Friday, April 29, 2016

What now?

I ripped the mitts, but didn't have the energy to immediately cast them back on, and found myself feeling a bit indecisive and between things.

Last Sunday, at a beer drinking event, I'd had a very honest conversation with a very nice person (I have to say this, because without tone, she might sound like she was being horrible, or dismissive, and that's not what was going on). She asked at what point do you have enough socks and scarves and jumpers and so on? And I'm pretty close to that point. And then Kate and I were discussing Kate Davies' new book of haps. There are 15, designed by some of my favourite designers and I'd like to knit all of them. But I certainly don't need 15 more shawls, and I don't have that many people in my life who would appreciate or deserve a handknitted shawl. 

These are my hand knitted jumpers. I'm not going to be cold, ever again
So, I'm knitting a pair of sneaker liners, but that conversation is nagging at me. What happens when I have enough? My grandmother knitted us each a jumper every year. Maybe I need to be closer to the kids in my life. I don't know. I do know that knitting, for me, is about the comfort of having the needles in my hands, of looping those stitches, of the act of knitting, as well as the finished products. I'm sure this mood will pass, or I'll find more knitworthy people or take up sewing. These things do tend to resolve themselves, one way or another. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Yarnalong - the one where writting about things helps me decide what to do about them

I'm listening to All the Single Ladies and I can only describe it as terrible. It's non fiction and purports to be about "unmarried women and the rise of an independent nation". What it actually seems to be about is that it is better to be single than in a bad relationship. Which I agree with, but it's like the author cannot see a relationship where the couple grows together, or does things separately if they don't want to do the same things. It also doesn't seem to be written in any order, lacks structure and relies heavily on anecdata and presenting the author's thoughts as if they are facts. In fact, after summing it up here, I have decided not to waste my time listening to the second half.

I'm knitting Kate Davies' Goats mitts after finishing the hat this week. only they are coming out really big, so I'm going to rip back and start again, on 2.5 mm needles, rather than the 3.25 called for in the pattern.

I'm reading What is Visible by Kimberly Elkins and this, at least, I'm enjoying. It's the story of a deaf and blind woman in the 1800s, and it is well written, interesting and moving. 

As usual on a Wednesday I'm joining Ginny for the Yarnalong. Pop over to her blog to see what she and the rest of the Yarnalong peeps are up to this week.



Monday, April 25, 2016

Twist jumper, done

Twist pullover was a bit of a weird knit for me. I started it when camping and, as predicted, it was a perfect knit for those circumstances. I don't know if it was because of the weeklong bush camping, but, before I had it finished, it smelled weird. For those of you not in Australia this wasn't because of campfires. No campfires in our bushfire prone national parks. I've got a super sensitive nose, and I could smell it. Not bad, but like it needed a wash.

Then I picked up the stitches for the sleeves,and it was messier than I hoped. Then I tried it on and it was shorter than I had knitted it.

Anyway, I finished it, and blocked it - ah the magic of blocking, and here it is:

I quite like it, even though it's on odd object. It's very warm and very light and I can imagine throwing it in my bag on a nice summer evening.

I've worn it twice, and each time I received a number of unsolicited compliments on the colour and the shape or it, so that's a good sign.

So, while time will tell whether I wear this all the time or not that much, I'm glad I made it as well as being glad it's done. As a bonus, it's nice to have a top that has a different silhouette from the things I often knit.  

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Gifted - Blanket of Love

I finally made my way to visit Elise in her new house, and give her the replacement "blanket of love" also known as Kate Davies' Tir Chonaill.

 
But I was more worried about how the cats would react. They loved the previous blanket, but that was made of supersoft Cascade 220, and this blanket it from Wendy Traditional Aran, which can best be described as rugged.
I needn't have worried though. A couple of days later Elise put this photo up on Instagram: 

I'm counting this project a success on all counts: great pattern, fun knitting and a recipient who loves it. Now, I'm off to knit some more Kate Davies colour work, because that'sy favourite thing in the world.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Yarnalong - the one where I finish some things and decide not to finish other things

I finished Twist pullover. Its blocking behind me as we speak. I'm looking forward to seeing how it looks on, once it's dried.

After getting two third of the way through it, I abandoned My Brilliant Friend. I was finding the blow by blow description of the protagonist's childhood tedious,and they kept carrying on about these shoes, and she had no personality and on Saturday night I thought "they are going to marry her 15 year old best friend off to someone she hates, and I can't bring myself to care".  That's not a spoiler, by the way, I don't know that was really going to happen, but I also didn't care. So I abandoned that, and started Until Tuesday, by Luis Carlos Montalván an American ex serviceman and was tearing up before I had finished the first chapter. Not the best written memoir ever, but he really made me care.

I have just cast on for a Kate Davies colourwork hat, The Goats of Inversnaid (but in my head I keep wondering why there are goats in Inverness). Not much to see yet, but I know I'll love it, because: Kate Davies + colourwork + buachaille is an equation with only one answer.

I recommend visiting Ginny's blog to see what she, and the rest of the yarn along are up to this week.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

A weekend on Sleeve Island

Well actually we went to Woodend do do the 20 kilometre Run The Rock fun run. Woodend is an hour outside Melbourne and we decided to stay in our favourite place - Holgate Brewhouse. Yep, we slept in a hotel that is also a pub, restaurant and brewery.

The entire weekend, we only took two pictures:


In this I'm knitting the second sleeve of Twist Pullover.

And I'm having a great time, the run in the morning was amazing, field and cows and horses. I love country runs, especially when there is trail running involved. We spent the first half of the afternoon in a wine bar, drinking bubbly and eating cheese, and the rest of the evening in the brewery, eating dinner and drinking good beer. But at the same time I'm also marooned on Sleeve Island, knit, knit knitting away and getting absolutely nowhere.   


That's a picture of the sleeve taken on the train home. So far to go. And the worse part is, I'm not sure I'm going to like the jumper when it is finished. But that's not too much of a problem, since I am clearly going to be knitting this sleeve forever.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Stashcount - before and after

Because I blogged before I added my newest purchases to Ravelry, I had to wait to see how much yardage I now have. Keep in mind my basic aim would be to have as little as practicable, but I'm always going to have some beautiful lace and sock weight that I buy when I have the opportunity, or when I get bargains at the Mill or whatever. Perhaps a more realistic goal would be to not have any yarn that is more than a year or two old, which would also translate to keeping the stash below 15 kilometers, since that's around what I knit in a year. Well, before I bought this new yarn I had 15525 meters of yarn (down from my previous count in December of 17823 which is quite pleasing, because I have bought a fair bit of yarn since then). It currently sits at 17984 metres, which is  certainly the upper end of where I want it, but also fine, since each skein and ball has a plan and a destiny waiting for it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Yarnalong - the one with a few of my favourite things

I took this photo on the train on Monday and I'm using it for this week's Yarnalong, because it captures my favourite things in one shot - my Kindle in its Pad & Quill cover, knitting, my wireless headphones and a cup of coffee. Bliss.

I'm knitting Twist Pullover. Laceweight jumper / shrug.Ii'm knitting it with long sleeves, so its taking a while, but I'm enjoying it. i could never get bored knitting with this colour yarn.

I'm listening to Mishka Shubulay's I Swear I'll Make It Up To You. A memoir about an addict who quits drinking and finds long distance running, read by the author. My kind of book, cathartic and inspiring and honest.

I'm reading My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. It hasn't really grabbed me yet, at the moment it's just a painfully slow description of two girls' childhoods, but nothing seems to be actually happening. I'll stick with it for a little bit longer, it's one of those books that everyone seems to be talking about right now.

And that's another week in reading and knitting. Click over to Ginny's blog to see what she, and the rest of the yarnalong, are up to this week.



Monday, April 11, 2016

Work love

I have anew manager at work, who is very happy to help me be happy. So when I said I wanted to go to Wangarrata, she sent me there at the next possible opportunity.
Walking down the street and seeing the sign to Textile venue literally set my pulse racing. Who knows what wonders might be inside?
I was actually fairly restrained, keeping in mind that I am going to the Bendigo Sheep show this year, and to New Zealand just after that.
There was a giant bin full of Patonyle. I wanted to buy all of it.
 Instead I bought one ball of utterly florescent safety yellow to make sneaker liners
 Six balls of a more normal yellow to make a Whispy cardigan
 I bought some Cleckheaton Country 8 ply to make Ginny's cardigan.  The colour is an amazing blue green, that is not reflected very well in this photo.
After going to the mill I went to work and then went and caught the train home. It's all allocated seating and by crazy coincidence I was seated next to a woman knitting a blanket. I took a creepy shot, you can just see her blanket on the left, and my bright green knitting on my lap on the right. 
 All in all a very satisfying day. \Now I just have to add the stash to Ravelry and tally up my new totals.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Windle Poons Socks - Finished

As I suspected from the beginning, the yarn was rather too busy for these magnificently patterned socks. Despite this, I am very happy with them. They fit perfectly, and are super comfortable. the pattern is cleaver, mirrored and running down the outside edge of each sock.

I did have to wrestle with the feeling that they were taking forever to knit, but that is a consequence of choosing to knit complicated socks. I don't know why I am always in such a rush to finish things. Anyway, those are thoughts to ponder another time, for now I'm going to put on my new socks and be joyful.  


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Yarnalong - the one where I'm celebrating the last Wednesday off

Remember six months ago when I decided not to work quite full time anymore? Well, due to some changes at work I've decided to go back to full time employment, so this is my last part time week. The weather is rainy and cold, so I'm celebrating by sitting on the couch with a large pot of tea and knitting and reading all day.  

I'm knitting two things at the same time! I'm still knitting the slowest socks in the world- Windle Poons. I'm enjoying them, but keeping them largely at home as they are heavily charted. For public knitting - and there is a lot of it at the moments because it's comedy festival time  I'm working my way through the front of the twist Pullover. Perfect public knitting.

I'm still listening to Hogfather, I haven't had a lot of audio time in the last couple of weeks.  

I'm reading The Seer by Sonia Oris Lyris. It's proper fantasy with wonderful worldbuilding, sympathetic characters and it's a very good read. 

As usual on a Wednesday I'm joining Ginny for Yarnalong. Pop over to her blog to see what she, and everyone else, is knitting and reading this week.

Monday, April 4, 2016

More mending -this time it's socks

Inspired by mending my mother's jumper, I decided to have a look at my own mending basket.I pop anything that needs mending inside one of those woven Ikea baskets, meaning I can't actually keep track of what's inside. I was a bit worried, especially when I pulled out all of these for repair:

Most of them are so old I don't have the original yarn, so I matched them with as closely as I could. I'm actually quite happy with my darning skills these days:
 
I had to throw out two pairs of socks - the pink and blue ones where made from Noro and the toes where so worn out that my only option would have been to reknit the entire toe in different yarn, and one pair of sports socks - also out of Noro.
It feels very satisfying to have emptied the mending basket, and put this part of my life in good order.
 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Mending

In 2009 I knit my mother an Adult Surprise Jumper out of predominantly orange Noro. She loved it, or should I say she loves it.



Now, my mother is short - even compared to me - and this is a very heavy 7
year old garter stitch jumper, so it is all stretched out and gets longer every year. Twice I have tried to make her something (I think) is nicer - once in blue Wollmeise and once in Noro. Each time she seems happy, but keeps on wearing the old one. 

She came to me last week and pointed out that the buttonholes are starting to dissolve.   I've fixed them as best I could with crotchet, but I think it really shows how worn out this jumper is. I guess I would call this knitting project a success, since my mother has worn it until it is literally falling apart. I'm still going to keep trying to knit her something she can love this much.

I'm thinking maybe an Agata cardigan might be good. Otherwise any suggestions for cardigans that do up, hit below the hips and would look good in bright or self stripping yarn are appreciated.