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!

Technique Tuesday

Recently, Sonia did a Norah Gaughan hat class. When she showed me her sample, I was very impressed with the cast one edge. It looked like a tubular cast on, but it wasn’t. I’ve said before wI love the tubular cast on but sometimes it can be a pain to work, and can be slightly tight. So, when Sonia told me this was a knitted on cast on, I was intrigued. It turns out a knitted on cast on can be done using knits and purls, and it gives a very nice edge.


That's the edge of a hat, in case it wasn't clear
The other nice thing about this technique is, unlike the long tail cast on, I can still work it, even with my broken finger. So that’s a win – it’s pretty and I can actually work it in my current state.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Back Again

We had a fantastic time at the Festival of Voices. There was lots of singing - or in my case listening to other people sing - and drinking and hanging out with friends.  I did pop into the two yarn shops in Salamanca, including one that had lovely hand dyed yarn, but I just couldn't buy anything. I've worked so hard to get my stash down, and I want it to keep going in that direction.
Glee Plus singing at MONA

It was freezing in Hobart, which meant everyone was wearing their best knitwear all the time!

Sheep on the ferry to MONA

And I had time to work on the Village Sweater Wrap. I was good to knit, even with my finger in a splint although doing the long tail cast on was very challenging. I finished the wrap on the aeroplane home. Which seemed very balanced, since I cast it on at the beginning of a very different plane trip,  I'm pretty much unspeakable excited about. I haven't tried it on yet, so here's hoping it looks ok. I'll block it and take photos soon.

The only downside to the weekend was this morning I stacked it on a trail run. Now, in addition to having a broken finger, I've got a very bruised foot. The upside of that is that I'm catching public transport to work tomorrow - more time to knit!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The never ending Village Sweater Wrap

I had a blog post written, about how we were going to Hobart for the weekend, and how it was going to be really fun, and how I might even finish the endless Village Sweater Wrap.

And then I fell over at the gym and broke a finger:

All in all it could have been a lot worse. It was my work gym, and when it happened I went up to a guy a said "this happened" and showed him my twisted finger, and it was bleeding all over the place and all very dramatic. He and his team sorted me out and took me to he hospital.

I can knit, which is a relief, but I might be better off on bigger needles and thicker yarn. It's like this project really doesn't want to be finished.  


Mainly I'm just relieved I can still knit. I might also be able to spin, although I imagine mainly long draw.Have a great weekend, especially if you are going to Bendigo, and I'll catch you up on Sunday.

Wednesdays are for books (VII)

Robin Hob is one of my favourite authors, and the other day she tweeted that she was going to read Court of Lions by Jane Johnson. It sounded really good. This is the blurb:

Kate Fordham, escaping terrible trauma, has fled to the beautiful sunlit city of Granada, the ancient capital of the Moors in Spain, where she is scraping by with an unfulfilling job in a busy bar. One day in the glorious gardens of the Alhambra, once home to Sultan Abu Abdullah Mohammed, also known as Boabdil, Kate finds a scrap of paper hidden in one of the ancient walls. Upon it, in strange symbols, has been inscribed a message from another age. It has lain undiscovered since before the Fall of Granada in 1492, when the city was surrendered to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. Born of love, in a time of danger and desperation, the fragment will be the catalyst that changes Kate's life forever.

An epic saga of romance and redemption, Court of Lions brings one of the great hinge-points in human history to life, telling the stories of a modern woman and the last Moorish sultan of Granada, as they both move towards their cataclysmic destinies.

Then Netgalley gave me a copy (thanks Netgalley!) I started it a couple of days ago and I am loving it. It's set in two time periods, and I love both story lines. A bit of mystery, a bit of suspense and most of all really great writing. I'm only about 20% through, and I can't wait to find out what happens.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Spinning and minimalism

 When Leon and I moved into our new, smaller flat, we tried to use the principles of minimalism: what do I use? what do I love? what do I need? Mostly the answers to these question were easy, and we got rid of literally a truckload of stuff -books, DVDs, shmontzes, old photos, gone without a qualm. But my spinning wheels were another matter. Even though I rarely spin, I wanted to hang on to them. Luckily my main wheel is a very attractive Majacraft Rose. Leon loves the way it looks like a ships wheel, and I think it's very pretty. So it lives in the living room, despite rarely being used.

A few weeks ago Louisa said she was knitting a shawl for a friend,  but was using laceweight held double. I offered to ply it for her, but she was in a rush and got knitting instead. I think she may have had some tangles, because she asked me to ply the leftovers. It was only 20 grams, but it was such a pleasure to sit down at my wheel and do some spinning.  

In even more excitement, I now have a laundry sink, so, instead of having to put this the bathtub to soak, I could use my sink! Sometimes it's the little things that make me so, so happy.


Friday, July 7, 2017

Happy birthday Elise

It was Elise's birthday on Friday, so I got to give her the mitts and cowl I knit her. I think she liked them. I'm still considering a matching hat, because i have the yarn left over, but it might be a little bit much. 




And then I nearly rage quit

I’ve been knitting on the sleeves of the Village Sweater Wrap for two days and this is what I’ve got:



8 garter ridges. I’m using a garter stitch in the round technique that uses two strands of yarn, and my yarn keeps sticking to itself and it has broken three times in these 8 rows.

Also, the join is quite, quite obvious:

Last night I changed from circular needles to DPNs. At the end of the evening I decided my gauge was out for the entire sleeve and discovered that I’ve been using 3.5mm DPNs, and I knit the body on 3.25mm needles.

I have NEVER disliked a project like I’m hating this. I put it aside last night and had almost decided to abandon it. And then, while sitting down to write this I realised that I knit the first part of the sleeve on the same needle I knit the body – so the needle size must be the same. And if I think it will look better knit flat: knit it flat. So I’m going to rip out the last couple of rows – to the most recent yarn break,  and knit it flat. With one thread only. Hopefully that will lead to a happier experience because I knit for enjoyment, and so far this sleeve has been the opposite of enjoyable.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Wednesdays are for books (VI)

Life has returned to what passes for normal around here, so I haven't been reading quite as much as I would like - but who has time to read as much as they would like? I'd like an hour in bed every night, just reading in the warmth.

I'm reading  Reading Claudius, by Caroline Heller.
It's a Second world was memoir, written by the protagonists granddaughter. I am somehow related to her - there are Hellers on my mothers side of the family. I am only about half way through, but it is very well written, and a good read - I don't want to say "enjoyable" because obviously it's telling a traumatic story, but so far it's very good. It's also telling a different aspect of the Jewish Second World War experience - that of refugees, rather than the more common concentration camp narrative.

What are you reading this week? Are you enjoying it?

Monday, July 3, 2017

Knitted on edging

The Village Sweater Wrap continues. I'd like to say continues apace, but that pace is slow. I've just about finished the bottom knitted on edging:




And realised that I've accidentally participated in this months " A year of techniques" technique. A year of techniques is a 12 month project from Jen  Arnall-Culliford, where participants learn a new technique each month. June was knitted on edging, and I've done nothing but knit on edges all month.

Although it has surprised me how long this has taken to knit, I'm loving this yarn - it's camel, bunny and silk, so what's not to love? This part of the pattern was easy to memorise, and the project is just steadily flowing through my fingers. 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

And the mitts to match

After finishing Elise's cowl, I made some matching mitts, still running on the "big cable" theme. They are called "one cable mitts" which rather sums it up. I added four stitches, because once again I'm knitting 10ply patterns with 5 ply wool.

They came out well, despite my inability to read the pattern - eniterly my fault, it is quite a simple, well written free pattern. They are supposed to only have three cable crossings total - I knit three before starting the thumb gusset.

Tarragon was posing, saw the camera and decided not to help
I decided not to make Elise matching socks. Only in my mind does socks, cowl, mitts = a set.
I will give her the absolutely stunning socks I knit for her earlier in the year.
Right, now that those quick fun projects are done, back to the Village Sweater Wrap.