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