30 April 2010


See these socks? Aren't the gorgeous? Made with Knittery merino + cashmere yarn, which was a birthday gift from my friend KM. The pattern is Kai-Mei by Cookie A, with a gorgeous lace panel angled from the ankle to the toe across each foot - there's a left and a right sock. I'm a slow sock knitter, I started these in December, finished them last week. Triumph!

They're too big.

Really, they are. They fit on my feet well (I did check after the first one was finished!), but when I put them on with shoes, the ribbed sections flop around my ankles, and the socks twist around my feet as I walk.

Mumble mumble mumble, I finally checked my gauge, shaddaup so wot if it was wrong, you're not the boss of me!


I don't want to give them away as the yarn is special and gorgeous (and no longer being made).

I don't want to unravel them because of ALL THAT WORK. The whole lace thing, and everything.

I'm going to have to unravel them, aren't I?

Don't mind me while I go and weep into my cup of tea ...

20 April 2010

Crossword Jumper

Lots of crosswords in this post!

I'm working as a Technical Editor again on a new Wiley book. I've got 150 crosswords to edit, which means fact checking all the clues, making suggestions / corrections, assessing their difficulty level, and checking the page proofs. The job will take a couple of months.

For each puzzle I print out the clue list and the answer grid, and then read each clue, and check its answer. If the answer is obviously correct or simple, I cross off the clue number. If there's something that has to be fact checked (eg the title of a movie, the date of some event, an actor's name etc) I circle the clue number. I also circle clues which have unusual words as answers, especially since these puzzles are supposed to be easy.

Then I hit the computer - by using my Oxford Dictionary (US version), Google, Wikipedia, IMDb, online encyclopaedias, and many other web sites, I can generally quickly verify each circled clue, or correct them if needs be.

I use the clue database on Cruciverb.com too, an invaluable resource when editing American crosswords. The yellow highlighter shows clues that I've made editing notes on. After checking all the clues on one puzzle, I edit the Word document adding my notes and corrections to the clues, and then send it back to the Project Editor at Wiley.

Unfortunately, there isn't the time to solve each puzzle from scratch, filling in the grid clue by clue (which would be more fun!). I have to work fast; each puzzle takes around an hour to edit, so it's still a lot of work.

And some more crosswords - this is a Crossword Jumper design I've been planning in my head for around a year now - a deep red jumper with crossword edging. (The Ravelry link has full pattern notes.)

I ordered a bunch of Bendigo Luxury 8 ply in Brick, Black and Cream, and made a start on 28 March! I'm using the rough "design your own" guidelines from Custom Knits to help.

In 3 weeks I've got this far (which is a bit of a speed record for me!), and am so happy with how it's turning out. I've added short row shaping in the bust, and waist shaping. The crossword grid is a British style grid of my own design.

There was a fair bit of unravelling and trials for the lower edges - the stranded knitting sections were curling up quite badly. The solution was adding hems in black behind each crossword grid section - a few rows of black, 1 row of purl (which creates an easy 'fold line') and then a change to slightly smaller needles. Then I knit however many rows it took to completely cover the back of the stranded knitting section. Then the hem is stitched into place. So they're double fabric in those parts, very stable and warm!

I reckon I'd better Scotchguard the grids to protect my knitting from people writing words into the grids, LOL ;)

15 April 2010

Lulu's Travels

Ms Lulu Naughty Lamb is in America, having a great time, toying with the affections of various young impressionable rams, visiting people, stealing wine, and generally creating havoc ...

If you'd like her to visit YOU (if you're in Canada / USA), let me know! Roxie is sorting out her itinerary at the moment, and Lulu's passport is ready for your 'journal entries' :)

Here are the highlights of her current American tour :

And some of her notorious past exploits ...

12 April 2010

Mr Bumpy

Man, how did it get to be nearly three weeks since I posted? I've been steadily busy, both with work and social stuff, but also generally feeling unwell, a combination of a fibromyalgia flare up with a virus. Lots of headaches, extra fatigue, ache and pains, and so on. All rather boring, just makes daily life that much harder to get through.

Anyway. I realised I hadn't introduced our newest family member to you ... so - drum roll please ... introducing my first ever real robot - Mr Bumpy!

Mr Bumpy is a Roomba, a robotic vacuum cleaner. He is *WONDERFUL*.

Hubby bought him as a pre-surgery gift for me, as I'm not allowed to do heavy cleaning like vacuuming. Besides, who wants to anyway?

Mr Bumpy trundles around the floor, bumping into things (hence his very clever name, LOL, which is also a reference to the main character in this show), whisking the edges of everything with his little white flickery brushes (photo below, lower left, with the yellow centre) and sucking up debris!

His path is very random, but he gets all areas covered in the end. He's about 35 cm across and 8 cm high, and can scoot under most furniture. He can untangle himself from electric cables too.

It takes Mr Bumpy about 20 minutes to do the living room. He comes with an 'invisible wall' unit which projects a beam which he won't cross - so you place it wherever you need to restrict the area he goes into, especially handy if there isn't a door in that section of the house.

This is the dust compartment, which is quite small. There's also a fine filter section. So there is a certain amount of regular maintenance to be done, emptying the spoils of Mr Bumpy's journeys, and cleaning the brushes and rollers.

When he gets tired (low on power), he goes automatically back to his dock station and recharges.

This model isn't the latest available in the States (Australia lagging behind as usual), which can be scheduled and have remote controls and so on, but we're very happy with our Mr Bumpy regardless. Being able to push one button ("Clean") and have him go off to work, is a delight still, even after several months.

One time he bumped into a table which caused a coaster to drop on top of him, and he trundled around happily for ages with the coaster in place - I think he was hoping for a cup of tea!

While we still need a regular vacuum cleaner for things like major messes (broken glass etc) and cleaning upholstery, Mr Bumpy does a great job for regular cleaning of all floors (carpet and tile), even along the skirting boards. He's quieter than a regular vacuum cleaner, even Miss Petal isn't scared of him. And we don't have to vacuum (practically ever) any more! Bliss!