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Sunday, January 28, 2007

What happened to Marta's Yarns?

Last night we were talking about Marta's yarns, and whether or not Marta was sick....

I just read this post on Yarnivorous. It appears that Marta was rather ill, and that we have lost a great artist. I am sad that I never got to go inside her store (it had already closed by the time I went a hunting) - I got to gaze into her magic cave of fibre through the window, and will I could touch and stroke and play with the pretty coloured yarns.

Thoughts are with all who knew Marta, and the many lives she touched beyond through her yarns.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Pleb Opera...

Just got back from the Opera in the Domain - good company and a bit of quality knitting time accompanied by choice entertainment.

Going through my stats, I found that I had been featured on - not a bad effort, a nice way to celebrate this, my 100th post.

PS - I think the job interview went well, should know by Wed if they will be calling me back for the next round of interviews

Friday, January 26, 2007

sock it to me...

Don't want to be called un-australian, so here is Google's ode to today, that I think is rather cute:And on to the knitting...

Brenda's socks - this one spoke to me and said it would like to be an anklet. Or perhaps I was getting a little bored of the pattern repeat and wanted to make sure I would get a second sock out of me... either way, this make for an adorable sock.

And the merino-cashmere is oh so comfortable. I want to wear it now... all the time...

And Brenda - I love the way this pattern looks, it is satisfying to have one sock complete, but man, those cables are just hard work!

No... I haven't finished an xmas stocking - this is sock numero uno of the Sasquatch variety.

I used some kitchen scales to split the yarn into two equal sized balls, so hopefully I won't be wasting any yarn and these will be maximum length.

I am using Lana Grossa Mega Boots Stretch, and have to say it is one of the softest feeling commercial sock yarns I have knit with. It is a 6ply, but it feels cushier and thicker when knit up than the ONline I have used previously - perhaps this is the Lycra content of the yarn?

I also really like the way that the colour subtly changes through the spectrum as you knit and you get those gradual stripes. It was hard to get a decent photo of how the yarn changes colour, but trust me, it is gorgeous (in a socks-for-a-man-who-only-ever-wears-holeproof-heroes)

Here is the spotty ladybug sock, having made a complete recovery from the savage dog attack.

I also stopped in at Tapestry Craft to get new 15cm bamboo DPNs that Pierre will never, ever get to touch. (Does anywhere else in Sydney stock 15cm DPNs? How about ones with some really sharp points so that it makes cables easier? I really like the look of the knit-picks DPNs - but they aren't playing the game here in Oz)

And completely un-sock related, I have started the front of my loopy mohair trim sweater. So far it is exactly the same as the back....

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Vest-ed interest

Nearly two weeks ago, at Rubi and Lana, David mentioned that he was looking for a vest pattern... I knew I had this one on hand.
This is one of the patterns I bought while Op-shopping with my Mum over x-mas/new year, and I will admit I bought it for a bit of a laugh. However, the joke wasn't the porn-star mo, the rose coloured glasses, the huge cravat nor the sprayed-on tight white pants the bloke is modelling, which assures us that this pattern was published in the 70s (1979 to be exact)

The joke was that my Mum had once had this pattern and made it for my Dad. In stylish 70s colours of brown, beige and orange.

My Mum claims to have knit this pattern in 1979 (the year it was published). I can't be 100% sure of the date it was finished, but in 1984 my Dad wore it in the family portrait. A huge framed picture hangs in the hall at my parents house with the date on it. The portrait is just Mum, Dad, Sis and I (Little big brother - aka LBB - wasn't born until '85, as if often referred to as the twinkle in Dad's eye in that portrait)

And, as evidenced here, this item still hangs in my Dad's wardrobe. (Okay - no big deal, my Dad is a terrible hoarder, a habit which one day will prove to be genetic)

Every so often, my LBB "borrows" it to perfect his "golf-punk" look - not bad for an article of clothing we have photographic proof of being older than he is. (in fact - if Mum did finish it in '79 it is older than all of us "kids")

This vest has held up incredibly well - it is made from Patons Bluebell - a 5ply/sportweight pure wool. It actually isn't longer on one side than the other - I rotated the photo and it changed the perspective so it looks like it was made for Quasimodo. Trust me, my Dad is no Sean Connery, but neither does he have a hump :) ("Hi Dad, I love you!")

Here is a close up of the vest - I am a tad bit jealous of how neat my Mum's stranded knitting is.

I really like the pink female version of this vest, so it has gone into the "one-day" pile of patterns.

Big "ta" to my Dad for taking the pictures of the vest and emailing the up to me so I could include them in this post.

PS - Wish me luck - I have a job interview on Friday arvo. Yes, I know it's a holiday, but it suited better than Saturday, which is when I plan to be knitting at the Opera.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Four Tulip 15cm Bamboo 2.75 needles were tragically dismembered today leaving the sole survivor speechless. The departed are believed to be victim to a vicious attack perpetrated by an innocent and cute looking dog that goes by the name "Pierre". Pierre, aka "The Yarn Snob", is well known for his ability to destroy natural and luxury yarns, has now apparently progressed to the more evil crime of needle-torturing. The below image shows the wreckage he can cause to both needles and yarn in a mere hour.
The spotty ladybug sock is currently in a stable condition, after being taken to intensive care and being put on life support consisting of four metal DPNs. The sole survivor of the family of five needles will undertake rehab as a cable needle for some time. Clean up crews are still trying to find pieces of the victims in the vicinity of the carnage.

Below is an image of the perpetrator, taken earlier today, in which he deceptively fakes a false respect for the knitted item. (Item is completed sleeve from loopy mohair trim sweater). If you are approached by this hound, please consider him to be fanged and dangerous. Please watch your knitting at all times, and for heaven's sake, please do not let it out by itself,

Monday, January 22, 2007

beading fun...

I got my bulk order of findings today, so lots of beading was done and the store has been updated with a whole bunch of new stitch markers. (I have broken nails and sore fingertips - I am glad knitting doesn't cause these superficial but annoying injuries)

Big thank-you to Kate for being my first customer (yay!) She gets a little something extra in her order for being a milestone customer :)

The evening has been devoted to knitting - just started the sleeve cap, so should have another piece of the loopy mohair trim sweater complete and on show tomorrow.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Yarn, HO!

On Friday I completed a teeny yarn crawl looking for more totem...

I decided I would drive up the Pacific HWY and stop off along the way to see what I could find. First stop was Greta's Handcrafts - I actually expected to find Totem in abundance there. Greta's has a feeling of a yarn store from 20 years ago that hasn't quite given in to the renaissance of knitting, and for some reason I thought it would stock all the classics.

Greta had a few balls of Totem, in a handful of colours - but not more than two balls of any one colour, and not colour #4249 like I was looking for. In fact, I did have a quick browse at Greta's, and it appears that they didn't have enough of any one colour yarn to make a garment out of. I could be wrong - perhaps they have a display of the variety on the shelves, with the majority of the stock out the back, but that wasn't the impression I got.

I continued up the HWY, bypassing Rubi and Lana (I know they don't stock Totem, and I find it impossible to walk out of there without a skein or two) and ended up all the way out at Hornsby craft and wool nook. (I think there is a fabric store/haberdasheries somewhere along the HWY that stocks yarn, but I don't know where that is. If anyone knows, please leave the details in the comments)

Here, I hit the jackpot -
1. They stock Totem..
2. They had colour #4249 (incidentally, the colour is called "old gold" - so technically I am not knitting another green jumper)...
3. Freakily, it was the same dye-lot as what I already had, and...
4. Due to Patons re-labelling Totem, they were selling all stock cheep!

Yes, It appears that Totem is not actually changing, but the labelling of it is. The description is going to change from "8ply premium wool crepe" to "100% pure Australian Merino Wool". (I guess "Merino" sounds more luxurious than plain old wool) - however, it appears that Patons is also using this opportunity to re-vamp the colours available in the trusty yarn. And "old gold" has been given the "heave-ho" (Thank you very much to the assistant at Hornsby craft and wool nook for sharing some of the info in the Patons marketing binder with me - sorry, but I forgot your name)

Which left me with a bit of a dilemma. I only had 8 balls of yarn have already used 3 and a bit balls for the back of my loopy mohair trim sweater. I figure the front will use similar amounts, and the sleeves 1.5 to 2 balls. By those calculations, I needed 2-3 balls to complete the sweater. Seeing as I knew this colour was going to be discontinued, I didn't want to get to an inch from the final sleeve cap and run out... so to be on the safe side, I got double what I thought I would need. The laws of knitting dictate that 4 balls excess is always better than 4 metres short.....

While I was out at Hornsby, I decided to do a bit of window shopping, and low and behold, I found this...

What can I say - the black PVC cover called to me, and I had some borders vouchers to burn.

I have only had a cursory browse, but it looks like this is have technical manual (not just learn-to-knit) and half patterns (some knit on the bias...ooh).

This will be an upcoming kniterature for when I have no knitting progress to share with you...

...which, fortunately I do have today...
Thanks to some of my favourite podcasts having new episodes available this week, I managed to get through those 55 rows of stockinette before I blinked twice. Once piece of the loopy mohair trim sweater is complete (and 100% endorsed by Pierre)

So far, I have followed the pattern except for a couple of minor changes.
1. I changed all the sl 1, k2tog, psso to sssk to better match the k3tog on the other dart.
2. I haven't cast off the back yet because I am planning to complete 3-needle cast-offs for the shoulders, and
3.In order to get nice sloping shoulders instead of steps I completed all the decreases as short rows. If you look under the stitch markers in this close up picture you can see where I turned for the short rows - I haven't tried this before and so far I am happy with the results.

And this is the pattern I am working from, now out of print. I bought it about 1999 or 2000.

Friday, January 19, 2007

i heart -

*$$ (starbucks-get it?) ! and Tuffers.... I forgot to mention that he got me this cute little bear-ista as an 'after-thought' xmas present. The traveller mug I picked up in Canberra for a steal just after new year - even though it is obviously xmas themed, I think I will use it all year round because it suits a recently converted sock maniac like myself. (and its the hidden short size, which means smaller, cheaper coffees when I use it at *$$ - even though not advertised on the menu board you can order the short at any time if you want a smaller coffee - it may just take the partners a while to find the right size cup)

And speaking of *$$ in Canberra, it appears I will not be a regular at the s&b's down that way. Due to a last minute change with Tuffers' work, the move has been postponed at least 12
months. However, I will try to make it to a session or too - just to meet a few of the bloggers I check in with on a regular basis.

And at the risk of sounding redundant - more markers on ETSY - including twins to my 'i heart 2 knit' markers I chatted about here. That will be the last addition for about a week - I am awaiting a bulk delivery of findings to make some more.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

more stitchmarkers...

... have been added to my ETSY shop - go check them out :)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

blah... oh, and big sale

Sorry, but I am feeling a bit blah today - I spent 2.5 hours with my career coach revising my resume (so I could continue to fund my yarn habit after I finish with my current employement in a couple of weeks...bad bad ebay is tempting me again)

The good news is I got to do some sasquatch sock knitting while taking the scenic route through Longueville on the non-air conditioned bus... as you can see, these really are being made for a Bigfoot

I made good progress my loopy-mohair trim sweater - until I reached the 55 rows of boring stockinette, which is about this far...

up til here there was shaping every few rows, so it went rather fast. I am liking the way it is knitting up - should be nice fitted garment when I am done. I did check out the stash, and again I am short a few balls of totem. I shall have to do a run around again to see if I can get two or three balls more. I know a few places in Sydney that had a bit in stock about 6 months ago, so am staying optimistic. (but just in case - I am using colour #4249 if you have some lying is your stash you want to get rid off... I won't even bother with the dye lot as I doubt it will match - I'll just knit a sleeve with the extra when I get it)

Following some encouragement from Kate, I have started my own etsy store. To begin with it will just be my handmade stitch markers (in fact, only one set at the moment - the black cats pictured) and I'll see where it goes from there. Please drop by and feel free to pass on any constructive criticism.

And finally - just because I can, here is Pierre going crazier than a 3yo on red cordial after a bath. The poor guy has it a bit rough at the moment - he is having problems with bush ticks (the non-paralytic ones) and had an unscheduled visit to the vet for an insecticide scrub and a shot to help the itching. I gave him the bath prior to taking him to the vet - the poor runt was so aggravated by the parasites that he looked like he was trying to chew his legs off. (oh - and he has officially hit 2kg, never mind that that was complete with harness, colour, dog tag and lead)

Monday, January 15, 2007

thank-you Mr Postie...

... for delivering my SP9 package #2...

...containing all of these goodies....

- some funky ceramic xmas mugs (that I think will hold a pint... at least)

- American candy (reeses, kisses, hershies, milkdud - its a chocoholic's heaven)

- yummy pampering bath bombs and lip balms and...

- some gorgeous handpainted merino yarn (hand wash only - perhaps a hint to knit myself, rather than the men in my life, some socks?) this colourway is called "Earth Day" by Sunshine Yarns.

Oh... and some tootsie rolls (that I think Pierre is keen to run away with - but remember little puppy, "Mowm says chocolate isn't good for dawgs!")

And I have a confession. I have start-itis.

I bought some super-thick sock yarn from Rubi&Lana on saturday (where I met jenwren for the first time - more detail on her and kate's blogs), and have begun some Sasquatch socks for someone (not Tuffers or my dad) to wear with work boots

And the desire to knit something flat came over me last night, so I have started my loopy-mohair trim sweater. Naughty Naughty Ginge! That is what? 9 projects on the go now?

Friday, January 12, 2007

thou shalt no longer covet thy neighbours sea silk

When Taryn over at Purl Yarns announced a stash-endowing sale, I could no longer resist. For far too long I have been coveting Pamela's seasilk, and so I bought the last 3 skeins - on sale!

In case you can't tell from the pic above, I have the pumpkin and straw colourways. Although these didn't look too appealing on my computer screen, I cannot express how wonderfully bright and cheerful they are in the flesh (or should that be kelp?) I still want some in that yummy ocean colourway (named for the sea, smells like the sea, colour of the sea - it seems to fit so well) but this will hold me until Taryn gets her next (long awaited) delivery from Handmaiden with more stock...

And it seems there will be a pattern in the next Yarn magazine featuring this scrumptious yarn. I am not sure what I will do with this yet - perhaps a lacy shrug, or maybe I will enter the realm of shawls.... but for now I will let it marinate in my stash, and enjoy the sight, smell and feel of it.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

very nearly done...

The Very Manly Socks are indeed very nearly done. Infact, all the knitting is done, and I just need to weave in those ends at the cuffs. And Tuffers has tried them on, and I managed to get the foot the right length this time...


NAME: Very Manly Socks
PATTERN: WGTUP with a Manly 5x1 rib along the cuff and instep
YARN: ONline Supersock Sierra #889
YARN SOURCE: Yarns Galore
NEEDLES: 2.75mm bamboo 15cm DPNs
COMPLETED: 11 Jan 07

So now that they are off the needles, I needed to cast on some more 'brainless' socks - but this time for me...

Da-dah... May I present my spotty ladybug socks in Opal Rainforest...

Mainly stockinette with a few yarn overs and k2togs every couple of rounds.

And did I say ladybug?

well, speaking of ladybugs, here's a few I prepared earlier...
I haven't done any work on this since I put in away in November, but I thought it was about time I posted a picture...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


If you happen to find your self roarin' along the Hume HWY between Geelong and Canberra (or, more prescisely, Holbrook and Gundagai) you'll have to slow down to 50km/h to drive through the small town of Tarcutta - while your hitting the brakes, you may as well stop for a break..

After all, the rest stop is on the side of the road, the loos there have running water (rather than that pit-in-the-ground) and there happens to be this place....

The Farmhouse Industries Handcraft shop, which happens to stock....

These basketfuls of hand- spun, -dyed, and -painted yarns...

... a few skeins followed me home :) (left to right - two hanks of handpainted angora 8ply, a handpainted wool 3ply and a handspun wool, all by Annie Gregg design)I bought all this last friday when driving up to Canberra. I couldn't resist starting to knit with the angora again on saturday. This was my progress when we went out to lunch at about 1230.Of course, I was trying to perfect my Roarin' Forties hat pattern, and it just so happened that Lucy-lou loved these blue-toned reds.THE STATS

NAME : Roarin' Forties #2
YARN: Annie Gregg Design Angora 8-ply in blue-tinted reds
YARN SOURCE: Farmhouse industries craft shop Tarcutta
NEEDLES: 3.75mm DPNs and Circulars

Lucy-lou and I couldn't resist doing a bit of a model-shoot with out new hats :)
And while I was tackling another project, Pierre was tackling one of Bridi's bones...
I'd say he's trying a bit of more than he can chew...

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Super-funkified Reversible Double-knit Weasley Sweater aka Dilby's Jumper


The four (yes - 4) sides of Dilby's sweater...


NAME : The super-funkified Reversible Double-knit Weasley Sweater, aka Dilby's Jumper
YARN: Paton's Totem in Burnt Orange and Blue #3096
NEEDLES: 4.5mm bamboo and aluminium circulars

I wanted to make a Weasley Sweater, but I figured that the movies got it all wrong - Mrs Weasley is a competant wizard who makes her 7 kids (and some of their friends) a sweater each year for christmas - I am sure she knows a spell to produce a funkier sweater than seen on the celluloid (they look so slipshod!). And Harry's first sweater was emerald green in the book (fun and bright) but olive green (drab and boring) in the movie.

I wanted to avoid seaming, and love little boys in raglan sleeves, so I decided to knit it in the round. This caused some problems for the initial, as it is very difficult to do intarsia in the round and I didn't want to get that fiddley. So I decided to leap into the world of double knitting. It was no use going to the effort of double-knitting if it wasn't reversible, so I worked two D's into the sweater, one backwards to be worn on the back of the sweater...

It all started off from this knitted donut I blogged about way back in the beginning of October.

The next time you saw it, I was knitting a sleeve and showing off my unco double knitting technique. ..

But there were a few steps between that you didn't see

Of course, there was another sleeve....

Which was then added to the main body of the jumper so it could be knit in one piece....

I got up to here, before I ran out of blue yarn and had to do a mad dash to all the store that stock yarn, string or rope to try to get the same colour (I didn't care about matching dye lots - I just wanted something the same colour). The raglan decreases were a bit of trouble - I had to re-arrange the stitches so that I had one colour on one side, and then I had to use four different decreases to get the sides to look even (K2tog, P2tog thru back loop, SSK and P2tog).

The orange was on the outside the whole time I was knitting, so this is a peek of the blue inside (isn't it cool how the front and back make a D?)

The final object was passed onto its new owner on Friday, but it took us until Sunday to get our model to finally put it on. (He is a big fan of the word "NO!")

So da-dah! Here is the finished object as modelled by Dilby (with a little help from his Mum) and, of course, the reverse "D" on the back (with Brindi helping to model that!)

It's a little big, but by the time winter comes around (which should be about mid-March in Canberra) It should be the right size, and that double thickness will be just what the little boy will want in our nation's capital (which I have said before, is proof that hell freezes over!)