Thursday, 31 May 2007

Sock Time!

I've been knitting like a crazed knitting banshee lately! Though I've had the attention span of a goldfish with ADD. I've worked on the G.R.O.A.N.S coathanger cover, AIDS Baby Vest 2, even the stitch sampler bedspread. I've been in a more experimental mood lately. But mostly I've been working on my Socks! Here is the finished sock no.1* (right) inside out waiting to have the ends woven in. On the left is the start of sock no.2. I have just finished the 26 rows of ribbing and am ready to transfer it onto double-pointed needles:

Normally, a person would knit the whole sock on DPNs, but I read a great tip a few years ago saying that the ribbing (or everything down to the heel really!) can be knitted on a straight needle, and then the seam sewn up later. I really prefer doing it this way, because:
a) I hate using DPNs to knit purl rows. I find it very awkward and can't be bothered practicing until it goes more smoothly. Life's too short!
b) I hate knitting with DPNs full-stop! They are a pain in the arse! Not to mention in your stomach where they stick into you. The less I have to use them, the better. (Now I'm wondering why I bother to make socks at all?!)
c) It's easier to see where you are up to and follow the ribbing pattern.
d) The cast-on end of the yarn is far enough away from your live knitting when you do transfer to the DPNs that it doesn't get mixed up in what you're doing and piss you off.
The only drawback is having to sew up the seam when you are finishing the socks. But the cast on yarn end is already there and you already have thread it onto a needle to weave it in anyway, so it's not a huge inconvenience.

Here is sock no.2 at the heel stage:

What a nightmare!

Yes, I know, it looks like the cat puked on my instructions and I stuck a whole bunch of knitting needles in it, but I know what I'm doing! Mostly. I made a pair of socks from this pattern once before, many years ago, ended up with the most horrible, vomit-inducing, blood-chilling pair of socks known to man. This was not the pattern's fault. It was because I'd used bargain basement black acrylic and had never used DPNs before. Yeah, I tend to bite off more than I can chew sometimes. The pattern, however, was technically perfect and easy to understand. So theoretically these socks should turn out to be just fine. Hmm.

* Not that it was all smooth sailing until that point!:

Sock no.1 with dropped stitch. Picking up stitch with crochet hook and many gasps of horror.

Bloggy Stuff

I have been thinking a bit about my blog lately. I've been reading a lot of other blogs in the last couple of months, and I've been getting Blog Envy again. All the other blogs are so pretty and professional-looking, and mine is ugly and has crappy, un-artistic pictures and no touching and insightful revelations from my private life at all! It just sucks!
So I was tweaking with the colours, etc the other day, and I realised that my blog is set so that it won't come up in searches. I didn't realise or had forgotten that. I can't decide whether to leave it like that or allow searches. It would be great if other knitters read my blog and posted comments and gave me blog love, but then I would have to reciprocate and love them back and I'm just not into that sort of thing. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are lots of wonderful, warm and caring people out there in the knitting-blogosphere, but I'm really bad at replying to my friends' emails, let alone someone I've never even met! So I think I'll leave it as-is for now.

Speaking of the blogosphere, there's this thing called Frappr now. You can set up a map, and people log on to the website and put 'pins' in the map. All the cool kids who have podcasts or blogs are doing it. I think it's a really good idea. The maker of the map knows how many people are listening to/reading their stuff and where in the world they are, and the pin-pushers can add their little 'yay, I like you' message while still remaining relatively anonymous. (And anyone who knows me knows that anonymity is my bag, baby.)

Sorry, I'm digressing pretty seriously here. Back to MY blog. I think I might change the format. I can't get rid of the grey background no matter what I do.
Also, yesterday I was thinking of reducing the size of all of the photos I post from now on. It's not fair on any readers to have to download huge photos when they're so crappy! But then, this morning Boy was playing with my camera, and he said, "you know, this has a close-up function?" And I said, "WHAT??" "Yeah, all you have to do is press this button." I mean, DUH!!!!, I've only had it for about 5 years!
But then again, I got it for free second-hand, and there was no manual, and I'm not the type of girl that needs to know what every button does now, am I? *twirls hair around finger and bats eyelashes*

I got so excited, that I ran around taking close-up photos of everything!:

Speaking of Boy, after much trawling earlier in the week, I found a pattern for a reversible cable scarf [Warning: PFD file] that he approves of (well, he approved of the picture pretty heartily anyway). It looks like one I would enjoy doing as well. Though, looking at the pattern, I don't know how the back will come out looking the same as the front. *shrugs* I'll do a swatch on the weekend.
Now that the pattern is decided, I have to find the yarn! Boy is allergic to wool. This is a bit of a problem. He also expressed a preference for a blue colourway and variegated yarn. (He didn't actually use either of those terms, I have to point out! He's more the computers-and-woodworking type). I've heard rumblings before that cable patterns don't look very good when done with variegated yarns, but there are some really great tweeds and flecked yarns out there as well, so perhaps I can compromise.
My first mini knitting shop foray didn't go so well. At Clegg's they had a gorgeous blue yarn flecked with reds and greens, but it was 100% wool. Everything else I looked at was too. At Lincraft, they didn't really have any flecked tweeds, but they did have a gorgeous soft alpaca blend. I SMSed boy to ask if he was allergic to alpaca. Strangely enough, he wasn't sure. It only came in solid colours, though, so I'm leaning away from that. I looked at the Zhivago as well, as that has some variegated colours as well, but the choices ran more to the orange and pink end of the spectrum rather than blue.
I haven't able to get to any more shops since then, but it's given me something to think about.

It has been 11 days since I last bought yarn.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Oven on = warm kitchen

Yesterday I baked a Banana Bread! I only just had the presence of mind to take a photo of it before it was all eaten:

The recipe said to add walnuts, but I added some sultanas and crushed almonds instead. It give it an interesting testure. It's yummy with a little butter. Very soon it will be no more.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Oh, the Shame!

I just did something very very naughty! I was looking around the blogosphere (for lack of a less well-used term) and I found KnitSimple magazine. It's put out by the same people that make Vogue Knitting, and it's apparently aimed for the knitter without much time (i.e. me) so it must be all right. (Well, it's more about instant gratification for me, actually, and a short attention span. But I digress).

I had seen this mag before at MagNation*, and it looked pretty good, but it cost $19.95. Which I totally balked at. I mean, I think charging $14.95 for VK is a bit steep, even though I bought it. So when I "accidentally" clicked on the subscribe button, just to compare the pricing, and saw that it was only $30 US for an international subscription (i.e. $9.16 AUD per issue), I "accidentally" entered my credit card details and pressed the confirm button. I really didn't mean to. But I've had so many frustrations when it comes to knitting magazines lately. Don't get me started on Creative Knitting! I'm just looking for something that is good and not disappointing. (Or too expensive.)

Yeah, I know, I keep wanging on about how everything is too expensive. I'm starting to think I should start calling myself The Pov Knitter. But I was brought up in a tradition that saw knitting as a way to make practical items and save money, and perhaps even make money. My Oma grew up during the Depression and World War II in Holland. She saw some pretty desperate times. The crafts she passed on to me were not supposed to be something that you spend all your money on. Sure, I sometimes spend a moderately large amount of money on wool or patterns, but the thrill of finding a bargain is all part of it too. To know I knit myself a scarf is amazing. But to know I knit it myself and it only cost $5 adds just that little bit of extra pride. Oma would be proud.**

Moving on, I have been looking at my list of patterns to use for Boy's Scarf, and not being able to decide. Then I thought, 'why not ask him what he wants?' So I showed him 3 photos from The Harmony Guide to Knitting Stitches. He chose the cable pattern. So now I'm on a hunt for a reversible cable pattern that I can modify for a scarf. Or even better, an actual scarf pattern. I only had one suitable pattern in my quite sizeable pattern collection, but I want a couple of options to present to him, so I'm currently trawling the net. Meanwhile, I'll leave you all with a nice random pic:

Lacy cap reminiscent of a testicle***

* Please don't misunderstand me. I think this shop is great. It has an amazing array of mags, great coffee, and a 'sit and drink coffee and copy out patterns for as long as you like' policy. And it's open til 10pm.

** Actually, that last sentence is an in-joke in my family when it comes to bargains. *sheepish grin*

*** Actually, I have to apologise about this. I found this picture when I did an image search with the words "knitting with balls" (it's a book, okee?) on google. I assumed there was some kind of reference to testicles, seeing as the hat was round and pink. Ahem. When I read the page, I found there was a separate reference to the book, and the hat had nothing to do with testicles at all. Ahem. *goes red* It's actually a really good blog called Pink Monkey Knits. It's really good, check it out.
... And, I actually want to make the hat myself! I've been looking for a lacy beanie pattern. Then I too, will be wearing a testicle on my head. I hope that will make up for the insult.

*stops now before any more damage is done*

Friday, 25 May 2007

A promise is a promise

Boy has requested a scarf, and with the weather getting colder, his poor neck is looking pretty bare. So I have decided to get on with it!
After a lot of hummming and haaahing over what pattern I should use, I thought I should be methodical about it, so I drew up this list:


1. Double Stocking Stitch
(A reversible fabric which shows at stocking stitch on both sides. It's actually like two sheets of knitted fabric worked at the same time and intertwined at the edges. From the Harmony book of Knitting Stitches 2)
- thick and spongy (well, the swatch was anyway)
- looks good on both sides
- 4-row pattern may be quite quick to knit up
- difficult to do with just one colour without stuffing up (might be able to do it with 2 different but matching colours)
- swatch had untidy edges (may be ok with practice)
- 4- row pattern requires concentration but may become boring quite soon

2. Basketweave Stitch
(A pattern which makes what looks like chequers of stocking stitch and reverse st st)
- easy stitch
- interesting stitch
- looks good on both sides
- probably quick to make
- fabric may be quite stiff (would need to use very drapey yarn)

4. Circular Tube
(A 'tube' made with Double-Pointeds, pressed flat and sewn together at the ends)
- looks good on both sides
- double layer will be thick
- very boring and annoying using DPNs
- can't be 'folded' flat easily as there's no seam running from end to end (could use slip stitches to get around this)
- may take longer to mae

4. Double-sided Cable Pattern
(There are some cable patterns which are designed to look good from both sides, perfect for scarves)
- interesting stitch
- looks good on both sides
- may be quite quick
- don't have a pattern for it yet! (I've seen a couple of them around though)
- could be very complicated and take a lot of concentration (at least it won't get boring)
- fabric may be too stiff (will need very drapey yarn)

5. The perfect pattern
- it's perfect
- haven't found it yet. I don't know if it exists at all!

Sorry no pics today. I'm at work. Gotta go.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Actual stuff

Guess what? I'm not all hot air! All this talk about making a pair of socks - well, I've actually started one:

Needles a-kimbo!

I know it all looks pretty crazy, but double-pointed needles always do. The pattern is one I copied out years ago from a book called Homespun Kandknit: Caps, Socks Mittens and Gloves by Linda Ligon, which was at the State Library. It's just about the simplest turned-heel sock pattern you can get. It's still pretty hard though!
I got a little bit excited and finished about 2/3 of it before I took a photo of it. I'll document the other sock a bit more closely.
Speak of the other sock, I'm worried I'll come down with the famed "Second Sock Syndrome" that all the cool kids are talking about in their podcasts. Just when you've finished a lovely, amazing, fantastic sock (or mitten or ear warmer, etc) and are busy admiring it, it hits you! You have to go to all the trouble of making another one before you can wear it! D'oh!
That's why I got such bright, shiny variegated wool. I'm hoping it will keep my interest for long enough to complete the pair.

I've gotten a couple of knitting books from the library lately:

1. right: So Simple Knits / Hilary Mackin. Creative Homeowner, 2006.
The projects in this book range from the bizarre to the just plain fugly. A cardigan with large multi-coloured wooden beads around the neckline, an ankle length coat made with such large needles it makes the model look like a little kid wearing her Mommy's jacket.... Actually, there are a couple of interesting-looking projects that I'm going to photocopy - a two-tone tank top and a scoop neck jumper with lacy edgings.

2. left: No-Pattern Knits / Pat Ashforth and Steve Plummer. Milner Craft Series, 2006.
This book puts forth the intriguing craft of modular knitting, i.e. knitting small shapes (squares, diamonds, triangles, etc) and attaching them together to create any kind of project you like. Unfortunately, the name is a misnomer - you do have to follow patterns, it's just a different concept of a pattern. It's the kind of pattern that involves a ruler and a pencil and paper and a calculator, and a large supply of erasers. Actually, it's a pretty interesting concept. It's very similar to patchwork. Personally, I'm not the kind of person that would be caught dead wearing a patchwork garment but hey, everybody's different! I think some cushion covers, toys or even a hat would be very worthwhile. The book really encourages the reader to think laterally, work with different materials, textures and design their own projects, which is great. At the end (like a grand finale) there's an amazing jumper made of pale green diamonds that look just like leaves. It's so different to the thick, gaily bright, gartery consistency of the rest of the book that it actually made me gasp. The construction looks like a nightmare, but I'll photocopy it anyway and keep it for best.

3. middle: Alterknits / Leigh Radford. Melanie Falick, 2005.
I was quite excited when I picked up this book. It just looks so gorgeous. I suppose it was inevitable that I'd be a bit disappointed after going through it. A lot of the projects are just fairly standard patterns with a little something extra, like some ribbon threaded through, or fabric paint applied. Some are quite different, like a cardigan made of various panels of different colours and patterns, or a crown made of crepe paper. The exercises are supposed to make you think outside the square (e.g. choosing random needles, wool and pattern to make a swatch with).

Rant: things that annoy me slightly #262:
I do have to say at this point, cause I've seen it in a few books lately:
it's hard enough to find felting wool at a specialty yarn shop, let alone old jumpers from op shops that will felt. Generally, commercially-made jumpers are made especially NOT to felt! So therefore finding 8 to 10 of them to cut up, felt and make a blanket, etc out of is not going to be an easy process! Heck, even finding jumpers that are made of any kind of real wool and not acrylic is gonna be kinda hard! I feel so sorry for the poor sods who don't know much about felting and are gonna wash their old op shops jumpers 20 times before they realise it's not gonna work.

It'll all end in tears. That's all I have to say at this time.

Monday, 21 May 2007

Bad, bad girl!

I had a pretty crappy day today, so as a treat I bought myself this:

It had some moderately amazing patterns in it. I was particularly attracted to the lacy tops. But reality didn't kick in until I got home - can I really wear a white top full of holes to work? I don't think so! Yeah, I could wear another top under it, but that would involve spending money on it and making sure it's clean, etc. I have a few tops like that, and they're a bit of a pain in the arse. I am looking for the perfect top pattern:

* no lace
* short sleeve or tank
* not too hot
* fairly large gauge so it doesn't take forever
* not too low-cut or high-cut
* no halternecks
* made for a pear-shaped body (there seem to be a proliferation of tops designed for booby women right now!)
* not totally fugly (I'm really liking that word right now)

The quest continues.

More worryingly, I bought more wool yesterday! D'oh! And to make it worse, it was gross, cheap acrylic and all! I'm so ashamed of myself, I couldn't even be bothered getting it out of the bag:

Stash of shame

One of the balls was for a pair of socks (fairly optimistic, considering I haven't even started my first pair yet!), the rest... meh, I'll think of something. Maybe.

This obsessive act has moved me to establish my own 'yarn diet' pact in desperation. Not only am I trying to save up to travel, but I'm seriously running out of room. So here are the rules I have written up. Wish me luck!



1. The 'knitting diet' will last from 20th May 2007 to 20th August 2007 (3 months).

2. I will not buy any yarn during that period, with the following exceptions:
A. I may buy yarn for a specific gift for a specific occasion, only if I truly do no have enough suitable yarn already.
B. If I am already knitting a project and run out of yarn, I can buy just enough yarn to finish that project.
C. I may purchase yarn if the price is unbelievably good - i.e. 50% off or more, AND if I can think of a specific and realistic project for it.

3. NO acrylic under any circumstances!

4. I am allowed to accept gifts of yarn.

5. I may NOT look at the knitting yarn section of Ebay under any circumstances.


1. See point 1 above.

2. I will not buy any pattern books, leaflets or magazines, except for once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. However, they MUST be patterns that I may realistically knit projects from.

3. I may borrow books from the library and photocopy them.

4. I must make every effort to fully catalogue my pattern collection during the stated time.

5. See point 5 above.

ADDENDUM: I may make a wishlist of 5 books and 5 projects, and I may purchase ONE (1) of each after the diet period is over.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Dear oh dear

Last week I found this wool porn on the Lion Brand Yarn website. *gurgles* I felt quite dirty looking at it at work. I have to have wool!! I have been looking forward to a little bit of free time this week, so I could go a-coveting at Lincraft. I was only gonna look at the wool, and fondle it a bit.... a-hem

But I'm a naughty girl! I ended up buying this:

*3 balls of Lana Grossa Cat in lavender and charcoal. This is where it started. It was on sale! Only $1.99 a ball. I was only going to buy 2, but when I grabbed them, I accidentally grabbed 3, so I figured it was meant to be. They'd make a great scarf with a matching wool or mohair.
* 3 balls of Paton's Caressa. This is one of my favourite yarns. I saw the new Caressa Express, a chunky version. After fondling it for some time and flicking through the pattern book (which wasn't all that impressive, I have to say), I went looking for the normal Caressa, and I couldn't find it! All I could find were these 3 balls which had been thrown into a bay with lots of other random balls. I felt so sorry for them that I had to take them home and introduce them to my other Caressas and love them and fondle them lots.
* a ball of Lincraft Double Knitting acrylic. I decided that, with all the talk of sock-knitting on the blogs and podcasts I frequent, I want to give it another try. This colour is actually very bright and made me giggle with glee just to see it! (This must be why the counter closed down while I was there!)
* a set of 3.25mm double-pointed needles, just in case I need them for making the socks. I already have a set of 4mm and 5.5mm, but I don't want to have to go back to the shop to buy needles before I can start! That would be so frustrating! It's better to be safe than sorry, I say!
* a pair of 4mm bamboo needles. I don't have any bamboo needles, and they were very reasonably priced, so they are a little treat.

It's amazing how a C.R.Y. can turn into S.E.X.

(Coveting Ravishing Yarn ; Stash Enhancement eXpedition. I only made up the first one!)

I loooooove my wool, yeeeeesssss

FINALLY here is a photo of the finished B-Scarf. It was a gift for my friend/flatmate Bec, but she doesn't like having her photo taken, so I had to model it for her:

Stephen: Use that photo where you're sneering!
Me: I was trying to look sexy!
Everyone: *laughs hysterically*

Speaking of finished projects, I just realised today that the scarf I love and wear all the time, that I made years ago, is not on my FINs list! *general gasping* I know! How could I have forgotten my lovely scarf? So here it is:

I can't believe it's not on there!

I crocheted it using a very simple open squares (filet crochet) stitch. It was made of this absolutely disgusting rough orange acrylic, and I never wore it. Then I chucked it in with a top that I was dying purple. Well, it came out marone and baby soft and fuzzy and just wonderful! I was so ecstatically happy! I can't believe that I never put it on my list before. It's right at the bottom if you want to see. That was back when I didn't record anything and most info is just '?'. But hey, das cool.

P.S. Boy's Mum has agreed to sew up the AIDS Baby Vests that I make for me. I didn't straight out ask, by the way, it came out in conversation! I'm not that much of a scuzzy scum bucket! I am very relieved though. I'm not officially adding them to my count of finished garments though. I might make a special separate charity knitting list.

P.P.S. I got 2 knitting books from work today. I also got one last week. If they are any good, I'll let you-all know. Er, assuming anyone who's interesting in knitting is reading this.

P.P.P.S. You think I'm a sad knitting freak? Well, how about this - today I had to get a blood test, and the girl had trouble finding a vein. So to calm myself down while she poked around in my arm with a needle, I sat there and thought about knitting. Hey, whatever works for you, I say.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Bag Bag and Knitting Meme

Aside from annoying things like work and sleep getting in the way, I've managed to knit quite a bit. I was going through my stuff the other day, and I found this project:

It's a bag made from bags! It's knit from strips of supermarket shopping bags which I've cut up (I'll show the technique in a future post) and knit. It's pretty easy to work with once you get used to it. It's just the rustling that can be a little disconcerting at first! When I first found it, I racked my brains trying to think of some use for the project. Then I realised - I can use it to keep my wool in! With that revelation, I started knitting. I knit til I ran out of strips, and then went looking for more plastic bags. I found a butt-load in the back of the cupboard that I had been hoarding for this very purpose.
This re-use, recycle stuff is all right.

I found this thing called a Meme on another blog:

Edit the list, bold for stuff you’ve done, italics for stuff you plan to do one day, and normal for stuff you’re not planning on doing.

Afghan/Blanket [working on]
Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire [not knitting but macrame]
Stockingette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL [Knit ALong. Nup. That would involve contact with others. I'm a lone knitter.]
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn [got some lined up]
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (modular knitting) [dunno what this is]
Twisted stitch pattern
Knitting with bamboo yarn [if I ever get rich]
Two end knitting [dunno what this is either]
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn [if I ever win Tatts]
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with your own handspun yarn [if I can ever be arsed]
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street) [why would you do that?? *horrified*]
Continental knitting [that is how I knit]
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental) [do it when the pattern requires]
Designing knitted garments [not very well]
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book [*snorts* yeah, right!]
Teaching a child to knit
Knitting to make money [gettin' rid of stuff I don't really want, more like]
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca [do they give personal loans for that sort of thing??]
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting [not sure what this is - thought it was the same as Fair Isle]
[Actually, I wonder if they mean naalbinding??]
Dying with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with DPNs
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Knitting with beads [not knitting, but crochet]
Long Tail Cast On [that's how I always do it!]
Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting [what's the point?]
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Intarsia [isn't this the same as Entrelac?]
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom [working on]
Thrummed knitting [dunno...]
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair [apparently that's not a hoax now]
Hair accessories
Knitting in public [not after all the sleazy horror stories I've heard!]

There! That was rather tedious, wasn't it?

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Good and Evil

I had a day off today, all to myself! So I started two projects, both fairly short ones.

1. I haven't finished sewing up the first AIDS Baby Vest yet, but I started on a second one anyway, cause I had a colour idea:

I kind of have a mean hope that I can give the knitted-but-not-sewn-up vests to Boy's Mum and she can do that bit for me. I know it's for the babies, but I hate it so much and I always stuff it up! I'm a bad, bad person! *hangs head in shame*
(The new one's really cute though, no?)

2. After finishing the B-Scarf, I decided that fun-fur is evil and I have to get rid of it all! So I went through my whole stash and I found 4 balls of the damned stuff. I immediately cast on with the ugliest one - a burnt orange:

I thought a coathanger cover would be the quickest and easiest way of disposing of this distasteful defilement of my stash! I'm working it with two strands as well, so the ball will disappear even quicker. I can only work about 4 rows before I get thoroughly fed up with the stuff and work on something else for a bit. I forced myself to do a whole ten rows in one stint, though.

This is masochistic knitting at its best!

I'm calling it the G.R.O.A.N.S. (Get Rid Of All Nasty Stuff) Cover.

I've also had some ideas over the last few weeks:
* After getting the Jean Greenhowe book Bazaar Knits, I thought of making my own stuffed goodies. I like reading, so why not make knitted books? I like Melbourne, so why not a knitted Arts Centre spire? I even wanted to make knitted cars when I saw an ad for Top Gear. (Okay, that's going a bit far, I admit it.)
* I want to make a nice, snuggly cardigan with big, wrappy-aroundy bits on the front, and I found a really good one in the Paton's Zhivago Winter Wraps book:

[Picture from: Paton's Website]

I want to add sleeves to it; I don't think that would be too hard. I just keep umming and aahing over whether I can justify the purchase of yarn when I have this in my room:

This is where I keep my wool. (Darn it, perhaps I should have put the pretty ones at the front!) See the dangerously bulging bulges? This is where my stash lives, and once it was full, I was to buy no more wool. *snorts* A while back, it must have decided it needed a beach house on my bookshelf, a wing in my wardrobe, and a conservatory on the floor next to the door. I know that some people have whole rooms full of wool, but when you live in a 1-1/2 bedroom flat with 2 other people and a face-eating cat, you gotta draw the line somewhere! Unfortunately, my policy so far when I've seen drool-worthy but expensive wool is to buy 2 balls. (If it's on sale I might buy more.) 2 balls is enough to make a scarf. I'm sick of scarves! *sighs* So the stash just sits there, festering away, and occasionally burping out acrylic clones of itself.
* I can't remember the other ideas I had right now. I'll get back to you.

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Wow .. I Finished Stuff!

A Knitting Miracle has occurred - I have finished 3 projects in 2 days! One of them was really hard, too!

Firstly, I finished the Craziest Lil' Coathanger in the World:

It was the first project I started after I finished the Babe Sweater, which was very fiddly and very white. I just wanted to go nuts! It was also a good chance to experiment with what would happen if I changed colour or changed from stockingette to garter stitch or vice versa, and what kind of effects I could get from that. It was pretty fun. I decided that it finishing it would be less annoying if I just left all the loose ends hanging, and added some fringing at the end to make it look like I did it on purpose. I really like it! I don't wanna put clothes on it!

Secondly, I finished the Urban Greenery series of coathanger covers:

I started them in June last year, but there's a very good reason why I took so long to finish them. It was the one with the black ribbon and the points that troubled me so much. I'll show you why:

Do you see any points in this picture?? I think not! I had forgotten that, with stockingette stitch, the edges usually curl up, and this effect would be even worse with a lacy edging! I don't know what I was thinking, cause I must have decided that I was too far into the piece by the time I'd noticed this to rip it out and start again. I must have thought I'd find a simple, easy way of fixing it after the knitting was finished. No such luck I'm afraid. Blocking it didn't work. (It's acrylic, duh!) Attaching a piece of ribbon to the back of each piece didn't work. Poking a piece of wire down the centre back of each one didn't work. Finally I resorted to this:

Sorry the picture isn't so good (neither is my camera) but it shows a long piece of copper wire (which thankfully I had left over from a failed macrame project) which is bent to follow the 'correct' edge, and sewed in place with black sewing thread. Yes, this was a massive pain in the arse! This is the sole reason why the trio of coathangers was left unfinished for 11 months. But today, I sucked it up. I finished it! *wipes brow* Now, it only leans back slightly wierdly all along its length. And you can only look at it from one side without crying. But I guess that won't matter when it has a cardigan over it!

Thirdly, I finished the B-Scarf, just in time for Bec's birthday! Yay! Boy helped me with the fringe. And with wrapping it. She seems to love it. She put it straight on and hasn't taken it off since. Yay!
[Sorry, I don't have a picture of this yet.]

I am sooooo ready to start some new things now!

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Updates as they happen.... for once!

I have been knitting away like a mad knitting thing lately! Knitting in the car on the way to/from work, knitting in spare moments while I'm getting ready for work, knitting while I watch TV with my flatmates, knitting while chatting with Boy on messenger! etc etc
I have also been knitting while I listen to............

MY NEW iPOD!!!!!
(Thanks to the lovely lovely friends who put in to get me one for my birthday!)
You see, I have discovered podcasting. There are podcasts about knitting! Lots of them! It's so exciting! So far, my favourite ones are:

* Lixie Knits It Live - This English girl is so adorable, I just want to eat her up! She only started in February, and the podcasts are only every couple of weeks, so I think I can catch up pretty easily.
* Lime & Violet - These crazy girls from the US talked about testicle bags, devil-wool and yarn-orgasms all in the first episode; I knew it was the podcast for me. Unfortunately though, I have about 35 eps to catch up on, they are an hour long and they come out once a week. But I think it will be worthwhile!
* The Knitting Cook - Combining two of my favourite things! A smart idea!
Ones I want to remind myself to check out are Craftypod and Proud to be Crafty (actually, they may be the same thing, I can't remember).

I'll move on, as I can hear you all snoring, to the lovely sexy pictures!

I've been working pretty hard on my first AIDS Baby Vest [see last post to find out what the hell I'm talking about] and I've nearly finished it!:

Only about 10 rows to go, and then all I have to do is sew the sides up. The sleeves are already built in, so I don't have to worry about them, just head on down each side. It went quicker and easier than I thought, and that's because I've tried to see knitting as a slightly different concept from before. When I go across rows, back and forth, back and forth, turning and plodding and grinding away, I think of each pair of rows ('out and back', as I've been thinking of it) as a single row, or single action. And I'll mark the stitch counter or pattern after each pair of rows. I've found it makes the knitting go quicker, or seem to go quicker, anyway! This probably wouldn't work for a really large project or with a stitch where it's harder to keep track of which row you are on. But it worked for me on this project, anyway!

Also, I've been pushing away hard on the B-Scarf (see last post) and I've nearly finished it! Lucky, cause you-know-who's birthday is tomorrow! Argh! But all I have to do is cast off and add the fringe (and swear on my life never to use fur yarn again!). Boy has promised to help me with the fringe - that way we can say the gift is from both of us! So that project is well on the way to all-good status.

Today I went to the big refurbishment sale at Spotlight, and this is what I bought:

Here we have:
* Knitting Essentials magazine. It has 59 patterns, not all of which are crap, and the other 100 pages are ads for different yarns. Oh well, some nice, drool-worthy shots, and at least you know how much everything si going to cost before you go. And there were some discount coupons in the back.
* some coathangers. Coathangers covers are so quick and easy to make. Instant gratifiction! And they're useful too.
* A bottle with a pressure seal. This is for my new hobby of making my own liqueurs. So far I've made Irish cream (twice), orange liqueur, strawberry liqueur and honey whiskey (twice). It's good fun! ;)
* A large jar. I got this idea last time I was at Spotlight. They had on display a huge vase made of clear glass with lots of beautiful, sexy wool inside it. I have a few balls of sexy-wool myself, and I thought it was a shame to keep it all hidden away, so I bought this jar to display them in. It has a lid so they won't get dusty, either. Brill.
* A knitting loom - a set of 4 kind of, giant Knitting Nancys, the kind I used to make Barbie clothes with when I was a kid. You can use them to make hats, scarves, boob tubes, any kind of circular knitting. I'd been coveting it for a while. I cracked it open and started working on the hat-size one, with the recommended ply wool, but it's turning out really wierd. It's much looser than I thought it would be - it even looks a bit lacy. I dunno. I'll see how it goes....
(Ironically, the ad for it promises 'no knitting'!)
* 3 balls of wool I got from the 99c bin. There was saddeningly little yarn on sale at this so-called 'sale.' I was very disappointed. The huge sale bin only had about 6 balls of scuzzy navy blue and marone acrylic at the bottom, a whole bunch of empty ball bands, and these three. Oh well, it's probaby for the best. I'm really trying to cut back. My stash has overrun the cupboard it was meant to originally occupy, and parts of it are now lurking in the bottom of my wardrobe, on my knitting pattern shelf and on the floor, cheekily in full sight!

I have been coveting a pattern in the Paton's Zhivago winter wraps [see original post], a vest-thingy with a voluminous front that you can snuggle up in, with sleeves added, but that would involve me forking out quite a bit for the wool, and lots of work, with a cardigan that's 90% done still on the needles, which I'm too scared to finish in case I stuff it up. Is there a support group for that?? I looked for a cool, huge, 60's style button for it at Spotlight today, but I didn't find one. Is that a sign?
I need help!

Addendum: Yarn Diet

Oh, by the way, I've discovered a few things while lurking on the net in the last few days. The mag that I waxed lyrical about a few posts ago, Interweave Knits, apparently has a new editor and the latest issue is not-so-good. Hopefully it's just jitters and things will settle down.

I've also discovered an amazing new website that I heard about on the Lixie Knits It podcast - Etsy. It's a bit like Ebay, but you can only buy/sell handmade items. Everything from knitted hats to toilet roll covers to fudge to badges. I've already spent hours gazing at the most amazing handmade items and coveting them desperately. I've decided I need a new purse, a painting, a body scrub, about 5 bags, a toilet seat cover, and a car rubbish bag. I just need a car to go with it. I'm going to register tonight. *gasps* The only problem is, I'm having a lot of trouble finding sellers in Australia - the search engines are very unorthodox and require a lot of bandwidth. I'm persisting.
I'm also considering committing to:

The rules can be found here. Basically, some blogosphere members are committing to go on 'yarn diets' i.e. they buy so much wool that it's just getting out of hand and they want to knit up a significant amount of their stash before they buy more. Some even have declarations such as "I last bought yarn on 3rd/blah/2007." It's a cute idea, and it reflects how I'm feeling right now too. My wool shelf is stuffed so full that I need to push the bags in with my foot every time I want to slide the door across to get to my clothes! And it's spreading! It's like some kind insidious virus. But I'm afraid of the C-word. I don't want to commit to not buying any more wool, even for a specified period of time. What if I come across some great bargain that's irrestistable? I'd fall straight off the wagon. I just can't do it right now. I have enough trouble sticking to my limit of 12 projects sometimes. Ah well, I'll just be philosophical about it. If the stash is meant to grow, it's meant to grow.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Weddings, Parties, Anything...

I've been a bit busy lately. But it's knitting weather again, and I just had to start a couple of new projects.

This is the 'B-Scarf':

It's a present for someone I know, for his/her birthday. Which may or may not be coming up soon. It's made of chunky green acrylic, pure blue wool, and eyelash yarn held together. I can't stand eyelash yarn!!!!! Or fun-fur, or feathers, or ostrich or whatever the hell you want to call the damned stuff. I have a few balls of it floating around, mostly given to me, a few I actually bought cause it was so cheap, I couldn't resist. What an idiot I was! It's such a pain in the arse to work with! Never again!!

I'm also doing a project in a charity that Boy's Mum is involved with. It's making vests for babies with AIDS in Africa. They are going to send over a shipment once they have a thousand. She gave me the pattern to make them with. Here's one I started:

They have to be made with 8-ply acrylic yarn and 4mm needles, which is a bit finer than I'm used to, and it's taking a while, but it's a worthwhile thing. I'm imagining churning out tons of them and using up my whole stash of acrylic! Yeah, right!

I'm also working on the Chunky Cardigan quite a bit, and I'm nearly finished! I'm onto the sleeves, which is the last bit!:

(I'm making both sleeves at the same time on the same needle, which is why they look like a pair of lungs!)
Well, I still have to join it all up of course, which is the hardest bit. That's where I usually end up making them look like utter crap. I really don't want to do that this time. I'm scared to finish the sleeves. The pressure is too much! Argh!


I've bought some new things over the last few weeks. Here they are:

Here we have some things I bought from Ebay, in my first international transaction!:
* a pair of 25mm needles in a really cool, sparkly golden-yellow colour. They are not as long as I thought they would be, but oh well. They are still pretty cool!
* a set of 3 stitch-holders. You can never have too many. And these are different sizes/colours, so even better.
* 2 packets of point protectors (4 in each packet; only 1 packet shown). These are really handy! They fit over the point of your needles, and they work to: a) stop the points ruining the bag you keep the knitting in; b) stop the points from poking you at random when transporting the knitting, sticking your hand in the bag, etc; c) stop the knitting from sliding off the end of the needles - the most important function for me!! They seemed quite small, but they're made of rubber and even fit on 10mm needles, which is great. I'd been wanting some for a while, but couldn't find them in the larger craft outlets anywhere, so I bought them on Ebay! They weren't that expensive though, even though they came from the U.S. I'm very happy with them!

Also, here's an update on the pattern I've bought lately (I feel I have enough and know enough about them now to call them 'pattern' instead of 'patterns', the same way a farmer would say 'walnut' or 'head of beef'. Or maybe not...) :

* Firstly we have Interweave Knits, which I bought from MagNation, a totally cool shop in the city (I typed "titally cool" at first *sniggers*). It's fantastic! Many fantasy projects, a sprinkling of What The? projects, plus a couple of practical classics thrown in. I read on a blog after I bought it that it's very highly regarded amongst the cooler bloggers, so I was very pleased with myself. I think I'll put my name down for it at MagNation. (I already have my name down for Vogue Knitting, though I'm not the kind of girl who, as soon as she receives the latest copy of a knitting mag, jumps online and blogs all about it. Aren't you glad!)
* In the middle we have Jean Greenhowe's Bazaar Knits. It features all sorts of cute little projects, like a picture frame, play balls, a lemon-shaped pincushion, cactus figures, knitted cakes, etc. Jean Greenhowe is the master of knitted dolls. This sort of thing, normally:

But I saw this book at The Wool Shop a while ago, and it was different to her normal stuff. They were all small projects and more quirky and cool than cheesy and dorky (well, the majority of them, anyway). But it was a ridiculously exhorbitant price! So I lurked on Ebay for ages, just waiting... and waiting... and copies came up all the time, but they always ended up being exhorbitantly priced. So I waited....

I had an inkling that I would probably get the best price for it in the middle of summer, and I was right! I only paid about $6.20 (inc. postage) for it. Some of the middle pages are a little water-stained and ripped, but it's still readable. Yay!
* On the right is Paton's Zhivago Summer Knits, which I couldn't help buying on the way to work the other day, even though the season is all wrong and I already have a Zhivago book with winter knits in it. But I've decided I should knit tops, as I need tops, and this one had a lovely basketweave tank right there on the front! So I did what any pattern addict would do. I got it on the old eftpos cause I didn't have ten bucks in my purse. Hehehehe. One day, the basketweave tank will be mine. Muahauauauuaua!

P.S. Check out my new userpic! ;)
P.P.S. I'm keeping my Works In Progress page much more up-to-date than before. Check that out too!