Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September's FOs

G'day all!

Well the knitting fun never stopped whilst I was away. I got my knit mojo working well and truly! Be warned, this is a pretty big post.

This month I knitted:

  1. 2 pairs of socks
  2. 3 sets of fingerless mitts (two child sized)
  3. a beanie
  4. a cowl
  5. a scarflette
  6. a small shawl
  7. a sleeve of Nathan's pullover
  8. and started a colourwork beret

Alas I forgot to take pics of the beanie (from my handspun, knitted top down with ribbing on 4mm needles) and the fingerless mitts (one adult sized in cashmere, two kid size in handspun).

Plain toe up socks (one with afterthought heel, one with short row heel, both with gussets) knitted in Serenity sockweight yarn by Deborah Norville (50% wool, 25% bamboo, 25% nylon). I used about 80% of the yarn. Note the twiddly bits on the cast off. This yarn is quite soft and didn't irritate my delicate ankles. It cost $3.24 a ball (plus tax). Crikey! I knitted half the first sock on the trip to Neuschwanstein. The second sock was knitted on the trip to Paris and in Paris. Plain socks are so quick to knit!




I need to reknit the afterthought heel and make it shorter - it is too long.


A jaywalker style pair of socks knitted toe up in Sensations Bamboo & Ewe, 55% wool, 30% nylon, 15% bamboo. Not so keen on this yarn - it is a little scratchy feeling, at least before washing and my ankles whinged itchy itchy ITCHY! But most people would think it is fine. The socks are not exactly the same cos I forgot that this sort of chevron pattern pulls the yarn in, making the socks narrow. One is 64 stitches, one is 72 stitches. The 72 is a little more comfy to wear. I knitted up to the gusset of the first sock after casting on in San José airport and waiting waiting waiting for our plane to be fixed and be ready to go.






A recycled cashmere cowl. Lovely and soft, should be good in Swiss winters I hope! Gifted to Z.



A handspun scarflette that still needs buttons (couldn't get to the haberdashery in Sarnen before they shut). Feather and fan, two widthwise repeats of pattern. Gifted to K in hope it will help mitigate Swiss winters.



A handspun shawl based on Forest Canopy by Susan Lawrence, only I forgot to put the edging chart into my carry-on luggage so I made up a new edging (which when I look at the pattern turns out to be fairly much what it should've been). CVM (white) and targhee (blue/mauves). Started on the trip to Toulouse on the tayzhayvay, finished on the flight back from Paris (knitted for approx 12 hours, wanted to nap, finished shawl instead). Currently blocking and has approximately doubled in size from about 60cm x 35cm. I had about 600m of the yarn but have used some for other projects, so I guess there is about 400m in this shawl.



I've become more enamoured of the barber pole effect as I knitted more of the shawl. Now I quite like it and the colour shifts are very pretty.


OK! That brings us up to date with the knitty projects. I have to load them onto ravelry but that will take a while and I've already put up the new stash yarn. Umm, here is a pic of the sock yarn I bought in Germany (and three skeins in Paris, and three gifted by Mrspao - more on that later!)


That is umm, well if I knit one pair of socks a month more than enough sock yarn for a year! To add to the rest of it that is not on Ravelry. I have two reusable bags of yarn stuffed to the brim with sock yarn. I also have some at home that I don't even remember having I am quite sure! Yikes! I had better not lose the sock knitting mojo.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009


G'day all!

We are back from our Europe trip and it was trés fantastique!

But the re-entry is a real you-know-what.

Especially when you wash your husband's passport cos he put it in his pant's leg pocket and you only checked the normal pockets up around the hips.

And you ate something on the plane that kept you up half the night after you've been awake for 24 hours anyway.

And you have to find places for the new stuff. Not that I bought any yarn at all or anything. Or about a kilo of postcards.

And you already miss the place.

I've been doing a little blogging on the run at my other blog. I'll put up some more travel pics and things there. Here is for yarny stuff. Here's a bit over half the yarn I came home with.




Do you love the carpet in our 300€ a night hotel in Münich? I have no idea why it was so expensive. It was a bit bigger than the 80€ hotel we stayed in in Dijon and the bathroom was huge but really, it was not that much bigger or better and we could not connect to the net or make our own tea (until I bought an electric kettle). The tv channels were totally pants.

Note that I did not find the hallowed place(s) of cheap Addi Turbo needles. Not one shop I looked at carried them. Instead they had the nasty looking clear-plastic-cable-that-never-straightens-out cheap circulars that I avoid like the plague.

I will probably talk more about the yarn itself and where I bought it over the next couple of days (before I pack for Oz... argh. Kill me now. Another day in a frigging plane. I wish we could take the train to Oz and it was a nice fast tayzhayvay).


Wednesday, September 09, 2009


G'day all!

Je suis dans la France!

Or words to that effect. Oh boy, it took some time. I knitted a whole sock (except the toe) in the time it took us to get to Heathrow. Note that we were booked to go direct from the US to Paris. Ahem.

Anyway, before we rush out for a day of touring, I give you:

Nathan, in a little road in the centre of Toulouse, apres "dinner" hier? My French isn't too good.

Anyway, I should put future updates on my rather neglected travel blog.


Saturday, September 05, 2009

The top that blighted my life, la-la-la-laaa

G'day all!

I am so relieved to have handed over the horrid tangerine top, the top that blighted my life, la-la-la-laaa (now if anyone gets that reference, you had a mother or grandma who liked to listen to old-time singers, or you've had the joy of me having it on the stereo when driving, etc).

See this handful of ends? That was maybe two-thirds of them. There were SO MANY ENDS! Argh. In a cotton blend too, which is never easy to make sure it stays where you want it to.

The result?

Well it is better than I expected but I feel not up to my usual standard. (Can you believe a fly flew past just as the camera took that shot? There's a black blur on my right shoulder/neckline.)

The ladies at the LYS agreed that

the duplicate stitch

looks better than

the intarsia/fair isle method. No surprises there!

The back. Note that it drapes without curving and the frill hits just on the widest part of my hip. So flattering! Thank the gods it isn't for me!

The neckline (excuse the over-exposure *and* blurriness*and* inappropriate undergarment!).

This was not my happiest knitting experience. I found it annoying to knit, difficult to get anywhere near right and indeed I used the sewing machine to zigzag the internal seams to ensure the stitches that I had adjusted did not unadjust themselves. Yes I CHEATED! But really, I had had enough of this blasted top and never want to see it again.

So if you must make Ms Harding's Mathilde, may I suggest DUPLICATE STITCH the design. And don't blame me if you have a gazillion ends to darn in on the ruffle. And either make the top longer or shorter so the ruffle doesn't start right on the hip. And don't blame me if you snag the yarn (if made in the suggested yarn - Albero) a gazillion times whilst duplicate stitching - it seems designed to snag and split. Note that in fairness I have not linked madly around to make this a big hooha, I've just said here that I did not enjoy this knitting experience at all!

That will be the last of my knitty exploits to be blogged for a while. We are off on our trip to Europe shortly. So excited and terrified. A third of one suitcase is food for me, snacks for just in case. Yes there are bio's and reformhauses and things along the way but I am very attached to some of my snacks and don't know if I can get them there. They are tastes from home. I have four skeins of sock yarn, six other random yarns to knit hats and wristers from as gifts for our hosts, and all of the yarn for Nathan's pullover, plus two books with different instructions for making it. And the instructions for the forest canopy shawl, just in case I find something luscious to knit it with. And a range of needles.

And if you have a Eurail Select pass and want to go on anything other than a TGV/connection in France? You need to get a France Pass as well. We thought we'd not go TGV and train down the centre of France from Paris to Toulouse. Welllllll, it turns out you can't do that, you must have a France pass, and we don't. At least it was only USD36 that we blew. DH managed to get onto a customer service place today and bought new tickets. Paris to Bordeaux, Bordeaux to Toulouse. It will be fun! Exciting! Different! Noice!


Thursday, September 03, 2009

Zigzag quilt

G'day all!

A while ago, I joined a quiltalong. It's been fun so far, if you can call fun spending hours ripping out bad seams and about 20 hours pressing the seams open (mostly open except when they didn't cooperate). However, I seem to be all about the results, not the process of getting there.

The zigzag quilt is an interesting one, lots of opportunity for different effects depending on the colours and fabric designs used. I chose a warm/citrusy colourway for mine - stripes of red, orange, yellow, lime, leaf green and darker greens all set off by a dark brown plain fabric.


I love the look of the basted quilt - this is a quilt "sandwich" of backing material, batting (bamboo/cotton in my case) and quilt top. It looks very punk/frankenstein to me with all the safety pins holding it together.


I won't say there were no dramas along the way.

I won't say there are no bits of quilting that need to be ripped out. (the new quilting is already there - I just couldn't sew a straight line sometimes to save myself.) Nor that the lines are entirely straight (and there is a reason why I didn't quilt it any further!).


But it does look quite fine indeed unless you study it closely.


I was ultrapleased with the backing - a $4 IKEA doona (duvet) cover from the op shop. I just so happened to see it and suddenly the idea of a plain brown backing with a strip of pieced colourwork went straight out the window. The only problem was did I use the striped side or the big spotty side?

I went with the stripes.

This quilt is about twice the size of my first quilt - this one would almost fit a single (twin) bed. The other is barely lap sized. It was a lot more effort to quilt - shoving it through the machine was quite hard. Doesn't help that I don't have a large table for the machine, nor that it has to share with other stuff. Still all the work was worthwhile!

This week has been very hard. Too Much To Do, and that blasted tangerine top has sucked about 30 hours so far. This week, that is, not all up. This is why I count my knitted sample stuff as pin money, not earnings. I'll get maybe $2 an hour for the work on this. I won't do similar tops in the future - I have learned my lesson! But you'll see the outcome in a day or two - I only have one sleeve to set in and the side seams to sew up. Oh My God it has been a LOT of work!


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Last week's FO and linkmania

G'day all!

Blogger is being totally whacko at the moment. Half the blogs I look at have been flagged for objectionable content (including my own coloradoan dreaming/victorian on the move, though I did link to a piece about keeping the bush natural) but like Bea's blog? Come on!

Anyway, I just wanted to pop in and wave as I run around trying to finish things and tidy things and get everything ready for our trip.

Last week I had an FO to show you but never got round tuit... DH's new socks.

These are knitted in Crazy Zauberball (details on Ravelry). The yarn is fairly typical of German sock yarns in its feel but has been spun in such a way that one ply is "rainbow" coloured and the other ply goes through orange, red, green, blue and brown (in the yarn I used).

(Pretty much every pic of thse was fuzzy - no idea why!)

I used a 5 X 1 broken rib - 5 X 1 cos at the top you can used a 2 X 1 rib.

I did mention I knitted these toe up? And used a slip stitch heel.

I used a variant on Cat Bordhi's upstream sock architecture.

I am really glad that I am not a control freak who has to have matching socks cos I think I would've gone through a number of balls trying to matchy matchy the socks.


Now on a totally different topic, some of you may remember that I am on a gluten- and dairy-free diet (which is causing no end of angst given I'll be going to the land of the croissant soon and then to the land of beer, bread and sausages). Some researchers have found that some genetic markers encode part of a cell signalling pathway that is involved with both cancer and inflammatory diseases. (A cell signalling pathway is one where the receptors on the cell's surface trigger a response inside the cell which then tells the cell to start doing something, like turn on the production of a gene that tells the immune system to ramp up its defences.)

Another marker of coeliac disease, HLA-DQ8, is associated with a range of autoimmune diseases. Moreover, one of the most respected coeliac researchers in the world, NZ's Dr Rodney Ford, believes that coeliac disease is a neurological disease - it has effects on the neurological system before any gut damage is seen. This relates to other autoimmune diseases and also to things like autism, where some children are found to improve on a gluten free diet. He suggest it should be called The Gluten Syndrome.

Speaking of genetics, this is an interesting discussion on 50 genetics ideas you really ought to know. (I just tried to spell ought with an a - aught, which has a rather different meaning.)

Finally, we've been enjoying a bit of music by Linsey Pollak with some youtubes here. This man makes music out of the most unusual things - we particularly like the bike saddle clarinet.