Saturday, February 28, 2009

Stitches - even more

G'day all!

Day two of Stitches West. Oh boy. I am starting to get over it somewhat!!!

Here's the haul so far:


I must point out the lovely Tactile twist of top in the bottom centre of the pic - it is yummy yummy yummy but I didn't get a good close shot of it.

But I didn't take a pic of the thing that makes me happy happy happy!

So what did I get?

Two bags of Stella. This doesn't get a top rating on Ravelry but it is a blend I can wear next to my skin.

stitches_stella _purple
I've already cast on a Hey Teach with the purple. ('Scuse the bodgy job with the colour correction)

I think I'll overdye the hot pink (which is currently a match for my hot pink winter jacket - I seem to like some colours!).

A bag of Shire (100% silk) in a pale green that is impossible to photograph, just like most of the coloured stuff I have bought. LOL It doesn't get a good rating on Ravelry either but eh, I can wear silk and I can dye it too!

I queued for what felt like HOURS to buy this tunisian crochet hook from Stitch Diva after seeing the afghan demonstrated by the diva. There was some sort of hold up. Anyway I plan to cut up a whole heap of old tshirts and thrifted tops and make some rugs with it. I think that will be faster than normal crochet or knitting and will look *fantastic.*

I met Lucy Neatby :-) I have a happy stitch on my new foldie bag that I made myself. Oh, no pic of that either. D'oh! She had the coolest docs on - one was hot pink, the other teal/aqua, decorated by Lucy of course. Apparently she has a friend with a pair just like them!

Some more rainbow merino from Royal Hare.

Sock blanks from the Indie Dyer. (why didn't most of us think of that name?)

Last year I dreamed about this yarn for some time after the fact. This year I drooled over a heap of colours but came home with the aquamarine and blue/periwinkle. This is a hank of silk and merino, 250y in 100g. (Doncha love the mixed measures there - yards and grams?) I'll have to wash it before I play with it - it is rather perfumed though it just plain smelt of silk when I bought it I thought. Odd!

Only one more day to go! I've met up with a heap of people, some expected, some unexpected. It's been fun! It surprises me how many people I know here now, all because of knitting. So local knitty community take a bow! It has been great meeting you and I hope to meet many more!


Friday, February 27, 2009

Stitches - holy cow!

G'day all!

Spent a goodly time at Stitches today - what fun! I met up with Dianne, who has never been to a Stitches before. It really is overwhelming! You can see evidence of our meeting here. Silly me didn't take a camera so I don't have a reciprocal shot.

You want pics? Umm, well see above - no camera1

Did I buy anything? Yep! How could I not buy with all this temptation around me? But again you have to wait! I will document all purchases faithfully (I've put some on ravelry and started knitting from one already!) and display them for you, and tell tales of derring do :-) Just not yet.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009


G'day all!

I am suffering a case of insaknity.

(colour accurate under CFLs)

This weekend is the huge knitty fun fest of Stitches West. If last year is anything to go by, it will be an amazing retail fest.

Anyway, I decided that I wanted a new top to wear to Stitches. And I decided it had to be made out of yarn already in my stash.

This yarn, to be precise. Four ply or fingering weight.

In this pattern (rav link). I call it the coconut ice hoodie.

I started a week ago.


So far, in between sewing madly (I also have this idea that if I take some fold up baggies with me, I will be able to avoid last year's fun of having a half numb arm after lugging all my purchases around for most of the day), I have managed to finish the fronts and am on the home straight on the back.

(colour accurate in daylight)
That's yesterday's pic. Yes it is done in one piece to the armpits.

My current plan is to block it and wear it as a vest. I will add the arms and hood later. I figure a vest hopefully will not be too warm - they overheat places dreadfully here. We really don't need to be in 25C "comfort" in our coats and jackets, given that there is usually nowhere to put them except for on our arms and in our overflowing bags. The exhibitors should stay warm by the sheer amount of work done with all these rabid women (and a handful of men) pawing at their goods.

Goodness, I can't wait!


Monday, February 23, 2009

6 inches?

G'day all!

There's a reason why I haven't taken any photos of the current WIP. So far February has been a very satisfactory month for ducks. We've had just over 6" of rain, or in my terms 150mm. That is a lot of rain.

We had a couple of bright days late last week - SUN! - but I had barely started my latest opus then and it was not worth photographing. Now it is.

But instead you get to see
(a "wet" brocauliflower leaf. The flower itself was very yummy - different flavour to those bought in the supermarket.)

(almost sunset two weeks ago - this is more light than we've had recently.)

I would like to say there is light at the end of the tunnel but the best the forecast can do is "partly cloudy." It might be good enough though for some pics before or as I divide the fronts and back for the sleeves.

Most mysterious!

I've been doing lots of walking in spite/because of the rain. I hate riding my bike in rain - the roads are slippery and I get wet (nothing like the feeling of rain dribbling down your crena) and my glasses get rained on and I can't see. I would get contacts except my eyes are dry these days and I don't tolerate the things. Loved them when I was younger, Mum encouraged me to get coloured ones cos one of her friends had the most amazing sea coloured eyes with the things.... but now alas two hours and they dry out so much they fall out! Anyway, I am very tired of walking places. I catch the bus too instead of driving, as long as I don't have to do lots of connections cos half hour waits are No Fun especially when it is raining. That means more walking. It is Very Good For Me but today I am over walking. Tomorrow may be different.

I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow! Rain is very very good for California but I have had enough of grey for the time being. I need to return a heap of books to the library and don't want to get them wet. I want to take pics of things, like the whack flowers I got at the market yesterday, my current WIP (I am concentrating on one thing and only knit sock when I am on the bus) and maybe see some sun. My solar power batteries need a little top up. Remember it is all about me! I make sacrifices for the environment (I *could* have driven my car to the op shop, supermarket and post office today but I walked and took the bus instead) so it has to make a little one or two for me too!

Four sleeps until Stitches West! Woot!


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fern Glade FO

G'day all!

Thanks to those who have commented on the baggies. I have plenty more to make up - the ones shown are just the tip of the iceberg of material I have been picking up ever since we got a sewing machine. Yep, I'm mad - it seems this is my current obsession - finding pretty, interesting and/or bizarre fabrics. My current favourite has cartoon fish of various types, all with open silly mouths and googly eyes along with happily grinning eels, loving cuttlefish/squid and dumb prawns. Y'see I have very little taste. I like the silly things in life. When Nathan goes to work, I can listen to all the Weird Al or Tom Lehrer (or Phantom of the Opera) that I like (note that DH likes Flanders and Swann). Given a choice of a nice sober black or brown bag that goes with everything and is noice or a lurid bag that offends the eye, possibly with shrimp or other bizarre critters dancing all over it, I'm so with the lurid bag. Colour makes my heart sing. I know some people are happy with black, white, grey and or beige/taupe/neutrals, but I love colour. Just watch me at a new yarn shop, especially if there is hand-dyed stuff. I'll head straight for the brightest colours. Then I stand transfixed. The rainbow or the mermaids or the baby pastels or the purple/mauves, the peacock blues and purples, the intense sea blue greens? Oh the agony of choice!

A couple of weeks ago, a LYS had a Superbowl Sunday sale. I hopped on up there and snagged me some lovely Manos wool and silk:
(you might remember it)

Now it has become this:
and I have most of a skein left over, I guess just waiting to be wrist warmers or something.

(A skanky close up shot of the pattern)

(A really skanky self-portrait that I only show cos I like my eyes in the shot)

Fern Glade by Megan Marshall
Manos del Uruguay silk wool 7032 or 300S depending on website or label
4.5mm (mostly - was too tight/stiff on 4mm)
Started: 4 Feb 2009
Finished: 17 Feb 2009
I would not recommend this pattern for a beginner. You have to be switched on all the time with it - it is pattern pattern pattern every round. But it looks fantastic and I am quite quite happy with it.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Been making

G'day all!

I've been a busy bee recently. I've been making things.

Things like these:



This one is my favourite so far. It isn't quite finished - I need some green thread to sew around the contrast unless I decide the brown will do instead. Mebbe brown with a pattern. Yeah!

Scuse the wrinkles - guess I am going to have to get handy with the iron! This one is larger than the rest.

Here's my question. Would you buy such baggies? Why or why not? What do you think is a reasonable price for a roughly 8" x 8" baggie (20cm X 20cm)? They are soft bags without interfacing. I've put my four from the other day into use and am happy with them even though they don't have cords to close them. Having my WIPs in bags is amazing for me - they usually get dragged around, dropped on the floor, tangled with each other....

I have a knitting FO to show off too, but that can wait for another day!


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

FO - undeserving socks

G'day all!

I'm running a bit late on posting these:

The undeserving husband socks! (As modelled by yours truly because DH was not around to show them off. Hence the toes and heels are too big. And the legs are bumpy cos I put them on over my socks.)



Cuff pattern.

A fancy pants shot of the gusset curving away into the distance.

I was very excited today - I had my first Etsy sale! Yay! And then a second one is pending. Thanks to those who have bought and to those who are spreading the good oil. I appreciate it!

Heh. Boring tale but a milestone for me after that rotten cold I caught for New Year. Yesterday I walked more than 5km, all dragging my little red trolley-lolly-lo. I had to send a parcel off so I thought I would give the drugstore's post service a try. Well after dragging the trolley the km there, it turns out that they don't offer insurance on the parcel and this was a parcel I really thought should be insured. I found this out at 3:30pm. The local post office shuts at 4pm. I needed to get groceries from WF, so I shot in there and flew around (with my bat wings, doncha know!), then at 3:35pm started trotting off to the post office. I walked the almost two km in just under 20 minutes, dragging trolley-lolly-lo all the way and he is a drag!, and sent the parcel off at closing time. *phew!* That's a load off me. I thought to reward my hard efforts with a sorbet from the nicecream shop (it really does have great flavours - Gelato Classico in Campbell, not quite opposite the Coop). Alas, only $1 could be scrounged from my wallet and I hate using the card for small purchases. And $1 won't even buy me a bottle of water. Sniff. I had to go sit in the yarn shop and let yarn fumes revive me. But no purchases! I have plenty of yarn and Stitches is coming up at the end of next week. Holy guacamole what a yarn fest that will be!

This evening, a neighbour's smoke alarm went off for 15 minutes straight. Easily. His neighbours were all coming outside to see what the noise was about and if we should call the fire brigade. It wouldn't take them long to respond - they are only a couple of hundred metres down the road.... Come to think of it, it might be faster to go there and bang on the door than ring 911. Anyway, there was a chap cooking in the abominably bleeping place and a neighbour across the way said she could see that he was naked. At that point we all looked at each other and shuddred. Noone was going to knock on that door! The noise shut up eventually, thank heavens.

Now I dunno about you but I don't think we could keep this apartment warm enough in winter to run around nekkid. Also given how often hot oil spatters me on the hands (or the other day on the upper lip - try running that under cold water!), I cannot imagine what it would be like to get hot oil/fat on a nipple or (horrors) the tender hairy bits (remember hair is nicely flammable).

With that charming thought I bid you


Monday, February 16, 2009

And now for something...

G'day all!

Recently I've been doing something a little different.


Do you love how wrinkly they are?

At least you can tell they are 100% cotton.

Why iron them if you are about to crumple them up in a bag?

(The first one that I made plenty of mistakes on though it is one of my favourites and first in use!)

If I make some to sell then I'll iron them. But not before.

I've had fun with the fancy stitches on the sewing machine - some fish skeletons for the blue cat bag:

and some pretties for the pretty bag. I *really* like the print on that bag - I want to get more of the fabric to make a summer top for me!

They are a bit wonky yet but I am not fussed. They are for me! Oh and they are not all finished - I need to do a little hand finishing and couldn't find any of the needles I have, not a single one! Hasn't stopped me from using them.

I've also made a few flannelette pillowcases cos I had some material and I do love soft warm fuzzy pillowcases.

I do have knitting to show off but that is for another day. I also have updated my etsy shop with a few bits (springtime yarn, brurquoise yarn, stitchmarkers). Plenty more to come if I can ever get the camera to see the turquoise and green colours accurately enough that I can jigger them to within a semblance of reality.

Now it's time for


"But it's natural! You can't be allergic to it?" How many times have those of you with allergies heard that one? Hooray for science! (Oh and pollen is natural, so is dander and noone disputes they can cause allergies!)

Your financial risk profile may be genetic - just as some people love jumping off cliffs, so some people love risk taking on investments.

We have to go see this wave organ in SF. It might be a little out of your way though.

Talking cats on youTube, another cat reacting to the vid, and what they are *really* saying. Man I could spend hours watching YouTube and "reading" LOLcats.

The pic in this story about a rift zone in Siberia really doesn't fit with our usual ideas of Siberia, does it?

This lady is 100 years old - isn't she doing well! She has a story to tell.

An etsy shop raising money for the Victorian bushfire fund. And a blog with a similar idea.

Oakly doakly, that's yer bloomin lot!


Sunday, February 15, 2009

I can haz parsil

G'day all!

I've been in a flurry of finishing again.

Socks were knitted for DH. They are done and dusted and given to him for Valentine's Day. Do not ask what I was given - DH does not have a romantic bone, ahem, in his body. Instead he said he felt unwell. I had asked that I not have to cook, so what happened?

* Made myself pancakes for breakfast
* Cooked risotto for lunch, and
* Cooked lamb stew for dinner!

Can I just say I did an excellent job too! Alas, the kitchen is still feral cos Nathan has the job of emptying the dishwasher, which he tends to forget to do. If the dishwasher is full of clean dishes then I can't stick the dirty ones in and things snowball. I could put the dishes away but I hurt my right shoulder and anything at or above shoulder height = hurties and wobbliness, and guess what height the crockery lives at and in which corner of the kitchen?

So Valentine's Day was a write-off. Not unusual.

Just as well that I have friends like the lovely Mrspao who send me presents!

What a beauty! Lindt, some lovely Fyberspates BFL, a sheep brooch, a teensy little notebook, lip balm (made in the US, lol), a pencil witha gumboot (so I can give things The Boot!), card, zip bag and

Montezuma chocolate mango! Nom nomnomnomnom!

I have already negotiated safe passage of the choc mango into my mouth alone - I gave up the Lindt in its place.

The zip bag fascinated me.

Hours of fun for the whole family!



Well it amused me.

I've also finished the latest beret - it is blocking.

Weather has been shocking here - it has rained ALL day and I've been out in it twice. Farmers' market was small today and very soggy. I was rather soggy too by the time I walked home, even with my big fuzzy jumper and even bigger rainbow umbrella. The rain is fantastic and I am not knocking it at all - we really need it. Hopefully a bunch of snow has fallen on the Sierra Nevada cos without that we will we on water restrictions and the farmers in Central Valley won't have anything to irrigate their crops with.

Here's the clouds outside Bobbin's Nest yesterday afternoon. Amazing, non?


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Darwin Day!

Darwin, you rock! Still annoying fundamentalists 200 years after you were born. Way to go man! Keep up the good work :-)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


G'day all!

This is a dull post. Sorry! Progress is being made against the second sock. I say against because as always, I would prefer to be knitting something else than a second sock. I have to have the second sock done by Friday night. It is very possible, I just have to pull my finger out and *do* it!


The hat has not been touched for a day. I've been busy working on Other Stuff (to be shown in a later post).

As I said last time, I've been spinning up a storm.

This is a sneak peek at my favourite skein. Normally I would not part with such a happy lurid skein of yarn, but I can get more of the top at Stitches West in a couple of weeks :-) I have to put it and others up on my Etsy store. First comes the editing of the pics, then the measuring of the length of each skein and the weighing. I could work out WPI but I usually eyeball the yarn and say what the yarn thickness is. It all takes time, I do so love all the colours that digital cameras have difficulty capturing accurately = lots of colour fiddling, and I am a slacker. I have prolly 50 things to list and it all gets on top of me. I should just list five items a day - that would take anywhere from an hour to two hours to do, not a whole week. I think I don't list things as quickly as I should cos the payback isn't that great as I can't charge what things are worth given the time I put into them if I want to sell anything. (Which is funny in itself cos I have not sold anything online anyway! LOL Ah, it goes around and around.)

I thought I might go out today, get out of the place but it has started raining! Rain is very good but if I am trawling around on the bus and light rail and wandering around shops, it can get a bit soggy. I guess nature is telling me to pull my finger out and get to editing pics and weighing yarn and counting threads to see how long the yarn is....


Monday, February 09, 2009

Heckuva weekend

G'day all!

Well that was one helluva weekend and I hope it isn't repeated EVER! I'm still fussing about the bushfires and we heard some bad news for a friend here. The weekend's events have really knocked us around.

No knitting news to speak of - I am halfway up the foot of the second sock, the beret is in the penultimate repeat I think, though maybe I should do more. I've been spinning like a demon - you should see one of the skeins! It is fan-*tastic*. Pity I didn't get any pics whilst it was light (and sunny! Cold but sunny today, showers/rain/showers expected for the rest of the week - oh please! More!).

Here's something I thought a bit odd. Last year the cherry-plums along the creek were in flower in late Feb/early March.

Here's one enthusiastic early starter just down the road from us

and the wild almonds along the creek are really revving their engines.

Early spring for us or just extra enthusiasm after a mild, strike that, warm January?


Sunday, February 08, 2009

So not good

Still not a g'day sorta day...

Bushfires Back 'Ome are very very very bad. I think there is going to be massive loss of human life, let alone critters both native and not. The bush, well the bush burns and usually regenerates, it's fire adapted (cept the rainforesty bits), but it isn't meant to burn as badly as this. The fires hit so quickly noone had much chance to put their fire plans in place and even those who were well prepared had little chance due to the ferocity. Whole towns just don't exist any more. I feel overwhelmed by the immensity of it all. If you want to see some pics, go here or here. And then if you are in Oz and have any spare cash, please donate to the Salvos or the Red Cross or online to the NAB's bushfire fund, like I did. I haven't linked cos the links are all over the local media.

There has been knitting in between fussing over the fires. One sock is finished, the next is started. The sock is a bit big for me even over my socks - as expected! It is for DH after all.

The latest beret is taking a lot longer than the first two - the lace is more complicated, occurs on every round and involves k3tog, not so easy with thicker yarn! But it is pretty!

About three months ago, I bought some seedling cauliflowers. Maybe four months ago. I planted them in as big pots as we had and left them to fend for themselves (ok, with some watering and feeding and soap sprays for aphids). Alas the cheddar ones have pretty much shot their bolts - I let them get dry when I was crook - but have a look at these little beauties!

A purple one for tomorrow night's dinner (along with lotsa other stuff)

and this romanesco!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Things are crook

and not just in Tallarook.

Looks like the bushfire situation is pretty bad around Melbourne. At least 35 dead and a number of small settlements razed, along with a couple of larger ones. Many of the places were ones we liked to visit, like Kinglake and Marysville. We hope the family we know in Kinglake got out in time. Their house and business would have not stood a chance in these fires - they had a forested block and the trees were all eucalypts, which are adapted for burning. They need fire to reproduce, though this is a true wild fire and horribly destructive to tree, man and beast.

It is a terrible thing. Thousands are homeless, with not much more than the clothes on their backs. It sounds like quite a number of people got caught short, with the fires hitting quicker and harder than expected. Plus a cool change blew through, which means long narrow NW to SE fires turned and became wide fires pushing SW to NE.

There is very little I can do from here and there'd be very little I could do if I was home. I guess I'll just sit her and knit this danged husbandly sock and fuss some and then make tea (dinner) and fuss some more and read the news reports and knit and fuss.

Soon I might have one finished sock. The second one has to be done by next Saturday. I am happily knitting another beret - it was a real struggle at first, then I put it on a 4.5mm needle rather than a 4mm needle and now it is plain sailing!


Friday, February 06, 2009

Alas our garden... and ramblings

Not such a g'day all!

It is 46.4C in my home city at present. It feels like 49.8C. That's 115F and feels like 121F in the old scale. Whatever system you use, it is extremely hot for a place with a Feb average of about 25C.

Alas our garden of interesting native plants, roses and fruit trees. I am not sure how any of it can survive this heat. Tank water and grey water can't be enough. Hopefully some plants will tough it out.

At the same time, it has rained all day here. Not really heavy rain, only about a centimetre since midday, but it is rain which is desperately needed both here and Back 'Ome. We've only had a couple of inches of the 12 or so expected this rain season/winter.

So when the going gets tough, the tough get into their sock yarn collection and pick out some yarn and some patterns for the mystery grab bag! Alas I don't have enough smallish bags to stick the yarn and patterns into. Also I don't have every month covered but given I probably will make my undeserving husband more socks later in the year, this may not be a bad thing. Plus i already have on sock on the needles from November and husbandly valentine's socks to finish and the second rainbow mini mochi sock to make....

I am more fussed about spinning down some fibre stash at present. I've been reading a thread on Ravelry about do you have enough yarn to last out the recession? I am guessing that with a sock yarn collection that will last about four years, about 4 jumpers' worth of yarn, quite a number of recycled yarns and pre-recycled yarns, then the remains of 12 or so fleeces I have (or will have) enough yarn to last quite some time (not including the random skeins of pretties that fill three 66qt tubs, the hand spun odd lot skeins already in existence, the yarn I've dyed up to sell....). I want to reduce the fibre stash and make sweaters out of it, like a Feb lady sweater. Yes they are last year's fad but I still like them. It is just finding time to do it all, says the non-employed one. Not spinning laceweight will help - you should see what I am currently spinning, lol. I have to ply it up. It is very pretty, IMO.

One good thing, apart from being able to stash shop, is that Nathan doesn't really mind. He sees it as stuff that can have something made out of it. If I have to have a collection well at least this one is useful!

(Should I mention the tub of fabric that has grown since we got a sewing machine? I've been making pillowcases but want to make little baggies and bigger baggies for me, mebbe the Etsy shop, but for some reason I am too wussy to cut into any of the fabrics. Anyone got any good patterns, too?)

(The fabric stash just got bigger - Target had half-price organic cotton sheets in a light green. I bought one set for us to use on the bed and one set to cut up or use for quilting. I figured it was the cheapest way to get organic cotton...)


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Mmmm, stash

G'day all!

So I was up at Purlescence the other day for their Superbowl sale (25% off most yarns).

I came home with the skein of yarn I wanted, Shepherds Wool in umm Misty Blue (the colour he Meret is made from).
I had been hoping to get enough to make a sweater out of, even if I had to use multiple colours but their range of colours was smaller than it was three months ago and picking out ones that blended was not as easy as when I first looked. What a shame. It is really nice yarn.

Somehow two skeins of Manos and silk in a startlingly rich magenta-ish purple came home too.

Bad bad Purlescence not only had 25% off most yarns, they also had boxes full of 40% off yarns!

Bad bad bad me could not resist pawing through the boxes.

They had some really nice stuff. RYC wool silk - like buttah! I drooled over it. Zitron Nimbus. Mmmmmm. Organic cottons. Other stuff.

But I couldn't go past the Rowan pure wool four ply.

In baby pink. (Pic is a tad bluer than reality.)

Baby pink looks great on me - it blends with my skin in a good way. I glow. It is really pretty suckful but that is what happens when you are a blue eyed blonde who doesn't tan.

So baby pink it was, with one ball of white to act as a contrast. 11 balls of yarn. They cost just under $50 including tax.

Now I have to work out another pattern for 4 ply wool. I guess Rowan has plenty of pattern support. When I do have a pattern and have it all knitted up, it will look fantastic - finer yarns look nicer IMO but take more knitting.