Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Wednesdays are for Books (A Stash of Ones Own)

I think I first read about Clara Park's A Stash of Ones Own on the Knitty blog. I was pretty excited about it. When I saw it offered on NetGalley I couldn't press the "request now" button fast enough. The book is a collection of essays by different knitting personalities, focusing on stash - what it is, why we have it, how much we have, what it means to each of the authors.
Stash is a subject close to my heart - one I blog about frequently, and spend quite a lot of time considering, so an entire book dedicated to the subject is quite a treat. Each chapter, or essay, is by a different author, and each (so far) is completely different in tone and content. So far I've read one by Meg Swanson, one on the stash stats on Ravely, one by the queen of stashers - the Yarn Harlot and an essay by Amy Herzog arguing that, although she has a years worth of yarn around she doesn't actually have a stash!

I'm reading these one each day:It feel like each chapter should be savoured and considered. I've made the mistake before of reading anthologies as if they were novels, and I tend to find that gets wearisome. So far I'm really enjoying the thoughts this books has raised about stash, and it's a fun read too! I'll be back next Wednesday with a review of the next seven essays.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Ardmore socks - finished

I finished Leon's socks yesterday and I am so, so happy with them. Kate Davie's Ardmore Guernsey charts translated nicely onto a basic top down 68 stitch heel and gusset sock pattern:





And the Socks that Rock yarn shows those cables beautifully. I know that sometimes the  STR loose a bit of colour after a lot of washing, but that is worth the amazing stitch definition. Just look at those cables.They are delightfully plump and beautiful.


I tried to get a picture that showed how the jumper and the socks match, but all I got what I got was this picture of Leon looking rather awkward.  Still, as the self appointed queen of matchy matchyness, I am very happy to present a matching jumper / sock set.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Next up...

Leon’s Ardmore socks are going well. I predict they will be done by tomorrow afternoon.

The Wollmeise yarn I ordered for my next project hasn’t arrived yet. I’ve got a tracking number, but it’s not working, so I have no idea when it is going to arrive. I ordered it two weeks ago, which I thought would be plenty of time. I guess this is an argument for having a stash, rather than buying as you go.


I think I’ll make Rachey an Endless Rainbow shawl. She was browsing the internet at Christmas, and asked for one, sort of as a joke, sort of seriously. I’m not sure if she’s a shawl wearing kind of person, so I’ve been hesitant, but I may as well make it. I’ve got this beautiful yarn for the contrast colour and picked up some wool/silk from Wool Baa yesterday.


I was nervous about the yarn bleeding prewashed it just to be sure. And I didn't retry the skien. just before I chucked it in the washer to spin dry I thought "hmm, should I tie this in a knot? Nah, she'll be right." and now it's a rather tangled mess. My bad.



Working in white might be quite interesting, given how many public places I tend to work on my projects. i'll have to be a bit more careful about not dropping the yarn on the floor in pubs, public transport or the park!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Wednesdays are for reading (Reincarnation Blues)

I'm reading Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore.


It's another ARC from the good people at NetGalley. It came up on Robin Hobb's feed, and she hasn't steered me wrong yet.
Here's the description: 
 What if you could live forever—but without your one true love? Reincarnation Blues is the story of a man who has been reincarnated nearly 10,000 times, in search of the secret to immortality so that he can be with his beloved, the incarnation of Death. Neil Gaiman meets Kurt Vonnegut in this darkly whimsical, hilariously profound, and wildly imaginative comedy of the secrets of life and love. Transporting us from ancient India to outer space to Renaissance Italy to the present day, is a journey through time, space, and the human heart.

 I'm about halfway through, and really enjoying it. It reminds me of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Fiveexcept it makes a little more sense. It's a book that requires suspension of disbelief, but I have had absolutely no problem just going with some of the absurd aspects of the premise, because it is really well written. i'm really looking forward to going home tonight, curling up with this book and finding out what happens next.

Matchy, matchy, matchyness

The other day I mentioned that I have a new splint for my broken finger. It's black. When I got it I asked if I could have another colour. Remember my bright blue hand brace? I was hoping for hot pink this time. My finger therapist said “no. this is Melbourne, almost everybody asks for black.” So I got a Darth Vadar black finger splint.
 

Continuing the theme, I got my nails done to match. Because everything must be matchy in my life. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Finished: Ardmore Jumper

As I mentioned, I finished Leon's Ardmonre jumper and we're really happy with it!
It looks fantastic, and it fits really well from the front:

The back has a tiny bit of flare at the hem, which improved with blocking, but is a slight flaw, which I cannot work out how to fix. If I'd known earlier I would have made the back a tiny bit longer than the front, or thrown in some short rows, but, well, hindsight is 20/20 and for this one I actually just followed the pattern. Maybe it's because of Leon's well developed shoudlers and tiny waist?

I love the yarn - Blue Moon Fiber Arts Woobu. The bamboo gives it a silky shine and the semi solid dye is just wonderful. I've got enough left over for a jumper for me, I'm going to make Romi Hill's Manzanita.
here's a photo of Princess Daisy helping with the blocking:

But back to the point on hand: Leon, looking handsome in his handsome new jumper:



  

Friday, August 11, 2017

A knitting and a finger update

You know how I love everything to be matchy matchy – when I bought the Blue Moon Fiber Arts yarn that I used for Leon’s Ardmore, I bought a matching skein of sock yarn in the same colour – Meet brown, Joe. They look a little different because they are dyed on different bases, but they are the same colour:



I finished the jumper this week, it’s blocking now and we’ll do a photoshoot on the weekend. I cast on a matching pair of socks – I’m using the Ardmore pattern transcribed onto a 68 stitch sock.  This is such fun, although it has progressed slowly this week, partly because it is quite cabled:

But look how the cables pop in the Socks That Rock! Mainly they have been slow because we’ve been out every night this week. I saw my finger therapist this week and he gave me a new splint:



I’m seeing him again in two weeks. Hopefully I’ll be done with the splint by then. I want to finish a project at the same time as I get free of this splint, because it’s probably affecting my tension. I asked my hand therapist if I could take the splint off to cast on – I tried to explain how the long tail cast on is difficult without being able to use my fourth finger. He gave me a blank look, and then said “no”. Well he took about six sentences to do so, but the summary was no. At least the new brace holds my finger in perfect knitting position.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Wednesdays are for reading (Beauty and the Moustache)



Katie came across this book somewhere (I really should ask here where)  and put it on Instagram. Knitting, romance and free? Yes please. This is the fourth book in the Knitting in the City series, and the prequel to the Winston Brothers series. Normally I would not read a series out of order, but it was listed as a standalone, so I “bought” it.

And I loved it. This might be best romance book I have ever read. The characters are delightful, the love feels real and the process of getting there feels believable. And she cuts out of the sex scenes, which is the way I like it - close the door, I know what they are doing in there, I don't need a blow by blow description thank you very much.
While story is told is told in first person from the point of view of Ashley the main character, there is a whole cast of supporting characters – a knitting group of friends, and her brothers, and the landscape itself, that give the book vibrancy and texture.
While there is some mention of knitting, which made me smile, knitting is not the focus of the book - in fact, I never found out what Ashley was knitting. I did keep wondering though.
 

My only regret is that I didn’t start at the beginning of the series. True, the book makes sense by itself, but you meet Ashley’s friends and their partners, who are the subject of the previous books. The moment I finished this book I bought the first in the series, and I’m so excited that there are loads of books by Penny Reid for me to catch up on - 7 Knitting in the City Books, and 6 Winston Brothers - to be both excited and exact!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Just like old times

Kris is knitting a Miller's Daughter shawl, and I've been utterly obsessed with it from the moment I saw it. The pattern is written for laceweight, but I wanted to make it in fingering, because I'm still scarred by my last laceweight knitting. Also, I want the extra warmth. I decided I wanted something with cashmere in it, and so, on Friday night, I bought some Wollmeise Blend:

It's three of these colours, I'll show you which when they arrive. The shawl mainly uses two colours, with just a tiny bit of the third. I bought three so I can choose when they get here. 

Remember when Wollmeise was really hard to buy? They would do updates on Friday nights, Melbourne time, and I'd sit down after a boozy dinner and do my shopping. Well, it felt like that on Friday night, glass of red wine in hand, beautiful colours on my screen to choose from. I'm really looking forward to this yarn.

And this feels like a suitable time to do a stashcount: 13,695 meters.
Record lows, and doing well. Although I do suddenly want to buy ALL THE THINGS, so I will have to proceed with caution if I don't want to end up back where where I started. 


Friday, August 4, 2017

Whisky and knitting

My Ardmore jumper is motoring along nicely. I’m moving down the second sleeve. It’s been a pleasant kind of knit.
Last weekend I went to the hairdresser, and Leon said he would mosey on to the fancy whisky shop. I asked him to buy some Ardmore whisky, because I thought, given the club, it was appropriate to match my whisky to my knitting.


Although let’s face it, even without the club I would have thought it was funny.

So, Leon went to the fancy whisky shop, where he did not find Ardmore, but he did buy a delicious bottle of Ardberg. They he went to the normal bottle shop across the road and found the Ardmore, and bought that too.

The outcome being, I’m making a marvellous jumper and have a couple more bottles of wonderful whisky. Kate Davie's Inspired by Islay club just keeps on giving.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Wednesdays are for reading (Nice jewish Boys)

I just finished Nice Jewish Boys by Sarah L. Young, which was another NetGalley book. This book was really frustrating. It felt like a lecture on how to be nice to your gay son even if you are a bit of a republican homophobe. I was reading highlights out to Leon , and he asked if the person writing it had ever been a teenage boy. I ask if she had ever met a gay teenager.


The two main characters cry ALL THE TIME. Avishai  is meant to be depressed, so that makes sense, but Noah is meant to be over six foot tall and masculine. And he also cries all the time.
There is an utterly cringe worthy scene where they explain to his father – who is a US Congressman, no less that “if you call anyone … a name that you would feel in any way offended or insulted being called, then my expert advice to you would be to think twice before calling them that."  Yep, don’t call your kid queer. I’m just nitpicking, because the premise of the book is great  - two teenage boys who attend a Jewish private school come out. But it’s written in a really melodramatic, overwrought manner.
When I finished the book I discovered that it was written for NaNoWriMo when the author was 15, which explained a lot. I would absolutely recommend that she keeps writing, under all the melodrama I think she showed a strong, confident authorial voice.   

Monday, July 31, 2017

Do I, or don't I?

Today I stumbled across this:
Yes, Blue Moon Fiber Arts, my favourite dyer, is doing something with sending different kinds of yarn, and colours and information. I am sorely tempted. I haven't been a member of a yarn club since 2014 (as a side note, I miss Cookie A). I've had a lot of fun with pattern subscriptions from Romi Hill and Kate Davies, but right now I've got nothing coming, in either by snail mail or by email. And it is fun to have something to look forward to each month. The introductory price lasts until the 15th of August... anyone else want to join me?

Sunday, July 30, 2017

More than one way to skin a cat

Last Monday, at Richmond Knitters, Katie mentioned she was expanding her BeeKeepers Quilt, because "it wasn't big enough":
Katie's photo. Look how pretty that is!
I wondered if she wanted some Left Over Sock Yarn. She said "sure, but only if you keep some and work on your sock blanket".

Katie said she wanted "garden colours". I still don't know what that means, but I grabbed 400 grams of pretty colours, and put them in a zip lock bag, and now they are freed to be part of something beautiful.

Now I only have about 400 grams of LOSY! I don't guarantee I will actually work on my blanket, although I did knit a square the other night.

Friday, July 28, 2017

It’s not Bendigo, but…

As you know I don’t go to Bendigo this year. I was a bit sad, but mainly happy, because I am working hard to get my stash down, and that would not have been fun at the wool show.



One thing I was really sad about it that each year there is a produce tent, and I usually buy Pud Balls. This year I missed out. And then today at work I went downstairs to get my normal ten am coffee and for reasons I never found out, there was a little market downstairs selling olive oil and wine and PUD BALLS!



I’m so happy. Hopefully I bought enough to last until Bendigo 2018.


The packets at the bottom are rocky road and some sort of chocolate popcorn thing. YUM.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Wednesdays are for books (One Last Thing Before I go)



This week I’m reading One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper.  I’ve read most of his other books, and this book is in the same vein as his previous novels; books about dysfunctional families, men who have not lived to their maximum potential and the funny/sad things that happen to them. Each book is different, but they are all on this theme – I recommend reading them all, but not reading them all in a row.


I chose to read this now because I wanted something a bit lighter –I guess I’d call his books contemporary fiction – pleasant, interesting, well written. This book is no exception.
And if this week's entry seems a bit bland, that's because, despite enjoying this book I find myself without all that much to say about it. I guess some books I just read for pleasure, and that's all there is to say about it.

Well, that was unexpected

On Thursday I swatched for my next project –Kate Davies’ Ardmore jumper. I’m using the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Woobu that I bought pretty much exactly a year ago




It comes in giant 500 meter hanks, which make the biggest balls ever!

I swatched: not to Kate Davies Instructions, which involved working 12.5 cm flat stocking stitch, then the 18 row cable chart. Twice.

Swatches lie at the best of times. Testing your in the round gauge by knitting flat is approximate at best  I knit a little flat square of stocking stitch, I got gauge, and that will have to do.


I had Friday off work, and I cast on. I casually knit through the weekend – relaxing at home, brunch with friends. It was a lovely relaxed and relaxing weekend. And then I found myself here:


Dividing for the underarms.

I did not expect that to come by quite so soon. And now I embark on the more challenging aspects of this lovely sweater: cables. And knitting flat, which means purling back. It's been a long time between purls!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Epic - and done

I finished the Village Sweater Wrap late last week, and took photos today. i had all sorts of plans to go down to the park, or take photos in my buildings courtyard, but then it was raining very enthusiastically, so we did them on my marvelous balcony. 

It's a rather odd garment:

I think I like it, but I'm not sure how I'm going to wear it. Probably in summer, over a plain dress.

It is meant to be reversible, but I knew from the beginning that I wanted to wear it with the burgundy side up, and the blue at the bottom: not like this:

The only change i made the the pattern was knitting the sleeves flat. No way was I doing that garter stitch in the round, particularity after my first attempt.

It took me two and a half months of mainly monogamous knitting to finish this, although I was surprised when I reviewed things that I had also knit a pair of slippers, a pair of sneakerliners, a cowl and a pair of mitts. So I guess not nearly as monogamous as I thought. 

I feel like I finally learnt a kind of patience, and got a rhythm going. Although as soon as I finished it, I started to plan to knit all the things. Overall it was a very satisfying knit, if frustrating at times. I'm happy I made it, and very interested to see how much wear it ends up getting.  





Thursday, July 20, 2017

LOSY hat fun

I don't do a lot of charity knitting, but I do give to KOGO - when your husband gets a new winter set each year, the old ones have to go somewhere, and they are usually in perfect condition. After I finished the Village sweater wrap I wanted to knit something quick, easy and fun. Something I didn't have to think about at all. So I knit a LOSY  hat:

60 grams of left over sock wool, held double, changing colours when the previous one runs out. So much fun.

Then, when I went to put it in the box where both my gifts and my darning live, I discovered that there were a few pairs of Leon's socks to fix. 


I've got the day off work today - the hospital wanted to operate on my finger, but I got a second opinion who said "absolutely not" so I took the day off anyway, just to relax a little after a fairly stressful week, and now I'm going cast on my next big project, a jumper for Leon. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Wednesdays are for books (Court of Lions)

I've decided that numbering these posts is silly, and I'm going to start naming them after the book I'm reading. Which is still Jane Johnson's Court of Lions. Which is not a negative reflection on the book, it's a good read which I look forward to sitting down with at every opportunity. It is exciting and romantic and suspenseful and lovely.

I think one reason I'm not reading quite as much as usual is I'm listening to Patrick Rothfuss' The Wise Man's FearI've read the book in paper and loved it, and it's even better in audio. it is also 42 hours long, so engaging and very good value for my Audible credit. The only thing is, it's the second in a trilogy that has reached it's ten year anniversary - and there is no release date for the third book, which is rather concerning. 


 I hope you are enjoying what you are reading this week as much as I am!