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Sunday, December 31, 2006

the '06 FO gallery

I started the blog to motivate me, and to keep track of my achievements - seeing as it is the end of the year it is a good time to check out what I have accomplished...

My first socks - done the traditional 'heel flap' way, way back in Febuary/March were enough to keep me entertained while I was stuck on a military base in the outer suburbs of Melbourne during the Commonwealth Games, but not enough to give me the "sock-bug"

Pierre's dog mat - my first ever woven project on my loom

Josephine - the blanket you can wear

The Jet lace panel sweater - no doubt my favourite piece of clothing, I have been wearing it everyday here in Geelong during this questionable summer weather

The Mermaid Jacket - sat around for nearly a year before completion

The Sock of Doom - not actually a completed pair (well, not by me anyway) but my first participation in an inter-web exchange.

The ISE scarf that went for a trip overseas.

Dog rug #2 - now making a happy home in Melbourne

The Grizzly - an adventure in sewing madness

Tuffer's Jaywalkers

Yarn - I figured out how to use my spinning wheel

A present for a friend's baby

Dad's "sockings"

Tuffer's xmas socks #1
Tuffer's xmas socks #2

And, as mentioned in the previous post, I have completed the Super-funkified-reversible-double-knit-weasley-sweater aka Dilby's xmas present.

There are a couple of other items that I completed before I started blogging, but I don't have pictures so won't include them here.

I plan to be knitting in the New Year, so hopefully Tuffers Xmas socks #3 will be finished before the clock strikes 12 adding another FO to the count Posted by Picasa

proof somebody reads this blog...

Remember when I posted about calendars?

Well, it turns out that Lucy-lou was paying attention because when we did out mini-(early)-xmas when I was in Canberra last week, I got to open this:-

L-L mentioned that she would love to hang this calendar in her house, but it has a couple of naughty words in it not suitable for Dilby... or perhaps Grandmothers ;)

It turns out that while I live a little vicariously at her house with her doing the 'mum' thing, she lives a little vicariuosly at my house doing the no-kids thing.

My Mum, an avid cross-stitcher thought this was a hoot...

Oh yeah, and my (little/younger) big tough brother likes the calendar too. I may have to buy my Mum the books so she can make a "boo f@$!#ing hoo" sampler for him to hang just inside his front door (when you're a 21 yo male with a chip on your shoulder I believe you can get away with such cheek ;)

And while I am following up on previous posts -

The charts from Vogue knitting arrived a few weeks ago, silly me didn't blog it though.

Looking at these charts I am certain that if they shrunk down the front panel chart and had a creative lay-out editor they could have fit both charts on one A4 page in the mag. But then, I guess they might have cut out the cool article on knitting in the Potter-verse..

And speaking of Harry Potter, I finished the super-funkified-reversible-double-knit-weasley-sweater aka Dilby's xmas present this morning. No FO pics just yet (I am waiting to 'un-veil' it when I get back up to L-L's later this week), but in the background of this WIP shot of Brenda's socks you can see the garish orange flair that is the sweater under flash photography.

Yes, I finished the heel on Brenda's socks today too (it was a productive morning). My cables-sans-cable-needle are improving quite a bit, and I may even have the technique down pat by the time I finish the second sock :)

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 30, 2006

kniterature review - Knit 2 Together

As promised, here is the kniterature review of Tracy Ullman and Mel Clarks joint ventre.

Although I did rant about about knitting books with 'learn to knit' (hereafter referred to as LTK) sections, this one slipped through because that horrid section is way up the back of the book. I would have preferred an extra pattern or two, but I settled for not having the idiot section right in my face at the first page.
The book contains a couple of short knitting anecdotes throughout, but is really much more of a pattern book.

Most of the patterns are delightful - I especially like the Ponsonby Suit (shown left) which uses a technique called "binding stitches" which I had not heard of before. The jacket is definately on the to-do list, and once I see how the fabric looks I will decide about the skirt. (I am extremely dubious about knitted skirts, I am convinced they will all stretch out of shape!).
This herringbone doctor's bag has also been a favourite from everyone I have shown the book too.

I really like this book because, even though it has the horrid LTK section, it does not assume that you are beginner and the patterns are not all 'easy' nor 'quick'. There is a gorgeous stranded colour work vest, and a loverly lace shrug that would stretch a beginners skills.

However, like all publications, not everything appeals to me.

This apron (shown left) knitted in a kid mohair blend boggles the mind, as do knitted photo frames, knitted ties, and the patterns for knitted pants (Not only do I fear these stretching out of shape, I also have nightmares about crotches dragging below my knees), but some of the quirky patterns appeal to me (such as the toe-less novella socks) so I would assume that someone somewhere will appreciate the kitsch in these items.

I would much recommend this book if you are looking for something a little different. I like to think of myself as somewhat an artisan, and I like it, whilst my sister thinks herself more of a beginner, and after browsing mine is planning to purchase her own copy of the book (rather than just steal the pattern or two she likes out of mine!) Posted by Picasa

a special xmas present...

Sometimes it can be difficult for girls and their Dad's to communicate - I know this, because when I was 16, I spent a year in Portland, Oregon as an exchange student and the longest converstation I had with my Dad went something like this:-

Ring, Ring (That's the telephone incase you don't get it!)
Dad: Hello?
Me: Hi Dad, how are you?
Dad: Good, I'll just get your Mother... (pause)
Mum: Hi honey!

Fortunately, this is something that we both have been working really hard at fixing in the past 9 years or so. When I first got my licence, my Dad worked on an old Peugeot 504 for me to drive around (this car affectionately known as The Bomber). When I came home from college on the weekends if Iwanted to talk to Dad I would start by asking him anything about this car. This was the first of many 'special' topics my Dad and I now talk about.

When I started my blog, my Dad took great interest in it - infact, I think he is my most loyal fan :) When I call home now, it doesn't matter if Mum is home or not, because Dad and I have plenty to talk about because he knows what is going on in my life.

Sometimes, like when I got my Singer, I call home specifically to tell Dad about it. Because my Dad has an interest in antique machinery, and I luff my singer, this very quickly became one of those 'special' topics for me and Dad, as evidenced by this post.

So when I opened up a present from my Parents on xmas day, I knew my Dad had a bit of input into it...

See - just like my Singer, with one small difference
As you can see - I included Pierre for scale. This is actually a cute little box of sewing accessories that my Dad found in Spotlight a couple of months ago. Apparently he didn't buy it right away because he wasn't sure I would like it, but after he showed Mum it was a big goer!

And he luffed my reaction on xmas day when I opened it.... How funky is it! When I get back to Sydney I'll take a pic of it next to my big Singer. Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 29, 2006

Totem, Totem, wherefore art thou Totem...?

It is official - next to nobody stocks Paton's Totem anymore.

I am still working on Dilby's xmas sweater, and RAN OUT OF BLUE YARN!

I needed, maybe, half a ball to finish... and at first, I couldn't find Totem anyware

Finally I went to Woolsy Trading Post in Shannon Avenue (listed as a stockist on the Patons website), which is what I imagine a yarn shop to be 20 odd years ago. The yarn is stuffed into pigeon holes along the wall (still in the plastic wrapper) there is a cross stich and embroidery section at the back, a department full of sheepskin products AND also at the shop, for some reason, they sell second hand office furniture.

They had a great wall of Totem - you could probably see it from the moon. The assistant grabbed out the shade card, and we discovered I was looking for colour #3096. I didn't care what dye-lot, because I planned to use a few cunning Zimmermann ideas to camoflague any irregularities if they existed.

This is where Patons started to annoy me. They have a shade of light blue which is colour #3069. There was millions of balls of that shade at the shop, but no luck with what I wanted. And - apparently Patons is making some changes to the Totem line, so I pretty much left with the idea that I had Buckley's of finding yarn.

However, today Mum went into Lincrapt to buy some supplies, and I went along for the ride. Surprise, surprise, this Crafting Department Store had not yet been overrun by their own-branded-acrylic-novelty-yarns-that-more-often-than-not-knit-up-into-something-that-can-only-be-compared-to-carpet-underlay. I found ONE (1) ball of Totem colourway #3096. YAY!

The funny bit of the story - Mum and I went into Dymocks after Lincrapt, and left the shopping bag on the counter when purchasing a book. Thankfully we returned to the store 10 minutes later - Irony was taking a day off. After my terrible search for the yarn, I expected it to disappear before I had gotten it home. But the nice Dymocks ladies looked after it until we returned to the store. I am now happily continuing Dilby's xmas sweater and should be finished before 2007 :)

And another shopping with Mum story...

Remember way back when, and I reviewed this cosy little LYS?

Well, after making a special trip out to Point Lonsdale yesterday to show off Wildpurl to my Mum, I discovered that, unfortunately, Wildpurl is an LYS no longer. Alas - it is now a homewares store / small fashion boutique with a yarn section shoved into the back corner :( The assistant behind the counter called it "expanding" (like it was a good thing), but I think it was just too difficult for them to stay afloat stocking only yarn and knitting notions. So whilst they still stock their up-market yarns, they now stock up-market decor for yuppies - sad but true. However, the trip was not a complete loss.
In a basket marked sale items, I found these two little gems:Both off them hardcover, and each $15-20 below the RRP.

Knitting with Beads covers both embellishing with beads as part of finishing a garment, and knitting with the beads prestrung on the yarn. The beading appeals to me, lots of projects do not, so in short, for me it is an inspirational text on technique.

Nursery Rhyme Knits was too cute to not come home with me. I think an Ipsy-wipsy Spider blanket may fall off my needles in the future. Or perhaps little Bo Peeps sheep? Either way, I am glad that Lucy-lou is doing the kids thing because I have an excuse to knit some of these.

Whilst Mum and I were down on the Peninsula we decided we may as well check out the Op Shops and Vinnies (thrift stores)

I grabbed a whole lot of vintage patterns (complete with models sporting questionable hairstyles - oh and questionable mottos, like the one I photographed for the top of this post), a biography of Edward VI (for when I finally get around to making something from Stanmore's Tudor Roses), The house that wool built, which I think is a study of architecture of the early australian sheep stations (It had wool in the title and was only $2 - I had to give it a go) and a wonderfully colourful hardcover knitting pattern book that I have 'carbon dated' to be from the 80s using very scientific techniques....

Now this is one of the sweaters included in this book. It uses 11 colours, care to guess the designer?

Well, if you cheated and looked in the bottom left hand corner you would have seen Kaffe Fassett's name. Yes, I like the colour work, but I don't think this is quite for me. I am rather dubious about the rolled up sleeves, and the Jetson's style joins at the arms and collar..... Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sock and bunny crazy

So with all that sock yarn I have been purchasing lately, am I knitting any socks???


(disclaimer: the first part of this post may look like it was posted by the yarn harlot)

(from left to right - all these socks are knit on 2.75mm needles)

1. Jaywalkers knit from handpainted yarn I stumbled across in Tarcutta during my last roadtrip (more on the Tarcutta craft shop with the next pic!). As previously mentioned, these remind me of a rainbow paddle pop, except for the "I survived Lord Voldemort" colourpooling mid calf.

2. Tuffers' second pair of xmas socks, knitted from WGTUP (Wendy's generic toe up pattern) in ONline supersock highland colours purchased at yarns galore.

3. RPM in the Knittery's Merino 4ply sock in "Wonder" colourway. These socks are incredibly thin (almost like stockings) and stretchy. They feel really delicate to knit. The pattern has been altered to be completed toe-up, short row heel, and with a mutliple of 9 minus 1 stitches so the spirals are all equal.

4. Tuffers' xmas socks #3 in Opal petticoat, once again WGTUP, but with a 3x3 rib ankle. These should be complete by the time I get back to Sydney.

5. (finally, eh!) Brenda's Pembrokeshire pathways socks in the Knittery's merino cashmere sock in "Waterlillies" colourway. This pattern is beautiful, easy to remember the repeats, but not "mindless knitting". These won't be going anywhere in the handbag or reserved for car knitting - instead, I am trying to do a couple of row repeats a day because the cables are annoying me. Luff knitting with yarn, however! It makes a nice soft yet dense fabric. Very cushy - can't wait to walk on it :)

And speaking of stumbling onto yarn in Tarcutta.... I made another pitstop there on xmas eve, and was very happy to find the craft shop open again. The yarn had been restocked, and I had difficulty not picking the baskets to take it all with me :)

I got two skeins of handdyed angora and one skein of a yummy green handspun merino/silk. The colour variations show up much nicer in the skeins, but I got so excited with the new toys and they were all balled up before I got the camera out... The one on the right is spring / summer colours, not quite as bright as it appears here, and the other is a stormy seas colour palate. I'm thinking a nice little hat with brim for the latter. The handspun will become a nice lace scarf/ mini-shawl (it's approx fingering weight.)

By-the-way, the handpainted yarns are labelled "Annie Gregg Designs" - I googled it and came up naught, so it must be a local fibre-artist. I think I may do a little investigating on a future trip to Tarcutta because these yarns are gorgeous. If you know anything about "Annie Gregg Designs" let me know :)

And onto bunnies...
One of my best friends has gotten three new six week old gals - one tan, one brown and one black, names Faith, Hope and Grace (no, I don't know which is which, but the names are oh so cute!) Pierre is completely fascinated by the bunnies, and likewise, they are fascinated by him. Last night he was running around the outside of the hutch and the gals were following him around on the inside of the hutch - completely fearless!
Here is P trying to get a closer look at these fluffy creatures that are actually smaller than him. He can pull off strange stunts when he is curious. (Those who are wondering, the Australian cattle dog in the background is Sam - he is interested in both bunnies and teeny tiny dogs) Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

happy happy joy joy!

When Tuffers asked what I wanted for Christmas, I didn't take any chances - I sent him an email with a couple of specifics on it, including a webpage, a phone# and retail hours...

What I really, really wanted was...

A gorgeous wooden umbrella swift (skein holder) and a ball winder. These can be rather tricky to find, so based on a recomendation from David, I sent Tuffers out to Petlin's, where I hear they looked after him rather well.

Can you see the pile of nice neat centre-pull balls behind the winder? Man I love this toy. Of course, Tuffers, being an engineer, is already drawing up plans to motorise the ball winder :)

And in case you are wondering, the skein on the swift is the Knittery's Merino Cashmere sock in Choc Mint. (and a big hug to Tuffers for taking the photo)

And in other news, did you see this cute google storyline? Look even closer, and you will notice that that is a male (or perhaps a lesbian?) kangaroo knitting. Do you think this is google's attempt to subvert the ideology of knitting (or family?) Posted by Picasa

christmas socking....

No, that is not a typo - this post really is about xmas sock(ing)s.

When I made Tuffer's socks, my Dad tried them on and said they would be nice to have in pink.

Needless to say, a whole bunch of secret knitting later, and these appeared on the mantle sometime during the night when the fat man in the red suit was due to call....

And a close up so you can see details... Yes, they are the Jaywalkers, modified to be knitted toe-up with a short row heel. The Yarn is ONline 6ply fantasie from Rubi and Lana, knitted on 3.75mm DPNs.

These were stuffed with a couple of candy bars before they were hung up. The verdict? Dad luffs them.
Of course, they weren't the only secret socks I have been knitting. Tuffers wasn't wearing his funky blue Jaywalkers out of the house, and after alot of excuses, he admitted that they weren't very 'manly' colours. A quick visit to yarns galore, a paypal payment and one express parcel later I started on these.

These are Wendy's generic toe up socks, knit in ONline super socks 4ply sunset colours #833 on 2.75mm needles.

It's a good thing that Tuffers likes his socks to be on the short side, because it means I can get a pair out of one 100gm ball.

There is another pair recently completed in a different colourway, one sock on the needles almost finished and wanting a mate, and a ball of yarn that only arrived last week. It appears that Tuffers will not be in want of socks for some time.

On a side note, Tuffers asked me how much each sock will cost if I was paid minimum wage per hour. He was floored when I told him $400... a sock... Apparently this is the most expensive gift anyone has ever given him, and he appreciates the effort. Of course, if you look at it the other way, an approx $20 skein of yarn can yield up to 40 hours of knitting for me, so it can be the most inexpensive form of entertainment for me.

And finally, an actual Stocking.

This was made by Lucy-lou and has all sorts of goodies stuffed into it - both beef and chicken smackos, gourmet dog biscuits, mini t-bone treats and a squeakie ball. It appears that Pierre was a good boy this year :) Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas (or whatever you celebrate)

From Ginge, Tuffers and Pierre.
(pic courtesy of my dad)

I am about to head home to Geelong to spend xmas with my family (via Canberra and Lucy-lou's) so I may not blog for a couple of days, but I promise to be back to show off the great new toys Tuffer's gave me for xmas, and the socks I gave him :) Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

are addictions contagious?

... can you catch them via podcasts???
Yes - I got a visit from the post-fairy today, and now have a sock-yarn stash worthy of Lime'n'Violet...

- the three top centre skeins are the SP9 colourways (waltz, chacha and foxtrot) from Susan at perchance to knit, the three on the left are merino-cashmere-sock and the three on the right are the merino 4ply sock, all from the knittery, and the one in the middle is ONline from yarns galore - it is actually the final ball from an order I put in a couple of weeks ago. Jeanette didn't have it in stock, so she sent the first couple of balls immediately and this one when it came in - fantastic seeing as this is 'blokely' colourways to make socks for Tuffers' xmas present (three and three quarter socks completed thus far). I also have some Lisa Souza on order - I am awaiting for Violet's pink ribbon and a couple of other colourways.

However, after seeing Wendy's "small" order, that arrived today.I don't feel quite so guiltly. Mmmmm - great big sea silk.. I want I want.... (*slap* Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's sea-silk)

And remember when my camera was broken I got a present from my secret pal, aka the Weasleys? This is it - complete with what was inside it (well, the muffins were baked and eaten some time ago...)
And some finished objects, completed when my ex-house-mates first son was born a couple of weeks (prolly closer to a couple of months) ago. I have been really slack, and didn't get them to the post office - I'll be back in Geelong next week so I will pass them on then.

In case you don't recognise it, it is the umbilical cord hat from Stitch'n'bitch (slightly modified for 6ply sock yarn leftover from Tuffers Jaywalker socks) and some funky pixie booties of my own design. Posted by Picasa