Thursday, November 07, 2013

Conversations on knitting - Felix & Andrea

So, Andrea, you've been working hard on reducing your UFOs this year. How is the ‘Two out, one in’ thing working for you?

Pretty well, actually. Since the beginning of this year I've managed to reduce my WIP list from 56 to 29, but I keep starting new stuff without trying. Like last month, I started a *cardigan*, solely because I needed tv knitting. Then there's the projects that need "fixing".

Fixing how? Repairs, or the dreaded pattern mistakes?

In the words of Old El Paso, "Why not both?"

My crochet wreath didn't fit the wreath form properly, so I've frogged that to try again, either as the same style as my previous wreath or maybe a finger knitted one.

Then there's the sleeves on Marcus' orange jumper. I *finally* got more of the same colourway (different dye lot, though) but now that I'm up to sewing in the sleeves they seem too narrow to fit. I think I'll have to undo and make them wider. Hopefully the colour’s close enough not to make a difference.

How about the 95% projects? How many of those do you have left?

What 95% projects?!?

The ones that you only have 5% left to finish.

How do you know about them? Have you been rummaging through my projects again?

No, but I remember the spreadsheet you made :P 

Yet you couldn't remember we'd run out of bananas?

I only have two 95% projects: Dot's Hatchling cardigan which needs 6 buttons sewn on, and my Granny Triangle Bunting which need to be joined up. The problem is that there is sweet nothing of the yarn left and none left anywhere. IN AUSTRALIA. The rest of my projects are a bit less than 95%...

So if you had to choose three projects to line up next, what would they be?

To finish or to start?!?

To finish.

Can I start something else if I finish them? And if so do they have to be less than 95% to finish, so they’re something I really need to work on?

You can choose any three projects, and then nominate the next one to replace them.

In that case, I'll add the buttons to Dot's cardigan, finish off the bunting (somehow) and knock off that @#$%* doily. Then I'll start the decorations for Joex's wedding. How does that sound?

Sounds perfect :)

Nope, wait, changed my mind. Marcus responded *really* well to animal finger puppets at Speech Therapy today. I think I'll knit some. They shouldn't take too long, right?

Probably not, no.

Found a pattern:

That looks perfect :)


Well, smeg it. The cardigan is done, the bunting is done, but the doily needs a circular needle. There's too many stitches for the double points. Looks like I'm back on Marcus' blanket.

Monday, October 21, 2013

I hate sewing in ends

I really do hate sewing in ends. I like the end result, yes, but sewing them in takes so much work, no pun intended.

Last night I managed to sew the ends in on 10 of my squares. Unfortunately, that leaves me with 8 rows of 10 squares to go. At my current rate of 2 squares a day, I might catch up soon, but I don't think I can sit down for another hour each night just to sew ends in.

I really do hate sewing in ends.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

54 and 53

The next two squares are done.

Dark green and aqua.

Monday, October 14, 2013

One square/day at a time

Marcus had his 4th birthday party on Sunday and was spoiled rotten by all. It was miserable weather, but who needs outside when you have cars, bubbles, Legos and cake?

I need to block all of the triangle bunting today, along with sewing all the ends in. Now that my finger is able to crochet again without twinges I think I'll get back to working on Marcus' crochet blanket. (I haven't forgotten Dot's cardigan, but I need yet another ball of cotton and I haven't had time to get it. Ditto Marcus' orange jumper, because the yarn has FINALLY come in).

Marcus' crochet blanket has been going since February, I think, and there still seems to be no end in sight. Being me, I've drawn up a spreadsheet to work out how many squares I have to go and I'm marking them off as I go. If I join on two squares a day, I'll be done by mid-November (there's 55 to go). Then I can take the blanket with me as we drive to Port Macquarie for Christmas and add the edging which will be HUGE. I can't wait.

So, I've attached the brown square, time for a red.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Almost back to normal

Well,  Daylight Savings has kicked in now,  so hopefully some decent sleep is in my future. Thankfully I had a brilliant night's sleep last night, even after an afternoon nap. I have knitting and a cat  now the naps. Future nana in training, me.

I did start a project with the California 8ply. The yarn was a present from Mum's best friend Marg,  so I'll make it up for her granddaughters. They're adorable little tots, who like bright colours and decorations so I went for something that had both.

Attic 24's Granny Triangle Bunting. It's a zoomy hookup and the colours are brilliant!

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Faaaaaaaaaar too tired to knit

It's almost time for Daylight Savings to start again, and as is usual my body has announced an interest in sleeping.

For some reason every year just before and just after Daylight Savings I feel the need to sleep. A lot. A lot of a lot. I'm yawning as I type, in fact.

End result is I pass out each night. Not fall asleep, pass out. It's exhausting.

As you an imagine surprisingly little crafting has happened. Soon it will be all over and I can knit again. In the meantime I need to work out what I can make from this:

197g of Cleckheaton California 8ply. I'm stumped.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Too much, too soon, or how I stopped knitting and tidied up

One day I'll learn that certain things in life have a limit. I dislike the thought of not being able to do something due to a health problem, something that goes back to my teenage years and temporal lobe epilepsy. My parents wouldn't let me go out for a bike ride by myself, and at 15 it's incredibly stifling. I really don't like being told I can't do something due to an injured finger, and now it's hurting quite badly, so knitting and crochet are on hold for at least 24 hours.

Last week, when I really couldn't knit, I turned to the next best thing: sorting out my knitting stuffs. Over the years I've accumulated a lot of accoutrements. Stitch holders, pompom makers, stitch markers  (though I generally use safety pins), needles and patterns. Soooooo many patterns. I'd reached saturation point and they had broken free and were escaping everywhere.

Exhibit A:

My craft room bookcase last Wednesday. A functioning bombsite, of sorts. As you can see I had tried order in the past and completely given up on it. Taking things out of the bungalow and into the house and then never returning them to their exact right spot is what's tripped me up over time. So, I knuckled down over the three days Felix took off to take care of me and sorted things out.

First up were all of my loose patterns. I have lots. I inherited two lots from my grandmothers, Felix's fantastic nana sent me down an amazing Paton's vintage workbook (thanks Jeanette!), and I tend to buy up any I spot. Which is a lot. Possibly because I go out of my way to find them. So on Wednesday Felix made me stay on the couch while he brought me boxes (yes, multiple) of patterns to sort. I managed a three pile system: keep, op-shop and Etsy. Most of the ones from newspapers were sent off to the op-shop, because there's always a desperate hipster looking for knitting patterns, no matter how bad they are. I kept a lot, mostly good patterns, but I also have a folder dedicated solely to vintage patterns which range from my glorious 1050's Vogue Knitting all the way down to a Patons book from 1979 where the jumpers feature the characters from "Shirl's Neighbourhood". Solid fried gold.

Then it was the needles turn. I had my circulars sorted months ago, so I left them alone, but my double points had broken loose from their system and I had my nan's needles to sort out as well. I dumped all of them on the floor, apparently.

Wait, no, that's Dot "helping". It took 10 minutes to get all of the needles off her, and now they're sorted into three sets: my nan's set that I'm planning to pass along to one of my cousins, my Clover bamboos in their holder, and leftover sets of Clover bamboos that I'll sell on Etsy.

After that it was a case of tidy, tidy, tidy. You have to agree it looks a lot better:

Here's the layout.

1. My buttons. I use the spice jar sets from Ikea and they're sorted into colours, metals, nacre and novelty types. I also have a jar up the back with all of the spare buttons from our clothes which I keep for that moment when my children start losing them.

2. The orange folders all contain A5 zip pouches for each double point needle size, which are divided into numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 onwards, so some folder have 4 pouches, some 2. They were leftovers from last years Weight Watchers program, and as they're not being used they were requisitioned for the greater good. The yellow baskets hold pom pom makers, needle gauges, non-greasy hand cream, stitch holders (how many do I have?!) and various nibblets I need for my knitting. The large pink roll is my bamboo straights holder, and the container on top has a needle roll full of crochet hooks. The far right is my two knitting money banks (for qiviut, obviously) and my ball winder.

3. Too many knitting magazine and books. Down the end are my two folders of loose knitting patterns. They're divided into adult, children, house, toys, accessories and socks. I have a lot of sock patterns, despite hating knitting socks, go figure. The photo is my nan and Marcus, taken the morning of his chicken boy photo shoot. I like that she saw him in it first.

4. Embroidery magazines collection, plus all of my weaving and embroidery books. On the shelf is an old shuttle one of my weaving teachers gave me as a present, and it's incredibly heavy, mostly due to the iron point tips on it.

5. This shelf still looks messy, but I'm okay with that - for now. On the left-hand side is my collection of household management books from the 50's and 60's. I adore these and take some pretty good tips out of them occasionally. Then we have my very 70's Stitch by Stitch and Golden Hands collection. So many bad patterns! Fab! Then it's sewing patterns in folders and my sewing books. I really am a jack of all trades...

6. First is my Enchanted World series that doesn't fit into any other bookcase, apparently. Then it's books on carpentry (!) and building plan in a folder. The boxes on the right contain various odds and sods for my business that need a proper place to live, but I'm waiting on a bit more storage.

There it is! I also tidied all the cutting out bench, and the only thing left to do is sort out all my sewing patterns into categories (and possibly throw away the ones that are now waaaay too big for me). Hopefully I'll be back to knitting again soon.

Fingers crosses. But not the index finger, because that one still hurts.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Woohoo! I'm back, baby!

Can you believe that less than 48 hours after slicing the top of my finger off I was knitting again? 48 hours.

It was my mum's fault. I'd been to the doctor's to have my dressings changed, which was highly traumatic and took an hour due to the gauze sticking to the open wound. Don't worry, I'll stop with the description now! Anyway, I got home and was complaining to my mum how hard it was to do relax with no knitting. She said "It's a shame you can't knit Continental."

I CAN!!!

I taught myself Continental knitting about 10 years ago, but while it is faster I'm not proficient enough to knit that way without looking, which drives me a little crazy, but knitting is knitting, right?

By Thursday I was back to knitting normally with my index finger sticking out like a snob with a cup of tea. This morning I worked out that I can crochet a small amount at a time, too. So it's back to everything again.

Dot's cardigan is slow going now due to being 146 stitches wide, but at 4 row feather and fan repeat is a nice mindless knit, especially when you're watching Grand Designs. The container is to stop Marcus and Dot from pulling the circular needle out. You don't want to know how often that happens...

On the Sunday I had my finger slip up Chantal had come over and we'd worked on some goal-setting for the rest of the year, as so far this year has sucked greatly for both of us. One of mine was to finish up old WIP's before starting something new, so my new rule is finish two, start one. Now, Chantal's Blue Moon Fiber order came in with the yarn for my next project, so I need to get going and finish two projects so I can start up my Miette cardigan.

I don't think I'll get the cardigan finished by Thursday night when we meet up, so I'm completely cheating and finishing up two almost finished crochet projects. Can you guess what all this yellow can be?

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Well, ****

I didn't get the little hat to Charley before the election, but the Greens won the seat of Melbourne and that's good enough for me.

Instead of more knitting news I have a somewhat less pleasant announcement: I'll be on a hiatus for a week or  two, possibly longer.

You see earlier this evening I took a bit of my thumb off while slicing potatoes on a mandolin. It's about 1mm away from bleeding and it feels a bit weird. 

Now, you're probably wondering why I also have a bandage on. I mean, it's hardly a bandage-worthy injury, right? Annoying, sure, but a bandage is a bit drama queen, really. Besides, I shouldn't need time off knitting for almost slicing the tip of my thumb, now should I?

I do need the bandage for the massive chunk I took out of my right index finger though. The piece taken off was about 0.5" x 0.25", and bleed like a monkey trucker. In the emergency room I laughingly said to the doctor that I wouldn't be able to knit for a week, and he looked surprised and said "Oh no, probably closer to a month."

A month.

Fetch me a straightjacket, stat. The pain block will wear off soon and if I can't distract myself from the pain with knitting I'll need restraining.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

An election hat for Charley

For anyone lucky enough to have avoided it so far, Australia is in the midst of a federal election.  As happened in 2010 we're having a Seinfeld election.  It's about nothing.  As this blog is about knitting and not politics I'll refrain from ranting.

I went to high school with a very sweet guy named Chris. He's a very talented artist and a dedicated human being, passionate about rights and happiness for everyone,  not just the privileged few. His partner, Cathy, is a Melbourne City Council member and a representative of the Greens here in Victoria.  She is equally awesome. After the Greens election launch last month Chris posted a photo of himself holding his little baby Charley, standing next to Adam Bandt, the federal member for Melbourne. Charley had little green booties on, an automatic "Awwwwww!" moment.

But no hat.

Now, the weather today is phenomenal. Sunny, gorgeous, warm. Saturday, Election Day, however, will be cold and wet.

Charley is out representing the Greens. She needs a Greens hat.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Night Light

The Morris run is happening tomorrow - in between two jobs - so tonight has been all about crochet.

Well, crochet and ABC i-View catch-up. Mock the Week,  QI and Gruen Nation. Lots of laughing, especially at the expense of politicians.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hatching a Hatchling

Dot's Hatchling cardigan is zooming along.

One sleeve is done but I appear to have run out of cotton. I'll get Felix to do a Morris run tomorrow night and grab some more, plus another 8ply for my Welcome wreath.

I think I'll need another mindless knitting project after this weekend.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


How can I resist the siren call of gardening when it's this sunny? Stronger than I must surely break down and cry out "To the weeding!" when such fabulous weather calls.

I dug up a new bed around my massive ferns today. I'll add some trim around the edge and mulch until the ferns beg for respite.  I love my ferns.

I can't grow anything in my raised garden bed  however,  as it's Marcus and Dorothy's favourite play spot in the back yard. I gave up on it the first time Dot sat dead centre in it.

Did I mention that I was planning to knit the matching beret to Dot's new cardigan?

Started last Wednesday and finished it Thursday night, including the adorable pompom.

Love me a pompom.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Two new projects?!

A lovely weekend was had here in our little hovel. On Sunday we all went out to the park at Lilydale Lake and played on all of the play equipment for a few hours, but Marcus' favourite thing to play with was the water fountain.

When we arrived Dot was still asleep so I waited in the car while Felix and Marcus went off to run around like chickens with their heads cut off. On Saturday I realised the true horror that was my knitting: I HAD NO TV KNITTING! Nothing I could sit down and knit mindlessly without any problems. So I cast on a cardigan for Dot (yes, another one) and worked on that while I waited for her to wake up.

The pattern is Hatchling, by Lion Brand, and I'm knitting the size 2-3. Now, Dot's already in a size 3 (she's really tall) so I'm knitting this in 10ply cotton from Morris & Sons. I only have a ball of each colour, so the end result will be feather and fan stripes - yummy!

On Thursday I started crocheting up a wreath for my front door as well, but I've run short of 8ply cotton in Talc (white), again from Morris. This Thursday I'll head back in and grab another ball.

There's new 10ply there. Might have to have a little browse...

Friday, August 23, 2013


It's been a fairly calm week. Lots of Mersyndol to get through the day as my gum/jaw/phantom tooth hurts quite a bit, especially if the wind blows on my face and in Melbourne that's happening a lot. My da's We've picked up the trampoline a few times this week and I'm worried it will end up on top of our neighbor's garage at this rate.

Hiding indoors from winter winds has paid off knitting-wise as we took Dot off to a doctor's appointment on Tuesday in her new cardigan. This was a really easy knit. The pattern is one body piece with raglan sleeves attached and a band with a single button. The pattern is a 4 row repeat and once you're past that it's all sweet sweet stocking stitch.

I was actually knitting this at the movies the other week ("At World's End" - absolutely hysterical), which is another reason I love stocking stitch. It's so easy to do while you're doing something else like watching a movie or talking on the phone, or walking on treadmill. I like combining them all at once.

Miss Dorothy loved her new cardigan, which she wore with her new dress that her Mummy made her as well. She's been too sick to dress is anything other than pj's lately so we dolled her all up for her appointment, making sure we all had some nice woolies on.

I do have the most knitted for family that I know of. I was wearing my West Wing jumper, and Felix was all cozy in his Cobblestone. Dot was all fine, by the way, nothing wrong with her, which relieved us greatly. She's advancing in leaps and bounds, especially in speech. She has her favorite words like "bubble" and "flower" but it's her new favourite that keeps cracking us up.

"Naughty". Everything is naughty. Especially her.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Monday, Monday

Bleurgh. That's how I feel, just bleurgh. It doesn't help that my jaw hurts still, but that I can get over. The colour of the sky? Bleurgh. Two sick kidlets? Bleurgh. The lack of energy to go and make a coffee? Bleurgh.

My weekend of bed rest collapsed around 4pm on Saturday and had me up and at 'em because two sick kids aren't fun. Luckily I had enough time to finish off my Hands of Cerise gloves. 

These were meant to be a project along with Chantal but I got waaay ahead. The pattern is Hands of Blue, but I wanted brighter coloured gloves and these ones match my sneakers. Yes, I can be vacuous, why do you ask?

The pattern is easy to follow and a bit convoluted at the same time. The left and right hand are mirror patterns, you see, so they're both different yet similar. Also I made mine a repeat shorter than the original.

I love twisted knit stitch, it's just

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Mucho meh

Well, I had my tooth pulled out yesterday so I'm feeling very sorry for myself today. It turns out that anesthetic injected into the jaw can make it difficult to open your mouth properly for up to a week. Feel free to make a joke here.

Today's plan is to stay in bed for as long as I can. Lolli is currently hogging the bed keeping me company and Felix is bringing me cups of tea. You're more than welcome to visit.

Bring ice cream. Really good ice cream.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

All for one, mostly for me

Bad luck comes in threes, according to tradition. So far we're up to two.

1. Felix generously shared his illness with me. It's not a cold, more of a bone ache lethargy. He's been home since Monday with it, so I'm a bit worried about how bad I'm going to feel in a few hours.

2. My visit to the dentist yesterday resulted in an ultimatum: root canal or extraction. Unsurprisingly, I'm going with extraction tomorrow. The one word you never want to hear from your dentist? Necrosis. Dr Les and I agreed that it's awful, but very interesting.

I'm fairly nervous about what number three is going to be now. So instead I shall sit on the couch and finish off the arms of Dot's cardigan, followed by the fingers of my Hands of Cerise glove. If I don't move, nothing bad can happen, right?


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Luckier numbers

Back at the end of May I posted my knitting triage list. The plan was to clear out my WIP's to a more manageable number than thirteen.

So, here's my current list:

1. Brick doorstop: I need to add some more embroidery to this to make it the same depth as the bricks. However, I'm currently sick of the sight of this so it's on hold until September 1st. Status: 90%.

2.  Marcus' orange jumper: still waiting on the yarn to finish this... Status: 60%.

3. Marcus' granny square blanket: oops. It's still under my bed. Status: 40%.

4. Egeblad doily: I've been avoiding finishing this for a few weeks. I'm thinking a good hard push on this over the next two weeks. Status:  85%.

5. Dot's aran cardigan: I'm halfway through the sleeves, and then I need to add them to the cardigan and add a HUGE border. This is tv knitting, so no big hurry. Status: 75%.

6. Hands of Cerise: my knit-a-long project with Chantal. I'm almost finished the fingers on the left hand, and Chantal hasn't picked her yarn yet! Really no big hurry! Status: 45%.

Six projects is pretty good, especially as I'll get the last three finished in the next fortnight, easily. So long as the laundry pile doesn't get any bigger. I'd better get on to the housework for the next day or so!

Friday, August 09, 2013

Just because you can...

Oh crochet, is  there no crime too heinous to commit?

A toilet seat cover?  A crime against granny square.  You couldn't make something like this look good...

...yet you keep trying.

The excuse for this is that you can use it to cover up your china plates.


Hell no.

I can't decide what's worse: crocheted harem pants or using a model with an eating disorder (One Teaspoon campaign,  and the model looks healthy in this shot compared to the others).

Catering to the whims of outdoors-y hookers we have a crochet pattern tent. I quite like this.

Knitters,  you can stop feeling too smug.

Knitted house #1.

Knitted house #2. Anyone else surprised at the word "Waldorf" being involved?

Now,  whilst I do mock these works I must add a caveat: if you couldn't make it,  no teasing.   People spend hours making works of art and it's not our place to mock the medium they use.

However I could make these but choose not to, so I'm allowed to be horrible (and I am  I know).

But sometimes it really is like shooting fish in a barrel.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Why knit when you can ABBA?

Chantal and I caught up for our knitting night at Ikea in Richmond. By complete coincidence it was also the Crayfish Party night. Packed to the rafters with people, a grown man dressed in a crayfish costume and two women singing covers of everyone's favourite Swedish band (no, not Roxette).

All you can eat buffet at Ikea, including crayfish?  Heck yeah! I did feel extremely guilty that Felix was missing out.

Especially as the jelly was his favourite colours.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Green with envy

I like to be somewhat prepared,  but two years in advance is a bit far, even for me.

Marcus is swimming in his future cardigan!

Here's a contrast between one of his current jumpers and his future jacket.  It's a bit of a difference,  especially in the shoulders and sleeves.

I liked the pattern - Jet Kids, Book 8012 - due to its' simplicity.  Sometimes you just want something you don't have to overthink (although due attention should be paid to the sizing! ).

The collar is a work of short-row beauty.  It inhaled yarn, but I love how it looks.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Pinch and a punch

I had a goal for the 1st of August: get down to two projects only, Marcus' granny square blanket and his orange jumper. I didn't succeed,  but by gum it was a close'n!

Marcus' too-big jacket is ready to sew up and put aside for next year. Possibly the year after.

Egeblad is currently on row 69 of 87, but each row takes twenty minutes. I might be able to kill it off by the weekend.  I can't wait to pin it out, I love blocking lace.

Being me I don't face August with only two projects.  Chantal and I need a new joint project and while we're waiting for our Blue Moon Fiber order to arrive we started "Hands of Blue" by Lucy Hague. I'm renaming mine "Hands of Cerise" and I'm using ancient Villawool that came in my gift box from my awesome m-i-l.

Then I found some 50/50 wool/acrylic in the box and started up a cardigan for Dot.  The first aid box is due to two snotty kidlets,  poor things.

Secretly, I really feel it's "Poor Mummy"...

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Knitting BFF

- A KBFF orders the perfect yarn for a joint project and won't let you pay for it.

- A KBFF understands the need to stay up until 1am to "just finish this section", and generally encourages such madness.

- A KBFF will text you from the wool shop saying "They have quiviut, get in here!", then try to hide the colours you like from other customers.

- A KBFF thinks thirteen unfinished projects is normal and nothing compared to her list.

- A KBFF has seen your Ravelry queue and thinks you're mad. Except for every project on page 3. They're all pretty doable.

- A KBFF knows there will never be enough 4mm needles, even though you own 23 4mm double points.  Including the horrible-tasting casein ones.

My BFF cowl. Sundara Yarn Aran Silky Merino. Purple bobbles by Chantal, green seedpod by me. Best. Idea. EVER.