Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Increases and sock toe up cast ons

G'day all!

My local knitlist has been discussing increases for a few days. For some unknown reason, I decided to post about how I increase, and when. I am no knitting guru, and you'll need to work out which increase method works for you. (part of this post went onto the knit list)

My mum taught me two ways to increase.

One is knit into the front and back of the stitch (M1) but this is darned hard to do when you are purling. This method leaves a little bar in your work but should not leave a hole unless your tension is pretty loose or your yarn thick and thin. I use this increase when I am knitting a toe of a sock (obviously toe up socks ;-).

The other is lifting up the yarn between the stitches on the previous row and knitting into the back of it if you want to not have a hole, or into the front of it if you like having a little hole (like an eyelet) in it. This increase I rarely use cos I often end up with a pucker. It is hard to do on socks cos the material is usually fairly firm.

Then I discovered lifted increases, which is where you lift up one side of the stitch below and knit into it. You can knit into the left or the right side, depending on which direction you want to increase in. I read all about this in Annie Modesitt's "Confessions of a Knitting Heretic." I use this method on tops and jumpers, but found it was almost impossible on socks cos you can't increase every second row easily using it.

There are probably more increases (apart from the obvious yarn over) but so far I haven't needed to use them.

I tend to agree with Annie when she says there is no one correct way to knit (or increase or decrease, etc). However, some increases work better than others depending on what appearance you want from your work, or what you are knitting. If you have the chance, play around a bit with different sorts of increases, see how they work for you and what you want to achieve. Some of the knitting books show the differences between the different increases (and decreases) really well. I love the way you can make or break your knitting by using the more aesthetically pleasing increase or decrease.

Now in other bloggy news, thanks to Trudi for pointing me to the Ashford site where they have details of their knitter's loom. Unfortunately, boo hiss to Ashford for making all details of the loom a flash movie or interactive thing. OK, flash is flash but the combo of OS and computer architecture I use (Linux and powerpc/mac) is not flash compatible. There are some freeware things out there that struggle along with it, but basically if it is in flash, I cannot view it. So I sent Ashford a rather cranky email. OK so I might be one of a thousand or two users in the world but Flash is not compatible with blind people either - their computers cannot translate pictures into words for them. Blind people do weave and knit - tactile arts are fun for them, if they are so inclined. So I told Ashford I was underimpressed and would much prefer the choice of a PDF or even (*GASP*) a webpage with the details! It can be done without flash! It does not have to be all whiz bang amazing huge files that people have to download for hours only to find out it is not what they want. (I admit we have cable but for those on dial-up...)

Gosh, I'll get down off my old crabby high horse now, but why use flash only? Why not give the option?

Chris pointed me to a loopy cast on (thanks, Chris!). I have used this cast on a number of times, mostly earlier this year. I found that I ended up with twisted stitches - I must knit into the wrong side of the loopy bits (dunno what I am talking about? Follow the link!) and I end up with a row of stitches that I seem to have knitted into the back of. I'll have to see if I have any pics of the toes of these socks - I don't think I do. I'll stick with the new turkish cast on for the time being cos it is working for me without much need for thought. As I said before, different things work for different projects, and likely different people. I do find these types of cast on a lot less tedious than short rows where you do the provisional cast on by crocheting a chain and then knitting into the right bit - I invariably knit into the wrong bit and have to cut the waste yarn out. LOL Anyway, the toe of the sock in yesterday's post has the turkish cast on - isn't it pretty? No twisted stitches at all!

Ok, gotta go do a tad of shopping - I am out of some really basic foodstuffs.


Monday, February 27, 2006

Guess what I am knitting now?

G'day all!

well the excitement of finished the socks for the knitting olympics is dying down. I did consider grafting my head onto Alisa Camplin's (from 2002) and putting my my socks on her legs but there are no photos online that I can find that show her on the podium with flowers, medal and LEGS! I would not be fussed if she only had legs from the knee up but like grafting my head and my socks onto her legless body would look more than odd. But almost worthwhile...

So what do you think I would like to knit next?


Finish off the long neglected picovoli?

A nice little short sleeved top I can wear at work?

A nice little bolero in blue to wear at work on the days when the air con goes nuts?

A little lacey top as a cover up at work?

Or this....

Yep, another sock.

This is in yarn from A Piece of Vermont. Very nice and cushy to knit with. Yummy!

The toe is a Turkish cast on, as described by FluffyKnitterDeb, which I found on Clementine's Shoes. This is a totally brilliant cast on. I have not yet tightened up the stitches but it makes this wonderful undetectable cast once it is tidied up.

What is it about me and socks at present? Is it because I can knit plain socks on the train and go around and around and around with nary a thought in my head beyond "Do I have to do the heel yet?" Is knitting a sock "comfort knitting?" I know my fave pattern off by heart (it isn't a pattern - it is more a recipe. 64 stitches even for my fat luggards of feet with fingering weight yarn, turkish cast on of 10 stitches (was short row, then figure 8 but Turkish is the best - see below), knit to where I want the heel shaping, do either an afterthought heel or short row with about 10 stitches wide at the turn point or graft, then knit to where I want the cuff to end. Voila! Along the way I can add a basic pattern if I want.)

I am sorely tempted by this. It is a thing of great evil and temptation. Peevish has already fallen prey (quelle surprise!) to its evil siren call.... Of course if you don't want to knit socks out of lush yarn then it won't prove tempting at all! Nor will the link on Peevish's blog....

I finally downloaded two pod casts last night. At last I have heard the dulcet tones of the Yarn Harlot for myself. She sounds like my workmate, which is not surprising since M comes from Toronto, though after almost 5 years here with her Aussie husband she is becoming more an Aussie. Plus I got to hear Annie Modesitt talk. That was interesting too - definately east coast accent there. I am going to try combined knitting cos I want to go FASTER MAN! Paton's here are holding a fastest knitter competition and I want to brush up on some fast knitting, though if I understand anything about combined knitting, it uses the Western style knit and a different purl. Since the competition is only going to use knit stitch I *think* (I'm not dead sure about that) learning combined may not help much. But if it is stocking stitch, I am all set! OR I will be, if I can start purling differently.

Ack. nearly 20 past 8 and it is getting dark here. Oh well. In another couple of months it will be dark by 6:30 and then 5:30. That is the cycle of the year for you!


Sunday, February 26, 2006

And it's more GOLD for Australia!

G'day all!

Well it is all GOLD GOLD GOLD here! yes, I have not quite done a Bradbury, cos I've seen a few who are much more under the pump than me (say Hi to Steph, everyone!), but here is the gold medal winning outcome:

Yes, two socks!

A toe

a fuzzy shot of the heel (very hard taking pics of your own heel unless you have abs of steel)

and a BIG thank you to my support crew!

Project: pomatomus by Cookie A from the Winter 06 Knitty. Yarn - Cherry Tree Hill pot luck blues/purples. (No, I have not yet washed them. Yes I did get lots of colour on my hands and my bamboo needles are now green. Very pretty.) I finished them last night when I was supposed to be at a friend's birthday party. Ooops.

*phew* it is done! Now I can get back to normal things, like knitting socks. LOL and spinning! I've prepped some more fleece tonight - I dyed it a while ago. here's some of the locks before puffing (note that they have badly damaged tips - this was a lamb fleece and I presume she had a bit of meconium in the tips)

and after I fluffed them with a dog slicker using the tile you can see in the first shot to protect my legs:

People use vinyl to protect themselves from the slickers/combs. I don't like vinyl. The tile cost 90c, has high embodied energy (bad!) but can be reused (it can be smashed up and used in potting mix.)

After an afternoon moving sheet metal and large lumps of timber, grinding out rot from a post of the garage, moving mulch, chopping down plants, brushing out a heap of 3/4 finn/merino cross dyed fleece and three blog posts, I am done in for the day! Have a nice week, y'all - I'll be back



Saturday, February 25, 2006

Because I can't get photos....

G'day all!

It is a very dull morning here - the light is at best that weak light you get before dawn, even though the sun's been up for over an hour. There is plenty of stuff falling from the sky (more on that later on on the house blog, a Modest Manor).

OK, because I can't get photos as it is too dull, you will have to deal with a ramble from me about yesterday. I drove to a place about 20 minutes away to check out a garage sale of weaving yarns and fleece. When I got there half an hour after the sale started, I found a small gaggle of older ladies wih bags stuffed to the brim with goodies. There were two bags of rug making wool tops and a lot of polyester weaving yarns and some wook ones. So on I drove cos I am not into weaving (although anyone who can tell me where to get a "knitter's loom," whether it is by making one or buying on - please do so! I want to get rid of some stash and I am too lazy to try ebay...).

I drove past Sunspun - they have a 10-20% sale starting in another week or so - and visited the nice ladies at Calico and Chintz in Auburn. This is a quilting and yarn shop that opened hmm, about 3-4 months ago. I visited it in ?January. They have Rowan yarns and Artyarns but I don't afford those. I did afford some of these though, cos I had been day dreaming about them for weeks:

These are two different colourways but contain some very similar colours so I am going to use them for some sort of wrap. One yarn is a lot thinner than the other - the thicker one knits up about the same weight as Rowan Big Wool, or so I am told. Anyway, when I bought the raindrops, I didn't know it would be prophetic (more about that on the house blog soon)

Another thing that was very amusing was meeting up with D, N and Sherry from NH, USA, at Marta's yesterday. I just wandered in the door and said hello to George, Marta's husband, and suddenly Darrow attacks me and I'm like whoa! Cool! and we blathered for a while and then I realised it was probably very rude to leave someone from the other side of the world left out, though she seemed happy enough looking through Marta's pile of tops. Wool and silk tops, that is, not Marta's tops (particularly not the tops Marta was wearing!). Tops from First Edition fibres up in Euroa, not Ashland Bay somewhere in the USA, though some of them look pretty similar.

Then I found out Sherry had been to SPA and had seen Steph talk and knew a whole heap of other NE fibre people! Oh my word! There are so many people from the New England area whose blogs I read and would love to meet. Meeting Sherry was almost like meeting them - it makes it a whole lot more real. Alas, I was in a one hour parking spot and the hour was almost up, and I also noticed a very large black cloud coming our way, so I decided to scoot off home.

Now to finish up, a HEAP of blogthings. I've had these hanging around for ages and want to close their tabs.

Apparently in a past life, I was a native american dog which goes around eating cats. Hmmm....
You Were a Coyote

Brutally honest, you encourage people to show their true selves.
You laugh at life - none of it can be taken too seriously.

Apparently I have a hidden talent in getting people to get along. It is very well hidden....
Your Hidden Talent

Your natural talent is interpersonal relations and dealing with people.
You communicate well and are able to bring disparate groups together.
Your calming presence helps everything go more smoothly.
People crave your praise and complements.

Oh well, at least I am not a diva like Miss Piggy.
You Are Scooter

Brainy and knowledgable, you are the perfect sidekick.
You're always willing to lend a helping hand.
In any big event or party, you're the one who keeps things going.
"15 seconds to showtime!"


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Something other than a sock

G'day all!

I have held out on you for too long!

Looky what was added to my stash this week:

"OOooh!" says DH, who loves pumpkin colours.

"Ahhhh!!!" says Lynne, who loves pinky colours and sock yarn.
(Both of those are from Dreamcatcher - isn't she lovely? She picked out yarn for each of us!)

EEEEE! THis is the thing DH does not know about, though he does and doesn't mind, much. After all he has bought himself about $2000 of stuff recently.

Check out the amount of fleece, the type and the price!

(no bigger image)
Ooooohhhhhhh..... It is lovely and soft - the nicest fleece I've bought so far, excepting maybe the suri alpaca (bought a year ago and still waiting to be spun up!). I thought that comeback is a crossbred merino and it is - one of its grandparents was not a merino, its mum was crossbred back to a merino ram and this is the resulting fleece!

Now I admit that I don't know when I'll get a chance to process it and spin it but life can be a bit odd and it soon enough will be winter and I'll only be able to spend weekends in the garden. Then I might be able to spin it, but first I'll have to give it a wash or dye some up or whatever I am going to do.

Oh be over you stupid knitting olympics - I need to get on with my life!

Sock has made little progress - had to rip out about 10 rows over the last two days and reknit twice cos I made a dumb counting error. Still, it is nearly there. Nearly finished the gusset. Only the foot to go. Please let me finish it soon, o knitting goddess!

Here's a flower spray for you - some sort of billardiera I think. Very pretty. It is climbing up the stem of another plant.

Gotta get out of the study. Typed stuffy, and it is tonight cos it is over 30 inside at present. 30 celcius that is. 35-odd today - I am frying! It has only been in the low 20s and suddenly BANG! I am lterally starting to drip sweat. YUCK!


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Someone else's good news

G'day all!

Just had to post a link to Skein Street, one of the sweetest stories I've read. ErLeCa is one of the loveliest, nicest girls I know, and I really hope this works out for her. :-)

Turned the heel, no pics, in a hurry cos it is craft night and I have to do a little shopping and a lot of cleaning oh and have dinner before 6:30 - umm, yeah, right since it is 20 past 6 now....


Knitter on the edge

G'day all!

I took my knitting down to the Yarra today and sat on one of the bollards right on the edge of the water. 20 minutes of knitting and I didn't drop my needles into the water, even though the water was almost under me! I certainly would not be jumping into find the needle if I dropped one in. For starters, that bit of the river is navigable by smallish craft so it can't be any less than two feet deep, and second starters I know what Yarra sludge is like.

Remember how little boys smell when they play in the mud on the school oval? Multiply that smell by a factor of 10. That'll give you an idea.... I love the Yarra but you really don't want to play in its sludge. Nope the reflections on it will do me just fine.

Tomorrow I will start the heel flap. Yes, you read aright - the heel flap. This sock is rocketing along I guess (touch wood, don't listen to what I am saying O knitting goddess, please don't whack me!) that I've grokked the pattern at last. Hooray!

This afternoon's murphy was an optimist story:
I go to set up the laptop for the training being run by another area. I have it all ready to go 20 minutes before it is needed. yay me! I settle down with my knitting (!!) waiting for the people running the training to show up.

I notice a little message on the screen, "Updates installed. Restart now?"

Bottom! If you don't restart, it gets grumpy and either won't work or restarts all by itself.

So I restarted it. All ready to go 8 minutes before the training starts.

Then in blows the assistant who deals with the computer part - clicking buttons and showing people where to do what. "The photocopier is playing up and I haven't got all the copies I need!"

So I offer to go get the copies needed. The copier I'll be using is on a different floor and should be fine.

Except it has crashed after the document feeder did something funny.

Crashed badly enough that it has to be hard restarted.... And takes 5 minutes to boot up. Drok! (what comic strip is that from? It is a pity the copier couldn't meet Judge Boot.)

(Oh for the days of the mimeograph and that yummy purple print of my early childhood - gosh it was good to sniff!)

Then it takes about two minutes to print out four copies of one four page document. Fast? Ummm, no....

I got something in the mail today! Pics tomorrow I hope. I've got so many pics to show and no time to edit them. Sigh.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Stop the press! 8pm update

G'day all!

Stop that press! I have news! Good news!

See? It is done! Almost - I can't find any wool needles. This is an ongoing thing for me - I buy wool needles to finish off a project and next project I finish? No needles. I even put them in the one place, now, and they are gone by the time I next want to use them. I think there must be a wool needle imp out there who likes to eat all of my wool needles. It is the only rational explanation (!!!).

Once I have a way to do the grafting, number one sock will be done! Hooray!

Of course any good story has its little dramas. The last drama on this sock was running out of wool just 3 metres short! ARGH! I had to splice some, rather crappily I may add but it will hang together and be a nice sock so that is all that matters. Noone will ever know, except anyone reading this blog - make that a few people will know!

Number two sock can be seen next to number one sock in the top picture. Number two sock is now almost ready for the pattern to start - almost but dinner got in the way. Had to do pesky dinner things and managed to overcook the chook - I really need oven bags for it. Still the carrots were done to a turn and if it had been a nice pumpkin it would've been brilliant. Yum!

Dang! My stupid stats counter showed me a pic that said someone from *Iraq* had dropped by my blog. Only problem is that when I tried to grab the pic, it updated to today's info. So no image. I've just spent 10 minutes trying to nut that out. But I'll still wave to the Slovenian, the Italian, the Germans and the Finn who have dropped by! G'day! And G'day to the rest of you, whereever you may be.

The pics I promised yesterday will have to wait for another day. I have to go do Other Stuff, like some dishes and go for a walk - too much couch potato stuff happening at present getting these socks done.

Today's handy tip? When knitting in the round, it is a very good idea not to randomly pick up the needles and start knitting without checking where you should be knitting from. Not that I did that today. Never! Not me!


Monday, February 20, 2006


G'day all!

Some days I am such a doofus.

Yesterday Nathan and I drove across to the good place to get mulch. Nathan drove and I knitted away madly on my heel flap (I am talking knitting a sock here...). I was counting rows carefully, but then realised that the heel flap seemed a bit long....

Yep, I had been counting every two rows but had not doubled the number. I thought it seemed weird that I had only done 13 rows yet the heel flap was very long... only 8 rows over what was needed!

Then the turning of the heel, some 5 hours later. For some UNKNOWN REASON I suddenly decided that after I had put the heel flap back on the needles after ripping back a few rows that I did not need to do any of the shaping for the turning of the heel and merrily picked up the gusset stitches. Now I am sure that I could pick up the gusset stitches and then go back and turn the heel but at the time I just unripped all of the picked up stitches and undid the row of lace pattern and started doing the turning of the heel.

Somehow the heel it was off by two stitches the first time around. And the second. Umm, like HELLO? Am I being really THICK here? But the THIRD time, it was fine! It was not for lack of ability to follow instructions, I just seemed to be counting challenged.

I wonder when I'll learn to count?

I must look at my Nancy Bush book and find out what sort of heel it is that I've turned. It made a nice rounded edge.

So at 10 days into the Olympics, I have managed to get half of a sock done - I've turned the heel and am on the gusset decreases. OK, so I ripped the whole thing out on Friday, but now I'll need to do a good two hours a day on it to get it and its mate to be done, if I am lucky! Thank goodness I have no kids!

You wanna see a pic?

That was from Saturday.

Make that several pics from today as well:

Honestly I don't know why my ankles look so thick in handknitted socks. They are not thick - they are shapely! And I know where a few of you are coming from with the boots thing. Anyone else out there have calves that are well formed? I'd love to get a pair of neatly fitting boots that don't make my legs feel like they are in a corset and don't have that lovely woman-(not-quite)-in-a-too-tight-a-dress roll of flesh hanging over the top. Why can't we get nice long boots rather than just little ankle boots?

The weekend was a ripper. I boughted (that's not a word!) something last week and picked it up at the guild on Saturday. DH has seen it. He is not too fussed either. I'll keep it for tomorrow - am very achy and sore today and sitting at the computer hurts cos we did lots of shovelling of mulch yesterday, but worse, I helped Nathan move a very large perspex/acrylic fishtank thing - it is nearly as big as a goodly sized desk but only about 50cm high. I can lift 20 kilos (60-odd pounds) from the ground but this thing nearly crippled me. "It's not heavy!" says DH blithely as I am standing there slowly straightening my legs as parts of me ping and pop. Back, shoulders, neck, ribcage. Even deep breathing hurts! I really must manage to persuade him that when the physio says a 5 kilo lifting limit, this really means I should not lift much more, let alone 30 or 40 kilos more....

To finish today, a pic from our trip into town on Saturday (more on that on the house blog, when I get a chance - sock is taking all my spare time except when I get sick of it and knit another curly whirly). The Commonwealth Games start soon and as part of the celebrations, we have forty fish parked on the Yarra. It's going to be a big deal - it will most likely be the last time the Queen comes out here cos the old girl's getting on a bit so we'll prolly be stuck with Charles from now on. Anyway, I took lots of pics of fish and here is one of them!


Saturday, February 18, 2006

Happy Anniversary, Pusses!

G'day all!

A year ago, we trotted off down the AAPS and looked at cats.

So in this post, you get LOTS of pictures of the pusses. Apologies to anyone on dialup. Our days would be a lot more boring without the cats and their weird little ways and their hopeful eyes at dinner time.... The pics are in chronological order from last Feb.

(Nutmeg has put on a "little" weight since then- she was definately a stray. Her coat is magnificent now - was quite rough and dry when we got her)

Oh, and the sock is onto the heel flap already. Yay! I sorta cheated though - I am not doing three repeats cos the top repeat will not fit around my shapely leg. Yes, that is shapely, not fat. I wlak a bit an dmy legs reflect that. You oughta see my legs when I cycle a bit - those speedskater women would envy my thighs then! (Watched the speedskating and the women have THE most magnficent thighs! The men just cannot match those women's thighs and butts)

Progress pics of the knitting later. Along with a pic of a new addition to the fibre family....


Friday, February 17, 2006

Going for LEAD! (or maybe tin)

G'day all!

Well today started off nicely - sunrise was interesting.

It sorta got a little crappier after that. A couple of days ago, one of my colleagues was having "one of *those* days" (and he's male so it wasn't a hormonal day). Well, he gave the "one of *those* days" bug to me. He say it only lasts for 24 hours. Here's hoping!

First of all I found a problem in the sock, so I frogged it back a bit. Started knitting it again as I sat on the train. Pulled it off the needles again. Realised I couldn't get it back on the needles before reaching the city. Left it in the bag all day.

Got to work. We have a long in the mooting and now reality conference coming up. I had been allocated a room with a MAN. Not my husband - family is not invited to this work conference. Not someone I said I wanted to share with. Nope, a bloke who I know from work. A real man who eats lots of garlic and I bet farts a whole lot of it too. (No offence but like I know what men are like - I live with one!) So I emailed them and asked them was I really bunking up with a bloke.

ooh, sorry, they squeal in an email, terribly sorry, terrible mistake.

Then I realised what had happened. Some of you know I have a PhD (trust me they are not given out for braininess but actually for sheer pigheadedness and refusal to let the b@stardly thing get you down). I used my title on the info sheet. I reckon that they decided that because I am Dr Lynne I must be a bloke....

So that got fixed up post haste.

Then the laptop wouldn't load windoze 10 minutes before a presentation (not mine thank god!). It died in the butt! Talk about inconweenient. So we ran around to find another laptop just to find it didn't have stuff loaded on it that we sorta expected.... More running around to get it right this time.

Other stuff happened, like discovering that our shared drive on the server won't take a 24meg file (powerpoint - how they got it so huge I just don't know), and powerpoint having conniptions over the presentation and dying in the butt lots.

Then in the afternoon we got a new laptop! It was going to take days to rebuild the old one and it was about to be replaced shortly so they gave us a new one. Yay new lappy! It has wifi and all, not that we have wifi in the building yet.

Anyway, there is a bit of a tale with the sock. Here is what it looked like an hour or so ago.

Ooops. I could not figure out what had gone so badly wrong (I had two extra stitches that turned into four and really fouled it up) so I frogged the lot! And I wound 40g of sock yarn onto the ball winder cos that is the most any of my socks have taken and broke the yarn. Now of course I will need 42g cos it is lace.... but we will spit splice if we need to.

So thanks, BigBird for the barracking and never ending support - I'm going for lead at present! A week in and I now have 4cm of sock to show for it. LOL. Ah well, I've got a few days to go and with a bit of application and careful pattern reading, I will get this thing whacked! I may yet do a Bradbury and come up with a most unusual gold!

Here's some yarn p0rn for you some - I got carried away with the ball winder.

On top we have 50g of laceweight from Fibreworks (RMB 7212, Horsham, Victoria, Australia, 3401 - can't find a website any longer) and underneath some self striping sock yarn from A Taste of Vermont. Funily enough the laceweight cake is about 2/3 the size of the sock yarn, but because of the angle of the pic it looks almost as big!

Plus as I said yesterday, Kellie got me this Vesper sock yarn - gloat gloat gloat - we are the only people in Oz known to have it, gloat gloat! I have to have something special for me cos it has been a crap few days.... The colour in the top pic is more representative of course cos it doesn't show the yarn much. I think the amount of red, pink and orange oversaturated the camera's little eyeball.

(can you tell I am a colour addict? You won't find much brown or taupe or grey in my yarn collection!)

anon! (if blogger ever lets me post this - it has died in the butt AGAIN! That is every day this week just as I've tried to post! Like what sorta bad karma is sticking with me?)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

OMG progress

G'day all!

I have made progress on the sock. I have turned the heel and am heading off down the foot! Yay me!

Photos? It was craft night. No times for photos.

Plus I got some Vesper sock yarn! Kellie got it for me :-) It was so nice to get something pretty, and I am one of only two people who are known to have Vesper yarn in Australia! It is nice being special.

Photos? Well it is dark and no photos. Photos later.

My days are being total and utter drags at present. I am not happy at work. I feel that it has been decided that I am a Crap Trainer and whilst they need a trainer and need someone with my research skills, they are not willing to invest any effort in upskilling me. Money? You have to be joking! We can spend $1500 on someone else, but you want to do a $200 course? (Guess who is considered to be a good trainer? Not the person who did the expensive course, no never, not at all!) Sigh. I am not that bad a trainer. I am not the best in the world but I am by no means terrible. Getting told you are not a good trainer and then basically being told to go away and make yourself into a good trainer with no funding, no help, no training and no feedback saying what I am doing wrong is simply WRONG! Why bother giving feedback with no solution or options?

And I am still cut that Andreas died. After how many years of being a heavy smoker, he stopped smoking once he was diagnosed. Too late! Sigh. If you smoke, please, for your family's sake if not your own, give it up. It's not too late. I watched my mother slowly die from bowel cancer that metastasised to her lungs and believe me you do not want to die like that with your lungs turning to concrete over a six month period and every breath such an effort that you are exhausted simply from breathing. Giving up smoking will do you so much good and there'll be more money for yarn!

OK off the soapbox. I just hate seeing people smoke their lives away. I know it is a true addiction but if alcoholics can stay off the booze, smokers can fight the smoking bug.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

for every up

there is a down!

(This post is now late cos blogger would not post anything last night)

Yesterday was a very interesting day. My appraisal at work went not as well as I had hoped, cos I forgot that it was about the past and not the future. So no rise and really I have been underperforming cos I have not ensured I have the right end of the stick and I've just not been seeing the right things to do. Of course I have not been receiving feedback along the way, just at every six month period.

Oh well. I now know some of the things I need to do to start making things better.

So I worked on the sock for a while this evening and also got some more gardening done. I am almost ready to turn the heel on the sock and pick up the instep stitches. Things were levelling out after work excitement. We bought a new electric kettle cos the "old" one (all of hmm three years old?) suddenly died - the water level metre thing on the side fell out, which meant there was a hole in my bucket (jug), dear Liza a hole. It couldn't even hold enough water for a cup of tea!

Then a friend told me that my favourite actor in B5 had died of lung cancer. More info here. Andreas Katsulas was well known for his heavy smoking habit and it got him. No more G'Kar. Woe! Dismay! I'll have to go watch a whole heap of special G'Kar moments and sniffle over someone I never knew. It is funny how this sort of thing affects you - I remember when Bing (Crosby) died and Mum was really upset. The man she would've run off with at a wink of an eye was gone! I don't think I could've tolerated Andreas' smoking (it would make me very very sick) but the thought of no more G'Kar is very sad.

You might want to go away now cos I am going to sit and remember some of my favourite G'Kar quotes:

"No dictator, no invader can hold an imprisoned population by force of arms forever. There is no greater power in the universe than the need for freedom. Against that power tyrants and dictators cannot stand. The Centauri learned that lesson once. We will teach it to them again. Although it take a thousand years, we will be free." (and unless you have heard this speech, you cannot imagine the power Andreas gave to it through the mask)

"I was ready. I had prepared myself. I had made my peace with the universe, put all my affairs in order. I had the dagger in my hand! And he has the indecency to start dying on his own. Never in my life have I seen a worse case of timing. Well, you'd think he could've waited a few more minutes before..."

"There is a greater darkness than the one we fight. It is the darkness of the soul that has lost its way. The war we fight is not against powers and principalities, it is against chaos and despair. Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams. Against this peril we can never surrender. The future is all around us, waiting, in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of that future or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain."

"In the past we had little to do with other races. Evolution teaches us that we must fight that which is different in order secure land, food, and mates for ourselves, but we must reach a point when the nobility of intellect asserts itself and says: No. We need not be afraid of those we are different, we can embrace that difference and learn from it."

"The Universe speaks in many languages, but only one voice. The language is not Narn, or Human, or Centauri, or Gaim or Minbari. It speaks in the language of hope; It speaks in the language of trust; It speaks in the language of strength, and the language of compassion. It is the language of the heart and the language of the soul. But always, it is the same voice. It is the voice of our ancestors, speaking through us, And the voice of our inheritors, waiting to be born. It is the small, still voice that says: We are one. No matter the blood; No matter the skin; No matter the world; No matter the star; We are one. No matter the pain; No matter the darkness; No matter the loss; No matter the fear; We are one. Here, gathered together in common cause. we agree to recognise this singular truth, and this singular rule: That we must be kind to one another, because each voice enriches us and ennobles us, and each voice lost diminishes us. We are the voice of the Universe, the soul of creation, the fire that will light the way to a better future. We are one."
(The Declaration of Principles, written by G'Kar)

And most appropriate:
"I believe that when we leave a place a part of it goes with us and part of us remains. Go anywhere in these halls, when it is quiet and just listen. After a while you will hear the echoes of all of our conversations, every thought and word we've exchanged. Long after we are gone, our voices will linger in these walls for as long as this place remains. But I will admit that the part of me that going will very much miss the part of you that is staying."

A whole bunch of us will miss you too, Andreas - there can never be G'Kar now. RIP.

(BTW B5, all images, characters, etc are copyright Warner Bros. Gotta put that in just in case...)


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

V day

G'day all!

Gosh it's been really busy here at the Modest Manor! I've only just started eating dinner and it is 10pm!

Today was Valentine's Day. This is the first year I thikn that Nathan has wrapped my present. I wrapped his presents cos he asked me to.

Did I get the prisma socks done?

You'd betta believe it!

I cast off the last stitch just as the train pulled in to the station three from mine. Doesn't he look delighted and surprised that he got socks for Valentine's Day (NOT!)!

Since I cast off three stations before mine, I had just enough time to do another round or two on the Olympic socks. Pretty pathetic effort so far, eh?

I've not even caught up to where I frogged it from yet. But the pattern looks right this time and it is working well. The boy socks just got in the way.

The boy also got a new toy - this cordless hammer drill comes without a battery pack. Instead you buy the packs and the charger separately. You can also buy a whole range of cordless toys, oops, tools such as a weeny little cutesy circular saw or a reciprocating saw or a jigsaw or even a chainsaw! They all take the same battery pack. We thought this very nifty. So he got the hammerdrill. He plugged a battery pack in and it went vroom!

Oh and what did I get for Valentine's Day?

I got a girly toy! It was *such* a surprise - after all I went and bought it at lunchtime. I would never have guessed that was what I was getting for my Valentine's present. Did I mention that there was a 2.9 kilo comeback fleece there too that was less than $30? it didn't come home with me, well not today anyway. I have to go and pick it up on Saturday. LOL My bad!


Sunday, February 12, 2006

Day three "progress"

A frogging we will go, a frogging we will go, hi ho the dairy-o a frogging we will go.

G'day all!

I looked at what I had knitted this afternoon and though it looks NQR. So I kept knitting anyway. Blind faith and all that.

Then I looked this evening and realised that for some reason I had not put the yarn overs in
a) where they were needed, or
b) at all in various spots.


By the time I had frogged back to where I could pick the stitches up again, I was back in the first repeat! But it does look right now, so very thing is good. After all, this is the Olympics and unlike those poor people who only get one shot to Get It Right, I can frog again and again until I get it right!

Thank goodness I am not making a shawl, else I'd be crying into my water (should be a strong drink but that will make me crook) by now!

Next we have progression, rather than regression, I shall take pics.

The husband sock is on the home straight - I am on the cuff and started the 4X1 ribbing. Only umm, 11 repeats to go I think. Should be easy peasy lemon squeezy, assuming I don't stuff up and start randomly putting yarnovers into it to make up for the lack of them in pomatomus! Pus I've been fixing up the fleece I dyed last weekend and have been spinning it. I will use the singles to make something nice eventually but I haven't finished spinning what I've prepped or even prepped it all yet. Should be enough for a small shawl. And we've done lots on the garage this weekend - it has most of its walls back again now! Hooray! Next for the rendering!

Thanks to my cheer squad! You guys are fab, even if I am not! LOL


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Day Two!

G'day all!

It is now the dawn of day three of the Olympics for us Aussies. What do I have to show for it?

Do you get the feeling that my weekends involve something other than knitting? Maybe a bit of stuff around the house, maybe a bit of going out and doing some shopping? I was quite pleased with my progress until I saw that. Then I thought about people making shawls and got a bit concerned about how pathetic my project is. A lace sock or two compared to a whole shawl?

So far the pattern has been easy to handle. Once you've gotten the pattern set up, it is reasonably obvious where everything goes until halfway throught he pattern where the YO and K2tog tbl have to swap over. Then it becomes obvious again. I admit to not using the pattern for every row. I am sure something will whack me around the ears sooner or later. (I did rip about 8 rows yesterday cos I had stuffed up but it knitted up quickly cos I knew what I was *meant* to do not what I *had* done.) I am sure it will get interesting around the heel by the end of Day Three.

The husband sock continues too - I am on the shortrow heel now. That means only 13.5 more repeats of the pattern before it is done - by the time the shortrow heel is done, I am on the home straight! I only have two days of train knitting to get it done. Can I do that and get past the heel on Pomatomus?

The Nut seems to have fallen asleep whilst washing her belly. Weird position for a cat to sleep in. She is on her favourite chair on her favourite cat rug. The chair comes from Home (that mythical place where you grew up) and we are going to restore it cos it is more comfortable than the chairs we have now. Only problem is the cat loves it!

That's yer lot for the mo. More updates later!


Friday, February 10, 2006

Let the Games begin!

G'day all!

I have the yarn. (handwound ball but I am getting a ball winder for Valentine's Day! OK, I have to go buy it and maybe even wrap it myself but still it is what I want)

I have the needles.

I have the pattern.

I even have my own cheersquad of cats.

Gentlepersons, we have the technology. We can knit those socks!

Let the games begin!