Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mad about Saffron

Tuesday is brought to you by the colour - YELLOW!

From the bottom - yellow teardrop tomatoes (and a rogue rouge one) the first to actually bloody ripen. They've been in for months! And they're in my favourite yellow enamel colander.

In the middle - bumper crop of yellow squash - they've been the marrow of (only) choice for the last month and will be going for at least another couple of weeks.

At the top - the swiss cheese bag. This has been finished for ages but I kept forgetting to post about it and then there was the fluff problem.

The pattern is Spring Green Bag (Ravelry link) by the lovely Lisa Ashton from Yarn issue 8. The yarn is Alafos Flos - a mohair wool blend.

The knitting bit was fun and the attached i-cord around the top of the bag and the i-cord handles not dire at all - the thought of metres and metres of i-cord when the bag was all knitted was worse than actually doing it. Lisa was very encouraging - particularly when it looked exactly like a string singlet for a Dalek. Apparently it was meant to look like that at that stage. Handy to know.

I do have issues with the felting process. Firstly, I had too much water in machine but only worked that out after a couple of cycles (I didn't keep filling the machine, I just put the wash cycle back a few times - all Canberrans can now stop dialling the dob-in-a-water-waster number and put down the 'phone). There was some felting but not as much or as evenly as I would prefer. Instead of just doing it all again later with less water, I kept adding stuff to be washed to enhance the agitation process. Great idea except that that one of the items I added was a chocolate brown bath towel. This time the felting worked pretty well, but was still a bit uneven and the brown fibres of the towel had felted to the bright yellow. At this point I removed the bag and put it a corner of the laundry to dry, think about it's behaviour and consider it's options.

Time passes *wubba, wubba, wubba*.

I'm about to do a white load in the machine. "Aha!" I think to myself - "Maybe if I put the bag with the brownish patches in with a white load the brownish patches will rub off ". Those of you with more experience of these things are, by now, way ahead of me and probably pointing at the screen and laughing. Yes. The browny bits were still there and have been joined by lots of white fluff (from the hand-towels added for agitation) and a couple of small white feathers. I guess one of my feather and down pillows is moulting and these came from a pillowcase. *Sigh*. The good news is, by this stage I'm happier with the eveness and degree of felting - either that or I've been so worn down by the process am willing to turn a blind eye. The bag goes back into it's corner to dry and consider it's behaviour again.

More time passes *wubba, wubba, wubba*.

So on Saturday I drag it out of the naughty corner and attack it with a disposable razor. Quite a bit of the fluff came off but by no means all. From a distance it's a sunny shade of yellow, up close it's a bit muddier and flaked with dandruff.

It's still a great pattern, I'd recommend it as a fun knit and swings off the bird feeder well.

Monday, February 25, 2008

And send him on his way...

I've been seized by the need for washcloths. I'd like some more for the bathroom as I hate showering with anything else. Also, Mum wants a few as gifts.

Washcloth for Renate who gave me some very beautiful yarn recently and who's feeling a bit blue. Actually this is an old pic - Renate's washcloth was apricot but I forgot to take a photo. The pattern's the same, though - my own chevron lace washcloth in Milford Knitting Cotton, 6ply on 3.75mm needles.

Then two of the same in navy for myself.
There was an old 2oz ball of Milford Knitting Cotton hanging around. Two washcloths out of one ball with less than 1m of yarn to spare.

While I was on a roll, this in one strand of Patons Gem 4ply and 1 strand of Milford Knitting Cotton 4ply on 3.75mm needles. The pattern is Kitchen Cotton.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Spent last night playing catch up with Time Thief Watch Caps - so many were near to being finished. Now they're done and the needles are all reloaded and ready to go.
Just in time. There was a definite nip in the air this morning - almost time to take a batch over to Stasia and to the women's refuge. Probably after the long weekend.

TTWC 2008.010; 2008.012 yarn recycled from jumpers

TTWCs 2008.013-015 Recycled yarn (nearly all finished - mighty sick of bottle green now)

TTWC 2008.016 Recycled yarn

TTWC 2008.017 Sirdar Pullman; TTWC 2008.018 mystery 14ply

TTWC Jr. 2008.019 Vintage Patons Jet and recycled Patons Family 12ply

Seven Things Week 25

IN (11)
3 textile magazines
1 wooden swivelly thing that will be a new sewing tidy when I've fixed it up
1 pair trousers - finally a pair of navy trews to replace ones disposed of a couple of months ago
1 box vintage Fuzzy Wuzzy Angora - shut up that it's 10 balls, this isn't stash, this is art and it's one.
4 bras
1 sewing tidy because of course I found one already made 6 days after I'd bought something to upcycle. I'll still upcycle because I have more cottons and notions than will fit any single sewing tidy.

OUT (31)
4 crocheted bells GIFT
1 video tape BIN
2 Calorimetries GIFTS
2 lacy headbands GIFTS
2 greeting cards GIFTS
16 coathangers RECYCLING
1 stuffed toy - Rosie's favourite Tigger toy is no more. All the stuffing is gone and the squeaker fell out. Tigger is beyond microsurgery. BIN
1 hair accessory BIN

1 pair baby socks
1 'phone cosy
1 knitted and felted bag

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Scrap Happy

I love using scraps of yarn - makes me feel extra specially thrifty. I also think of it as housework because I'm tidying away all those scraps. "No, I'm not sitting here knitting, I'm tidying up" - totally believable.

Socks for Aneka and Chris's baby, 10g Patons Dreamtime 4ply on 2.5mm bamboo needles

A pair of socks for a baby due on Friday. I prefer to make a pair and a spare of baby bootees/socks, but was 1 measly gram short of three socks in this yarn. Fear not, the last 4g are going to be contrast heels and toes of another set. This is the Left Over Baby Sock pattern by Matthew Hesson-McInnis.

And then there's a 'phone sock. Not entirely sure how this happened - I was playing around with the idea of a toddler sized sock out of this small amount of hand painted 5ply crepe and was suddenly seized by the need for a 'phone sock. The yarn is just too pretty to give away.

For my old Nokia. 32 stitches in double rib for 48 rounds and a three-needle cast off on 3.75mm dpns.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Seven Things Week 24

Here I say farewell to TSS and maybe others who've joined in this challenge for Spring and Summer (although Summer ain't actually over yet). I hope you've learned as much as I have. It's been great having you all along for the ride and I thank you very much for your support.

I'm continuing the challenge. I need to keep going for a while - at least another 3 months to consolidate the lessons I've learned and to reinforce new behaviours. You might not think from the Frugal Fiesta (TM) last week that much has been learned at all but I know how well I did.

IN (62)
1 cook book from TSS
1 magazine
60 balls wool (equivalent) GIFTS/OP SHOP

OUT (372)

1 ghetto blaster OP SHOP
76 books LIFELINE
1 wallet OP SHOP
1 blank diary OP SHOP
21 postcards GIFTS
2 floppy disc covers RECYCLING
4 bags OP SHOP
30 keyrings DONATION
2 prs pantyhose reused as knee highs, then as broom covers for cobwebs now had it. BIN
9 vintage iron-on embroidery transfers GIFTS
1 carton assorted old files and papers RECYCLING
1 pot holder OP SHOP
1 stationery set OP SHOP
6 craft kits DONATION
8 alkaline batteries WORK
3 needle cases OP SHOP/DONATIONS
1 knitting bag DONATION
3 wine glasses OP SHOP
2 tea mugs OP SHOP
2 video cassettes BIN
6 audio cassettes BIN
1 scarf GIFT
1 neck warmer GIFT
1 woodwork pattern OP SHOP
2 bags acrylic felt OP SHOP
1 box gel pens OP SHOP
33 pairs knitting needles TSS/DONATIONS
11 crochet hooks DONATIONS
1 cable needle TSS
4 data CDs
1 bracelet GIFT
105 balls (equivalent) yarn GIFTS
3 bath towels DOG GROOMER
11 knitting pattern books GIFTS/OP SHOP
2 hats OP SHOP
2 bras BIN
3 sewing pattern magazines OP SHOP
4 plastic coat hangers RECYCLING
1 length fabric OP SHOP
2 tops OP SHOP
1 skirt OP SHOP
1 set sheet TSS
1 fabric wine sleeve GIFT
1 washcloth GIFT


1 fabric wine sleeve (sewn)
1 blouse (sewn)
2 wash cloths (knitted)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Library Lovers' Day

We know how to celebrate Library Lovers' Day in style where I work.
TTWC 2008.011. Recycled bulky wool.

I celebrated by finishing a cosy for the sparkling shiraz.

And followed it up by meeting TSS and her friend S at the National Library for a screening of Land Mines : A Love Story. The cherry on the cake - S knits - so three of us happily knitted TTWCs throughout.
Hope your Library Lovers' Day was as heart warming and cosy as mine.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Welcome and Sorry

It was so moving last night to watch the coverage of the Welcome to Country ceremony at Parliament House. It was particularly moving because the welcome was made by a woman I have known since childhood and involved her grandhildren and her son who are neighbours and with whom I have discussed some of these issues.

Last Canberra Day I posted about the geography of my heart when it comes to this place.

I am not an indigenous Australian. My family came out with the First Fleet, so we were part of what is called the white invasion of this continent from the very beginning. We have enjoyed all of the privileges extended to the Europeans but denied to Aboriginal Australians.

Matilda's warm, genuine, inclusive and dignified welcome yesterday felt like a personal welcome home.

I am yet to see the coverage of the Prime Minister's Apology to the Stolen Generations on behalf of us all but I fully support the apology.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Seven Things Week 23

Until yesterday there were only 2 things in.

I'm pretty stressed out at the moment. Twice in the last week I could have done real damage on the retail therapy front. Friday night I tried on everything that might fit in My Size and came out empty handed despite there being several items that looked fine and were on sale. Also during the week I had an online shopping basket full of more than $300 worth of sale items from The Wool Shack. Again, I purchased nothing.

Yesterday's Frugal Fiesta was the lesser of any number of evils and almost everything fitted into the defined collection development policy.

IN (58)
2 knitting magazines
27 knitting patterns - FRUGAL FIESTA.
3 prs socks worth vintage Patonyle FRUGAL FIESTA
1 set vintage cotton sheets FRUGAL FIESTA
1 cup and saucer set FRUGAL FIESTA
4 cassette tapes for the car FRUGAL FIESTA
3 reels knitting-in elastic FRUGAL FIESTA
2 vintage hankies FRUGAL FIESTA
1 bone handled fish fork FRUGAL FIESTA
1 set pewter buttons FRUGAL FIESTA
1 set knitting needles FRUGAL FIESTA
1 glasses case FRUGAL FIESTA
1 sigg bottle FRUGAL FIESTA
1 wet weather poncho FRUGAL FIESTA
5 sets videos TSS

OUT (75)
7 sewing patterns OP SHOP
7 craft books OP SHOP
2 jumpers OP SHOP
1 top GIFT
1 skirt OP SHOP
1 book GIFT
19 balls yarn GIFTS
1 water bottle RECYCLING
1 glasses case BIN
2 plastic measuring cups RECYCLING
1 video cassette BIN

1 scarf

IN 58
OUT 75

Saturday, February 09, 2008

One for the frugal freaks

With the whole Seven Things challenge, there's been precious few gratuitous frugalling photos on this blog lately. Some of my friends actually like to see what I've hunted down and dragged kicking and screaming back to Taph Towers.

Today The Shopping Sherpa and I indulged in a Frugalling Fiesta TM, kicking off at 8am at the YMCA biannual garage sale, followed by 6 op-shops and a market. We collapsed into a cafe (Chocolate Olive, Colbee Court, Phillip - highly recommended) at about 2 pm, dehydrated, hungry, broke and very happy.

Video cassettes courtesy of The Shopping Sherpa who got them from a friend who was chucking out her videos. Three taped from TV (Henry V, The Committments and some episodes of Drop the Dead Donkey), and the set of The Life of Birds and The Planets. All to be watched, binned or handed on as the case may be. The documentaries will go to my brother who loves documentaries, too.
FREE - Glass of wine added in celebration.

1 SIGG bottle to replace the nasty plastic water bottle I keep in the car for the dogs. Much classier, much more hygenic.

4 cassettes. Tom Jones, Shakespeare's Sister, Nat King Cole and 10CC for the car.
10c each Vinnies, Phillip.

Set vintage heavy cotton sheets to be shared with TSS.
$6 SALVOS Weston

Three part reels knitting-in-elastic and 3 pairs sock equivalent of vintage Patonyle. There's enough for one full pair, and some odds and ends of a colourway I already have odds and ends of, and other bits but it's essentially 3 pairs by intention.
$5 YMCA garage sale

Vintage cotton hanky
$1 YMCA garage sale

Funky glasses case. A replacement for the one currently being held together with a rubber band.
50c Vinnies, Tuggeranong

Bone handled fish fork and set pewter buttons
35c OP SHOP, Chapman

2 knitting/spinning books
$5 YMCA garage sale

2 novels
$5 Vinnies Weston and Salvos Tuggeranong

Not pictured
1 pair bamboo knitting needles -$1 Vinnies, Tuggeranong
27 vintage knitting patterns - $12 YMCA garage sale, Op Shop, Chapman

and my favourite item of the day

Vintage fine cotton hanky with lipstick print
$1 YMCA garage sale

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Bring me out of my home...

So Pilot was right, time is a flier and now I wish January was back because January is the most laid back and relaxing month of the year, despite the heat.

Most of my usual commitments take January off, so I had more than one night in 10 at home, sometimes 3 or 4 in a row. It was lovely.

Now it's February and the calendar is chock full. Monday night was at home and there won't be another until Saturday week. What does this have to do with knitting? It means the Time Thief Watch Cap is about the only knitting there is.

TTWC 2008.009. Recycled 12 ply.

Finished last night at a National Library talk by a visiting expert, Michael Twyman. Very good talk by an accomplished speaker, fascinating discussion about the history of printing, particularly lithography, and the innovations in printing and visual communication wrought by the production of ephemera. As the talk was free and open to the public, and I won't get the time off in lieu anyway, the talk counts as a culturvorian activity as well as a work one.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Auf Weidersehen, goodnight...

The shake up continues at work. Soon I will lose a wonderful colleague and friend. She's staying in the system but we won't be working together anymore. It is distressing for us all.

This is for her. It's Smariek's Asherton Scarf in Rooster Almerino Aran. I call it the Adieu Asherton.

The yarn was a prize from Yarn last year and ear-marked for Mum. My colleague wears scarves all the time and on her they look great. She loves pink, so it was a no-brainer when it came to something beautiful enough in stash for her.

As I had roughly half the yarn called for in the pattern, I made it narrower (only 2 pattern repeats) and undoubtedly it is shorter, but it's long enough. Close up of the fully reversible pattern.

The 50/50 alpaca merino blend is soooo soft and drapey. I'm very happy with how it turned out.


Charity has been represented this week too. Another Time Thief Watch Cap makes it into the box for Stasia. This one was a real joint effort. Completed with the help of TSS and Georgie. Thank you both. :)

TTWC 2008.008. Recycled 12 ply.

Monday, February 04, 2008

This Sporting Al

In a culturvorian expedition yesterday to CraftACT yesterday*, The Shopping Sherpa and I couldn't help but continue the tradition of gussying up Al Grassby.

Al was in a sporting mood yesterday. Here he is gearing up for the shot-put while wearing some of bag swap WIP as a collar. It's recycled Peruvian wool, I think he'd approve of its multicultural flavour - he certainly liked Mardi Gras colours.

Practicing bowling. What do our resident cricket experts think of his action? I reckon he's a chucker and should be reported to the ACB. Although built more for spin, Al was all out for speed yesterday with this ball of reclaimed yarn.

*Exhibition of art prints and a clothing line by a Western Australian designer. Prints good, clothes - not so much. Good shapes and some nice tailoring which was let down by poor/lack of finish. If you're going to make a gorgeous tailored jacket, put some lining in it! Ditto, hand printed silk bolero good, trimmed with stretch ribbing bad. Also, not so much a fan of the exposed overlocked edge.

Was good to catch up with Barb, though, and we ran into the lovely Ninaribena of Canberra's Got Style - a fab new blog on the scene. Do yourself a favour and check it out.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Seven Things Week 22

The blow out at Lincraft a couple of weeks ago did make me feel a bit guilty. Gleeful and guilty, really. I feel that that particular transgression has been expiated. This week, quite a lot of yarn for which I held little love, or which could be put to a more immediate use by someone else, went. There is another pile of waiting for a new charitable home, which has been found but which isn't quite ready to receive it yet. It will go in the next little while.

IN (9)
2 books
1 ball Patonyle TSS
1 cone black mohair TSS
5 items in a gift from Janet ages ago which I'd forgotten to acknowledge - I do and I thank you, Janet. Lovely examples of your quilting, carding and beading crafts in a handmade origami box.

OUT (108)
5 sewing patterns OP SHOP
1 music stand OP SHOP
31 cones of yarn OP SHOP
64 balls yarn GIFTS

edited to add:
SIAA (1)
1 neckwarmer

IN 9
OUT 108