Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Back to my own knitting

Yes I am still knitting myself. When I'm not ripping it back out.

I know it looks like a totally warped scarf that is wandering off in all directions but my current project is a side-to-side vest knitted in Noro Yarn. Yes, I too hope it looks a lot better when it is blocked and edged and finished. I'm probably almost half-way through the knitting.

I really don't know how it will all work out in the end as the original pattern was all garter-stitch but I thought that looked a bit home-made and amateur, so I'm adapting the pattern to a stocking stitch. And crossing my fingers and praying. And re-starting the project four times.

But hey, it's Noro wool. It looks and feels great. Whatever the pattern.

Patronisation of a Nation

I am proud to state that I never once considered knitting this monstrosity. Perky animals, birds and flags are one thing but this crosses the boundaries of any semblance of good taste. Whatever decade we are talking about.

The Aborigine is naked but devoid of facial features. I think he is supposed to be holding a spear but it looks like he's trying to roast a marshmallow over the tiniest wimpiest most American-cartoon-style fire imaginable.

And his boomerangs have shrunk into a silly trim on the sleeves and base of the jumper.

And this jumper is being modeled by an over-groomed Caucasian who has spent way too much time under the hair-dryer. WTF???

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Queenslander Fair

Today's picture is another Liz Gemmell original, this time taken from Aussie Fair: Simple Fair Isle Knitting With Australian Motifs.

Liz has designed a garment in honour of each state. This cardigan is for Queensland - hence the pineapple and palm tree motifs.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Aussie Mates Knitting Bag

As you can see from my current knitting bag, I've never really got over from the 1980s. While it may look vintage 1980s kitsch, I actually bought it only a few weeks ago from a souvenir store in Swanston Street, Melbourne. It was supposed to be a present for my American sister-in-law but my husband seemed to think it was too childish for her. So I happily kept it for myself.

The knitting above is my current project - a 1980s-style vest in Noro yarn. It's knitted from side-to-side, so the stripes are vertical rather than horizontal. A lot of my recent knitting and frogging has been due to me trying to alter the pattern from garter-stitch to stocking-stitch. I think I have it right now. (Famous last words.)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Remember when Australia won the America's Cup?

And we all stayed up until 4am to watch a bloody yacht race?

And the well-inebriated prime minister, Bob Hawke, appeared on TV and uttered the immortal line: "I tell you what, any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum."

(No, I can't imagine Howard saying that today either.)

It was 1983 and the queen of 1980's Australian knitwear design, Liz Gemmell, had to mark the occasion in her own way. In her own words:

"Knitted in Australia's colours of green and gold, this jumper brings to mind the unforgettable victory of Australia II in the America's Cup. The yoke takes its inspiration from the spinnaker of the famous yacht and is worked in picture knitting. AUSTRALIA is worked in Fair Isle method."

It's times like this that I am just so proud to be an Australian!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Little Aussie

This gem comes from The Australian Knitting Collection which is described as "an exclusive designer collection of 'Austrliana' knitting patterns. Specially produced by Softly" (a brand of wool washing detergent).

Just in case you couldn't tell by the hair, the book was published in 1984. I'm not sure if it was ever sold or if it was a freebie in return for buying x bottles of Softly. It's certainly quite a substantial booklet and features works by Australian designers of the day -- Jenny Kee, Lucia Russon and Lynette Murphy. I picked it up for $2.25 plus postage on eBay and consider it one of my best value purchases.

While there are far more kitsch patterns in the book, I love to imagine what the model - who is probably now about 30 - thinks when he looks back at this blow-dried hair photo of himself.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Proud Aussie Knitter

I haven't got much knitting news to report today (I think I'm frogging faster than I'm knitting lately), so I've decided to start a new series to showcase my collection of Australiana knitting patterns that I've gradually built up through purchases on Ebay.

One has to love the combination of 1980s style and patriotism.

Today I am featuring the cover photo from Paton's 'Proudly Australian'. I bought this pattern with the intention of one day knitting this jumper for my American inlaws.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Back to the old Husky

In many ways it was good I had the distraction of the Noro yarn and feather and fan scarf. Because Husky reached a disaster point and I needed a break.

After 3 attempts, I finally got one of the sleaves the right shape and length. I then slipped one the jumper to try it on, only to find that it was way too tight under the arm. Arghh!!!

I knew what I had to do, but I could barely manage it. I had to frog my perfect sleave, unpick the perfectly sewn shoulders and unravell a few rows of both the front and back. I then had to reknit the front and back so each was about four rows longer than previously, thus increasing the length of the armhole.

I finally faced the task last night. I am now almost back to where I was a month ago. Two steps forward, one step back; treading water in the knitting world.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Disclaimer - stolen button

See that new "Fun Fur is Muppet Murder" button? I saw it on another knitting blog, almost wet myself laughing, and downloaded it to my PC. My aim was to write to the blog-owner and ask if I could also use it as it was so funny.

Well for some reason I had to leave my computer immediately after I downloaded it and I forgot whose blog I stole it from. It wasn't one of the blogs I regularly read and I can't seem to stumble into it again.

So 1/ I am not claiming responsibility for the sheer brilliance of that button; and
2/ If you are the creator, please let me know. I hope you let me continue to use your artwork and I will give you full credit.

I decided to put the button on my site despite not being able to confirm permission from the copyright owner as I believe anyone with that sentiment would want it shared.

If you are the original creator and I am wrong, please let me know.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Feather and Fan Scarf Complete!

The film on Thursday night, a Japanese anime called Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust, required far too much watching to allow much knitting. Normally I don't like these amimes - the Japanese tend to channel all their repressed emotions into the most disgustingly violent and sexually perverse cartoons. But this one, although it had a bit of violence and sexual undertones, was actually quite good.

I was able to get a little knitting done in the Friday meeting; in between working the Power Point presentation and an answering a few questions about the implications of new tax legislation.
But in the end, most of the knitting was done while watching - or listening to - a DVD of the third Harry Potter film.

The scarf's final length is 94 inches (235 cm). I don't know how most people block scarves (I never have in the past) but I spread out a heap of towels on the floor of the living room and pinned it in place. It seemed to work.

I'm modeling the scarf with a ribbed hat made out of the same yarn (Noro colour 153). I'm quite pleased with how it turned out in the end. Just in time for the Australian summer!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

At least something constructive was achieved in the meeting

Feather and Fan: currently 65 inches (162cm) in length; about 1/2 ball of Noro to go.

One thing I've always liked about telephone conference meetings is that I can sit and knit and know that something constructive is being achieved, no matter what crud is coming down the line.

I think some of my colleagues doubted my ability to knit and talk at the same time. Until I demonstrated this recently during a two-day face-to-face meeting.

The added bonus is that I got a lot of my scarf done in the process. If there is a decent show on TV, I might even finish it tonight. But then the question is what I will do in tomorrow afternoon's meeting.

Maybe start on another hat?

I think I have to attend way too many meetings.

Other people doodle or send text messages or sleep with their eyes open. I knit. But somehow this is regarded as less professional. At least by people who don't know you very well. Fortunately I now mainly hang around people who know me well and are willing to put up with my idiosyncrasies.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Half-way there: Feather and Fan

As of tonight, the Feather and Fan scarf is 92cm or 36 inches in length. So I'm about half-way done. I hate short scarfs; they always seem too cheap and wimpy unless I can wrap them around my neck with a decent length hanging down.

The other good thing about Feather and Fan is that it is fulfilling my desire to make a chunky 1970s-style crochet scarf. Because while this may be knitting, the lacework on a 10-ply yarn is extremely chunky. And the Noro yarn has such groovy psychadelic colours.

I haven't knitted as much as I would have liked because of the humid weather. Even if I can cope with knitting wool, my husband or work colleagues yell at me for making them hot by knitting in front of them. What the ???? So it becomes a secret hidden pastime, much like reading a really good novel in the bathroom.

Speaking of which, I'm reading Ursula le Guin's Changing Planes. She clearly came up with the concept while waiting at the airport for a delayed flight, wishing she could just close her eyes and visit another world. So that's what she does in this book. Well actually she visits lots of different worlds or planes of existance. It doesn't have the depth of many of her other novels and short stories but she demonstrates her incredible imagination in conjuring up new worlds. One gets the impression that she is "trying out" various new worlds that may or may not be expanded on in a later book.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Feather and Fan

I haven't blogged for the last couple of days because I haven't been knitting much the last couple of days. In a typical Melbourne way the weather jumped from a cool just getting over winter temperature to a full burst of summer, totally bypassing spring in the process.

But we've had a cool change and I can get back to knitting without my husband complaining about the sight of me knitting making him hot.

(Melbourne jokes: If you don't like the weather, wait an hour. It will change. Suitable clothing for a typical Melbourne day: shorts, t-shirt, thick jumper, raincoat, gum boots.)

I had this urge to try out the feather and fan scarf pattern using my Noro yarn. I thought 58 stitches would produce a way too wide scarf (it was designed for a much thinner yarn), so I am doing it over 38 stiches - ie: 2 pattern repeats with an extra knit stitch at each end.

I really liked the psychadelic 1960s effect of the pattern and Noro colours.

And I am relieved that the girls over at You Knit What deem that Feather and Fan is acceptable for accessories. The worrying thing is I am contemplating a jumper in this pattern.