Thursday, May 30, 2013

This one's for Mum

G'day all!  Well sorta g'day.

 22 years have passed.

It is too warm to grow good peonies in Melbourne.

22 years since Mum passed, but I prefer to say died.  Passed is too gentle a word, it sounds nothing like what she suffered through or we experienced secondhand.

Oh dear, red/orange with purple.
Shocking, totally shocking.

And what a clashing colour combo!
Mum would've liked the campanula and the
rhodo planted in separate garden beds.

Bit of a wussy colour but smelled ok.

This rose would've gone down well.

I think she would've liked these flowers, especially any she could cut and bring inside.  I've chosen ones that I know she liked to grow or would've liked.

Viburnum, snowball tree.
This was the closest we got to
snowballs in Melbourne.

Mollis azalea, like one of the three
different colours we had.

A stinky rose with stripes.

It's weird - I still dream of her, we still go shopping and occasionally she guest stars in other dreams.  I sometimes wonder if she'd be proud of me or if she'd give me a kick up the backside.  Probably both, at the same time.

Rhododendrons.  I think Mum would've
been fascinated to know there's
a few species native to this coast.

A pink ?mollis? azalea.

Today I had my hair cut, and the hairdresser moved my hair in a certain way and I saw Mum staring back at me (rather blurry cos I need my glasses).  That was a little freaky cos I also look like my father.  Also, the dead thing.

Most of Mum's irises looked like these.
I hope some of the ones I saved
are still growing in our front yard at home.

Variegated irises!  Fancy!

And lovely deep coloured bearded iris!

Pretty bearded irises

 Anyway, May is nearly done.  May here is lovely but May at home is awful - the month that both my parents died, my MiL's best friend died halfway through the month about ten years ago and of course just to top it off, it is coming into winter in Oz.  I am a long days, warm weather person.

Mum loved stinky lilacs
Lilacs are related to privets.
I loathe privet - it gives me asthma.
But lilacs just stink.
Wisteria also can be smelly but is pretty.
And it turns into a green tentacled giant that
takes over the back stairs and balcony.

So these flower pics are for you, Mum.  Hope you and the old man are enjoying the rose bushes that you reside under in the plot with a view of the Dandenongs.  And he better be taking you dancing.

Another iris, just cos.

Even more azaleas.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Yarn Crawl

G'day all!

I am sure you are all familiar with the idea of a pub crawl, but they are not my scene.  Nope, I am much happier with a yarn crawl, or a fibre crawl or even a fabric crawl.

Skagit River, Mt Vernon
And today I went on a yarn crawl.  A bunch of the "local" shops put on what is called shop hop.  One of the shops was very easy to get to - I just cross four roads in total and I am there.  It is quicker for me to walk than drive and try to find parking.  Also, who drives about 400 yards to get somewhere unless there really is no way to walk there?  I wandered in there on Friday.

I popped by another local shop and scavenged some of their $1 patterns yesterday.

But today I took off for pastures new.  I stopped in at my LYS for Wednesday night knitting (Bad Woman Yarn), then started the fun of navigating.

Whoever laid out the north east quadrant of Seattle was on crack at the time.  I understand that roads cannot go over the edge of a cliff or escarpment, but really dudes, some of the road decisions are crazy.  Apparently the end of Ravenna Boulevard, a road that goes on the diagonal through a grid, has been redesigned recently - hey, great!  Let's have one through road that doesn't stop with three other roads trying to join in, and of course lazy local drivers know where they are going so who needs to indicate?  In Oz, this corner would've been turned into a roundabout, but now that I am familiar with how Seattleites deal with roundabouts, it could be extra exciting.  Someone wants to turn left?  They just go the wrong way around the roundabout!  Noone's coming that way.  Someone is on your right as you drive around the roundabout?  You stop for them and let them on!  Cos you have to give way to the right, right?

Anyway, I eventually found my way to my next destination (and I may have bought some yarn, pics one day maybe!), then managed to get back to I5 and hoon up to Mill Creek (with a little deviation along the way when I misread a direction), then off to Snohomish (ever so proud of myself for remembering the directions, though I think maps had told me the wrong way to go but I still made it to my destination....).

It turns out that Snohomish was playing guest to pretty much every Harley type bike in Washington state (and I suspect maybe other states and provinces as well...). So alas, yarn shop, I did not see you because I got quite pissed off by not being able to find a car park and having roads blocked.  Then my phone wouldn't tell me how to get out of the place again - the local 3G/E connections were swamped by 10,000 bikies all trying to figure out how to leave again I guess or looking for a good pub.  Or maybe a yarn shop.

This meant that to get my eight stamps in my passport (not really my passport passport, just the shop hop passport) to go into the draw for some sort of prize,  I had to drive all the way to Mt Vernon.  Quite a pleasant little shop.  I also liked the Skagit River meandering, no, make that hooning past - the river seems to not have much of a gradient as it wanders towards the sea but it really was in quite a hurry.

Then in Stanwood, a little town off the beaten track, I found a jewel.  A complete jewel with a heap of Norwegian yarns.  It was completely unexpected and very welcome.  I may have bought yarn there too.

Still Skagit River, Mt Vernon
Finally, my last stamp in Everett, at a shop with an amazing range of yarns and a lot of blingy and upmarket stuff.  I admit to being intrigued by mink yarn, though I fear the minks may meet a nasty end to supply the yarn.  In contrast, I am happy to use possum yarn (usually blended with merino) because possums (imported and naturalised Australian brushtail possums, not American opossums) are pests in New Zealand, and the sooner they are wiped out in NZ the better.

Six yarn shops in 5.5 hours, over 140 miles or about 250km later... hmm, well it may not have been a wise use of the Earth's resources but it was sorta interesting.  I got to see some places I wouldn't've otherwise seen, I got to cuss at stupid road design and at stupid me and at my stupid phone because it decided it didn't want to tell me how to get the hell out of the place I was in...I probably should've had some lunch along the way but Snohomish was full and by the time I reached Mt Vernon, it was too late for lunch, plus not many places were open.  I also know which yarn shops I will return to.

Surprise!  Skagit River, Mt Vernon.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Eek, steeks

G'day all!

A monster has been eating pretty much all my crafting time over the last month.  I've had very little time off from it, knitting it on the ferry to the island, taking it to knit night, working late on it...

But at last it is done!  And it was done in time for Syttende Mai, Norwegian Constitution Day, or their national day.

I wore it to the big parade in Ballard, the parade that passes along the "end" of my street.

Not a very good shot and you can't even see
the Norwegian flag but behind me is a
Setesdal pullover and some folk costumes.
This was the most complicated thing I've knitted I reckon.

Take one tube, mostly knitted in the round, with two sleeves also knitted in the round.  Knitting in the round means no purling.  This makes it quicker.

Body and two sleeves
Stick the tube under the sewing machine and sew along the four stitches with no pattern down the front of the tube.

Sewing knitting.  How odd.

Note that there is no pattern down the centre four stitches.

This is what the wrong side looked like after sewing.
The orange yarn is to help me keep on track.

Then, take a deep breath and threaten your knitting with its natural enemy.  One of its many natural enemies.

Can you hear the knitting screaming?

OK, scissors are probably not a natural enemy of knitting, but they certainly are an unnatural enemy. 


And start cutting.  And keep cutting until


Your tube is a flat sheet. 

The wrong side

After all that excitement, you have to take a little break and admire the wrong side of the knitting. 

Interminable button bands

I thought I'd never finish the button bands.  They seemed to take forever.  Note that the left button band is attached and the placket is sewn down over the raw edges of the knitting.  Clever, eh?  These Norwegians know a thing or two about making sturdy items. 

The sleeve holes also have to be steeked.

The sleeves also have to have steeks cut for them so that you can add the sleeves.  If you don't have arms, I guess you wouldn't need to steek here but I do have arms so I added the sleeves. 

An inserted arm.

It occurs to me that I did not take pics of the inside of the cardigan.  The inside is a thing of beauty.  No raw seams - the tops of the sleeves have plackets to cover the steeked edges.  The neckband has a built in lining.  It all looks beautiful.

So how does it look on?

This is a traditional-style Fana sweater.  It is boxy.  I made mine smaller/closer fitting for my size than would normally be the case because I don't like massive garments.  The checkerboard neckband is somewhat wider than that I've seen in pics from the 1950s, but I just followed the pattern and the pattern said make it like this.

Norwegian Blue, Pining for the Fjords
Dalegarn 12618 Fana, knitted in Dalegarn Heilo, Norwegian Blue, and Lopez Island "mutt" wool (combining traditional with local)
Started 20 April 2013, finished 17 May 2013, just in time!
Mods - I sewed the shoulders incorrectly and umm misread the instructions for the buttons so it has seven buttons, not eight.  And my row gauge was way off.
Rav page

Next time, I'll probably just have pics of flowers.  LOL.  I may even rant and rave about things that have been happening, but recently, not that much has happened except for Spring!  Spring is a glorious thing :-)

And now, after a month of project monogamy, I can get back into doing other things, like knitting a silly hat and knitting socks and making another quilt and spinning yarn and sorting through my Stuff and working out what has to be rehomed.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Early summer

G'day all!

A rather early summer hit and I've been a little busy enjoying it, in between getting work done and frantically knitting my cardigan for Syttende Mai.  Last year I decided that there were not enough handknits at the parade, so I am adding one more.  Of course I've had a whole year to do it but you know me.  I gave myself a month instead and I've been pretty much loyal to this one project.  I am yet to do the tops of the sleeves, then do the steeks (yes, I have to cut my knitting!  Cut it!  Eeek, steeks!),  the neckband and the button bands.  The button bands will be interesting - I have to sew them on to the steeked front of the cardigan and use an extra knitted bit as a placket to cover the steeks.  The cardigan will be stunning if I do say so myself - it is Fana style in Norwegian Blue (Heilo, a Norwegian yarn) and natural coloured (from sheep on Lopez Island, an hour or so north of here) yarns.  But I have to get it done first, and I think the finishing will take me quite some time.  The remaining knitting will take tomorrow and part of Monday.

And yes, there is a joke in the Norwegian Blue.  If you get it, you get it, if you don't, you don't, but when I discovered a certain dull indigo is called Norwegian Blue, I had to have it...

Mt Baker in the distance

Lovely water, pretty point

Looking at Canada

Lime Kiln lighthouse - familiar, non?

George the cat, whose eyes were brown, not green

Last weekend we went up to San Juan Island.  The weather was superb.  It was sunny, the wind had died away so that apart from a couple of narrow passages the ferry was glorious.  We got sunburnt - I had put sunscreen on my arm and my face/neck but not on my legs and certainly not behind my knees.  How old am I now and I still don't remember to put sunscreen there?  Yes, I was wearing shorts.  That is how glorious the weather was.

Redoubt, American Camp

Wild native Fritillarias!

Death camas plus buttercups

Usual beach - a bit of sand, lots of logs

Leaving Friday Harbor

We went up there because there is a wildflower festival on, except umm someone forgot that the main thing was this weekend, not last, even though the festival runs for last weekend and this one.  Still, it was lovely and sunny and quite different to my visit in early April.  I'll remember driving around Friday Harbor with the scent of lilacs in my nose - actually pretty much anywhere where there were houses smelled of lilacs.


Nice combination

The rhodos are amazing at the moment

It's been pretty nice during the week, at least after noon - we've had fog in the mornings.  It made it very hard to work some days - such lovely weather calling me.

It's ok, summer will go away for this week, though the forecast isn't too bad - instead of hitting 26C, it will only be hitting about 18C.  It will feel cold but will be pretty average for this time of year.  Plus it hasn't rained for almost two weeks and this is Seattle.  Funny thing is, two Mondays ago, before the nice weather set in, a foot of snow fell in the passes, and it rain/hailed on me and a friend.  This means the melt is extra quick and heavy, and the rivers are running hard and c-c-c-cold.

Poppies!  One of my favourites.


More clematis

Horse chestnut leaves

Horse chestnut flowers

Because the weather has been so warm, various plants that would not be flowering until later this month are already in full bloom, and some are already done. It's a bit crazy, but we are enjoying it!

I went off to Bellevue for a quilt gathering today.  If I had known the weather was going to be nice all day (the forecast was for rain likely in the afternoon) I would've taken DH for a drive instead.  It might've staved off the half meltdown and the reaction to the burger he had for lunch.  Ah well, it is all purged now...  We did a little ride out to Golden Gardens, which was rather pretty and all leafy and green except for where the beavers have cut down a number of trees.  There were even adults swimming in Puget Sound, not just little kids.

Mad dogs and Englishmen... no, no, wrong thing...

Cloud increasing

I may have acquired a little more fabric, against my stash building rules.  We are trying to save a bit more money, whether for a place here or to put on our place back home I'm not quite sure at this point.  DH's insecurities have raised their ugly heads again and it makes it difficult to plan sometimes, and I am well aware of one of my responses.  When insecure, Buy More Stuff!  No excuses, not even that you've been eyeballing it for months and months and months, and now it is 50% off.  But I did anyway and it will be grand when I get to it.  But I have a cardigan to knit first!

I should get back to my knitting!  Have soooo much to do in the next few days - I can't get this close and not succeed.  At least Syttende Mai is on a Friday, so I'll have Friday morning to finish off the last bits....