31 May 2007

The conversion continues

Last week I saw the Family of Five again at hydrotherapy, and I was ready!

I had a bag of 5 (surplus) pairs of knitting needles and 5 balls of red yarn (OK, OK, it was acrylic, I admit it - I'm generous, but not that much!), and a card with some weblinks, including Knitty.com, Knitting Help, and our Stitch'n Bitch Yahoo Group. I showed Mum how to do a slip knot and cast on, and she knew how to knit from there.

I gave the two older boys more lessons, while their mum helped her eldest daughter. All five kids were so excited, very grateful, and very full on! I don't know how their mum copes...

I have corrupted them though. It's only a matter of time before they realise that natural fibre is just so delicious, and they need a slightly different sized needle, and wouldn't a special pattern book be nice, and ... bwah ha ha ha haaa >;)

Very Lucky Very Vogue

I've recently started checking out sewing patterns at op shops - it's a bit of pot-luck, as there's no guarantee that they have all their pieces, but for 50¢ a pop, it's not too much of a risk.

Yesterday I found this Very Easy Very Vogue pattern #8823 for a cool skirt, in a taped plastic bag, at Cooleman Court's Salvos. It covers both my size and Dotter's size, so I grabbed it. I like the skirt in the middle, with the buckles, and Dotter likes the swirly one on the right. These patterns normally sell for about $15. Back home - opened it - it is brand new! Pristine tissue patterns and instructions! W00t! :D

Step-mother's Pink Fluff has about 3 cm to go on the lower band... I think I'll keep some of the extra Pink Fluff for any repairs, as 2Paw sensibly suggested. There are still 2 whole balls of the stuff left though, so maybe they can go into our Stitch'n Bitch swaps basket, or to an appreciative home (would your mum like it, Taph?). I'm not about to make a matching beret!

Oh, and I might have bought a ball of Opal 6ply sock wool for my son's first pair of handknit socks. Damn, it was just so easy! He chose the colour, # 1129, soft blues and greys (near the bottom of the shop page, if you've just clicked on the link). Now all I need is a good pattern for 6ply men's socks. His feet aren't huge, a size 8 or 9. Any suggestions?

30 May 2007

Pink Fluff

Here's the Pink Fluff to date...
I'm currently knitting on the lower band, which will be fairly deep, as the body of the jacket was a little short. I'm aiming for 8cm. The colour isn't as different from the jacket fluff as it seems in this photo - the pinks blend very well. It's Patons Velveteen stuff, colour 4523, knit on 5mm needles. Kinda weird to knit with, but easier than the fluff.

Here's a detail of the cuff - just a few rows of Velveteen to finish the edges.

Still to go - the front / neck band, with 4 buttonholes. I'm just making these bands up as I go, as the pattern isn't that well written.

As for the left over pink fluff.... hmmmm, a sacrificial burning does sound tempting! But there's enough non-natural content in this stuff that it would smell real bad. Perhaps I should bury it.....

Thanks for your comments on my Meez - my inner Goth coming out! That's how I'd dress if I was a lot braver ;) And KMS, the Meez knitting animation is under 'Random'.

28 May 2007


... such as we know it, has been resumed (ie my domain name is renewed, and my web site and email work, woo hoo!).

Pink Fluff thing has been sewn up, fitted on tiny step-mother, and is now getting pink edges knitted on... photos soon!

27 May 2007

Sheepy Shenanigans

It was a very special night.... BB arrived at our place with a single red rose for Lulu, dressed for the occasion in a lovely red silk bow tie, and with serious intentions.

Lulu loved the rose...

... and showed her appreciation as only a wanton lamb can!

The happy couple enjoyed a delicious Mexican meal over candlelight - fresh coriander, olive salsa, and sangria...

And BB then displayed his talents by serenading Lulu at the piano!

The mood was definitely romantic by this stage.... poor Lily - sheeparone designate - didn't know WHERE to look!



If you want to see behind the scenes with these two naughty lambs, here are a couple of pics of my partners in crime Bells and Othlon doing their thing, while I'm at the camera. A few glasses of sangria and much innate silliness ensured a very fun evening! Love working with you, ladies - LOL!

Spoiler 1
Spolier 2

26 May 2007

Bugger it

Due to various stuff-ups on the part of my ex-ISP (which has gone out of business) and the domain name registrar, my domain name has expired, despite my madly trying to renew it for the past two days. So all e-mail to my regular e-mail will bounce, and my web site is gone for the moment :/ My Yahoo email still works, though (kitkat3574 'at' yahoo ' dot' com 'dot' au). Hopefully normal service will resume by Monday!!

On the plus side, Bells, Sean and BB are coming over for dinner today! I'm cooking a Mexican feast - YUM! I used to live in Arizona as a kid, and Colorado as a grown-up, and LOVE Mexican food... So yummy foods (of course), knitting (of course), silly TV (of course), and wine (of course)!

Look at what Lulu gets up to when I'm not around. On the road, good grief, and can't see over the dashboard... she is one dangerous lamb! Definitely needs a sheeparone at all times!

We're a bit worried about Lulu and BB getting together over the Sangria this evening. Not sure if Lily the Chihuahua will be a good sheeparone - she's more of a chicken dog. Or a guinea pig dog. At least chihuahuas and guinea pigs are both Mexican ;)

24 May 2007

Knit Fix!

It's finally here! Knit Fix by Lisa Kartus, published by Interweave Press. I got my copy from The Wool Shack in Perth.

The chapters are:
  • Your Knitting Philosophy - a general introduction to Lisa's philosophy which is basically "I'll tell you when to panic. Otherwise, don't."
  • Knitting Foundations - very clear illustrations of knitting and purling, including the Continental method, plus information on tension.
  • Fixes You'll Use Again and Again - how to unknit (tink), vertical fixes for stitch mistakes, unravelling and picking up stitches.
  • Troubleshooting - twisted stitches, reversed directions, skipped stitches, too many or too few stitches, incorrectly crossed cables, troubles in counting, troubles reading charts, colour corrections. These all have really good photos of the problems, as well as clear diagrams for fixing things.
  • Solving Problems Before They Grow - good basics - cast on methods, joining new yarns, working in the round (and some tricks on how to avoid twisting a circular cast on), simple buttonholes, how to pick up stitches, pattern errata, binding off, sewing together, grafting, and blocking.
  • Extreme Fixes : Altering When You're Done Knitting - Lengthening or shortening jumpers, fixing too big/too small necks, alterations at the cast on edge, adding pockets, altering seams with sewing or adding knitted gussets.
  • Test-Driving - gauge, yarn weights, fit, ease, revising patterns, choosing fibres (including a cool chart on "Yarn Behaviour" listing qualities such as flexibility and yarn memory for different fibres), notes on felting, and how to read yarn labels.

What I like :

The spiral binding! Although the pages 'squeak' when you turn them, the book lies flat which is a big plus.

The colours, photography, illustrations and book design. Really nicely done, clear, modern, approachable layout.

The writing. Friendly and knowledgeable. Lisa intersperses the text with some knitting stories of her own, but mainly the text is clear instructions on how to fix mistakes, or avoid them in the first place. She isn't condescending, even when showing how to count one row of knitting, or what a purl stitch looks like. The instructions range from the really basic simple stuff all the way through to much more complex problems, like cables twisted the wrong way (and how to fix them, without unravelling rows of knitting!).

Basically, I love this book - I won't need it every day, but I know it's there if I get stuck. The clear illustrations, text and photos can guide me through any midnight knitting disasters, when my knit sibs are asleep. The only thing it needs is a cover with "Don't Panic" written in large friendly letters... oh wait, that's been done before ;)

20 May 2007

Wool Fest fever

Well, what an exciting day! Lulu hadn't been to a Wool Fest before - the lights, the crowds, the yarn...! She's staying warm with Bells' blue scarf...

Lulu, that's not cake, it's soap!

Aaaaah, warm yummy things...

Lulu and Othlon fight it out for some cashmere fleece...

Most. Exciting. Moment. Ever. We were recognised! This is Gemma from Sydney, who walked up to Bells, Othlon, Lulu and me, and knew us from our Blogs (Lulu was the give-away) - how amazing is that?! She got to meet Lulu up close and personal, and I think Lulu behaved herself. (PS Gemma, if you don't want your photo online just let me know.)

I really wish Othlon and I were able to go to the SnB after the Markets - but an evening dinner engagement was already in place, which meant we had to curtail our afternoon activities :/ So my apologies to those I didn't get to meet. Another time...

Lulu went crazier than usual at The Opal Queen's stand - so much Opal in one place! It was all too much... *faints*

Lulu met quite a few children and knitters - one of whom recognised her pattern (from a Spin Off magazine), and a muggle who wanted to buy one like her (thinking I'd made lots and had them for sale - can you imagine the resulting CHAOS if there was more than one Lulu? Probably best not to...)

I was very restrained, and just bought one skein of BEAUTIFUL merino & possum laceweight from Fibreworks Hand Dyed Yarns. 95g of the softest stuff... I'm thinking lace. The colours are deep warm reds. Bliss!

Monday edit : I forgot to say, I very fortuitously bumped into Twitchy Fingers, which was wonderful, as I had a Barbie doll sewing pattern to pass on to her (cos every Barbie needs a wedding dress, t-shirt, shorts, overalls, skirts, and several evening dresses, and Othlon is over the Barbie doll thing - aren't you). It was so lovely to see her, and very lucky we happened to be in the same place at the same time, amongst that huge crowd. The Yarn (or Sewing?) Goddess was looking over us.

And to answer your question Cindy, I was wearing my new grey wool skirt (over a long black skirt, to give that very cool two-layered effect, and also stop the itchies), my new Kumfs shoes, purple Branching Out scarf, Voodoo wrist armers, and my Uzbek camel lace shawl (for a while, until it got too hot). So three things I'd made.

And Roxie, no-one won the fight over the cashmere fleece - waaay too expensive for the likes of us, I'm afraid :/ The Wool Fest is an annual event, and I'm pretty sure it's always in May (it was last year, at least). Taph would know for certain.

18 May 2007

Actual Rain & Real Wool

It's raining! It started around 11pm last night, and is still going! We'll need several weeks of this to fill the dams (unlikely), but it helps the gardens and help me feel more relaxed somehow... look - water on the ground!

It's so worrying when our dams are nearly empty, and we face much tougher water restrictions in the near future. Sad when we all think 'What is that sound?' when rain hits the roof...

Progress on Mariah - slow. I decided to just do 20 rows (about 2"?) of the cabled rib instead of 5". There's only so much attention my tummy needs, after all ;) I'm now a few rows into plain stocking stitch (nice easy TV knitting now!). My hands are still not really good, so I'm having to be careful about how much knitting I do :(

And some goodies which have mysteriously found their way into my home over the past few weeks - the cutest book of baby knits ever, by Cleckheaton; some soft green Heirloom baby wool; and useful tools - more cable needles to replace the ones which periodically run away from home; and a sewing / knitting ruler gauge, useful - oddly enough - for sewing and knitting.

16 May 2007


Damn blast and bugger! I've just received a postcard from Bodywise advertising their CLOSING DOWN SALE!
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGH!!!!!!! I can't stand to wear anything else!!!!! This is just TOO awful :(

Mariah makes progress

Here's a better photo of my Mariah sleeve - aaah, I just love those cables!

I've cast on the back, and have done about 12 rows of the cabled rib, which is ... hey Lulu! What do you think you're doing?! And where did you get those cool arm warmers?

PS Bells - I've taken my 'where I live' series of photos, but haven't got time to process them and put them online just now - coming soon, though :)

13 May 2007

Short Ciruit!

It's curly, it's whirly... it's the Short Circuit Scarf!

This is the clever short-row scarf pattern by Taph. I used 3 balls of Zhivago, in lurid green-yellow. A show stopper whenever I knit it in public - and will probably be the same when I wear it! I won't tell you when I cast on because it's an embarrassingly long time ago...

K came over today for a fitting of her cardigan in progress - I tacked the pieces together very quickly with yarn, so she could try it on - and the good news is it fits well, phew. Only 1 sleeve to go, then sewing up, and adding ribbed edgings to hem, cuffs, and neckband. My hands are playing up again, though, so I can't do as much as I'd like, damn and blast :/

Happy Mothers' Day all you mums out there!

12 May 2007

Send me your shops!

I am collecting Australian yarn shops for Knitwiki - I've done the ACT shops, but am now looking further afield! They can be online shops, 'bricks and mortar' shops, mail order etc - all I need are:

The shop's name
Street &/or postal address
Web address (if available)
Phone number (with area code)

So think of your favourite yarn shops, and let me know! You can email me or post info here, and I'll put them up on Knitwiki.

10 May 2007

Baby Knitters

Phew, what a day! I've been up since 5am - had to drive Hubby and Son to the train very early... then took Dotter to a doctor's appointment, the National Art Gallery (cos she wanted some inspiration), hydrotherapy at the hospital, grocery shopping, and have also been weeding and cleaning up for yet another house inspection first thing tomorrow. Still more cleaning to do tonight too... Am a *tad* weary. But I'm enjoying having no boys in the house!

While I was waiting for Dotter at hydro, another regular family arrived - mother with 5 (!) kids under 10. Last week her kids had been fascinated, watching me knit my pink lace shawl (Forest Canopy).

Today I took along my Short Circuit Scarf. It always gets attention when I knit it in public! Firstly an elderly woman just out of the pool had a close look at the scarf and said she'd never seen anything like it, how astonishing, and chatted for a bit (she could no longer knit due to arthritis). She had no idea you could dye wool with food colouring (I was wearing my Jaywalker green socks), and was quite amazed :)

The bevy of kids arrived shortly after. Once again they gathered around my chair, and asked if they could have a go - well, I didn't mind, seeing as it was just garter stitch and short rows - and it wouldn't be a tragedy if I had to unravel a few rows. I knew that their mum didn't knit, from what she'd said last week - so I suggested that maybe their teachers at school could show them - but it turned out they were homeschooled! So that was cool (I used to homeschool my kids - Dotter to Grade 4, and Son to Grade 10).... they're in the Christian homeschoolers group, so we didn't have friends in common (we were always in the secular "rugged individuals" camp ;) - but we still understood each other.

I then gave each kid a go at my knitting - I held the left needle, and helped them do the right needle into the stitch, yarn over, and pull it through and off. Two of the boys were really fascinated, and the eldest child, a girl of about 10, was very keen too. They were begging their mum to get them needles and wool - I said I would bring along some needles next week (I have plenty to spare) and some yarn - and will write out a few web sites and books to look for. The mum also said they could ask their Nanna, who knows how to knit...

So that was rather fun - igniting the knitting fire in a whole family at once - and I didn't even have to undo any of their knitting, they did a good job!

Anyway - here is the finished Mariah sleeve #1, waiting on its fluro shoelace for the rest of the cardy to catch up.... I'm about 6 rows into the ribbing for the back. Photo isn't great, sorry - indoors with flash...

And this is where I'm up to on my red stash-busting mitred square lap rug... I'm not bothering about whether the diagonals all go in the same direction or anything, it's just a bit of fun. It's big enough to keep my knees warm while I'm knitting it now. I'm picking up stitches along the edges when I cast on - so no seams!

And some computery news, my Adobe Creative Suite 3 upgrade arrived today and I've successfully installed it. Horribly expensive at over $600 just for the upgrade - ouch - but necessary for my Intel Inside Mac Mini, to stop the major memory handling problems that were rampant with CS2. Plus there are a few nice goodies, such as being able to use an eraser on vector images in Illustrator! W00t!

Time for steak with bleu cheese sauce (something the boys would never eat), and salad, SBS for and Inspector Rex, The Eagle, knitting, and an early night!

09 May 2007


Ugh. Hormonal migraine. Ow #/

On the plus side, it's the Eurovision Song Contest this weekend - are you ready for the insanity? We'll be watching, with homemade score cards at the ready!

Yes, Bells, it's on Sunday night SBS 7.30 - 10.30 pm. There's also the preliminary finals on Saturday night at 8.30pm if you're a glutton for punishment ;)

08 May 2007

Skirt & Surprises

Here it is, my grey wool skirt - I used the self-timer on my camera in the end... and my Branching Out scarf is wrapped around my neck...

Now all I need are some nicer shoes. I wear substantial orthotics, and only own 2 pairs of shoes - these black Kumfs, and a pair of sneakers. I'm planning on getting a more dressy pair of Kumfs in the near future, that will look better with skirts. At around $250 a pair they're a rare purchase... luckily they last for ages.

I received this amazing surprise in the mail today! My friend H read my blog last week, decided I could do with some relaxation, and posted this box across town... lovely Innoxa foam bath and a lavender candle, and yummy chocolates! And the box was wrapped in a MAP - totally cool packaging! Hmmmm, just what the treat doctor ordered :D

I haven't allowed myself many baths since water restrictions came in - but it's about time I did. It will be good for my hip, which is still playing up . Thank you H!

Had lunch with Bells at Manuka today - we enjoyed chicken and mushroom pies at Jones the Grocer, and then she led the way to The Shearing Shed. This was my first visit, can you believe it? Well, I rarely shop in Manuka... and yes, it's a tiny shop! We don't have any 'snooty ladies' stories to tell - a man was very appropriately manning the counter, and he was nice and quiet.

I bought 5 balls of yummy Heirloom Baby Wool (4 ply 25g balls, machine washable) in a soft light green - a friend is having her first bub in a few months (and no, it's not Kate) - and thoughts of a baby cardigan are rattling around my brain. Bells escaped unscathed - although there are some lovely pattern books there - Rowan, Nikki Epstein etc... she was strong!

07 May 2007

Different kind of wool

I finished my skirt! I had a sewing blitz on the weekend - cut out the skirt on Friday night, got the main skirt sections sewn together on Saturday, and the tricky bits (zip, waistband, hand-sewn hem) done on Sunday - and wore it on Sunday night! Now all I need are some cool ankle boots or dress shoes... It fits really well (phew). Photo of it being worn to come!

Here's the inside of the waist facing... the black interfacing is the main thing you can see, as well as the thin strip of cotton tape to stabilise the waistband.

This grey wool (65% wool 35% viscose) is so lovely to use, almost like a high quality thin felt - and it doesn't fray, so I really didn't need to finish most of the seams, making for a quick project. I really need to get a slip, though, or add a lining.... it's a bit scratchy by itself.

And on knitting related news, I'm a fledgling editor for the Knitwiki! All I've done so far is add the ACT yarn shops... but hopefully there's more to come :) I'm on a steep learning curve with figuring out how the formatting works, and how a Wiki works in general.

Other project updates :

My first Mariah sleeve is done! Well, up to the point where I leave it on a shoelace until the rest of the cardy is up to the armhole level... So I can cast on the back tonight!

2 more mitred squares on my lap rug - up to 6 now. It's very cosy.

And my mother-in-law loves her Peppercorn Shawl, the colour was just perfect, too!

04 May 2007

Koigu Lamb

Dotter, son, and I went to Stitch'n Bitch last night - another big turnout, with 3 new knitters, and a lot of regulars - I think we've reached 'critical mass'! After we got there I discovered that Lulu had snuck into my bag - sheesh! She quickly made a nuisance of herself, being especially painful with Happy Spider's Sherpa... there was some vampiric lamb action, but the photos are too scary!

The main attraction last night was the visit of FiveFerns from Canada! It was so lovely to meet her - plus she brought pressies from afar (and yes, we did pay her back)... Lulu very quickly nicked off with my two stunningly beautiful skeins of Koigu. I'm thinking gloves or lacy wrist warmers, or something like that. I just love the colours!

Hey, Lulu - what's that in your ear??

The Cockatoos are coming!

This morning I went out the back to discover a tree full of sulphur-crested cockatoos. They're stripping the bark off our gum tree which has died from the drought. They're large noisy birds! The 8 in this photo were only most of the flock... there were probably about 12 all up. We see them around here a lot, but today's mass banquet was a bit unusual.

And here is my Knit Picks set! I'm very happy with it so far - the join between the needles and cable is smooth, and doesn't snag on stitches. The cables are very flexible, and I like the purple colour! I'd like some duplicates of the different length cables, will have to see what I can find online in Oz... My Mariah sleeve is now on a Knit Picks needle, and very happy about it too!

And here's where I've got to with my Mariah sleeve :

And the Step-Mother's Pink Fluff thing - note the black pen as a scale. She's is bloody tiny. Just as well, really, as there's only so much of this yarn I can take.

And lastly, I've been resting my leg, and can walk again, as long as I don't move my hip the wrong way - but I'm going to need an ultrasound, and probably the cortisone injection. I know I need it, I just don't want it :p

01 May 2007

Peppercorn Shawl

It's all done, and before my mother-in-law's birthday too (by 2 days!). I started on the border pattern a bit too soon, and so ended up adding increases to the edge. Some of it's a big fudged, but meh, it's not obvious.

Vital Stats : The Forest Canopy Shawl, in Bendigo's Rustic 8ply, colour Peppercorn. It's really a shoulder shawl, not very big.

Here's a detail of the edge, with beads added. I used the crochet-hook method described in the latest issue of Yarn. Basically, you slip a bead onto a very fine crochet hook (mine was 1mm), the slip the stitch to have a bead off the left needle, pull the stitch through the bead with the crochet hook, and put the stitch back on the needle, then knit it. A bit fiddly, but a hell of a lot easier than threading beads onto wool at the start.

In other news :

  • Step-mother's pink jacket has a right front, and nearly a left front. I'm having to adapt the pattern as I go.
  • My Knit Picks deluxe set has arrived from Perth. It's wonderful.
  • My Vogue Stictionary Volume 1 has arrived from Perth (WTF - no charts?!). It's very good, despite the lack of charts.
  • Mariah's first sleeve is nearly done.
  • My illustration rep loves my Knitting Art paintings, and has asked for some new smaller paintings for their collection. I'll be the only illustrator in their stable who illustrates knitting.
  • I am shuffling around with a walking stick again with what I suspect is psoas bursitis (I've had it before). Am nearly in enough pain to bear the horribly deep and painful cortisone injection that will treat it.
  • Am generally feeling very exhausted and not very chatty... 'cave' time.