Sunday, February 28, 2010

No they haven't finished yet!

The Ravelympics is drawing inexorably to a close and, wouldn't you know it - just when the finish line is almost in sight, my marathon Gold medal attempt at UFO/WIP finishing gets derailed by a small side issue:
namely my complete inability to concentrate on anything more demanding than stocking stitch while watching the Ice Dancing and the Speed Skating
so there have been a couple of 4ply [fingering] baby beanies in Spotlights Basics baby 4ply on 3.25mm needles.
The first on straights, but of course that meant to claim it as a finished project I had to stop and do some sewing up [ horrors] so the second one, which was mostly completed during the Ice Skating Gala, was done on circulars ... round and round and round with the brain firmly in neutral.

With only one day of competition left, I'm back limping towards that finish line with the sewing up of Riley's footy jumper, and I can only hope that it still fits him. I did start it a couple of sizes large so there is hope.

So my tally for the 17 days is

never-ending baby shawl
- finished finally [ what? It's only been 4 years! ]
Grace Notes - 2nd sock started and finished
Presto Chango toddler jumper finished
2 baby beanies - started and finished
2 projects frogged and the yarn rewound ready for use
some dyeing that you haven't seen because it's for a gift and the giftee would probably guess
2 prem sized lace cardis - designed, started and finished

and of course Riley's almost completed jumper [ sweater ]

It is, of course, a scurrilous rumour put about by "back sliding revisionary hyenas"* that, despite this flurry of finishing, I still have a half pair of socks and a to-be-sewn-up bag in the bottom of my knitting box !

* bonus points for anyone - other than my daughter - who can identify the quote

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Muddy feetz? What muddy feetz ?

I wuz helping Mum
in the

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

yesterday's post redux

not a lot to say that wasn't already said yesterday

except maybe just in case anyone thinks I'm trying to pull a swifty

and I promise a return to the normal balance of posting after the Closing Ceremony

a quilted 'secret' project waiting to be blogged about
things happening in the garden
and gratuitous cute animals

did I leave anything out?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ravelympics 2010 ... another one bites the dust

As I said yesterday, I'm working on two of these at the same time because of the risk of running out of yarn.
It will be close but should be okay
and as you can see, #1 is finished except for sewing on the buttons ... do you think these little flowers work ? I tried clear round ones and also pale mauve and they kinda just lay there and did nothing.
Anyway #2 is up to the neckband so I better get back to those smoking needles and Day 2 of the Ice Dancing - which I've already watched once today - go ahead and say it. I know. I'm tragic.

pattern - improvised
needles - 3.25mm
yarn - Patons Big Baby 4 ply, 1/2 of 100 gram ball
size - prem/small newborn

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ravelympic Travel Knitting

Okay, I know that I said that I was going to concentrate on WIPs while the Olympics /Ravelympics was on, but to tell you the truth I got bored doing all the miles of stocking/stockinette stitch of Riley's very plain footy jumper.
I got the sleeves finished, the shoulder seams done, and the neckband on, but I'm really dragging my feet on the sewing up.
Mattress stitch is not a favourite.
Especially not in hot weather which it has been all week
Anyway the temptation got too much for me - plus I needed something small to take with me for travel knitting on my Thursday roadtrip. I wanted to be able to stuff it in a small zipped bag that would be easy to cart while I was waiting at the station.

Add in the fact that a non-knitter friend is going to become a grandmother again soon - to twin girls - and something small and pretty seemed called for. Or rather two somethings.

So I'm making two lace cardigans in a very tiny size [ working on the premise that twins will probably arrive early and small ]

I'm making them up as I go along but taking the stitch/row count from a basic vintage Patons baby book

The lace is done side to side and then stitches picked up for the rest of the body.

I'm using one 100gram ball of Patons Big Baby 4 ply [ fingering ] and 3.25mm needles, and given that I only have the one ball of that yarn, once I had the body and sleeves on the first one done, I went ahead and cast on for the second.

The reasoning here is that if it looks like I may run out of yarn, I can make the front bands and the neck of both cardis in a contrast. That would have to be better than obviously running out of yarn on the second one, right ?
As it turns out, I should have more than enough.
I've almost finished the body of the second one, so just those teeny sleeves to go and then I can put them together [ more mattress stitch! ] and add the bands etc.

I know they're not finished so I'm probably tempting fate, but I have to say that I'm rather chuffed with how they're turning out.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Inspirational Indigo

On Thursday I took some time out from the Ravelympic/Olympics and drove to Ballarat - just over an hour away - to collect Corrie from the station.
Some travel-knitting took place while I waited for her train to get in but I'll show you that tomorrow because this is going to be a pretty picture-heavy post.

Our mission was to find the Gold Museum and check out one of it's current exhibitions: early 20th century Chinese blue and white peasant embroideries from the Arnott-Rogers collection.

Having just spent a couple of hours on the train, Corrie was surprised to discover that a huge place like the Gold Museum didn't boast anywhere to get a cup of coffee.

Quel horreur!

so here's Ms Corrie not having a cup of coffee at the Gold Museum

Apparently these intricate embroideries were seen as having little value, especially compared to the Imperial silk embroideries and were never sold or traded.
They are almost unknown, even in China, coming as they did from a quite remote province.

Some of the motifs could easily have been confused with middle European work - maybe there was some migration of iconography along the Silk Route ?

and others were more identifiably Chinese

One aspect that was quite amazing was that these very, very fine threads and tiny, tiny stitches in fine hand dyed indigo cotton were used for simple household items and to decorate work clothing.

By the way, no flash photography allowed because of conservation issues - those light flares in the pics are from the exhibition lights and not my camera. Obviously, given the low light levels, the photos aren't as good as I would wish, but still, not too bad. You can get the general idea anyway.

These were valances for the traditional bridal bed

and here the same 14" wide cotton fabric has been joined in panels to make this bed covering. If you click to enlarge you can see how the seam goes through the motif.

We grabbed a quick pub lunch and then back on the road
because, if one is a quilter, one absolutely cannot go to Ballarat without a visit to Gail's Patchwork Emporium, where we could have grabbed a cuppa, but after some dodgy map-reading, the clock was against us.

a few teeny tiny purchases may have been indulged in

and just enough time left to drop Corrie back at the train, before wending my own way homewards for the 3pm pick-up

A bit of a rush to be sure, but a pleasant few hours hanging out with a friend is always good - especially a friend who likes blue and white as much as I do - even if she IS fixated on the lack of a coffee shop at the Museum !!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ravelympics: another one bites the dust

It's Wednesday, which means that this post would normally be another " What's On Your...?"
but, needless to say, I'm still obsessing about the Ravelympics [ and the Olympic figure skating ... how good were the men in the short program today?!!] so I'm going to 'cheat' a bit.
This week's WOY...?challenge is

What's on your needle[s]?
Now it could be knitting needles, it could be the needle in your sewing machine. I don't know... Maybe one of you is a tattoo artist!

and crochet hooks or tatting shuttles are close enough so they count too.

Anyway my Ravelympic campaign continues.
We were told to challenge ourselves, and for some that means a new technique or a specific large project started and finished within the 17 days, but for me - at least for this first week - it is all about finishing the UFOs.

Ms Tara [ of Mayhem and Chaos fame ] came over yesterday afternoon for a few hours worth of needle action and some belated big birthday celebration [ hers, not mine - more about that later*]
so she was able to bear witness to the newly completed, and still-damp, state of those Gracenote socks from yesterday's post.
I spent most of her visit working on Riley's footy jumper - and that's what's on my needles at the moment - but a quick inspection of the boxes under the coffee table while T was here unearthed a nearly finished Presto Chango that I'd started for him in 2008. It was abandoned when I made the mistake of showing it to #1 son and DIL unfinished and they decided that it was a bit too feminine for their young man.

Cut to me stuffing the remains down the bottom of the basket and doing a major, albeit private, dummy-spit.

Okay back to Tara's visit:
We had a very relaxed, coffee-fueled and woolly few hours.
Once Tara wended her way homewards, I decided to just get on with finishing that Presto Chango, and by about 11pm it was all done, buttons and all.

and so another one bites the dust!!
and someone will need it eventually

* Tara's pressie was a crocheted then felted [ or fulled if we're being technical ] yarntainer and some beige cashmere for her spinning fibre stash.
Last week I didn't really want to document making the felted thingy in case I blew the surprise.
So here 't'is:
Crocheted to my own pattern in vintage 12ply Aztec [ pure wool singles ] which was originally a very saturated bright orange/ red, overdyed with Sarsarilla and Wild Rasberry. 6mm hook.
This is what it looked like before its date with the washing machine

[ yes you can felt in a front loader ]

and later at a fraction of the original size:

and being christened with Tara's Ravelympics project... which she would tell you about except her internet access is kafluey at the moment.

and now I'm going back to watch the replay of the Men's Singles Figure Skating courtesy of the satellite.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ravelympics continues

...and my own contribution to international "sport", today saw the completion of the Gracenotes sock.

Two days for a lace sock is a definite PB

and the completion of the Kitchener stitching [ grafting ] of the toe under the added pressure involved in executing the manoeuvre while concentrating on the brilliant - and ultimately, gold-medal winning - performance of Shen and Zhao in the Figure-skating Pairs final, should definitely attract extra 'degree of difficulty' marks.

... additional cat hair purely for decorative purposes

I hope you'll forgive the dodgy photo - and the apparent difference in colour of the two socks - the 'just finished' sock had just been hurriedly washed and blocked and was still wet when the photo was taken

pattern: Grace Notes [ Free Ravelry download ]
yarn: Opal Prisma sock wool- originally self-striping green, but overdyed Landscapes Wild Rasberry and Burgundy
needles: KP Harmony 3mm
heel - K1,sl1 rib
lace only to ankle because they'll mostly get worn inside tight fitting boots
I didn't have the pattern with me when I did the toe on the first one, so I just did a pretty conventional decrease from memory, which as it turns out is a little different from the pattern... and then had to try and match it yesterday 16 months after the first one :]

and the hunt for gold goes on

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sorry - can't talk ...

The figure skating is about to start so this will have to be brief:

Just as we did during the Summer Games in Beijing and the Tour De France last year, thousands of knitters and crocheters worldwide have settled in for 17 days of Ravelympics.
Most of the Aussies are in Team Doing A Bradbury

I have already competed in the Aerial Unwind
turning this - the cardigan that never quite made it

into this
300 grams of ready-to-go angora

I also participated in the WIPs Dancing event [ for long term works-in-progress ] with the Neverending Baby Shawl.
After almost four years of sporadic activity and a marathon 13 hour effort yesterday...

[ which meant that by 9.30 last night my hands were so cramped that I couldn't blog, and so stiff all over I could hardly walk ]

... it's finished.
By the last two rows it was taking over an hour to get around one side [ so almost 5 hours for one complete round ] and that whole border represents well over 30 hours work.

My next WIPs dancing event is already underway as I attempt to [finally] make a mate for the lonely Grace Notes sock that had it's genesis back in October 2008:
Sorry, gotta go, I'm in danger of missing the Pairs Figure Skating Short Program and that would be tragic.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A pretty parasite

I don't think I'd ever consciously noticed mistletoe until I moved up here.
In fact, li'l 'ole ignorant me, if I had thought about it at all - which I hadn't - would've probably assumed that such a quintessentially Christmassy icon existed only in the snowy climes of the Northern Hemisphere.
Not so
Round here it's quite common to see huge gumtrees festooned with multiple clumps and managing to survive.
Smaller eucalypts aren't usually so lucky - especially the ones that have been stressed by drought conditions - but mistletoe is an important food source both the Silver-eyes and Mistletoe birds.
This is the first year that I've managed to catch them at the height of flowering ... maybe because of the recent rain ...

and - before anyone asks - yes, I do bring some inside at Christmas :]

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Birthday Baby!

Rather than be sad that everyone was working on her birthday while she had a perfectly good day off, Nadie jumped in the car and came up to spend the day with Mum.
... awwwwwwww
The fact that she also needed to reclaim the grandkittens was almost completely incidental [ my story and I'm sticking to it ]

We made ourselves Falafel-with-goat-cheese wraps for lunch
and went for a walk with David and Bear
There was a leisurely pot of Chai
There was some unwrapping of presents [The two latest Charlaine Harris books, which I get to borrow back later, and a cherry red handbag ]
and then Thai Tofu Fried Rice for dinner

and I totally forgot to pick up the camera for any of it

Nadie and the furrbabies are currently en route for home ... and Sophie has re emerged from her hidey hole under my bed

Thursday, February 11, 2010

a minor CATastrophe

Every grandma I've ever met says the same thing:
that grandchildren are wonderful, the joy of one's life, but the best part is that you can hand them back at the end of the day

the same apparently goes for grandkittens [ who are going home tomorrow ]

Sumi misjudged the leap onto my bedside table - or maybe she didn't realise that Bear and Sophie were on my bed - in any case the net result was a coffee-soaked piece of antique linen-and-lace, a very wet patch of carpet, a dead piece of Royal Doulton

and a damp cat who at least had the grace to look repentant

" Sorry Nannie"

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What's On Your ... ?

This week for 'What's On Your ...? Wednesday' it's an easy one:

So show me /us

What's on your desktop ?

usually I have a picture of my gorgeous grandson [ what ? biased ? me ? never ! ]
or one of the animals
but it just so happens that today it's a picture of a seasonal visitor who apparently loves my garden as much as I do:

If you decide to 'play', please mention it in the comments so we can all come over and visit

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Playing with threads

Knitters and quilters can be divided into two groups:
namely those who stash and those who don't

It is a fact generally acknowledged that I very much belong to the first camp

My quilt stash requires its own room
and while the wool and fibre stash is slightly more modest, it is still threatening to break out of the good-sized wardrobe that houses it

I own several sewing machines, more than one spinning wheel, dozens of knitting needles and a substantial collection of scissors.

So I was a bit mortified to realise that my darling daughter was making do with a pair of supercheap plastic handled embroidery scissors.

Obviously that situation could be, and should be, easily remedied
and so it was
... a bit of playing with fabric and threads and one of those cute little flexi-frames ensured that her new scissors didn't go to their new home naked
and to make sure that they didn't get lonely, I made them some little friends
a needle book
and a
pin cushion

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

What's On Your ... ?

I'm instituting a new feature for Wednesdays when I don't necessarily have anything else to post [ although I actually did have an alternative today - but it can just as well wait for tomorrow ]
I'm calling it - as you can see up top there - "What's On Your ... ?"

and I'm hoping that if you are similarly challenged for blog-fodder, that you'll perhaps follow my lead. Sometimes it will just require you to post a photo. Sometimes there might be backstory needed. You don't need to wait for a Wednesday to join in either.

so today I want to know "What's On Your ... FRIDGE ?"

If you're particularly game, you can post a photo 'as is' but I promise that I won't think any less of you if you feel the need for a bit of pre-photoshoot tidying-up [ and who's to know unless you tell them ?]
Even if there's nothing on there - which I find difficult to visualise - prove it !
here's mine
you can just make out the corner of the computer there to the left [ it lives in the space that would've originally been meant for a free-standing freezer ]
and I'm sure it will come as no great surprise that it's covered in things like this:

I especially love my set of 'create-a-cat-poem' word magnets bought over at Daylesford
even though they make cleaning the outside of the fridge an absolute pain in the bum
people leave me little messages
and it's fun to watch them hunt for just the right word ... to ponder whether they are 'allowed' to disassemble someone else's poem in order to create their own.
Some ask first
Some don't
One particular visiting little person was kept occupied for almost an hour and protested strongly when she had to go home
On the next visit she checked to see whether anyone had moved 'her' words and was first incensed that they had, and then slightly mollified when I told her that they'd been saved for posterity in a photo.
Sentiments range from the poetic

to the enigmaticSo I wonder ... what does my fridge say about me - other than the obvious bit that I luuurve felines ?
and now it's YOUR turn
please show me
what's on your fridge
and come back here with a link