Sunday, January 30, 2011

Old school

A few days ago I came up with a brilliant idea. I realised that I needed to crochet hexagons to make a winter blanket for Marcus (Yes, I know it was 41 degrees today, I nearly keeled over a few times, but crochet was calling).

I tried to create a basic hexagon with the spare balls from Marcus Log Cabin rug, but I seemed to be terribly bad at it, so I headed over to Attic 24 for some expert help. A gorgeous hexagon blanket, but I still seemed bad at it.

Then I saw her link to her Granny Squares. Oooooo, shiny Cap'n! I've been crocheting granny squares for years, but the idea of changing colours each row was a new one for me.

The colour scheme is a tad retro, but I like the combination of the four for a baby's nursery, and Marcus is still in his cot (for now!), so it'll keep him warm all winter long. Now to finish it!

I'll be away for a week working on my business launch, which is planned for Monday February 7th, so you have a week free from my knitting/crochet madness, and I'll see you all on the flipside!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's knitting. I'm a knitter now. Knitters are cool.

I was reading the comments for my last post and called out to Felix. "Hey babe, Gidge suggested I knit a Dalek washcloth!" Big mistake. HUGE.

"Awesome! You should totally make that!"

Morris and Sons Paddington 6-ply, which is 80% bamboo and 20% merino, of which I simply cannot speak highly enough of. It's an absolute dream to knit with - get all of your yarn stash monies and go and buy it.*

It took 2 hours to knit and Felix wants to take it in to work to hang up on his wall. Being a nice knitter, I shall let him, but only because I'm about to cast on my next project: a washcloth with the new Doctor Who logo.

*Disclaimer: The manager of Morris and Sons here in Melbourne is one of my best friends, witness at my wedding and is also godmother to my son. It's still really good yarn, though.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Another sticky day here in Melbourne, forcing all thought of actual knitting out of my mind. Instead, I turned to the website I dubbed "crack for knitters" within a week of joining: Ravelry.

All of the current most popular patterns are for the northern hemisphere: cowls, cardigans, blankets, cowls, shawls, hats or cowls (Enough with cowls! They make everyone look like a no-neck rugby player - do not wear them!). I need something small and light and easy to knit in a Melbourne summer that isn't a lace shawl. I have a baby in the house and my ability to follow a lace pattern decreases the longer I'm awake.

(Yes, I know I'm knitting the Treads socks, but I'm past the heel and Felix has really long feet and that much stocking stitch more than an inch at a time will destroy me.)

Maybe I should knit something from my Rav queue? It's at 4 pages now, and that's a bit long for me (Chantal cut hers back to 9 pages, and I'm very proud of her), so I had a look. For someone who hates knitting socks, I have an awful lot of them in my queue. Ditto shawls. Baby stuff too. I really must start knitting stuff for me.

This doesn't really help me decide - what does one knit during a season where the humidity makes your pattern crinkle from the air? When the idea of wool makes you itch, then what?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Who turned the heater back up?

Just when I was happily regaling complete strangers with my joy at such bountiful knitting weather (wet and cold) summer appears. Tomorrow in Melbourne will be 32 degrees. Now, if it was 32 degrees Fahrenheit I would be somewhat surprised, yet still overjoyed. 32 degrees Celsius, however, fills me with dread.

You can't knit in such weather. Heck, I can barely stand up, and as for trying to amuse a 15 month old without allowing him outside - pfffffft. Good luck there, lady!

So I'm doing the only thing I can stand under such challenges, and that's finishing up a garment. It's a cream cabled jumper that I knitted for Marcus that was the exact tension, exact size, perfectly matching the pattern for a 12 month old baby.

Then I put it in the water and it expanded expeditiously. Oh, knitting, thou art a heartless wench!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It's the little things that make me happy

Last Friday night, Felix and I were watching the end of the Giggle and Hoot Goodnight Hour with Marcus (as you do) and because it was the end of the week the ABC showed the credits for the week. I was knitting so I didn't notice but Felix did and started one of the best conversations.

"Hey babe, who did you think the closing song sounded like?"
"...wrap and turn. Huh? Oh, I said it sounded like Lior."
"Guess who wrote the song?"

About four months ago I first heard the song and mentioned then to Felix that it sounded like "This Old Love" because of the bridge. It turns out that either I have an amazing ear for music, or one of life's happy little moments happened. *

The Treads sock did this to me last Saturday at work. I finally decided to read the entire pattern, as I'd just started the short row heel and as the instructions were pretty much the same ("Repeat rows 3 and 4 until...)" I started to read ahead. Finish heel...yep, got that...nothing but stocking stitch until the toe...blurgh, boring...commence toe...yep, just the usual decreasing unt-

The toe is another short row heel. You put half the stitches aside, work another short row heel on the other half then kitchener stitch the two sets together.

Weird as this may sound, this was a happy little moment for me. My sock pattern threw up something new, and it was bloody fantastic! I was so excited that the next person to walk through the door at work was given the full happiness. Being a non-knitting P-plater bogan, he was somewhat unimpressed by my enthusiasm for my knitting discovery (another "My nana does that" garden variety pest, I'm afraid).

This is why I love knitting so much. I've been knitting for almost 32 years now and it's still giving me happy little moments. Best. Addiction. Ever.

* The complete opposite of this story happened one Saturday afternoon stuck at the Punt Road/Swan Street intersection. Felix and I were under the rail bridge in the shade, listening to his iPod in the car when I suddenly cried out "So that's why they're called The Cat Empire! His name is Felix!". The idea that someone hadn't connected the lead singer's first name to the band name made my husband laugh for the next twenty minutes and we both still bring it up, usually when either of us has an obvious epiphany.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Knitting in public

On weekends I work at the local service station, giving Felix and Marcus some father/son time together. I know this mostly involves Felix explaining the rules of gridiron to Marcus while they watch One HD, but quality time is quality time, no matter what.

Sundays tend to be a pretty slow day at work. The biggest thing I sell is the Sunday Herald-Sun (sadly), so the rest of the time is my own, once I've finished the dusting and cleaning.

Unsurprisingly I use this time to knit. Unsurprisingly customers feel the need to comment.

"Wow. My nana does that."
Good for her. The inference that I'm an old crone is duly noted.

"It's a dying art."
Really? How much do you know about Melbourne's knitting scene? Nothing? Thought so.

"Oooo, are you knitting me a jumper?"
Why yes, complete stranger, I am. However did you guess?

"You're knitting socks? You can buy them nowadays, herherher..."
No, you're kidding! Where? And they look *exactly* like these, same colour, same pattern? No? Well then I'll just assume you were trying to be clever then, and I'll continue to knit these socks despite your biting and insightful comments.

"Oh, that's a really pretty colour!"
You're lovely and more than welcome to fondle my knitting. Go on, it's really squishy.

"You're so clever. I don't know how you do it."
Neither do I. I can't actually watch myself knit because I get all jumbled. I just knit.

"Oooo, are you knitting me a jumper?"
Oh, for feck's sake...

Thursday, January 13, 2011


You can only turn the airconditioner up so high before you realise the humidity is just not going to go away.

If you think I can knit in this you have a higher opinion of me than I deserve. To quote Ann Miller: "It's too damn hot".

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A stinking good time

On Sunday I decided to wag work and go for a lovely long drive with my two boys up to Lavandula, just past Hepburn Springs for their annual lavender festival. Seems like a nice time for knitting away while Felix drives, right?

Nope. Felix woke up early to take care of Marcus so I let him sleep from Malmesbury to Daylesford, Marcus having passed out waaaaaaaaaayyy earlier (we were still on the Eastern Freeway when he zonked out!). After a brief stop to re-stock all the baby snacks I left at home, we got there nice and early, only two rows of parking already there.

The smell. Oh my sainted aunt, you cannot believe the smell. I loathe lavender-scented anything, but the real stuff sends me off into paroxysm's of joy. My mum is the same, but we never grew any ourselves, mainly due to the fact that I'm deathly allergic to bees. Annoying, really.

Bees love lavender. They were far less impressed with my Treads sock, which I carried around with me and worked on, causing untold jealousy in non-knitters - especially when I was queuing up for cups of tea. No boredom while waiting!

The lavender Devonshire tea was yummy, and disappeared swiftly, giving me more time to spend on the goodies - fresh lavender bundles cut in front of me, tied up and handed over for what I think was a pittance. My car was reeking of it all day and yesterday as well.

Marcus had a great time, with most of it spent flirting with total strangers and working on his tentative walking, but mainly the flirting.

Felix took over the driving to the Convent in Daylesford, but no knitting was afforded as it was his first time driving Sven the Saab and I had to make sure he got the indicator right (right twice, wrong hilariously once). Then after the taste testing of Herbal Lore liqueurs at the Convent I was forced to drive home (and I didn't get any taste testing, darnit!) and my two companions passed out yet again.

How tuckered out are my boys?

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Tread softly

I'm enjoying the Treads socks, far more than I thought I would. The cable pattern is a fifteen row repeat, but the cabling only takes up the first six rows and then it's a 2x2 rib, so by the second repeat I had it memorised.

I would have a nice photo of my sock here, but my camera hates me. A lot. My dad's hot pink camera is better than mine, which is rather galling.

I'm only a few inches in as I'm using 4mm needles and my second trimester nesting instinct is starting to kick in, so I spend Marcus' midday sleep rearranging cupboards instead of slacking off. My kitchen is now in a state of extreme tidyness, so I plan to slack off for a while and invest in indenting my lower body half print onto the couch as a permanent feature.

I've finished up my complete collection of "Jonathan Creek" so I now have to decide between "The Tudors", "7 Wonders of the Industrial World" or "John Adams" for my dvd/knitting arrangement. It's a really hard decision to make.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Life is far too short

My Christmas present from the lovely Felix was three sets of Knit Picks metal double points. I requested the metal after I sat (yet again) on a 2.5mm bamboo double point which broke up the set of five, as I had had to turf one of them earlier due to splintering, plus we all know that the Knit Picks are fabulous to knit with.

I asked for 2mm, 2.25mm and 2.5mm, as I knew of a few sock patterns I wanted to work on. Now, I hate knitting socks. I know it's weird, as I keep knitting them, but I really don't enjoy it. Too many teeny stitches for far too little effort. That and I get very tired of people saying "You do know you can buy socks, don't you?" (They generally don't like my open-mouthed shock of "No! Are you kidding me? I had no idea!"). I am a complete sucker for sock yarn though - I can't stop buying it!

Felix likes handknitted socks, quite a lot. I don't know if they're more comfortable or if it's the smug happiness that they were created solely for him, no idea. But love them he does, so when I opened my 2.25mm packet up on Boxing Day night I cast on a pair of socks he's wanted for a while, the "Look Sharp" entrelac socks from "Son of Stitch 'n Bitch".

The b-word was used quite a lot a few days later when I came to the heel. The pattern is completely out of wack, asking you to do something you can't possibly and then re-arranges the two colours in a way that makes no sense. I looked up on Ravelry, and there was no errata listed, unless you count a few comments asking how to fix the mistake in the heel pattern.

If you don't know me all that well I'll explain something: I'm actually quite clever, really I am. I'm also the person other people ask when they can't read a pattern because I can interpret them really easily. I've knitted entrelac socks before and that pattern was unbelievably perfect. This pattern, however, sucked.

I have other things I want to knit. I have projects to finish, new ideas to try and trying to fix someone else's mistakes takes up valuable time. So instead I cast on "Treads" from the same book with some yummy mottled green from The Sanguine Gryphon and settled down on New Year's night with Felix and my true love, Cary Grant, on tv.

Oh and I may have cast on the ribbing of the entrelac to tight anyway - Felix couldn't get it past halfway up his foot! Now that's a real sign that I should just give up on them.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Welcome to 2011

Ever since I was very little, my favourite number has been eleven, so I have a feeling this is going to be a pretty great year.

Normally, when I look back at each year of knitting I post a lovely long list of what I've finished. This time it'll be a bit different. You see, I've finished some projects that I never wrote about, so I have no links for those. I didn't have a fantastically long list of finished projects anyway, just bootees (for Marcus), skewed socks (for me), a hat (for Marcus), a fair isle jacket (for Marcus) and a jumper (for Marcus). I'm sensing a theme to my knitting for the year.

My biggest achievement in knitting was the Australian Country Spinners competition win, and I have to admit I still turn to Felix occasionally and ask if it really happened. Yep, it really did. If I collected a dollar from every person who asked (usually in shock at the news) "For knitting?!?" I think I'd have the prize money twice over. Fools! How can they not know the awesomeness of knitting?

I've been spending the last few weeks not knitting, mainly because I've been far too exhausted to even stay awake at night. I could blame the summer heat, but here in Melbourne we haven't had any (woohoo! Bring on winter!) and the scan of our next baby kind of gave it away instead. Keep an eye out for news around the beginning of July - my due date is the 6th. Mind you, the end of February is when I can find out what I'm having, so if I suddenly start knitting a LOT of pink, I think we'll all know. Not to mention Judith's screams of hysterical joy might give it away...