Sunday, December 30, 2007

FO Par

Lest it appear all I do is chuck stuff out, here are a few things I've created.

A souvenir of Singapore from TSS, given the stitchmarker treatment.

It's OK, she gave it to me with this in mind.

Mum's rib and lace socks from the Patonyle sock book. The anklets take 67g to make.

The Stanbridge socks for me from Ornaghi Filati Luna Park a prize won from Yarn magazine.

Seven Things - Week 17

In the last couple of weeks I've found myself grieving a little for my old ways. I really do now ask myself

(a) do I actually need that really cute/vintage/perfect for something thing and is it worth the hassle of getting rid of something else in the house to have? or

(b) is it really up to me to rescue it because it is perfect for someone I know?.

More often than not the answer is no.

And the op-shop managers are starting to notice. Two of my favourites happened to be in the same shop last week and joked that 1 mug at $1.50 was not meeting my minimum purchase requirements.

It makes me a little sad. I might just satisfy myself with taking photos of some of the gems, but it does rather smack of train-spotting for the vintage enthusiast.

TSS and I are discussing the pursuit of other activities in some of the time normally engaged in op-shopping: creative or social activities but not activities arranged around the nearest op-shop. *sigh*

The creative activity this week was going to be dealing the 4 boxes dedicated to Christmas decorating and craft, wrapping papers and the gift stash. I've knocked it down from 4 overflowing boxes to 2 and I'm looking closely at the boxes that are left. While I was in the cupboard, I checked some of the boxes not opened in 4 years. Most of the fabric has been despatched to the op-shops from whence it came and the research papers and notes are now mostly gone to the recycling bin.

Getting rid of old research papers led to the non-fiction book shelves. If I don't do the research anymore, do I need the reference library to back it up? I live 7 kilometres from one of the world's great libraries so if you're interested in labour, women's or Australian local history, the next Lifeline Book Fair is 7-9 March.

So the domino effect and the consumer overload that happens at this time of the year, led to a swing into the purge part of the binge/purge cycle. It is positive and I'm going with it and trying not to overthink it and therefore think myself out of it.

There was a mini op-shop tour on Friday, but we quit after half a day, while we were ahead and at my suggestion. More personal growth - astounding!

IN (40)

  • 1 bag spinning fibre - forgot to include this last week. Ewe Give Me The Knits fibre club for Dec. (It's absolutely gorgeous, am champing at the bit to spin it).
  • 1 mug. SALVOS
  • 1 pair shoes - GIFT
  • 1 bag of beads discarded by The Shopping Sherpa from the world's most hideous bracelet. Used as decorations on fabric Christmas gift bags. The beads were fine on their own it was the conformation of bracelet that was revolting.
  • 1 apron. Forgot this from last week. It has a knitting koala screen-printed on it under the legend "I'm an Aussie Granny". As an apron it is too small and too twee but refashioned it will be something else altogether. SALVOS.
  • 1 scarf - GIFT
  • 1 ruana - GIFT
  • 5 pieces underwear 30-50% off @ TARGET
  • 1 pair trousers - OP SHOP
  • 11 Patons patterns. eBay/op shop
  • 10 beanies worth of yarn OP SHOP
  • 1 ball Patonyle OP SHOP
  • 1 set dpns OP SHOP
  • 3 jumpers for yarn recycling OP SHOP
  • 1 Spin-Off magazine. The first of my subscription. Yay!

OUT (402)

  • 37 items of clothing WOMEN'S REFUGE
  • 1 box packing materials GIFT
  • 1 Pkt cd cases GIFT
  • 1 Bra - a casualty in the war between lycra and gravity BIN
  • 1 Pr undies cut up for dusters REPURPOSED
  • 1 Nightie cut up for dusters REPURPOSED
  • 1 Bag hobby fill OP-SHOP
  • 2 elephant key-rings OP-SHOP
  • 5 small bags, handbags, coin purses OP-SHOP
  • 24 music cds OP-SHOP
  • 1 arty faux Rubik's cube OP-SHOP
  • 3 scarves OP-SHOP
  • 1 itty-bitty book light OP-SHOP
  • 1 palette OP-SHOP
  • 1 pedicure kit OP-SHOP
  • 1 pencil sharpener in the shape of a lantern OP-SHOP
  • 1 rug making kit OP-SHOP
  • 1 set paint brushes OP-SHOP
  • 5 glossy mags OP-SHOP
  • 3 Car seat covers OP-SHOP
  • 15 sewing patterns OP-SHOP
  • 28 lots of sewing fabric OP-SHOP
  • 2 book stands OP SHOP
  • 10 video cassettes and DVDs OP SHOP
  • 131 books LIFELINE
  • 19 assorted binders, folders, wallets, boxes of plastic sleeves and notebooks KIDS or DAD or RECYCLING or BIN
  • 24 knitting patterns GIFTS
  • 25 Christmas items - ornaments, toys decorations for my nieces and nephew KIDS
  • 6 hair accessories KIDS
  • 1 embroidery hoop GIFT
  • 1 wheat filled heat pack GIFT
  • 5 re-usable bags OP SHOP & WOMEN’S REFUGE
  • 5 packets of Christmas cards (that's 100 cards!) - never used, still in their packaging bought them over a few years in after-Christmas markdown sales I rarely send Christmas cards and I resent the forced and inappropriate greetings on most of them DAD
  • 2 circ needles BIN
  • 31 floppy discs and data cds BIN
  • 5 Items of kitchenalia OP-SHOP or BIN

I know I'm wimping out a bit by op-shop dumping this week, but I am concerned about burdening my friends and family with all this stuff. As op-shops are the source of quite a bit of the stuff in my house, they can deal with the consequences. I could probably sell a bit of it, but I just want it gone.


2 pairs socks

4 stitch markers


IN 40
OUT 402


Monday, December 24, 2007

A White Christmas

(Rosie's last litter)

Merry Christmas


Peggy, Rosie, Lochie and Taph

we'll catch you all after lunch tomorrow!

(Peggy feeds her last litter, Lochie on far right)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Well if you can spin gold from straw...

How fabulous is this? Dutch artist Greetje van Tiem spun yarn from newspaper and used it to knit and weave with.

I tried knitting with paper earlier in the year but couldn't get a loose enough tension - spinning it; now that would be fun. Curious Weaver explains how she did it.

Pic borrowed from

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Seven Things Week 16

This week and next were always going to be tough, 7-things wise.

I'm usually prepared for the Christmas gift-giving pretty early. This year, not as early, but I was still ready with 10 days or so to spare. I've noticed in other years that even being prepared hasn't stopped me from feeling that I should be shopping. It's not just advertising hype and the talk around the lunch-room table but the fact that shopping frenzy is covered on the evening news! Shopping malls at midnight are the happening places, apparently. Our culture is so commercialised and geared to consumer experience that it's hard to not feel like I'm missing out on something.

Of course I'm really missing out on crowds, anxiety, cross-people who are more anxious than me, other people's tired cross and anxious children, bad renditions of my favourite Christmas carols through the PA system, and over-priced, useless stuff that will be relegated to the back of the cupboard or the op-shop come Boxing Day.

Ah well, I've never run with the "in" crowd and I'd rather be home with Peggy and a knitting project; the shops will just have to do without me.

IN (37)
  • 1 groovy green bag. GIFT
  • 1 felted bowl. GIFT
  • 2 skeins yarn. GIFT
  • 1 pkt Patons Aran yarn. OP-SHOP.
  • 8 books - birthday money in action.
  • 1 keyring. GIFT
  • 2 magazines. GIFT
  • 1 cone pink 5ply wool. OP-SHOP $2
  • 10 Christmas fabric napkins. OP-SHOP $2.50. (already transformed into 5 re-usable fabric gift bags)
  • 2 ramekins. GIFT
  • 8 Patons patterns for the collection. eBay
OUT (69)

  • 8 cookbooks GIFTS/OP SHOP
  • 11 balls knitting cotton GIFT
  • 2 balls sock yarn GIFT
  • 1 skein sock yarn GIFT
  • 9 items as gifts
  • 2 fridge magnets. I took the actual magnets out to creatively reuse them and put the plastic faces (theme park souvenirs from well-meaning friends) in the bin.
  • 5 wash cloths GIFTS
  • 13 gift soaps GIFTS
  • 13 gift bags GIFTS
  • 1 emery board - worn out. BIN
  • 4 sample sachets for cosmetic products. BIN
SIAA (41)

  • 1 neck warmer
  • 37 fabric gift sacks - fabric from Nanna's stash and 10 Christmas fabric napkins bought at Vinnies. Ribbon from stash.
  • 2 fridge magnets made from the tops of champagne bottles and re-used magnets.
  • 1 toddler's vest


In 37
Out 69
Net Out 32


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Top that

Beanie 2007.127

My third project for the Yarn Magazine KAL.

Sarah Golder's Sock Topper from Yarn, issue 8 - the current issue. The yarn was left over from a pair of socks and was exactly the 25g called for - hooray, no more scraps! Bummer, I've got 9g left.The hat's very sweet and I'll be able to use those 9g somewhere, I guess.

Couldn't resist photographing it on my favourite hydrangea which Dad propagated from a cutting off his, now deceased, plant. Originally it came from a cutting taken from Mrs Norris, also deceased, the mother of a family friend. The glorious rain of the last few weeks has made the garden explode with blooms.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Squiddly Did It

Crocheters of the world - well those of you I haven't alienated - behold!

Wanna make this cute critter? Pop over to Bookczuk's blog for the pattern. Bookczuk assures me this a very simple pattern. As she is a BookCrossing crafter and an all round lovely person, I believe her. She would love to see Aussie octopodes. The pattern is also in Ravelry, so you can queue it.

Pic lifted from Bookczuk.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Seven Things Week 15 - It's the thought that counts.

In the lead up to Christmas, it's really hard to stop myself from wanting more and more. I find that I have to be in the shopping centre to pick up odds and ends for Mum and it's difficult to resist the sale signs and pretty sparkly things.

I am so grateful for the gifts I have received this week. All of them have been wonderful and generous. When we say of a gift, "it's the thought that counts", what we often mean is that the gift is truly awful but it was nice to receive something. What the gifts I received this week have reminded me is that the real meaning of "it's the thought that counts" is that the giver actually thought of me when they made, bought or sent the gift and what I would like and appreciate. The true gift is the thought. ALL of the gifts I received this week were thoughtful, for which I am very grateful.

IN (28)
  • 1 glass bowl - late 40s/early 50s pressed glass and bakelite from Aussie Junk Better Bits - I'm weak, what can I tell you?
  • 1 Secret Santa gift - anyone want an elephant key-ring and a small change purse?
  • 9 things that were birthday or Christmas gifts - all beautiful and very gratefully received :)
  • 11 Patons patterns for the collection
  • 6 odd balls of yarns, gifts from gorgeous and generous knitters. Thank you. :)

OUT (69)

  • 1 flower drying kit OP SHOP
  • 1 paper making kit OP SHOP
  • 2 Akubra hats GIFTS
  • 1 postcard GIFT
  • 1 book of stickers GIFT
  • 6 glossy mags GIFTS
  • 1 glossy mag OP-SHOP
  • 16 balls or equivalent knitting cotton GIFTS
  • 40 assorted hair accessories. GIFTS, OP-SHOP, BIN as appropriate

SIAA (1)
1 beanie


IN 28
OUT 69


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Thank you

For everyone who helped out with my crochet question last week - thank you.

I passed on all your suggestions. Ron was thrilled and excited that people all over the world thought his crochet could be transformed. Trudi's scarf suggestion was a big hit as was Janet's bowl idea. The house has a regular craft group so they are planning a session around the chain. I have to admit, I'm with Kai - I think it's great that he takes joy in the process with no particular goal.

He made this card in craft group as a thank you.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Seven Things Week 14

IN (15)

  • 1 drum carder eBay.
  • 2 pairs tortiseshell needles, gift from a family friend. The ack that came with it was immediately placed in the out tray.
  • 1 black silk blouse, $10 from Vinnies. A bit on the pricey side, but sometimes I splurge.
  • 2 books from a knitting BookCrosser I met on Ravelry.
  • 1 set dpns
  • 6 projects worth of Patonyle
  • 2 projects worth of Bluebell

OUT (35)

  • 12 books - BookCrossing
  • 6 knitting patterns. GIFT
  • 4 cross-stitch kits GIFT
  • 1 long-stitch kit GIFT
  • 2 trapunto kits GIFT
  • 1 ball sock yarn GIFT
  • 1 lampshade OP SHOP
  • 1 Anne Geddes bee soft toy, a long ago mothers' day gift. It came in a terracotta pot painted bright yellow and covered in bees. I'm keeping the pot. OP SHOP
  • 1 adaptor to play cds in the car through the cassette player. OP SHOP
  • 1 walking stick. OP SHOP
  • 3 Secret Santa GIFTS
  • 2 books. GIFTS


IN 15
OUT 35

Friday, December 07, 2007

Star quality

A day's leave from work today to attend my nephew's Speech and Drama Class Concert.

Here he is - the one with his head on one side trying to work out why his aunt is photographing him through a beanie-in-progress.

He did a great job in the speech choir pieces and in the two-hander with his mate Adam. There's video footage, I won't bother posting it to You-tube - you can thank me later. ;p

Due to a communication error, Mum and I got to spend 3.5 hours at the school - that's 3" of a 4ply baby hat on 2.75mm needles. Some of the time I was taping performances, but most of it was knitting.

The whole primary school attended and the children were beautifully behaved - more so than the mother behind me who took several calls on her mobile during the hour and a half concert and chatted and drivelled while the children performed.

While we were over that way, popped into the Crafty Frog for leather thonging to finish the Christiane Collar - ta da!

Ditte Larsen's Christiane Collar from Yarn issue 7, Winter 2007. The yarn is a wool/ack blend reclaimed from an op-shop jumper. The colour is gorgeous and it has these little felty bits through it.

Finished off with leather thonging and boodle wooden beads.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum

Inwood Smith Drum Carder

Christmas came a little early, Chez Taph.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

In the bag

It's done - the first item on my list for the Yarn knit-along. See this post for yarn and pattern details. It's 4 repeats longer than the pattern and I put the eyelets in the second pattern repeat which gives a ruffled top.

Because this was a tape yarn I used it to make the ties as well.

I'm particularly pleased with the beads. The photo's not so hot, but I had wooden beads in exactly the right shades of orange and pink. No purchases were made to conceive or complete this project. Whacko!

And I've cast on my next KAL project, Ditte Larsen's Christiane Collar from issue 7, Winter 2007.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Do not call 000

but I need some advice on cr***et.

A woman I work with also works at a group home for the handicapped. There's a guy there who has been cr****ting chains for years. He just likes doing it. He chains until the ball is used up and then he starts a new ball if there is one, or he uravels what he's done and starts again. He is 63 - there's a ship-load of chain.

He'd like to do something with the chains and my colleague wants to help but doesn't cr****t, or indeed knit. I've given her a big bag of yarn to help keep going but she needs ideas.

So far I've come up with
  • find a bigger hook and use the chain as yarn for another chain (I have no idea if that would work),
  • use the chain as you would French knitting and make rugs/placemats/trivets,
  • use the chain to weave with by making a loom out of a picture frame or old tapestry frame. Again, I have no idea if that would work.


While you're thinking, here's some novelty yarn, stash-busting, side-to-side scarves.

*edited to explain that I include photos of novelty yarn scarves to show that I, too, can participate in maligned crafts activity - make as much fun as you like.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Yarn KAL

I don't join Knit-Alongs. They tend to be just too much pressure - knitting's meant to be fun and if I start putting deadlines to it, the fun dies and I stress badly. I don't mind setting myself goals, I just don't like the pressure of other people's expectations or the competitve drive that kicks in.

But when I saw that Kate was starting up a KAL to celebrate Yarn magazine and retiring editor Barbara Coddington, I decided I could cope. Read all about it here.

The idea is to knit a pattern from any or each of the 8 editions before issue 9 (hopefully March '08) is out.
I've got Buckley's of knitting 8 items by March '08, but I'm going to give it a go. Typically my first piece is not from any of the 8 paper editions, it's from the online sample issue. See, there's another reason I don't KAL - if I can't set the rules, I break them. That, and I'm a smart arse.

I'm setting some ground rules, though. I'll try and knit from each edition I haven't already knitted from and I'll use current boodle to complete each item. It would be really great if I could use some of the yarn I won from Yarn to knit a few. No telling how many items I'll make and my copies are already bristling with page markers. There's only one edition from which I'm struggling to find a pattern I really want to knit.

The first project, though - Barb's own Little Lace Bag. It's a sweet ripple pattern designed to make a pretty little evening bag. Thing is, though, I have about as much use for an evening bag as I do for set of iceskates. What I need is a little bag to protect the coffee mug I lug about to meetings etc. instead of using the plastic and sytrofoam usually on offer. So I’ve added a few pattern repeats and because I committed knitting sin number 2 (not reading the pattern the whole way through before casting on), I’ve put the eyelet row in the second pattern repeat.

I'm using Lang Moana, a Spidey leftover. It’s 50/50 cotton and acrylic. It’s making a dense fabric to protect my mug and washes well.I would have been finished but I cast on the second piece on the wrong size needle and was 1/3 the way through before I discovered the error.

So, anyone else up for the Yarn KAL? It''ll be fun. There's plenty of free online patterns or you can go over the the mag website and order back issues. Drop Kate a line kathrynthorne at hotmail dot com and she'll send you an invitation to the KAL blog.

Seven Things Week 13 - unlucky for some

Good Lord - all but one of my ins this week relates directly to knitting. Not all that surprising I guess, but, you know, it's a bit of a giveaway that I might just be a bit OCD here.

IN: (28)
4 pairs socks worth of Patonyle
6 hats worth of Twilleys Freedom Wool
1 scarf worth of Twilleys Freedom Wool
1 wrap's worth of Naturally Sensation wool and angora
1 Vogue Knitting International magazine
2 old Cast On magazines from Vinnies
1 old Knitters' magazine from Vinnies
1 Interweave Gift Knits 2007
2 circular needles from Vinnies
1 set wooden Erotel needles from Vinnies
5 knitting books
1 novel - the new Jasper Fforde, First Among Sequels. A gift from a colleague.
1 cone 8ply from Vinnies
1 cone laceweight from Vinnies

OUT: (48)
6 tea towels. SALVOS
5 cotton scarves. VINNIES
1 insulated back pack which was a gift for being on an expert panel last year. Very useful I'm sure but I don't need it and it has the Australian Seniors Portal logo all over it and that would just be false advertising! ;) VINNIES
10m blue and white checked fabric. Purchased 4 years ago for $1 a metre, I've already used 20 metres on various test sewing projects and nighties for Mum and me. I thought it might soften up with use, but it stayed scratchy and frayed and pulled to buggery to boot. Not such a bargain after all. VINNIES
2 balls sock yarn GIFT
15 balls acrylic yarn for a group house where there is a dedicated crocheter in need of materials. GIFT
1 comforter - bought for the spare bed (Salvos 1/2 price manchester sale a couple of years ago) but the colours are not quite right and it's all puffy. SALVOS
3 Pilyvut egg cups in the shape of chickens. I do not require so many egg cups. These are lovely, but... SALVOS
1 white china bowl. Small but not small enough for cereal and too big for the cupboard and there's only one of them. SALVOS
2 bamboo bag handles. SALVOS
1 cheap and nasty kilt pin. SALVOS
1 Paddy Palin plastic coffee plunger/coffee mug in one. SALVOS

1 beanie
5 scarves

IN 28
OUT 48

Friday, November 30, 2007

Wanting less - a junk mail junkie goes cold turkey

I've been reading a lot of green blogs and books lately (see the sidebar under Zero is the New Black) and I am, as my dead grandmother would say, Taking Steps.

I love junk mail, truly I do. I read catalogues from beginning to end. I love the bright, shiny, happy, better me they promise if only I'd buy their goods. One of the first things I did when I moved into this house was remove the "No Junk Mail" sticker from the letter box.

I sign up for paper and email catalogues whenever I can. I love getting the mail. It's all a sham of course, and we know it, but it's so easy to buy into and a girl can dream. But the dream's promise is hollow.

This stuff is so pervasive I maintain a HUGE collection of it at work as a document of our community in the 20th and 21st Centuries.

So, in order to tackle my own consumerism, I'm cutting back on the advertising that comes into my home.

It is no trivial thing for me to be doing this. It cuts to so many aspects of my life that are important, like a fantasy self-image, love of a bargain, love of research (I need all the information all the time to make informed choices) and collection building, both at home and at work. Hell, this is cultural - brand knowledge is cultural knowledge in our community. Think about the brand names we use as nouns - Kleenex, Hoover, Esky, Tampax.

Steps Taken

1. Registration on the Federal Government managed 'Do not Call register'. OK, so I never buy from cold-callers so it doesn't affect my consumerism, but it will, hopefully, make me less anxious of answering the telephone and able to better enjoy my time at home.

2. Request for a "No Advertising Material" sticker from the The Australian Catalogue Association and asked them to put me on their register of banned addresses.

3. Registration with the Australian Direct Marketing Authority "Do Not Call, Do Not Mail" list. My name will be ciruclated to list brokers who will take my name off their list.

4. As catalogues come in, I am requesting removal from mailing lists.

A bonus benefit will be a very small reduction in carbon emissions. No transport, no plastic wrappers, fewer catalogues. Of course it's only small if one person does it, but I've registered the parents for all of these as well - so that's 3 of us this week.

Image from here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

They're heeeeere!

The books arrived today - a fortnight ahead of schedule. I'll be a bit busy for a while - 'bye.

Dirty little secrets

Oh the shame. I have a large novelty yarn stash. It's a the result of success with the All Sorts berets, which appropriately use novelty yarn, and my inability to turn down bargain yarn.

While we were away over winter, I cleared out a Big W of its Sean Sheep when it was down to 50c a ball. Last year I bought a heap of it at the same price and put it into plastic tubs to marinate. I've used the occasional ball in freeform experiments and had plans to make a bunch of freeform scarves and hats for the TASDA raffle; plans that were not realised.

And I just can't stop using the stash cataloguing facility on Ravelry.

Now I have to get serious about using it, so I'm publicly outing myself as motivation to bust the novelty yarn stash. So brace yourselves and watch the Feathers fly!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Birds of a Feather

This is the first delivery of fibre from the Ewe Give Me the Knits fibre club. The big bag on the right is Polwarth. The little bag on the (other) right is nylon. Yup - I got me a sock spinning kit in the colourway "Birds of A Feather".

I opened it on Friday. Present at the opening were my mother and one of my nieces. Mum was not particularly excited, spinning doesn't do it for her, but Emily had an immediate and intense colour reaction.

She must have listened as I exclaimed over the fibre and the sock possibility and when I told her about the Polwarth and how the breed comes from the same district as her Poppy. I know she listened because I have now proof-positive that my mother's sock-stealing DNA is very strong - Emily told her father that Aunty Taph is spinning her socks from Poppy's wool!

Monday, November 26, 2007

My heart beat so that I can hardly speak

You know how the first question you are asked when you make a mobile phone call is "Where are you?"?

On Saturday I got to give the answer - "I'm in heaven".

Wool shop - everything 50% off (and the original prices were 2 years old).

Given the circumstances, I was remarkably restrained.

2 balls Patonyle in a really dark khaki/grey colour. Perfect for boy socks.

6 balls of a heathery purple Patonyle - 2 balls for Mum socks, 2 balls for me socks, 2 balls because it was half price Patonyle and they were the last two in the shop.

5 balls of Twilley Freedom Wool in my favourite purple/green colourway. I have been known to ask strangers (well a knitter I'd only just met) for her scraps of this wool - Hi Katt!.

8 balls of Naturally Sensation 70% merino, 30% angora

Yes it was all purple and green and yes, I did leave wool in the shop because that is what restrained shoppers who are able to identify between wants, needs and out-and-out wool lust do. See, personal growth. *sob*

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Seven Things Week 12

IN (40)
  • 1 Bessemer fry pan - forgot to include this last week. It was $5 and replaces 2 crappy aluminium pans - one gone a couple of weeks ago and another this week.
  • 8 Patons patterns from Twitchy Fingers. She found them at her Nanna's op-shop. Very good of her. There was really 21 of them, but the duplicates have been passed down-stream already.
  • 25 Patons patterns from eBay. Within the clearly defined collection development plan.
  • 2 black t-shirts from the DJs cardholders' sale. These come closest to being my perfect t-top. Black, cotton, long enough to cover bum and not sit flat across the widest part, modest v-neck, 3/4 length sleeves. I can wear them over jeans or under a work outfit, no problem. 25% off.
  • 1 yoghurt maker - gift from TSS. I only asked to borrow it but she insisted.
  • 1 magazine - also from TSS.
  • 1 pair knitting needles (forgot to include these from last week)
  • 1 bag of spinning fibre. My first Fibre Club delivery from Ewe Give Me the Knits

    OUT (255)
  • 19 balls pink knitting cotton GIFT
  • 1 Shape-o Ball GIFT
  • 4 cooking magazines/books GIFT
  • 4 vintage cr****t hooks GIFT
  • 4 vintage Patons patterns GIFT
  • 1 aluminium fry pan. BIN
  • 151 dolls ADOPTION
  • 37 lots of doll accoutrement - clothes, blankets, furniture etc. GIFT
  • 32 odd knitting needles going to a well-known plastics artist along with most of the needles from the fete last week. We wuz robbed on that one TSS. GIFT


1 beanie

IN 40
OUT 255


It will not be a surprise that after 3 months of this, and with a whopping nett 872 items leaving the house, that I have a little way to go yet. TSS and I will be continuing this personal challenge for the Summer (and I suspect longer).

On the surface we are probably not the best challenge buddies. We unload stuff on each other all the time, but it is welcome stuff that we couldn't leave behind when it suited the other so well. We were doing this before the challenge and will continue to do so. We also act as the Voice of Frugal Reason for each other. We understand the emotional investment in our things, particularly in our collections, and the collections of others over which we have dominion. We encourage and support each other in the evaluation of items and collections, the place they have in our history, hearts and lives. We understand that it takes time and space to let go and that sometimes letting go isn't at all necessary.

To describe this challenge as decluttering is to only understand part of what we've been trying to achieve. A major aim of the challenge was to learn to assess wants versus needs and to be aware of what, how and why we consume.

For me the primary aim is to attempt to overcome the mindset that if I just have enough things, I'll be happy and fulfilled. I want to value and care for the things I have, consume less and be creative with more.

Truths learnt/reinforced so far:
  • I find it extremely difficult to resist a bargain that is perfect for me or someone I know.
  • I am now able to leave the "but it's so cute" stuff behind in op-shops etc. -well, quite often.
  • I no longer buy it just because if fits. You'd have to be a very hard to fit person to truly understand how significant this is. When you are only able to buy clothes as say, 3 shops, and you can still only buy one bra in your size and 1 brand of undies, for example, it has been difficult to not buy something just because it fits because it is so rare to find something that does fit even if the colour is terrible, the cut wrong and the fabric mostly man-made. Also, if it almost fits, even if it's only a couple of dollar, it stays in the shop.
  • I am sufficiently mature to know and be confident in my own taste.
  • I am as addicted to secondhand-shopping as many other people are to retail shopping (dur!)
  • this is not a good thing, but it's not the worst thing in the world either and certainly doesn't have the terrible environmental effect of rampant consumerism
  • I am better able to assess wants as wants than previously
  • I am exploring better and more creative down-stream disposal opportunities
  • Accumulation makes me fleetingly happy, but creation and transformation brings me deep satisfaction and even joy
  • relationships come before things

Friday, November 23, 2007

Half past monsoon

TTWC 2007.126

The black is old Crucci 12ply bought at the Smith Family last year and the blue is an odd ball of 12ply crepe donated by Spidey. She really gave it to Mum but it's too thick for the wrist warmers so back it came.

Still loving the slip stitch. This one has a very Ska feel to it.

Concerning the birthday books - thanks for confirming my choices :). Canberrans, of course, will get a chance to drool and read - eventually.

It is great to be getting a "gift" that is exactly what I want. I'm kind of hoping they don't arrive on the day because there'll be a family dinner and I won't be able to spend quality time with the books that night.

The EZ titles have been on the wish list for quite some time. They complete my EZ collection, except for the DVDs, but had I bought them I would have had to miss out on the other books. Another time.

I have Anna Zilboorg's, 45 Fine & Fanciful Hats to Knit and Fancy Feet: Traditional Knitting Patterns of Turkey . She does gorgeous colour work and like EZ, treats her readers with respect. The older I get the more I appreciate the heretics and original thinkers in all areas of life. I've ALWAYS appreciated outspoken women.

And yes, the new scarf book looks amazing. I've seen some of the items online and they are wonderful. There is a freebie online of The Shag *snigger* and it's a mind-freak. I played around with it a couple of weeks ago before deadline knitting hit. I'll go back to it soon, maybe when the book arrives.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Birthday bumps

This week I won a book voucher. Amazon estimates that these will arrive Chez Taph on my birthday!

I am so doing the wee wee jiggle.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Takin' a toque

When is a Tam not a Tam? When it's a toque.

I used Wendy Bernard's Last Minute "Purled" Beret as the base for shaping. Everything went well until it came of the needles.

I prefer the decreases on the starfish one but like the ribbed band better on this. The little stalk at the top makes me smile. But it toqued when it should have tammed - odd.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Desperation is the mother of invention - my continuing love affair with garter stitch scarves

So what's a knitter do when she has 8 days to create three special gifts which should be the same but different?

Firstly she drops by the Boodle Boutique to see what's in stock. Ah, 4 x 100g balls of that gorgeous hand-spun, hand-dyed yarn from Boorowool, each in a different colourway. 3 of the colourways match the recipients' tastes. Score!

100g should be enough for a simple skinny scarf accessory that showcases the colours and texture of the yarn, but a garter stitch scarf looks far too amateurish to give to women who have watched (and disapproved) of my knitting in meetings for 4 years. Even they know how basic a garter stitch scarf is, even in gorgeous wool. But garter stitch on the bias? That looks impressive and is just as easy to knit and most importantly, looks as good on either side.

So off I went on 6.5mm needles to give the scarf good drape and open the fabric up to showcase the yarn, increasing until it looked wide enough to be elegant without being skimpy (21 stitches or about 9cm). Within minutes I was bored witless and started throwing in a rows of yarn overs just to keep myself awake interested. The first scarf, now relegated to the bottom of my scarf drawer, was OK as a test piece, but the yarn over rows were unevenly placed and the edges a bit wonky. I knitted until it was long enough to sit around the neck hanging to just above waist level (114cm) . Astonishingly the scarf took 47g - a little less than half my ball. Whacko!

This is the colourway I called "Blue Gum" - teals, olives and browns.

Immediately I cast on again in the same colourway and made a much more acceptable scarf with even edges and well spaced rows of yarn overs for interest.

The third scarf was even better. I was getting the hang of working with the uneven yarn and the colours were absorbing.

This colourway I call Gum Blossom. Those crimson pinks, bluey grey greens and olives are divine!

And finally the best knitted scarf in a colourway I call "Roosters" because it's red, blue and white. I liked this colourway least in the ball, but knitted it has an amazing chocolate which I'd never have thought to put with blue and red - it gives it great depth.

The toffee apple colourway I'm saving for something else but the remains of Roosters and Gum Blossom will probably become YO! scarves. My recipe for the scarf is here.

YO! Diagonal garter stitch scarf recipe

Using 50gm of 8-10ply thick and thin yarn and a 6.5mm needle, cast on 1 stitch.
Knit front, back and front into this stitch (3 stitches)
Next Row: Slip 1 purlwise, k across the row
Next Row: Slip 1 purlwise, k front and back in the remaining two stitches (5 stitches)
Increase Pattern:
Row 1: Slip 1 purlwise, k across the row
Row 2: Slip 1 purwise, k front and back of the next stitch, k to second last stitch, k front and back, k1. [I used a safety pin to mark this side of the fabric so I could keep track of my bias knit row - this made it a REALLY mindless knit]
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until you have 21 stitches on your needle, ending with a Row 1.
Main Pattern:
Row 1: Slip 1 purlwise, k front and back of the next stitch, k to last three stitches, k2yog, k1.
Row 2: Slip 1 purlwise, *yo, k2 tog, repeat from * to last
Row 3: Slip 1 purwise, k front and back of the next stitch, k to last three stitches, k2tog, k1.
Row 4: Slip 1 purlwise, k across the row
Repeat rows 3 and 4, 7 more times to complete pattern repeat.
Complete rows 1-7, 9 more times (10 pattern repeats), then rows 1 -4, once.
Decrease Pattern:
Row 1: Slip 1 purlwise, k2tog, k to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1
Row 2: Slip 1 purlwise, k across the row
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until 3 stitches remain.
K3tog, break of yarn, draw tail through stitch and darn in ends.
If necessary, lightly steam press under a cloth to block.
Finished dimensions of my scarf in this yarn were 9cm wide and 115cm long.
Fabulous quick knit (less than 4 hours) - great for handspun.

Monday, November 19, 2007

TTWC Jr 2007.125. Recycled jumper yarn on a 5.5mm needle.

There's a LOT of this yarn and it's so bright and gorgeous for kids. Another few of these on the way.

I don't know what the bush is called but like the yarn it is pretty and plentiful. It must have been easy to propagate because there are many in the back yard.

It's been a while since there was any beanie action on this blog. I spent most of the last week knitting gift scarves (photos and pattern tomorrow), but managed to fit in a couple of beanies and a wee bit of sockage as well.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Living Doll

Long family history post - very little knitting content - proceed at own risk.


In the mid 1970s I donated my doll collection to someone who loved and appreciated it more than I did. Today I had the privelege of doing it all over again.

I was the first child born in my parents' circle of friends. This circle was made up of my father's Air Force mates.

Dad's mates all brought me dolls from all over the world, usually dressed in national or culturally distinctive costumes. Consequently I became the possessor of many dolls even for a little girl in the 1960s.

People who visited our house were shown my doll collection which had a special set of shelves on the wall of the bedroom. Visitors usually slept in my room so they got to see the dolls a fair bit. These were display dolls, not play dolls. All visitors assumed that I loved collecting these dolls and they brought more.

In fact, I had a love/hate relationship with the dolls. I loved receiving them as gifts and loved the being known as the little girl who collected beautiful dolls because that was somehow special, but I didn't like them much. I really wanted Barbies like my school friends and particularly like the glamourous girls who'd been to the States and had LOTS.

By the early 1970s, we'd come to Canberra and I was at school, playing sport and had lost interest in playing with dolls - dolls were boring when there was a game of backyard cricket or war with the kids in the next street, or hockey, or softball and most of all dolls were girly.

I was also the eldest grand-daughter on my mother's side of the family.

Just before my first birthday, Dad was posted to active service in Vietnam and mum returned with me from Malaysia where they had married and I was born. We went to live with my grandparents, who by then had a property near Jerilderie in NSW.

Nanna had only ever been given one doll in her brief childhood. She had the doll only a few days when her mother made her give it to cousin Betty who didn't have a doll. Nanna's mother, Eileen, was confined to a mental institution following the birth of Uncle Jack and remained there until she died in forty years later. I suspect it was post-natal depression, but the family story is that Eileen got better but refused to come home to her husband Reuben and the children because Reuben was such a brute. Nanna was 9 yrs and 2 months old when Jack was born. By the age of 10 she was, effectively, mother to her 3 younger siblings.

Nanna made sure I had LOTS of dolls. Somewhere there is a photo of the 2 year old me toddling down the garden path at "Sunnyglee" with the white metal pram with navy trim that Nanna bought me. The pram is absolutely stuffed full with dolls. Mum says I was running away from home and had turned to glare at the camera, hands on hips, in what was to become a familiar pose to my family.

By the mid 1970s Grandad sold the farm at Jerilderie and they moved to Canberra. I spent a lot of time with them and in a clear-out fit, familiar to people who read this blog's Sunday posts, I gave Nanna all my dolls. She loved them.

The deal was that she would look after the dolls and maybe add to the collection and when she died, they would all be mine. I must have had some donor-remorse because I remember being torn between wanting her to live a very long time so I would get even more dolls, or dying soon so I could have them back. Not a very worthy thought, but I recall having it.

Add to the collection, Nanna did. And so did I. Nanna joined the Canberra Doll Club. She knitted clothes for her babies, and together we sewed frocks to clothe her growing brood. She learned to make porcelain dolls, as did Aunty Marg. I sewed clothes for those dolls, too.

When I was older and op-shopping on my own, I would bring her back gems that appealed to me. We had very different taste but she graciously accepted my gifts. She began travelling overseas in the 1980s and bought several collector's pieces, too.

In January 2006 Nanna moved back to Leeton. Firstly into a flat and then into a nursing home. She took many of her dolls with her, leaving the majority at her house which was being rented by my cousin. In October 2006 my cousin insisted I remove the dolls and a couple of months after that Aunty Marg brought many more dolls back. 4 x 100 litre plastic containers full, plus 2 large cartons and several small bags of them.

My aunts, cousins and mother all had their pick of the dolls, and I selected a couple of significant dolls to keep, but for nearly a year they've been on my mind. It was so sad to have them stored. My grandmother loved these dolls and I really wanted to find homes for them. I couldn't just turf them. Some of them are wearing my baby clothes, or clothes made by my mother out of fabric left over from clothes made for me. Many are wearing dresses, singlets, knickers, booties and bonnets knitted by Nanna. Some of the dresses I made. There was too much love in this collection to dump them on an op-shop which would quite likely turf them anyway.

Then Janet began to blog about her rescued babies. I was pretty sure I'd found the right person to help out with Nanna's babies and it turns out that Janet is an angel. Her excited and positive response to adopting Nanna's dolls was a god-send and today the adoption took place. Actually, it's more like a fostering because when Janet's beautiful grandsons dropped by, they chose one each. You can see the pictures on Janet's blog. I couldn't be happier and reckon I've done Nan, and the 151 dolls that were fostered today, proud.

Seven Things Week 11

I was doing really well. I only had 3 things in this week. Then, yesterday, the The Shopping Sherpa and I went to two fetes and 5 op-shops. Fatal. ;)

IN (34)
  • 1 Textile Forum mag on subscription
  • 1 Yarn mag sub
  • 1 IK mag sub
  • 1 Spin-Off mag
  • 14 Patons patterns for collection
  • 1 porcelain serving platter from Vinnies ($5)
  • 4 clear plastic blanket bags with zips - boodle containment units ($4)
  • 2 knitting/spinning books ($1)
  • 1 handbag - another Kangarina to replace my original disposed of in Week 1 . These things are $100 a pop now and this one, in near new condition was $1.
  • 1 knitting needle container with a bunch of ill-assorted needles. The needles will find there way to various new homes soon. ($1)
  • 2 wee project bags ($2)
  • 1 pair jeans ($6)
  • 1 pair work trousers ($4.50)
  • 1 cane basket ($3)
  • 1 set Actil First Line sheets with more to come. DJs is the only shop to stock these and they are being discontinued. 30% off + another $5% to come. I'm buying enough to see me through to the nursing home.
  • 3 odd balls of 12ply for the TTWCs

There was also a very cute vintage knitting loom but Mum confiscated it on sight.

OUT (77)

  • 27 balls knitting cotton for TSS's South Sea wash cloth marathon holiday knitting. SABOTAGE GIFT
  • 1 gar-bag of bubble wrap and other packaging stuff. GIFT
  • 2 fashion mags. GIFT
  • 7 x 200g skeins Bendy wool. GIFT
  • 5 sewing patterns. Yes, still more sewing patterns are being unearthed. I don't sew for babies and small children any more. Neither do I need all those maternity, evening, bridal and men's patterns. I rarely sew for me let alone anyone else these days. Some of the craft patterns have reached their best before date, too. VINNIES
  • 30 duplicates Patons patterns. GIFT
  • 1 vintage stationery box. GIFT
  • 1 shirt. GIFT
  • 2 hand-knitted scarves from Shake-it-all-about. GIFTS


  • 3 scarves in a newly devised original* pattern
  • 1 TTWC

IN 34
OUT 77


*Inasmuch as anything knitting related is original when using two established techniques and some spectacular yarn.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Strine Knitting

As much as I love the international knitting community, I thought it useful to record some Australian knitting vocabulary and language useage for posterity. It might also help interpret some of my posts.

  • The stitches I knit are plain and purl.

  • Alternating rows of plain and purl is stocking stitch.

  • I knit jumpers and cardigans. Sometimes I knit a jersey.

  • The ribbed bit at the bottom of a jumper or cardigan, or any other garment for that matter, is a basque.

  • I use needles to knit with; straight and round.

  • Wool is 2ply, 3ply, 4ply, 5ply, 8ply and 12ply regardless of the number of strands in the wool.

  • I knit with wool regardless of the fibre composition in the ball.

  • When my wool is wool it is probably Merino it just isn't on the ball band as a marketing tool. Less the case now than with vintage wools, admittedly.

  • Wool comes in balls and sometimes in hanks.

  • I rarely knit a tension square.

  • If I need to undo my knitting, I take it off the needle and unravel it or I knit back a bit.

  • To finish a piece, I cast off.

  • The pieces are sewn up.

  • If it is a toe, I graft it (or give it to the Happy Spider to graft but that's just me, not all Australian knitters do that).

  • Then I darn in the ends of joined balls.

  • The finished item is knitted.

This is NOT criticism, it is documenting our changing use of language with, perhaps, a touch of affection for some quaint and disappearing terms.

*Image an illustration from Woolly Thoughts

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thinking of all that I've left behind

My relationship with Ravelry was cool at the start but is now burning quite steadily.

I was dubious about the need for yet another social network. I have a couple of blogs and a flickr account to document projects, a yahoo group, many email addresses and other ways to be contacted either by message or by phone. I'm so connected I feel strangled and I was over online fora a LOOONG time ago. I really don't have a huge amount of time to deal with a whole lot more communication.

I also have some concerns about the homogenization of knitting and knitting cultures. None of these concerns have gone away and are amplified by the possible demise of our own Yarn magazine.

The queue facility is fun, but I am already starting to feel a bit anxious about it, mainly because it puts a date on when I queued it adds a time pressure dimension. Queue may disappear and be replaced by a series of bookmarks again.

But what I'm loving MOST about Ravelry is the stash facility. I decided not to upload the whole boodle - there are bandwidth considerations - but I did put up newly acquired materials and my small, but growing (!) stash of good yarn to encourage myself to Knit the Pretties (a little gift because sometimes I forget to play with the pretty things, too).

I spend far too long just staring at my pretties on Ravelry. In spare moments I find myself just checking in on it. It's like I can take it with me almost everywhere I go. It would be sad if it wasn't so bizarre.

And if you're looking for me on Ravelry - I'm Taphophile over there as well.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Body art meets the needle arts?

One of the young blokes at work has a flesh tunnel like this one.

It's kind of cute and very decorative. His tunnel keeper (no idea if that is the right word) is a gorgeous turquoise colour.

It got me thinking, though. Could I have a series of these in appropriate sizes and have a permanent needle guage? I'd need both ears, and maybe have to skip a couple of the less common sizes, but I reckon it could be done.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Seven Things Week 10

IN (76)

  • 1 skein blue boucle yarn from TSS.
  • 2 fashion mags from TSS
  • 11 knitting mags. My back order from Interweave arrived and TSS contributed the Fall Knit 1.
  • 2 sock projects worth of yarn from Nundle
  • 1 bag curly mohair from Nundle
  • 1 bag fibre from Nundle
  • 1 cone winder, part of a job lot of spinning accessories bought sight unseen last year and delivered this week. I kept this and
  • 1 bag alpaca fibre, ditto
  • 1 dress - my Christmas party frock. $3.50 Salvos
  • 1 pair Kumfs patent leather ballet flats - my Christmas party shoes. $3 Salvos
  • 1 pair jeans - to replace the two pairs I've had to bin recently. $3.50 Salvos
  • 1 skirt - skirt $6 Vinnies. Not strictly speaking necessary, but it was pretty and I was in a weakened condition after finding my Christmas frock and shoes for $6.50 in one place on the day my half-price coupon kicked in.
  • 1 pair bathers. Black with an animal print instert - grrrrrr and so me. :) VINNIES $5
  • 16 prs faux tortie, halex, bamboo and circular needles. SALVOS $4 3 pairs socks worth yarn. SCABLIGHT. My mother made me. It was Cleckheaton Cocoon for $3 a ball dammit.
  • 32 x 25g balls of baby wool at $2 a ball. SCABLIGHT - see above. It's 100% merino 4ply and it's going in the dyepot today. I'm ashamed of the place I bought it but not of the quantity. This stuff is gonna be used and soon. It's roughly 6 matinee jackets worth.

OUT (120)

  • 3 pot holders. Awful, manky, grease stained things. RUBBISH
  • 10 x 200g skeins. GIFT
  • 1 reusuable green bag. DONATION
  • 34 postcards to the collector I know. GIFT
  • 2 greeting cards. RECYCLING
  • 1 refillable diary. OP-SHOP
  • 1 pair hand-knitted socks. GIFT
  • 4 pairs pyjamas. WOMEN'S REFUGE
  • 18 bags of beads. GIFT
  • 3 tops. WOMEN'S REFUGE
  • 1 pair slacks. WOMEN'S REFUGE
  • 1 Patons pattern book. GIFT
  • 1 spinning wheel (not mine but it's been here a year and now it's going)
  • 4 bags spinning fibre for the new spinner GIFT
  • 1 beanie to yet another old codger who goes to pulmonary rehab with Mum GIFT
  • 18 foam Christmas decoration bases to the preschool DONATION
  • 6 pom poms to the preschool for crafty fun. DONATION
  • 10 x 50g yarn. GIFT
  • 1 vintage cr*****ed bag. GIFT


  • 2 beanies
  • 1 scarf

IN 76
OUT 120

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Is my idea of nothing to do ...

TTWC 2007.124
Blue Sirdar Pullman, not recommended for pleasurable knitting - very harsh in the hand, and some mystery grey 12 ply which is gorgeously soft, at least by comparison to the Pullman.

I stuffed up the first few rounds of the slip stitch pattern but decided against unravelling and just did a different repeat than usual. The effect is ok.

My back issue order of Interweave Knits arrived. I may not surface for some days.

Friday, November 09, 2007

And then there was Nundle

Nundle Retro 4ply wool. Beautifully soft. I just want to cuddle it.

Little bits of Nundle Luxury Loopy Mohair in a bag for "because it seemed too good to leave behind for $5". She was right. No idea what they will be yet, but something gorgeous.

A ball of Jigsaw sock yarn. Not actually for me. Mum bought this for herself but is delegating the actual knitting to me. She did note that the purple in this yarn matches the purple in the 4ply she bought for me. What an amazing coincidence!

And finally, the fibre. This is a harsh single. Odd and the same texture and physical compostion as the Chinook stuff I brought home from the Smith Family last year and have been knitting the bulky rib beanies from. Just thinner and dead white. I am without words or ideas and would have left it there if I'd seen it.

Oh, and no OPTIM/camel fibre blend. They tried to convince me that the hideous white cow pat of fibre above was it. Apparently the metamorphisis of my parents was as temporary as it was inexplicable. *sigh*