Thursday, August 31, 2006

A finished object

Well, the scarf is finished, blocked and wrapped all ready for tomorrow. In answer to Badger's question 'How do you manage to knit so much?' - easy, I set myself ridiculous birthday deadlines and then have to go mad to meet them :-) The only birthday deadline I have now is the second of a pair of socks to be finished by Sept 15th - that should be okay. Of course there's always Christmas...

This scarf, as you may remember, started out as a sock. After knitting about half the foot I realised the colours were just going to keep on pooling yukkily so I frogged it and decided to do a scarf. Simple rib was the pattern of choice which is nice and soft in the fuzzy alpaca. I was knitting away happily (this was sometime last week) and had done about 10 inches when disaster struck again :-/

While browsing Anni's blog I saw these gorgeous scarves and thought 'Wouldn't this alpaca look much nicer in a scarf like that!' So I frogged again and started afresh. I am very happy with the pattern and would have been disappointed for ever with the boring rib but it did make for a pretty tight timeline!

Here 'tis:

I used the trellis lace pattern which I also saw on Anni's site but changed it to garter stitch for speed. It was very easy and is beautifully soft. The scarf is a birthday present for a dear friend who lives in the country not far from Melbourne. I will be visiting for a long catch-up this weekend, and a few tears I expect as she is quite ill and there's just a chance I may not see her again. I hope she likes her cuddly alpaca.

Ciao :-)


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Quite productive

Well, I didn't get through the whole list (surprise surprise) but I did get quite a bit done and had a good day.

I finished the alpaca scarf first, it's still blocking but here's a taste of what's to come ...

I decided my birthday flowers deserved photographing...

And after much swatching and pondering I started my Lorna's Laces socks. The colour is Ravenswood and the pattern is Harebell lace from SKS.

I also did most of my marking - down at a local cafe so it was not really a chore :-) went to the doctor to get medical forms signed for my London agency, walked my friend's dog, and put in a few inches on the Jaywalker socks.

I bought the Summer Interweave Knits finally, there are quite a few patterns I'd like to make, particularly the chemise on p108 which I'd like to adapt as a maternity top (yes, thinking ahead). I found the article about designing for film really intriguing, I'd never considered where the clothes might come from.

Well, I'm off to squeeze in another half hour or so of knitting before bed.

Ciao :-)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A day off

I have taken today off to rest and recover. Work is getting a bit bleh as term wears on and our weekends are so full at the moment that I never seem to have rested. According to my doctor I am fully recovered from last term's dramas* but I still don't feel I have quite as much energy as I used to.

So, what to do?? :-D

a) Marking? Yes, I brought some (a lot) home with me, about 2 hours' work. I need to make sure that everything's ship shape for the replacement teacher taking over my class and there's only 2 1/2 weeks of school left (!)
b) Spin another bobbin for socks from scratch? That will be about 2 1/2 hours, maybe I'll do half.
c) Work on the stash-eating cardi? Haven't picked it up for ages due to birthday present knitting.
d) Finish and block the birthday scarf which is to be handed over on Friday?
e) Start my LL socks?
f) Finish my Jaywalker socks?
g) All of the above?

Well it's still early, a lot can be achieved when you have a whole day!

Pics and progress report tonight :-)


*For those of you who are new friends - I had tonsillitis, a secondary infection, an abcess and then a hospital stay and surgery which is how I got hooked on cyberknitting - long days at home with not much to do :-)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Monday Musings

This weekend marks the end of the AFL season (well at least for Carlton who don't have to attend the finals as a reward for being on the BOTTOM of the ladder) and it has been a particularly gruesome one. News reports like this and this have abounded all season and lucky is the team which has not accrued a hefty sheaf of medical bills or tribunal appearances.

Closer to home, police cars were called to a local under-17 footy final last weekend as parents and team officials poured onto the field to 'protect' their darling children who were laying in with fists and feet.

Even closer, one of my own grade four students kicked another student in the goolies on Thursday because he 'got angry' during a lunchtime soccer match. He got the primary school equivalent of a red card - two lunchtime detentions. (It's fair to say though, the other kid was being a git.)

With increasing concerns about childhood obesity and low exercise levels (not to mention hosting the Commonwealth games this year), we are continuing to place more and more emphasis on fitness and sport. Higher! Harder! Faster! is the warcry and children's sport is at times beginning to resemble a warzone. We can hardly be surprised at this outcome when they are regularly exposed to questionable behaviour and unsafe play on the part of professional sportsmen.

The question is, do we want to encourage our children to participate in recreation which could get them seriously hurt or in trouble as competition becomes stronger and (some) parents become increasingly insane in their desire to see their child win. What is the balance between too fat and too injured?

I would like to see a shift towards more family-centred exercise. A bike ride on the weekend, a backyard cricket match or totem tennis on the lawn. Active kids are happy kids but we don't want to activate their angry side.

Ciao, Diane

Last week's Monday Musings


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Antique Rose Socks

50g of Live 2 Knit Elizabeth yarn

7 stitches, 9 rows = 1 inch in stocking stitch

Using waste yarn and crochet cast on, cast on 24 st.
Row 1: P all sts.
Row 2: K23, turn work.
Row 3: Yo, p22, turn work.
Row 4: Yo, k21, turn work.
Continue in this manner until: Yo, p10, turn work
Next row:Yo, k9, untwist next st (yo from previous row), k2tog (yo has been knit tog with next st on needle), turn work.
Next row:Yo, p10, sl next 2 sts knitwise, one at a time, to right needle, sl these sts back to left needle and p2tog tbl, turn work.
Next row:Yo, k11, untwist next 2 sts, k3tog, turn work.
Next row:Yo, p12, sl next 3 sts knitwise, one at a time, to right needle, sl these sts back to left needle and p3tog tbl, turn work.
Work as for previous two rows, working each row 1 st longer than the last.Until: Yo, k22, untwist next 2 sts, k3tog.
Remove crochet chain from CO and place resulting 23 live sts on needle, k these sts, m1.
Next row: k3tog (last 2 yo), knit to end of round, 48 st.

Commence pattern
There are two repeats of the lace pattern on the top of the foot, the sole is knitted in stocking stitch.
Row 1-3: knit
Row 4: *(k2tog) twice, (yo, k1) four times, (ssk) twice* rpt once for top of foot. For sole of foot k24.
Repeat these four rows until foot is two inches less than length of foot sole.

Working only on the 24 stitches of the sole of the sock, shape heel using short rows as for toe beginning at row 2.

Continue working 12 sts of pattern over 48st of round for a further 4 pattern rpts (16 rows) Next row: knit around

Picot edging
Cast off 2 sts purl-wise. *Slip remaining stitch back onto left needle, cast on 1 st , cast off 3 stitches purl-wise, repeat from * to end of round. Darn in ends.

Labels: ,

Friday, August 25, 2006

Best Swap Pal Ever !!!!!!!

I've been coming home early from work every night this week just in case my birthday package had come and I had to dash off to the post office :-) Today my diligence was rewarded by the little red and white 'please collect' card waiting for me.

I waved to the cat 'sorry, your dinner has to wait' and hopped back in the car. 'Thanks and bye!' to the nice man in the post office, and try to drive home safely when all I want to do is tear open the box with one hand while steering with the other. Thankfully I managed to restrain myself.

"Could this possibly be a big box full of fish for me?"

And inside ... tantalising fluffy tissue wrapping

A gorgeous card and lots of packages to open carefully

And (drum roll please) loot exposed!

Darling, thoughtful Amanda had sent me an email asking for some more ideas and I tried to keep it broad so I would still be surprised. I think she included just about everything on the list!!

Clockwise from left: Douceur et Soie (soooo soft); scented candles; pop-up kitchen birthday card; Lorna's Laces SS in Ravenswood; Sensational Knitted Socks (has been on my wish-list for ages!); Gardners chocolate and peanut butter bites which I'm dying to try; a beautiful bead necklace (did she make it herself? I think so); and, in response to my 'could you please pop in some kool-aid as we can't get it here' 36 packets!! I need to do some serious dyeing to use it all up :-D

I am definitely the most spoilt girl in the whole swap list THANK YOU AMANDA!!!!

Need to go now so I can play with all my presents :-)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Two Packages!!!!!!

One in the mailbox and one I had to dash to the post office for before they shut. Imagine if I'd decided to stay late at work *gasps in horror*

My bookmark exchange parcel was here waiting for me - thanks so much Juli!
It contained two crimis by authors new to me, a lovely purple heart bookmark and orange tea which I'm drinking now yum!

The package at the post office was from Angel Yarns. Not only did they manage to get my order halfway around the world in only three working days, but they also included a surprise birthday present - thanks so much guys, how did you know I needed 2.5mm needles?!?! Can't wait to try out my new Addis, must go knit!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Monday Musings

This one's dedicated to my mum.

As our departure date draws nearer I am beginning to realise that the absolute worst thing about moving to England won't be the harsh winter, it won't be not having the luxury of a car for a year, it won't be the lack of proper Cadbury chocolate (the English version is bleh).

The absolute worst thing is going to be the separation from my mum.

Mum and I don't always get along perfectly (I'd like to hear of a mother/daughter pair that does!) but we have so much in common and the invisible ties between us are so strong that the distance is going to be very hard to bear. Not only similar in features, mum and I are constantly teased for our uncanny likenesses in mannerisms, tastes in books, food, colours and hobbies. mum taught me every craft imaginable from a young age and these skills are treasured now I am an adult. She also instilled in me a love of books and education. She will tell you that I taught myself everything by watching - but no one can learn by watching if they do not have such a wonderful example to follow.

Our mothers are so important to us in our development and the shaping of our lives and personalities. You only have to look at the number of books, poems, cards and fridge magnets dedicated to mothers and on sale in any gift shop to know that mothers are special to all of us. Last week a colleague of mine received news that her mother had been diagnosed with cancer. It completely broke her up and I realised that I would be the same. I can’t imagine life without my mum, no one to ask for help with knitting/dyeing/spinning/recipes/gardening, no one to compare numbers of ‘proper’ books read from various lists, no one to ring to hear unlimited and totally biased praise of my work.

As I draw nearer to experiencing motherhood myself I look back on my life as a daughter and hope that I can bestow such a wonderful gift on my children as I have received.

Please pop over to my mum’s blog and say hi, she deserves it!

Last week's Monday Musings


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Ohh my Head :-/

Last night rocked and we stayed up until about 2:30 playing Scrabble of all things :-) Of course I'm paying for it today but I figure now I'm properly grown up (practically middle-aged!) I can do whatever I want hehe.

Piglottie said make sure I get spoilt - well here's a small portion of the haul...

My much-desired swifty, beautifully made by my very own handy-dad.
And in action...

My new baby :-D (with his own jumper to keep him warm in London)

Definite "you're off to London" theme in a lot of the gifts...

There was lots more including a beautiful journal from my best friend, two sets of toasty pyjamas (also for London!) Chambord liqueuer, 2 lovely hand-knitted scarves from my stepmother, a Borders voucher which I'm hoping to turn into Knitting on the Edge, and other fantastic stuff.

I had an awesome day and don't feel old at all :-)


P.S. Still no wrinkles

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!

Did the wrinkle check first thing, nothing yet (whew!)

Have been playing with my new ipod all day - had some probs getting it going, partly in settings and partly bits I'd messed up when dumping music files onto my new laptop. I had an emergency msn session with Daniel in London just before he went to bed and it's all sweet :-)

So far I have also received some notecards (from two different people - some hinting going on I think), wine and earrings and got my Twisted Sister book back from mum. She bought it for me at the Sheep and Wool Show and then said I couldn't have it until today! I also ordered myself some birthday presents from Angel Yarns, if I had any brains I would have done it a week ago so I didn't have to wait :-D

In an ideal world no one would have to do housework on their birthday, but it's Saturday and therefore all the Saturday jobs have to be done. I'll keep it to a bare minimum though and then we might go out and find some nice coffee and cake to keep us sustained until the big party tonight ;-)

Ciao, Diane

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

WIP Update

Nothing is getting finished so I'm afraid it's photos of things unfinished today!

Progress report:

Alpaca socks - 1st toe done for the second time but may have to frog it again as I thought I was using 3mm needles and they're 2.75mm grr.

Baby cardi - just putting the sleeves on holders (I'm sure it's this one that's making my finger sore)

Opal socks - one done, the other due for a gift on Sept 15th

Diamond Lace Scarf - inching along

Socks From Scratch - haven't been spinning this week, so I'm still at 50g plied

Neil's Scarf - hmmm not moving (black's very hard to see at night)

Silk Wristwarmers - don't ask

Crocheted Baby Blanket - grr I HATE sewing up, have finished three rows of eight squares.

Pop over and check out my mum's new blog Apple Garden Threads, I've got her hooked now too :-D


Monday, August 14, 2006

Monday Musings

I was going to write about terrorism today. It is the buzz of the moment - on everyone's lips and still warranting a double page spread in the daily paper. But I decided not to add my voice. I'd rather think about something a bit more positive - especially after a foul afternoon doing battle with my assistant principal.

So, today's topic is letters. The old-fashioned pen and paper kind. After a miserable drive home with emotions teetering between wild tears and furious anger, I found a letter from my French pen pal waiting for me and suddenly the sun was shining again.

There's some special quality about a real live letter that doesn't emerge in an email or text message. Something about it that makes my heart jump when I check the mail and one is there. Perhaps it's the foreign stamps invoking a sense of the glamour of world travel. Maybe the happy realisation that something in the mailbox is not a bill, or the special note-paper that my pen pals always take the time to choose.

As a means of keeping in touch and up to date, email is efficient and effective. But it lacks the touch and warmth of a piece of writing which has been sent directly from the hand of someone who cares about you. A real letter can surprise you with enclosures: stickers, treats, photos which can go straight on the mantelpiece rather than entering the print queue. A real letter can be imagined to retain some of the lingering perfume of its country of origin.

I hope that snail-mail post endures through our age of elite technology. Rather than always grasping for the immediate response, the fast news, the instant answer, we can slow down a little and benefit from the joy of anticipation and the reception of a real letter.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

First knitting injury?

I have a sore finger :-( I don't remember bumping it or twisting it - the only thing I can think of is that it was caused by yesterday's knitting. I started a stash-eating baby cardigan and have knitted about half the yoke. I have knitted this pattern before, but in different yarn, I have used this yarn for a lot of things, and I am using the same sized needles as usual. So why am I in pain??!! I'm hoping that having mostly recovered (after an evening of no knitting uuggh) I just have to get past the patterning in the yoke and the rest will be fine.

On a cheerier note, check out the great scarf my mum made for SIL's birthday! I'm not a huge fan (read 'can't stand it') of knitting entrelac so I really admire the work that has gone into this scarf and love the finished product. The yarn is tencel and feels beautifully cosy. (P.S. fringing still to be completed.)

Wormwood likes it too :-)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Pretty as a peacock

Here they are finally finished. After deciding I had oodles of time to knit these socks before the due date I put them away and knitted something else instead. Then (of course) I realised that I still had lots of sock to go and only a few days so I have been knitting these exclusively for a while. I like the way they turned out :-)

Basic toe-up pattern in 'peacock' colourway from Live 2 Knit. Difficult to see in this pic but there is a diamond pattern created simply by placement of purl stitches.

And all ready for the party tonight. Hope she likes them!


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Two blogs are better than one.

Decided to split the craft and travel blogs, now there are two :-)

Check out our new travel blog: Mulholland Wanderings (actually there's not much there yet, you might want to just bookmark it for later)

And people (not mentioning any names older brother!) who don't want to trawl through all the knitting will still be able to catch up on what we're doing overseas!

Ciao, Diane

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

"Very Selective Book Meme"

Lifted (with thanks) from Tea Reads

1. One book that changed your life:
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - it was so beautifully crafted, I ran around recommending it to everyone.

2. One book that you've read more than once:
Most of my books! I have some I've read a dozen times but one that comes to mind is A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island:
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Is that cheating ;-)

4. One book that made you laugh:
Anything and everything by Terry Pratchett. He has an amazing gift for grown-up comedy.

5. One book that made you cry:
My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult. It changed the way I think about personal rights, family values and our medical choices.

6. One book you wish you had written:
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr Seuss. and not just because I'd be a millionnaire if I had. I love this book!

7. One book you wish had never been written:
I can't remember the title but it was a crimi set in London. The plot went along happily and the bad guys got caught in the end - then the detective's pregnant wife got murdered. There was no reason for it and the sub-plot-line wasn't even followed up. It was just cheap sob and it made me furious.

8. One book you're currently reading:
Portrait of a Lady by Henry James (Yes still! Every time I pick it up again I have to read the previous two chapters so I can remember where I was up to)

9. One book you've been meaning to read:
There are so many! I keep making lists and piles. In my pile at the moment are: Sugar and other Stories, A.S. Byatt; Coastliners, Joanne Harris; Snow Crash, Neil Stevenson; The Ebony Tower, John Fowles; Villette, Charlotte Bronte; and just a few more...

What about you?!

Ciao :-)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

We are the Navy Blues....

YAY we can still do it!

For a whole 24 hours we are off the bottom of the ladder and if Essendon loses tomorrow then they will be stuck back on the bottom woohoo!

It's still anyone's wooden spoon though :-D


P.S. If you have no idea what I'm talking about look here

Friday, August 04, 2006

A Patriotic(?) Purchase

Last night I delved deep and splashed out on a very special purchase: Two bananas. Two. They cost me $2.25 each. The humble banana has been raised to treat status here in Australia due to freak summer hurricanes earlier this year destroying a large percentage of Queensland's banana crops. It is possible, if you drive 100km and wear dark clothes in a back alley, to get bananas for as little as $12 per kilo, however at my local friendly fruit shop I had to settle for $14.90. (Is that expensive? you non-aussies ask, Well I think apples are still about $3 p/kilo if that helps).

This golden purchase, however has a deeper significance. Apart from my glowing pride that I walked past a lot of chocolate on the way to the fruit shop, the buying of bananas has taken on important economic significance. The Reserve Bank this week announced an interest rate rise, and warned that another could be expected before the end of the year. The Economy is crumbling and what is to blame? BANANAS. Yup, straight from Johnny's lips.

Now here's my question (as I don't claim to know anything about economics): When I buy extortionately over-priced bananas am I harming the economy or helping it. Obviously I want to do the best I can for my country *stands with back straight and hand over heart*.

Here's a pic of my coveted second banana:

Not much to report

I didn't feel I had done enough this last few days to bother posting, but after a nudge from mum I had a think about it and realised that I have...

*Completed the first 5-6 inches of a new lace project using the pink kid mohair I bought at the show (it is divine to knit with and I adore the colour)

*Made a good start on the second of SIL's birthday socks due next Friday

Okay, that's actually not that much, no wonder I hadn't bothered to post :-) I don't know what happened to the last few evenings, I did spend quite a lot of Wednesday swatching and fiddling with the mohair until I settled into the pattern, but otherwise I think a gremlin must have come along and run off with all my knitting time.

I had to give up on Branching Out in the end, it was driving me insane having to count such a wide lace chart - I like my lace in repeats of no more than about 12 stitches or rows. I have changed to a simple diamond pattern and it's coming out nicely on 5mm needles. I'm wondering how the kid mohair is going to block though, it seems very slippery and sproingy (technical term). Has anyone else used it before? Will it behave or will I have a scrunchy scarf?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Helloooo, brain?

Last night I finished both the socks I had on the needles so I was all set to start a new one today. I carefully packed my sock bag with: ball of yarn, first sock to make sure it matched, waste yarn, crochet hook for cast on. Notice anything MISSING?!?? Yup, forgot to take knitting needles :-/

Needless (hahaha ROFLOL funny pun) to say, I didn't do any knitting at lunchtime today.

Ciao :-)