Monday, December 17, 2012

Getting a Grip

The stationery section of any shop is always worth checking out.

The local $2 shop (Hot Dollar, Woden Plaza) had a packet of 5 pencil grips and umpty ump pencil topper rubbers for ... wait for it ... $2.

The supermarket stopped carrying the pencil grips I've been using for a couple of years so I was very pleased to see these.

Not for use with pencils, obviously, but for knitting.




While this solution doesn't protect the needle tips, it does prevent stitch slippage. These work well on 2.25mm and larger needles.  They will stay on the 2mm needles, but not as securely.  That's ok, most of the socks I knit are on 2.25mm needles anyway.

The pencil toppers might work as point protectors on larger straights, or perhaps I could join two together with a length of elastic for a combo dpn point protector/stitch holder.  Hmm - will get back to you on that.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

At the carwash, yeah


I'm sorry, our staff member has a lot on his mind right now - he can't possibly help you.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Aren't they though?

Carmelite Fete, Red Hill, 10/11/2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Where else would they hold it?

Maribyrnong Primary School fete, Kaleen, November 2012

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tonic

One of the underpinning truths of my life is that there knitting is suited to every mood and circumstance.

Late this week I needed knitting that was without deadline, entirely unrelated to any thing or event, or anyone else, that was achievable, sensually immersive, and that was uplifting.

From deep in the boodle came a skein of 100% angora yarn, hand-dyed and given to me by the Happy Spider.  The colourway, Ophelia, is randomly variegated in greens, ranging from soft leaf, through lime, sea green to a deep teal which giave me a thrill of pleasure each time it appeared.  The yarn is two singles held together but not really plied and it is blooming as I knit.



The pattern was already in my queue, Elinor Brown's Ridged Lace Cowl.  I was a bit low on yardage for the pattern (155m instead of 183m+) but as I have a short neck to start and several added chins a smallerer version is fine and this yarn just demanded to be worn on the neck. As it turns out, it will only be one pattern repeat shorter than the pattern. More details on Ravelry.

There are a couple of bonuses in this knit.  It proved to be an easily memorised pattern and totally portable, so it enjoyed a sit and knit by Lake Burley Griffin between commitments one night and it ticks a pattern off the queue.  Don't underestimate the deep satisfaction that gives this compulsive list maker!



It was cast off over breakfast on Saturday and was just the tonic needed.



Thursday, October 25, 2012

Table turning

ABC Canberra came to film at work this week.  They were a delight.

This is Toby the cameraman


and Kathleen the journalist.


My bit in the story was very, very small.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

None of these things are not like the others


The only visible difference between these models is that one of them is blonde.

Who does Levi's think it is kidding? Perhaps it thinks its customers are stupid. Advertising fail.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The little things make all the difference

We were travelling recently and I discovered that my car is the perfect knitter's vehicle.


Socks for TOF in Lang Jawoll cotton wool blend with vintage Patonyle for cuffs, heels and toes (yardage on the Jawoll is a bit skimpy).

Friday, May 18, 2012

Ear Warms

Podcasts are one of my very favourite forms of distraction.

Mostly I listen on my 'phone, often to drown out conversations or other unedifying noises, so earbuds are essential  kit.  Being able to lay hands on the earbuds in a hurry is often the best form of protection the public has.

For a wee while I was using a lipstick case to carry the earbuds around in.  I already owned it and the hard sides were protective, but it also took up a lot of hand bag real estate and was always right down the very bottom, causing dangerous seconds of delay in plugging in.

I toyed with the idea of sewing a little case but it all seemed fiddly and there are no small remants in the fabric stash anymore.  I could have bought a small soft bag at an op shop for a couple of dollars, but it seemed unnecessary even at that price when I have skillz and yarn.

So I knitted one.


This first one was a bit drapey and a smidge too wide and not being quite long enough.  It's great for  memory sticks, though.

I've been using version 1.1 for my earbuds for a week and am loving it.



It is 6 cm high and 7.5cm wide.  Design features include an i-cord loop to fasten it to a tab in my bag for easy access, and moss stitch for cushiness.  I opted for a stocking stitch envelope style flap for contrast and because the decreases in moss stitch were a bit messy.

This is pouch two of version 1.1 (very minor tweaking) .



Version 1.2 is currently in the testing phase. This sample was knitted recently, and the test knit is on the needles right now.


Each pouch gobbles up about 7g of 4ply/sock weight/fingering weight yarn and the buttons are all from stash.

The blue buttons were rescued from a pair of TOF's discarded underpants and the maroon were decorative features on a pair of knickers I bought last year.  I snipped the buttons off before they were worn.  

Excuse me while I go shine my halo of frugalness.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Celebration of Wool Day at the Old Bus Depot Markets


One of the Holy Days of Obligation on my fibre calendar, I haven’t missed a Celebration of Wool Day in years.

We were at the venue last week for the annual Snow Sports ACT sale, where I snapped the socks in progress with the Wool Day postcard.



I’ll be there bright and early on Sunday morning and this year I’ll have an audio recorder in tow.

If you see me on Sunday, please say hi and maybe say a few words for the recorder – I’m expanding my horizons with a spot of podcasting.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

12 in 12 - uncle

This was just one challenge too many this year.  I'm calling it quits so I can replace dead basics including shoes, tops and trousers for work and clothes for next summer.  Most of my most of my summer tops had to be discarded at the end of the season.  They were scruffy beyond redemption.

Then there is a need for a reasonable summer wardrobe for a family celebration trip to Singapore in mid-summer.  I couldn't find 2 days worth of clothing for a work trip to Brisbane in last March let alone 8 days in the humidity of Singapore.

Fortunately the fabric stash can sustain several coordinating tops plus a few dresses for evening.  Operation Singapore Sling begins in late June.  I bought a heap of black linen to make trousers.

The 12 items challenge has been great to focus my taste and tailor it to my shape and colour preferences and I continue to apply those lessons.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

12 in 12 February Update

I bought a dress.  Op shopped, of course, and quite expensive for that.  $15 for a TS 14+ (pricey label for larger sizes).

It's a gorgeous black and grey, quite fashionable, dress for winter.  It is sleeveless with a button through the front - rather like a long men's vest.  It will be great with a long sleeved t-shirt over tights.


Quota use 1/12 in the first two months.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Those devilish details

Living between two houses and just generally being on the move means that sometimes I forget details. 

Sometimes I even forget REALLY important details, like my knitting.

A couple of weeks ago I left the socks on the go at work and only discovered the loss when I got to TOF's 25k away.

And there was no knitting on the needles at TOF's and there was no spare yarn in the car or the emergency drawer. 

A hunt around revealed a small amount of sock yarn left over from a matinee jacket.  I had sock needles and 39 grams of yarn. And the thought of another pair of baby socks wasn't doing it for me.

Thank the knitting goddesses for Ravelry.  Soon I had cast on the Work Mini-Mitts by Rachel Maxson and the first was all but finished in a short evening. 

You would think that would be the end of it.  But not.

My lack of attention to detail revealed itself in the morning when I went to knit the thumb.  The designer had omitted that detail from the pattern and I hadn't read the pattern through before casting on.

I guess I should be relieved that I'm not the only one who can forget important stuff.

I made up the thumb, badly as it turned out.  Apart from the rather loose thumbs, the mitts are far too skimpy for my liking but I finished the things and they'll get used.  And until next time, I'll remember to pay attention to the details.



Wednesday, February 01, 2012

12 in 12 January Update

No clothes purchased.  None, nil, nada...  Doing the happy dance of thrift!

I've been looking as usual, but nothing has presented itself as worthy.

I have made myself a shawl as a layering piece for at home in winter, so while it is new it is exempt as it's handmade and totally from stash.

There has also been more disposal of clothing.  I cannot believe there is still stuff I don't wear or don't like in the wardrobe, but it there is.

I'd been holding on to a couple of pairs of three-quarter length jeans for a while but wasn't wearing them because I didn't really like them on.  I have one pair that just keeps being worn and washed and worn again and really need two pairs for summer.  Problem is, I've not found another pair I like as much  so had a bit of a rethink about why I like to wear denim cut offs - they are cooler than jeans but just as durable and work with my tee shirts and tops. So now my long eschewed knee-length denim skirt is back in rotation and the unloved trews have gone back to the op shop.

And while I was at it, some unflattering tops and a couple of sentimentally kept kilts left the house as well.

The black tee-shirts are starting to show definite signs of wear, though.  They will last this warm season, but not another.  Some have already migrated from the suitable for work pile, to the at home only pile.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Knit Focus is back

The cosy production is back on track.  This set is for the cosy fund raiser.



More free patterns by Paulina Chin for her Speedy Cabled Cowl and matching beretHere and here on Ravelry.

Knitted in Twilleys of Stamford Freedom Wool from stash.  I love this richly coloured single.

Modifications were needed.  Both patterns stipulate being knitted flat and frankly but it's far simpler to just knit them in the round.  So I did.  I also added a cable repeat to each of the items.  The beret would be a beanie otherwise, and the cowl would be a little skimpy, too. 

I have two and a bit balls of the Freedom wool left and am tempted to knit the beret again with 4 cable repeats before decrease for extra slouch (and maybe keep the beret because I really love this yarn).

Monday, January 30, 2012

Neapolitan Arroyo

This shawl was going to be for the cosy project (knitting cosy things for work fund-raising raffle), but I like it too much - so it's mine.




In Patons Jet, it is the colours of neapolitan icecream.  It won't show the "love sprinkles" from the sheddy Jack Russell, and is light and warm across my back and shoulders.  TOF doesn't feel the cold, so layers are an important aspect of maintaining our relationship - I wear them and don't complain at him about the cold so much.

Arroyo is a free pattern 'on the designers' blog and on Ravelry and knits up quickly for normal, non-lace challenged people (not me, obviously).  The short rows in garter stitch are totally addictive.

The Jet is totally stash.  Despite it being one of my favourite yarns, most of the Jet stash has gone to some charity knitters.  A few balls survived the cull and I'm very glad they did.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sew and Sew

Mix tip shop bargain, with Tupperware obsession and sewing notions and you get a very happy op shopper.




This large sized, two tiered Tupperware craft organiser is about the size of a large slice container.  We picked it up at Tiny's Green Shed on Sunday for about $1.50.  I say about because we had 3 things in the bundle for $3.  I've never seen one like it before.  I several of the small kind, but this one is a really good size.

It's already full of mending notions.  Every op shopper needs a decent hand mending kit at the very least.

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

ABC Radio National rebroadcast a program about yarn bombing from its now defunct Artworks program.



The broadcast date was 25 December so you may have missed it.

Anyway, it's worth a listen.

I don't partake of yarn bombing myself (there isn't enough time to knit "proper" things in nice yarn let alone bother with tags in crap yarn, because who would bother using good yarn for that?) but when I have encountered it in the wild, so to speak, it has delighted me.

ABC Radio National has rejigged a LOT of programs this week.  Old favourites have gone for good and been replace by new programs.  Unfortuantely, the new programs aren't available on iTunes yet and the old ones are really hard to find on the ABC website.  I'm a wee bit frustrated that I'm not getting my RN book and arts fix via my preferred medium this week.

Also, photo pinched from RN website.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Settling in for a clatter

of keys, that is.

Well, in my case it was cursing at the keyboard of my Android, but that's not very picturesque.

At high noon today, 3 imaginary friends sat down for a cuppa and a natter.

Cindy2paw and Janette came up with the idea of enjoying a simultaneous cup of the new, limited edition Twinings Australian Afternoon Tea.  They graciously let me crash the tea party.



We all brewed up a cup of KRudd's blend, took a bite of something sweet and used email to have a chat.

My tea brewed and served in a mug with a dash of soy milk, I shoved down my greedy gob nibbled a slice of the last of the Christmas cakes.



The tea was very pleasant - a blend of Russian Caravan (my second favourite Twinings tea after Queen Mary), Orange Pekoe (third favourite Twinings tea) and Irish Breakfast (my go-to for a good strong brew).  It had strength and depth of flavour with a dry finish.  Definitely will be buying some. Confession time, I used a free sample we got with a weekend newspaper.

I gave up trying to knit - my hands were too occupied with keying and noshing.  There was even some tea left in my mug 45 minutes after we began, so busy was I chatting with Janette and Cindy.

It was thoroughly enjoyable and not long enough - maybe we'll Skype it next time. Note to self.  Learn how to use Skype.

Wonky photos courtesy of Blogger, which will recognise a cropped image but restores original orientation.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Jammy

Op Shopping opportunities on a public holiday are limited, but we managed to get to both the Canberra tip shops today.

Bargains at both, some for us, some for gifts*.

Best buys of the day that we are keeping was a current (6 months to run) Entertainment Book with only the restaurant card and 3 of the vouchers missing.



and my longed for jam kettle.




It's aluminium so I can't use it for anything but jam.  Condiments containing vinegar will pit the aluminum, so no chutneys or sauces, but it will do until we can afford a copper preserving pan.  When that happens, I can die a happy and fulfilled preserver (shut up - you have a holy grail, too!).

These two items, as well as a few items chucked in (Tupperware wine goblet for our ever-expanding set, china noodle bowl for winter soups and stews at work and a souvenir placemat as a joke gift for a colleague) came to $10.

Speaking of tip shop finds, did you see what Misfits Vintage found at her tip shop recently? Pigeon pair to this find at Tiny's at Mugga Mugga a few years back.

*gifts of op-shopped items go to the cogniscenti only.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Quilt

I can resist quite a few things, but hand crafted textiles at the tip shop are not among them.

Today's bargain for $3 is this modern quilt.  It's machine pieced and quilted and hand-hemmed.  It measures about 3m x 2m and is destined for a bed or wall in our next house.


Sunday, January 08, 2012

Knit Focus - Socks


As predicted the neon socks are finished.  However a sick dog meant an unplanned trip to my place so I picked up another ball of sock yarn.




Simple socks in Lucy Neatby Celestial Merino Dream sock yarn in the Fiesta colourway.

This yarn has been in stash for a looooong time. Five Ferns brought it on her first trip Down Under in May 2007.

I knitted one skein for myself a few years ago and they are lovely.  Not a pleasure in the hand as the yarn is shiny and not very elastic, but they bloom beautifully once knitted.  But the colours are unbelievably beguiling and if they fade in a beguiling manner.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Knit Focus - Cosy


This is the current cosy - a neck cosy.  It's a bigger project than most of the cosies will be.

I started it in November in a moment of desperation - I was at TOF's, I'd completed a project and had nothing on the needles with me and a whole Sunday at my disposal.

This is why there is an emergency stash of sock yarn in my undies drawer.  What I didn't have were needles of the correct size for socks so this project is a skinny scarf on 3mm needles. 

The pattern is Autumn Leaves by Patricia Tan.  It is a simple biased lace pattern which gives wonderful colour and movement and breaks up the self-striping sock yarn beautifully. It also looks lovely with the left over christmas sweets.  I've knitted it intermittantly between projects or as a car passenger etc.  It grows slowly.

I am bored as bat shit by it now and just want it done.  It lives in my locker and I work on it for 20 minutes or so at lunch time.  It should be finished any month now.

It will be about 3m long when done and as it curls like nothing else. I really hope it blocks flat.

There's more focus knitting this weekend because I forgot to pack an "at home" project for the weekend and only have simple socks with me.  Socks last seen here. Yes, I am on the foot of the second sock and no I haven't replenished the emergency sock yarn stash.  All that's in my undies drawer at the moment are undies. 

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Seriously


Setting aside the abomination of choc chips in hot cross buns it's the 5th of January!

Perhaps they are getting in early for next Christmas?

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Stash Focus

2011 saw a nett reduction of stash.  I gave a huge amount away for a variety of charitable and other purposes but there was a fair bit come in, too.

So this year I get to enjoy some of it.  So I'm joining Ann at Shades of Shetland (go admire her colourwork and her Westies) in a yarn diet (of sorts).

I'm not going to buy any yarn until I've knitted 2 proper garmentsfrom stash; either vests, jumpers or cardies. 

I'm allowed to receive gifts, but not solicit gifts.  Swaps are fine.

I'm allowed to buy a pattern if it's in my queue as of 1 January 2011, but not after.

I am allowed to buy necessary equipment but purchases need to be funded from extra income earned because this year's knitting budget is $0 - we have bigger fish to fry than my fibre obsession  (I've been sorting out my sewing and knitting patterns - watch this space next week).

I am allowed get out of gaol free cards for the wool and fibre days at the Old Bus Depot Markets and if it's unbeatable op-shop bargain you know it's coming, but it needs to be in a project amount and an equivalent amount of yarn already in stash has to be removed. That should focus my mind a bit.

So what am I going to knit?

OUT AND ABOUT PROJECTS
  • There is always a pair of standard socks on the needles for muscle-memory knitting. (stash yarn only)
  • We have a year long fundraiser going on at work.  The theme is '"cosy"and my colleagues (many of who are talented artists and crafters) are contributing raffle prizes.  I'll be knitting cosies all year.  These items will be knitted during lunch hours etc. so my colleagues can watch the progress and feel involved.  (stash yarn only)
AT HOME PROJECTS
  • I have a couple of WIPs to finish including a large blanket for the footy season (it's 50% done) and a shawl and a pair of kilt hose for TOF so they'll get worked on at home and one of those needs to be finished before I cast on a garment
  • I would like a couple of vests and a cardigan or two and TOF would like a jumper.  I'm not saying I'll finish his jumper because the only style we agree on is in a largely unobtainable pattern.  I'll work on getting the pattern, then worry about the knitting. (stash yarn only)
Right. I have some knitting to do. Chat later.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Cornstalks

How was your New Year's Eve?  Mine looked like this.

Time was, reading was one of the things that defined me.  One of the reasons I knit is because I can knit and read at the same time (rather than cross-stitch, embroidery or some other needlecraft I enjoyed).

Reading dropped off as caring for Mum became more demanding.  I didn't have the brainspace or the time for someone else's story.  For other carers books become a refuge but for me it wasn't so - there was always something else that needed to be done.

So I am becoming a reader again, or trying to.  Over the Christmas break I read the third of Kate Grenville's books about the fictional Thornhill family in colonial Australia.

Sarah Thornhill is both the title and protagonist of the book.  Sarah is the youngest child of William Thornhill, a transported convict and his wife, Sarah.  She is a currency lass or cornstalk - the first generation of European children born in the colony of NSW. These books have their inception in Grenville's own family history. 

When the first of the trilogy, The Secret River, was released, it caused a debate about fiction and history and Grenville has obviously emerged bruised from the engagement

For me, both The Secret River and Sarah Thornton are obviously fiction (while being based on some family history). It is up to the reader to pursue the history and neither is presented as actual history.
The novel explores the issues of being rootless, of disposession and the disposessed, generational guilt and Reconciliation. The themes are very current and it seems to me rather blugeons the reader - it doesn't feel subtle. There is a definite agenda being pushed.

The book presents some stylistic issues.  There is no indication of direct speech which really annoys me.  Without quotation marks for speech I find myself having to think about whether the words are spoken or descriptive and it detracts from the meaning of the words if I'm worried about the construction.

Speaking of construction, does anyone know if toe-up sock knitting was current in the 1830s?  Knitting appears in the hands of Sarah's sister who is reported as being half way up the leg of a stocking.  It niggled but is a minor concern.

The second book of the trilogy, The Lieutenant, is in the pile beside my bed. The books are stand-alone and can be enjoyed singly or in any order.  And they are very enjoyable.  Grenville continues to be a favourite author.  The Idea of Perfection (the 1999 Orange Prize winner) is one of my favourite novels.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Focus 2012

The theme for this year is FOCUS.

2011 was difficult and focus was split, changed and generally did some weird folk dance I wasn't in control of.

2012 and the focus is back.

I will be focussing on getting back on track financially. 2011 saw budgets get very loose as the time to manage them was sucked up by caring emergencies and savings went to pay Rosies' vet bills etc. I've done the sums for this year. It's scary but we can do it.

I'll be focussing on some health issues.  I started hydrotherapy late 2011 to assist with arthritis related pain.  It's going well, and I will be spending more time in the pool and later the gym, to help with taking the strain off my joints.

Focus on enjoying what I have more: my miraculous relationship, my challenging family, my fortunate education; my possessions.  I don't need more things, I need more focus.