Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Non-knitting project

J & I have decided to polish the floorboards at the back of our house. The first task was to empty out 10 bookcases... only part of the contents are pictured below.

The library should re-open by the end of November.

ISE 5 scarf posted

I can't get over how expensive international postage is! The above items (total weight 300 grams) cost $16 to send by airmail to America. Aside from the scarf, I included an Australia/America friendship pin, a packet of "Hand knitted for you" tags, a little Australian flag and 4mm circular Clover knitting needle in a little bag which is just the right size for carrying a sock project. I wrapped it in Christmas paper designed by a local Melbourne artist Michael Leunig and packed it in a special Australia Post Christmas post pack.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Movie Meme

I picked this meme up from Beth.
SUPPOSEDLY if you've seen over 85 films, you have no life. Mark the ones you've seen. There are 239 films on this list. Copy this list, go to your own blog, paste this as a note. Then, put x's next to the films you've seen, add them up.Have fun!

I scored 72 which I think is more a reflection on the movies in this list than my life.  For instance, there would be a very different score if the Star Trek movies were included.  And what movie list would include Sixteen Candles but not The Breakfast Club produced around the same time?
J picked up The Breakfast Club on DVD for under $10 and we watched it again last weekend.  It's still brilliant.  I wish the makers of films today would realise that a good plot/dialogue/charachter is more important than OTT special effects.  Special effects can augment an already good movie (such as Narnia, Total Recall, etc) but are no substitute for a plot (remember Batman Returns?  No, neither do I).
We also saw Death at a Funeral at the movies.  It's really funny but I would wait for the DVD - I don't think it needs a big screen to be appreciated.

(X) Rocky Horror Picture Show
(X) Grease
(X) Pirates of the Caribbean  (X)Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest
( ) Boondock Saints
( ) Fight Club
( ) Starsky and Hutch
(X) Neverending Story
(X) Blazing Saddles
(X) Airplane
(X) The Princess Bride
( ) AnchorMan
( ) Napoleon Dynamite
(X) Labyrinth
( ) Saw ( ) Saw II
( ) White Noise
( ) White Oleander
(X) Anger Management
( ) 50 First Dates
( ) The Princess Diaries
( ) The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
( ) Scream ( ) Scream 2 ( ) Scream 3
( ) Scary Movie ( ) Scary Movie 2 ( ) Scary Movie 3 ( ) Scary Movie 4
(X) American Pie ( ) American Pie 2 ( ) American Wedding ( ) American Pie Band Camp
(X) Harry Potter 1 (X) Harry Potter 2 (X) Harry Potter 3 (X) Harry Potter 4
( ) Resident Evil 1 ( ) Resident Evil 2
(X) The Wedding Singer
( ) Little Black Book
( ) The Village
( ) Lilo & Stitch
(X) Finding Nemo
(X) Finding Neverland
( ) Signs
(X) The Grinch
( ) Texas Chainsaw Massacre ( ) Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
( ) White Chicks
( ) Butterfly Effect
( ) 13 Going on 30
(X) I, Robot
( ) Robots
( ) Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
( ) Universal Soldier
(X) Lemony Snicket: A Series Of Unfortunate Events
( ) Along Came Polly
( ) Deep Impact
( ) KingPin
( ) Never Been Kissed
(X) Meet The Parents (X) Meet the Fockers
( ) Eight Crazy Nights
( ) Joe Dirt
( ) A Cinderella Story
(X) The Terminal
( ) The Lizzie McGuire Movie
( ) Passport to Paris
( ) Dumb & Dumber ( ) Dumber & Dumberer
( ) Final Destination ( ) Final Destination 2 ( )Final Destination 3
( ) Halloween
( ) The Ring ( ) The Ring 2
( ) Surviving X-MAS
( ) Flubber
( ) Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
( ) Practical Magic
(X) Chicago
( ) Ghost Ship
( ) From Hell
( ) Hellboy
( ) Secret Window
( ) I Am Sam
( ) The Whole Nine Yards ( ) The Whole Ten Yards

(X) The Day After Tomorrow
( ) Child's Play
( ) Seed of Chucky ( ) Bride of Chuck
( ) Ten Things I Hate About You
( ) Just Married
( ) Gothika
( ) Nightmare on Elm Street
(X) Sixteen Candles
( ) Remember the Titans
( ) Coach Carter
( ) The Grudge ( ) The Grudge 2
( ) The Mask ( ) Son Of The Mask
( ) Bad Boys ( ) Bad Boys 2
( ) Joy Ride
( ) Lucky Number Sleven
(X) Ocean's Eleven (X) Ocean's Twelve
(X) Bourne Identity (X) Bourne Supremecy
( ) Lone Star
( ) Bedazzled
( ) Predator I ( ) Predator II
( ) The Fog
( ) Ice Age( ) Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
( ) Curious George
(X) Independence Day
( ) Cujo
( ) A Bronx Tale
( ) Darkness Falls
( ) Christine
(X) ET
( ) Children of the Corn
( ) My Bosses Daughter
( ) Maid in Manhattan
(X ) War of the Worlds
( ) Rush Hour ( ) Rush Hour 2
( ) Best Bet
( ) How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
( ) She's All That
( ) Calendar Girls
( ) Sideways
( ) Mars Attacks
(X) Event Horizon
( ) Ever After
(X) Wizard of Oz
(X) Forrest Gump
( ) Big Trouble in Little China
(X) The Terminator (X) The Terminator 2 (X ) The Terminator 3
(X) X-Men (X) X-2 (X ) X-3
(X) Spider-Man ( ) Spider-Man 2
( ) Sky High
( ) Jeepers Creepers ( ) Jeepers Creepers 2
( ) Catch Me If You Can
( ) The Little Mermaid
 () Freaky Friday
( ) Reign of Fire
( ) The Skulls
( ) Cruel Intentions ( ) Cruel Intentions 2
( ) The Hot Chick
(X) Shrek (X) Shrek 2
( ) Swimfan
(X) Miracle on 34th street
( ) Old School
( ) The Notebook
( ) K-Pax
( ) Krippendorf's Tribe
( ) A Walk to Remember
( ) Ice Castles
( ) Boogeyman
( ) The 40-year-old Virgin
(X) Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring (X) Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
(X) Lord of the Rings Return Of the King
(X) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (X) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (X) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
( ) Baseketball
( ) Hostel
( ) Waiting for Guffman
( ) House of 1000 Corpses
( ) Devils Rejects
( ) Elf
(X) Highlander
( ) Mothman Prophecies
( ) American History X
( ) The Jacket
( ) Kung Fu Hustle
( ) Shaolin Soccer
( ) Night Watch
(X) Monsters Inc.
(X) Titanic
(X) Monty Python and the Holy Grail
( ) Shaun Of the Dead
( ) Willard
( ) High Tension
( ) Club Dread
( ) Hulk
( ) Dawn Of the Dead
(X) Hook
(X) Chronicles Of Narnia The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
(X) 28 days later
( ) Orgazmo
( ) Phantasm
( ) Waterworld
( ) Kill Bill vol 1 ( ) Kill Bill vol 2
( ) Mortal Kombat
( ) Wolf Creek
( ) Kingdom of Heaven
( ) the Hills Have Eyes
( ) I Spit on Your Grave aka the Day of the Woman
( ) The Last House on the Left
( ) Re-Animator ( ) Army of Darkness
(X) Star Wars Ep. I The Phantom Menace (X) Star Wars Ep. II Attack of the Clones
(X) Star Wars Ep. III Revenge of the Sith (X) Star Wars Ep. IV A New Hope
(X) Star Wars Ep. V The Empire Strikes Back (X) Star Wars Ep. VI Return of the Jedi
( ) Ewoks Caravan Of Courage ( ) Ewoks The Battle For Endor
(X) The Matrix (X) The Matrix Reloaded (X) The Matrix Revolutions
( ) Animatrix
( ) Evil Dead ( ) Evil Dead 2
(X) Team America: World Police
( ) Red Dragon (X) Silence of the Lambs (X) Hannibal

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tea Cosy Swap

Now that the knitting for ISE 5 is out of the way (I still need to pack and post the parcel), I can concentrate on the next swap - the Australian Tea Cosy swap. We've been asked to post pictures of our teapots, which in my case is a coffee plunger. The only teapot I have is a very tall stately one which doesn't lend itself to a cosy, so I decided to ask for a coffee plunger cosy instead.

In this swap we're being encouraged to knit from my stash which I think is a very good idea. The one thing I know about my pal is that she is obsessed with green, so I've pulled the above odd balls out of the stash. I'm envisioning something very bright, but with a green base. She hasn't posted a picture of her pot yet but I know it is 36cm round and 15cm high. I just need to work out a pattern.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

De-stashing de photos

I used to think that it was sacrilegious to throw out a photograph.  Photographs are memories and aids to memories.   Once they are gone they are gone.


I have boxes and boxes of unsorted and mostly unlabelled photographs from my childhood.  Yesterday J & I faced the mountain.


It wasn't a harsh cull.  I mainly tried to sort them into groups – family, friends, moments in time.   Then I noticed that some photos were so dark or blurry I couldn't even work out who was in them.  But they were in the collection because in the Dark Ages BDC (Before Digital Cameras), every photo got printed up.   Often twice, as double prints cost only a little more than single prints and there was often at least one photo that needed to be shared.  So out they went, those indecipherable dark and blurry space stealers.


Then there were the animals.  As a kid, I'd go to a farm or the zoo and take pictures of the local wombat or rooster or (in one case) albino peacock.   Did I really want those photos?  Did they mean anything to me? Toss, toss, toss.


And who were the photos of anyway?  I faithfully kept all photos of family or friends of my parents, even snapshots of my late mother's workmates.   But with my own pictures I could be harsher.  25-year-old photos of people I had met once on camp and never kept in touch with?   Gone.  Six nearly identical photos from a school reunion (obviously someone had snapped the camera 3 times and I had ordered doubles) I culled down to one memory.   Pictures from a hideous trip with nasty people I had attended for work purposes in my 20s – good-bye and good riddance to most of them.


It was possibly the most emotional declutching job I have ever done and it is barely one third over. I could have done a much harsher cull and maybe one day I will.   There are still probably hundreds of duplicates – not the least being generated by my American in-laws who sent multiple copies of expensive professional photos of our niece in America .  Why on earth did they think we'd want or be able to use six identical pictures of her in each pose?  


The pictures are currently organised into only the vaguest sub groups and most still need labels.  Speaking of which, I ended up throwing out a number of photos of babies that had been sent to me by friends and acquaintances in the 1990s.   I had no idea who they were or how they could be identified.  "My sweet little angel aged 2 months" does not help me identify which 10 year old he/she is today.  

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Knitting for kids

For someone who doesn't have kids, I knit an awful lot of kid-sized stuff. Part of it is the fun of trying new patterns or ideas on pint-sized items and the satisfaction that comes with completing projects relatively quickly. Part of it is the lack of sizing stress when knitting for kids - it doesn't matter if something is too large for the kid to wear now; they'll eventually grow into it. And part of it is the satisfaction which comes from giving a present which is completely unique. I can't and don't want to compete with those who purchase expensive designer outfits, and I don't want to be looked on as lesser than because I buy something from a chain store - even though I know these items are often the most used by parents.

A few years ago I knitted a jumper for a child with his name emblazoned on the front. He loved it and the parents loved it but they've made a request; no more garments with his name on it. Because he is a very friendly kid and they worry he might wander off with a stranger who knows his name because it is written all over his jumper.

I totally understand this but part of me rebels. Maybe I could do his name in a foreign language. How many people know Hebrew?

You see I want this jumper to be unique, just for him, something that can't be passed down to another child. And I realise how selfish and impractical this sounds. But it is how I feel.

And it's no more impractical than the person who buys a dry-clean only designer white outfit for a six-month old child.

The scarf which grew

Above is a picture of part of wave and shell blocking. Ignore the less than straight sides please. This scarf went into the washing machine at 58 inches and somehow came out measuring more than 72 inches. Which is my idea of the right length for a scarf but probably a bit long for my pal.

Which means I probably should have stopped knitting at the end of the second ball but I didn't want to be skimpy and cast on the start of the third ball for an extra pattern repeat.

I also learnt that one should never try to knit lace when sleepy - I spent a good hour knitting backwards to find a row which had the correct number of stitches on it. But all in all I'm very happy with how it turned out and hope my pal is as well. I'm on the hunt for some lightweight goodies to send with it over the seas. Tim Tam may be quintessentially Australian but they are relatively heavy to send airmail and I'm terrified they may melt en route. I'm hoping some lovely lightweight Clover products in their original wrapping might be appreciated. So far the only items I've used is the click counter. How many needles in duplicate sizes does one really need?

Decluttering de stuff

Thank-you to the people who have warned me about the dangers of spinning. I'm sure it is only a matter of time before I succumb but hopefully AFTER I have catalogued all my yarn on Ravelry and faced the reality that is my stash.

I was looking for some pins today and opened a random box in the stationary cupboard. Inside was a bag of pale grey mohair and some 12-ply maroon Cleckheaton Country that I had forgotten that I even had! I also found the much needed index tabs for the filing cabinet that I had been searching fruitlessly for last month. And a working stapler which means I don't have to buy another. The pins were in the bathroom. Don't ask me why or how they got there.

I have to get my life in order.

We are far from the wealthiest people I know but I am convinced that our house contains nearly everything we need - if only we could find it! Did I mention that earlier this year I found a nearly new fine merino NZ jumper that I had bought on my honeymoon and never worn despite a distinct lack of suitable winter clothing to wear to work?

I am feeling very inspired by Taphophile who is doing the 'Seven Things' project, where one aims to have a net reduction of seven items in the home each week. Through her, I found BookCrossing which is a way of sending unwanted books out into the world and having a hope in hell of discovering what happens to them afterwards. (I have a close friend who is very into geocaching; this is a literary version, without the numbers.) I did a major book cull earlier this year but think I am ready to do a second cut. I know some people manage to make money on eBay but I haven't had much luck trying to dispose of books this way. Taking into account the time it takes to list books, the fees, the problem of postage, etc, it hardly seems worth the bother. But this looks like a fun alternative to merely dropping off the books at the local op shop, although no doubt I'll do that to.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Don't tell me there is a stage four around the corner!

Stage One
Wow!  Look at all that pretty yarn.  I love those lovely soft feathers.  And that faux fur is so silky and nice.  Wouldn't it be cool to have a jumper made out of all those pretty colours and textures?  Maybe I could start with a scarf.  That doesn't look too hard.
Stage two
What on earth was I thinking when I bought all that crap?  Feathers is such a bitch to knit with.  And I can buy 100% pure natural wool for less than the cost of all that nasty acrylic novelty yarn.  It might look pretty in a ball but it is butt-ugly knitted up.  I have no idea who buys all that fancy imported yarn.  Who in their right mind would spend more than $10 on a single ball of yarn when you can get 100% pure wool for less than $5/ball?
Stage three
That Noro is so gorgeous.  I know it's expensive but it is worth it.  Nothing else is quite like it.  Those colours!  I also never realised there was such a difference between merino and regular 100% wool.  Merino is so much softer.  It might be a bit pricier but it doesn't pile so much.  And I seem to knit it up far faster than the regular Patons/Cleckheaton/Bendigo wool in my stash.  I can't resist that Jo Sharp Silk Road Ultra either.  It's amazing what a little silk and cashmere in the wool blend adds to the garment.  And kid mohair is so much softer than that nasty itchy regular mohair.  I can't believe there are people who knit a whole jumper out of cashmere and silk yarn.  Don't tell me there is a stage four around the corner!

My love affair with Zarina

Zarina extra-fine merino!  How do I love thee?  You put up with being squished in my backpack, knitted and unravelled adnauseum, poked and prodded, yet still look as fresh and new as the day I picked you off the shelf.  You sum up the reason why one should buy for quality, rather than price.
I'm about 27 inches into the wave and shell scarf (unstretched and unblocked - no doubt it will block much longer) and have only just started my second ball of yarn (Oh Zarina, your yardage is just so generous!  184 yards to a 50 gram skein.)  I most likely could have got away with buying just two balls for my ISE 5 pal's scarf but with 3 balls I know there will be no skimping on length or quality.  And hopefully there may be enough left over for a little project for myself.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

ISE 5 - Take 3 - Wave and Shell

I ended up frogging Midwest Moonlight and went and spent a ridiculous amount of money on some extra fine merino (so much for knitting from the stash!) and am now knitting something completely different. But I'm in love with the new wool (Zarina extra fine merino, 4ply) which is so tactile and soothing. It is seriously probably the best quality yarn I have ever used and tolerated numerous re-starts with no fraying or piling.

My pal says she loves blues and jewel tones and I think this was the nicest colour available in the LYS near where I work.

Part of the problem was that my scarf pal wanted a wide scarf, about 10 inches across, that she could pull over her head (not sure if she was hinting for a shawl which I have never made), so I really needed to make something lighter and lacier than Midwest Moonlight was turning out . After frogging a few more complex lace patterns, I decided on Wave and Shell, a version of feather and fan which I think is turning out very nicely. I'm only doing 2 pattern repeats on 5mm needles which I think will create a 10-12 inch scarf once it is blocked. And I can knit on the tram or in front of the TV without stuffing up! I'd happily wear it myself which is always a good sign - unlike Midwest Moonlight which for some reason was beginning to really annoy me.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Now I hate Midwest Moonlight

Is this yarn too chunky? Is the colour wrong? Should I have gone down a needle size? Am I just being fickle?

Friday, October 05, 2007

Midwest Moonlight progress

With the Midwest Moonlight, there has been both good and bad news.  The good news is that I've found an extra ball of the Cleckheaton Country.  I've also found an odd ball of Noro Kureyon in complementary colours which I may incorporate (somehow it has escaped being incorporated into a previous projects).  So I will definitely have enough yarn for a full-length scarf.
In bad news, my brain took a holiday while knitting over the past two nights which means I have now unravelled almost as much as I've knitted. :(
Currently remotely blogging - pictures to be uploaded at a later date.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Not shopping, just enabling

And in this week's Not Shopping achievements I have resisted:

Beautiful, chunky hot pink Katia yarn, 100% wool, half-price at Lincraft Melbourne CBD - $7.49 for 100 grams. It would be perfect for felting. Except I've decided that I hate felting. It would also be great for a beginner's scarf. Except I am no longer a beginner.

It's also available in a lovely dark rich brown, variegated blues and a rough variegated hot pink and purple. Just in case any other Melbourne knitters need enabling.

Lincraft also have a cool bamboo/cotton line, only $3.99/50 grams. Slightly limited colour range. I will not buy it until I decide what I want to make with it, so I buy the right amount.

Corningware have also released an '8-piece' (they count the lids as pieces, so it is really four containers) white set which I've seen for as little as $84.95 (at David Jones). It's a real bargain. If one actually needs Corningware. I was so, so tempted. We need to replace our broken very large Corningware dish. But all four containers in this set are smaller than what we need and we already have two small Corningware containers we hardly ever use. And where would we store it? We resisted. And I went home and sent an email to a friend who has recently moved into her own place and might actually be able to use it.

Instead I bought a new pair of black walking shoes and pink cotton t-shirt. Both of which I actually need. And have already used.