Sunday, August 19, 2012


G'day all!

Today/tomorrow is my eighth blogiversary!  (My first post was technically on the 20th of August, 2004 but that is the 19th in the USA so I am calling today the blogiversary.  And this opus has taken so long to write and get photos edited for that it is nearly the 20th here anyway!)

Yep, eight years ago I decided to start writing a blog.  I had been reading the Yarn Harlot's blog for a few months and thought yeah, I will do this too.  I have to say I don't have the readership that Steph does but that isn't too bad because she has copped buckets (of abuse) over the years.  I don't have the book contracts either and I would respectfully suggest I am not the writer she is.

So how should I celebrate my blogiversary?

I went to the market and bought flowers, along with vegetables (including some of the biggest carrots I've ever seen), eggs, milk (for DH) and meat.

I knitted more of the baby layette for Nathan's cousin, who must be about to pop any moment.

I went for a brisk walk up and down the hills near by.  OK, it was only a 35 minute walk but it was brisk and I did a bit of running too.  I also met a lovely girl cat who came running up to me and flung herself at me (she has an oddly bobbed tail.  I'm not sure if she was born like it or acquired it - it had a lump at the end and was not tender).

I discovered there are some allotments only a couple of blocks away from me.  Now I want an allotment, and I'm wishing I had explored that little park months ago when I first saw it.

I wove in the ends of a new pair of socks.

I felt grumpy because nearly three weeks after stuff for a swap was meant to be in the mail, some people have not even started making the stuff for the swap yet!  OK, they've had family dramas or something else's gone craptastic, but dudes, why didn't you start it somewhat earlier?  I know I am one to pick but if I make a commitment with a firm due date, I pull one out of somewhere and get it done - not for me but for the other sixty-odd people awaiting their part of the swap!  (Now of course I'll completely screw something up and have egg on my face....)

DH did a photo shoot of various of my new or recent FOs.  I've been racking them up recently.  I had a whole bunch of things I was knitting in Sydney and Melbourne that I never finished because why bother?  It was cold in Seattle but recently it's been fryingly hot.  I never knew how hot 30C was before - in Melbourne it is lovely but here it was Too Hot.  I also knitted a cute little top about a month ago, and it has never had its photo shoot either.

Really, though, this started as a knitting blog and I've never stopped knitting, not through chemo or other craptastic times, and I do have a heap of previously unsighted finished objects so with no further ado, I give you a feast of FOs!

Socks - brights are made out of Crystal Palace Panda Soy, wishy-washy mermaid camo colours are of Crystal Palace Maizy.  Patterns?  My adaptation of Cat Bordhi's toe up sock adventures - basically the same socks that I've been knitting for the last two or three  (hmm, make that four) years now.  How time flies!  It is 4.5 years since we moved to California, and that is when I was experimenting with various of Cat's interesting heel variants.  Photos care of my craptastic phone camera's efforts - I have had to post process them cos apparently the light was not good enough outside.

Side detail, Panda Soy sock.

The tops really do match.  Mostly.  Except maybe the pattern part.

Maizy mermaid sock detail.

These ones match almost exactly.  Honest.  My feet are different sizes.
Do you like how my Morton's toe on the right side shows so well in socks?  The left side one is nowhere near as obvious, mostly because my left big toe has a normal length phalange - my right big toe is pretty stumpy.

Now on to the really arty farty shots.  DH decided he had to do them on the 50mm lens with a wide aperture to blur out the background.  Alas, in most of the shots, the camera blurred out me and the garment as well.  One top photographed particularly badly - the camera focussed on my sleeve to the exclusion of all else.  Stupid camera.

Broken rib tank

Back - I call this my Cleopatra top
Broken Rib Tank, by Kristen TenDyke.  You've seen this before but my phone shots were somewhat terrible.  I made this top somewhat more formfitting than the designer did, and I've gotten compliments from lots of people.  Ask me what the yarn is.  Ahem, I didn't put this project on Ravelry at all, which means I have to use my google-fu to work out what the yarns are.  Umm, something like Grass (the light mottled blue, colour 9072, made by Plymouth, a cotton/hemp blend - hooray for Ravelry!) and the navy is an organic wool/cotton blend (Chesapeake by Classic Elite), both bought at Green Planet Yarn in California in September 2011.

Drops cardigan - me smiling sweetly but not for long

More of the Drops cardigan

Blurry back of Drops cardie
Drops Cardigan 119-25  knitted in Moda vera Sombre, organic cotton, blue 06.  This cardigan was an epic adventure.  The cable is knitted separately, then you pick up stitches and knit down from it.  Then you have to put matching button bands on the cable bit - they are knitted into the front but since the cable is sideways, it is lacking button bands.  It took me nearly 18 months to do those last bits of button bands.  I bit the bullet at last and it took an hour (including cussing time when I did it wrong twice in a row and then ran out of yarn on the third go....).  Rav link.


Well most of Rockefeller
Before Rockefeller (rav link), the 2012 mystery shawl knitalong from Stephen West, I had never made one of his shawls before.  I decided to give it a spin.  I found out one thing - don't make one of his designs in recycled cotton - he has a liking for cutting yarn and weaving in ends, and I just doubled the pain by doubling the number of ends to weave in....  The construction was interesting and I really like the neck - I am thinking of adapting that for a cardigan.  However, I am not sure about the rest of it.  I did not actually finish it as instructed - it is supposed to have garter stitch vertical striped rows knitted on to the front of the edges.  At that point, I screamed ENOUGH!  It is busy ENOUGH! Mine is also knitted at about twice the gauge and size expected.

My Fair Cardie

Back of My Fair Cardie
 I started My Fair Cardie in Sydney of Plymouth Yarn "Vita" I bought at Green Planet in Campbell California almost a year ago.  It feels good to have used some yarn in something I will actually wear.  The contrast is a little of Paton's Patonyle in navy.  I'm not totally sure of the sparkly buttons but I love the penguin button at the top :-)

Picot detail - note I used a contrast colour yarn!

Vesper, almost focussed

Vesper neck detail
I knitted Vesper (rav link) in a gauge that means it should not be able to fit me.  OK, the designer meant it to be a loose fitting top and mine is clearly not.  I made it out of Hempathy, the recommended yarn.  A miracle!  The contrast is a leafy green.  I also used the mod by ?Koko? where you do a provisional cast on at the neck then at the end undo the cast on, put the stitches onto the needles and then knit the pleats in, then do the contrast edge.  Plus I made the pocket the contrast colour rather than the body colour.  And it is buttonless, so far...

Well that's yer bloomin' lot - if that little festival of FOs has not slaked your thirst what will?  Also, is there a unifying thing through all of the tops?  Something a little samey about them?


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Skipping out on work

G'day all!

After a vastly productive day yesterday, when I finished off two little cardigans that have been waiting for seaming or the last little bits of button bands being knitted, today was a little slow.

It was my first day back at work and I quite frankly did not have five hours of emails to read before the weekly meeting.  Instead I skipped out on work and decided to go to the post office via the shops.

I got my comeuppance.  I was standing in the cute little drygoods store, looking at fabric (to send in a care package!) when I brushed my hand on my front.


I looked at my fingie and it looked like it had a bindii (a spiked seed) in it.  Then I realised it had a poison sac not a seed attached to it and sure enough, there was a bee minus her bottom crawling on my front.... sigh.  So I scraped the stinger out carefully with my thumbnail, avoiding pumping more venom in and Keli was horrified and ran downstairs to the cafe to see if they had any bicarb (baking soda) but they only had ice.  She was so apologetic but it was not her fault a bee thought my tie dye tunic was a flower....

Both of us were gratified that I do not appear to be anaphylactic to bee stings.  Doesn't mean it didn't hurt and doesn't mean that I didn't have my usual wobbly attack - certain pains give me a vasovagal response of varying strength.  This one was not bad, but I still decided I should go home and a) put bicarb on it to see if that helped and b) ice it and c) eat/drink something to ward off this stupid vasovagal response.  I have been taking antihistamines every day so I didn't bother with another.

So that will teach me to be naughty and not do work (of which there was little to do anyway)!

I have not completely finished the two cardigans - they need buttons yet - but maybe by tomorrow night I will have sewn the buttons on.  Maybe.  They've waited a year or so for me to get this far - one I was knitting 18 moths ago, the other I knitted in Sydney some time after September.... Then I need to get better shots of them than me pointing the phone camera at myself and hoping I've gotten the lighting, direction and focus right.  My phone does have a forwards pointing camera too but it is pretty woeful and doesn't even get good web shots, only phone screen shots.

In other little ramblings, I was very surprised to see this large purple slug on my green cauli this evening.  I know there are banana slugs, along with other massive slugs, around here - I've seen them - but purple slugs?


Or maybe it was a purple bean, sweating in the evening warmth.  Yes, summer has reached our little corner of the world - it will hit 30C later this week and I am most impressed.  I am also going to buy a box fan lest we die of the heat (our place gets impressive solar gains, aka heat, and hangs on to them well too), assuming the place below with its savings still has them in stock.

Extra bonus saving there!

 what a savings!  (Youtube link.  Alan Rickman.  Mmmm)  Pity about the grammar...

Anyway, I was so pleased to get those two cardigans almost finished.  They have been hanging around and waiting for months, so it feels pretty good to have two more FOs.  And I wove in all the ends of the recent shawl knitalong, so I have to model it too.  It has given me ideas for another cardie - I seem to be loving making cardies at the moment.  Pity that I don't have many tshirts to wear them with - nice little cardies don't go very well with tie dye tops.

Yes, I wear tie dye.  Surprised?  I love my rainbow tie dye.  When we were away, DH, FiL and I wore tie dye tshirts and we got lots of comments, all positive.  MiL said she did not feel left out - she has purple streaks in her silver hair.  :-)


Friday, August 10, 2012

Now what? travelogue

G'day all!

The in laws blew in like a summer storm and now are gone again.  We were soooo busy - lots of sight seeing, lots of activities and I put a thousand miles on the clock on the car - not that much really but it seemed like a lot of driving!

We went to Pike's Place Market (hmm, any shots?  Yes!) and made some really nice pasta with a fab GF mix of wriggly pastas
Guess where?

Love the sanitary market across the street
drove up to Snoqualmie Falls (umm, suddenly Google won't let me look at my own pics... sigh.  Stupid Google.), went to North Bend (which is where "Twin Peaks" was filmed but I never got into that show) and did some bush walks around there

?Twin Falls?
Rattlesnake Lake
looked at the Chihuly glass garden (that deserves a few more shots) - did you know that as a King County resident, my entry was discounted?  $15 instead of $19.  My entry cost less than my FiL's - he is a senior (just)!

Chihuly flowers, slightly fuzzy, thanks phone

I call this ship of fools

Hope there's no hail

rode on the monorail (a five minute trip each way if that - how bored must the driver get?), dined at the restaurant on the Space Needle (how I love thee, Space Needle!),
Space Needle!

They gave me a special sorbet, then had to give me one without the wafer....

had a rest day where we just tooled around Ballard a little

?Chinook? salmon in the fish ladder
Sunset from Anthony's restaurant

took off on a four day tour of the Olympic Peninsula (Nathan had been telling people he was taking his mother to the Olympics for her birthday - they thought he was really nice taking her to London!  But we meant the much more fun and a helluva lot cheaper Olympics) and Mt Rainier - that deserves its very own post because OMG I can't choose between photos and there is so much there.  I should put it on my travel blog.  However, you might have to put up with a few shots here just for the nonce

Up on Hurricane Ridge, Olympic Mountains
Mt Rainier from Reflection Lakes
Mt Rainier

had a rest day (well Nathan had to go to work) because we were knackered

drove up to Anacortes and did a whale watching trip (we thought we would see Orcas but instead we saw at least one Minke whale, sealions, porpoises and harbour seals.  And lots of birds)

A stinky Minke whale.  Honest.
Young Steller sealion bulls
A justifiably paranoid harbour seal trying to enjoy a salmon lunch

and then the in laws were in a cab and off to the airport before dawn yesterday!  I sat around for a while wondering what I would do with myself - I felt a bit lost without having to choof people off to see more sights.  As it turned out, I found plenty to do - several loads of washing, some cleaning and vacuuming, putting away the bed, some knitting, some reading remrants on Ravelry and a whole lot of sitting around.

I have to say that Washington state is quite lovely in summer (well most of the bits we saw were).  I have a new favourite town - more on that on the Olympics tour post(s), a new least favourite town, and a whole heap more places to go check out whilst the weather is good.  If only it was like this year round, it would be perfect!