Yeah, I've been a bit slack with the blogging but I'm back now. I just kind of lost my mojo for a bit.
When in doubt, I knit a hat. I did one in a forest green 50:50 Panda Woollable yarn. Top down in the round, plain stocking stitch except for a ribbed brim; 120 stitches, 8ply yarn, 3.75mm needles. I don't normally knit something with that much acrylic in it but the lovely shade of green was perfect for a work colleague and it was only $1.50/ball. Normally I regret these "bargain" buys but not this time. I'm now knitting a ribbed beanie out of the same yarn.
I've put my name in for the 3rd Australian knitters swap on Ravelry; judging by what everyone (including me) is asking for, I'll probably be making fingerless gloves or mitts. Whoo! I received a pretty pink and blue crocheted bag in the last swap - pictures may eventually come. It was stuffed full of fun-fur style yarn which isn't exactly my thing. Nearly every single person (including myself) is posting that they don't like novelty yarn or acrylic on the swap forums, so I think I will pass the yarn onto the local op shop. Maybe they can get a few cents for it. Or maybe, like everyone else I know, they will sigh and wonder where they can pass it onto.
I'm a bit addicted to the Australian Ravelry swap board; it's a way of being materialistic without spending too much money (although postage can be a killer). I obtained Iris Schreier's Modular Knits in return for a bag full of 8-ply pink and white yarn (12 totally unused balls). I was doubly-glad to do the swap as it has patterns for doing all those cool multi-directional scarves. Yes, there are patterns on the net (although sadly one of the best ones for the short-row ribbed diagonal scarf disappeared with MagKnits' demise - I managed to grab a cached copy before it disappeared entirely into a cyberspace black hole) - but it's not the same as a nice solid book.
The whole demise of MagKnits has reinforced the importance of printing out patterns on the net because they can quite literally disappear in a puff of cyberspace. I had saved the PDF of The Top 5: The Best of Interweave Knits Readers' Choice Awards but hadn't got any further in the process with one of my new friends that I met through a health program I am doing kindly presented me with a full-colour printed out copy. I was quite gob-smacked by her thoughtfulness.
This health program I am doing is probably the best thing I have done in a long time. I am definitely improving my fitness, losing a couple of kilos and hopefully am improving my insulin levels. I've also met some really lovely people that I would probably otherwise have never interacted with. It is also putting my own health issues in perspective. Most of my problems can be solved with diet and exercise and some commonly-prescribed low-risk medications. I am fundamentally healthy and my body basically works how it should. For many other people, it's a lot harder. We are also all learning from each other how to better navigate system to get the medical and other care we need and are entitled to.