making mine in?" They fit skintight, as expected and she loves them.

Da got his socks (excuse the photo - a blurry hell vortex opened up as I was taking these shots). To say he loves them is an understatement. He now has golf socks. In St Kilda colours.

With different toes. Which he knew straight away, before he even looked.

Has anyone been telling my da what's on my blog?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Finished Objects 2009 - #5

Today's FO is my Ruby Red hot water bottle cover.

I finished this off during my flu period, but I just couldn't find the right buttons for it until I headed off to Bendigo. I love that they enhance the yarn.

It's toasty, cosy and makes my bottle look pretty. What more could a girl want?

Blanket Update: I've finished the entire top row of triangles. I forgot how addictive they are. Darn it!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Finished Objects 2009 - #4

Monday afternoon I found the pattern on Ravelry, cast on, knitted furiously through the Richmond Knitters, finished the strap off on the way home, blocked yesterday, added button today.

Behold the Kingsford Smith Hat!

It's just I used the Shiloh Silk Wool 8ply I bought at Bendigo (see knitters? You can use your Bendigo yarn, not just pack it away!) and the Aviatrix pattern from Just Jussi. It's quick. Super quick. Scary super quick. I plan to make a few more of these because it's just that quick!

Meet George, my volunteer. The person I plan to put it on isn't due to make an appearance til around September 26th, so George bravely stepped in. He's also offered to be the boitjie's first best friend, which is exactly what he was to me all those years ago.

Look at that face - how could you not love him?

Blanket Update: Three triangles done. The knitting gods are appeased.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Blanket Week - Day Eight?!

How has it been eight days already?!? How can I still be working on it?!? *sigh* I feel like breaking into a chorus of "This is the knit that never eeeeeeeends...It just goes on and on my friends.......". Ahem.

Progress has been made, as you can see. I'm now on the last row of the border with naught but dreaded entrelac triangles to finish the piece off. It was pointed out to me by Sonia that I have a slight advantage in that I can purl backwards, so I won't necessarily be turning my work constantly. This aside, it's going to take forever!!!

Last night I headed off to the Richmond knitters group which consisted mainly of catching up with everyone that I hadn't seen since last September, so as you can imagine I had a fantastic time and resisted stealing everyone's Bendigo purchases, but barely. I started working on a new project which I also finished before bed last night. It's currently blocking nearby.

New plan for avoiding mentioning the blanket: I've got a few finished projects that I haven't shown off, so from now on it's showing off time. Starting tomorrow, it's FO's all the way!

Monday, July 20, 2009


Many thanks to the most wonderful yarn-widower in the world, Felix, especially for remembering his jumper as Cobblestone and not as "that purple one I keep putting on the wrong way". *mwah*

Well, Bendigo. A trip and a half to get there, then shopping, then an even longer drive back (same distance, takes longer. Weird...).

Chantal and I started off from her place, with me happily in the passenger seat. I did take the Alphabet Blanket along, with a total of two rows knitted for the day, mostly because there was ginger tea to drink on the way. We made great time getting up there, even with the Malmsbury Bakery required stop, which ended up as take-away.

Thanks to Ravelry I got cheaper entry, and we were off! Shoppers away!

Shiloh 6ply wool silk blend. This feels like a cloud for an angel, and I really wish I was exaggerating. They've perfected the spinning, and their new 4ply is unbelievable. I almost want to start dyeing my own yarn because of it, but that way lies Sparta-like madness. Project: currently undecided. This may become "lookin'-at yarn".

Shiloh 8ply wool silk blend. Project: Hat for newborn Boitjie.

Shiloh Alpaca 4ply pack. How could I resist the colours? Both natural, both adorable. Project: Fair-isle hat for Boitjie. I'm thinking a row of alpacas might be cute.

The Button Lady is a vile temptress and I bought all of these as a shared project between Judith and I. Of them all I'm actually only keeping the purple knots and the ice blue ovals. Copious expense and well worth it.

Tofutsies Sock Yarn. My three favourite colours are green, white and violet ("Give Women Votes - see? That's why they're used!) and when I spotted this I snatched it up. Both balls. One for mum, one for me. Project: Herringbone Socks for mum, maybe some for me. Not too sure if I want to wear it or display it.

The Tofutsies were bought from Melissa at Stranded in Oz, who was one of the lovliest yarn junkies it has ever been my pleasure to meet. There were gift baggies for shoppers, which is how I ended up with an awesome backpack, a set of 2.25mm bamboo double points and a ball of adorable sample sock yarn (Melissa's dyeing). Project: Hat for Boitjie (yes I know that's three hats, but they're all little, okay?).

This is a skein I went back to buy from Stranded in Oz later, simply because I couldn't get it out of my mind. Look at the colours! There was a lot of time spent trying to work out if there was only the one skein (there can be only one!) so I gave in and bought it. Project: Lookin'-at yarn. No other reason for it. The colours stuck in my head, which is a sign for me.

Lastly, Virginia Farms. We wandered in, started looking, and there it was. The Felix Skein!!! I had to grab it, and yes, I really didn't hand it over and yes, the wrong price was given, but I did correct it and was told as it was the last day it was discounted. Bliss! Project: Felix's suggestion was a scarf "to discuss Satre in", no doubt while sipping espresso's in a cafe...*sigh*. If he thinks I'm knitting 2/20 silk into a scarf he is very much mistaken. For now, I have no idea what to use it for. I'm guessing lookin'-at yarn for the time being!

As for the show itself, I was vastly disappointed. It seemed a mish-mash of good and not so good. We didn't find the independent dyers and spinners until the end, and luckily Chantal managed to grab some sock yarn from Ms Gusset (the Strawberries and Cream looked fantastic - I'll have to grab some next time!) but they weren't even mentioned in the program guide. I spent way too long looking for the Flower Pavillion only to find it at 4:20pm when everyone was packing up.

While it was a great day out and I got some awesome one-offs next year I'll save the money, stay home and shop off the net.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Five Reasons Why I Love Being a Yarn-Widower

Felix, here, guest-blogging for Andrea, who has taken to bed early suffering from severe yarn-fatigue. She has assured me she'll regale you all with tales of the Bendigo Wool and Sheep Show tomorrow.

Andrea and I have been married for nearly two-and-a-third years now, and like many husbands, I have come to embrace her calling as a knitter. In fact, there are many reasons to love being a yarn-widower, as it were. Here are just a few.

1. She's perfectly happy sitting on the couch for hours on end while I play Oblivion on the X-Box 360. In fact, she even pops her head up occasionally to remind me to save, which is invaluable in itself.

2. I get a lot of funky stuff to wear. Just last Friday I was wearing three separate articles of knitted clothing: my cobblestone jumper, my pair of mismatched green-and-orange socks, and what I like to call 'the forest beanie'.

3. She will entertain any notion I put into her head about future projects. The one that springs to mind most recently is the devious scheme to knit matching Ernie jumpers for myself and the little one.

4. Whenever we go to the movies, she always brings along knitting. This means that, as well as the possibility of more socks or beanies, I also get the lion's share of the popcorn :)

5. Even in the madness of the Bendigo Wool Show, she still found something to buy especially for me:

Sorry about the picture quality, I'm not too good with the digitimal camera. But it's green and orange, my two favourite colours; and when Andrea saw it, she grabbed it and refused to let it go, forcing the stall-vendor into guessing the price.

I love you, Andrea. *mwah*

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Blanket Week - Day Five

Day 5, row 5 of the border. *sigh*

I'd feel worse but I also darned two pairs of gloves for my friend Jonathan, made up a batch of really awesome vegie soup, put away three boxes of books and did two loads of washing.

Saturdays are not conducive to knitting.

Sundays, however...ahhhhh. Chantal and I are road tripping off to Bendigo for the Wool and Sheep Show, aka Hey Big Spender Festival. I'm well prepared. I have car knitting (blanket), walking around knitting (Sock for Da) and a shopping jeep for the purchases. Not mention permission from a very lovely husband who has handed over his credit card.

No greater love, my friends.

Friday, July 17, 2009

So sleepy...

Must...stay...awake... Only the side pick...up.



Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blanket Week - Day Three

"And lo, joy rang out over the home of Andrea..."

In other words, I finished the body of the blanket. All 258 rows are now done. Which leads to the next fascinating dilemma: the border.

You see, I like knitting in the round. The less purl, the better. The pattern suggests knitting the top border, then the bottom, then each side. "Bah!" I cried. "I'll just knit them all in the round! Join 'em up all purty like and go for it!" As always, there is a slight flaw in the plan. The sides need to be picked up knitwise and then a plain purl row before the border starts. Hrm. Thinking caps on.

Here's the plan:

Knit the first row of the border along the top, pick up the side, purl back, knit the first row of the border along the side. Then knit the first row of the border along the bottom, pick up the next side, purl back and knit the first row of the border along the second side. This plan was devised by Judith and I today.

Sometimes we're so clever it's almost sickening.

Then genius struck again! (I know, I can't believe it either.) Judith suggested Knit Pro/Knit Picks cables. That way, I put the Knit Pro cables on three sides with the stoppers on them, and knit the other side with the Knit Pro 3.25 tips. Judith also admitted that she plans to sell off all her bamboo needles to buy Knit Pro only. I think the phrase "the knitting needles God would use" may have been used to describe them.

Only one thing to do then, and that was head off to Morris and Sons in the city, thereby meeting Felix at the same time. I thought he'd be fine downstairs at Dymocks while I did a leetle shopping upstairs. Then I saw the wall of 2ply merino.

I called Judith to tell how evil she was for recommending the store. Then I called Felix and asked him to come upstairs and take the credit card away from me. I think he thought I was joking, but when he arrived and I started dragging him from wall to wall showing him each yarn I wanted, he took the card off me. The sod...

So I made it out alive with only some nice shiny new Knit Pro equipment. I love the way they work - common sense knitting.

See? Some progress finally!

PS: Hey Bells!

They look even better when they're iced :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Blanket Week - Day Two

14 rows! 14 lousy rows to go and do you think I can finish them?!?! Arrrrrrrrghhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blanket Week - Day One

My stash partner-in-crime/future godmother of my boitjie Chantal asked me what Blanket Week is, so I'll do my best to explain.

I am sick to death of my Alphabet Blanket. Really intensely nauseous at the sight of it. Now, this leaves me with three options.

1. Cover it with kerosene and set it on fire.
2. Hide it in a bag among the rest of my U.F.O's and pray no-one ever asks where it went.
3. Suck it up and finish the remaining 56 rows of the body of it and then slug out the border as well, but as quickly as possible so I don't look at options 1 & 2 longingly.

Today I started on Row 203 of the main part of the blanket and I just finished Row 218. Normally I could knit a LOT more than 16 rows, but my mum came over this morning and helped me make a set of curtains for my kitchen, and that took up a huge chunk of time.

Completely worth it though.

So, in the end I didn't start until 3:00pm and I've also been cooking a bit - little ginger cakes anyone?

Felix will probably eat them in two bites.

Tomorrow I plan to finish the body of the blanket. That's another 40 rows. I will either:

A. Romp it in with hours to spare;
B. Get cramp in my hand and give up completely; or
C. Give up and re-read "The Winter Queen" by Boris Akunin.

It's hard to try and guess which way I'll go...

Monday, July 13, 2009

The coolest thing ever? Absolutely!

Head on over and visit Sonia's blog. She managed to find the most brilliant outdoor knitting display I've ever seen!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Another day lost

First you wake up really late.

Then you head out because you have to visit your nieces again as promised, but first your husband really needs a haircut.

Then you spend two hours helping the new knitters - Kirsten started a garter stitch scarf with 103 stitches and Ashlee a striped stocking stitch bag.

Then you get home and work the needles as much as you can until dinner.

Then you watch "Quantum of Solace" and keep knitting.

In the end you have to sleep and you still haven't finished the heel flap and tomorrow is the start of Blanket Week.

Sometimes I really think there's a weekend conspiracy against me.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Made of win

Look at this toe, just look at it!

See? I made it for my da's right foot. He can't wear this on his left ever, so from now on he'll have to look extra carefully before he puts his socks on. I just love it.

The pattern for this anatomically correct toe comes from Under Dutch Skies, whose debt I shall forever be in. On the other hand, my mum has really pointy toes that fit the usual toe instructions perfectly.

Sometimes I think she's a mutant.

On the second sock, not as much progress as I'd like. I spent today working my fingers ragged, but tonight the boitjie ("little boy" in Afrikaans) decided a full-on kickboxing championship was called for so all of my energy was invested in not screaming.

Ah, mother-love... When he gets here, he's grounded til he's 23.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A knitting day, but not mine

Today was spent in the company of two very delightful knitters, my nieces Ashlee and Kirsten. Now, Ashlee first learned to knit when she was 7 but hadn't learned purl until today. Seeing as she's now 13 I decided it was about time to teach her. That way she can knit some really great stuff for the baby as well (is it child labour if they're family?).

Being a very bright girl, she picked it up with no fear and actually enjoyed it! The best part is that Ashlee has a very tight tension on garter stitch, but as she added purl in she loosened up. Amazing to watch.

Kirsten is 10 and the queen of finger knitting. QUEEN. She didn't think she could learn to knit but the phrase "like a duck to water" comes to mind. She worked it out in about two seconds and was soon zooming along with a garter stitch rectangle which she made into a bag for her doll.

The trick to someone like Kirsten learning is to ensure that she can't can't talk while knitting, because when she does the next words are sure to be "Aunt Andrea, I think I made a mistake!".

Ashlee's stocking stitch strip was a scarf for her doll, and the end of a two year "I'm not knitting 8 stitches for 60cm" drama. Personally I don't blame her - my idea of a scarf is cast on 450 sts and knit 6 rows!

I'm so proud of the two of them, and I'm glad that they'll have something to use when they hit the evil teen years. According to my mother the only time I was calm and nice was when I was knitting or doing some embroidery, and the same holds now. Why do you think I knit all the time?

As for my sock, I was concentrating on my nieces so much I barely got a stitch done. I think I can finish the first sock off by tonight, which leaves the weekend for the second. That's if Ashlee and Kirsten don't drop by to learn some more...

Thursday, July 09, 2009


The boy woke me up nice and early this morning stretching and kicking, so I was forced to give up on sleep and get up at 4am.

If you need me, I'll be unconscious.

Oh. Yeah. We're having a boy. Sorry if you wanted a surprise..

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Told ya

My mum came over today to help me with some curtains and - more likely - to keep an eye on me. She also spent too much money on me again, and we were forced to go shopping. Darn.

The curtains look pretty cute, though.

The end result of this parental interlude, however, is a a complete lack of knitting. Well, not complete.

I've finished the gusset decreasing and then it's home free for the feet. Tomorrow is Ikea-ing with my niece (10), nephew (7) and my mum (eternally 24). I'm designated driver, so I can't knit in traffic, but I might try to squeeze in a few rows as we wander around. Here's hoping.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I'd call this "Sock it to me!" but I have a sense of humour

Well, I've managed to amaze myself with my sock knitting today. Take a look at the needle poked through the sock.

That's where I started this morning. I've finished the sock leg, the heel flap, turned the heel and started the gusset decreasing. I'm in a state of awe at myself, and I'm my biggest critic. Tomorrow my mum is coming over and we're sewing all day so I doubt I'll get anything knitted, so the awe will end, thankfully.

My niece was just happy that I was knitting in St Kilda colours - try being non-AFL-affiliated in Melbourne. People just stare at you like a freak. Good thing I've been used to it for years!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Blanket? What blanket?

I need to sit down for a week and work on nothing but my baby Alphabet Blanket as I previously mentioned, but not this week. This week is mental.

Today involves a bit of driving around, Tuesday is babysitting my niece and nephew (who are perfect), Wednesday is a day with my mum finishing off curtains and make another one to hang in my workroom/entrance, Thursday is niece/nephew/Mum trip to the greatest place on earth a.k.a Ikea in Richmond and Friday is... actually, I don't know what Friday is, but mental it shall be.

You just can't work non-stop on a blanket with tea breaks on that kind of a schedule. Hence a new project: socks for Da.

He's been feeling a little hurt that my mum has been getting all the socks while he misses out, so I decided to start a pair for him to wear to golf. Da loves his St Kilda (AFL team) so when I saw this last lonely label-less ball of Opal Ladybird at Wondoflex I grabbed it.

I've started off in 2.75mm needles but it feels all wrong. I think I might have to change to 2.5mm and restart, which is annoying. I really do want to finish off my blanket next week, unrealistic as that sounds...

Sunday, July 05, 2009

A semi-busy day

Getting up early followed by some house painting and housework, then a roast lamb lunch at the parents (mine, not Felix's) then home again to do nothing but slack off watching episodes of "West Wing" Series 7. Oh, and some knitting.

If you saw that pattern photo in the flesh, you'd run out and knit it straight away too. All it needs now is a perfect pom-pom and I'm all set. I know early on is the only time I'll get to dress the baby up in ridiculous clothes, so I'm stocking up!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Finished Objects 2009 - #3

Never thought I'd ever get to write a title like that again this year at my current rate!

Behold, Lenny the Bunny.

I would have been even less subtle and named him "George", but my gorilla I've had since I was born that I'll be handing over to the boitjie is named George and he'd be terribly jealous.

Look at those ears - angora lining! A bunny made from a bunny. I had to wear the flu mask the hospital gave me to keep the extra long hairs out of my mouth so I don't start choking again. (Interesting fact: you need to change masks every two hours. Mine was worn for six in an emergency room. Good hospital policy there.)

If the baby doesn't want the bunny, I think the kitty does!

Friday, July 03, 2009

See? YOU get it...

I love and adore my husband. He's sweet, funny, brilliant and if you were to meet him, you'd like him straight away, because everyone does. My mum likes him.

However, while he does appreciate the knitting that I do for him, there comes a time when he doesn't get it. When I start rhapsodising about a new cast on or a stitch pattern or anything the Yarn Harlot writes I get the feeling he's secretly thinking about something to do with Oblivion when he nods and says "Yeah, that's great babe..."

This is why I have a knitting blog. Because when I show you a tubular cast on I love:

Or a kitchener cast off that makes me want to lie down and whimper from overwhelming joy:

You understand. You just get it.

Bless the interwebs.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Can we knit it? Yes We Can!

The last week has been a slow grind of trying to sort out my current projects and various stash. Moving house is never fun at the best of times; moving house while pregnant and quite ill is obviously insane. First time I've never had to move my walnut dressing table which weighs a tonne, so I'm not really going to complain...

Current projects pile is pretty easy.

I have the amazingly wonderful Endpaper Mitts to finish up. I've only got the rib at the top of the second glove to finish up, followed by the gloriously perfect Tubular casting off. True love of knitting comes from this cast off. Trust me.

I also have current "Stuck in traffic/stuck in a queue/stuck watching "Transformers 2" project, which is a knitted bunny toy for the Podling. The pattern is from "Last Minute Knitted Gifts" and it's really easy and really fast, so I think I need one. Plus the inner ears are angora, and that's just nice to play with. Not when you're hacking up some lung, as I was last fortnight, which is why the next project is on hiatus.

This will be an outfit for my mum's doll, Judith. I've had to put it aside due to the large fibres releasing themselves and causing me to choke so badly my husband reaches for the phone to call an ambulance. Hence the intarsia jacket being unfinished and the skirt being unembellished. I also plan on striped boots, a cloche and a sleeveless top. My mum's been incredibly brilliant the last two months and needs as much spoiling as she can get. Helping us to move house on her 70th birthday puts her way above the mark of "wonderful" and moves her into "god-like".

Lastly, the alphabet blanket I started about four months ago continues on. I'm pretty much sick of the sight of it, so I will soon have to have a week-long "Just sit down and do it already!" session. I dislike doing this because it feeds into the minute part of my mind that says "Why are you doing this? Are you insane? Go read something!". I generally ignore the voice up until the moment of blocking the work, where I retaliate with a "Nurny nurny nur nur!".

To think: I'll be a responsible parent soon. We're all doomed.