Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ravelry mischief making

I have marked my tea towel (see post below) as an 'ugh' on Ravelry and added my less-than-flatterig description of my opinion of the colour combination. I then linked it to both the Hall of Shame and Peaches & Cream groups. I'm sure it will be appreciated for what it is by the Hall of Shame members. The Peaches & Cream group, however, is run by the manufacturers of this yarn and they take it all just a little too seriously, basically using the group as a way to advertise their wares without charge. The moderators say they will delete any projects not made using the official trademarked Peaches and Cream yarn. Will they allow my less than positive project made out of their yarn to remain? Time will tell.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Peaches & Cream - pink lemonade

It looked so lovely on the ball
But knitted up, not at all
The yellow, green and pink hue
Combined to look like dog spew

tea towel 1

I have to admit, I never 'got' the point of dishcloths. What was the point of spending all the time and money to knit what effectively was a rag to wipe up muck?

Then we needed some new tea towels and I discovered the near-impossibility of find decent quality, thick absorbent 100% cotton tea towels. Even the expensive ones seemed to have some sort of water-repelling coating and most were ridiculously thin.

One of the Australian girls on Ravelry was putting in a bulk order for Peaches & Cream cotton yarn, so I decided to get some and try to make my own. This thought hadn't come out of nowhere - in a swap I had received a small dishcloth and while I found the mixed colours rather revolting, I had to admit that it was lovely and soft and absorbent.

I bought some 'bargain' grab-bags of yarn ends which, in retrospect, was probably false economy. Postage from the US far outweighs the cost of the yarn and I would have been better off selecting a few full-priced cones in colours I liked. But even if I had have done that I may have been tempted by the 'ombres' which is Peaches & Cream speak for variegated colour yarn. Which, in my experience, rarely knits up as nicely as it looks on the ball.

But anyway, now I do 'get' the point of dishcloths. In this age of "cheaper is better", making one's own is a way of at least getting a quality product. And when the resulting colour combination looks like dog up-chuck, one has few compunctions about wiping one's handiwork on the floor!

tea towel 2

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Projects on the go

Ravelry has got a lot to answer for. I spend so much time on it, that my blog has become neglected. I have finally got around to editing this post and uploading photos.

Completed projects
Junior size SES beanie for Phill's son. I have also written up the pattern for the SES beanies, which I found much harder than just knitting the damn things. I am donating it to SES Victoria and will only post it publicly with their permission (they might have problems due to trademarks or security).


Vintage Twist (Cleckheaton)
I bought a lot of this in various colours on sale; it's a self-striping single ply yarn that I suspect will felt beautifully. It's one of those few yarns that looks a lot better knitted up than on the ball. Vintage Twist supposedly knits to its own 'unique' gauge, something between a DK and worsted yarn, which means it isn't great for subbing but 1/ I have the official pattern book and 2/ I have never paid enough attention to gauge to start caring now.

Vintage Twist

I am knitting a twisting curving short-row scarf in the brown colourway for my friend Jackie - the pattern came out of the Cleckheaton book and is probably the first time I've used the recommended yarn for a project. It's a very easy but effective pattern - I love short rows. It kept me sane while attending a conference in Melbourne last week. While I loved knitting the patchwork scarf, I never felt it was truly Jackie's style, whereas this yarn seems to be much more her.

vintage twist Jackie scarf

I am making Iris Schreiber's Flat-Top Modular hat out of the pink colourway for the international stash-buster swap. It's a pattern I've always wanted to try and it uses just 50 grams of yarn. I've tinked the pattern to knit with 90 instead of 84 stitches - if it seems to large I will try and semi-felt it when I've completed it.

vintage twist flat-top hat

Other projects
My flat sold on the weekend for a price I was happy with. Now comes the fun part of buying a new home. We are looking at various options. As long as we are on the train line, I will be happy. Tram travel is unbelievably slow and tedious - it seems amazing that one can travel twice as far by train in less than the time it takes the tram to lumber along.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Stash acknowledged

Obviously I am avoiding doing something very important as today I completed a project I thought could never be completed. I have catalogued and photographed every bit of yarn in my stash. Every lot is in its own clean clear plastic bag. Yes, even those pesky partial skeins of unknown vintage. The messy ones have been rewound into neat little wool cakes on my new whiz-bang yarn winder.

Unknown DK - purple scraps

I'm exhausted. And ashamed at the sheer amount. I had to purchase a Flickr Pro account to handle it all. But still feeling a faint sense of achievement.

Next trick: To knit from the stash before buying any more yarn.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

It's the little things that weigh me down

I'm getting down to the business end of trying to list my stash on Ravelry. Recording the garment-sized lots of yarn might have been confronting but it was relatively easy. 30 balls of black Merino spun, 20 balls of Jo Sharp Viola DK. Ditto for my 'luxury' items - a single skein of Black Bunny Fibre; five balls of Noro Cash Iroha. It was the two tubs full of partial skeins and odds and ends that was too overwhelming to contemplate.

Until I was procrastinating from doing something that was probably more urgent and important. I decided to rewind some of the partial skeins using my lovely new toy, photographed a few of them, and slowly, slowly am working my way through the process of actually listing ALL my yarn in one place and acknowledging just how much I have.

I've signed up for three more knitting swaps - the highly appropriate international stash buster swap and two Australian swaps: 'No Sheep for You' (where you can knit with anything but wool) and the 100 gram challenge.

We're supposed to be blog-stalking each other for these swaps... I've decided whether or not I receive any of the following in the swaps, I will be making myself these items sometime in the future: a cotton tea towel (dishcloths are all rage and I received a useful one last swap but I want something large enough to dry dishes with), some more headbands, another pair of fingerless mitts. As you can see, the focus is on the pragmatic. I've got more than enough hats and scarfs but will undoubtedly continue to make more for myself.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Heading down the slippery slope towards the spinning wheel...

wool winder

A few months ago during one of my buying sprees, I purchased a yarn-winder. Royal pretty much has a monopoly on the market, at least here in Australia. They have a great reputation but it's a lot of money for what is essentially just a few bits of plastic and metal. I couldn't bring myself to spend even more money on a matching swift.

Other more mechanically minded crafters have made their own swifts with bits of wood and/or child's toys. I've settled for the moment for jamming skeins of yarn around my knees or across my chest as I wind.

I was a bit worried that I had essentially p*ssed away $70 on a useless gadget but I've been using it the last few nights to rewind balls of frogged yarn and it is really, really good. Not only does the yarn winder make up nice neat little cakes of yarn that stack nicely, are easy to use and are no longer being pulled out of shape due to over-tight winding, but I find the whole process of turning the handle and feeding the yarn through my fingers very, very soothing.

No wonder people get into spinning. I want to learn to spin now.

Maybe after I move to the new place.

It's not a hat, it' s not a headband, it's a Calorimetry


It's not a hat, it' s not a headband, it's a Calorimetry.

I'm wearing my Calorimetry as I type. It is so comfortable and warm and practical and I know I will be making more of them.

Finally I know what to do with less than a skein of lovely expensive Noro that I don't want waste.

I ended up knitting this in one evening while watching TV. I'm glad I read everyone else's comments about sizing on Ravelry as I ended up casting on just 100 stitches and using 4mm needles and it fits perfectly.

And I think I have enough Cashmere Island left to make up a matching pair of mitts.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Cashmere Island ZigZag scarf finished

cash island 003

It's so soft and squishy! I'm contemplating making a matching Calormetry.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Stashaholic

In preparation for an upcoming move, I have finally put (most of) my stash into storage crates. I have 5, 16-litre plastic boxes literally full of yarn. And this doesn't include my secret stash at work. Or any orders that may or may not still be coming my way.

Ad it's all (well mostly all) good stuff. I discarded the novelty and acrylic crap a long time ago.

Be afraid. Very afraid. I know I am.