Friday, March 31, 2006

Replies Recent to Comments

Thanks to all who have commented in the last few days and also to those who have been too shy to comment but have emailed.

Specific questions etc

We haven't decided which Sunday in April, but it will be 23 or 30 rather than 9. Keep the drinking game ideas coming, though :) . I'm thinking more along the lines of 1 chocolate for every row unravelled - would suit me just fine at the moment.

Thanks for letting Knitty know about the shirt Denise was wearing. I should have given Jenny my Chicago Stitch 'n' Bitch t-shirt, but it's white and I don't think she could have worn it.

I've left a comment on your blog concerning op shops. :)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

15 minutes - thanks, John

Today's Canberra Times, page 14. Pretty picture of two of my favourite people.

Click here for large version of text only.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Spun Out!

When you attend as many community events as I do, you quickly learn to

  1. Chat up the person serving the warm, cheap booze and hope they keep 'em coming
  2. Position yourself nearest the entry way from the kitchen if there is wait staff, or near the buffet table if it's serve yourself
  3. Have an excuse ready for leaving just as soon as the mayor or other minor dignitary has said their piece.
  4. Carry a little hand fan (there's never enough airconditioning to deal with the crowd) and a hanky (to deal with the really bad meatballs or to mop up the sweet chilli sauce from your good silk blouse or mop one's sodden brow if the hand fan is forgotten or to stifle a yawn if the mayor or other minor dignitary goes on a bit)
  5. Bring your imagination - sometimes the only refuge is to let your eyes glaze over and your mind wander to more interesting things like what to do with the really gorgeous sock yarn you just bought, particularly when forced to listen to the local 4th graders sing, the local (insert any ethnic group you like) folk dance troupe do their thing in colourful dress or someone recites a poem.
  6. Paste on a smile.

Last night at the Queanbeyan Historical Museum's opening of an exhibition exploring Struggletown's multicultural heritage, however, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the textiles on display and the lovely drop spindle in one of the display cases.

For the speeches and the entertainment (see 5 above)I had positioned myself next to the buffet table (see 2, above) and fortified myself with a top-up of the warm, cheap domestic methode champagnoise (see 1, above). A group of Croatian women, who may have been to one or two of these events as well, also positioned themselves around the still empty buffet table so I was surrounded by them. I was enjoying their chatter and the comparison of the quantity and virtues of their grandchildren when the MC announced the entertainment.

Not only was there to be no dancing (see 5, above), but there would be a spinning demonstration!

One of their number, fully kitted out in a fantastic red and cream woven costume entertained us by using a traditional drop spindle.

The fleece was attached to a long paddle, the the narrow end of which was tucked into the waist of the woman's apron. She set the spindle a-spinning (it looked like an elongated teardrop) and worked the fleece from up near her chest at the paddle shaped object until the spindle nearly touched the ground. She then wound the spun yarn onto the spindle and started again.

Captivated immediately, I was blown away by the spontaneous singing of the spinner, particularly when the women around me all joined in. Just magical, people, magical. Our spinner had not spun in 40 years, but the muscle memory was there and her yarn was pretty even and quite fine - about a five ply weight.

I spoke to some of the women afterwards and they told me that they used to spin at night in each other's homes and chat and sing.

My dears, it was a Croatian Stitch 'n' Bitch and the smile was genuine (see 6, above).

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Use What You Have Month - the challenge

Personal Committment for Use What You Have Month:

  1. I will not spend money on knitting yarns, patterns, magazines, books (including Big Girl Knits *sigh*) or accessories during April* .
  2. I will use my stash to create one item** and calculate the cost of making it if I had to buy the yarn new.
  3. I will donate that amount to Medicins Sans Frontieres thus becoming a Tricoteuse Sans Frontieres.
  4. I challenge others to do something similar.

* except for during the Royal Easter Show where I will practice restraint

** in my case, a wrap for the annual TASDA raffle. Proceeds of the raffle go to charity - so it will be a double bunger for charity this month.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Can you believe I've done this?

It's Saturday night, it's been a rough day, I'm tired and had perhaps a soupcon too much white wine, but I've signed up for this.

Judy, the Sheep Rustler, is doing it and pointed me in the direction. Given how much I've spent on yarn etc in the last couple of months (and you don't know what I bought today), I'm declaring April* a yarn and knitting accessory spending free zone.

I stole the image from Whip Up. It's lovely.

Wish me luck and don't lecture me - trust me, it's the best way of making me crack.

* except for during Royal Easter Show, but I will practice restraint. Promise.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Oops!...I did it again

I played with the yarn,
got lost in the shop
Oh baby, baby ....

No apologies to Ms Spears, I'm a Bad Ass Knitter, after all, but I brought home this from the op shop today.

Starting at the top right we have 16 x 50g balls black Panda Coral Cotton (Cotton blend); 2 sets 4 x 2.5mm Addi dpns; 1 set 4 x 2.25mm Addi dpns; 1 only Addi 2mm dpn; 3 kilt pins; 2 x 50g balls black McMahon's Farm Perendale 8ply; 14 x 25g balls white 4ply (has a DJs branding but feels like and is same composition as Patonyle); 20 x 25g grey Embassy 4ply; 1 pair Ivore 6mm straights.

So the Panda cotton is going to be Arial, the dpns will be useful as well as decorative, the black 8 ply is going to be Voodoo wristwarmers for the parcel delivery lady who saves me lots of trips to the Post Office by delivering stuff to my parents' house and who must get cold hands in winter, Mum only wears white socks, Dad won't mind grey ones and the Ivore needles go into the swaps basket for SnB.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Wise guy snb

Got 5 minutes, watch this. So sweet and if you don't think so I'll leave a surprise in your bed. ;)


From this

to this

using this?

Just because this woman has made a business out of it an you can listen to an audio presentation on it here doesn't make it right.

Unless of course I can get her do this.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

"Knitting is the new sex."

Well that's a relief - at least I'm getting some of THAT!

This is a quotation from a not too bad example of the chick lit genre. I'm not a big fan of the genre and had expected to HATE this one due to it's weight loss plot but it's funny and respectful, well written and excellently paced. It has one or two twists in the formula and plotting. It also has a bit of knitting by-play.

Our heroine is a PR (aren't they all) in a London merchant bank. One of the Managing Directors, Sven, works on esoteric deals that are not newsworthy, despite his insistence that the Bulgarian knitting needle deal is ground breaking.

"Knitting is the new sex. The sex of the twenty-first century." Wow. Mrs Sven is lucky. A quick purl one, knit two, and I bet he casts off for the evening.

Vaguely ambitious

Because we don't have enough to do already, the lovely Happy Spider and I are working on a new blog. It's meant to keep the ridiculous and hideous stuff we find (and own) from polluting our pristine *ahem* knit-blogs. Do check out Vague Magazine . We welcome contributions of cack material. :)

Plea for assistance

I am a bear of very little brain and no memory at all.

Firstly I forgot that the Southern Cross Knitting site was coming down this month and secondly I forgot to print off the wonderful conversion charts so I could have them with me always.

Does anyone know if there are similar conversion charts out there? I found the gauge chart incredibly helpful when translating American patterns in particular.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Sock Sponsor Required

I wanna be here next weekend. Not only is it a whole festival of the sock, but my latest most favourite sock knitter that I have never met, Jenny Occleshaw, is doing workshops!

Why is Jenny Occleshaw my favouritest sock knitter that I never met?

Well, in an old issue of Creative Knitting (*pht* I spit on it) I found a really cute baby sock pattern. Perfect for scraps and for tackling the all too terrifying first heel and gusset. Notice that I am anticipating scraps of sock wool before I have actually knitted my first pair, but I digress.

As luck and the great yarn goddesses would have it, Monica brought sock wool scraps to SnB last time, so it was an omen that I also received the pattern that day. Home from SnB and I cast on.

It was sometime later that I read the rest of the pattern. (Don't judge me, you've all done it). I got to the "Heel" section and was told "Work Heel and foot shaping as for pansy socks." Pansy socks, what pansy socks? Quick email to the lovely Happy Spider (donor of pattern) who looked really hard for aforesaid pansy sock but there were no bloody pansy socks to be had. She kindly found another pattern in the mag and sent me the instructions for that, but sadly, despite her wonderful recipe, my skills were wanting and my confidence shot.

I turned the heel (third time lucky), I picked up stitches correctly (first go!) and then stuffed it all up by fiddling about with what number of stitches should go on which needle. I did gusset beautifully but the result was skewiff due to stitch distribution debacle. More unravelling and chucking in corners ensued. I was late for my hat making workshop. I was not happy.

The little sock sat for nearly a week on my windowsill. It did not reproach me, but I reproached myself. This morning I reached "bugger it" point and sent an ever so slightly pathetic plaintive email to Jenny Occleshaw, designer of these and, presumably, the pansy, socks. She emailed back almost immediately saying that there had been a printing error with CK (wow, there's a surprise!) and is posting me the amended pattern.

I love Jenny Occleshaw and I want to do her workshop next weekend in Tasmania. Sponsorship opportunities now open.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I shoot, I knit, I vote

A few years ago I took up pistol shooting. It was a reaction against Tai Chi which made me more stressed rather than less - far too slow for me.

I was pretty good a shooting and enjoyed it. The club was very encouraging of women as they wanted to water-down the redneck image of the sport. I may have tested their level of acceptance by knitting while waiting for my turn on the range.

I found this book in our local library. I want it on a t-shirt. :)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Yarn Magazine. Issue 2 Fan-bloody-tastic.

The new issue of Yarn was in my letterbox this morning - I will be late for work today.

Several articles of note, how did Barb Coddington know that I had just bought all this laceweight and do an issue on lace knitting?, letters to the ed worth reading ;)

In haste.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Ruff day

The arrival of my father at 7am Sunday was not a propitious start to the day. With the regular appearances of both my mother (bless her, she actually helped) and my brother (by appointment), and Dad's usual demands, by 2pm I was ready to throttle the next person who wanted something.

I grabbed a large ball of homespun (by Someone who donated it to an opshop) and dyed thick and thin wool (quite possibly Someone's first ever go at spinning ), a 12mm bamboo circ so fresh it practically still had shoots on it, and a very large Freddo Frog and headed for Mum's. She was having a siesta so I got an hour of the knitting equivalent of sitting in a corner and rocking to and fro and had knitted off the worst of my mood before she joined me.

We then had a lovely crafty afternoon. Mum embroidered some fancy work linen doilies with a gum nut and gum leaf design (another op-shop buy) while I knitted. And knitted. The conversation was minimal.

Mum "So what is it you're knitting?"
Taph "Garter stitch"
Mum "Yes I can see that, I taught you to knit. What is the garter stitch going to be?"
Taph "Whatever it wants - a garotte for your husband perhaps."
Mum "Oh dear."

Later ...

Mum "Has your yarn decided what it wants to be yet?"
Taph "It's still in the discovery stage, but there's a definite curly whirly thing happening."
Mum "Oh dear."

Later still...

Taph "Perhaps it's a hat, I could knit up along the short edge and make a band and it could be a knitted Inca headress."
Mum "Oh dear."

And later again ...

Mum "Is that you casting off now?"
Taph "No, it's increase row"
Mum "Oh dear."

Later, later...

Brother "What the hell's that?!"
Mum "Not a garotte for your father."
Brother "Oh dear."

Later again ...

Taph "Right, I've cast off with 60 cm to spare."
Mum "And what did your wool decide to be?"
Taph "Dunno, thanks Mum, see you tomorrow."
Mum "Oh dear."

It's a Rough Day Ruff. :) Colours are crap with this camera but we have a soft natural white with a greyie-blue and a muted sea green. I think it looks like surf as it recedes on the sand. I've put a pearl drop button as the fastener.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Baby Bitch

Tonight's baby SnB was great fun. Yes, they always are, but it was lovely having an intimate gathering after our megabitches of the last couple of months. Just the 7 of us and one newbie *waves at Knittydoll*, and all bar one, knit-bloggers.

We had no FO celebrations tonight, but Irene came close with the sideways scarf.

I did have an FO today though. The red baby jacket is done and on its way to baby Penelope in Brisbane. Here's the whole thing and a close up because I love the little triangular buttons.

Vital Statistics:

Knitted in 3 ply Bendigo baby nylon, about 100g. Size to 12mos.
Knitted on bamboo 3mm circular needle, top down. The only sewing up was the sleeves and sewing on the buttons. No sweat.

If you think taking a full fortnight to knit this is a slow process, please be aware that I knitted from the sleeves down at traffic lights and while walking around shopping, standing in queues etc, and through one staff meeting. I had to restrain myself from sitting at home and finish it in an evening so that I would have no-brain knitting for walking around shopping, standing in queues for sushi and staff meetings. I'm doing another in a pale aqua and will probably do another red one as well. The push is on to deplete the baby stash.

I'm about to add photos to some previous blogs. So for shots of the Butch Hats click here and here, the little brown teacosy here and the twins' kaleidoscope bracelets here.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A nice dry red

A while ago we discussed whether it was acceptable to knit at table. The concensus among the knitters was only if it matched the menu. Non-knitters also expressed concern of knitting stainage. Here is a baby jacket, knitted top down, taken a week or so ago at my twin nieces' birthday dinner. There is a glass of red behind that knitting and I had just ordered a rare steak, so it's ok.

This garment will be finished in about 10 minutes time. An almost FO. 100g of 3ply out of my stash.