Saturday, April 28, 2012

Where's my helpline?

Last week I found a gambling safely brochure, on my way to dinner. For my own and Leon's entertainment I read out the signs that you might have a problem with gambling.
And then I re-read the same list, substituting knitting for gambling.

Knitting should always be fun. If knitting stops being fun, you should seek help. Here are some of the signs to look out for:
  • Spending increasing amounts of time or money on knitting
  • Not knowing when to stop knitting
  • Borrowing money to knit or to get out of financial trouble caused by knitting
  • Spending more money on knitting than you can afford
  • Feeling guilty about your knitting
  • Someone close to you complaining about your knitting
  • Become angry or distressed when losing or trying to cut down on your knitting
  • Doing things that risk a relationship, job, home life or good opportunity for the sake of knitting
Remember to set a knitting limit according you your circumstances.

Sigh. That describes my behaviour rather too closely.  I am angry and distressed that I can't knit all the time right now. I didn't know when to stop and then I felt guilty that I kept knitting when I knew it was going to hurt. Clearly I didn't set limits. So, I admit I have a problem, but where is the twelve step group to help me through this? Where is my knitters' helpline? The government assistance?

In actual news, I've been resting my hands all weekend and they are getting better. I've purchased a book on Trigger point therapy, which Brenda Dayne used when her shoulder was acting up and we'll see how I go. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Good things are coming in threes

I finished my third pair of socks from the Cookie A Sock Club 2012, the lovely Nanaimo socks. I used the club yarn, since it's a perfect man colour for a perfect man pattern. This is the first time I've knit with Socktopus Sokkusu Original and it's lovely. Bouncy and beautiful. The pattern itself is quite straightforward, which was perfect as I knit them during the Comedy Festival, and was out and about much of the time.
The other thing that's coming in three around here is cats. This is Fern: 
She's staying over for the next six weeks while my parents are overseas. It's lovely to have her here, she fits in so well with the household. I wanted to get a picture of all three of them, but this is the best I could do. That's Tarragon sneaking off the front of the photo, Fern looking confused in the middle and Princess Daisy right at the back.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fails one through three

A couple of weeks ago the April Cookie sock club package arrived. As always it had two sock patters - one simple and one complex, and two cookie biscuit recipes, again, one simple and one complex. I cast on the Naimamo socks for Leon, in the club yarn.
I considered making the Naimamo Bars. They required custard powder and I though I had some - which I did. I bought it before I moved in with Leon and we've been married for nearly three years. Still, when I opened the Tupperware container I was horrified to discover a maggot, happily reclining there. No Naimamo Bars then. (Fail one).
Then my thumbs started to hurt and I've not been able to knit this week. The second sock sat there, heel turn completed, just waiting for my hands to stop hurting. (Fail two)
Then I decided to make the other cookies, Palmiers. I decided to use supermarket puff pastry, because I couldn't be bothered basically. What I didn't know is that frozen puff pastry is brittle and the package should not have been thrown around, so most of the sheets are shattered. (Fail three)

On the other hand, the rest and a massage seem to have helped my hands, although I will have to take it easy, and the "Palmiers" although not pretty are certainly very, very tasty. I'm eatingthem now with a cup of coffee, and I just keep going back for more. For a fail it's pretty near a perfect success.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Poeple I love who love the knit

There are certain people that I will willingly knit anything and everything for. These are people who really appreciate the knit and aren’t afraid to show it. These people include:

Leon, and if you need to know why read his comment on a previous post here

My father, who takes his handknit socks into the shower to wash them

My mother, who is also a knitter and wears and wears, and wears the jumpers I make her.

And, perhaps most of all my best friend Elise. When I started knitting all the time, Elise was not entirely comfortable with it. I think she thought that I wasn’t paying full attention to her when we talking and I was knitting. I suspect that, in public, she thought people might be judging me. As time has gone by she has seen that I can pay attention, and that no-body notices or cares when I knit in public. Perhaps she just got used to it, or maybe she started to see the benefits of having a friend who knits.

Last week Elise came over and asked very nicely if I could make her another scarf, as she only has two and they are (in my opinion) rather dull. Well, I didn’t have to be asked twice. I dove into the stash with her and she selected a lovely Socks that Rock bright red. On further reflection though I found some red Wollmeise that has more yardage and is a little more red and less pink which I think will suit her better. I emailed Elise to see if she minded the change, and this is what she sent me in reply:

Sharon, I trust you with whatever choices you make to gift me something that you are knitting especially for me. I feel pretty lucky that I get to have something you actually make. It’s pretty awesome!

Elise, I’ll knit for you any time and all the time.

Friday, April 13, 2012


After finishing my grandmother's shawl I planned to make the next Cookie A sock club socks, but the pattern and yarn hadn't arrived yet, so I went to my Ravelry queue and looked for something to knit that would take less that a week, because I really wanted to knit the club socks as soon as the patterns and yarn arrived. Near the top of my the list was Breeze from Knitty. I used some pink yarn that I dyed with Ursula. This was quite a fun, interesting knit, although I'm not sure how comfortable they will be in my bike shoes, they will definitely be fun at Pilates.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I thought you might need cheering up so I made you a pig

I have this week off, while Leon has to go to work every day.
My best friend is going through a bit of a bad time.
So I made them both pigs, to cheer them up.
This one is Leon's:
I put Elise's in her letterbox, and there he sits, waiting for her to come home. I didn't leave a note. After all, who else is likely to leave a knitted pig in her letterbox?

Monday, April 9, 2012

It's been busy around here

The last four days was comedy festival, Easter weekend and the beginning of Passover, which means I've been out every night, either at Pesach Seders, comedy shows or just hanging out with friends. Yesterday I even went to Cranbourne, which isn't just zone two its at the end of the train line!
Throughout it I've been plugging away at my Travelling Woman shawl. I wanted it significantly bigger than the pattern called for, as it's a gift for my aged Grandmother, who lives in England. I wanted something she can really wrap herself in. I really feel like I've succeeded with that aim: it's 170cms across the top and 50 cms deep.
I love the way the three colours love together, and the way the relatively simple lace allows the yarn to shine, while still looking amazing.

I was very pleased to be able to use up three lots of handspun that I just didn't know what to do with. The middle, darkest, yarn I originally tried to spin for socks, but I came out short and a bit scratchy. Because it's in the middle it shouldn't be a problem, the yarns touching my grandmother's skin are all soft and squishy. The edging yarn is actually lace weight leftovers from Bitterroot, which I plied back on itself. So that one is a four ply yarn and it's still finer than the other yarns.
All in all, I am extremely pleased with this shawl and am looking forward to giving it to my grandmother when I see her in June.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Easter plans

In an hour or so I start ten days leave. I am suitably excited about this, although I’m staying home and not going anywhere. So, here are some of the things I am going to do, both craft related and otherwise.

Knitting wise I'm going to finish the shawl I'm making for my grandmother. I've been wondering what to knit next, but next Wednesday the next Cookie A sock club patterns should be emailed. I just realised that, even if the yarn hasn't arrived I will still be able to knit one of the patterns from stash yarn. I also have plans for a few very small projects, which I'll show you as I go.

I've started spinning the Thylacine's latest sock club yarn. I'm spinning it quite thin and I'm going to Navaho ply it. It should come out quite stripy and I think you all know by now how I love a self striping yarn.

In sewing I have a dress I started renovating ages ago, so I just need to actually get out the sewing machine and finish that.

I also want to go through my cupboards and get rid off stuff. At the moment it feels like I have so much stuff I feel like I can’t find anything when I want it. Until recently I’ve moved house every year or so, which has helped me sort through my stuff, but we’ve been living in our house for over three years and it needs a really good sort out.

As well as all these crafting activities its Melbourne Comedy festival time, so Leon and I and various other friends have been seeing a show or two a night, which has been generally funny.

And I haven’t run since I did Run for the Kids last Sunday, because I’ve been quite sore. I can’t wait to get back into it, probably tomorrow.

So those are my plans – craft, laugh and run.

Monday, April 2, 2012

It's pretty but it hurts‏

I started Hazlehurst immediately after I finished Cloud - actually before I had finished the finishing on Cloud. But now I have stopped. For two reasons:

1) I knit for three days, and I didn't knit for excessive time on any of those days (for your information, excessive for me is more than about four hours in a day) On each of the mornings, I woke up with sore and aching hands. This might be because I'm using circulars with short tips, or it might be the way I hold my hands when doing colourwork.

2) It's really, really boring. Most of the colour work I've done has been just a few rows, or a more exciting pattern. This is, essentially, the same three rows over and over again. But, because they are colour work there is not rhythm or flow, like I get with stocking stitch, or lace.

I was knitting this, on average three inches a day (no idea why I'm measuring in inches here). Because I'm short, to make it the same length on me at Kate Davies' is on her, I would have to knit it to 72 inches. Which means if I knit this, and only this for a month I might have it nearly done. Given I didn't find the knitting pleasantly challenging, or comfortably soothing, but somewhere awkwardly in between, I'm putting this in hibernation, until I can decide what to do with it.