Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Australian made New Zealand yarn Irish Hiking Scarf

Yay!!! Finally a photo which captures the colour of the yarn. Isn't it just so, well, GRAPE???

Don't tell anyone but this is one of those patterns that looks way more complex than it is to actually do. You only have to use the cable needle three times every eight rows. It's knitting up very quickly.

As can be seen, the posmerino is taking the cables very well. It is extremely warm - I hope my knittee lives in an area with cold winters!

It's certainly an international scarf - the pattern is Irish, the yarn is from New Zealand, it's being made in Australia and will end up in the United States.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

And the cables continue

It's really hard to capture the colour of this yarn. The official colour is grape. It's a sort of browny purple which makes sense as it is a natural brownish yarn which has been over-dyed.

I started having a panic attack about whether the colour and style would suit my secret pal. Then I found this picture on her blog. I think it is safe to say that she likes grape and cables :)

The cables are coming up quite nicely. I knitted most of this on the tram this morning. It's a lovely thick yarn that knits up very quickly. It is incredibly warm - a jumper made out of this would just be too much for Melbourne. I hope my knittee is in an area which gets cold in winter.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Blonde moment

I have been spending a fair bit of time reading American websites and knitting patterns, which refer to everything in terms of inches, rather than centimetres. So I am used to automatically multiplying and dividing everything by 2.5 as I switch between American and Australian measurements. (1 inch = ~2.5cm)

I needed to buy a 2mm circular needle for knitting socks and through experience have found the 100cm-length needles are best for the Magic Loop technique. So do I buy a 100cm-length 2mm needle? No, I absent-mindedly automatically divide 100cm by 2.5 and buy a 40cm-length 2mm needle instead. And don't notice until I am home, miles from the store.

American cultural imperialism strikes again!

Scarf pattern chosen - Irish Hiking Scarf

While browsing through the links of the other ISE 4 participants I stumbled upon the Irish Hiking Scarf, a classic simple 3-cable scarf that looks seriously cool. I fell in love with it at once and decided to try the pattern with the posmerino yarn.

While I'm only one repeat into the pattern, I'm happy to report that the stitch definition is holding up fine. And it turns out to be one of those patterns where the end result looks far more complex than the knitting actually is. I may have to make one of these for myself as well as my knitting partner...

Friday, March 23, 2007

Scarfs, scarfs, scarfs

Well Danica is going along nicely - as I suspected it showcase the beauty and variety of the Noro Kueryon very well. It's one of those patterns which is just complex enough to not be boring and simple enough to not be frustrating. It would be great for using up scraps of yarn also.

Pictured on the left is the Posmerino yarn I have selected for my secret pal. I haven't decided on a pattern yet. Apart from the fact is is a lovely soft yarn, being a combination of possum fur and merino yarn it is probably something she hasn't yet encountered. I am tempted by Illusions but will need to test if the stitch definition is sufficient. A simple rib would probably showcase the yarn best but that seems a little simple for the scarf exchange.

I received a lovely email from the person knitting for me with lots of questions about my likes and dislikes. This is the email I sent back.

Hi Juli,
Thanks for your email.
I want you to have fun knitting the scarf so please make sure you choose a pattern and yarn you enjoy.

Do you want a winter weight, or lighter scarf??
I live in Melbourne, Australia - home to four seasons in one day - but we don't get snow or temperatures below freezing. So maybe a lighter scarf (I've knitted way too many too warm scarfs for myself LOL)
What sort of scarf do you really enjoy wearing -- more plain, or interesting patterns like lace, cables, textured, etc???
The only thing I really dislike are short scarfs - I'm a long and skinny scarf kind of girl. I don't do much lace or cable knitting myself, so either would be a treat, but I also love nice simple ribs - please choose a pattern you enjoy knitting.
Fringe or no fringe?? It's something that a gal either loves or hates, it seems. lol.
This is really something I think depends on the yarn and pattern - I used to love fringes and I think they look good on simple rib scarfs, but they can be a bit excessive on other scarfs. Probably no fringe - unless you think the pattern calls for it (I'm not being very helpful, am I?)
Do you prefer a more bulky or thinner type scarf??
I'd probably prefer a thinner scarf - but if you fall in love with a soft bulky yarn I won't complain!
Sounds absolutely gorgeous. However as I am a klutz and occaissionally have to wash my scarfs it's probably best to not include them.
Any other details you can give me so I pick the perfect yarn and pattern???
I prefer strong 'gem' colours and a soft natural yarn (wool, alpaca, cashmere, silk blend, etc). Please pick something you enjoy knitting with as I suspect that will also be what I enjoy wearing.
All the best

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Well I heard back from my exchangee and I have the funny feeling we have a lot in common. You see she already has a number of scarfs knitted out of Noro already in her wardrobe, but she doesn't tend to wear them as much as the softer scarfs. She told me to just knit whatever I felt comfortable with (nice exchangee!)

So I have decided to save Danica for another friend and put in an order for some Possum merino yarn. Not only is it super soft, but it is unlikely to be a yarn she has ever encountered before (she lives in America)

Now I just have to find a pattern that showcases the beauty of the yarn. I suspect a simple rib would be best but is it complex enough for the exchange?

I haven't yet heard from the person who is knitting for me but I am not panicking... there was a hiccup with the mail-out for the group I am in, so I emailed the hostess to let her know I hadn't yet heard from my partner. Or maybe she's just away from her computer for a few days.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

International Scarf Exchange 4 - let the knitting begin!

The International Scarf Exchange 4 is finally off and running. I received details of my exchangee, including the following:

7. Colours you like. Turquoise, Purple, Red, Orange, Green, Black

8. Colours you hate. Yellow, Gold

9. Fibres you like. Soft wools

I looked at my just started Danica scarf which I am knitting out of a Noro Kureyon colourway that seems to incorporate every "liked" and none of the "hated" colours.


I checked out my exchangee's blog which included lots of photos of brightly coloured socks. There is no doubt that the colour of the Noro yarn would dovetail nicely with her knitted items.

But... she specifically said she liked soft wools and Noro can be a little prickly. Except I also love soft wools and still love Noro.

Noro is a funny yarn - people either absolutely love it (like me) or just don't 'get it' (poor souls).

I decide to email my exchangee and ask her if she likes Noro. If the answer is yes, the Danica scarf will be for her. If she doesn't, I just might have an excuse to purchase some extra-soft Possum fur yarn to play with.

Either way, it's a win-win knitting scenario for me!

(PS: Apologies for no photos - the camera batteries are currently being recharged.)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Stella irony

Unless you happened to be blind, deaf AND living under a rock, no-one in Australia could have missed the story this week about shoppers going into a frenzy over the sale of a range of Stella McCartney's clothes at Target. Fashionistas who would normally die rather than admit they shopped at a budget chainstore queued for hours and broke into fist fights over the clothes. Within hours some of the key items were being listed on eBay for over-hyped prices. Read more here.

Today, five days after the shopping frenzy, I popped into Camberwell Target to check out their homewear sale and was surprised to see racks and racks of the Stella McCartney clothes on display. Clearly many of the items had either not been sold on the first day or had been quickly returned by shoppers. While there were no coats, there were plenty of the beaded olive dresses, silk tops, white shirts and black shorts, skirts and crop pants. Most of the small sizes had disappeared but there was ample choice for anyone sized 14-16.

The clothes attracted little interest from the regular shoppers beyond a curious "oh that's what all the hype was about" look. Many raised their eyebrows at the prices that may be a bargain by designer standards but are still more than double the regular price of clothes at Target. All in all, most showed more interest in the homewear sale.

For a moment I contemplated trying on one of the size 16 billowy silk tops that just might have fitted me. Then I looked at the colour (salmon pink) and fabric and thought about what I liked to wear. I decided to try on a regular Target brand purple cotton top instead.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Entrelac scarf

When in doubt, knit a scarf. It seems to be my motto. Having salvaged the equibalent of about 3 1/2 balls of Noro Kureyon from the unworn vest I decided to try Knitty's Danica Scarf. I think it will showcase the gorgeous colour repeats. And I like the way it gives the illusion of the bands being woven together.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

One piece of knitting that won't be frogged

Grandma Purl finally received her blanket and from the photos posted I can absolutely definitely confirm that my green square edged in red made it into the final item.

It really gives me a nice warm and fuzzy feeling to know that a little piece of my knitting is somewhere out there being appreciated and doing good.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Knit one, frog one

I have resisted posting a picture of the merino cardigan because I have to admit there is something not quite right about it. As well as being too tight and too short for me to wear comfortably now, it also pulls up oddly in the front. It simply does not do justice to the gorgeous yarn it is made of.

So I have made a decision. I am not going to waste the wool. I am not going to hide the cardigan away forever. I am going to frog it. And try again.

This is a painful yet liberating decision.

I've been having a lot of fun frogging knitting lately. While cleaning up around the house I found a half finished garter-stitch (!) blanket that was never going to be finished. In a lovely purple wool. I decided to have a go at unravelling it to see if the yarn was salvageable. Hours of entertainment in front of the TV. And I now have plenty of purple yarn to re-work into more hats.

I also found a gorgeous Noro Kureyon vest that I have never worn because although the knitting is perfect, it just doesn't sit right on me. At $14.50/ball I decided this was too good a yarn to waste. So I am very carefully unravelling it now. It's better off being reworked into a scarf than being tucked away on a shelf forever because I never liked the finished garment but couldn't bear to part with the previous wool.

In de-cluttering news, I spent the long weekend investigating a pile of assorted wool, sewing and papers that had accumulated next to my computer. This pile had archaeological value, with the bottom layer including projects and papers from my previous job (which I left 15 months ago).

I am pleased to report that there was carpet underneath the ruins and that all the objects have been sorted and catalogued. Important papers were filed, unimportant papers were thrown out, useless horrible yarn (cheap acrylic and odd balls I would never use) donated to the Op Shop and the yarn half-sorted into three large boxes and a spare shelf. I would post a photo but a square of clean carpet is very boring and I was too ashamed to take a before picture.

My cat, Smudgey, however is distressed by the loss of his lovely soft bed.

Monday, March 12, 2007

De-cluttering de blog

So there I was innocently trying to add in the button for the International Scarf Exchange and I somehow manage to lose half my blog. Thus demonstrating that I don't really understand how blogger works. I think it has something to do with the upgrade from the old version of blogger to the new version.

I have my posts, which is the main thing, and I was able to get the most important Australian and NZ knitting ring code back up, which means I shouldn't be kicked off it. However it appears that I must have somehow fallen off the International Knitting Blog ring some time ago... I've sent an email requesting I be reinstated but I'm not holding my breath. If it doesn't happen, it's not the end of the world.

This all seems to fit in with my period of de-cluttering. Many of my links were a little out of date anyway. So I selected a minimalist template and decided to just worry about the current and important stuff.

And looking at the positive side - at least I am finally officially part of the International Scarf Exchange.

Having had to face up to my stash (think 4 large boxes - excluding what I've put up for sale on eBay), I have decided that whoever I am knitting for will get a scarf knitted from the stash. Considering I have some very nice merino wool and mohair, they will not lose out by this decision. I even found an unused ball of Noro Kureyon in my clean-up!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Stash reduction bargains on eBay

As part of my on-going project to de-clutter my life, I am listing some of my stash yarn on eBay. It was yarn I bought with the best of intentions but in my heart I know it is never going to be used by me and it is time to find a new home.

Item 1: 12+ balls of rich burgundy 5-ply machinewash crepe. 100% pure wool. Great for socks, gloves, children's clothes. Enough for a size 12 women's jumper.

Item 2: 19 balls of bright pink Charisma mohair - 8ply. Enough for an adult jumper or maybe a blanket. Great for scarfs and hats.

Starting price for both lots - $1/ball. Click here if you are interested.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

De-sizing my life

One thing I've posted very little about is my attempts to lose some of my excess weight. One, because I don't want this issue to define who I am and what I've achieved in life. And two, because it is so damn boring.

But a few weeks ago I reached a major milestone - 10kg lost over the course of a year. Nothing that will get me a spot on The Biggest Loser or Dieter of the Year, but a definite measurable success.

One thing that had really frustrated me was that although I knew the weight was coming off, it seemed to have very little impact on my actual size. I was constantly wondering where exactly the weight was coming off from because aside from a very slight loosening of my skirts, it wasn't noticeable. So I went out and bought all my autumn clothes in my usual size. A week later my butt shrank overnight.

I probably wouldn't have noticed except the gym decided to refurbish its rowing machines. I used the newly refurbished rowing machine and thought "I'm so glad they've put on these new bigger seats". Two days later I used the bike in the gym (which had not been refurbished) and noticed that the seat seemed bigger than I remembered. And then I realised that the gym seats hadn't grown; rather my butt, against all expectations and history, had shrunk.

And I had a wardrobe full of clothes that were loose around the butt as well as the waist. I had finally gone down a size.

Now I still have a butt that most people would consider supersized. Even if I get down to my healthy weight, I will still be too big for a lot of fashion. I can deal with that. Because all I have to do is drop one more size and I will be able to buy clothes in a lot of normal stores again. That is achievable. And too bad if that is not good enough for anyone else (especially talentless so-called designers who are incapable of making clothes that look good on anyone above a size 12 - may they all go broke).

Jeff, who can be incredibly supportive, knew what to do to help me celebrate the milestone. He dragged me clothes shopping and talked me into buying a skirt and three tops in my new size. Even though this wasn't budgeted for. Even though in theory I could (and would) continue to get away wearing my old clothes.

Because if I only wear my old clothes I could easily fall into the trap of feeling that I had achieved my goal - it's hard to feel that you have a heap of weight to lose when you are swimming in your oversized clothes and using safety pins to keep your skirts from falling off your hips.

I don't know if I will ever be a size 14 again, let alone a 12 (my skeleton alone is bigger than a size 10), but I know I need to lose a bit more weight for my future health. I'm going well in the exercise stakes (I'm one of the few non-triathletes at my gym to have rowed, stepped, treadmilled and biked more than 1100km) and have so far warded off many of the diseases commonly associated with excess weight, but I deserve better for myself.

And this time, when I get to a size 14 or 16, I will be proud of who I am and not let anyone undermine me. Because anyone who judges me on my ability to wear a size 10 designer outfit is clearly too stupid and shallow to be worthy of my attention.

In knitting news

The merino wool cardigan is almost finished - just the collar and buttons to go. Like all my knitting projects it didn't exactly turn out as expected - it's a bit shorter and more fitted than planned. I'm not sure yet whether it will be wearable outside the house. It certainly feels very comfortable. I'll post pictures at some stage.

I'm still waiting for my official blogger invite to the International Scarf Exchange. I will be so annoyed if I miss out due to a technical hiccup. It's all supposed to be starting this week. I have about 5 balls of the pale pink merino wool left over, so I might use this for the project - depending on what my exchange pal has listed as likes and dislikes. Knowing my luck I'll end up with a male who wants a solid black scarf.

What dust problem?

All that fluff, cat hair and dirt was under the keys of the computer keyboard. Not a single wad of muck was added for this picture. Jeff decided to pop the keys off to see if he could find out why the keys were a bit sticky.

I can't believe it was working at all.