Saturday, March 31, 2007

Tips from the Vault: Checked Fabric

Just for you, The Shopping Sherpa. Use hint with caution!


Check: When washing a garment of black and white check material, if a teaspoon of blue-black ink is put in the rinsing water the check will come out clearer.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Skeining the heights

Skeiner, 8am, Pearce
The last woodwork project is now (almost) done.
It's sanded, oiled and put together and until it was tested this morning, I thought it was finished. Turns out it needs a longer screw through the middle. Tomorrow. Spidey, hold off on the songs of angels for a day or so. ;)

Skeiner with pink cottton, 8.05am, Pearce.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


Look what arrived from Gemma today! They are gorgeous - thank you so much. The pinky grey ones are so soft and I love the regularity of the brown and grey one. It feels like the balaclavas Mum made my brother for the bicycle ride to school on frosty mornings.

And while I'm saying thank you. I also acknowledge the thought and generosity that went into these gifts (I'm slow, but I am grateful).

A month ago The Shopping Sherpa gave me this lovely tin. It is decorated with knit stitches. Mum confiscated it immediately I showed her but she did fill it with home made bikkies. Now if only I could convince her to refill it!

Gorgeous spinning fibre from Mandie and sock needles from a very generous mate.The fibre is waiting for my long holiday planned for late July and August, and the sock needles will go on holidays as well.

More dying by the Happy Spider. The woman's got it going in, I tell ya. Not all of these will be baby duds - the green on the far left just screams socks.

Spidey also dyed the skein in this picture. Its teamed with the leftovers of the socksual healing sock and a ball of Zarina sent by my washcloth swap pal. They work perfectly together - now to find a project for them.

Last but by ABSOLUTELY NO MEANS LEAST, the lovely, lovely dishcloths knitted by my swaps pal, Frances. Two gorgeous dishcloths, a ball of blue Zarina and much needed and appreciated darning needles. The note card has gorgeous sheep as the border.

I'm not much of an online swapper, but this was restricted to Australia and was a delight.

Again. Again, again...

Beanies 2007.21 and 2007.22.

The last (almost) of the wool donated at the Harlot Happening. It wins the prize for immediate gratification garment. Cast on as Miss Marple started and the ends darned in as the credits rolled - 1.5 hours. It is knitted in Twilleys Freedom; a soft chunky single. The hat is knitted on 10mm needles to a Nora Gaughan pattern from Family Circle Easy Accessories : 50 chick projects to knit and cr****t, 2005. It took just over a 50g ball. By just over I mean I had to join a new ball for the two decrease rows and the sewing up.

Does anyone have a scrap of Twilleys Freedom I could have? A couple of metres will mean the second ball of this will not sit idle in stash waiting for me to find something cheap. I'm loathe to buy a whole ball for the sake of a couple of metres. You know it would mean buying about 5 balls so I could knit them all up and not waste the yarn.

I thought I could use something in stash. The Chinook wool bought in bulk (49 x 8oz skeins) from my favourite pusher last year says it knits to the same guage. I tried it with a simple single rib beanie on the same sized needles. The Chinook is, naturally, much bulkier than the Freedom so won't mix well, but it did make a funky chunky beanie. I'm going to play with this stuff some more. Oh, and it took 90g for this beanie.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

In reply

Thanks to you all for your kind words about my tummy and the beanies. All is well now.

A few responses to comments. I hate that I can't reply easily with Blogger comments anymore, but I can't bring myself to install Haloscan and lose all previous comments - also it puts ads on the blog which I'm agin. So I'll do a response to comments a la Wendy.

Librarylass (and doesn't that name make my heart sing!) - look forward to your beanie and thank you for joining in. I'll put Jejune's just completed pink beanie with it to make up a little pile and take them over to Stasia very soon. She's shown me a secret place to leave them if she isn't home.

AmandaJ - yes I can just about do these in my sleep, but not quite - I'd get one or two more done if I could. And thanks for your email - I'll be brave and comment more often now. :)

Sue - we had a grand time and you won't regret the Jet colourway if you get it It looks particularly good on the reverse stocking stitch. I won't go to Spotlight because under the Work Choices legislation the company took away penalty rates in return for a blanket 1c pay increase. The gorgeousness of the new basics range (that "Dashing" is really silky) is going to test my resolve, I admit.

More later must dash to work.

Monday, March 26, 2007

I dips me lid...

Time Thief Watch Caps 2007.13-16

The Represent Christmas Pudding Hat (TTWC 2007.17)

Hats knitted from the donated yarn at the Harlot Happening. There's one more to come. It's a chunkier yarn, so it will be a different pattern to the Time Thief Watch Cap. I'm so grateful to whoever donated this gorgeous yarn - it was an absolute pleasure to knit with them.

Time Thief Watch Cap 2007.18
Knitted in Patons Jet. Soft and squishy and light in gorgeous colourway.

Time Thief Watch Cap 2007.19
Knitted in Cleckheaton Country 12 ply. Lovely springy all-purpose 12 ply in a rich purple.

Time Thief Watch Cap 2007.20
Knitted in Spotlight Basics range "Dashing". This knits more as a 10-ply and it's silky and soft and an absolutely joy to knit. This is bad news for me as I'm boycotting Spotlight Scablight because of its truly shameful industrial practices.

Finally, one of the berets I'll be putting in the TASDA raffle this year.

Yes, it does look like cat spew thank you very much, but it isn't finished in this photo. The bugger is, I've handed it in and forgot to photgraph the finished article.

It's Lynne Johnson's pattern for the All Sorts Beret. The technique is to knit a garter stitch beret using toning and contrasting yarns of different styles to create a rich, textured fabric. In the above shot, the ends are all loose. On the completed hat, I grub-stitches all of the ends in to add further depth and texture. Despite the use of eye-lash and feathers-style yarns, the result was gorgeous.

There's a second one in very similar colours in the pipeline. I've finished the knitting and most of the embroidery, but I need to photograph it before and after, so production has ceased for the moment.

The money from the TASDA raffle goes to Stasia as well. Last year we made shawls, scarves and wraps; this year we're making hats. We make about $2000 from the raffle and there are 70 or so prizes.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


How cool is this? Thanks to Susan for pointing it out.

Want one? Go here.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Post Mortem

After fantastic Harlot Happening (read all about it here, here, here and here - in the days to come on any of the blogs under Canberra S'nB in the sidebar, I'm sure) I was visited by the tummy bug. This particular bug hit me after an hour's sleep on Thursday night/Friday morning. There was no further sleep.
This enabled me to finish the Christmas Pudding beanie (we got up to the decreases at the Happening) and another Time Thief Watch Cap and cast on another from some of the yarn donated at the Happening. Made it into work because we couldn't have opened if I hadn't and collapsed into bed last night at about 7.30, not surfacing until 8.30 this morning. Normal services should now return.

All up we raised $135 for Stasia's soup kitchen and her other work, particularly with our homeless and addiction affected population. We also made 21 hats (including the Christmas Pudding Hat), with enough yarn for at least 4 more. Not bad for 17 knitters. I wish we'd had more and I wish we'd made more, but I've done the sums - that is 0.006% of our population. If New York were expecting 750 knitters, that 0.003% of their population. We did pretty well.

I dropped everything off to Stasia this afternoon, just as she was unpacking from last night's soup kitchen. An entire van of boxes that 24 hours earlier had been full of food. That's a lot of hungry people nourished yesterday.

Stasia asked me to convey her thanks to everyone involved. That, my friends, is everyone who came or supported us (list in Bell's post) and all of you who supported us from home. Check out Gemma joining in on the internet from Sydney, and we had messages from The Shopping Sherpa and Janette as well.

Photos of the lucky door prizes: Not shown were the Patons patterns, Brittany needles and gift voucher donated by Cassidy's of Kingston, hand-dyed sock yarn, and hand-dyed hand-spun yarn from the Happy Spider, and the books A Gathering of Lace and Kaffe Fassett's Glorious Knits. Hopefully the recipients will blog soon. The yarn and needle kits also came with patterns for the Kiri Shawl, the Print o' the Wave Stole and the Sister Scarves patterns. The hand-dyed spinning fibre is Australian Merino from Ewe Give Me the Knits and the hand-dyed, hand-spun yarn is from Sheepy Chic - generous sponsors, talented women and great business name devisers. :) Jejune did the stitch markers and counting bracelet

Speaking of Jejune, these two photos show how the party got off to a VERY quiet start and it's all Jejune's fault. She devised two puzzles that had us all heads down and puzzling for quite some time. The first you can all enjoy on her blog - it's an interactive crossword. The second was a match the picture to the knitting pattern once the tension, yarn and needle size details have been removed. It proved a tough one, but I think we all got there in the end.

Here's the wool that was donated in lieu of hats on the night. I'm most of the way through a beanie with the Patons Jet. It's heathery purples and green and SOOOO soft because of the alpaca. There's enough here for 4 beanies, plus the leftovers will enrich other.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Harlot Happening in Canberra Tonight

If you can't join us tonight at Starbucks watch us live blog on Bellsknits from about 6.30 or so.

Harlot Happening - again

The poster is by Jejune - she's very talented. :)

If you find the small poster difficult to read - check the post.

I've confirmed with Stasia that this is all ok by her and her son will be joining us for a short time at 6pm.

For those who can't make it but still wish to send in a hat - send me an email either at
unravelledblog AT yahoo FULLSTOP co FULLSTOP uk or canberra FULLSTOP knitters AT gmail FULLSTOP com and I'll send you the address.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Canberra Day

Today is our Canberra Day holiday. It was actually Canberra Day last Monday, the 12th, but the holiday is today. It is being blessed with steady, soft and much-needed rain.

Canberra is distinctive for a number of reasons. It is the city (with the possible exception of Darwin) most populated by people from somewhere else in Australia, and for that reason - and also because it is the national capital - it is the least parochial of the capital cities. Only in Canberra can one get a serious discussion about something happening across the whole country or in a state far away. Its effective planning, publicly owned land, integration of the built and the natural landscape and avoidance of large-scale advertising make it look different at once. That difference worries some Australians, who think cities ought naturally to be noisy, badly planned and chaotic because that is what they know. And the placement of the national government there has made “Canberra” a synonym for politics and bureaucracy, a word almost never used affectionately in news telecasts. The parliamentarians understandably rarely like it, especially those who live far away.

Aitkin, Don. What was it all for? The Reshaping of Australia. Allen & Unwin 2005, pp.184-185.

I was raised here and my earliest memories are of this place. When I was away in Sydney for 20 years, it was still home. Canberra's landscape is the geography of my heart. Canberra is my cherised home.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Knitting brush with fame

I have friends who do not knit. Well, some of them knit, but not like we do.

Sometimes these friends make me go to things that are not knitting related, nor particularly knitting friendly.

Tonight was dinner and a show. A prawn omlette and a beer at Woodstock (yes just across from the Starbucks we SnB in - got a few rounds in while I was waiting for my companion) followed by "Noises Off" at Canberra Rep where we ran into several friends and acquaintances and spent the interval chatting theatrical stuff with this man, actor
and director, Tony Llewellyn Jones. What a sweetie. Last time I saw him he was many years ago, 3 seats from me at the Sydney Town Hall, belting out Cwm Rhondda (my favourite hymn) at a concert by a visiting Welsh male voice choir. Here's something I should have put in 6 things you don't know about me - I'm a sucker for a male voice choir, particularly a Welsh male voice choir. Makes me go all week at the knees every time. Remind me to tell you about the time ... never mind. ;)

Didn't get any knitting done to speak of, but the latest Time Thief Watch Cap was in my bag hanging off my arm so it brushed fame.

Anyway - had a lovely night. The play was very well done, the company excellent and now I'm going to sing my weary way to bed.

You can take the woman out of the kirk.... *wanders away singing at the top of her lungs to the consternation of Westies and neighbours alike*

Guide me, O thou great Jehovah....

Thursday, March 15, 2007

I'm sorry, Mr Harvey. You were right.

Twice in two weeks I've been required to use what could be described as "proper" maths.

I'm relieved that I remembered the definition of a prime number, thus retaining superhero status in the eyes of my 12 year old niece. Two hours of working out primes and factors and weird pyramids and formulas with Emily tonight brought back the horror of high school maths. Geez I hated maths. I'm so proud of Emily. She really stuck at it and got the whole of the last problem done all by herself using a pencil and paper. Almost as proud as when she gave away a penalty shot in her soccer grandfinal on Tuesday night by defending a little too hard with her left elbow. They won anyway, and the ref was totally biased!

Anyway, the second maths challenge - last week at woodwork I correctly identified that the thing we really needed to work out where to place pegs on the skeiner was trigonometry - specifically tan and cos. Luckily one of the workshop is a physics teacher. He was dead chuffed to have a practical application.

So, my humblest apologies to the long-suffering Mr Harvey, my year 12 Senior Maths teacher. Yes, Mr Harvey, 23 years on, I finally found a use for trigonometry (and physics teachers).

I leave you with a totally gratuitous Westie pic. I got up at 5am, this is what I found in my bed at 7am. The mornings are definitely getting cooler.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Not completely idle

Despite the lack of blogging, knitting has happened. Not all of it is photographed (or finished *sigh* yet) - but I'm working on it.

I present, in no particular order, a collection of the quick knits.

Two side-to-side scarves knitted from the BigW "Sean Sheep" purchased when it was 50c a ball before Christmas. These were intended for the TASDA sales table at the exhibition later in the year but I am (a) incapable of selling my knitting, even knitting of the novelty yarn variety and (b) a couple of days after they were finished I met someone whose daughter's favourite colours are pink and purple and who loves tactile stimulation. They've gone to a good and loving home. I was rather pleased with the silver beading on the fringe. One of the yarns had a silver thread through it, and the beads looked pretty bloody good. Here it looks like a cat o' nine tails - it was much less S&M in real life.

Then we have the dishcloths.
I participated in a dischloth swap. This saw a spate of wash cloth making from a variety of cottons in weird array of patterns. In the end I made 5 of the things, discovering a bias stitch (the red) that made an interesting diamond shape and is nice an nubbly on stubborn kitchen stuff. It's made from a reclaimed cotton. I have 4 jumpers worth of this stuff - get used to seeing it.
The mauve is one I sent my swap pal. It's a standard 8 ply knitting cotton in a pattern that I've not seen anywhere, but which just emerged from the needles when I was trying to do something else. It turned out great and mimics my favourite purchased pot scrubber that cannot be bought these days. I ended up making three of these before the size was perfected. The other two are in service in my kitchen. Conversion to knitted washcloths now complete.

Time Thief Watch Caps 2007.4-12 - examples thereof.
Slowing down on these due to a lack of 12ply yarn. Half of the above 9 are in 8ply and they take AGES to knit.
A trip to Vinnies Belconnen on Friday increased my bulkier yarn stash considerably. I purchased a large bag full of hand spun and spent 2 hours on Saturday untangling it and putting it into colours and wpi groups.
I also sorted the 12ply odd-balls into shades and discovered many long-forgotten UFOs.
The Shopping Sherpa helped with one of the hats (at an industry function, no less) and was instrumental in the bulk lot of hand-spun coming home with me. Many thanks TSS.
Re the UFOS. I've unravelled 2 part done Kiri shawls and other unravelling will begin soon. This will be aided by the completion of a skeiner at wood work class. Might be finished tomorrow night, might be the week after - but it's very close now. Unravelling will be but the work of but a moment when my skeiner is complete.
Hopefully the rest of the FOs will be photographed by the end of the week.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Harlot Happening - the details

If only you knew how many times I've tried to post this. Here goes again.

*updated 7/3 to add more lucky door prizes*

VENUE: Starbucks, Manuka

DATE: Thursday 22 March,

TIME: 6pm

As Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's "Represent" Tour is unlikely to take in Canberra, we're adopting it as our own. We will also include the emphasis on providing material assistance to those who do not have the money or the leisure to indulge a love of knitting.

LUCKY DOOR PRIZES. So far we have a list of donated prizes that includes

For a ticket to win one of these prizes you can donate a gold coin. To get 5 tickets you can donate a gold coin and a hat for the homeless. You can donate multiple gold coins and multiple hats but there is a maximum of 5 tickets per person. If you don't have time to knit a hat, I'm happy to provide you with one in exchange for 2 balls of 12 ply wool so I can knit another hat for the homeless.

The money and the hats will be donated to Stasia Dabrowski for her soup kitchen. Stasia has been running the soup kitchen in Garema Place for 28 years. Her work is not affiliated with any religion or political party.


Some of these may not happen, but we sure had fun coming up with the ideas. Those of you who couldn't make it to the last Woden SnB missed a funny (pass-the-Tena-lady funny!) and quite rude evening.

  • Yarn Harlot inspired crossword puzzle from Jejune (link further up)
  • readings from the Yarn Harlot's works
  • pin the pom-pom on the beanie
  • guess the mystery yarn
  • Christmas Pudding hat making (everyone gets to knit a round, just like everyone gets a stir of the Christmas pudding)
  • match the pattern to the picture
  • sock in progress picture - we'll take a mass photo with our socks. If you don't have a sock, bring something in progress or speak to Spidey - she'd be happy to initiate you into the sisterhood of the sock.

Got other ideas - send 'em in!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Lost in the mail

My Yahoo account is taking a little rest. Either that, or any email sent in the last 3 days has been of such standard that it's being kept somewhere for special attention.

Upshot - if you have emailed me since 1 March, I haven't received the message. I don't know if it means the emails I have sent are also being held captive somewhere. Yahoo has been notified and I await a response.

Meantime - leave a comment on the blog. If the content is not bloggable - just say you need me to get in touch. If you have an email address attached to your profile I can respond.