Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wotisit - the winnahs!

G'day all!

Two weeks ago, I posted the final Wotisit. Final for the nonce anyway. Then I said I'd do the draw last Monday. Ahem. Ah well, I've finally been guilted into fixing it up! (Possibly because it means I can avoid the tangerine top for a little longer.) Ever felt guilty for not doing something when you said you would? I do it all the time. Must be more organised! Must fulfill contracts with other. Thinking of musts, I must also harrass the credit union again cos our cheques still haven't arrived and I have bills to pay - at home I can pay everything online or by phone but here many places still only take cheques. I am happy to pay small businesses by cheque cos credit card merchant fees cost a bunch but I do not see why big businesses make me pay by cheque. Only PG&E (gas/power) does online payments but the apartment complex is moving over, thank heavens! Last year one of the factors in choosing this place was online payments but that never happened cos a new management company bought it and alas did not offer the option of paying online.

Back to wotisit. We had a few new entries this time around - thanks! And you gotta be in it to win it, as they say.

BTW, I found all of these items in or around my kitchen.

a. wotisita

Quite a number of people said this was a sunflower, and that is correct! It is the centre of a sunflower. So fascinating!

b. wotisitb

We had a few guesses as skin on this one, and that is correct, just not human skin (thank heavens) - it is peach skin!

c. wotisitc

This is half of a rather elderly lemon that was lurking on the kitchen bench. I should've tossed it much earlier, or better yet, used it before it got sad... You would think that lemons would be easy to get here in California but I am always scratching to find them (at less than a dollar a lemon). Half the houses in Melbourne have a lemon tree in the back yard and the weather is a little less predictable than here.

d. wotisitd

Finally, as some suspected, this is an egg! But it is an empty eggshell held up to the light. It looked pretty funky and I couldn't resist :-)

So I guess you wanna know who the winners are, yes?

The overall winner, with the number of points scored was:


(There was a reason why I hadn't sent her prize yet...)

And the random winner was:

Robyn of Everyday Miracles! (I had to get a different random number - it chose Leonie for this and I figure it is better to spread the love around...)

(Note that I am too cheap to cough up $4.95 to get an account on and have a verifiable for five years random number generated, where I and the winners can log in to check it. Nope, you just gotta believe me that the generator picked Robyn out of the list.)

So ladies, contact me by email and let me know what you want out my Etsy shop or any of the things listed here or here. Except the cute little sorta deco brown blue green bag, cos Robyn has that now! Then I can get it out in the post to you ASAP.


PS - got all excited cos Crazy Aunt Purl opened comments on her blog again, only she closes them real quick and also some idjits figured out where she works and posted the address... like dooooods, please stop taking away the fun for the rest of us!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Please return my memory

G'day all!

Heh. Just realised that my 5th blogiversary passed only 9 days ago! LOL I need to get a better memory, or I should've started blogging on a different, ie more memorable, day!

So what have been the highlights of the last 5 years?

Welllll, it is nearly five years since DH and I were wed


and went to Western Australia for our honeymoon (to see the wildflowers!).


We'll be having our fifth anniversary in France! Most likely we'll be in Toulouse.

Knitting highlights? Oh gosh. One of the problems with my blog from five years ago is that the server I used then no longer exists. That means either directly uploading pics in blogger, which I know can be a total PITA, or uploading them into flickr and copying across the urls. Either way, it means going back into every blog post, probably a couple of hundred of them, and replacing the pic urls. I am sure you can see why it hasn't happened so far! So there is no point linking back to the posts. Instead, we'll see how I've grown as a knitter, boast boast boast and spinner over the years (some of my 2008 and 2009 knits are on flickr, and some older FOs can be found here).

Five years ago, I didn't knit lace. Mum said I wouldn't enjoy knitting lace. Don't always listen to your momma! I prefer knitting lace to doing cables. I have no idea why.

My first lace was on the edge of a top that I am now going to give to a thrift store. Then I started other bits and bobs, like Icarus (that took me over two years to finish) and then more and more lace things. Now I knock off lace like I used to knock off stocking stitch.

Five years ago I didn't knit socks. Mum said socks are silly things to knit (she used to knit them many years ago, and given she's been dead for umm 18 years now, that means quite a long time ago!).

But I caught the bug, and one or the other of these socks were my first "proper" socks (ie not the ones knitted at the wrong gauge in thickish yarn).

3.5 years ago, I had this many handknitted socks under my belt (well you can't wear them above the belt easily and really they belong on your feet)(and a few singletons are missing from that collection). Now? Oh gosh, lots and lots and lots - a pair a month for the last 18 months I think and a few singletons along the way and some extras.

One of the best things, and the simplest, I ever knitted was this jumper/sweater/pullover for DH. He has worn it every winter since, and it was sooo warm in the Canadian winter!

Then there were the knits like this one, which is made out of the softest, butteriest merino wool you've ever felt (and dyed by me too). And I can't wear it cos I made it out of wool. ARGH!

In 2005, I got my first spinning wheel, seen here with cat fascinated by the knot in the drive band.

By the end of the year, I had upgraded to this Majacraft Little Gem II, thanks to a small inheritance from my father. Isn't it a cute little baby wheel?


And the fleece collection started growing and growing and growing...


(I have about 12 or so fleece at home waiting for me to release them from enslavement in space bags...)

We also got two charming pussycats from the AAPS (a great charity, btw, who do their best to find homes for animals and deserve more support than they get).

Oh yeah, we bought a house, we survived the great banana drought, and seven months later I quit my job and suddenly we had very little income.... and 8 months later, we visited Colorado for a new job for DH,

and 3 months after that we moved to the USA. Then we moved six times in the next thirteen months.

Currently we live in Campbell, California. And today it is stinking hot and I just had to go out on the bike with the trailer to buy a new suitcase on the day that it is nearly 40C, the hottest day we've had in ages. And then I could barely fit the thing in the bike trailer.... LOL

PS - Now that I have gotten birthday stuff out of the way and bought new luggage (if only it came with feet rather than wheels) and organised the SIM cards for the phone and received the Eurail passes, I can organise the train bookings and catch up on the wotisit, the final one and announce the prize winners! And talk about the other stuff I've been doing recently.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Catching up a little

G'day all!

The last few days have been totally hectic!

In my usual way, I decided to overcommit myself in getting things make for Nathan's birthday.

Today is the first day in ages, or so it feels, that I don't have a deadline looming over me. (Nope, only got some stuff to mail and then I have NOTHING that IMMEDIATELY has to be done!) As usual under such circumstances, I feel a bit flat. All that work, now it is done and what do I have to show for it?

Umm, well....


and this

and this

Want to see more pics? Check my flickr photostream. I'll probably talk about the projects over the next few days a bit more, so maybe you don't want to see all the pics right now.

Oh and can anyone tell me why I, an Australian citizen, give one flying farnarkle that Teddy Kennedy died? But it seems that I do. I've spent the morning reading Ravelry threads on it. My goodness, some people are vitriolic! And others are magnaninous.

PS am uploading heaps of old pics from two years ago, pics that were on our old server. I'm now using Flickr as a back up for the pics. I'll be uploading even older pics at some point, ones that were on a server that no longer exists.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Accidental blogging break

G'day all!

I've overloaded myself with things to get done this week. Looks like I am taking a little blogging break cos I just haven't got enough hours to do everything (especially when it takes five minutes to sew something badly and half an hour to rip it out again...).

I need to announce the winners of Wotisit but I haven't totted up all the numbers yet nor done the random draw. I haven't even sent out the stitch markers from the last prize! My VERY bad indeed.

Anyway, I have a sock, a quilt and some spinning to finish up before tomorrow evening. Then I have to knit just under half of the tangerine top for the shop. Then I have to get cracking on nathan's birthday sweater.

Oh, for anyone reading this in the south bay area, Nathan's birthday Wednesday night at the Sonoma Chicken Coop on Campbell Ave in downtown Campbell, 7pm. Be there or be someplace else.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Quickie - Oddness

G'day all!

Today we have had three phone calls on our landline.

One from Sears for people who don't live here.

One from PG&E (gas and electricity) for people who don't live here.

One from a machine with a male voice that said "Due to technical difficulties at our end, your call cannot be taken. Goodbye."

Umm, why on earth did it ring us then? We are on a no call list too, so it shouldn't be telemarketers. I just don't grok that one - some company rings us but then can't talk to us. WTF?


Friday, August 21, 2009


G'day all!

A while ago, I decided I would keep on going with the next quiltalong, the one following this quilt (which is the baby one, not the bed-sized one which is still awaiting its basting and quilting):


The current quiltalong is a zigzag quiltalong. After weeks of toil and trouble and things boiling in the bathroom (currently known as the dragon in the bathroom, aka the iron), I have managed to get the quilt top made. It is about single bed size (aka twin bed in the US, which is not a double bed - that is a double or full).


(Do you like the lighting? That is known as the only place I could hang it with good light is the lattice between us and the neighbours, and even with the flash it still has the lattice showing through and you can see various of the seams too.)

Now it has to be basted and quilted and bound. Then it will be done. Hooray!

I have another half-square triangle quilt to make up. It was meant to be a zigzag similar to the one above. Except some stupid git sewed the wrong squares together and cut them in half (hence half square triangles) and realised she had done them wrong. After running around with my hands in the air for an hour or so, I decided to choose a new layout for them.


I think if I can pull this one off, it will
a) be a miracle, and
b) look fantastic!

My sewing machine told me its name this morning. Only took most of a year (rather like the car, Helmut Rasenspiel, and the bike, Percy Raleigh, Esq.). The other day we watched Wyrd Sisters, the cartoon adaptation of Terry Pratchett's book. One of the characters, voiced by Jane Horrocks, is called Magrat. Well sometimes the sewing machine makes noises that sound like Magrat's voice. So for the first time in my adult life, I am calling something by a female name. Magrat the sewing machine.

That leaves only the spinning wheel. It hasn't announced its name yet.

DH discovered that there are a heap of Pratchett books that have been turned into either live action or animated movies. We've been going through them all. So far, we've enjoyed "The Colour of Magic," "Wyrd Sisters," "Soul Music" and are halfway through "Hogfather." My only complaints so far are that Death is just a man with a mask on in Hogfather (very little expression) and the trolls in Soul Music were rather too fast and too clever and not rocky enough somehow.

I have to get pics of the tie dyeing I did - it isn't professional level but I had fun and hopefully DH will wear the things. I've already worn mine. Also I have been adding to my fabric stash. I am sooooo horribly bad. I have to stop but there are so many pretties out there and they seem to disappear quite quickly. I whine about having a messy/crowded house and then bring more stuff into it. Ahem. Hello! 8-)


PS can walk better today, not perfectly well but better. Hooray! This means I can go out on the bus this afternoon and not take half an hour to walk half a kilometre to it!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Oh the pain of it all!

G'day all!

This week I've been a Good Girl. I started the (long overdue) physiotherapy on my ankle.

The ankle is doing just fine. But I've pulled a calf muscle and walking is fraught, especially after I've been sitting down for a while. Hopefully it will calm down a little after I saw them again today - they were very unsympathetic and said it was just "tired." If it didn't hurt so much (ie it is most certainly alive) I think I would say it is more than pining for the fjords, mate, it's b*ggered.

Anyway, I've got a strength training thing for my legs now... I will have calves and thighs and maybe even ankles of steel after this!


I've been knitting on DH's birthday sock and on the shop top but really? Not much more to show. OK, the second sock is almost at the heel. The shop top has half of the front frill. Blah blah blah.

I've been working on the zigzag quilt, the one I haven't taken any progress photos of. Ooops. My bad, you can't see what it looks like. It is pretty funky but it has a few little problems here and there. Ah well. Alas this afternoon I pretty much ran out of cotton (thread). Tomorrow I have to either bus to Hancock's or ride to Beverly's to get more brown cotton thread. If I go to Hancock's, I can look at and maybe buy a suitcase at Rossdressforless cos they have good ones cheap(er) - a big suitcase with a name brand will cost $60-70 plus tax (gods I am still over the plus tax thing).


I've been hanging on getting our cheque books - we ran out TWO MONTHS AGO and cheques are still necessary in the US. They still haven't moved across to EFTPOS and online banking stuff. Silly people! Anyway, we ran out and having to go up to the closest branch (conveniently a 25 minute walk from Joann's) to get a bank cheque is annoying. So I've been waiting and waiting and waiting for the things cos I ordered them three weeks ago and finally today I rang up to find out what was happening.

Well they were ordered and went out the very next day. To our Fort Collins address, where we haven't lived for the last 21 months.

So they've been cancelled and a new batch ordered with priority mail, at no charge to us cos really, why would we expect the address would not be updated? When our credit union screws up, they do not screw us, and I like them for that :-)


We got our new phone today. I bought an older Motorola flip phone V197 that is unlocked and "international." I fed it the AT&T sim card and charged it up and DH is now talking to his mum at home on it. It just worked. Fantastic! So you can call me on the old number and I can probably forget to check the phone as usual.... 8-)

Just to make sure you don't have a pictureless post, I've chucked in a couple or four shots of some recent sunsets. You can admire the lovely clear sky in some of them - we have to breathe that air!



Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A knitting update

G'day all!

There has been knitting! Rather bright and lurid knitting, knitting not necessarily in my favourite colours but certainly chirpy colours!

Ta-dum! One husbandly sock and the embryonic sock beside it. Note that the colours in the pic are rather dull (honest!). It is a rainbow two ply Zauberball yarn. Or is that Zauerball. Whatever! It is fascinating watching the colours change - 2/3 of the foot of the first sock had an orange ply that then went green. Fascinating. (Why yes, I loved Spock as an adolescent. His attitudes and approach to things still inform mine lord knows how many years later.) The pattern is a simple broken rib and uses one of Cat Bordhi's gusset increases.

I've been plugging along with the shop top too. I haven't finished the front properly yet but cast on for a sleeve cos I needed a quick win.

Hooray! The sleeves are mid-forearm length and pretty quick to knit up.

I'm still not keen on the fair isle/intarsia approach to the poinsettias. I still have more tidying up to do (pulling stitches so they are even or as even as I can get them to be!).

I think I prefer the duplicate stitch, unfinished as it is.

Two things that have amused me recently. Next door (the annoying neighbours with the doof doof and boom boom) have a lovely grey puss. He likes to sit in the window - he isn't allowed out. He-man next door yells at the poor animal all the time. The cat is a cat, y'know? He's gonna sit in the window and watch things. That is what cats do! But anyway that isn't the amusing thing. The amusing thing is that the cat is very very chatty. He talks a LOT. Meow! meow meow meow! Mwow! And his name? Ninja! The silent assassin....

Now for my 8 year old humour rearing its ugly head.

(Warning, indelicacy approaches!) I recently came across the word sharts. It's scatalogical. Anyway, Nathan and I were having a good giggle over this (remember a shared sense of humour is necessary in any marriage!) when he came up with "fits and sharts" (a spoonerism that will explain the term pretty much exactly) to describe the unpleasant aftermath of eating a variety of fish that is full of oils that are both indigestible *and* liquid at human body temps....

I had been musing over something recently when I suddenly realised that I tend to get along with men more than women. Geek men are the best. I had a good think about that one. I've met a heap of knitters but none have become my bosom buddy (then again, none at home either). That might be my fault cos I don't throw myself wholeheartedly into things - I tend to be hesitant and hang around the edges, ready to escape quickly if need be. Maybe it is something to do with competition. I am terribly competitive but at the same time I back right off when I know I don't have a chance of winning (which is most of the time!). Maybe it is to do with wearing the "right" clothes and acting in the "right" way. I'm not interested if it is a "brand name" I just care if it fits (me and my budget) and is comfortable and looks ok (or better) on me. I carry around a tote bag I bought at Kmart two years ago for $5 forheavenssakes. I make some of my own clothes and love tie dye! I'm hopeless at the girly stuff, always have been. I don't talk about the right things (clothes, men, hair, babies, etc). Topping it off, I tend to be shy when I feel I don't fit in (which is often). But I sit down at a table of Nathan's workmates and apart from not knowing computer stuff, I feel like I've slipped right in. Having the interns around has been fun (much talk of sea bass with fricken laser beams and other stupidity). I guess I am a geek or a nerd. Always have been, always will be.



Monday, August 17, 2009

The last wotisit

G'day all!

This is the last wotisit, certainly for now, mebbe forever. I started wotisit some time ago, thinking it would be a bit of fun for me and the people guessing wotisit. It would also get me a few more email addresses for people who read my blog = I could reply to their comments by email. Blogger does not capture email addresses for the people who comment, which makes it hard to email a reply to your comment.

Wellllll, I think I've had seven different people enter over the three months or so that I've been running wotisit. I'm not very good at encouraging participation in events. If I had been arranging Sock Summit, two men and their dog would've shown up. (But I must say that the world record attempt? I started that! Me! Others picked up the ball and ran with it - yay dudes! - whilst I was trying to see if it was ok with Steph and Tina, them being my close personal friends and all, NOT!)

So I bet you wanna know what last week's wotisit was?

Two of you sent me emails saying it is fleece and you'd be right! Take a bow! It is some of the dyed fluff for Nathan's birthday pullover (the one that won't be finished until a good week after his birthday...). It isn't Neptune, though it certainly looks a bit mysterious.

For the last wotisit, I am giving you FOUR pics. Under today's rules, you get one point for an incorrect guess, five points for a correct guess and no points if you don't guess. Makes sense, huh?

a. wotisita

b. wotisitb

c. wotisitc

d. wotisitd

So tell me what a, b, c and d are, or what you think they are to go in the grand prize draw of anything in my shop up to $25 value or any of the items I've put on the blog in the last couple of posts. Email your answers to me at natielthreeoneone at gmaildotcom. On the 24th of August (this year, I hope!), I'll announce the grand prize winner (whoever has the most points!) and the booby prize winner (no, that isn't the prize - that will be a little project baggie - the booby prize winner will be a random draw).


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Now with extra weekend

G'day all!

If only weekends came with extra weekend! Of course some might argue I have very very very long weekends, that I've had a never ending weekend for the last three years (can you believe it is three years since I last worked full time? I can!).

This weekend has been relatively unproductive. I carded up a big bag of fleece to spin. I ironed and ironed and ironed and ironed squares for the quilts I am working on. Oh gods, the ironing! (Technically pressing and sometimes it is pressing!) Very over that part of things. I sewed maybe 20 squares together. I knitted a sleeve of the shop top. I have to tidy up the back and finish the duplicate stitching of the third flower on it. It is almost half done, just as well too cos this is the third week of knitting it and I'm over it. The first of Nathan's birthday socks is done, the toe is complete on the second, now just for the rest of the it 8-) I bought fantastic vegies and stuff at the farmers' market and dragged it all home on foot, as always. I spun a part bobbin of yarn. And I busted the camera a bit but it still works (except I have camnesia).

The weather has remembered it is summer. There's been a fire burning in the mountains nearby and it sometimes gets smoky. Nathan seems to have a cold, I hope I am fighting it off - colds are useless things! We've watched a heap of second season MacGyver too. Last week we watched Coraline - what a good but freaky movie that was! Very Neil Gaiman. If I had seen it as a child, I'd never want to see a button again. (I wasn't very good with buttons as a child - I was fumble fingered and avoided them. I still prefer clothes without buttons even now.)

Continuing my theme of clearing things out, these little baggies are going up on Etsy this week. All are made of cotton, with cotton thread and cotton cording when I could get it, plus a toggle to cinch it with. They are sized for a sock or other small project. If you like any, they are USD9 plus $2 postage but overseas will be something ridiculous like $6. I'll have to charge more on Etsy...

Green project bags

Project baggies II

blue paisley bags

Tomorrow, camera and my memory willing, I will load the last wotisit and announce what the previous wotisit is. This will be the last one cos we will be away for most of two whole months soon.

Maybe I'll have an interesting, picture filled post tomorrow. You never know your luck!


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Should I be afraid?

G'day all!

A quickie this time.

Should I be afraid of tonight's roast chook?

I never thought The Beast would come in the form of a chicken ready to roast but maybe I am wrong! If I don't blog for the next few days, you will know that it really was The Beast.


Flying by

G'day all!

The days are just flying by at the moment. I have more things to do than you could poke sticks at, even if you had a very large number of sticks!

I just sat a library page exam. A library page shelves books at the library. Not the world's most high-falutin' job but I've always loved books, love hanging around in libraries and being paid to do what I do quite often (which is put books in the correct order rather than the way they are on the shelf) would be great!

Anyway, I show up with a couple of moments to spare (got a phone call at a *very* bad time!) and show my id and hand over my application.

There were over FORTY people applying for TWO positions. Two positions of between 8 and 20 hours per week in four hour shifts, positions paying $11.04 an hour.

There were school kids, business men and women (well dressed, shiny shoes, sleek hair), accountants (I reckon the guy opposite me was an accountant - note that I put them in a different basket!), house wives/stay at home mums, oh my, all sorts of people, including me (a bored housewife). I felt really embarrassed to be there cos if I did get one of the positions, a) I am going away for two months and b) if people who look like that are going for such menial jobs, they must be really desperate and I feel like I am trying to take money out of the mouths of babes (and I don't mean hot chicks, I mean peoples' families).

Anyway, the test was sorta fun. I haven't worked my brain that hard in ages. You had to sort names in alpha-order, compare two names or numbers for sameness, put numbers in numerical order, then sort some dewey decimal type numbers (and oh gosh, didn't I have fun with 001.01 and 001.001! - the latter comes first, has to, cos zero comes before 1). I started at the back and worked forwards - everyone else started at the front and worked the other way but I figured this way noone could copy my answers! Not that I get peeved with cheats or anything (you oughta see me get huffy when someone jumps the queue, and then me get embarrassed if the line-jumper is me!).

So... I've been clearing out some stuff. I have a heap of bits and pieces that I've never put up on my Etsy shop for various reasons, mostly due to trying to get good colour representation. I have a love of colours that fall outside the camera's gamut. I've tried to match the colours as much as possible on my laptop (but it doesn't have good colour representation anyway). The colours below are reasonably good but your colours may vary!

Hand-dyed yarn
From top left, going clockwise,

  1. khaki slightly variegated worsted weight 100% wool, feltable, 4oz
  2. emerald teal self striping sock yarn, 75% wool, 25% nylon, light sportweight (size 3 US/3mm needle), 270y in two skeins, hand or machine wash on gentle
  3. rocky seas self striping sock yarn, 75% wool, 25% nylon, light sportweight (size 3 US/3mm needle), 270y in two skeins, hand or machine wash on gentle
  4. minty (lighter than shown!), slightly variegated worsted weight 100% wool, feltable, 4oz

Plus I have some chocolate cherry sock yarn in the same weight as above. I absolutely cannot get accurate colours for it or adjust the colours. The red is a cherry plum red or a red wine colour, the brown is dull chocolate. The links show some pics of it but they are not colour accurate!

I have some handspun mauve merino tencel for sale. It is not perfectly spun yarn but there sure is a lot of it and anywhere where the ends have not neatly spun in you can effectively spit splice by wetting them and rubbing them against the yarn. It will come up very nicely. I am offering it simply because I have a fair amount of yarn in these sorts of colours and even more is just a Bit Too Much. It was dyed by Tactile Fiber Arts with natural dyes. It is very pretty if that is your thing. There's over 100g and roughly 600m of yarn! It's between a laceweight to a fingering weight. I wouldn't recommend it for socks as it has thinner bits.

If you like any of these, make me an offer! (I would prefer to be paid for my work ;-) I will probably list them on Etsy but cos Etsy charges me to list and charges me for every sale, I have to add a couple of dollars to what I charge my friends. Therefore, if you like, let me know. I want to move these things on and I won't think badly of you if you offer me $10 for any of them, I just won't sell them cos they all cost me more than that! LOL

Tomorrow I am going to show the little baggies that have been waiting for six months for me to list them. Egads! There's more little baggies to come too cos I found a secret stash of them by the sewing machine. I have to iron them again and do the cording in them then they are done too!

I might even show off some knitting - the first DH sock is nearly done and holy cow it is a doozy! The front or back of the shop top is almost done too - it is next on my Very Important Things To Do list. Then there are the two quilts, one of which I've screwed up! LOL I start sewing and just go mad, don't think, just DEW! lalalalalalalaaaa - oops!


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Woot! Europe here we come!

G'day all!

I have nothing new to show you for the nonce (but have a heap of pics for the blog/Etsy - I am going to put pics up here before listing on Etsy to give you a tease).

I just had to share that I have my ticket booked to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris and things are starting to come together for the Europe trip. This is costing us a bit but only half as much as round the world tickets would! (I really don't get that.) We will be visiting Paris, Toulouse, Lucern, Munchen and various other places in between. We will celebrate our 5th anniversary in France or Switzerland.

Even better, the Wollmeise bricks and mortar shop? Only half an hour or so by train from Munchen, where I'll be spending the best part of a week whilst DH is at a conference. (Doh, it has just occurred to me that the place we'll be staying at won't have a kitchenette and I am going to have to take on German food when I have some pretty severe food allergies. Gluten-frei is going to be easy, milch-frei isn't that hard, wonder if that means dairy-free as well? I'm taking along some little cards that say what I can have and what I can't have, assuming I can find them online again. (Already found but I have to modify them for dairy-free.)

Anyway, had to gloat :-)

(BTW, my English friends? No time to get to England this time around. But if we manage to get a job/s in Europe? You'll be wishing I would stay away!)


Friday, August 07, 2009

Linkmania 7 August

G'day again all!

Gotta share these links with you.

I randomly came across two articles in the media that discuss the same thing in different contexts - how our poor brains, when faced with disaster, decide to go "la la la, I'm not listening/seeing/thinking about that!" which then means that we do pretty much exactly the wrong thing for the situation. It also explains why we won't do much about climate change.

Sci Am has contributed a few fantastic articles:

Coeliac disease as a model for auto-immune disease. How do autoimmune diseases (eg rheumatoid arthritis, crohn's disease, type 1 diabetes, coeliac disease, MS) arise?

Are chemicals in our environment changing the expression of our genes? Why is that important? (Epigenetics is totally fascinating!)

Is perfectionism good or bad?

Nature News has an article suggesting that there are neurons specific for itch but not pain. Gosh I'll be happy if that is true and if there is a drug that can silence the beggars without affecting my brain chemistry!

Ancient trilobite predator or toothless jellyfish eater?

OK that should keep you busy for a while! Lots to think about there!


Not much to show for a week

G'day all!

I have spent the week crafting and running around after a new mobile. (I can't believe how hard it is to get a new mobile - all I want is a cheapish flip phone, not a candy-bar, not a smart phone, just a phone that can make flipping phone calls and receive them!)

I regret that I don't have a lot to show for all the work I've been doing.

I decided to make DH a jumper (sweater) for his birthday. I have fleece that I dyed in appropriate colours (he wants olive, he's getting sorta olive) and have been blending the fleece with some natural coloured brown fleece, an almost black fleece, some dyed clown barf fleece (using up old dyes, managed to make fluoro yellow!) and a little hand-dyed not by me top. It takes about six hours to flick out and card enough fleece to fill three bobbins, and about the same to spin the yarn and ply it.


So far I've managed to spin roughly 600m of yarn. It has taken half my week.


I think it will be worth it though.


It is going to to be paired with some of the orange yarn I spun for the Tour de Fleece as a highlight/fair isle pattern. DH wants a green and orange jumper so he is getting a green and orange jumper.

I thought I was going great guns on the first of his birthday socks. I was already knitting the gusset after only knitting it for three hours or so.

Then I realised I was using 3mm needles, not 2.5mm needles. That would explain why it appeared so open. So I ripped it out and started again.

This is roughly 50 minutes of knitting. I feel like I am a bit behind on the socks now instead of being well ahead of the game!

And the horror. The tangerine top. With intarsia/fair isle. It looks pretty good in this shot, surprisingly good actually. You can't see where it gets more messy. Still not impressed with the lack of thought the designer put into the use of colour, how the thing can be knitted and all the ends that need to be woven in. It still strikes me as being PRETTY! but not well thought out. I'm having to do a lot of thinking about how to get it to work and that slows down my knitting a lot. I've been watching Lucy Neatby's intarsia DVDs too to see if she has any insight that could help me.

I've also spent hours pressing seams open on the new quilt - argh, the tedium! I put on some Abba so's I had something to do whilst ironing. Then I've spent more hours making sure all the squares are pretty much square... but it looks good in principle!

(That is some of the blocks pre-squaring laid out to see if it is still looking good. After squaring I have to sew the blocks together and line things up so they make nice neat zigzags.)

Plus I made a curtain for the door cos I am sick of showing off all our crap to passers-by. We like to have the door open cos it lets the place breathe. The curtain is actually part of a sheet I bought at the op shop. I thought it was all white with white stripes but it turns out that it has two massive iris prints down each side. The regs here say we can only use white curtaining material (to the outside) so I figured I had best leave the irises out!

Looking at all the pics, I realise that nothing is in "me" colours. No blues, pinks, mauves, light greens. It is all oranges or darker greens. I can't really knit anything in "me" colours either for the nonce cos I have so much to do and so little progress logged.

Best get to knitting more of the intarsia monstrosity before knit night and even better, a carpark showing of Grease in downtown Campbell! I have to take our chairs and some stuff to sit on the ground with in the bike trailer cos I think some of Nathan's entourage will show up too.


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Wotisit 9 or so

G'day all!

Running late again - story of my life at the moment. Anyway, a while ago, I posted this pic:


and asked you to guess what it is.

Quite a few of you guessed correctly or close enough that it makes no odds. It is a post in a car park up at Crater Lake. It gets snowed upon, frozen, thawed, frozen, thawed and it makes the grain go all funny. If you said a stump, well it is really, just a stump especially formed for man's requirements.

Here's a pic of Crater Lake, just so you can go "oo, err!"


I promised a winner this week, didn't I?

Leonie! Come on down! You have won a set of five stitchmarkers in your fave colours (made to order) or the Cleopatra's Stockings pattern by Yarnissima.

Now this week's wotisit may be a mystery to some but I reckon you can guess what it is!


Send your guess to me by email (natielthreeoneone atgmaildotcom) with wotisit as the subject (makes it easier for me to find when I am checking I've put all the answers in my spreadsheet).

Next week's wotisit will be the last, at least for now. That means next week I'll be drawing the Grand Prize, which is your pick from my Etsy shop (which I desperately need to update). I expect I'll be going to Europe in September (haven't booked my ticket yet cos we are wrangling our visa card into submission - the next sentence explains why we are wrangling the visa card). I have the flights to Oz booked! 3 October to 2 November (though given we fly out at 6am on the 2nd and have to be there by 3am, I think we really leave on the 1st!).


Sunday, August 02, 2009

Not much to show

G'day all!

I have a new shop WIP. Except after three days, there is very little to show for it.


Here you go. See?


(After I took that photo, I ripped it back to before the first green row)

Now part of the problem is I am an idjit and keep not following the pattern. More annoyingly, I've knitted a very similar pattern to this bit before - I think I keep reverting to that one... Not as if I can't knit it, I'm just not knitting it!

The other part is that the designer did not think about how to make this thing knittable and instead just went PRETTY! This is SO COOL!

You start off by knitting a sideways band. The sideways band has a fourteen row repeat in it (described as 4 row repeat in the pattern but there's 14 rows listed). Every few rows, there is ONE row of contrast colour. Just one. So you end up with this dangling yarn and also the main colour has to be carried somehow down the back of the contrast rows. Except every second row of contrast colour is a knitted wrong side row and carrying the main colour yarn behind it is not possible. It needs to be carried on the side facing you which is just not possible without creating odd lumps and bumps of wrong colour on the front. So it has to be cut and have the ends woven in every second contrast colour row. Plus the contrast colour has to be carried along each edge of the band, or I can cut it each time and weave it in. Lovely! 300 slippery threads to be woven in or a spot of contrasting colour show up along the edge.

Topping it off nicely, it is knit in a cotton synthetic blend that is slippery and I have to do intarsia/fair isle outlining some flowery-type things on the front *and* the back. OMG it is going to be a DISASTER. Getting the tension right when the yarns are just not good yarns for this sort of thing (no grip, no stretch, all slide).... and the yarn is slippery = hard to weave in...

Anyway, I think the designer was on crack or something when she created this one. And I have to knit it.

But it looks pretty!

ETA - as Moorecat most reasonably points out, I could just slide the work back on my circs and start the row again. Except I have to knit it *exactly* as the pattern says. Now the pattern does not say to slide the work and also it means that I would be knitting when I should be purling and vice versa. So I knit it as the pattern says. I am cheating a bit cos the pattern does not say I should carry the yarn up the side of the knitting, but then again nor does it say to break off the yarn....

Rant over. No I am not saying what the project is, not yet anyway! In other news, the latest quilt is stalled due to lack of sewing time on weekends, the hubster socks for his birthday are started (I relented, he's been wearing his socks a lot so he needs new ones - one machine wash lot have pretty much felted), the hubster pullover for his birthday is also started (one bobbin of singles spun, only several thousand to go after I card up more wool). I doubt I'll get the pullover done in time since the birthday is before the end of the month! But enthusiasm might get me close and as long as it is done before we go to Europe, I'm happy!