Monday, October 31, 2005

And just in time for the Australian summer...

Yes, another woollen hat. Like I really one.

It's not the best photo; it doesn't show just how rich the green and dark purples are. But it is really cosy and warm which is just perfect (not) for our current weather (they are predicting 32 degrees celcius in Melbourne on Wednesday which is about 90 in American measurements).

I wonder if there is a Noro Anonymous group with a 12-step plan.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Yarn sale on Ebay

For acrylic yarn this is actually very nice and soft which is probably the reason I was tempted to buy it in the first place. But like all acrylic yarn I buy on impulse on sale at Spotlight, it was a mistake and it has been taking up valuable stash room ever since. So when Ebay offered free gallery listing this weekend, I figured I'd bite the bullet and list it for sale at half the price I paid for it. Given that the postage alone is going to cost $8.50 I don't know if anyone will buy it. But if they don't I'll really bite the bullet and donate it to my local op shop.

I knitted a toddler jumper out of it and it came up well except I somehow stuffed-up sewing the sleaves (I was so busy trying to match stripes, I somehow missed the fact I had completely misaligned the sleaves.) So I had to undo the sewing and acrylic, even quality acrylic like this, is not as forgiving of mistakes as wool.

I am such a yarn snob. If it isn't 100 percent natural (or pretty close to it) I find I just can't get into knitting it.

And now a pic!

Now that I've got the camera back...

While it looks like a rectangular bag, it is actually the Noro rib hat, probably about 2/3's complete. Most of the knitting has been done during Superman 1 & 2 (my husband bought the box set this week) so hopefully I will finish it tonight during Superman 3.

I'd forgotten what good films they were. Not only do they have dialogue and plot but they have actors that look like real people.

Another WIP

So have I finished off Husky yet? Have I blocked and finally finished off the lace cardigan? How about the Mohair wrap?

Of course not. I've been busy playing with my new Noro wool.

I thought I'd be adventurous and do a slightly more complicated lace scarf. But about 10 rows in it struck me that thick Noro yarn hardly showed off the lace pattern to its best effect and the lace design didn't show off the beauty of the Noro wool to its best either.

So I frogged the start of the scarf and started knitting up a ribbed hat. I'm about halfway done. No photos yet because the digital camera batteries finally died and my husband had a conniption when I went to change them. You see I might break the camera doing such technical things...

Mind you I am the one who has worked out how to use the internet to set up a blog for free while he is still building a server. Which I am sure will eventually be used for a far more technically superior website at some future time. Being an impatient woman I just wanted to get going with something that was "good enough" for the intervening period. I'll let you know when he finally gets his site up. And we can see how far back my archives go...


Have you noticed how men and women use technology so differently? There is this whole blog world out there of women who have worked out how to set up a basic blog, and then they form communities with other women bloggers and support each other when they have problems (technical and personal) and before you know it there is an international knit-along to help someone through their divorce/miscarriage/whatever.

Men meanwhile use their blogs to show off their technical prowess or to link to porn sites or discuss female anatomy in minute detail (I stumbled onto a whole blog devoted to the 'camel toe' - where women wear way too tight pants that shows the outline of their genitals - I'm not making this up!)

Anyway, back to knitting. I've decided I'm going to do a matching ribbed scarf. Easy and it will look good. I'll probably go for a thicker rib; maybe 3 or 4 stitches.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Blogaholic

My name is Maggie B and I've become a Blogahaloic.

I used to come home from work, download my emails, glance at the news and then settle down with my knitting in front of TV.

I now come home from work, download my emails and start reading my favourite blogs. Often the blogs contain links to other blogs. Some of these other blogs are added to my favourites. Four hours later my husband asks me if I'm coming to bed or staying on the computer all night.

At least it keeps me away from the expense of browsing Ebay.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

So much for my good intentions of finishing off some of my Works in Progress. Look what arrived in the post today.

There is soemthing seriously wrong when it is cheaper to buy yarn made in Japan from Scotland, even taking into account postage costs. This would have cost AUD$72-$75 in Australia but I paid well under $50 including postage when I bought it from EBay. OK that was a particularly good price even for EBay, but even so, it is generally cheaper and there is a far better colour range on the EBay site than anything we can get here. Of course you have to beware of scammers but it's quite safe to get something via the big sellers.

This specific bag of yarn travelled from Japan (Asia), all the way to Scotland (Northern Europe) before flying to Australia, possibly flying over Japan again in the process. Fortunately it does not look at all travelworn.

For people who are into the details, this is Noro Kureyon colour 153. And I think a hat and scarf are definitely in order.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Husky update

As you can see the body is fully finished and I'm working on my first sleave. It's actually my second go at the sleave - the first attempt produced a far too tight sleave for an oversized comfy jumper.

Being a total knitaholic and blogaholic I have joined the Dusting Off Those Works In Progress blog where we own up to all our half-started projects and yarn stashes and try and work our way through the pieces.

Many of the other members are working on far more advanced projects but I'm trying not to be intimidated.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Knitters for Workers' Rights

Unfortunately I can't report too much more progress on the Husky jumper. I picked up the stitches on one armhole and am about six inches down the sleave. I found it worked best if I used double-pointed needles to pick up the stiches and knit the first few rounds, then I changed to a small (40cm) circular needle. The knitting is much faster on the cicular needle than the dpns but I find I have to literally pick up the body of the jumper and rotate it each round, so it's a little awkward. Still I'm getting there.

I also lashed out and bought five skeins of Noro Kureyon (colour 153) on Ebay from England. So much for burning through my stash! But the Husky jumper is well underway and I had also sold the Cleckheaton Belle that had been staring reproachfully at me in my stash. Besides even with postage the yarn was at least 33 percent cheaper than buying it locally in Australia. Look at all the money I saved!

Fortunately this was also the week my husband decided to buy a new laptop (which admittedly was a great bargain for him), so he wasn't in a position to criticise my yarn purchasing. Maybe I should take advantage of this and purchase some more - or maybe I should watch my spending so we can afford to pay the mortgage and council rates!

I'm not sure whether I'll attempt to incorporate the Noro yarn into a jumper/cardigan (I have 20 skeins of Jo Sharp yarn also in my stash) or go for the ever reliable hat and scarf combo

Knitting for me is a real escape from the reality of the world which can be quite nasty and depressing at times. In Australia our government is proposing quite draconian counter-terror legislation and Industrial Relations reforms, so I've spent a fair bit of time dealing with union stuff at work and writing on my other blog Inside The Asylum. But I really need a break so my plans for tomorrow include going to the gym (to get my fitness back up) and a good stretch of knitting, listening to the BBC version of Lord of the Rings. I shall escape into Middle Earth with my thick Husky jumper and hopefully emerge warm and relaxed on the other side.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Knitting at the speed of light

The Husky jumper is my TV jumper, the one I mindlessly knit while watching Dancing with the Stars and All Saints. Which may explain why I absent-mindedly sewed an armhole seam to the neckline today. It's hard to concentrate on two things at once.

Once I unpicked that disaster and actually managed to sew the shoulder seams together and slipped it on, I was pleasantly surprised to find the shell of this jumper was not quite as hideous as I feared it may be. In fact I think it may turn out OK, especially once I steam block the front. If that fails, I will fall back on my idea of covering up the dodgey parts with motifs.

Any true knitter will despise the simplicity of the design, the lack of shaping and the fact it is done in nearly all stocking stitch (excluding ribs at the hips, cuffs and neck). And much of the knitting is done in the round which minimises the need to purl. Or sew the wrong seams to each other. Not to mention the lack of planning. But I am reasonably confident that I will not run out of wool and it id deliciously satisfying to work on a garment which knits up so quickly.

I'm an ADD knitter. Deal with it.

Knitty 'surprise'

OK, I really am going to post a picture of Husky soon. I've nearly finished the front. But I got distracted by an email advising me that Knitty had put its "Fall surprises" up on its website.

Surprise is definitely the right word. The felted pumpkins I suppose are suitable given the upcoming Halloween celebrations, although they certainly left it late for anyone who wants to whip one up.

And one can only feel sorry for the poor lady who is knitting herself breast implants following her mastectomy (no I am not lying; check-out the site yourself).

But Yorick, a white felted scarf that looks like a 3-year-old's drawing of a two headed snake? What the ???

I've already sent the link to You Knit What???

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Retro knitting

I just had to frog half the front of my Husky jumper due to a slight mislcalculation as I tried to do the neckline (do'h).

So to distract myself from the disaster I found the following patterns, all available for sale on EBay Australia. At the risk of showing my true daggy nature, I will admit to quite liking the stripes and heart jumpers shown in the first catalogue. I'll pass on the aviator caps and hot pants though.

I feel compelled to point out that all these patterns were put out by Patons.

But before anyone, especially any knitters, start laughing too loudly, I suspect, shrugs, ponchos and capelets from the 2000s (and have I seen some AWFUL examples on other knitting blogs) will be mocked by the next generation.

On the felting disaster news, I put my petals in for another cycle with my gym gear that needed a wash. They are beginning to look a bit more like proper felt but I suspect another cycle is still required.

A felting failure

As any craftsperson with access to either magazines or the internet knows, felting is THE thing to be doing right now. And the ultimate most desirable wool for felting with is the extremely expensive but gorgeous Noro Kureyon.

Now there is no way I would have been brave or foolhardy enough to use Noro Kureyon for my first attempt at felting EXCEPT for the fact that I had a mere half a ball left which couldn't be used for anything except possibly some trim on a beanie. So when I stumbled upon this pattern for making felt poppies, I figured it was worth giving it a go.

I thought I couldn't fail. I was using THE wool; I had chosen a small simple project; I had a lingerie bag and a washing machine full of old towels ready to be blasted with hot and cold water on the fastest cycle.

THREE cycles later, having thoroughly soaked the pieces and vigorously agitated them with alternately hot and cold water, using detergent, the best that can be said is that the pieces are barely semi-felted. They are extremely clean though. Maybe I really was born to clean?? (See two posts back).

I couldn't believe this. I am the person who managed to semi-felt a jumper on its first wash - I had used cold water but obviously put it a little too close to the gas heater to dry. Yet when I tried to felt the proper wool - nothing doing!

The petals are beautifully coloured and an interesting shape so I may incorporate them into the Husky jumper.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Poodle problem

Personally I'm still recovering from the suggestion that I was born to clean (see previous post). I don't think anyone who knows me would agree with this statement.
But I cannot be as traumatised as the poor kid forced to model these garments. Not only are they hideous, she has probably snapped a couple of fingers putting the garment on and off. An obvious contender for You Knit What.
Meanwhile in my own knitting, I have finished the front of the Husky jumper and am now on the back. I think it is going to be pretty shapeless and hideous in its own way - but at least quite warm.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Born to clean???

You are dishcloth cotton.
You are Dishcloth Cotton.You are a very hard worker, most at home when
you're at home. You are thrifty and seemingly
born to clean. You are considered to be a Plain
Jane, but you are too practical to notice.

What kind of yarn are you?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Balancing Work, Family & Knitting Life

Well I'm back at work and trying to walk 10,000 steps a day, so my knitting time has been severely curtailed. But I've done about 40 cm on my Husky pullover which is pretty good. Unfortunately all the joins from the spoilt ball are showing through - I'm contemplating how to cover this. My current plan is to sew on a range of patches/motifs. I'm not really into knitting embroidery but I'm thinking a border of Australiana patches might look quite cool in a totally daggy way (in keeping with the oversized rugged sweater look). We'll see what I feel like in a week's time.

As this is a pretty bulky project, I'm just doing it on the couch in front of the TV and have started a baby cardigan to drag around to work, etc. This is one of my favourite patterns - I've already made 3 of them in various yarns. It's very easy but gives a professional look result and I'm itching to see how it works with the self-patterning sock yarn. Two of my friends are currently pregnant, so I'm sure I will have someone to give it to.

But in my usual ADD manner I may be putting this pattern aside to knit a couple more CPSU beanies. One of my comrades is currently in hospital having brain surgery. She's bought a heap of proper chemo caps but I like the idea of making her a union beanie - particularly as she has left me on the union exec filling in for her while she selfishly has a range of treatments for her brain tumour. Another comrade couple has just given birth to a new sprog (an extremely cute looking boy). Of course I could just hurry up with the baby cardigan for him but I think a CPSU Beanie may be more appropriate given the nature of my relationship with his parents.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Don't you hate it when...

I am so unimpressed with the current ball of Husky I am knitting with. I am only half-way through and there have been at least 8 breaks.

Did I mention that Husky is a Patons yarn?

One they no longer make.

Start of my Husky jumper

Just realised that I hadn't posted a photo of my latest project. It'svery thick, warm wool - 14 ply - which I'm knitting on 6mm needles.

Let's fly away...

Not that I would ever try to compete with that fabulous website "You Knit What???" but the truth is that there are simply too many hideous knitting patterns in the world for one site to cope with. Besides, I've emailed them this pic already.

I'm trying to decide what is more offensive -- the fury wings or the bow.

I picked up the pattern for free at my local Spotlight - obviously no-one would pay for such a hideous pattern - or would they? I saw an extremely elderly woman clutching a copy of this pattern and selecting a blue and green yarn combination.

It's terrible what dementia can do to a person.

Manywhile in my non-hideous knitting world, I've got about 17cm of my 14-ply Husky yarn sweater done. Got to love those fast-knitting yarns. And it is 100 percent wool in a light-grey and definitely not hideous.

In my opinion.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Every cloud has a silver lining

I told you I was crap at working out knitting gauge. I started the Maggie B sized Gabi jumper and fortunately twisted the stitches when I joined them together.

This is normally a very unfortunate thing to do as it means you have to rip out everything and start again from scratch. But I thought it was looking a bit big even for a Maggie B sized jumper, so I slipped the first few twisted rows over my head and discovered that it was literally 50 stitches too big for my hips.

Hopefully I've got it right now as I don't think the Husky will stand up well to another unravel.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Cleckheaton Belle yarn for sale on EBay

I'm listing some of the yarn that I should never have bought and will never use on EBay, hoping to recover some of the cost - or at least reduce my stash.

Baby scrapyarn hat

I couldn't cope with the tiny amount of sockyarn left over but didn't know what I could do with it - 6-ply is not a common ply yarn. There was't even enough yarn to make a baby beanie. But I found a tiny ball of grey yarn that looked like it was thinner than 8-ply and thicker than 4-ply. Hmm. That yarn turned out to be just enough for a baby beanie brim. I then knitted up the sockyarn. There wasn't quite enough to finish the hat so the last couple of rounds are with some scrap 8-ply yarn. It seems to work :)

But for the last couple of days I've been itching to start another (shock-horror) ADULT-sized jumper with some 14-ply Patons Husky I picked up on EBay a few months ago. While I proudly also found a pattern for Husky wool at the local Op Shop, I've actually decided to just knit to my own pattern. I'm bigger than the biggest size listed in the pattern book and I've become quite fond of knitting in the round and avoiding seam sewing. So I'm going to do a Maggie B sized version of my Gabi jumper. This meant (shock-horror) knitting a tension patch (a tension square would have been a bit too much for me). I found I got 16 stiches per 10 cm on 6 mm needles and was able to calculate the number of stitches to cast on to fit around my hips (and NO, I'm not going to admit how many that is). Hopefully I'll have enough yarn to knit a whole jumper - otherwise I'll have to find another yarn for the sleeves or chest.

Another reason why I hate Patons Patterns

I have submitted these photos to You Knit What??? What is really sad is that they all come out of current Pastons knitting books and are not meant to be an ironic joke.

I can't seem to upload a decent picture but this is a link to the ugliest knitting book for 2005 - Metro. Sewing together knitted squares and rectangles is not hip. It's just lazy.

Monday, October 03, 2005

You Knit What???

Just found the funniest knitting site to link to.

Just when you thought you'd found the most hideous pattern on the planet...

Noro Hat Complete :)

Ooh! I am so pleased with how this turned out. Noro yarn is SO yummy. I ended up using about 1 1/2 balls of Kureyon, colour 134. Click here for the pattern (as usual I took someone else's idea and changed it completely to make it my own).

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Mmm... Noro Kureyon

I feel like Homer saying "Mmm... donuts".

No wonder Noro Kureyon is so well-loved. I was afraid it was going to be one of those over-rated experiences but the yarn is simply gorgeous. Quite apart from those RICH colours and the self-striping nature of the yarn, it's really interesting to knit with.

It's certainly no beginner yarn. It is 100 percent wool spun in a way where the yarn goes from tight to loose, which I thought I would hate but actually works quite well. I can see why it would felt beautifully although I'm not planning to do this myself this time.

And did I mention the beautiful rich colours?

That one ball you see cost almost as much as all the yarn for the Gabi jumper. And I'll be using two for this hat. This is truly decadant knitting. I would have trouble justifying buying enough yarn for an adult-sized jumper but there are people who knit cat beds out of this stuff! Click here for proof. Talk about spoilt pussies.

I'm doing a ribbed beanie using 4.5mm needles. I have already altered the pattern as I cannot understand why you would start k4, p2, k2, etc as you would then end up with a really thick ridge of six knit stitches in a row. I've cast on 100 stitches and am simply k2, p2, k2, etc all the way around. And obviously I'm doing the whole lot in Noro.

If it turns out to be a bit big I will semi-felt the hat.

Even when I try and knit a tension square I never seem to get the calculations right, so I'm just following my instincts.

Bite me.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Gabi Jumper Complete

This still needs to be blocked but overall I am quite happy how it turned out - especially since I was not following any pattern! In the end I only have about 1/3 ball of purple and 1/4 ball of the multi-coloured yarn left over which is not enough for a hat for a toddler - although I am sure I will work these remnants into another scrap-yarn project. I'm thinking of using them to decorate the ends of a scarf.

I have the horrible feeling that with the novelty yarn and large stitches this jumper represents the ideal Spotlight project and will be looked down upon by the knitting purists. It certainly no heirloom item to be handed down the generations.

But given the rate kids grow it hopefully will serve its purpose for a season.

Do you like this jumper? A free pattern (for non-commercial use) is available here.