Thursday, March 31, 2016

Bush camping, hiking and woolies - a review

The holiday we just came back from started with three days of kayaking. It was organised through these people and I cannot recommend them enough. Bush camping on a beach, with only two access points - hiking and boating in. On the first day the weather was a bit rough, but that was more than offset by the dolphins that came a swam with us while we paddled. Amazing.

Then we did a three day hike, organised by a couple of friends of ours. Again, blissfully peaceful, lovely walking, and stunning bush camping. We saw wallabies and a snake and a whole lot of birds.



When we were packing, I thought long and hard about two particular pieces of clothing - socks and jumpers. When running I still wear commercial socks, but I wanted to see if handknits would be fine for hiking. I figured they should be - after all the original explorers who carved out this trail would have been wearing handknit wool socks. I took the plainest stocking stitch socks I have made and they worked just fine. At the end of three days of hiking in heavy boots, they didn't even smell.


I also brought Owls. I love this jumper but, being made of really heavy weight handspun I don't get a lot of wear out of it in the city. It was perfect. Warm, breathable and flexible with my other clothing options. I'm so glad I went old school and trusted my knitwear, which has a long history in conditions just like these.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Yarnalong - the one where I'm back from the bush

Joining Ginny a day late for this week's yarnalong, because I just got back from a blissful week with no phone or internet. 

On my kayaking and bushwalking adventure I took The Light Between Oceans, because it was set in a lighthouse and that seemed appropriate for a trip in Wilson's Promontory. While I sort of enjoyed it it's not a very good book. It changes tense, has some very weak plot devices and it's just not very good.

I knitted on Twist Pullover, which went well and turned out to be a great project for this trip - simple and light. It was such a joy to be able to knit and read in lovely places this week. 

I'll  tell you all about the actual holiday tomorrow, and review the knitwear we took with us too.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Bush holiday

Tomorrow we are heading down Wilson's Prom way, to spend three days kayaking, followed by three days hiking. I've never done any hike in camping, so I am very excited and a little bit anxious. What if I haven't brought enough food? What if I've brought too much stuff and it weights too much? What if I run out of knitting?
In that 40 litre pack is everything I'm going to need for 6 days.
Because one of the important things when planning this trip was what to bring to knit. I'm making Twist pullover in laceweight, and I haven't even cast on yet, so I certainly won't finish it. I've got a small dry bag, to make sure my knitting doesn't get wet, and also so I can clip it to the outside of my pack. I've also got mini book light, so I can shine light downwards, so I can knit after dark, and not bother others with my light.


So, I feel an prepared as I can be for this trip. Food, boots and knitting. I'll let you know how it went when I get back next week.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Yarnalong - the one where the knitting is progressing slowly

Welcome to this week's yarnalong, where I, and a whole bunch of other people join Ginny in sharing what we are knitting and reading this week. If you would like to see everyone else's posts, they are over at Ginny's blog Small Things.

I'm still knitting Rachael Coopey's Windle Pool socks, just not very fast. We've been really busy, and not the sort of busy that means I'm out at bars, or running around the countryside or just hanging out with friends. More the kind of busy caused by fun runs and yoga and getting ready for a holiday we are about to go on.

I'm listening to Hogfather, the next Discworld novel, to go with these socks.

And I am reading a book called Straight Pepper Diet a memoir by Joseph Naus. It's the story of a sex, alcohol and porn addicted lawyer and, while it is kind of harrowing it is also very good.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Leon's winter set 2016 - complete



I finished Leon's winter set, blocked it and we went to the park on Saturday to take photos. This was the longest I've ever taken over a set -I did the mitts in November last year as part of Kate Davies 7 skeins club. I did the hat, also from the 7 skein club a couple of weeks ago:
If you look very carefully, you may be able to see that I didn't actually divide the stitches evenly. One "wedge" is big, and one is small. I started the stranded pattern when out to dinner with girlfriends, and didn't notice until I was almost finished the deceases. I like it, and so does Leon, so I didn't rip.

The photo above shows the yarn dominance issue on the gloves. I learnt so much knitting those tiny mitts.  
And finally there is the scarf. I cast on provisionally, knit the stranded pattern from the mitts, cast off and then knit the other way, so it matches. While miles of stocking stitch, knit flat might not always be thrilling, doing in Kate Davie's Buachaille  yarn was actually a pleasure. The yarn really is something special. In fact, I would say this is one of my favourite sets I've made for Leon, and I'm pretty sure we're up to set number nine. As evidenced in the photo below Leon is pretty pleased with it too.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Yarn pattern combination - and some more thoughts on stash

You may have noticed a little something about the sock I'm knitting in the last post and that's that the yarn is just a little bit busy for the pattern I'm knitting.


I knew this from pretty much the beginning of the sock, but I'm persevering because the yarn is so pretty, and I can't see where else I would use it. The thing is, I bought the yarn at the Sock Summit in 2009, and sometime between then and now I stopped knitting plain socks. I'm all about cables, and lace and complexity. I enjoy knitting fancy socks, and I enjoy wearing them. So, while hand dyed yarn is still fine, I now tend to buy semi solid yarn, with the emphasis on the solid.  Six years ago though, I was knitting plainer socks with busier yarn. I'm persevering with  this combination though, even though it is not perfect, because I think the yarn is pretty and should have a chance to be used, and because it was on the bottom of the pile

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Yarnalong - the one where nothing has left the house

Normally I do a lot of my reading and knitting when I'm out of the house. I read by the river at lunchtime (here's my view)


and I knit with the Richmond Knitters, or at the pub, or on public transport, everywhere.

Since we got home from our little trip nothing has left the house. Not my book, not my knitting. Unusual. 


While we were away I started reading Prep. I got a third of the way through, and decided it was just a telling of some girl with low self esteem's school life, but nothing really happened. It was a bunch of loosely connected incidents, with a protagonist who is never happy, no matter what happens. Which I would say is also true of Magda Subuski's memoir as well. I'm persevering with the memoir, but I  gave up on Prep and picked up Rachel Herron's recently released book The Darling Songbirds. It's just lovely. I love the main character and, while the plot is predictable, the journey is so enjoyable. I haven't been reading at lunch though, I've been eating with work  friends.

On Monday night I cast on Windle Poons socks. the next in Rachel Coopey's 'What Would Granny Weatherwax Knit" club. I'm not going to crap on about how much I love Rachel Coopey, you've heard it all before.

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

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A weekend in the country

Leon and I spent the Labor day long weekend in Marysville, one of my favourite places.  We were planning to catch the bus up, but for no apparent reason my father offered us his car, so we drove instead. We stopped in Healesville for coffee  on the way up and I discovered a darling, and relatively new yarn shop.

 It had a really lovely collection of yarn, and I found a ball of Lang yarns, self striping with sparkle that I could not say no to. It's important to support lovely local yarn shops, right?

For those of you following along at home I now have 15547 metres of yarn. I'm planning to use this for some sort of a two coloured shawl. Any suggestions are welcomed.

Other than that, there was surprisingly little knitting, done on the weekend. I want to say something hardcore like "we were there to train, and train we did", and while it's true that we did a 16km trail run, and a 11km hike - I wanted to test out my new hiking boots 



 the lack of knitting was more about the fact that we didn't watch television. We read and played Scabble and had early nights, and yesterday I din't knit at all. Not one stitch. I've got two more rows on Leon's scarf, so I'm going to go do those now.


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Paperdolls -some thoughts at the end

I finished Paperdolls last week and I love it. It's easy to wear, fits like a dream and those creepy, creepy dolls amuse me so much:


Look at the expressions on the faces. Each one has her own very special facial expression!

The fit was a little looser through the body than I was expecting, but it works:

Josh took the photos on our trip to St Kilda, and it was nice to have a photographer who thinks taking photos is fun.

This pattern had all the ingredients for success: A Kate Davies pattern, Jameison and Smith yarn and a really practical and fun concept. I think it lives up to that promise, and I'm finding myself reaching for it often, to wear to work and on the weekends. 



Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Yarnalong -the one where winter is coming

As I said earlier in the week, and all evidence to the contrary, winter is coming, and I thought I would get Leon's winter set (2016) done. I knit the mitts as part of the 7 Skeins Club, and last week I made the hat, also from the club. I decided to improvise the scarf by taking the motive from the mitts and putting it on a scarf:




It does mean that the scarf has a right and a wrong side, but I think it will look good anyway. It also meant a lot of flat colourwork, which did took forever, and I've still got the other end to do. It will be worth it to have the matching set though.

I'm reading Half the World by Joe Abercombe. It's the second in the Shattered Sea trilogy, and I'm loving it as much as I did the first.  I really don't want to put it down. I love reading good fantasy, and this certainly qualifies.

And I'm still struggling through Magda Szubannski's memoir Reckoning. She's just so negative. And I'm a third of the way through and she's now eleven years old. Mainly I'm listening to the Call Your Girlfriend podcast. They're a bit nuts, but also a whole lot of fun.

And that's what I've been up to this week. Join Ginny and the rest of the yarnalong, over at her blog Small Things.



Monday, March 7, 2016

Winter is coming

My friend Josh came to stay, and he's been sleeping in the study, which is where the computer is, which explains why there was no post this weekend. We've had a fantastic weekend. Josh has been to Melbourne three or four times before, but he's never been to St Kilda beach. We took him there. We also took him to Cranbourne, so he got the full spectrum of Melbourne life!


All the while I've been knitting away on a scarf for Leon's Winter Set (2016). While it's warm here right now, and likely to remain so, Josh has set the mood quite well. He's just come back from working in Antarctica and has been showing us photos and telling us stories about ice and cold and penguins. He's heading back to Antarctica later this year. Maybe I should knit him a hat before then.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Yarnalong - the one with more Kate Davies

Because you know I can not get enough of Kate Davies! I'm knitting the stranded bunnet from last years 7 skeins club, in buchaille yarn. I love this yarn so much.

I'm  reading Jojo Moyes' Sheltering Rain. I love this kind of book, family drama with a whole lot of back story. And this one has horses too.

I'm listening to Magda Szubannski's memoir Reckoning. I normally adore memoirs, especially those read by their authors, but I am finding this quite slow. Hopefully it will pick up. It's certainly nice to be listening to an Australian narrator, and I might try to chase down more books with Aussie readers.

To see what Ginny and the rest of the yarnalong are up to, pop over to her blog. I hope you enjoy what you are knitting and reading this week as much as I am.