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.