Catherine's Wheel

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

OK, maybe it was a little longer than six months...


Didja miss me?  More importantly, what did I miss?  Not much in both cases?  OK, fair enough.

I promise to catch you all up on the news (new job, growing kids, new house, same husband, etc), but there is a good reason for doing a Lazarus with a triple bypass on this blog.

I've been bitten.  (Thanks, Sonia).


So hard, in fact, that I started scouting around for sock yarn scraps.

It wasn't long before I realised that I really haven't knitted many socks; certainly not enough to generate the amount of yarn I would need to complete this lovely quilt.

At about the same time, I was catching up on my overflowing Bloglines feed (only 3,526 posts to go) and read Jean's Knitting's post about how she has waaay too much wool and what should she do with it?

Talk about your two birds with one stone:  what did I have to lose?

So I emailed Jean and asked if she might (pretty please) have any scraps lying around?  Willing to pay fair price etc, etc.

Jean took to the idea like a knitter to a sale at a newly-opened yarn shop and before long emailed me to say that the parcel was on its way.

Today the parcel arrived.

And in addition to the bounty I was gleefully anticipating:

Was this:

Hmm?  What's that in the background?  You mean this?

That's a needlepoint cushion which my very clever Mum made for me while I was living in the UK.  It incorporates the official floral emblems of all the state of Australia.  Homesick?  Moi?

Anyway, back to Jean (or Lady Bountiful, as I now call her!).  This goes way beyond what I had asked for or even dreamed of.  That's three full skeins of hand-dyed sock yarn from The Yarn Yard.  Just beautiful.

Jean and I agreed that I would make a donation here in memory of her sister-in-law as "payment".  More than fair, I would say.

The big philosophical question is:  should I finish off the current blanket before diving into the Beekeeper?

The squares are about pot-holder-sized and the colours you see are pretty much what you would expect when photographing at night under fluorescent light.  No, I'm not at the office; this is the (current) lighting in my loungeroom.  

Cannot.  Wait.  To.  Replace.  It.

I was planning to use the dark grey as a sashing/border around and joining each square.  However, I can now see that I've used it in the outer circuit of at least two squares.  So I need to think about this one.

Too late to start "puffing" tonight on the Beekeeper; perhaps I'll just rewind some of my gifted yarn and dream a little dream.....

Monday, April 02, 2007

Blogger's Malaise

I've seen this hit other bloggers before. I always thought that it was just a matter of pulling yourself together, having a strong cuppa and a steely determination to write the next post.

But it's not that easy, is it?

I now find that keeping this blog up-to-date is a chore. It's not that I don't have anything to write about; I do. I had a great weekend at Harrietville with the Guild just over a week ago. I've finished a number of projects (small and smaller, admittedly) and am quite keen on the Mermaid Jacket (Hanne Falkenberg, colourway 10) currently occupying the needles.

OK, here's one FO I already have the photos uploaded for. It's an Elizabeth Zimmermann Very Warm Hat, adapted to allow for the fact that young Oscar's parents barrack for two different AFL teams: the Sydney Swans and the Western Bulldogs.

But back to me. I am resenting the time and inspiration required to sit down and compose something worth reading (imho, anyway).

A chat with Michelle tonight crystallised this for me; thanks, MG!

So I'm officially on hiatus from today. I may be back in a month, it might take me 6 months to get my blogging mojo back. No promises.

See you round (like a rissole).

Monday, March 19, 2007

Where do they learn this??

OK, not much knitting content today. I'm getting very excited about my annual weekend away with the Guild. Friday morning to Sunday night, whoopee!!

Where was I? Oh, that's right.

WARNING: finish that mouthful of coffee/water/juice/muffin before reading further.

I realised this morning that I hadn't seen Dash's (Prep) teacher to say hi for a week or so, so thought I'd go to Dash's classroom this morning as the bell went. She came up to me and said that the class had been discussing road safety last week. Oh, no, I thought, here we go; Dash has a fixation on cars and most other things automotive: from monster trucks to Top Gear to Grand Prix racing and all points in between. A lady from the RACV came to talk to the kids and during the discussion, Dash came out with:

"Oh yeah, that happened the other day with a bloody idiot when I was in the car with my Mum."

Shocked collective gasp from all of the other kids, then dead silence. Eventually the discussion carried on, but Dash kept on mentioning the "bloody idiot". I am helpless with laughter at this point, thinking this will be a good story to tell at his 21st birthday. I am also profoundly grateful that DH and I decided, when the kids were little, that we wouldn't verbally let fly in front of them. It could have been several shades more colourful.

Considering the incident Dash was referring to, it could have been much more serious. A white van came the wrong way up a one way street, and if I'd been two or three seconds further down the road, we'd have had a full-on frontal collision. As it was, he squeaked past us and sped on his way. I had Dash, my Mum and her sister in the car at the time, otherwise I might have really let rip.

Luckily Dash's teacher also found Dash's revelation very funny; she also taught Goose last year and we couldn't have asked for a nicer Prep teacher :)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Bitch Karma Fairy

I've had a visit from the bitch-karma fairy.

I have spent the last two days cleaning my house: carpets, tiles, changing sheets on all beds yesterday, cleaning showers, basins, loos, bath, stove and kitchen sink today.

I reached under the kitchen sink for a steel wool pad to shine up said sink, to find the box standing in water.

Seems we've had a slow leak under there for a while now, I think since the agent sent his numpty handyman to replace the kitchen mixer tap, around 6 months ago.

Now the shelf needs replacing, as well as probably the bottom of the cupboard.


I forced myself to stick to the cleaning, bribing Self with fun trips out (movies, clothes shopping) and special time with my spinning wheel. I figured that since my blog implies use of wheels, I should provide some evidence that I actually know how to use one.

Now I can see my week disappearing waiting for the same numpty to come and fix what he stuffed up in the first place.


At least I'm off to Scienceworks with my son and his new Prep friend tomorrow. It's their last Wednesday off. Dash's school has a policy of giving Preps Wednesdays off, to ease them into the next thirteen years of unremitting slog. I asked Dash what he wanted to do, thinking a trip to the park or perhaps a movie, but Scienceworks won hands down.

Hmmm, just been to look up the link and seen there's an exhibition on monsters and animatronics. Right up Dash's street, and his mate doesn't seem to scare easily, either.

Could be worse. In five or ten years it'll probably be amusement arcades, although my presence is bound to be strongly discouraged by then.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

A Dash of Culture

Last Saturday I did something I haven't done for a long time.

I went to a gallery opening, and even more unusually for me, I knew one of the artists! The theme was Love Generation, most appropriate given Valentine's Day is coming up ;)

I love Michelle's style, the people she paints look just like "ordinary" people, yet with an air of mystery, as if there are many layers to explore. Sorry, I'm no art critic; if that last sentence is as clear as mud, then the fault lies with me, not the art!

Today I'm back to the mundane realities of life, defrosting the small freezer. It's quite meditative, sitting here at the kitchen table while the ice gently melts and the water drips onto the towel folded in the base. I've been known to take the hairdryer to the freezer to accelerate the process, but it's too hot for that today - we were supposed to get 38 degress Celsius, but it topped out at 35. Still too hot to be blasting hot air around, even with the air-conditioning on.

And I'm sorry, Mr Batchelor, but I won't be setting my aircon for 26 degrees. What's the point if it doesn't make you comfortable? When ministers have all departmental and parliamentary aircon switched to 26 degrees, then I'll think again.

Sorry if you came looking for knitting-related posts, maybe later this week. I have finished the steeked vest (and two other items), but I can't find my camera to prove it. I'm also concentrating my kidfree daylight hours to some overdue computer work; about halfway through it after three days.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Did I Slip ... or Was I Pushed?

WARNING: if I know you, and you've delivered a child in the last 48 hours, and you work with my DH - SPOILER AHEAD!!!

So, I signed up (in my head, anyway) for Knit From Your Stash for 2007, inspired by Wendy Johnson's intentions.

So far, I've been to my LYS (Wool Baa) three times this year, twice for a group meet, once to pick up a needle I needed for the Mermaid jacket. Total yarn purchase? Nil. Zip. Rien. Zero. Nada. Remember, tools don't count.

Yesterday, one of DH's colleagues delivered her first child - a boy. This child is the product of a mixed marriage - in terms of Aussie Rules, that is. We have been to the footy a few times with the new parents, including the last two Grand Finals. They are each passionate about their respective teams. Today I sifted through my stash and patterns, looking for something to make for the new arrival.

Suddenly that ol' lightbulb flashed on in my head, and I found the pattern/recipe I wanted: an EZ pattern for a double-thickness hat, known as the Very Warm Hat, and last published in "The Opinionated Knitter". The reason I wanted this design? I could make each side in one of the teams his parents follow, so which side is seen on the outside will depend on which parent he goes out with. Thanks, I thought it was inspired, too :D

I rang my conscience, Nic (who shall henceforth be known as Jiminy Cricket heehee), who confirmed my belief that breaking the diet to buy the specific colours required for each team was acceptable, giving me a dispensation for this purchase.

Off I went to Wool Baa, and bought some Patons Bluebell in the three colours required. I'd forgotten how nice Patons Bluebell is to knit, although I do remember it as being a crisper crepe than its current incarnation. Nothing more constant than change, I always say!

So, what do the rest of you think? Did I sin? Should I do penance? What form should it take? Answers on the back of a comment (or the back of a coffee scroll), please.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Eek! A Steek!!

OK, now breathe normally. Surely you've all seen enough terrifying pictures of demonic scissors slicing through innocent knitting to get the general idea (scroll down for both). If those pics freaked you out, then take EZ's sage advice:

"Cut ... then lie down in a darkened room for fifteen minutes to recover."

I'm sure I've also read her recommend (somewhere) a glass of wine after as well, or maybe that's just my own wishful thinking.

Anyway, this is a pic of the corrugated ribbing I started off with. It went well (thanks for asking). Then, I wanted to finish off the armholes and front bands in a similar manner. It didn't take long to work out that it was just too much ribbing - too many rows deep, I mean. This pic gives the best colours, btw.

So I worked out how to reduce the number of rows without disrupting the colour pattern, or making it look like I was just working this out on the fly (because I am).

Happy-happy-knitting-knitting ... you know what comes next, right?
Meet the Flare. You know, bell-bottom armhole ribbing. It's all the rage. Honestly.

Nup. Goose didn't fall for it, either.

Ripped it back. Decreased 10% stitches in first row and changed from 3.25mm to 2.75mm needles. Knit it again.

Ripped it again. Kept the original decreases, changed down to 2.25mm needles, and additionally decreased 25% on the next-to-last row. Surely I'd gone too far? Maybe a nice plain garter stitch edge would do instead? Maybe plain ribbing wouldn't look too much as if I'd just bailed on the whole consistency idea?


Trust me , it now works. You'll just have to wait for pics, as it's all scrunched up on the needles for the front bands. I think I've decreased (or not) in the right places for it to ease around the point at the base of the V-neck, and hug up close (but not too much) at the shoulder and neck.

I thank Lana, Amelia and Jane , who helped me work out the fastening issue at the Wool Baa yesterday, as buttons, Fair Isle rib (think strands on the wrong side) and six year old fingers just don't hang well together for me.

I'll finish this sucker yet, then it's on to my Mermaid jacket ... scroll down for the Cyclamen colourway. Maybe if my Tigers finsh in the finals this year, I'll do it again in the Curry colourway. Yeah, I can dream big dreams ...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

They've Officially Gone Too Far

OK. Let me make myself clear on this, and please don't take this the wrong way.

I fully support all efforts to put an end to breast cancer. I know two women who are currently (and thank God successfully) fighting their own fight against this disease, which seems to be striking younger women all the time.

But this is just a step too far. Please, someone else tell me this is bad taste?

Next we'll have women using their old, tired, grey, grungy bras to make one of these travesties. Sometimes it's not all about "reduce, reuse, recycle". Sometimes a tired old bra which has seen too much active service, just needs to go in the bin.

End of rant.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Better Late than Never

In the year 2007 I resolve to:
Forget my New Year's Resolution.

Get your resolution here.

PS: Sorry for radio silence, but we've been waiting to be connected to a new ISP, and Telstra took their own sweet time doing their part (no surprise there).

Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Doozy of a New Year's Resolution

Mr CW and I are sitting here with the kids, watching the recording of the fireworks from last night. One of the presenters was going around the crowd in Fed Square, asking them about their New Year's resolutions.

One woman, who we realised (belatedly) was probably South African, had us falling off the couches laughing. When asked what her resolution was, she replied "no more icecream".

Unfortunately, her Springbok accent made it come out like "no more arse cream".

Amen, sister.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Unforeseen Problems

Well, Santa was pretty generous with our household. The kids don't know what to play with first; they're expecting friends around any minute and Dash has got out at least five toys/games for his mate to look at. Goose can't decide what to do first when her friend gets here. What we are going to do first is have a quick lunch and then go to see Happy Feet

Mr ConnexWhinger gave me a weekend away at Harrietville at the end of March with the Guild . As well, he gave me a $100 voucher to spend at Clegs (scene of much fabric and yarn debauchery in the past). We were chatting on Boxing Day and I wondered aloud that if I only wanted to buy $50 worth, if Clegs would give me a $50 voucher in change.

Mr CW turned to me gravely and replied, "It never occurred to me that you would have any trouble spending $100 on yarn in one go."

Me neither, come to that :D

**Updated to add: Happy Feet was a great movie to take the kids to, and Mel and I enjoyed it as well. It's one of those movies with two stories: one at the kids' level, with some grown-up type jokes and asides (no, not adult humour) as well.

Happy Birthday, Sam

Happy 11th Birthday to Sam, aka Sammydog, my Mum's dog.

Sam was one of five pups resulting from a liaison between my brother-in-law's dog, Morgan (yes, as in Mad Dog Morgan), and my dog, Lass, when we lived on the farm. Morgan made the cross-country trip of 6km or so to express his ardour for Lass at the appropriate time. As far as we can tell, Sam is a Border Collie/Kelpie mix, and looks like a gold-and-white Border Collie.

Mum said she would only take one of the pups if she could have the pick of the litter. Sam has certainly turned out to be one of those dogs with real personality (and intelligence) and has been absolutely "bombproof" around all of the grandchildren. His one weakness is chasing and catching tennis balls, and will do so way beyond anyone's enthusiasm for throwing it.

Sam now lives back on the farm with my sister's family, since Mum and Dad moved to an apartment earlier this year. He is enjoying "retirement" from all accounts, and lives in the lap of luxury as a "house" dog, as opposed to the working sheepdogs.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Meet My Inner Goddess

Just keep it nice in the comments :D

You scored as Rita Hayworth. You're the one who has the most fun. People are attracted to you because you don't pretend to be anything but what you are. You know you are attractive and like to play on that - which makes you even sexier. However, when it calls for you to be serious, like Rita, you need to know that only hard work will get success.

Which Classic Screen Goddess are you? (pics)
created with

Merry Christmas to all, if I don't get back to the blog in the next few days. Presents are all bought but need wrapping, the tree is up, food shopping is done, no Christmas knitting remains undone, it just remains to decide if I'm going to bake bread as my Christmas Day contribution to the extended family gathering, or just go to the bakery on Sunday and freeze them for a day. Yep, sounds like a plan...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Look out, Stash

I think Wendy Knits! might be onto something here.

Dare I say it? I'm seriously considering joining up. I certainly need to do something to harness this relentless beast of mine (no, DH, not you lol).

The first step - once Christmas is over - will be to take a proper inventory of said stash and divest myself of all the stuff I'm not realistically going to knit in my near future.

Next I need to reassess all of the WIPS - knitting or otherwise - and work out what won't be finished (by me, anyway). Then these WIPs need to be set in some sort of priority. Then finished. Obviously. Otherwise what's the point?

Then the remaining stash needs to be put into some sort of order. I'm going to allow myself the spinning exemption, as well as two Get Out of Jail Free cards: Australian Sheep & Wool Show at Bendigo in July, and the Guild weekend away at Harrietville in March.

Phew. This might take me most of 2007. Anyone else got plans?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Merry and not so merry

Yesterday I went to my Mum's place to help her sort through and destash "a bit". Five hours later we had made some progress but not completed the job. Later yesterday I took four archive boxes of fabric and a box full of zippers over to Nichola's place. Boy, did she think Santa had made his rounds early :D

Seriously, I'm glad Mum is destashing now and sorting through what's important or not. I'd hate to have to do it without her in many years' (I hope) time. The funniest moment was finding an unopened packet of bias binding from Kingsway Stores (anyone remember them?), labelled July 1962 and costing 2/3 (2 shillings and threepence)!! I told Mum I could show it to Mr ConnexWhinger as proof that my hoarding habits are genetically imprinted and way beyond my control. Actually, it's probably nature and nurture!!

In a not so merry episode, one of Melbourne's quilt shops has experienced a number of thefts lately. Go and look here for the details and what to look out for. These scummy cretins have no concept of the hours and hours that go into a work of art like this. It's almost as if they'd ripped it right out of your hands.

More knitting going on but not much to show ... yet :)

Monday, December 04, 2006

That Time of Year

Here's an extract from an email I just sent to A, who has been "hosting" my Ashford Traveller wheel (with woollee winder) this year:

"No rush on the wheel, if you need to keep it until January, that's fine. It's not as if I have time to spin on my Joy at present, let alone the Traveller *boo-hoo* Although I'm hoping for more time after Christmas - yeah, I should ask Santa for an extra hour in my day. Imagine how much more you could get done with an extra 365 hours per year. That's ..... 15 days and 5 hours, or just over two weeks."

It's true, I don't think I've had the Joy out spinning for a good three months now. The knitting is certainly bowling along; I've finished my teachers' gifts (well, two out of three ain't bad), but my spinning time budget seems to be eaten up by time doing stuff for the Guild. Not complaining, just observing the irony.

So Santa, dear, if you're listening, a little wrinkle in the space-time continuum wouldn't hurt anybody really, would it?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Not Much to Say

...and how unusual is that? I hear several voices ask :)

The reason is that I've temporarily lost my voice with a summer cold. (As another school mum said to me this morning, "If you were a man, you'd have been in bed for three days!") Not lost, exactly, but I sound like a teenage boy whose voice is breaking, very squeaky. If I start sprouting hairs on my chest, I'll be seriously freaked out.

Speaking of being SFO, check out Yarn Harlot's latest experience with her new neighbour. Now is probably a good time to warn you not to eat or drink while reading this post. You'll work out why for yourself.

Also waiting for DH to come back from Perth (again) tomorrow night. He's expressed an interest in seeing this play, so I might have a review to post here before long. The last time I went to the theatre - not counting kinder concerts? A Christmas panto in the UK, but I guess that doesn't count, either. God, it was so much fun, though; gotta love shouting out "Oh, no, you're not!" and "Behind you!" like all the other kids :D The last serious theatre was probably a production (John Bell?) of Richard III in Canberra in 1997/98 with my brother, who was visiting from Melbourne.

Oh, and check out my friend Michelle's blog and gallery. My favourite painting this time around? This one.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Totally Lazy Sunday

Thanks for all of your lovely comments about the shawl. It's not actually for me, but as I haven't given it away yet, I can't say any more. I must say, I went to the Guild yesterday and bought the other three skeins of this Merino; it's so lush, I couldn't help myself :D

Meanwhile, here's a lazy way to enjoy your Sunday:

You Belong in Winter

Quiet, calm, and totally at peace...
You're happy to be at home, wrapped in a blanket, completely snowed in
Whether you're lighting a fire or having a snowball fight, you always feel best in the winter.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Sssshh ... Another FO

OK, here it is, dressing for your enjoyment (sounds vaguely tarty, doesn't it?) The ceiling fan is your friend; this dried in about two hours.

The yarn is from Andyle Farms (just outside Melbourne); it's a 2 ply fingering weight Merino. It took less than the 150g skein to make the whole shawl.

I must say, I'm totally smitten by the idea of using ravel cord (machine knitters all nodding in unison sagely here) threaded through the straight edge to - well, get a straight edge. Saves all those scallopy points where you don't really want them.

Unlike this part, where you *do* want it to go all wavy and scallopy. (See, it even sounds like I meant it to do this.)

Here's a better view of the point of the shawl. I think this is the best part of the whole design.

Oh, sorry, haven't I told you what the pattern is yet? It's Seraphim by Miriam Felton, she of the Icarus shawl fame, among others.

I highly recommend Miriam's patterns, not just because they're beautiful designs, but because the presentation is so professional and easy to understand.

Unlike Dash's photographic skills. This is his idea of showing the shawl (and his mother) to advantage.

This is Goose's idea of photography - and Dash's idea of being a good photographer's assistant *sigh*

Maybe I can get Goose to stand still long enough for me to show the drape of the shawl over her shoulders. OK, yes, that is my shadow in the foreground; can't have everything. At least the shawl turned out right.

FO - only it's not mine

Go and have a look at Nikki-shell's latest FO.

Beats me how a busy girl like her has time to knit or otherwise craft so stylishly, let alone blog about it all.

Sorry I've gone AWOL again, but I had some sad family news over the last couple of weeks. I don't even want to blog about it; it just feels too raw and sensitive. The main reason I don't want to blog is that I'm not the primary one affected, so it's not my life I'd be exposing to all and sundry.

I was about to say that I'll be really glad when this year is over, but that's not strictly true. Goose has had a red-hot start to school this year, and has coped with everything she's been asked to do beautifully. But I shouldn't be surprised; she is a beautiful, mature six-year-old. DH and I are still trying to work out where she gets it from; maybe it skipped a generation...

Dash has also really grown and matured this year, while enjoying his four-year-old kinder. He can now read nearly as well as his sister (who seems to be reading well beyond her year level) and is looking forward to starting school in a little over two months.

Wow. I keep asking the kids what I'll do with myself when they're both at school, but it's yet to sink in that I'll be on my own for most of the school day. DH thinks I'll be in the job market, but I keep saying I'm too busy to get a job. Seriously.

All joking aside, I'm not sure I want to put that sort of pressure on the kids (and us) before and after school. I'd be happy to hear from working parents, on themes like when do you get to hear their reading, talk about their day, etc? How does it work when you don't pick them up from aftercare until nearly 6pm? What do you do about school holidays or when the kids are sick?

I know I'm a really lucky mum. I don't have to work; I've had the last six years out of the paid workforce, and while we haven't achieved all of our financial goals, we do feel especially blessed that we've been able to give our two a home-based start to life. I'm sorry if I sound complacent or smug in any way. I'm not putting down anyone who has made other choices or taken other paths in their childrearing journey.

Hopefully I'll have a knitting FO to show next week, but it's a secret for now. Funny how I started this blog as a record of my knitting...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


The things you find on your clothesline at night...

Quite cute, really. Here's some more info on the little critters. Hope you're enjoying your Wednesday evening.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Secret Knitting Revealed!

Finally, I can reveal one of the secret knits.

OK, so it hasn't really been a secret for about 6 weeks, but I figured you wouldn't really be interested without photos, and it's taken a while to upload these pics.

The pattern is called "Rambling Rows" and I first saw this pattern four or five years ago, when John was just a baby. How do I know this? Because I made a cot-sized blanket for him, which he now uses as his kinder rest blankie.

It comes from a company in the US called Cottage Creations. No website, sorry, but if you Google for it, you'll probably find a retailer somewhere. Oh look, there's one! Scroll down to see the afghan, as this designer - Carol Anderson - has quite a few patterns out there.

I've also bought the Paddy & Bridget dolls pattern to try (one day), the Rambling Rows Jacket, and the community knitting booklet as well. They're good additions to my reference library. Please don't email asking for copies, as a refusal may offend :D

The colours in this shot are the most accurate. You need five colours for this pattern, and it can be made in any size you like. I used Cleckheaton Machine Washable 8 ply. My inspiration for the colours came from the Handknitters Expo at Coburg Town Hall in June. Busy Bee had packs of ten balls for a substantial discount, and the burgundy, asparagus-green and denim blue were in one pack together. All I had to do was add the natural white and charcoal-grey and off we went!

First of all, the reason I love this blanket is that it's a join-as-you-go pattern, so when the body of it is finished, all you need to do is weave in the ends. This isn't too bad if you stop now and then and weave in a few at a time as you go. I do have a secret unvented method for weaving ends into garter stitch, which I may post about another time.

I finagled the edging myself. Usually I pick up stitches all around the edge of the blanket, work garter stitch in the round, increasing twice at each corner every second row and then cast off. Since this blanket is designed to be really handy for the carseat or stroller, I wanted a firmer edge for it. No reason I can articulate, I just did. (As one of Goose's T-shirts says: "Because I'm a Princess. That's why."

This time, I made the edge as usual, but when I got to the edge, I knitted a picot row (yo, K2tog all the way around) then worked garter stitch in the reverse colour order, decreasing two stitches at each corner every second row, then performed a three-needle cast-off around, having picked up the base of the original picked-up row to cast off with the live stitches. I cast off with a larger needle (5mm instead of the 4mm I used for the blanket) to make sure the edge wasn't too tight and puckery. The last photo shows the "wrong" side of the edge; you can see how neat this treatment is.

OK, I started this post this morning, sitting up in bed while I had my first coffee, and I've finished it while waiting to put the kids to bed. Hopefully tomorrow I will have permission from Cupcake's mum to post her photo, so you can see who all this work was for :D

Monday, September 25, 2006

Got Yarn?

I was browsing at the s'n'b Melbourne Yahoo Group today, and there was a post from a newly arrived knitter, asking for local yarn sources. Here's my answer:

Hey Claire -

You don't mention where in Melbourne you are.

Your fairly ordinary yarns can be found at Spotlight stores throughout Melbourne; they stock Cleckheaton wool which is dependable and one label can be machine-washable, as well as Panda Woolbale which can be felted, not to mention a good selection of acrylics, if that floats your boat :)

If you're east of the CBD, try Sunspun in Canterbury, pricy but most Rowanettes end up there sooner or later. Wondoflex in Malvern has a wide range of wool, as well as some weird and wonderful yarns. They stock Filatura di Crosa, too. Wool Baa in Albert Park is a lovely store (probably my first choice) and has an excellent range of yarns, patterns and needles. Marta's in Waverley Rd, East Malvern (near Caulfield station) is an Aladdin's Cave. Try to stuff your ears with cotton wool before you go in, or the yarns will all whisper to you, calling for you to take them home :D

AK Traditions in Malvern Rd, Prahran/Hawksburn has a good range of Rowan, although their main focus is their amazing range of felted handcrafts from one of the formerly-Russian republics (Kyrgyz Republic).

Wool Shop Direct (no apparent website) has a store in the city (upstairs at the cnr of Russell and Bourke) and also near Moorabbin station and in Surrey Hills. Williamstown in the inner west has Stitchery Blue, knitting yarn and needlework generally.

I believe there's a shop out east, Doncaster/Knox way, who sells Brown Sheep and Red Heart yarns, as well as Classic Elite. Anyone know the name of this one - it seems to be one I haven't been to, odd as that may seem...

For something one-off and unusual, try the Handweavers and Spinners Guild's Gallery in North Carlton. Guild members sell their handspun yarn there for not much more than standard 8 ply ($5.50 for 50g, roughly). You can get anything from one skein to a sweater/jumper's worth. Also in the north is Knitter's Workshop in Brunswick, again a good range of quality yarns (last time I looked).

Most of the festivals are over for the year, except for the Textile Fibre Forum's open day in Geelong this Saturday. WHY must it be on Grand Final day??? Sooo not fair when passions collide (go Swans!). If you go to this, say hi to Sarah Durrant, who sells Colinette yarns in the same way that the targets of the Purana taskforce sell illicit substances.... (hi Sarah *waves cheekily and ducks for cover*)

Another out of town destination is Bendigo Woollen Mills. They give great mail order, no website. Call (03) 5442 4600 and ask for a shade card. They usually give you 10% off within a certain timeframe for new customers, just to tempt you that little bit more. Quality is excellent, and comes in 200g balls (fewer ends to darn in)

Did I forget anyone?

Welcome; hopefully we'll see you tomorrow night (and/or any last Wednesday of the month) at the meet at Prahran Market in Commercial Road, 7pm at Mojito's, licensed and great dinners!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Lots Going On

Here I am again. If I'm not careful, this blog could become a regular thing ;D

I was all so excited about my brand new Annie Accord this week. I took her everywhere and she behaved impeccably. Tonight, however, she blotted her copybook. While reversing into my own driveway (oh the humiliation), I failed to spot the car round the corner in my neighbour's spot.

Now, in my defence, my neighbour does not drive and doesn't own a car. She has had maybe five visitors park there in the last six years we've been living here. In these circumstance the reverse parking sensors do not help, as I hit the side of my car against the bumper of the visiting car. This just after missing my neighbour's visitor, as he ducked into her front gate after I had started my reverse maneouvre. Maybe he and his car have a death wish?

Ouch and air-turned-blue for a good while. Luckily there is no discernible damage to the other car (can you damage a Datsun Stanza any more than it is at its age?), so it's just the insurance excess and DH to get over. At least now I can stop wondering when the first blemish will appear on my perfect (sob) car.

Just when I thought life was improving, as I got my knitting groove back today.....

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Steve Bracks? SEXy??

Who'd have thought it? Relax, I haven't suddenly parked my taste in men in my backside :D

Yesterday I received a cheque in the mail. A cheque for $150. Apparently this supposedly covers the cost of Goose starting school this year. Here's a newsflash, Bracksy: we outlaid our dosh at the start of the year, when Goose needed her uniform, shoes, and a backpack the size of most small European principalities.

Hang on ... you mean, there's a state election coming up? And that's why we get a cheque now, so we'll theoretically remember it on voting day, come November? No chance.

Tell you what, Bracksy. I'll spend mine on yarn (hence the SEX), thanks all the same. You can take your chances in November.....

PS: Didn't Goose look ready to start school?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Secret Knitting

OK, not quite the same as Secret Pal stuff :)

I'm working on something I can't talk about at present, so I can't show you - yet. Instead, here's a photo of Dash wearing his Elephant Vest:

This photo was taken last year on our trip to the UK. We're in a field near DH's childhood home in South Gloucestershire, where he and his brothers used to go and play. There's a gentle stream through it, it's very peaceful (apart from the constant traffic - not like the old days, apparently) and the kids loved learning to throw rocks into the water. It's like a talisman of DH's past.

Anyway, the vest is from Alice and Jade Starmore's Children's Collection and I knitted it in Jamieson's Shetland 4 ply. I'm really proud of this one, as it was my first foray into Fair Isle in the round and steeking. It was one of the scariest things I've ever done, taking scissors to my knitting. You'd better believe I knitted a sample square and cut that up, first!! I used the crochet steek method, which I found in Meg Swansen's book, "Handkintting". Crochet just seemed to to be a better fit than getting out my sewing machine, although I would have done that without hesitation if the sample steek hadn't held together.

In the interests of equality, I should also show you some knitting I did for Goose. These are her Mermaid socks in Opal yarn, from Lucy Neatby's "Cool Socks, Warm Feet" (altered at Goose's request to be knee-high). I love this book, and this is the second pair I made from it. The first pair was "Crenellated Toe-Up Socks", which were my holiday knitting last year - something actually for me. Maybe one day I'll get a photo up of those.

There's some spinning going on, too, but I can't really talk about that, yet, either. Quite the secretive type, aren't I?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Mouths of Babes

Sitting here on the couch with Dash. I'm too brain-dead to knit, after a succession of bad nights' sleep. You know how it is, the kids are unwell and DH is out-of-town, so you only sleep lightly so you'll hear them if they wake.

First off, Dash asks me if the last Teletubbie is called Ho or Po. Can you imagine a little red figure, lounging seductively against a lamp post down Grey Street, babbling to the kerb-crawlers? Too funny. I'm almost certain that they don't make fishnets for that figure type. No, I do not want to know the URL if there is such a website lol.

Next, we're watching kids gathering blackberries and Dash asks me whether, if you eat poison, you die. Yes, I answer, you'd at least get very sick.

"So why do they have poison berry yoghurt at the supermarket?"

It took me a few seconds to realise he meant boysenberry...

Friday, July 14, 2006

Anyone Remember Muttley?

Does anyone remember Muttley, the muttering, snickering dog from the Wacky Races cartoon?

I was doing a pretty fair imitation of his cursing and muttering last night, sitting on my couch. The plan had been, with DH in Perth this week, as follows:

5pm Take Dash and Goose to my parents, bath and settle them in
7pm Go to Nichola and Kevin's lounge and have something to eat
8pm Relax with a glass of something and listen to Pat Ashforth and Steve Plummer share their woolly thoughts
11pmish Return to parents and sleep over
Sat am Drop Goose to schoolfriend for the day to attend mutual pirate party
Sat am Drop Dash to brother's place for the day with his cousins and attend pirate storytime at Reading's
Sat am Go to Guild for the day (bliss)
Sat pm Pick up Dash and Goose, home, baths, dinner, bed (for them) and an evening of my choice on TV

I knew this wasn't going to go to plan when Goose woke early Friday morning with a high temperature. She has always spiked a temperature quickly as a baby and hasn't really outgrown it yet. So, no school for her. I hastily arranged an alternative babysitter (16yo nephew) who could come to my place to mind the kids (Hi, Moo!) and went out to buy fish and chips for all of them. So far, so good, until at 7:30 Dash turned to me with his eyes full of tears and uttered the fateful words: "I don't want you to go out tonight", followed by wrapping himself around me and hanging on like a koala in a cyclone.

Tell me, what choice did I have after that?

So, we drove Moo home, dropped in at the Nectar Lounge to at least meet Pat and Steve and get my books autographed and then home to pop the kids into bed, just in time to see Richmond get beaten by Melbourne. At least they're putting up a fight this year.

Good to see that all the usual suspects turned up for the workshop; just a shame we couldn't catch up over a glass of something pleasant.

Maybe I should be offering this up on behalf of Lee Ann.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions...

... and abandoned WIPs :D

I had every intention of posting on this blog on a regular, *frequent* basis. Suffice to say, life has gotten in my way again. Three hour committee meetings don't help, nor does Dash with his it-might-be-a-cold-but-you-don't-look-sick-enough-to-take-to-the-doctor syndrome.

On that topic, man-oh-man do I put myself through the hoops before lifting the phone to make a doctor's appointment for the kids. I hate sitting there being patronised for being a hypochondriac-mum-by-proxy, yet I've also had to sit there and be gently chided for not bringing them in soon enough. A rock and a hard place? The devil and the deep blue sea? You bet your arse ;-S

On top of all that, DH is away in Perth for 9 days; he's only been gone since yesterday morning but we all miss him like mad already - only seven sleeps to go :^C

Hmm, my keyboard seems to have run out of hyphens ... plenty of dots left though ... and cliches, reading back through ...

Maybe some knitting content will be inserted this weekend ... I can hear the suspense killing you from here (...)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

It's all about balance

DH has been interstate this week for 4 days, and the two kids really miss him - as do I!

Last night I went to my local S'n'B meet at the Prahran Market, and my 16yo nephew babysat for me - hi Moo! It was a good meet, with around 9 or 10 of us there, but it finished up just before 9pm. As Moo was staying the night, it seemed a waste of a night of freedom to go home so early - almost ungrateful :)

So I popped around to Nic's place , and we spent a good couple of hours chatting about families, what to do with our limited free time and - of course - lots of knitting and crafting.

I got home at a very respectable midnight.

This morning I went down to the supermarket while Moo looked after the kids. It was heaving; why do I always tend to go on pension day?* I was very grateful to not have had the kids with me. Later in the day I thought I'd take the kids to meet DH's plane at 7pm, so I took them down to a beach cafe for fish and chips lunch and a good play in the playground afterwards. It was glorious sitting in the sunshine and knitting while Goose and Dash worked off some energy. It may seem hard to believe, but there were kids running around in T-shirts and bare feet - and we're supposed to be in the middle of winter! The bare feet weren't even blue; it must have been around 17 degrees Celsius and just lovely.

Sorry, but it was too lovely to get my camera out for photos, just take my word for it :D

* Pension cheques in Australia were traditionally always mailed out on Wednesdays to be received on Thursdays, so lots of the pension-collecting members of our community tend to go shopping and run all of their errands on this day. These days I believe it's force of habit, as all pensions are nowadays credited directly to bank accounts on different days.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

New Knitalong

Has anyone else seen this Knitalong SamplerM ?

"Knit the - probably Dutch - knitting sampler with the letter M from the beginning of the 20th century with 29 wonderful stitch patterns. The patterns will be posted in this group one by one. Knit along and see your sampler grow!
Start: July 1th 2006"

It looks like fun. It's based in Utrecht, Holland, but they're actively recruiting English-speakers.

Gotta run; helping my parents move today after 35 years - definitely a day of mixed emotions ;)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

News Flash!

I am so excited, I can't put words to it.

Oh, OK, since you insist...

I had a phone call today from one of the organisers of the Handweaving and Spinners' Guild of Victoria Summer School, asking me if I'd be prepared to teach a class next January. The topic is fairly fluid at present but we have certainly reached "in principle agreement" that I will be able to teach something, probably about knitting. Can't say more at this stage, but stay tuned.

Sssshh, don't tell them I'd probably pay them to be able to teach what I love...