Thursday, April 30, 2009

Moebius Hug

Blogging remotely but can link photo of what I am calling a Moebius Hug (Rav link).

Other people may call it Cat Bordhi's Purl Ridge Moebius Scarf.

A Moebius Strip is a weird mathematical shape with only one boundary and one side - the purple edging along what looks like two sides was just one continuous i-cord.

I cheated by turning my scarf around every three rounds so I could knit the entire thing (even though it is called Purl Ridge). This caused a slight mess at the turn point but nothing that couldn't be sewn over and hidden in the folds of the scarf.

The main yarn is Parrot Pants BFL Aran Aquamarine. The BFL is SO SOFT and I've received many admiring comments about the yarn colour.  The purple is Dream in Color Classy - Visual Purple.

It is very warm and sits nicely around the neck.  I'm very tempted to keep it for myself but it's a belated birthday present.

Knitted Village for sale

From the BBC:

A knitted replica of a Kent village with 100 features including teenagers smoking in a bus shelter has been put up for sale.

The model of Mersham, near Ashford, has been knitted by members of the village's 40-strong Afternoon Club over the past 23 years.

The group has raised about £10,000 for their village hall by exhibiting it.

But the creation is now to be split up and sold off because it has become too large to be transported.

I am split between admiration for the knitting and sadness that it is going to be split up and sold.  This sort of artwork should be retained together and on permanent exhibition.  I really hope an art gallery or museum picks it up; it's of historical as well as artistic significance.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Spotted today

A Big Issue vendor wearing one of my knitted hats. I was so chuffed to see it being used and obviously appreciated - it was very chilly this morning.  It reminded me that I need to cast a few more on.

Knitting stuff

Oh yes, I still do knit. My current project is a Moebius scarf/cowl/headwrap thingermebob knitted sort-of following a pattern from Cat Bordhi's A Treasury of Magical Knitting

By "sort-of" following a pattern it means that I used the book to learn how to cast on moebius-style, knitted a round and then started making it up as I went along. I liked the look of the ribbed scarf, where one does three rounds knit and then three purl but I hate knitting purl. So every three rounds I simply do a wrap and turn, and then turn around my work and start knitting in the other direction. I thought myself very clever but I have to admit that the turns are not as nice and neat as I would like.

There's also the odd holes and odd twisted stitch - it's been years since I've had such a messy piece of knitting.

Yet I have no desire to frog this work. The folds of the rib hide the worst of it and I am planning to sew up and over all the holes. If it is still a bit messy I may add in the odd crocheted star fish. I'm using a very lovely sea-coloured (blue and turquoise) BFL wool yarn from Parrot Pants.

I'm very tempted to keep this for myself but it is supposed to be a belated birthday present for a very knitworthy friend. I asked her what she wanted and she decided (yet another) of my scarves in a "quirky" rather than classical style; with a blue base but multi-colours. So if an ocean themed moebius scarf/cowl/headwrap doesn't meet the criteria, I'd love to know what does! Photos to come once it is off the needles - it just looks like a pile of squishy wool at the moment. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Remembering those we love

It's been more than 5 years since my mum died but I still have to catch myself sometimes thinking "I must tell her..." Most of the times I am quite happy having conversations with her in my head - she is so alive there that I almost don't feel like she is dead, even though intellectually I know this is the case - but the oddest things can set off a wave of realisation that she is truly gone. Like this week's football ladder (reproduced below).

OMG - not only is St Kilda at the top of the ladder but they haven't yet lost a game this year. Zaida (my mother's father, my grandfather) will be so excited... oh... umm... that's right. Zaida is dead too. He died the year before my mum.

Nominally I still barrack for St Kilda but with my mum and grandfather gone, it just isn't the same. I can just imagine the conversation with them, getting so excited over St Kilda's success, wondering when the team will fall flat on its face this year, hearing for the umpteenth time about St Kilda's one and only grand final win - on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar (with so many Jews praying for them, how could they lose?), the rabbi breaking the rules and spirit of that solemn day to announce from the pulpit that St Kilda had won by a point over Collingwood...

I have trouble believing in an afterlife but I do believe that a little bit of the souls of those we loved remain with us as long as we remember them. So in my head my mum is drinking weak white tea with my grandfather who is having a mug of warm water and milk and they are having fun filling in the tip sheets for the next game of the season, wondering whether 2009 will be the year that St Kilda reigns again.

Rank Club Played Won Lost Drawn For Against % Points
1 TeamSt Kilda 5 5 0 0 555 262 211.84 20
2 TeamGeelong 5 5 0 0 598 402 148.77 20
3 TeamCarlton 5 3 2 0 581 457 127.14 12
4 TeamWestern Bulldogs 5 3 2 0 520 471 110.41 12
5 TeamPort Adelaide 5 3 2 0 480 468 102.57 12
6 TeamEssendon 5 3 2 0 441 447 98.67 12
7 TeamAdelaide 5 3 2 0 400 435 91.96 12
8 TeamCollingwood 5 2 3 0 476 442 107.7 8
9 TeamHawthorn 5 2 3 0 490 494 99.2 8
10 TeamSydney 5 2 3 0 459 473 97.05 8
11 TeamWest Coast 5 2 3 0 447 488 91.61 8
12 TeamKangaroos 5 2 3 0 362 421 86 8
13 TeamBrisbane Lions 5 2 3 0 401 488 82.18 8
14 TeamRichmond 5 1 4 0 401 523 76.68 4
15 TeamMelbourne 5 1 4 0 355 508 69.89 4
16 TeamFremantle 5 1 4 0 394 581 67.82 4

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Irish Hiking Hat

Monsoon - Purple Rain

Well officially it is called the 3AM Cable Hat by Smariek but due to the cables being identical to those used in the famous Irish Hiking Scarf, it's better known as the Irsih Hiking Hat.

It's a lovely design but it is definately a little firm on my head (I'm a woman's average) so I wouldn't recomend it for someone with a large head.

I knitted it out of Corriedale 8ply, colourway Purple Rain, hand-dyed by Vanessa at Monsoon Designs who happened to be my partner in the recent Magic Yarn Ball Sock. The yarn is one of those that looks infinitely better knitted up than in the ball. On the left are all the "goodies" that were tucked in the ball including 5 stitch markers, a shawl pin, several row counters, darning needles, butterfly pins and scissors.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Bunny Paws!

Here is a pair of fingerless mitts I made up in angora/cashmere yarn from Ixchelbunny
(colour - Berry Reef). They are so soft and cuddlesome; I don't want to take them off.

I used the left-overs to edge another pair of mitts made entirely from stash scraps.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A different night

If one is not religious and lives both geographically and spiritually some distance from the secular Jewish community, what is the point of taking part in the annual Pesach (Passover) Seders?

"It's for the kids!" my parents used to say. But what happens if you don't have kids?

"It brings the family together!" others say. But what if you don't have a family or are geographically or otherwise cut off from them?

I loved the Seders of my childhood. But as we got older and particularly after my mother died, they became more and more meaningless. (Which is kind of interesting given that my mum was an avoid atheist. But she was the glue that held our family together.)

My faith (if that is the right word) was restored this year when J & I were invited to a Seder with some family friends. It turned out to be one of the most enjoyable and, surprisingly, one of the most meaningful Seders of my life.

These friends were not religious. Far from it, in fact. But after their grandmother, who had been the religious glue of the family, passed on they had got together and decided that if they were going to have a Seder, it had to be the right Seder for them.

They use a Haggadah called A Different Night which intertwines dozens of fascinating articles and drawings which explore may of the issues raised by the story of Pesach, with a full traditional Orthodox Seder. They freely and apologetically skip the "boring bits" but add in their own quizzes and discussions and songs. There were plenty of laughs as we read the Marxist interpretation of the oppression of the Jewish slaves by the Egyptian pharaohs. But mostly there was a complete relaxation as we could just be who we were and discuss what we wanted without any stress or negativity or judgements.

There were no children (at 38 I was the youngest in attendance) but this didn't stop us playing "Pesach re-enactment" or my friend stealing the Afikomen from her father and demanding a DVD as ransom.

The following night my friend came to our house and we had a tiny 3-person Seder, followed by watching The Prince of Egypt animation.

It was not a traditional Seder. But it was certainly a different night.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

For those who know me in real life and may be concerned about my brother, I have received a text from him stating that he is safe and well and returning to Australia.

I have no additional information and no desire to discuss it any further with anybody.

As those who know me know, I love my brother and am proud of his achievements but I don't always agree with everything he does. I believe he feels the same way about me.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Too many projects, not enough time

As anticipated, the Politically Correct Banana Silk Purple Girlfriend Market Bag went down an absolute treat with my politically correct purple-loving inner city greenie girlfriend (who is a friend-girlfriend not a girlfriend-girlfriend, not that there is anything wrong with that, as Seinfeld would say).

I have approximately 12 items on the go and at least as many in my queue of things I would like to make.  I have more yarn than I can knit in my lifetime and more yarn on the way.  I am weak.  The moment anyone raves about a particular yarn on Ravelry, I want to try it for myself.  This week's yarn is Pear Tree, an expensive but exquisite Australian grown and spun wool that definitely lives up to its reputation for softness.  I bought a skein of the 12-ply on 'clearance' ($18 instead of $26 for 100 grams - plus postage) and started knitting a hat but I have more hats than I know what to do with.  It is so soft.  I am tempted to make a cowl like everyone else is but cannot shake off my initial prejudice against them.  A short scarf? Fingerless arm-warmers?  Inspiration will strike.

Also on the needles :
'Amused', a V-neck jumper for myself designed by Jordana Paige for Knitty; I am convinced that this will actually be a flattering jumper on me if I get it right.  With the sudden influx of cold weather, I need to get going on this.

Marti's jumper - Marti may have been born 6 weeks early but he is growing at such a rate that I fear he won't fit into this jumper (sized for a year-old baby) in a month's time.  I also fear it may be a little OTT and tacky, all embossed with Liz Gemmell Fair-Isle motifs.  I only have the sleeves and neckline to go and he will grow out of it for sure after this winter, so I will continue it.

Blanket squares - I've now decided I definitely want to make a BIG enormous blanket for myself which I've calculated will need almost 200 squares.  On the plus side it is easy brain dead knitting and a great stash-busting opportunity.

Dalek Dishcloth - For a swap; I'm halfway there AND I've learnt that knitting bobbles isn't as hard as I thought. (I now want to make the very cute matching Dalek soft toys - preferably using glow-in-the-dark yarn - and a Dalek hat for J)

Knitting class
I more or less taught myself - or retaught myself - to knit in my early 30s using a book.  I had no trouble learning 'English'-style knitting (yarn in the right hand) and knitted-on or cable cast on but got stuck at this point.  I kept hearing how 'Continental' knitting was somehow faster and better for ribbing but couldn't work out from the books and YouTube videos how to do it.  Thee was also this mysterious "long-tail" cast-on which was supposedly so easy, yet I got myself in knots trying to teach myself.

So when I saw The Thread Room (formerly Marta's Yarn) offering a 2-hour class in Continental (incorporating long-tail cast-on) knitting, I thought it was time to face my challenges.  I went with a friend (blogless Kris) and it turned out that we were 2/5 of the class - which meant plenty of personal attention.  Our tutor was a young man called David Pearce who is currently studying textiles at RMIT.  I have no idea what his artistic skills are like but he is a very good and patient teacher.  He also has beautiful long fingers, perfect for manipulating yarn.  With him pointing out the bleeding obvious to me ("you'll find it easier if you hold the yarn...") I quickly mastered the long-tail cast-on and soon 'got' Continental knitting.  I can see how it will be faster but I need to practice some more.  I've also decided that while I love the process and speed of doing a long-tail cast-on, it's really annoying to try and calculate how much yarn to use - I always seem to end up wasting too much by having too long a tail or - even worse - running out of yarn because I have too short a tail.  Maybe with practice I will be able to judge it better.

And of course I had to take advantage of the 10% discount on all yarn at the classes.  While I find the yarns a bit rough and splitty to work with, they certainly come in the most gorgeous shades - I picked up a variegated purple yarn and some gorgeous green and brown lace yarn.

There's a Fair Isle and Intarsia Knitting class later this month that I'd love to go to but I have to make sure I actually have the time for it.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

A Facebook Haggadah

The Passover Seder, the oldest continuously observed religious ceremony in the world, tells the story of the Jews' Exodus from Egypt. Jewish tradition says that people of each generation must imagine that they personally had departed from Egypt, and the sages say that each generation must tell the story in its own terms.

The sages probably did not intend this.

But hey, in my opinion, whatever works for you.

Paying it forward

The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me.
This offer does have some restrictions and limitations so please read carefully:
Taken from Heather's blog.

1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make. (No refunds... no exchanges!!!!)
2. What I create will be just for you, with love from me.
3. It'll be done this year (2009).
4. I will not give you any clue what it's going to be. It will be something made in the real world and not something cyber. It may be weird or beautiful. I may even create something totally unbelievable and surprise you!! Who knows? Not you, that's for sure!
5. I reserve the right to do something extremely strange...
6. I do not continue chain mails (even if I am silly enough to sign up to them) so I don't require you to "post this text into a note/post of your own and make 5 things for the first 5 to respond to it". But I ask you to please continue the karma chain if you respond to this. If you are a knitter, please knit a hat or blanket square for charity; if not, think of something else nice to do. If you are someone I know has already knitted a crapload of stuff for charity (Taph, chocolatetrudi, ozifarmer, etc) you already have a big enough karma credit balance to get something from me.
7. This offer is only available to people living in an area serviced by Australia Post (including Antarctic bases but not the actual South Pole). If you live on the moon, sign up at Heather's blog as she is willing to work something out for you. Email your mailing address to me at theknitaholic AT gmail DOT com

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

New Microsoft Language Pack just in time for 1 April

Klingon Office 2007

Sad but true - the person who sent it to me thought it was a cool new update