Sunday, December 31, 2006

Wrapping Up

Well, the year draws to a close. I am sitting at home in peace and quiet having waved a fond farewell to all those who want to go out and battle the crowds and smoke, buy overpriced drinks and come home too late to be able to get up at a decent hour tomorrow and actually enjoy a day off :-D (they may laugh at me but I know I'm better off...)

This has been an eventful year. I spent time discovering new horizons of illness involving much painkillers and surgery; re-discovered knitting; moved to the other side of the world; suffered a career change. No kids yet and looks like we've put them off for a year or so 'cause no way I'm having them in London and we love it here.

Please note the much reduced WIPs list (applause welcome). I have to admit though - it did involve a bit of frogging. The Legolas socks are gone for good - they may become another pair of Fetching as the weather continues to freeze poor Aussie fingers, The silk lace hasn't disappeared but I'm not happy with the pattern so am starting again, and taking the opportunity to go up a needle size so I can use the Knit Picks with their loooong cables when it gets to too many stitches.

The yet-more-socks, otherwise known as the too-smalls, otherwise known as how-many-times-can-you-mess-up-one-sock? have been partially frogged twice more this weekend but I managed to finish one and start the second. Good thing I love the yarn or they would have been ditched long ago.

The Little Red Sweater is finished - I found buttons today and whipped up some baby mitts with the leftovers (did I mention that worsted is really fast) This one's coming your way dear Amanda :-D for that gorgeous little girl!

The rest is there to stay I'm afraid.

I believe this is customary:

New Year's Resolutions

1. Keep the WIPs list under control
3. Use less plastic
4. Drink less (yeah right)
5. Write to pen-friends every month
6. Eat more vegetables
7. Reach for literature rather than detective novels more often (What did I buy today? four Agatha Christies *blush*)

Happy New Year Everybody!

Love Diane xx

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Santa has visited :-)

Santa Claus came early to my house this year, although he wasn't expected. Last Friday a mystery box arrived - open up ...

My new spinning wheel, a week early! All unpacked and assembled it looked like this:

I didn't get much chance to spin on the weekend as I was working, but Monday was a day off and in the afternoon I set to to spin up the hand-dyed rovings I bought from my friend Claire ages ago. She had very thoughtfully dyed them in even colour repeats so I simply split each section and spun them one after another in order. Looking at the colours reminds me of why I said "I'll have those!" as soon as she had posted the picture.

After a quick navaho ply last night, and an evening on the needles, I have one Fetching :-) way to go Joy!

This is one awesome Christmas present. Thanks very much to hubby Neil, and Michelle and Nathalie from work who all put in for the purchase.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006


I have been reading this meme with some interest - should have known it would hit me eventually :-)

Five weird things, hmmm......

1. I prefer vegetables to dessert and would rather have a second entree than a piece of fudge-cake
2. I use matching coloured pegs to hang socks in pairs on the clothesline
3. I'm under 50 and I knit (well all my friends and relations seem to think that's weird)
4. I have a tiny handbag and keep it regularly cleared of any junk
5. I have absolutely no problem with spiders and bugs and am happy to catch them when my squeamish hubby won't

This was harder than I thought it would be ...

I hereby tag: CarrieK, Kay, Amanda, Mum and Michelle :-D

Have fun guys!

Start with your ‘5 weird things about you.’
People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 5 weird things as well as state this rule clearly.
Then, choose 5 people to be tagged and list their names.
Don’t forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged’ in their comments and tell them to read your blog!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Monday Musings

A Barrel 'o Fun with Entrelac

Well, the challenge has come to an end. Congratulations to all those who took the plunge - as I discovered, three weeks is actually a pretty short time to squeeze in some new learning along with all the Christmas knitting, shopping and wine-guzzling :-)

I did manage to knit my (very) small sample of entrelac though, applause please!

Thoughts on entrelac:
- It definitely looks better in self-patterning yarn, though I found I needed longer colour repeats than this yarn gave me (LL sock in 'child's play').
- I found the instructions a little confusing, but I think that was the fault of the instructions rather than entrelac per se. For a start they didn't include abbreviations and there were terms I had not come across so I had to guess. They were also a big fan of the 'repeat for remainder of rectangles' when actually the instructions didn't quite carry.
- I have become quite proficient at knitting backwards. NO way was I going to turn around for all those little rows (eew!) Do you turn? Or knit backwards? I generally knit backwards on edgings too if they are not too wide.
- Having sworn never to do entrelac, and broken that vow for the challenge, and sworn I would never do it again, I can't let it go. I am not at all happy with this swatch, the squares are wonky and for some reason there is a multiple of five at the end instead of six (yes that's what the pattern said but they didn't explain why). I can't leave it there so one day I will pick it up, find some better instructions (perhaps a la mum) and get it sorted before finally laying entrelac to rest.

So, the challenge.

Seven people took up the challenge with lace being a bit of a theme!

Hannah was the first to check in with her sample which you can admire here, she is making the lace scarf from the DB silk book.

Heather was going to try some lace but has been fighting bushfires for the past three weeks so I will let her off.

Michelle, Cazzie, Bronte, Cherie and Jacqui are still to check in - can't wait to see what you made!

Stay tuned for the next challenge, and remember, there's no such thing as "I could never...."

Ciao! Diane

Last week's Monday Musings


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Super Cosy Beanie

This hat is thick and warm. Just the thing for the snow or, as I discovered, for keeping the ears warm at the top of Butte de Lion on a cold winter’s day at Waterloo. Use a soft, chunky yarn and knit it up before the cold catches you!
Yarn requirements: 1 skein Malabrigo (215yd/100g) or Manos Del Uraguay (130yd/100g) worsted weight yarn.
Gauge: 14st/4” in rib, 5 - 5.5mm needles
Size: to fit small-medium women’s head.
Cable stitch: C6F – slip 3 stitches to cable needle and hold in front, knit next 3 stitches, knit 3 stitches from cable needle; C4F - slip 2 stitches to cable needle and hold in front, knit next 2 stitches, knit 2 stitches from cable needle

Cast on 84 stitches.
Ribbing: k2, p2 each round for 6 rounds.

Begin patt
R 1 and all odd rounds: *k6, p1, k1, p1, k1, p2, rept from * to end of round
R 2: *k6, p2, k1, p1, k1, p1, rept from * to end of round
R 4: *C6F, p2, k1, p1, k1, p1, rept from * to end of round
R 6 and 8: as for R 2.
Repeat these 8 rounds until hat measures approx 5”, finishing with R 3.

R 4: *C6F, p2, k1, p1, p2tog, rept from * to end of round (77 sts)
R 5: *k6, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, rept from * to end of round
R 6: *k6, p2, k1, p2tog, rept from * to end of round (70 sts)
R 7: *k6, p1, k1, p2, rept from * to end of round
R 8: *k3, k2tog, k1, p2, k1, p1, rept from * to end of round (63 sts)
R 9: *k5, p1, k1, p2, rept from * to end of round
R 10: *k2, k2tog, k1, p2, k1, p1, rept from * to end of round (56 sts)
R 11: *k4, p1, k1, p2, rept from * to end of round
R 12: *C4F, p2, p2tog, rept from * to end of round (49 sts)
R 13: *k4, p1, k1, p1, rept from * to end of round
R 14: *k4, p1, p2tog rept from * to end of round (42 sts)
R 15: *k4, p2, rept from * to end of round
R 16: *k4, p2tog, rept from * to end of round (35 sts)
R 17: *k4, p1, rept from * to end of round
NB: To achieve neat decrease pattern on last few rounds, end of round will shift each time.
R 18: k4, k2tog, *k3, k2tog, rept from * to end of round (28 sts)
R 19: k
R 20: k3, k2tog, *k2, k2tog, rept from * to end of round (21 sts)
R 21: k2, k2tog, *k1, k2tog, rept from * to end of round (14 sts)
R 22: k1, then k2tog around (7 sts)
Break yarn and draw end through remaining stitches. Darn in ends.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Finished my swatch :-)

Now that I have finally tried ............ (have you guessed yet??) I can cross it off the list and never have to do it again (whoohoo!) I knew there was a reason I had turned up my nose at this technique before *turns nose higher into air*

Don't forget, there's a prize for the first person to figure out what my personal challenge was - no big blatant clues but I will say that it's something my mum has been egging me on to try for ages ;-)

Here's the prize (not all of it I'm afraid):

Look away from the green before you get too attached to it. The prize is one skein of the purply laceweight - in pure kid mohair. I only needed one skein for my scarf but had bought the second just in case I ran out.

Post your guesses in comments - another clue tomorrow if no-one's got it by then (although I will probably think you're all not trying hard enough, heheh)

Ciao, Diane :-)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Something New

There is a bit of a theme going here at the moment on trying new things. Last week, out of the blue, I had a pretty original 'something new' experience. Mum - you should have been there!

A girl rang the shop, it turned out she was a design student. It was a fairly long and involved conversation so I will summarise thus:

Did we sell spindles? - yes
Did I think you could use a spindle to spin steel wool? - hmmm maybe...
If she came in could I show her? - hell, why not!

She came along the following day with her rolls of steel wool and we had a play. Yes, we actually managed to create yarn :-) although it was a bit hard on the fingers. After 15mins or so I had her spindling steel wool - not the optimum medium for learning to spin but what the hey, maybe she'll love it and try merino some time. BTW, her goal was to knit some sort of polishing mitts with the steel yarn on the palms.

We took lots of pics but they're still in Michelle's camera. I'll update the post when I have them.

Have you signed up for the challenge? There's 6 days to go! Don't forget to email me a picture of your swatch etc. so we can tell the world what you've achieved :-)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Once upon a time ...

... there were three skeins of the most beautiful red yarn, lying quietly on a shelf in the store. Patiently they waited for a customer to come along with just the right pattern, until finally they got their wish, and were carried home, eager and excited about their new home and new beginning.

The little sweater grew rapidly. It was, after all only a very little sweater and the yarn was worsted weight. The bright red balls rolled and bounced merrily in the knitting basket as the yarn was wound off and shaped into back, front and sleeves. All too soon the knitting was done. It was time for seaming to begin.

With more red yarn threaded on the needle, the mattress stitch seams zipped up flawlessly until…disaster struck.

Was it a mistake in the pattern? An error in gauge? Maybe sleeves aren’t really supposed to fit armholes and seams should pucker. And look yucky.

The beautiful red yarn, only half a sweater, was pushed back into the knitting bag and left alone. What fate awaited it? Was it never to be worn? Never to be cherished and loved by a little person in a favourite red sweater?

To be continued…


Sigh. At this point I’m thinking: unpick all the seams and frog and re-knit the sleeves. Luckily it’s only a very little sweater. And worsted weight ;-)