Saturday, December 9, 2017

Sunday Rambles

Hello there. This week in endless cardigan news:

I've been working on the body, and now it's nearly 100 rows longer than it was last time I blogged about it. It's all scrunched up in a plastic bag to keep it clean while I work on in, so it doesn't feel like it's growing fast, but it really is.

I have a weird obsession with knitting this body FAST. I don't know why at all, after all, when i finish this I'll just cast on something else, but I absolutely want to get this finished by Wednesday. Why? Nobody knows.

On Saturday I went to the button shop to try to find a closure. I found this

which I am so, so happy with. Look, it's a little horned sheep! Right, I've got to go, I've only got 30 rows (of 300 odd stitches) left to go. If I don't sleep or go to work, I can have it finished by tomorrow.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Words for Nerds (Grace and the Fever)

Grace and the Fever

I don't read a lot of YA, but this was recommended on the Call Your Girlfriend podcast, so I thought I would take a punt on it, and I'm glad I did. It's a book that plays with the question "what if you got to meet your idols?". In this case it's a member of a boy band, but really the activity doesn't matter. It's an exploration of celebrity and fan culture. While the band members could perhaps have been more fleshed out as characters, Grace was believable, likable and real.I couldn't stop reading it, which is my gauge of a good book. It made me think of another YA book I read when I was actually young. Do you remember the Lion's Teen Tracks series? There was a book in that series about a similar topic, but it was much more tortured than this one. I can't remember what it was called, and a google search did me no good at all.

Linking up with It's Monday, What are you reading? over at the Book Date.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

What is that smell?

Fight Club reference. 
Last Monday I pulled my current project - Thoughts by Joji Locatelli out of my Field Bag (which I am still completely in love with) and sniffed. Now, I have a sensitive nose, but the waft of smell was like those old opp shops. Or like a granny on a hot day. Not dirty, but not quite right either. I was reminded of my Twist Pullover but I thought that was about taking the laceweight jumper I was knitting camping with me. This time I haven’t been anywhere, and I had only been knitting on this for a week. Also, I’ve been pretty careful to ensure my hands are clean, because I really don’t want to finish this and discover that I’ve stained or marked it. So I don't know why it smells weird.
That said, I’m really happy with how this is knitting up. I decided to knit the sleeves when I had the body down to the waist – it just seemed that doing the sleeves now would be easier somehow. Sometimes sleeves feel like a drag, but I am loving knitting in the round.
I’ve put the body of the cardigan into a zip lock bag while I knit the sleeves, to keep it clean and out of the way, and it’s working quite well. Once I pull it out I might give it a rinse before continuing. I can always call it blocking to see how it looks, but we know it’s so that it will smell pretty while I knit on. After all, I’m going to be with this knee length, laceweight cardigan for a while. I might as well enjoy the process.  


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Richmond Knitters Christmas party 2017

Last night was the Richmond Knitters Christmas party. As always a good time was had. There were some differences this year - Katherine and Louisa took over the organising from Sonia. As a thank you to Sonia for founding the group and keeping it organised, we all made her a tree ornament. Her face when she was given the box was classic:

I made little socks, one for our ornament exchange, and one fore Sonia. Here they are wrapped:

And here is the only photo I have of them. So blurry:

Dani from HalfBaked Hand Dyed dyed a signature yarn for the group:

It's so perfect. Self stripping in colours that I think really represent us. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it, but I know it's going to be fun. 
I received this lovely ornament in the exchange, knit by the talented Becs, and Susanne gave everyone little baubles and the pattern and yarn to make a cover for them, but I think it looks really lovely just the way it is:

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Words for Nerds - Big Little Lies

After finishing Assassin's Apprentice I was undecided about what to read next. it's hard to follow up a book like that, and I considered just going straight to the next book in the series, but I decided to take a break instead - and I'm glad I did. 

I decided to read Big Little Lies simply because it was one of the oldest things on my Kindle, and I generally have a read it or delete it rule.
I always forget how amazing Liane Moriaty is. When I started this, I was thinking "I'm not in the mood for chick lit", but that's not what this book is doing. It explores really big issues - bullying, family violence, blended families, abuse - while still being light and breezy. It a great read. I'm nearly at the end and I really, really, really want to know what happens. I'm working form home today and doing revisions on things I've written (a task i find tedious) so I'm using finishing this book as an incentive to get on with it.  

Saturday, November 25, 2017

A hat, a hat a hat that I finished.

I participated in Woolly Wormhead's latest KAL because I'm doing a class with her at EYF and I thought it would be fun to have knit something by her. I had leftover yarn, so I I played along. 
I quite like the hat design, and it was fun to knit. Since it's the same yarn as Elise's cowl, I will probably give it to her at some point.
I just felt like I didn't have the same enthusiasm as others who were participating. They would excitedly post their finished clue each week, and I would think - I knit a quarter of a hat, what will I do for the next six days? I didn't feel a need to share with the group, which is rather the point of a KAL, I would think.
Forgive me for being a bit "meh" today. I'm not sure why. Leon is also feeling a bit "meh", but he was kind enough to model for these photos. And when I say "model" I mean not get up and run away when I put this hat on his head and started taking photos! 

Friday, November 24, 2017

FO Friday

I finished the Romi Hill jumper more than a week ago, but it’s been hot. Now, I love it hot weather, but I did feel like I was the only person in Melbourne wearing a jumper when we took these photos yesterday.

It was a very straightforward knit…until I got to the collar. I wanted to make sure the collar sat on my shoulders and didn’t flop around, so I went down a needle size, introduced a purl turning row and didn’t do the increases at the beginning of the collar.
Was it successful? Partly. It is still a bit gappy around the neck. I am kicking myself, because I had thought of doing some decreases, but then I chickened out. I’m thinking about reknitting it, but the joining of the collar was kind of complicated, and undoing it might be messy. Also, lazy.I think it might benefit from a reblocking. 

All that said, I put it on yesterday over a collared work shirt, and found I quite like the way it looks:
I don’t really know when I am going to wear this jumper. Maybe to work in winter? It’s quite warm, but then it has that lace around the chest, so it’s a bit of an odd one. It looks very good though, if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Words for Nerds (Assassin's Apprentice)

Cely from Running off the Reese's calls her book posts “Words for Nerds”, and I’ve decided that I will too. Because I’m a copy cat. Also because I think it’s more fun than ‘Wednesdays are for Books”. I’ve decided to start linking up with Book Dates "It's Monday, what are you reading?" posts. I've  realised that I missed the Yarnalong both because I like writing about what I’m reading, but also because I like reading what other people are reading,  and linking up. It’s kind of cosy and companionable.
This week I started rereading the Robin Hobb's Assassins Apprentice. The third trilogy featuring the Fitz and the Fool is out, and I thought I would reread the previous 2. I don’t remember when I first read these books-I know I reread them in about 2003 – I have a very distinct memory of camping on Kangaroo Island, and reading one of these books.

It’s always a bit nerve wracking, picking up a book that I’ve read and loved and revisiting it such a long time later, but this is living up to my memory of how good it was. Which is quite a relief. It is interesting to compare myself as a reader – other than the tactile memory I have of holding a huge trade paperback, and now I’m reading it on my beloved Kindle, my awareness and sensitivity to gender and how it is portrayed is so much more refined. Also, I seem to have blocked a lot of the horrible things that happen from my mind. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Keeping it simple

After my colossal indecision about what to knit next, I decided to make life easier for myself. It just felt like, for the last couple if months I was starting something new every minute. And with that comes with actions and decisions - printing out patterns, deciding on needles, endlessly analysing sock needles, choosing yarn, (sometimes) swatching. And then doing it all again six days later. Enough is enough.

Yesterday I cast on Thoughts, by Joji Locatelli. A laceweight cardigan that I'm going to knit down to knee length. It's a pretty straightforward pattern, interesting enough to be interesting to knit, but simple enough to be able to knit without thinking about.

This should keep my busy for quite a while. No Thoughts, no decisions, just knitting.

Friday, November 17, 2017

First world problems

I'm jumping around right now, unable to make my mind up about ANYTHING. I received a box on Wednesday, with the yarn for Stasis

The yarn is beautiful, but I don't think I want to start another jumper for myself, when my previous jumper is still blocking (I'll take photos sometime over the weekend). 

I was going to knit a Carraig Fhada Kate Davies colourwork  vest, but then I realised that I won't get much wear of that until autumn. I had finally settled on a long laceweight cardigan. But then Kate sent me a pattern for a pair of mitts she designed. But they are in 3 ply, and I don't have any of that in my stash. Also, to add to my mental disarray, sign ups for Kate Davies new club start tonight. Too much happening, so many choices.
In a related note, after the addition  of this yarn, my stash stands at 13,639 meters, pretty much unchanged from my previous count of 13,695. I have done an awful lot of knitting for a stash reduction of 60 meters!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wednesdays are for books (Penny Reid and more Penny Reid)

I am officially obsessed with Penny Reid's Knitting in the City Books. This week I read Ninja at First Sight,  the backstory to Happily Ever Ninja. Then I read most of Happily Ever Ninja during our weekend away. The plot is ridiculous, and yet so wonderful. one of the things I like about this series is that she calls it "smart romance" and sometimes it steps outside - and above - the average romance novel plot. So this book focuses on Greg and Fiona, who have been together for 14 years. My only complaint would be that there is not enough knitting - the characters are too busy running around doing preposterous things. Also, not enough of the knitting group women. I love them all so much.

Monday, November 13, 2017

A weekend in the country (Again)

I’ve been away a lot recently, to the nicest places. This weekend we went to Marysville to run the 10km in the marathon festival. It was an utterly delightful weekend- warm and sunny, and a lovely run. In fact it’s the only organised fun run I’m doing next year, but Leon and I have decided to do the full marathon next year. Nothing like 42kms of trails in the mountains. Yesterday’s race was out first “official” training run for the marathon.

 My parents' holiday  there has a front deck and we spent most of the weekend sitting there being warm, admiring the birds, and in my case knitting on my jumper and reading.

I don’t know if it’s a good thing that I have recently learnt that I can knit plain things and read at the same time, but it certainly made the sleeves of this jumper go very quickly!
I started the collar in the car on the war home: I have some concerns about the  neckline, because on many people it sits quite low, and I really don’t want it sliding off my shoulders. I’ve fiddled with the numbers a bit, but I won’t know if it worked until I get  it finished. If necessary I will rip and repeat. Later in the week there will either be a finished object post, or a picture of a whole lot of ripped out collar!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Five things Friday

1. Here is the Woolly Wormhead mystery hat after clue 2:

2. I’m liking the pattern. I’m slightly worried that it might be a little small but my previous 2 hats where too big, so we’ll see.

3. I’m still working on my Romi Hill jumper. I’ve almost finished the first sleeve:

4. When you work on two things at a time, everything seems to take forever to finish.

5.I’m going to Marysville this weekend for the marathon festival (only running the 10k though) which should give me plenty of time to get off Sleeve Island.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Wednesdays are for book (Knit Mitts)

I'm kind of finishing up requesting NetGalley books for the moment, because my "to read" list keeps growing, and I'm working all day at work, rather than picking through NetGalley to find the gems.
Two weeks ago I logged on to post my final review, and saw they had review copies of Knit Mitts by Kate Atherley. Well, I was hardly going to say no to that!

This book is great. Yes, it has nice patterns, but mainly it explains the process of knitting mittens. I'm going to knit a pair of flip top mittens to match my Stasis jumper, and this book is going to be immensely helpful in planning that project. So, I recommend this book if you like nice mitten patterns, if you want to learn more about the process, if you want to design or if you just want a pretty book. 5 stars.

Monday, November 6, 2017

More expensive than cashmere

We went to Wagga Wagga for the weekend. I had just cast on the Manzatani tee, and didn't bother throwing in anything but the project - I didn't pack DPNs for the sleeves, or smaller needles for the bottom hem. After all, I hadn't even finished the lace yoke, and we were only away for two nights.

I actually rushed the packing in general, and didn't even manage to throw in dental floss, and I like flossing every night before bed.

Near the end of the second night I realised I was going to get the body finished - so I figured I would buy some floss, and put the bottom hem on it. I bought 25 meters for $3. So, 250 meters would cost $30. And this stuff is nylon!

Anyway, it did the job, both on my teeth and to hold the bottom of the jumper. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

sOctober 2017 – The Wrap Up

I feel a bit weird, because I did my “what’s next” post before the wrap up post – mainly because I didn’t finish the last pair of socks until 11.30pm on the 31st of sOctober. Such a ridiculous self-imposed deadline.

And what a magnificent pair of socks they are. Gladys by my current favourite sock designer, General Hogbuffer. Designed to look like a gansey, these are just the manliest of manly socks.

The yarn, which I dyed myself, ended up a little more variegated than I was expecting, and pooled a bit, but still in a manly manner.

These socks used more yarn than many I’ve made - 73 grams -  I expect because of the amount of patterning. Once I got the hang of the pattern it was easy to memorise and fun to knit.

And for the final wrap up of the funnest month of the year,  here is  a picture of all six pairs of socks from sOctober, which ended up being a very productive month. 

Now onwards to hats and jumpers!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Wednesdays are for books (Startup / Love Hacked )

After last week’s trip to struggletown  I wanted to read something fun and light, so I picked StartUp, by Doree Shafrir. It was an easy read, but actually raised some really big, relevant and timely questions about gender roles, sexism, our relationships with social media and each other. I highly recommend this, and could not put it down – I was a bit sad when I finished it, I wanted more.
I was still in the mood for light, so I started the next of the Knitting in the City series Love Hacked. It’s Penny Reid, so it’s a well written, light and slightly ridiculous romance. I’m loving spending some time with the Knitting in the City ladies.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Good Bye sOctober. What Now?

I’ve really enjoyed sOctober this year. I’ve knit (nearly) six pairs of socks, I’ve explored gauge and needle sizes, I’ve knit three different kinds of toes and three different types of heels. I’ve knit with yarn dyed by me, and yarn dyed by a range of master dyers. It’s been very satisfying.  But now, on the last day of this wonderful month I have to ask myself, after I finish my current sock - What happens now?
I’m not sure I’ve mentioned here that I am going to Edinburgh Yarn Fest next year. And in case that isn’t fun enough, Kate and Kat and someone called Gracie are coming too! Kate and Kat were having a knit-a-long for Stasis, and I really like the jumper, and you know how I love a knitalong. Knitpicks is having a 15% off sale, so I bought the yarn for that.
Also at EYF I’m doing a class with Woolly Wormhead. I’ve seen her patterns around for ages, but never knit one. Now the class I’m doing isn’t on hats, it’s on advanced grafting (geekout time) but I happened to see she’s doing a mystery hat, and I have suitable yarn, so I’ve signed up for that. 
In the meantime,I’m casting on for Romi Hill’s  Manzanita jumper, from New Lace Knitting. I bought this book ages ago, I love Romi Hill, but for some reason I’ve never actually knit anything from this book.
Both yarns I’m using are leftover Blue Moon Fiber Arts Cloud Nine. For reasons that should be obvious – EYF 2018!! I’m trying to knit through as much of my stash as possible, so that I can fill up my stash box with new yarn!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Princess Daisy and the overactive thyroid

I've been sitting here trying to write a post about the socks I'm knitting, but I don't have anything to much to say about socks right now. This morning I dropped Princess Daisy at the vet hospital in Werribee - we recently discovered she has an overactive thyroid, and the simplest treatment is to irradiate it. It's medically not a big deal, and we caught it really early.

They are going to feed my cat radiation tomorrow and then keep her for a week, because she will be radioactive. When she comes home she's not meant to sleep next to me or sit on my lap for long for the first two weeks. I can't really see that happening, we'll work something out, probably we'll all end up a little irradiated.

And now, I'm sitting on the couch, knitting the above mentioned sock, but without Princess Daisy on my lap, or snuggled next to me on the couch, it just isn't the same.
Here's a picture of the sock - Gladys, by General Hogbuffer, to go with all the pictures of Princess Daisy. She'll be back next Tuesday, and then all will be right in my world again.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Random spinning

I put on a pair of socks this afternoon, an old pair of handspun  merino - spindle spun  at that.. Sooo soft and inappropriate for socks. 

Also, they need darning. But, while wearing them around the house I had an irresistible desire to spin for socks. I've got some stripping yarn on the bobbin that I really haven't been working on - I was going to Navajo ply it for colour work, but now I think I'll Navaho ply it - tightly - for a marvelous pair of house socks. if I ever finish it. At this point, I'm aiming for next sOctober!

Right, off to sit on my lovely balcony and spin.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Wednesdays are for books (Another Woman's Husband AGAIN)

Well, I finished it. I stayed up late last night, because it was either power through to the finish or just give up. There was not a lot I liked about this book – it had two time lines, one which moved through 30 years, and one which covered three months, which gave the book an odd rhythm.

 The author made up things and overlaid them over history, which is a technique that had been used by many authors, but in this case it just felt false. Mainly thought, I started noticing odd things the author wrote, and then I couldn’t stop. Things like: 

Wallis was wearing a blue wool suit with chalk stripes and a matching trilby. It could have been a man's office wear but for the tiny waist, the padded shoulders, the long slim skirt and the jaunty angle of the hat.
So, it was not at all like a man's suit at all really. 

 And when Rachel is cooking a stew it lists all the ingredients, and states that she will put the beans in later. Why? What does this bizarre detail add to the book?  At one point Rachel one of the main characters is tipsy after a couple of drinks because, the book says, she’s not much of a drinker. And yet she’s drinking in every second scene, including ordering a jug of mojitos, complaining that her partner doesn’t top up her vodka tonic while she is cooking dinner,  and a bottle of champagne on a flight from Paris – its a one hour flight. 

The main issue was that I didn’t like any of the characters – seriously, if you sleep with another woman’s husband, I don’t think how she treats  him has anything to do with it – you are not blameless. And the main couple in the modern day timeline are just nasty to each other. So, generally a frustrating book, because it is almost a good read, but the unlikability of all the characters, and the lack of internal consistency, and the ending, made it less than satisfactory. Even the things that are taken directly from real life feel fake. Maybe it was the author trying to tie the fiction and facts together that doesn’t work well?
It did make me interested in that bit of history, and I read a Wikipedia article about Wallis Simpson, so that's a positive thing.
I was given a free ARC from NetGalley and this is my (obviously) honest review. 

More sOctober socks

These little sneaker liners are by Trude Heretaas, they are called Mellom and there is not much to say about them. Like all of Trudy’s other patterns, they are simple, effective and free.
I did reverse the pattern on the second sock, because that’s the way I roll.
The yarn – Wollmeise Blend is so, so lovely. It’s soft and the colour is amazing. We’ll see how it wears for socks, because I’m not always a fan of cashmere in socks, but this has nylon as well. I loved the Blend soooo much that I have used up all of the three skeins I bought, all but the tiniest leftovers.
This project was a delightful way to spend four knitting days – also, I recently bought a teal Lululemon outfit (seriously,dark teal tights and bright teal t-shirt) and now I have matchy matchy socks. That’s what I call happiness.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

More ramblings about gauge

As I mentioned on Monday, I’m knitting the Squircle socks. These are a marvellous creation, and a great way to use up left over sock yarn. I knit them on 2.25mm needles, partly to see if I can get away with these, or if I should be using 2mm needles for all my socks.
I selected a range of colours, based on what I had lying around. They are all “sock weight” or four ply, but there is actually quite a range of thicknesses. The dark blue is what I knit Leon's lastest pair of socks on, the one that made me realise 2.5mm isn't going to work anymore. 
Looking at it in the sock, if I was going to choose a needle size to knit this yarn on it would definitely be 2mm. I have another skein of this yarn (dyed green by me) and I’m itching to get it on some 2mm needles to see how that goes. Before that though, I'm knitting myself a pair of sneaker liners, to use up that stunning teal Wollmeise.