Thursday, December 31, 2015

As big as my head

Elise bough a unit, and will be moving in March. I'm really happy for her, but really sad that  won't have my best friend living directly across the road. She's moving three and a half kilometeres down the road. A half hour walk! Or twelve dollars in an Uber! EVERYTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE. Or not, it will probably be fine.

In a more related than it might seem note, have a look at the blanket I knit her in 2011:

It's looking more than a little shabby. It lives on her Ottoman, the cats like to sleep under it and I made it out of a very soft, rather loosely knit yarn.

So, Elise needs a new blanket. Something hardwearing. Something fun to knit. So, being me, I'm going to knit her Tir Chonaill, a Kate Davies, steeked, colourwork blanket. I needed to buy yarn for it and had a look around the internet. Love Knitting  had a brand called Wendy Traditional Aran. It's 100% wool, and comes in a 500 gram put up. So I bought 2.

The balls of yarn are as big as my head! They were sent, each in their own gossamer bag, and they are huge. I'm really looking forward to knitting this, but I haven't decided if I am going to make smaller balls, or just carry around all the yarn. Either way, FUN.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Yarnalong -the one during the break

Like everyone else, I love being on holidays, and there is something glorious about a staycation. I'm doing nothing but seeing friends, knitting, reading, going to the cricket and relaxing. No pressure to achieve anything much.

As I wrote yesterday, I've knitted a gloriously ridiculous amount on my colour work vest. I actually only have twenty ever decreasing rounds to go, and then it's steeking time.

I'm reading Half a King  by Joe Abercombie, and loving it. It's a good rollicking fantasy trilogy, set in a norse like world. Really well written and I can't put it down.

And I'm not going to talk much about what I'm listening to this week, because it turns out I mainly listen at work and when I'm putting out the washing, and I don't need to do that much washing. 

And that's my week in yarn and books. pop over to Ginny's blog to see what she, and the rest of the Yarnalong, are up to this week.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Knitting at the MCG - the complete story in four pictures

DaY 1
There really isn't that much to say about this years Boxing Day Test. I went, I knit, the cricket was rather average and after four days, it was finished.
Day 2
 I really didn't want it to go for the full five days, since it was clear from day 1 that the best the Windies could hope for was a draw. BUT if it had gone for the full time, I would have finished the body of my Arglye vest at the cricket, which would have been quite poetic and symmetrical. 
Day 3
As it is, I got a ridiculous amount of knitting done, enjoyed one of Melbourne's great traditions  and have tomorrow to do something other than knit all day, while watching other people play sport. A win all around, if you ask me!

Stumps on day 4

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Knitting at the MCG - day one

Like every year, I have a break over Christmas. This year I have pushed out my return to work date to the 11th of January. And, like every year, Leon and I start this time by going to the Boxing Day Test. This year, on Christmas eve, I received my order of  the Kate Davies yarn, Buachaille. I ordered enough for Leon's winter set, and also for Eunny Jang's Deep V Argyle Vest. I bough this pattern a very long time ago - maybe 2011, but I wanted it to be less deep V, and I had never steeked, or done colourwork and I had no idea how to change the pattern. After a solid six months of training by doing Kate Davies' patterns, I'm ready to go.

I have to knit the vest before I can knit Leon's Winter Set (2016) because the amount used for that is variable, while the vest amount are constrained by the pattern. So here I am, starting another steeked, stranded colourwork project. I guess I've found what i love, so why not keep doing it?

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Yarnalong - the one before the break

I'm taking nearly two weeks off over the Christmas break, and I'm very excited about it. I just have to make it through this last busy week. luckily I am reading an excellent book -The Privilege of the the Sword, by Ellen Kushner It's the sequel to the Swordpoint, which I read in November and loved. It's good, but in a slightly trashier way than the proceeding novel. I'm quite near the end and it's very exciting,and I'm basically in love with all of the characters. 

As I said yesterday, I'm knitting Christmas sneaker liners.

And I'm listening to Fives and Twenty-fives, set in the Iraq war. It's written by an ex-marine, and hits just the right note, about the stupidity of war and the actions of very genuine people. It's not light, but I'm glad I'm listening to it.

And that's me this week. I wish you well over the holidays. Make sure you pop over to Ginny's blog to see what she and the rest of the yarnalong have been up to in this pre Christmas week.

Monday, December 21, 2015

As Christmassy as I get

I'm not a big one for Christmas, being not Christian and a grinch besides. But this year it was suggested that the Richmond Knitters have a Christmas ornament knit-a-long on Monday night.

I don't have a Christmas tree. No one I know (except the Richmond Knitters, and they are busy knitting their own ornaments) has a tree. So, instead of knitting ornaments I cast on a pair of sneaker liners in Christmas colours. 

And that's my Christmas knitting for the year.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A new Christmas tradition

I finished both my Armies and Teakwood Cocoon, on Saturday night. Since it was 40 degrees when I blocked them, they dried in minutes, and I took them to Leon's family Christmas lunch so we could take photos somewhere a bit different. (just like last year)

I was really happy I had it with me, because we had a crazy cool change before the end of the day, so I wore it without the armwarmers at the begging of the day,
and with the armwarmers later on.

here's a photo of just the armwarmers, so you know what I'm talking about.

I really like way both the cardigan and the armwarmers came out. I love the detailing on the back of the cardigan, and the different shape from so many of the cardigans I make. It's light, but still warm, and I really enjoyed knitting it. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Yarnalong - the one with afternoon tea

As discussed in the previous post, I'm knitting away on Teakwood Cocoon, and on the matching armwarmers. 

I'm reading Divas Don't Knit by Gil McNeil. I wanted something lighter after last week, and it certainly is that. It's an enjoyable, if not profound, read.

And I'm listening to Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. I've only just started, and it's quite a big book (for obvious reasons) but it's been on my list for ages, and this too is a complete change of pace from what I was listening to last week.

Right, now I'm going to eat rocky road I made before I started writing this post, and maybe do some knitting, or some reading. 

Monday, December 14, 2015


I've finished the body of Teakwood Cocoon. The whole time I was knitting it I was considering putting sleeves on it but, having got to that stage, I don't think that would work, as the sleeve opening are quite tight - actually I have some concerns about the fit of the whole piece, that I'm hoping will be sorted out when I knit the collar. Anyway in order to keep my arms warm, I decided to knit sleevies for my armies:

It's not an original idea, I actually wear armwarmers quite often, most usually when exercising, but occasionally with casual clothes. So I'm very excited have handknitted ones, and I really like how these are coming out.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Cable needleless

I've always cabled with a cable needle. I know many people prefer to do without, but I pop mine behind my ear and never loose it, so to me it is the simplest thing to do. On Teakwood Cocoon there are two cable crossings every eight really long rows. It just didn't seem worth bothering with a cable needle. So now I can cable without one. I was glad to use the technique for this project, but I still find it more fiddly than using a cable needle. Still the more arrows in my quiver and all that.

In other, partially related news, this top grew really, really fast. Which is really good, because, due to my failure to read the instructions I've done the decreases one stitch in on the left shoulder, rather than the two the pattern required. You can see in the picture below, the correct decreasing in below and the wrong one is above.

This might not sound like much, but that seam runs on top of the should and is one of the features of this garment, and they look very different, so I'm going to rip and reknit. I didn't even have to debate it this time. I think I'm becoming the kind of knitter who would rather knit something again and have it perfect than finish something that is just ok.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Yarn bought and stash counted

I decided to buy more Buchaille, for Leon's Winter Set (2016) and also for a vest for me. Kate Davies is releasing some yarn each week, so she can mange the orders. Unfortunately for us in Australia, she is releasing them at 5 pm Sunday afternoon UK time, which happens to be 4am in Australia. The first week I didn't get online until 8.30 am, and one of the colours I wanted was sold out, but this Monday I had a few minutes while waiting for my taxi to the airport at 6.20 am, and I secured the yarn! 

So, before it arrives, I thought it appropriate to update my stash count. It's all on Ravelry, except the Adagio Alpaca, because that isn't in the data base yet.
And the number of meters is:


I'm really quite pleased. This time last year I had 24796 kilometres of yarn. If I can maintain my restraint, particularly around sock yarn, I may eventually whittle it down to my goal. Although really, my goal is to have less, use what I buy, and love what I have.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Yarnalong - The one from Mildura

I had to go to Mildura for work again, and this time I stayed the night. Even though I'd rather be at home in my own little truckle cot, as my grandmother called it, Mildura is quite a lovely place, and I did get to go to a brewery. It has also given me a lot of time to knit and read.

I'm still knitting Teakwood Cocoon, which is hardly surprising, since I only cast it on last Wednesday! I'm enjoying it, it's just challenging enough to be interesting, but simple enough to be fun.

I'm also, and also not surprisingly, still listening to Career of Evil, by Robert Galbraith. Still enjoying it, although it has some fairly dark themes.

I'm reading The Waiting Room, by Leah Kaminsky. Enjoying is not the right word for this book, as it's exploring the experience of the child of holocaust survivors living in Israel in a marriage that appears to be dissolving. Not a happy book, but well written and compelling.

And that's another week that's flown by. Make sure you pop through to Ginny's blog to see what everyone else is knitting and reading this week.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Dragon socks complete

Draco Nobilis is the eight pair of socks I've knit from the Rachel  Coopey "When Granny Weatherwax Knits Socks" club. In the Discworld, 8 is a magic number, and these were pretty magical to knit.

Going down a needle size made a huge difference, and the fabric feels really nice, as well as the socks fitting me better than the rest of the socks I've knit from this club.

I love the colour of the yarn, as well as the fact that it is tourist yarn, but, because of the mulitcoloured nature of it I was worried about the pattern getting lost. Looking at the finished socks, I think the pattern breaks up the pooling nicely.

Going with my aim of taking from the bottom of the pile I used a yarn bought in 2011. Well seasons, it can now fly out into the world as Draconis Nobilis - glorious dragon socks. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Seven Skeins Club, the wrap up post

For the last seven weeks, on a Friday evening I've had a Kate Davies Seven Skeins club pattern arrive. The club has been very rewarding. This is what I knat over the seven weeks:
I missed week two because of my fail mitten, and because of that I have a bit more yarn left over. On the suggestion of Louisa I'm considering knitting a Goat set, which uses three skeins of yarn. Although i do seem to have a few recently knit Kate Davies hats floating around.
I consider this club a complete success, because I enjoyed it, I knit some good stuff and I was inspired. I'm making Leon's Winter Set (2016) out of Buchaille yarn and I'm going to knit the other beanie pattern from week four. I loved week one's socks enough that I made another sock weight pair.  Most of all I enjoyed the thrill of opening that email on Friday evenings. I'll have to find another way to get my knitting thrills. Suggestions welcomed.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Yarnalong - The one where I bought something on the internet

I know, I've been buying lots of things on the internet, but this one is relevant to the pictures I take for these posts.

I bought a new Kindle case. I had my old brown "leather"one since October last year, and it's starting to look a bit ratty. And anyway, it's time for something new and summery. After looking at lots of expensive ones, I ended up buying a $20 one from eBay. I love the colours, although it doesn't feel as nice on the inside cover as my previous one, so I'm still on the lookout for the *perfect* case.

As to what I am reading inside the pretty case: The Emperor's Edge by Lindsay Buroker. It's fine, a pleasant enough steampunk novel. It's the beginning of a series of nine, so I guess they'll be popping up here periodically.

I'm listening to Career of Evil, by Robert Galbraith. I love this series and this book is proving as strong as it's predecessors. 

And I have just cast on for Teakwood Cocoon by Cecily Glowik-McDonald. It's a sock-weight shawly cardiganny thing, I'm thinking of adding sleeves to. I love knitting summer cardigans.

And that's me for another week. Pop over to Ginny's blog to see what she, and the rest of the yarnalong, are up to this week.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Alpaca madness

Way back in March I helped kickstart Adagio alpaca mills. Yesterday my reward arrived in the mail. Six balls of lovely alpaca in three different colours.

It's very nice, particularly the top two colours. My question now is, what to so with 600 meters of alpaca, in three different colours? Something with stripes maybe? Something that takes advantage of the natural drape of the alpaca? Whatever I choose to knit with it, I'm glad I supported this initiative. Now, if only someone would do the same with milling sheep's wool, I'd be a very happy knitter. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Yarnalong - the one without Kate Davies

This is the first week for three months that I haven't been knitting a Kate Davies pattern! Never fear, everything else is going very nicely and is thoroughly in character.

I'm knitting another Rachel Coopey When Granny Weatherwax Knits Socks club pattern, Draco Nobilis. To go with it I'm listening to the next Discworld book, Maskerade. I'm enjoying both the sock, the book and the pretty colours in the yarn.

I'm reading The Storied Life of AJ Finkry by Gabrielle Zevin. It was one of author Rachael Heron's recommendations, and she just has the best taste in books.

So it's a good week on all fronts. Make sure you click over to Ginny's blog to see what she, and the rest of the yarnalong are up to this week..

Monday, November 23, 2015

Seven Skiens Club week six -Oobits

When i saw this weeks pattern I felt much like I did last week - neutral, maybe a bit puzzled. But last week after I knit them I was even more confused. After knitting this weeks pattern for oobits (felted bracelets) I feel very differently.

I love them. I loved the process, going from a large floppy thing:

to a tight felted bracelet. I'm loving wearing them because they are soft and not clacky like normal bangles.   
They are also very warm, so I can imagine wearing them all the time in winter. I'm already planning to make more, with some left over Jameson and Smiths I have in pretty colours. 


Saturday, November 21, 2015

A mini tea cosy

We're coming to the end of my Kate Davies fest, and I finally made time to finish the tea cosy I started at the beginning of it. I made it my using charts E and F from the Sheep Heid pattern, using fewer stitches and making it up as I went along when necessary. I'm pleased with how it came out:

I also like the way it looks next to out full size tea pot:

As Leon summed it up "it's so cuuute". And it really is. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Things I bought on the internet part three

Remember when I tried to knit  a toe up sock on 2.5mm needles and it ended up too big and I ripped it? No, I didn't really expect you to. Anyway, I decided I needed some 2.25 mm circulars, since all the toe up socks I have knit on two circulars have come out a little too big. 

I was thinking about buying some more Karbonz,  but I noticed that Knitpro now makes an aluminum needle called Zing that look like the Signature needles. They are half the price of the Karbonz, so I thought I'd try them.

My thoughts are that they are ok, but only ok. They have a sort of rounded tip, and I usually prefer a sharper tip. I'll know more after I knit a pair of socks with them (which I am about to cast on) but at the moment I'm thinking I may still buy a sock set in the Karbonz.

I bought these from Purlwise and Mark provided me with his usual efficient service. I love that online shop a leeetle too much. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Yarnalong -the one where I no longer work full time

I no longer work full time! It's not quite as dramatic as all that, I am on a temporary part time arrangement, where I have every second Wednesday off work, to do with as I please. I am very excited about it,

So, what am I doing on this glorious first day of leisure?

I've returned to knitting my mini-sheep tea cosy. I think I've solved the problem that pulled my up short when I started this, before the Kate Davies madness fully took hold, and it's going very quickly now, probably because it's teeny.

I'm listening to A History of the World in Six Glasses. It's the kind of book I love - a history seen through a micro thing, in this case beverages. And since I regularly consume  four out of the six drinks (they are not all alcoholic!) it's a particualry fun listen.

I'm reading The Guilty One by Lisa Ballantyne . It's a bit of a courtroom thriller, which isn't my usual genre, but it's very character driven and I am loving it. After I finish writing this I'm going to sit in my rocking chair, drink fresh mint tea and see what happens next.

And of course, I'm participating in the Yarnalong with Ginny. Pop over to her blog to see what she and the rest of the yarnalong are up to this week.

Seven Skeins Club Week Five- Giant Balls

I expected a Christmas tree ornament some time in this club, and  it showed up this week. As a non-Christian I though Kate Davies managed this very gracefully, calling them Whigmakeeries, and  describing them as:    
a decorative or fanciful object, a piece of ornamentation …a knick-knack, gew-gaw, bauble, fantastic contrivance, or contraption.” In other words, a whigmaleerie is a wee thingumajig, of the kind folk often like to hang on trees at this festive time of year.

I knit them even though I am not of the tree hanging persuasion, because I am working the process for this club. I decided to put a bell in them, and maybe give them to the cats. 

They are huge! Leon and I have been throwing them around like mini footballs. I have absolutely no idea what I am going to do with them.
As for the cats playing with them, this is what Tarragon had to say about that idea

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Epistropy complete

This weekend I finished my Epistrophy cardigan! It felt like it took a long time, but really it was only five weeks, and that included knitting the Seven Skeins project as well.

So, my thoughts.

The White Gum Wool is stunning and I will be knitting with it again.

Like all Kate Davies patterns, this one was well and clearly written, but I had to reknit the collar,and the left side still looks a little odd. I hope it will settle down after a little bit more wear.

I choose the music note tape top cover the steek, and I think it looks great.

I deliberately chose low contrast colours for the colourwork. I think it looks quite nice, but I would also like to make it in a higher contrast. Although I won't be reknitting this, both because I rarely reknit things and because of the issues with the fit.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Seven Skeins Club Week Four - Bunnets

This weeks club patterns was a choice of two hats. I really like the stranded one, but I'm going to knit that for Leon's winter set. My intention is to buy more of the yarn, once it's available and knit his the hat and a scarf to match his Pawkies. So that left the stripped hat, for me. 

I decided to rip out my failed mitten, because I love the aqua colour, and wanted to use it, rather than leaving it in a sad, failed mitten. It was a simple, quick knit, quite fun to me doing simple stocking stitch in the round for a change.

Obviously these photos are unblocked, and I don't think a project like this can really be considered done until it is blocked, but I was excited to be finished and wanted to share.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Yarnalong - the one in the rain

I had an hour between finishing work and circus school last night, and it was raining, so I sat under the roof of the convention centre and knit on my Seven Skeins project for this week, which is a slouchy beanie.

While I sat there I listened to Graeme Greene's The End of the Affair. It's kind of sad and kind of slow and I am veering between hating all the characters because they are useless and pitying them because they are so real ... and useless.

I'm reading Ann Lekie's Ancillary Mercy and am just loving it. Well written sci-fi with great characters. It's the third (and last) in the series, so I'm not surprised at how much I am enjoying it.

As always on a Wednesday, I'm playing along with Ginny's yarnalong. Pop over to her blog to see what she, and everyone else, is knitting and reading this week.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Things I bought on the internet part two

In the first post of this series I bought tape for the front of my Epistrophy cardigan. 

Well, I also bought another pair of ribbons, just in case. I really like the one with the aqua squares, but I think I'll use the music note ribbon for Epistophy.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

This wasn't mean to be a hard post to write

This was going to be  about how I went away for the weekend to Marysville , had an amazing 10km trail run as part of the Marysville marathon festival,and happily knit, knit, knit away on my Epistrophy cardigan. All of that did happen, but unfortunately, that is not what this post is about. no, this post is about what happened when I tried on the cardigan, just before steeking it.

It's a terrible photo of my face, but that is entirely beside the point. The point is, look at that COLLAR. It is not meant to sit like that. Like it has not relationship with the cardigan, or my neck, but is just going to hang out there in the air by itself. Not good, not good at all. I'm going to rip it half way back and reknit the second half on a smaller needle and then use a firmer cast off. hopefully that will sort it out, otherwise I have not idea what I'm going to do.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Yarnalong - the one where I can't think of anything clever

I had such a lovely four day weekend, and now I'm back in the swing of normal life and feeling just a little a little bit flat.

I wish I'd managed a picture of Epistrophy somewhere interesting, but I didn't think of it, so here it is no my living room floor! I start the colourwork yoke next, which is pretty exciting.

I'm reading  Ellen Kusher's Swordpoint and loving it. It's sort of fantasy, but not in the magic kind of way. A really fun read.

And I'm between audiobooks right now.

And that's me for another week. Make sure you pop over to Ginny's blog to see what she and the rest of the yarnalong have been up to this week.