Saturday, February 28, 2015

There can be stitches that aren't knitting

So, we're up to late Sunday afternoon and I haven't knit a stitch all weekend. I have been doing other things including some sewing. a friend of mine had twins, and for the baby shower we sere all sent packets of fabric and requested to make a quilt square. 

I ignored the project for quite a while, because designing sewing scares me. But Jen suggested using a buttonhole stitch to seal the edges, so I didn't have to mess about with folding the edges under, and that worked really well.  I (mainly) managed to both cut and sew in straight lines too! I'm really happy with how mine came out. Everyone made really nice squares - I'll have to pop a photo up here once the quilt is all assembled. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Love alpacas / hate alpaca

I love alpacas. I love their spindly legs and their squishy cute “human faces” (as Leon says). I love that they look after sheep. So cute:
But I really don’t like alpaca yarn. I find that everything I knit in alpaca ends up a little weird shaped. Gauge is always an issue and it has a weird sort of denseness. Also, in 8 ply it’s really warmer than anything I need here in Melbourne. I've finished the alpaca part of my Blank Canvas. I have 6 balls left of alpaca yarn in my stash, which I am using for Leon’s Winter Set 2015 and then, no more alpaca for me. If I want something ridiculously warm I’ll get possum yarn. Much nicer!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Yarnalong - the one where I'm not sure about anything

So this week I'm part way through reading, knitting and listening to things and I'm not quite sure about anything.

I'm still knitting Blank Canvas - I'm at the bit where the sleeves join the body and it looks really short, but all the measuring I've done suggests it will be fine. I'm still not sure if it witll fit.

I'm reading J by Howard Jacobson,  another of the Mann-Booker nominees. I'm a third of the way through it and it's very good, but I'm not sure if it will resolve into brilliance, or continue to puzzle me.

I'm listening to the Paying Guests (As an aside, shortlisted for the Mann-Booker three times, so I guess there's a theme.) Again I am quite enjoying this, but it doesn't really have a lot of pace. 

So that's me for another Yarnalong - bumbling through, enjoying reading, listeing and knitting, but not quite sure whether things are going to work out for my knititng, reading or listening. Join Ginny and the rest of the Yarnalong on her blog to see what everyone else is up to this week.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows how much I love a knitalong, and how often, when anyone says they are going to knit something I want to knit I say "ooo, lets have a knitalong". 
The other day Kate came over to my place to choose her contrast colour for a Fair Isle baby cardigan, from my ridiculously large box of sock yarn scraps. A couple of days later I realised that I had a baby girl to knit for too, and we could have a knitalong. Kate said yes, but also, she is very easy to project stalk, since she is living by the queue this year. I, however am not, so I can live by everybody else's queue.
These are the colours I've chosen - the main colour is the most amazing Little Dipper Yarn colour. I'm not 100 percent sure about the contrast colours - feedback or comments appreciated. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Yarnalong - the one where not everything is as it seems

This week I'm (re)knitting the beginning of Blank Canvas. When I pulled it off the needles to rip out four rows to restart the striping pattern I discovered it was huge. So I ripped it back and started again. The issue is that I am getting 18 stitches per 10 cm with a DK yarn, which makes no sense. Also, my gauge says this size should fit me, but I tried it on and it still seems big. But maybe it's just being weird, because gauge wouldn't lie? Right? Right??

I'm reading the second Cypress Hollow book Lucy's Kiss by Rachael Herron. I read the first one and it was just all right. I was a bit disappointed because I love Rachael's blog , and she seems like a lovely, lovely knitter. The books are unashamedly romance, but the first one was based around some kind of fake feeling (to me) miscommunication. I only started the second one because I bought them in a digest volume and I thought I had better try it or delete it from the Kindle. Well, I'm loving it. The romance feels natural and sweet and it's lovely. 

I'm listening to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks which addresses some huge issues of race, science, rights of control over your body, poverty, all told around one family. It's such a good listen. And the narrator is so good I sometimes forget she's not the actual author of the book. Not a dry science book at all.

So that's me for another yarnalong, where things got rather unexpected, but not at all bad. Pop over to Ginny's blog to see what everyone else is knitting and reading this week.

I might be the shortest person in the world

After finishing the Stuggletown socks I decided I wanted to knit something simple, something that went around and around and around, something where I wouldn't have to think much. I settled on Ysolda’s Blank Canvas,  and went to the stash to find something that would work. Now, according to the pattern I would need 950 meters for my size, which seemed quite a lot, considering it’s a ¾ sleeved cropped cardigan. Not having enough yarn in a single colour I decided on a very clever graduating stripe pattern and started knitting. Twenty centimetres in I decided to check my row gauge, which was a bit out. But what I also realised is that this jumper as written is 60cm long. It looks cropped on Ysolda:
Photo from Ysolda's Blog 
And on her assistant (?) Rebecca:
Again, photo credit to Ysolda
but on me 60 centimetres would be half way to my knees. I worked this out at bedtime last night and I could barely sleep, knowing I had to work out both how to reduce the length of the jumper and how to fit my fancy stripping pattern into the altered number of stitches. So, I got to work this morning, did the maths and then spent the rest of the day itching to go home and actually knit the jumper. But first, I have to rip this back, so I can start it again with the mods I've calculated. Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Struggletown sneaker liners

I finished the sneaker liners I was working on. I've called them my "Struggletown socks" for two reasons 

1. These really were more a struggle than expected. The pattern is mesh lace, which I've knit numerous times before, but I really struggled to remember that the yarn over goes AFTER the knit two together. These took me a week to finish when sneak liners normally take four days. Still I enjoyed them in the end.

2. Which is exactly how my runs often go. A bit of a struggle, but I usually enjoy them in the end. I was running along the other week, and while I run I often write tweets in my head. I don't know why, since I don't actually tweet them, but my thought was "my runs start somewhere, and end somewhere, but every single run goes through the same place in the middle: Struggletown." 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Possum perfection

I finished my possum jumper and it is divine. It fits me, and, even in the lace pattern it so so warm and cuddly. I'm so happy with it.
I ended up using a folded hem on the neckline:

 as well as the sleeves and the bottom because I find it neater than the prescribed curled edges. Other than that and leaving off the hood, and knitting it in the round up to the underarms and the sleeves in the round, I followed the pattern exactly! It’s a little flared in the stocking stitch areas, if I was to do it again I would go down a needle size for those:
But it’s still one of the better fitting jumpers I’ve made for myself.
I started with 150 grams of the unbelievably beautiful yarn and ended with 2.9 grams left over, so it was close the wire, but it never felt it. So, beautiful yarn, a wonderful pattern and a really wearable jumper. I actually finished this last week and have worn it three times since. It works with jeans, and skirts and dresses and I am utterly enamoured of it.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Yarnalong, the one where everything is better

So, everything this week is much, much happier than last week. I’m listening to Andie Mitchell’s  It was me all along It’s my current favourite genre for audiobooks – redemptive memoirs read by the author. I’ve followed her blog Can You Stay For Dinner for a while so I knew the outline of her story, but this book exceeded my expectations: it’s brutally honest, well written and read so well. I'm loving this so much that I'm sorry I've almost finished it.
I'm also reading a book I'm loving  - How to Talk to a Widower  by Jonathan Tropper. I recently read This is Where I Leave You and the two books have similar themes: love, loss, family. I've almost finished it and it’s an enjoyable, interesting, funny but not super light read.
And I'm knitting a pair of sports socks. Now that I have the hang of the pattern they are quick, cute and easy. I'm not sure why, but it took me forever, and some serious ripping, to actually get the hang of the simple mesh lace.
And that’s me for another week of Yarnalong. Make sure you visit Ginny’s blog to see what she and the other yarnalong peeps are up to this week.

Monday, February 9, 2015

What's that in your bag?

After I finished the jumper (blocking now, pics to follow) I decided to knit a pair of sports socks. I’m using the leftover yarn from the last pair of socks I knit . I started with 41 grams of yarn so I think that I should have enough…probably. So I’m weighing the yarn as I go on  the very accurate scales Leon bought for measuring ingredients for making beer. I call them our “drug dealer scales” although apparently they are jewellers scales. Either way, this way I’ll know when I am half way through – and if I have to do the toe in a different colour I will. Which is not that odd, but, since I knit when I’m out and about all the time, I’m actually carrying the scales around with me. Let’s hope no-one looks in my bag, or they could get very much the wrong impression!

Friday, February 6, 2015

That awkward moment...

when you realise the bottle of wine is empty....


and you've three needle cast off the front left shoulder onto the back right shoulder.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Yarnalong - the one where I'm grumpy

So, I'm grumpy. No for any particular reason, I've just been in a bad mood the last couple of days. Maybe it's because summer can't be bothered happening, or maybe it's the full moon, or maybe it's just what it is - a bad mood. What I've been knitting, reading, and listening to hasn't really been helping all that much.

I'm listening to Wuthering Heights and hating it. It's meant to be "Perhaps the most haunting and tragic love story ever written," but from where I'm listening to it its a story of hatred, revenge and a cast of really horrible characters. Many of who seem to die really easily, but I can't say I care, because they are all awful. I have no idea why anyone in their right minds would call this a love story. It's a story of abuse, screwed up power relationships and horrible children. Oh and tortured dogs. But love story? No.

I'm still knitting Apres Surf Hoodie. It's okay, but I divided for the underarms so it's back and forward instead of in the round, and I seem to be unable to keep my stitch counts even. I guess I'm just up to that part where I am ready to be finished. 

And I'm reading Death at Victoria Dock, the next Phryne Fisher murder mystery. Like the rest of them it's a pleasant read, but ultimately disposable. 

And that's be for this weeks yarnalong. Pop over to Ginny's blog to see what she and the other yarn along peeps are up to this week. Hopefully they are more cheerful than I am!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Letting things go

As part of my plan to have less stuff I went through my stash, to see if these was anything I really couldn't see myself using.  I have (well, had to be more accurate) two skeins of self stripping sock yarn. I love self stripping sock yarn, but I also like knitting complex socks, so I put them on Ravelry and now they are off to live in their new home. It was very liberating, letting go of something I can't see myself using in the next year.

As a bonus, Sandy, who took yarn, came to pick them up form Richmond Knitters tonight, so we got to meet a new knitter. Not surprisingly, she's lovely. Much to my surprise, she gave me some hand made soap to say "thanks". So it was a win all round. I might even pop the soap in my stash box, it smells so lovely.