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*

Thursday, November 08, 2007

What's their compatability rating, Dexter?

Sometimes you get a pattern and a yarn that just belong together. I reckon this was a Perfect Match. Ooooh ah wooo!

Edgar from Knitty, Fall 2006 in a Happy Spider hand-dyed 8ply wool on a 5mm needle to give it drape.

The pattern is very simple. I only had the usual 2 or 3 attempts to get the first repeat right and then I was flying.

It generated much interest when knitted in public. I only wish I'd had several balls of it at the National Library for the screening of The Librarians - could've made a killing. The knitting was certainly more entertaining than the programme.

Tweedy yarn looks fantastic in stocking stitch, but garter stitch makes it pop like a weasel.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

It's as easy as 1, 2, 3 ...

TTWC 2007.123 with geranium, or is it a pelargonium? Not sure that I really care all that much - it's pretty.
Cleckheaton Landscape

As much as a day off is always welcome, I rather missed being at work for Melbourne Cup Day.

Melbourne Cup Day is a very social day at work. Public interaction is usually lovely - even better than Christmas Eve because there's less stress all round. We wear silly hats and bring the TVs out and staff and public alike stop and watch the race together.

Because we are open to the public, we don't have a luncheon and indulge in alcoholic beverages in the afternoon like some workplaces. We usually have a breakfast (still no alcohol) and we have sweeps. The guy who normally does our sweeps retired this year and as I had been his assistant in previous years, I was all set to be bookie this year.

As it was, I gardened for a couple of hours this morning before taking the girls on a variation of one of our favourite walks through Westbourne Woods and having lunch at the Oaks Brasserie which is dog friendly and even has a dog menu. I did not buy the girls a lunch, they had a taste of mine and a drink of water instead. They also got lots of attention from other diners.

The Shopping Sherpa declined to join us on our walk, being very occupied in producing things today, so we gathered some supplies and dropped in on her and Nibbs for afternoon tea. I got to see the world's smallest knitted cupcake and we unloaded bargains on each other.

A perfect day except for Peggy frothing at the mouth and emptying the contents of her stomach onto the driver and driver's seat of the car on the way home. She's fine now which is more than I can say for the upholstery. I suspect she ate one of TSS's mushrooms. Stupid dog.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Who are you and what have you done with my father?

TTWC Jr 2007.122 with parsley garnish

An odd ball of 8ply hidden from Mum because I loved the flecks of red, blue and yellow with the teal. I have a short 4mm circ that's perfect for these little caps but they take longer to knit than the big ones.

Conversation with the parents last night on the phone.

MUM: Hi love, we're in Tamworth. We're going to a woollen mill tomorrow....

TAPH: Nundle?!

MUM: Yes, do you want anything?

TAPH: I'm booting up the steam driven computer - I'll call you back. *clunk of phone hitting cradle*.

5 minutes later

TAPH: Hi Mum, have you got a pen?

MUM: Hang on, you're father has a notebook. Right, fire away.

TAPH: *proceeds with very reasonable order considering the circumstances.*..

MUM: OK, here's your Dad.

DAD: Is that all you want?

TAPH (suspecting sarcasm): Dad, 2 balls of 4 ply and some OPTIM/camel spinning fibre and whatever a fibre cheese is, isn't all that much...

DAD: No, really, would you like more than that?

TAPH: (checking for wax in her ears) Dad, that's what I would like.

DAD (quite serious): It doesn't sound like much. We'll be at the mill at 10am. I'll check at the office before we go in - just leave a message at the mill if you want anything else.

TAPH: Um, ok, thanks (whoever you are).

I don't know who my mother went away with for the weekend, but he does a passable impersonation of my father on the 'phone. I'm demanding DNA testing when they get home; particularly if he brings yarn and fibre.

Or maybe I'm dying and they haven't told me yet and think wool will soften the blow. Do you think the Starlight Foundation would cover a world fibre-hunting trip? Who would I name as stash heir?

Monday, November 05, 2007

But you'll look sweet...

TTWC 2007.121
The blue was a jumper unravelled and reclaimed in South West Rocks, the grey an odd ball of Cleckheaton 12ply.

We've had a wonderful lot of rain this last week and look set for a bit more. The garden is happy and so am I. Tomorrow the soft herbs and veggies go in the ground.

Spent most of Sunday catching up with casting on TTWCs and fiddling around with a couple of new patterns.

And best of all, tomorrow is a public holiday and the parents are away so I get a real day off. Wheee!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Seven things week 9

Nine weeks in, plus a few weeks earlier in the year, and the changes are starting to be seen, but in unexpected places.

The laundry is an unexpected place to see less clutter, as is the bathroom. But unlike the bathroom there's been no time or thought spent deliberately culling the laundry.

Maybe it's that there are fewer clothes lying around, fewer shoes to be polished - less maintenance of unnecessary things. It's curious.

Again, not so much with the photos this week. Sometimes it's a matter of getting it gone quickly rather than pausing for a close-up.

IN (36)

  • 1 bucket with a sealing lid for birdseed - the ants got into the big bag of birdseed that was not at all effectively sealed with a peg. $2 Vinnies
  • 1 4mm x 60cm circular needle $3 Vinnies
  • 6 books including the Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook - thanks Jordan. :)
  • 1 baking dish. This was my Nanna's. It's a lovely old heavy pan - much better than my light dish which has difficulty browning anything.
  • 23 Patons patterns for the collection.
  • 3 cones knitting yarn - Vinnies, $2, $3 and $5 a cone 2 x 12 ply for beanies, 1 x laceweight- tell me you'd have left it there!
  • 1 teeny little tripod, a gift from TSS

OUT (256)

  • 129 sewing patterns. VINNIES
  • 4 sewing patterns. GIFT
  • 27 craft magazines VINNIES
  • 50 silk ties accumulated for craft projects that have never eventuated. Given to a friend who will use them. GIFT
  • 2 silk scarves, see ref silk ties. GIFT
  • 1 pair shoes VINNIES
  • 1 alarm clock VINNIES
  • 12 pattern books GIFTS
  • 1 ball sock yarn GIFT
  • 1 orange polyfleece jumper bought from Vinnies for a craft challenge but I forgot to use it. VINNIES
  • 1 book GIFT
  • 1 woven mohair tam in the family tartan VINNIES
  • 1 canvas handbag with bamboo handles bought with the fantasy of beachside cafes and sportscars at dusk. VINNIES
  • 1 large yoghurt container of aluminium can ring pulls. I've been saving them for a craft project but bugger eco-craft, I'm tired of the clutter. RECYCLING
  • 1 small box of wine corks. See ref ring pulls above. DONATION to the Girl Guides who do things with them.
  • 1 dog collar. A gift for Peggy from the kids for her first Christmas with us. Peggy does not need it. VINNIES
  • 1 pair jeans. RUBBISH
  • 1 baking dish. RUBBISH
  • 1 fry pan. RUBBISH
  • 1 glass wine carafe VINNIES
  • 1 bag of bees wax to someone who makes lip balms and stuff GIFT
  • 1 mouli - incomplete VINNIES
  • 2 Grolsch beer bottles GIFT for Dad. This seems fair as he is one of the reasons I have clutter and not stored collections. Did I tell you there is a shed in my backyard that I'm not allowed into? If I dare put something in it he places the trespassing article on my back step in a most accusing fashion. If I had (access to) a shed, storage would not be such an issue. That the inherited magpie tendencies. Admittedly, not just his genes but he chose to mate with another magpie.
  • 1 lazy kate. GIFT
  • 1 bag tissue paper. GIFT
  • 1 bag acrylic yarn. GIFT
  • 6 sets knitting needles. GIFT
  • 1 mobile 'phone and charger. GIFT
  • 4 Tupperware bowls



IN 36
OUT 256


A rose by any other name...

These are identical twins in Jigsaw sock yarn by Heirloom on 2mm dpns. Standard, cuff down pattern.

Cast on for me, Mum decided they should be for her. The knitting has been finished for weeks, I just hadn't got around to grafting the toe. Ms Spider to the rescue, and now they are done. Mum will receive them on Wednesday - they've gone to Queensland for a wedding.

And yes, I do need to deadhead the roses.

Managed to hit myself in the head with doors, twice, yesterday. I spent the late afternoon and early evening on the couch being ministered to by my nieces. A VERY slight concussion, apparently, but I was ok to go home to sleep.

Rosie had her revenge for the bow incident by throwing up in bed, my bed, at 5.30 this morning. Thanks, Rose.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Novelty is the mother of invention

Five Ferns commented on the Bluetooth scarf ... it's a very good thing to bust a move in your stash with novelty-type yarn. Just hope you didn't have it stored with the good stuff otherwise you could end up with a revolt on your hands.

I assure you there is a strict apartheid policy as regards yarn accommodation, Chez Taph.

Firstly there is the small (1 basket) of the pretties. These are small lots of special/good fibres, hand-spun, hand-dyes and hand-paints. I have a little project to knit the pretties. I'm allowing myself a single project from special yarn at a time.

Then there is workaday stash largely divided by yarn type and then weight. So it's woollen lacweights; baby wools; sock wools; other 4plys; 5plys; 8plys; 12plys - hat stash and other; chunky stuff; mohairs, angoras and cottons (also subivided by weight). There are a few bags of odds and ends of balls divided by colour but not weight for feral knitting.

Then in glorious(?) isolation, where it can taint no natural fibre, there is what can only be described as novelty stash. Mostly cheaply bought, muggle pleasing yarns divided by colour. They have their uses, particularly in the more freeform styles of knitting. They can be mixed with natural fibres for a project, but only as a spice, not a main ingredient. The plan is to knit scarves, wraps, hats etc. Nothing pleases a muggle more than a novelty yarn scarf. Sad, but true. That doesn't mean they have to be knitted completely from one yarn - it's best to mix them up a bit, which is why I divide by colour rather than weight.

And here's a pretty pic of entirely natural fibre - they went to the day spa yesterday and they think they look pretty hot.

Rosie (right) looks cranky because Peggy bit off Rosie's bow but evaded Rosie's attempts to remove Peggys' bow and is skiting about it. The bows are, of course, completely naff, but the groomer insists on them and the girls seem to like them.