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Showing posts from January, 2019

Wednesdays are for books - the hardware edition

First of all, there are no affiliate links in this post. Other than review book authors and publishes sometimes give me, I get nothing from this blog except the joy of writing it. I mean if anyone wants to send me some cashmere I'm not going to say no...

December two years ago, for my birthday Leon gave me the limited edition kindle voyage origami cover. He got my parents to buy me the Voyage.This gift was so touching to me, because I had been lusting after the cover since February 2015- and it wasn't available anywhere in Australia. Amazon wouldn't ship it here. So, he did the thing with the postal service. And I loved it. The (now discontinued) Voyage is my favourite Kindle yet - and I use my Kindle a lot. At around almost exactly the two year mark I started to notice the cover was looking quite worn. It's been very good to me, and I've looked after it well, but two years of daily reading - while eating, in the park, on public transport, in the bath, has had a tol…

If at first you don't succeed...

...give up and read a book. 

That's not good advice but it is what I did this long weekend. I started the sewing, like I said I would, and followed the directions, including ironing in the interfacing. On Sunday I sat down at the machine and realised my iron had left marks on the cotton fabric. I kept sewing for a bit anyway, since this was meant to be a learning piece. 

On Monday (which is a public holiday) I woke up and, instead of sewing stayed in bed and read. Then we had breakfast, and I read some more. I was at the very end of Robin Hobb's Assassin's Fate, and basically all I did all morning was read and cry. It's such a perfect ending.

It was also such a perfect long weekend. After a couple of hectic weekends away, and a couple of hectic weekends coming up, to have some time to hang around the house, watch TV while knitting, and sit in the sun on my balcony was a treat and a luxury that I really appreciate.  



knitting season

Kate Davies' current club is called Knitting Season and it has a different tone from the previous ones. It's focusing not on geography, but on creativity. While I initially thought this wasn't going to be interesting to me (except it's Kate Davies, so it's always going to be good) I have found it quite a revelation - although not really about knitting. When it comes to knitting, I'm pretty confident. I know how to fix my mistakes, I know what I can live with and I've gradually built up the skills I need. Also it's knitting and you can always rip it and start again.

 I've never learnt to sew properly. I've done some, and I have a very nice sewing machine my mother gave me after I borrowed hers for 3 months to do some quilting, but I've never learnt properly. For I while now I've been thinking about learning to sew shirts. Because I'm short, and have giant CrossFit arms, being able to customise would be nice. Also, during "Me Mad…

Wednesdays are for (more free) books

I'm on Rachael Herron's advance reader list, which means she emails to see if we want an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) before she releases a new book. Last week she sent through an email, saying the last of the Ballard Brother books Rock the Boat is coming out, would I like an advance copy. I clicked the "yes please" button, while scarcely registering that she asked her readers to read and review within two weeks. I'm reading the last of the Robin Hobb Farseer books, which is a thousand pages long, and full of tension, adventure, torture, drama. I'm usually a monogamous reader.

But I put aside that book, even though its amazing and I really need to know what happens next, because I wanted to read this so much. And it was the perfect break. It's a typical romance, with romance tropes, and is clearly heading for a HEA, but it has a quality of writing that is easy to read, intelligent and follows basic grammar (too many romances just don't bother). The dialo…

A weekend in the county, and some (finished) socks

This weekend we went to Ballarat, to see Leon's parent's, catch up with friends and go to Ballarat Beer Fest. All this gave me some serious knitting time on Leon's socks which was good because while these socks are not complicated, they were quite slow. Mainly because every 5th row involved knitting three together, and that was slow, and a little hard on the hands, although mine seem to have held up ok, which is always a relief. 

I knit these on 2mm needles - a mixture of HiyaHiyas and Chiaogoo. I originally had a set of each, and I lost one on the way, so now I just grab 5. I like the Chiaogoos better - they are pointy without being sharp, and they appear to be stronger - one of the HiyaHiyas bent a little, with all the intense levering of stitches.

I like the way the socks came out. They are named after House Targeyen from Game of Thrones, and they do look like dragon scales. When Leon first put them on, I was worried they were too tight, but they have stretched out and ar…

Cathedral wrap - finished

As mentioned the other day, I finished the Cathedral wrap. I blocked it, and it had ended up very long - which is not a bad thing, although I'm considering blocking again for width. I love the Oyster Yarns Maven yarn knitted up at this gauge. it's so soft and squishy and smooth and silky. Really stunning. 
I'm still mad about the "join in the middle" pattern instruction, although I don't think you can see it when I'm wearing it, I know it's there. I'm still considering my options on reworking the join.

Other than that though, it is quite glorious. It wraps softly around the neck, floats about and is really hard to photograph well! It's like a giant merino / silk / yak yarn necklace. This was quite a fun scarf to knit,although it was a little painful to be reminded that - for me at least - lace is harder than colourwork - and I was glad to support an Australian dyer for my first finish of the year. 



It was another project where near the end I …

Sock yarn for Leon ... again

Katie brought some destash in to Richmond Knitters on Monday, and I scored this lovely green sock yarn: 

 I had to laugh though, since I keep on talking about reducing my stash, and really, the bulk of my stash is sock yarn for Leon, and it never goes down. I have 10 balls in colours suitable for him (you know, grey, dark green, blue, brown or black: Look at that glorious pile! 


And it doesn't seem to be going down. In between my friends' generous destashing, buying yarn as tourists (could you go past a grey yarn called dreich, while at a yarn shop in Edinburgh?) I'm getting it an fast as I'm knitting it. And, since Leon's sock draw is quite full, I'm not really knitting it all that fast - I'm only aiming for four pairs for him this year. I only knit him three pairs last year. So, this pile of yarn will last two or three years. Although, I might use that green in the bottom right for something for myself, because it really is very pretty.

A weekend in the counry, and some socks

This weekend we went hiking in Lederderg. we haven't been hiking since Scotland last year, and we were excited to go back to Lederderg, particularly since we went with Skip and Bee, for their first overnight camping hike.
I took House Targaryen socks, a pattern that is ideal, since it's intuitive, and after the first repeat there is no need to look at the instructions. 
We did the same hike that Leon and I did the first time we went, with the same number of otehr people camping near us (that would be NONE!)
We only saw two goats this time, and a lovely lizard.

The weather was perfect, warm but not hot, not too windy, and dry. It was a thrill to pack our tent on Sunday morning and have it be perfectly dry. No rain, no dew, no dampness.
It got just cool enough that, around camp at night I wore my Goats beanie, but mostly it was short and t-shirt weather. Camping in the summer is fun - one of the things I missed in Scotland was being able to make camp, and then lounge around knittin…

Graft - in pattern

Why do I follow instructions, even when I know they are going to make my life difficult? I did it with Strathendrick, and now I've done it with Cathedral Wrap. I know that you can't knit something, in pattern, from both ends and graft it perfectly. I did a class on this at EYF. The instructions that Joji link to make this clear. I knew it when I cast this wrap on - with the instructions to graft it in the middle, in pattern. 

Knowing it's not possible to make this perfect, I decided to do a swatch to test out the technique: Yep, looks like crap on one side (the "wrong" side of this twisted rib) And a little better, but still crap on the "right" side. I had a look on the Ravelry forums, and there is no discussion about it, but I did notice that only one person showed the join in their photos - and theirs looks like this too. I though about doing a three needle bind off, which would be neat, but also interrupt the stretch of the scarf in a way that grafting …

Wednesdays are for (free) books

I participate in NetGalley, a website that provides digital Advanced reader Copies to influencers like me in exchange for honest reviews. These are the two latest book's I've read from them:

The Military wife by Laura Trentham 

I read the first 50 percent of this book in a weekend. I couldn’t put it down. It was told in alternating chapters, some set in “present day” and some in the past. I was quite interested in the characters and the story. I felt like the writing was a bit clunky at times, but I could forgive that for the story. And then the second half just fell apart a bit. It moved from feeling like chick-lit to romance. The "past” chapters became infrequent, and when they repeated information that we had already been told. They also were not in order, so the past jumped around from more recent past to older past. The big secret felt like an anti-climax. The character development was patchy – there are marked inconsistencies in the story we are told about the char…

LOSY - update

At the end of 2016 I discovered I had a kilometre and a half of left over sock yarn. Since that wasn't ideal, I've been working on reducing it. In fact, in the two years since then I've knit 1.36 kilograms of it, and given away 700 grams. Which means I should be finished, right? 

Wrong. I've been creating it nearly as fast as I have been using it. When I look at that pile of yarn in this original photo most of it has been used up - at least all of the navy has! But I've gotten new yarn, through swaps that turn whole skeins into LOSY, through friends, and by making leftovers from socks and shawls. I'm not complaining, when I started tracking the LOSY it felt like an unmanageable mess - the negativity might be reflected in that careless and horrible photo I used. 

Now it feels like a resource, for my sock yarn blanket, baby jumpers, monstersocks, and who knows what else - I certainly didn't expect to crotchet a bathmat out of it. It feels really good to start …

Once upon a sock - January 2019

I didn't knit any socks in December AT ALL. The reason for this is that I have a lot of socks, and last year I apparently went a bit overboard. I knit 18 pairs of socks.

The breakdown was: 
4 x ankle sock for me
4 x sneaker liners for me
3 x for Leon 2 x slippers (one for me, one for my mother), 
2 x gift pairs (one for my father, one for my mother)
1 x baby socks
1 x knee highs 

Instead of telling you what I'm planning for the sock knitting year, I thought I'd give you a guided tour of our sock drawers. There are three of them:

This is my sneaker liner drawer. It looks messy, but that just because it's full. There are 2 pairs of commercial socks on the right - rainbow knee-highs for doing rope climbs at cross fit, and toe socks for when I'm running in toe shoes. Other than that it's about 20 pairs of handknit sports socks. 
These are my ankle socks, with a couple of pairs of knee-highs just visible at the bottom. I have another couple of knee-highs in my "house c…

Yarnalong- the one that welcomes in 2019

I'm back at work today, and that was the first time I've written the new date. It was such a relaxing break - 11 days of cricket, knitting and reading. I'm knitting Jojo Locatelli's Cathedral wrap. Now that I've finished the lace ends, it's smooth sailing. That lace though! It's been a really long time (as in not in 2018 at all) but I figured it would be easy - after all, I've done a lot of charted colourwork with no problems, and that's the same, right? Wrong. 

Anyway, after I muddled through it was a very relaxing knit. The yarn is Oyster Yarn Maven a  merino / silk / yak blend, and it's just stunning to knit with. Smooth and soft and the most perfect shade of pink. Its knit from the lace ends, and then grafted together. I'm rather dreading grafting in pattern.

 I'm reading Whiskey Galore, the tale of a Scottish island that runs out of whisky during the second world war. Published in 1947 this novel is hilarious. I was originally planni…