Saturday, December 31, 2005

Holy Friggin Heatwave Batman!

The temperature hit 42 degrees Celsius in the shade yesterday and the same is predicted for today. That translates to 108 degrees Fahrenheit for Americans who have yet to be dragged into the metric age. Or friggin hot in anyone's language.

So I am not expecting to finish the multi-directional scarf this year. I plan to spend the last day of 2005 in front of the fan eating icy poles and sleeping.

The scarf now measures about 185 cm - I'm planning on making it about 240 cm (or 8 feet in Americanese). Life's too short to wear skimpy scarves.

Happy 2006 everyone.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

It's 35 degrees celcius outside

And my husband complains that when I knit in the middle of summer I make him feel hot.

Go figure.

So that's why I have not yet finished the multi-directional scarf.

Of course it has nothing to do with me knitting another section in completely the wrong direction and having to rip it out.

Or going fruit picking determined to eat my money's worth of the $5 entry fee to the cherry orchard and paying the inevitable price.

It's really annoying. Even though I still feel mentally 14, my body keeps on insisting on reminding me that it is over 30 and unable to digest 3 kilograms of cherries eaten over a one hour period, the same way that is could 20 years ago.

And I bought another 1980s Australiana knittern pattern book from Ebay over Christmas. Photos coming soon.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Well that will serve me right for getting smug

Did I actually claim the multi-directional scarf was easy for mindless knitting in front of the TV?

God is obviously out to punish me for such smugness as I have absolutely zilch knitting achievement to report today. It was bad enough dropping a stitch and having to rip back an entire section to pick it up again. But then I managed to re-knit that section in completely the wrong direction, so my scarf had a bend in it. So I've had to rip it back again.

Serves me right for focusing so much on Christopher Reeve while watching Superman on DVD. Now that is a classic film. When men were men, films had plots and actresses looked like real women.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Multi-directional scarf

This is one of those patterns which gives an impressive result with surprisingly little effort. I used to be really intimidated by phrases like "short rows" thinking this was something only advanced knitters did. But at the end of the day this is a pretty simple garter-stitch scarf that one can work on pretty mindlessly while watching TV.

I am knitting it out of the ubiquitous Noro Kureyon colour 134 which is perfect for this pattern - it would be pretty pointless knitting this out of a solid colour.

I think I'm finally getting over my Noro addiction - don't get me wrong, I still love the yarn and think it is perfect for hats and scarves but I found myself thinking I might use a thinner yarn for my next jumper.

For anyone who wants the pattern, click here.

Friday, December 23, 2005

2 more hats

If my new job doesn't work out, maybe I will set up a market stall selling hats. I finished these two over the past couple of days.

The purple hat on the left is made out of an alpaca/wool/acrylic blend and is for my mother-in-law. I haven't decided if I like or loath this yarn. It feels soft and lovely but is a bit too soft to hold a garment's shape. Also, like most alpaca yarn, it sheds. So it looks and feels gorgeous at the moment but I have no faith this hat will still look good in a year's time.

The brown hat on the right is a brimless ribbed beanie made out of the "left-over" handspun possum fur/merino wool yarn that I bought to make a hat for my husband's birthday. So now we can do the boring couple thing of going out in (almost) matching hats. It's making me feel a bit better about the amount of money I spent on this yarn -- I would never have believed I could have got 2 hats out of a 110 gram skein.

Monday, December 19, 2005

It's a strange thing but possums are a protected species in Australia but an environmental threat in New Zealand which has a budding industry in producing soft, lightweight and extra-warm possum fur yarn.

The hat above was made of a handspun 50:50 possum fur/merino wool blend yarn bought from a New Zealand fibre artist on eBay.

I made the above hat as a belated birthday present for my husband, just in time for the Australian summer. The weather is predicted to hit 32 degrees Celsius (about 90 degrees Fahrenheit) tomorrow.

I still have a fair bit of yarn left so I may end up making a matching hat for myself.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Japanese South American Larger Lady Australian vest

OK, they are not the best photos but at least they are evidence that shock horror I have managed to finish something (although it could probably do with a second block on the crochet edging).

My husband is calling this my South American vest although it is made with Japanese Noro Kureyon yarn (colour 134). But it is edged with Peruvian alpaca.

I made so many adaptions to the side-to-side knit pattern (as I decided to knit it in stocking-stitch rather than garter and to adapt it to my rather large frame) that it is a bit pointless to put a link to the original pattern.

But one thing worth noting is that it doesn't take up as much yarn as you may think - I used 4 50 gram skeins of Noro and about 1/2 of a 50 gram ball of alpaca - those who take a small size may only require 3 skeins of Noro. So it may be something to consider as an alternative to the ubiquitous scarf/hat set (not that there is anything wrong with that!)

Friday, December 16, 2005

How did I survive without these?

NeedleLite Lighted Knitting Needles. Proof positive that you can buy anything on Ebay.

Perfect for knitting fun fur (as illustrated).

Only US$39.95 plus postage.

I am sure the supplier won't mind me quoting her advertisement as I have a link to the product should any reader be tempted.

NeedleLite, be the first to enjoy this new innovation in the knitting industry!

These needles are great for knitting in low-light or dark conditions. You'll never drop another stitch because of poor lighting. The gentle glow of the needles illuminates your work without disturbing others. Light-weight and easy to use. Soothing plastic needles are more comfortable than metallic needles.

LED bulb lasts 50,000 hours. Long-life batteries are installed and ready to use. Typical battery life is 48 hours of continuous use. Easy instructions for battery replacement are included.

This product makes a great gift for any knitting afficionado.

Seller accepts PayPal only.

Buyer pays $5.75 for US Postal Service Priority Mail shipping.

We have a NO RETURN policy.

(Jeez, wonder why?)

Tempting as it sounds, I think I might restrain myself. Although after all the hype, I might consider a set of Addi Turbos.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Blocking the vest

Much to my own surprise I seem to have overcome some of the procrastination that has been weighing me down the past few weeks, and have finished the basic knitting for the vest. Above is a picture of part of the vest being blocked (I couldn't get the right angle to take a photo of it fully stretched out). It only took 4 skeins of Noro Kureyan (colour 134).

The original pattern calls for it to be edged in i-cord and I have some very nice pinky purple yarn that goes well with the Noro. I've started making the i-cord on a kid's French Knitting Bee (like the old Knitting Nancy) but I don't think it will look quite right. I'm now thinking of a simple single-crochet edging instead.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

So that's what a wool-winder is for...

Have you ever looked at those old-fashioned pictures of one person holding a skein of yarn and another winding a ball of wool and wondered "why?"

Or looked at those strange mechanical wool-winding apparatus for sale on EBay and wondered "who would buy this?"

Well I have now discovered the answers to these questions. I purchased the above skein of yarn, a glorious blend of merino wool and New Zealand possum fur (don't scream; in New Zealand possums are pests destroying the native flora and fauna, and have to be culled, so it is good to know their lovely coats are being put to a positive use rather than just rotting in the ground) off eBay. It came in one very long skein that simply had to be wound into a ball so I could use it.

"Shouldn't be too hard," I thought (first mistake) as I slipped the skein around my neck (second mistake) and began to wind a ball.

At first it was easy. Then the yarn began to tangle. I tugged it (third mistake) and nearly strangled myself.

I could just see the news headlines. "Woman strangled to death by own knitting. Trans-Tasman Trade Dispute. Australia blames New Zealand for exporting dangerous goods. New Zealand claims it cannot be responsible for Australian stupidity."

I took the yarn off my neck and tried to work the tangles free. But it was too late. The damage had been done. And a 15 minute job stretched to 3 hours last night as I painstakingly worked the yarn through every twist and tangle, determined not to cut it.

By 10pm I had a beautiful ball of yarn. And was too tired to start knitting.

But tomorrow is a brand new day. The yarn is destined to be a hat for my husband; a belated birthday present (yes, for the middle of Australia's summer).

It's too late to start knitting tonight. I've spent the whole evening looking at wool winders on EBay.

Update 14/12/05

And as can be seen here, I actually started getting some knitting done today. This photo does not do this yarn justice; it's far less 'yellow' in real life.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Why yes, I am still alive

And I even knitted a few more rows on the Noro vest.

Monday, December 05, 2005

When I was 14 I wanted this dress

Now I wish I had the figure to wear it. I'm a patriotic dag!