Friday, December 28, 2007

a lesson

For the past few days I've been busily knitting away with what was left over from Zegal's toasty toes.
The idea was to learn toe up construction with a reverse heel, two at once on two circular needles.
And as I want to do a pair of socks for Mum to take OS to my Grandma at the end of Jan I thought that this would be the perfect pair.
While my Grandma has tiny feet length wise, I think at 91 you can safely assume a bit of old lady foot spread has occurred so a rib pattern with the DK weight on 3mm circs with a stitch count of 64 it was. I'd normally do a 48 on 3.25m for myself with a rib, but I wanted them to be soft, a little bit denser and warmer but with plenty of room for her and easy to get on.

So on I cast using the magic cast on and I was off and racing, literally, working on them once everybody else in the house had crawled off to bed.
They took absolutely no time at all to get to the heels and the heels were a breeze and it was so easy that I was able to enjoy the SBS Godzilla movie the other night and last night's Japanese cult movie. But at about 2am when the weird French movie ended I was about seven rows into the cuff with maybe five meters left!

What to do?
For starters I propped my feet up on the table this morning and took pics of the socks. Tonight Zegal and I will enjoy ripping them back and rewinding the yarn so that later on I can cast on 48 stitches and make some warm winter socks for myself.
It also means digging out some silk alpaca for Grandma and putting aside all other socks until they are done.

While the lack of yardage was a bummer, this partial pair has been a great experience. I now know that while I do prefer DPNs I could use circs if I had to for socks. Although I will be getting some Addis to have that colour difference with the Knit Picks.
While I prefer cuff down, where yardage may be an issue I can easily reverse the process which bodes well for the Jitterbug.
And knitting toe up because of a yardage issue is no guarantee of avoiding these issues.

Now for more sock news, but beautiful sock news.
In the past week I've received a few packages, no not more than usual, but the contents have been decidedly special.
Firstly was some Hercules by Jolly Jumbuck in a beautiful athabasca colourway. I tried to photograph it's deep, oil slick colours but just couldn't do it justice.

The second was a package of goodies, some of which were shown in the last post. Along with the biscuits there were rum balls (I ate them all 'cause I love me rum balls and promptly fell asleep on the lounge), and a chocolate log and a little notepad which was quickly appropriated by Zegal who declares that Spiraling is her special friend there was also some sock wool.

The sock yarn is beautiful and it looks like this.

Now to find a pattern worthy of the yarn. Any ideas?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

merry crimbo

So much to eat, so much sweet stuff, so many pressies, so much yarn, so many books and patterns.

It's hard to know where to start, that I won't tonight, but here is a pic of the Jar trying his best to pose for a photo when his mouth is full of yummy biscuit from spiraling.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A reading age of 12

12. That is the reading age that a tabloid reporter is expected to write for.
That is so people with a reading age of 12 can understand every word, can follow the story and can go from the intro to the end without scratching their heads. How's that for the literacy levels of Australia!

Imagine you are a poor man sending a telegram to an idiot was how one aged journalist once told me.

You will notice that I said that this guideline applies to tabloids. For broadsheets, at least when I worked on one, I was told it was 14, but for specialised publications or for feature pieces you can write to reflect a higher literacy level.

But today I made the mistake of not sticking to the 12 rule and was called rude for what I wrote.

I wrote a straight forward sentence, in fact two sentences. Both of which I considered agreed with the original poster.

I don't want to dumb down my language, as this particular community as a whole is full of articulate people, oh except for when they start drinking and then it's just a hoot and full of spellos, and mine are some of the worst examples.

I've seen exchanges on various boards where the words get nasty and it is a shame that a minority will try to attempt to shame and unsettle or employ passive aggressive language when they just don't have the comprehension to understand a simple exchange of words.

My little tangle today was easily cleared up, but this episode and a few others I have witnessed lately has certainly made me think about the use of the 12 rule in my life.

I have always thought that the 12 rule was over the top, but understood that a lot of children did read the paper and using language appropriate to their reading level was important, not just for informing them, but also encouraging them to continue reading.
But now I'm thinking of the usage of the 12 rule for situations other than that of metro dailies; the need for it in a wider sphere.

Some people seem to have a lot of trouble being able to gauge the intent behind what is written. When there is not audible tone it can be hard for those who don't frequent boards or write or read a lot to discern exactly what has been written.

Now I need to pour a drink and start spelling badly

Saturday, December 15, 2007

it's beginning to look a lot like xmas

I've bought some presents, the tree is up, the tinsel and the cookie cutters are hung and a few presents for Uncle T are under the tree.
The Jar and I sat and wrapped up T's presents. That way he knows what in these presents and understands they aren't for him. In a few days, I'll start slinking more under the tree but by then I hope he truly understands they aren't for him to open whenever he feels like it.

Still going on the toasty toes, on my third attempt but seem to have it right now. Doing 48 stitches with 2.75s (3.25s and above seem to be the norm) and I'm doing a k2, p2 rib all the way down the leg and foot.

She likes them so far.

Now officially on hols, will have to go in first thing monday to clear the desk a bit and book in photos and finish off one feature, but that's only an hour or so. I must have been tired, today I ended up snoozing on the lounge for five hours after an early lunch. And last night I managed to stick a knife into the palm of my hand, right at the base of the thumb. I was juggling too many things and trying to get the lock open on the shed and the crackers fell, the (wrapped) cheese hit the deck and my attempt to stop them sliding off the plate resulted in a sharp knife getting stuck in my hand, stopping only cause it hit bone.

At least it is a clean cut, and I packed it, disinfected it and wrapped it, but it's just in that place on the right hand where the scissors rest so I can't really do any cutting out for sewing. Well I did, but it bled like the buggery, so I'll wait a few days and just machine sew what I have for now.

The cut doesn't effect the knitting.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

too busy

I'm trying to do four weeks worth of work in one week.
Yep it's holiday season again so I have to do as much as possible before I leave my desk on Friday.
So no time to really post, or take pictures of the goodness that has been turning up.
Like cascade 220 superwash, like more Ranco in grey, like Knitpics Options Set and extra cables, like the 12ply Tapestry and Craft bright red wool.

But one wonderful piece of news, FOAT has asked me to knit him a jumper! Seems it's now cool at school to wear hand knits, apparently it was in winter but in true Foat boy style he's only gotten around to asking me now.

Not black, no skulls (sniff) and not holey, which I've interpreted to mean, dark dark navy blue, boring, and at a decent dense gauge.
This will be my holiday knitting when I get sick of the socks and the skaters top.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

look what i got

Today when I went to the post office I found a little box waiting for me.
And what was in the box but 5 ounces of an 8 ounce hank of toasty toes dk sport weight.
Oh it's ugly, oh sooo pink and orange and the red and purple.

It was a hard one to photograph and I really didn't capture the true colours. It's deep pink rather than a light pink and Zegal gasped when she saw it.

She wants a pair of socks from it. This is the gal who refused to wear pink and I mean REFUSED until just recently.

So I'm going to try it out.

And the first of the Teaspoon awards for the Australian Knitters' tea cosy swap were announced a moment ago.
There will be more to come.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Two more pairs down in the SSS. First is the black dk weight baby alpaca and silk plain socks (plain with a 5k, 1p repeat on the leg all the way down the toe) for mum for Christmas and the second pair is the sock pixie free zig zag in Knitpicks Landscape yarn that I bought off Ravelry.

I really like the sock pixie pattern with it's two row repeat pattern. Not complicated enough that I can't watch television, read or deal with children while doing it, but not boring enough like straight stocking stitch that I end up dumping it behind the lounge and forgetting about it.

The pattern is also stretchy, but after a while the colours just came across as not me, but more mum, so this year the woman gets two pairs. There is quite a bit leftover from the KPs as I don't like overly long socks so the Jar or Zegal may get a mini pair as well.

I've already cast on for some more Jar Jar socks, 54 stitches, 2.25m with opal for a nice dense hard-to-kill sock and I have some Ranco that needs to be balled and used.

Hmmm ranco.

And as I am now officially old as my eldest boy turned 11 today, I'm going to cheer myself up with a set of Knitpicks options.

Yes, it will be my birthing day present, as in this house each time the children have a birthday, I celebrate birthing day as it was I that did the hard work, that gave them life and then coped untold pain during the whole process, not to mention what I have to do to get and remain pregnant, so I deserve a present.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

phone call from the top of the world

Well, not the top of the world, but the top of Australia.
This morning the mobile went off and the fella was calling. I thought this meant he was off the mountain and down in Canberra as mobile reception is stuffed up there, he's only managed to call twice and the phone lines are down in the lodge as well.
But he wasn't in Canberra, in fact he and Zegal were still up there and Zegal just had to call me to tell me she was standing on the highest part of Australia.
Yep, there is mobile reception at Kosciuszko, on the top of the mountain.

Because of their big walk up there, they won't be back this afternoon as planned, although fella did talk about skipping dinner and a sleep at his parental units' place and driving back here tonight.

So still no camera. But when it comes back I'll be able to show off my first handspun done on my roberta electric spinning wheel.
I set it up last night, cleaned and oiled the little beauty. It was fantastic, and didn't cause any pressure or pain to my shoulder like using my trad Ashford did. However I was already in pain from lugging the Jar around and having to hang out the washing.
But I managed two hours of spinning and then plying while watching the Mighty Boosh!
The end result is a huge hank of overly spun, twisty stuff, which is shocking in some parts but in others so uniform.
It's given me a taste, a taste of what could be and I loved doing it. Roberta is so quiet and as I had her set up at chest level this little machine will not cause neck blowouts, nor will I have to learn to coordinate my leg and hand movements.

Friday, November 30, 2007

skaters top

There seems to be a lot of traffic ending up here because of the Skaters Top.
I've started and have managed to knit to the end of one ball. Which means I've cast on, done the hem facing, the purl turn row and started up the body of the top.
I'm using Rowan Glace as suggested as the other possible substitute for us here in Australia is a Jo Sharp, but her cottons are shocking to work with.
Talk about splitaroonies. Shocking stuff, although if you can struggle through with the knitting, the end result looks good and more plush than with the Rowan.
But due to my hatred of spliten' I've chosen the Rowan, mainly because the only time I get to knit my own stuff is after the chickens, kids and fella have gone to bed. Usually by then my eyelids are almost shut and I just plonk myself on the lounge put on the lamp and knit away in the dark house, so I want a yarn that I don't have to constantly watch every stitch being formed to avoid splitting.

I'm loving the way the Rowan is working up, although having chosen the largest size to accommodate the boobs it will take a long time to get this one done.
But I will and it will be fantastic.
The camera still isn't home so no pics of the progress so far, but I will post regularly seeing as there seems to be so many hits coming this way from searches for the Skaters under top.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

big smoke

A quick trip to sydney and back for work meant a stop at Tapestry and Craft. Which of course meant falling down the stairs straight into the Ranco display.
So I ended up with a skein in the brick red colourway. It looks so much better in the flesh than it does on the screen so I'm glad I didn't order online as I would have ended up with the cherry red which just didn't move me the way the brick red colour did. I also really like the grey, but I did leave it there.
Then I stumbled up the few steps and crashed into the Rowan books and ended up having to get Rowan 40. Beautiful but I'll have to keep this one away from my mum, otherwise she'll borrow it and I'll have to fight to get it back.

The work side was good, although we kept stopping to watch skynews' live broadcasts from Canberra. When they finally got to Rudd making his cabinet announcements there were hoots all around, but not as loud or as rude as those when Costello came out to announce the Liberal leadership decision. So how many times will there be a change in the libs before the next election?

Trip home was a nightmare of sorts but still fun. The train was full when it left Central and then the slow all-stations train in front broke down and they all climbed aboard at Strathfield. There were people sitting and standing in the aisle and the stairs and I spent the trip until Fassifern squished in a corner. But the oldies who penned me in were a delightful bunch. One old dear, who had recently lost her husband after more than 50 years of marriage, was telling tales about Keating. She used to work for him in Bankstown. She was a wealth of knowledge and had some pretty broad views and told me she was delighted to meet a youngster who not only had a grasp of politics but could turn a fine heel as well. My completed landscapes sock was passed around the group who obviously knew their hand knitted socks well and knew what I was doing when turning the heel on the second sock.
One old dear asked me what I was going to do with the sock I was knitting. I turned to her deadpan and said "wear it" and that got them started about the benefits of socks and how no one knits them and how good they were and all the complaints they can cure.
That's right if I always wear hand knit socks, my golf game will improve, as will my aches and pains, not to mention my circulation. Yes despite the heat in the carriage and no space, it was an entertaining ride home.

Still no camera, but it and the fellow and Zegal should be home on Sunday. Zegal probably will want to stay there forever as there is SNOW and she has had a ball in the snow.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

the most important day of your life

Well sort of, maybe only for the next few years, and only if you are in Australia and registered to vote.
Get to it, don't do a 'donkey' or invalid quote.
Remember that when it comes to employment figures, if you work ONE HOUR A WEEK that means you are fully employed as far as the employments figures are concerned. Perhaps the employment figures should be renamed the under-employed figures.

And yes darling, I have voted, the animals have been feed, only one frog tried to escape but we foiled his mission for freedom.
Foat boy was a scream on stage, the Jar was good watching and all is well.

Hope the possums don't bite and if you manage to get to a working phone give me a call.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

two crickets for each frog

Two meetings, another one over lunch, 3500 words, postponement of staff review, interviews lined up for next week, organised trip for upcoming negotiations for industry awards or salary and conditions package (or not award depending on Saturday night's election results) and then brought right back into the mundane with a note on the table that each frog has to be fed two crickets every night.
Oh and a postscript about turning off the lights.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

he's taking the camera away

That's right, the camera will be gone for more than a week, cause he thinks it's important to document his and Zegal's holiday.
Hmmp. What about my knitting I say.
Anyway, I'll be too busy really with the boys. There's a series of performances, a sleepover for a heap of 10 and 11 year olds (oh why did I say yes to this one), a trip to Sydney for award negotiations tentatively scheduled next week and so much work.

So I'll probably not get a chance to post to Southern Summer of Socks, but I'll try, although I expect all my spare time will be spent knitting the under top with that lush Rowan Cotton Glace I managed to get my hands on.

And big snaps to P' for sending so many people here. She obviously liked what she saw, maybe I should join her in the Etsy group on Ravelry too!

'Cause it's obvious that the bricks and mortar market I mentioned when talking about the fuglies (designs that I think just don't work or are plain ugly) selling first on a thread at Ravelry, was thousands of miles and several time zones away so it was nice for her to go off-site and find out I was on Etsy and then post the info for everyone to see.
Personally I try and keep the fabric away from Ravelry, there's enough to deal with over there with just the yarn, but thanks for the push!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

done, next please

Finally the Zegal's shawl jumper is done.
It looks great, there is enough room for growth or heavy jumpers underneath and she is pretty damn impressed with it.
The shiny buttons clinched it for her.
The buttons are two hand-made mother of pearl or shell buttons that I had in my vintage button collection. What I hear you ask, a button collection, well a gal who has vintage dresses, fabric, wool and patterns both sewing and knitting must have an old rusty tin full of old, old buttons.
So it's finished, although that shawl seemed to take forever, and there are one or two wraps that I didn't managed to pick up properly to disguise but they are under the fold and her hair, so stuff it.
Do you know how hard it is to knit at 1am in the morning when your eyes are twitching from lack of sleep and you keep being sucked into watching that Carry On movie.
Take out the Carry On movie and it's a fair bet most of you know what I'm talking about, that deadline is approaching, stuff sleep style of knitting.
So what next: Mum's xmas socks in silk alpaca (she doesn't know about the blog haha), then a few second socks to complete pairs for me and I have more than a dozen balls of Rowan Cotton Glace sitting in the bookshelf to be turned into the Skaters Undertop for me.
Oh and they bloody want another two pairs of convict pants for the play!

Friday, November 16, 2007

the convicts are coming

A theatre troupes worth of convict pants have been sewn which means I'll be in bed before midnight tonight. Finally.
I won't be packing away the machines, I've got five shorts and a women's dress as a custom order to do, and the Jar has managed to grow out of all his shorts.
So I'll be pointing the magic wand and creating a few pairs for him. I managed to get a spectacular cornflower blue chenille blanket and a super lime green one so I can see some bright pants not just for him but for the next market and for the etsy store.
But the big work of the weekend will be doing the shawl collar on Zegal's jumper. She's off to the snowy mountains on Thursday and while she has grown a lot in the past year, most of her mountain gear still fits so it will be a case of doing the collar, sewing in the sleeves and then hunting down all her warm socks.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

the ceiling is falling down

The June long weekend storms just didn't flood houses, there were plenty of downed trees, flying roofs and basic mayhem.
While my brother's house and workshop went under water in a dramatic way, my parent's house had trees crash thru the second level and we had fences squashed and branches played that old fashioned game of elastics with the wires holding the antenna in place.
You could say that the branches lost and had to go to the back of the line as they crashed into the wires, causing the other wires to pull up and then go back down. Which was fine until the winds blew and the rain came down and those roofing sheets loosened in the game of elastics let rain in.
End result: Holes in really thick plaster, moulded plaster ceilings cracking and threatening to fall down and huge growing stains on my once white walls.
But finally it looks like my insurance company has come to the party.
Not only did they try and get out of paying for the new roof (which thankfully is already on) they were trying to say the ceilings and walls were already damaged, until I casually dropped into the mix the fact we had taken photos of said ceilings and walls and you can see when they were entered into the computer.
So five months down the track work will start! Soon the Zegal will have her bedroom back (the collapsing area is right over where her bed was)and I won't have to look at brown stained walls.
Next is the fence and then we change insurance companies so bloody quickly and name and shame them loudly.

But that story is just a diversion so that you don't notice the photograph of the wool above, on the bottom is J. Knits hand dyed, with looks soft and spongy and possibly pill-y while the top is some AYE AYE me hearties Yarn Pirate in the Dahlia colourway which looks like a stunning yarn, a finer version of CTH. Both were bought from ravelry so therefore don't count as buying wool.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

SSOS and whose a naughty girl

Well I can't manage to keep sticking to the compacting rules. Those are the rules where you just buy the basics, basic toiletries, no new clothing, no gadgets, no dvds, no (sob) yarn.
Well I make clothing from retro, reclaimed fabrics so I've had plenty of new clothes which fit into the compacting rules.
Underwear of course is allowed, I have an unlimited source of product so I never have to buy it so I can cope with that, I also get a heap of preview movies, again no buying, but the yarn has got me.
This week some hand-dyed J. Knits sock yarn has turned up, some undyed sock wool from the UK, both of which could be loosely termed recycled so not really against the compacting bargain, but the four Knitscenes are bad, along with all my other previous book purchases.
At least I haven't bought any gadgets thou I'm so keen to buy another laptop so I don't have to fight with the fellow. The other old laptop is shite, my big lunky desktop computer is a dinosaur so I reckon a new laptop and a wireless modem so I can work out in the shed and life would be grand.
All the presents this year have been handmade and with my three kids we are definitely on the birthday party roster.
So I think I've done fairly well so far since the beginning of the year, just that ruddy yarn and knitting books have broken the compacting rules.
So I'm going to try and stick to another pact, my Southern Summer of Socks mantra is finish what you've got before you cast on for more.
I wonder how long that will take to break?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

winning a double

Not on the cup, but I did manage to buy two different lots of yarn today. Firstly I did a bit of a search on the trade or sell at Ravelry and some mighty fine Yarn Pirate sock wool is coming my way.
Secondly 15 balls of Rowan Cotton Glace is winging my way from the UK. Including shipping it's about $100US, which these days will be a scratch over $100 Australia.
All I can say is I'm glad 'he' don't read the blog.
Well I better get off and finish that half sleeve and start cutting out those pants.
And from next week I'll be haunting the post office.

Monday, November 05, 2007

150m of material

That's what sitting in a roll in my car, along with three patterns and a box of thread. Luckily the 'designer' saw fit to follow my idea for the pants, just two pieces, overlock top and bottom, sew the leg seam together, pop one inside the other and whiz around the crotch and do a waistband leaving a hole for the cord. But still there are 30 pairs to make. At least I got out of having to thread cords through the waistband, the kids can do that.

And back to knitting which is chugging along. The pic above is one sleeve done and I'm casting on tonight for the second, then it's the shawl collar.
My Zegal is 6 and a fairly trim six year old if you know what I mean. She ain't chunky or 'solid' is another euphemism parents often trot out when their kids are plain fat.
In the aim of getting some wear out of the jumper I did a size 8 and really I think I should have done the largest for size 10. Yes it fits, yes there is room to grow, but I was hoping for a bit more room.
The pattern comes from a Panda 8plys, 11 handknits for kids, size 2-10. This is probably the nicest pattern from the book. The other decent one is a vest with optional hood, which I've done a few of, mainly for the Jar and this is the one I rewrote to suit a range of different weights. It is a two movie knit for me, I love those vests and really I should photograph them all (about six were done over winter) and upload them to ravelry.
So off to the pub tonight for knitting to get that sleeve done so I can, hopefully, get right into the Southern Summer of Socks.

Friday, November 02, 2007


Last night I stayed up late to get something done.
So the Zegal's red jumper for the snow needs just the left front done and then the sleeves.
The pattern I've based the jumper on is knitted flat but I sat down and did the maths to turn into into a circular knit and I'll do the same for the sleeves. That way it won't seem so long and the knit stitch is always quicker than purling. I've also got to do the deep shawl collar, but I've decided not to think about that. At all, no way, too much work there.
So I'm hoping by Sunday night to sew in the sleeves and give it a block, then I have to start on all the socks that are sitting on the needles.
And then I've got orders for the next market, oh have I got orders!
Aliens, skulls, shorts, dresses, monsters. But these are fun and not so labour intensive, not when you consider I have trained monkeys that cut out for me and a magic overlocker.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

what have i done?

The oldest, Foat, does drama at the same drama company I went to as a child and will soon be performing in his first play.
Talking to the director at knitting on Monday night I mentioned that if they needed help with costumes, I could rev up the machine. She laughed and said she'd already dobbed me in to do it.
So last night I had the call. 58 pairs of calico pants and a dozen or so aprons. Fine I don't have to do them all, another mum will be doing some as well.
But the catch is the art director has yet to get the material. So by the time this happens I'll have less than a fortnight to do about 30 pants, and considering I have the same deadline for Zegal's jumper for the snow and several big craft markets to sew for I'm thinking of getting drunk!
So it's going to be a busy time ahead. I don't mind the doing the costumes, but only a fortnight to get so much done is really pushing it and I have a feeling the other mum (who has worked in the fashion industry) would probably have the same feelings as I do towards the art director. It's not as if he hasn't had a year's notice of when the play would be and the gist of the script.
And of course I signed up for Southern Summer of Socks.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Yes finally, after registering last year I finally have a store up and running in Etsy.
I'd left it so long that I had to get them to unblock my registration. Oh my, just add that to the list of things I haven't done that I should.
So head to the zephyrama shop and see what you can find. At the moment there are only a few things, but as I work out how to use the camera (like who reads or even keeps the manual handy?) the pictures should get better and I will take advantage of daylight savings to head over to the store and take some decent pictures. There are plenty more to come for kids and women and then the monsters.... oh the monsters.

And notification of a deadline. In three weeks (and she's counting) Zgal and Daddy head off to the snow to do some possum trapping (all in the name of research, they are released don't fear, but they won't shave them for me to spin the fur) and she told me she needs new jumpers.
While it may be November-December this fool hardy duo will be on the mountains, on the boulder fields and other than last year it always snows where they go.
Last year I spent the days before they went making longjohns and bank robber disguises for Zgal, I just hope she hasn't grown too much.
But it means that all socks are stalled as I try and get the red jumper finished in time. Just the front and back to go as I've divided already for the arms, but those sleeves, I hate sleeves, but maybe in the round they will be easier to cope with.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

sliding in some stash

I made the decision a while ago not to go buying yarn. Well not new yarn, stuff found at the opshops was fine, but no bulk purchases until I'd cleared some stash.
Well I managed to get some Knit Picks Landscapes Socks, but I could slide it into the stash without too much stress.
You see I bought it second hand in a round about way.
I did a search on Ravelry for this particular yarn and up popped a few that were for sale or trade, so trade I did.
So really it was second hand and not a bust out.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

i can't help myself

Last night in my dreams people were breaking into the house and I was standing at the door trying to push it shut and the bang of the door in the dream kept waking me up. I had the dream over and over, but with slight variations, sometimes the front door, sometimes a window, but the end result was little sleep and a head that didn't make much sense this morning.
So I rang in sick. I can't work with a brain like spaghetti, but nor can I sew, so I sat on the lounge and watched Dr Phil and Oprah. This has just reinforced my conviction that I'm not missing anything when it comes to daytime television.

Anyway I ended up reaching down for the socks for Jar which are normally in a basket next to the lounge. There weren't there, they were in the car, but rather than walk out to the driveway and retrieve them I cast on with the Tofutsies instead. I'm doing the tidal wave (I'd do links to ravelry and the pattern and yarn, but as it isn't open to the public yet. . . ) pattern. I've done four pattern repeats on the leg and I'm half way down the heel and it's knitting up extremely quickly. I had cast on previously for the same pattern, but the needles fell out so I ripped back when I go my new knitpicks.
I fooled around trying to take shots and this is the best I could get to show the stitch pattern. Note the lego on the arm of the chair, I rarely spend days off doing housework, that's why I had children, they can do it.

Tidal Wave uses the old s1 k1, psso, but I've used a SSK instead and rather than a plain stocking stitch foot, I'm going to do the pattern down the top of the foot instead.
So much for finishing what I've got in progress so I can get stuck into Knitting Classics.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

too busy to knit

Why, because I have new books.
Firstly Madame Avery's Knitting Classics, then Fitted Knits by Mrs Japel and Linda Kopp's Plush-O-Rama.
I've been lusting after Knitting Classics for a while and was dicked around by two different book sellers until I hit on Fishpond and now the book is mine.
I really like it.
Usually a book of patterns has a few I'd like to do, and less that could be done without any maths thanks to my over abundant boobs underpinned by a fairly normal (although soft thanks to children) middle.
But every adult pattern bar one would fit and most I would consider doing with a few I want to start right now.
But I have mountains of socks to finish first.
Seriously Knitting Classics is a must have, for my style at any rate.
Fitted Knits is okay. Heavy weight, quick knits, most not really my taste but a few are, although there will be maths involved for every knit. But as most are top down and in the round, that's an easy thing to do.
The third book is one I've had for ages, but a few months ago I was given Softies (hiding in the studio at the moment) to review for the paper.
Loved Softies, love looking at the patterns and then letting the imagination tweak here, lengthen there, fiddle other there, so I dragged out Plush to take to the studio.
And speaking of the studio I've been out there a lot lately photographing stock as I've finally decided to steam ahead with etsy.
Although I registered last year I didn't do anything so armed with the camera I started taking shots.
But my photo skills are bad, photoshop is worse, so I'm going to have to tweak a lot to get decent pics.
From doing twice monthly markets for the past three years I know that the look and placement of clothing, monsters and bags is the thing that gets people in and gets stock sold, so I'm pulling my hair out trying to get pics that really represent the clothing in particular.
Other than stealing a few kids and getting them to model I'm sort of stuck on how to do it all.

And the spoons, they are for a tea party!

Friday, October 19, 2007

still s(h)ocking and the maternity mezzanine

Pink Lorna's for myself, but only one foot done so far and look at the leftover from the skein. Then there is retro rib, also one foot so far, along with a sock for Jar from that scratchy Opal. I always seem to do one foot then start a completely different pair, then back to finish off. Stops me getting bored I suppose.
Except for the kids socks, I always manage to do a pair one after the other.
I've already done one pair for the Jar from this ball, but they were 48 stitches on 2.25mm and while he can wear them comfortably now, there won't be much time left before his foot gets too big.
So this pair, on 2.25mm, is being done on 54 stitches, the heel over 26 with the top of the foot wider than the bottom.
The pile of red is a DK jumper for the Zegal which I fooled around with pattern to knit circular. It will have a nice shawl collar and I've lengthened it a bit as well. Can't find the pattern at the moment, so thankfully I rewrote it in my notebook.

And now the shocking. A woman who works in the building, or should I say, did work in the building, was frog marched out of the place on Wednesday. Seems her crime is to stick up for herself when her boss started being nasty when she announced she was pregnant and when she returned from maternity leave.

She kept a journal, she made a complaint and thankfully she was in a union so for the past several months the HR department has been dealing with her union lawyer. But it didn't stop the general manager and our in-house HR person kicking her out on Wednesday. She was asked last week by the GM to stop diarsing any problems and she refused.
Not only has she been smart enough to keep a diary, she is also a bloody good worker.

Edited to add: This woman had five job offers by the end of the week. We'll miss her, she was damn good at her job.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

how i chose my cosy swap partner. . and love is an atomic

So how did I choose my Australian Knitters Group on Ravelry tea cosy swap partner. Well I didn't because I decided for a few reasons it wouldn't be fair.
One is I'm heading into the busy season with my side business. I'm sewing like mad and don't have time.
I've also got startitis. One example is my daughter's school cardigan that I started the year before she went to school.
She's now in Year 1, in the last term of year one. I even changed to knitting in the round with steeks for the front and arms, but can I get that last sleeve done. No.
And I'm having the strangest email confabs with spinning mills in china trying to get them to spin me huge amounts of yarn for a new business. I've been on a crash coarse in Chinglish, tex and nm spinning terminology as well as working out where to store hmm, cough, cough, kilos of wool, not to mention telling the fellow what's happening.
Also it wouldn't be fair, would it.
There I was in charge of the trained monkeys who were making the matches. I could have decided to pair myself up with (my idea) of the best and grooviest knitter. What power dangled at my fingertips!
No not fair, damn those code of ethics I live by.
And lastly, what about that style of kitchen.
That pic is the kitchen. On the other side is a bank of shelves and a cupboard. Not big enough to swing a cat. No real colour theme, no bench space. When preggers I can't do the washing up 'cause I don't fit in front of the sink.
Hell the spew green wall has cracks and cobwebs, the plaster has fallen off the walls, the only reason the doors are that blue is cause they were spew green originally and so dirty it was easier to paint them than clean them at 3am one morning when the bro in-law was set to visit. They don't even hang right.
Naturally when we moved in seven years ago we quickly had plans drawn up for extra bedrooms, a massive living area with a stainless steel bench (with an underbench fridge) on wheels, the biggest commercial sink you have ever seen and a commercial stove (yep I spend way too much time in restaurant kitchens). Naturally a few extra pregnancies got in the way and with the cost of childcare these days, no renos.
There is only one thing in my kitchen I like, the Atomic coffee maker that has a permanent place on the stove. I's love me Atomic so much, we have two, so that when he's away for work he takes his and I've still got mine.

Monday, October 15, 2007

a room of one's own

More like a shed.
I've seen beautiful photographs and flickr pages full of beautiful studios. Bookcases full of colour matched fabrics, ribbons on rolls, clean as a whistle.
Well live isn't really like that, is it.
So welcome to my shed.
And I mean shed.
It's a 1940s vintage shed. When I ripped out the workbench we discovered that the garage and bench was in place well before the concrete was laid down. The walls don't meet the ceiling and it's cold in winter and hot in summer.
But it's mine.
I've lined a fair bit of it, but keep everything in plastic bags and boxes. Well, again, some of it.
Out there is also a huge table, plenty of sewing machines and overlockers, enough wool to stock a shop, half a dozen knitting machines that work, several that don't and patterns and patterns galore.
And the best thing, it's mine. And I can lock myself inside and no-one can get in.
It's surrounded by bushes, trees and a palm, with a side window overgrown, and a window at the back that I can open up for air.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

re hooking

Look at what Lady* is wearing. Yes, that's a cotton hand crocheted cardigan and guessing by the colour I'm thinking late 60s, early 70s.
Well it fits the boobs so I nabbed it from the op shop, but it does need some work.
While I don't mind the collar and button bands look at those cuffs.
The sleeve are huge, but the cuffs, ugly, they are just too wide.
I was going to cut them off, thinking that I had found the seaming from cuff to sleeve, but before I hacked on in I checked with a workmate who is an experience hooker.
Seems the cuffs were done, joined up and then used as the foundation chain for the sleeves.
So a steeking I will go.
I'm aiming to have cuffs a little narrower than the button band.
Then the old gal needs a good clean and I have an out there cardi for summer. Considering I wear almost all black, this little number will go with everything!
* Lady has been part of the family for a decade or so. Normally she stands in the hall way wearing black with a velvet opera cloak on, ready to go out and haunt. She is a girly one, about the size of a 12 year old.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

how about answering my emails. . . .

Well it continues, I send an email to BD in the UK about their dodgy listing practises and guess what they ignored my email, well they did and didn't.
What I wrote:
Then why when I paid using my mastercard and I received an email stating that the order had gone thru, was it cancelled and my funds repaided into my account only to still have the book listed but at a higher price.
I received the email stating that it was no longer listed and immediately did a search on the site and found that it was listed at the higher price. While you did refund the cost, I have now incurred fees on that account to do with that initial transaction.
Considering you had accessed my account and the money was transferred I was under the impression that a transaction had taken place, particularly in regards to the confirmation email. This is not showing good faith and in my country at least is considered fraud and is illegal.
Please respond regarding your policies.

And their response:

Dear Jen,

I can confirm that your title was unavailable at the time of purchase. However, we could get hold of a few copies from a different supplier right after the refund was processed. You are welcome to place your new order.

Thank you,


Customer Service Advisor

The Book Depository Ltd

GRRR, right after the refund, like less than 30 minutes. Bite me. And what about the response about their policies.
So I've resent the email.

Monday, October 08, 2007

do not buy from these shops - fucking language warning

Not long ago I dived into Ebay and organised to buy Knitting Classic Style (i really lust after this one) and another sock book from seller Sysqs and paid by Paypal.
As most Paypalers would know, when you pay the store or individual gets the address from Paypal.
Now I've never had a problem and my Paypal account gets quite a beating. Not once has anything gone astray. I get stuff delivered to a post office box and despite the fact I may live in Australia, it's not the boonies down here.
All has been good until I dealt with Sysqs which has since sent me an email saying that the books had been sent back to them so they were refunding my money.
But they only refunded the purchase price of ONE book, that's right ONE book and of course weren't refunding postage. So I gave them negative feedback, I think DON'T BUY FROM THIS STORE may tell you what I think. I'm still trying to get refunded for the other purchase which was returned with the Knitting Classic, but they won't respond to emails.
Now that was last week, so on Friday I jumped onto the Book Depositary, the UK site with free postage. The exchange to pounds ain't great, but no postage, I'm there.
So I bought by MC the Knitted Classics for 10 pounds something.

Order ID: BDG-0891012-1091632

Product Name Quantity Item Price Line Charges Delivery due date
Knitting Classic Style: 35 Modern Designs Inspired by Fashion's Archives
(U158479576X ISBN: 9781584795766) 1 £10.07 £10.07 3 - 7 working days from 05-10-2007
Total Charges: £10.07

Not a problem, I whipped out the Master Card, paid and the money was taken from my account.

But a day later I got an email saying that they were refunding the money as:

I am terribly sorry to inform you that on this occasion we have been unable to fulfill part of your order as it is no longer available.
This line has been cancelled and a refund made to your card.

Notice the phrase This line has been cancelled.

Well now, lets have a look and see. . . ITS THE SAME RUDDY BOOK

So I can buy the book, at 4 pounds more and have to wear the fees and charges on the master card from the first payment. On top of having been defrauded by the other mob I've got the complete and utter fucking shits.

Friday, October 05, 2007

the sock vortex

Behind the washing machine, behind the lounge, behind the bed, behind every piece of furniture is a sock vortex.
How do I know? Every time I knit Jar a pair of socks one goes missing.
Never the bought socks with the holes in them, these seem to magically rise from the ashes of the garbage bin and end up in the sock drawer.
Tripy (my house trained gnome) is holding the surviving blue patonyle sock. 48 st, rib all the way down. Tripy's hat is one of the pair (relax I still have the other sock, it hasn't been sucked into a vortex yet) that I whipped up in the past few nights. It is a mix of left-over Heritage jigsaw with heels and toes in the blue patonyle.
The new onces are at least 2cm too long, but Jar still loves them. He had one on his foot walking around in the house waiting for me to finish the other one.
I've now got some Opal (forgotten how harsh that stuff is to knit) on the needles for him. I picked up two balls, both blues but different, for $20 total including postage from the bead and opal lady.
One croc sock for Zegal done, one started. My jaywalkers have stalled and I've cast on for Hedgerow socks for when I get bored of my everyday tweed.
I really shouldn't spend so much time on Ravelry, I should be knitting.

Monday, October 01, 2007

knitting as protest

Last night I headed into town with Rayna Fahey, left, founder of Radical Cross Stitch, and a fellow Kiwi Zoe Thompson-Moore.
Rayna now lives in Melbourne (with an adorable baby and a now competent finger knitting fellow) and she and Zoe organised a workshop about craft as protest and craft as a cohesive social structure for women.
The workshop was in the morning, but there was mention of another Melbourne-based artist that was doing huge cross stitch graffiti on hurricane fences as a means of protest and there was a brief mention of there being plenty of blank canvasses in the town.
Well Sally and I were interested and at the end of the session asked if they were going to do some.
The end results was at 10pm we met up in town, quickly mastered the skill of finger knitting and sat around knitting long, thickish threads that Rayna and Zoe used to stitch a message on the fence around what was the Palais, one of the towns oldest dance halls and a structure that is being demolished, leaving just the facade for heritage reasons. A few of the squatters who live in the area watched and spoke to us.
As soon as I can I'll get a picture of the completed saying, which was I want to Live Here with a big heart at the end.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

coffee is bad

On Sunday I started and ripped back I don't know how many socks. Firstly I didn't like the pattern with the, admittedly yucky pukey, patonyle that I bought for $2 at a spottie sale.
Then after an inch of the cuff decided they should be for a child, not me, so they were too big. Then I grabbed some leftover black and grey stripped jigsaw and cast on for the Jar. Then I ripped it back and started again.
Yep, too much coffee.
That's what happens when you organise a coffee cart to be opposite your own stall at the craft market. And that's what happens when you have your first coffee of the morning at 4am, followed by another one before you leave and then get the first coffee from the machine at 7am.
And it just kept flowing.
Oh the shakes, the shakes.
But the market was good, although the knitting was bad.
So instead of knitting here is a pic of one of the dresses I whipped up for the market. That is an original 60s chennille bedspread. What a find, in perfect condition.
I can see a Zegal demanding a similar dress.

Friday, September 21, 2007

a day off

Today is one of those rare creatures - a day off.
No kids, no work and the whole day to get 'stuff' done.
But I didn't, and I did.

I managed to drop off the car to get serviced, did a bit of clothes sewing in the shed for the kids. Read the paper, had a decent home-brewed coffee and then raced around getting the car and the shopping done.

Visited the post office but the bundle of books I'm sweating on hasn't arrived, but the latest Ottobre for women had.

Then I had to deal with stall holders wanting to book into the farmers market then off to day care to pick up Jar who everyone thought was off colour, but the truth was that Grandma came around last night and instead of dinner he had cake and stayed up late playing with his new presents the naughty lad.

And I logged into ravelry which meant that all that knitting I wanted to do while throwing insults at Oprah wasn't done, maybe tonight.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

killer cosies

It's been brought up on the Australian knitters' group on ravelry that there may be a swap for knitters going on.
Kris threw out the idea for comments and I couldn't resist throwing back a koala her way.
So it looks like a tea-coffee-mug-kitchen cosy swap may be on the boards.
Some like the idea of trashy, some would like stylish but I think a small project which can be a simple or as difficult as the knitter wants is a great idea. And think of the small associated goodies (beautiful tea bags and biscuits) that can be sent along. With no customs problems.
So straight away I started hunting.
While I have Killer Tea Cosies somewhere I also have a stash of old patterns and here are just some of them.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

birthday boy

It was Jar's birthday on Friday but the celebrations started on Wednesday when he took cup cakes in to child care so he could share the party with his friend Zhong.
The post fairy also delivered new Birk sandals for him (and mumma) and there was a new Monster sitting at the table in the morning, but the winning present was the Spiderman bowl.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


A skein from the Knittery.
Fine for the first 3/4 of the skein and then it was all(*(&^%@#! tangled up.
Not impressed.
But then again every thing gets tangled up these days.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

needed one new camera

Or should that be a photographer with decent eyes.
I'm fighting with the camera at the moment, I just can't seem to get things right.
What you should be looking at is a log cabin and then a hexagon, worked in the round that will be magically joined by other 'gons for a blanket.
Nice and quick and NO SEAMING.......

The log cabin I've been doing for what seems ages. It's too big now to take to stitch and bitch, so it is now mindless television knitting.
No such thing as picking the colours for this one, my hand dives in the bag and whatever colour I pull out I knit.
These are all leftovers from the various Jar jumpers I've done in the past three years or so. Machine washable Paton's Country 8ply, although I'm going to do the border in a tighter crepe.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

work socks

Finally I've done with these.
With the dense Bendigo Mills sock yarn (discontinued for many years) and on 2.5m needles and my extremely tight way of knitting these were done on 72 stitches with the pattern down the heel flap.
The first in the pair also caused a bit of an injury.
Yep those dreaded knitpicks didn't just slice the flesh, they tore the soft pad on my index finger apart. My own fault for not doing socks continental.
But the end result is beautiful.
Nice thick socks perfect to wear in boots and although they look fairly short on the leg they are fairly long, I just have a problem photographing my own feet properly.
How do people do it so artistically?
Oh so comfy.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Finally got around to playing with the layout, colours and fonts. Prefer this one.
To the side is a link to my patterns.
Slowly I'm going to write up all the patterns that are in my battered notebook.
These are the scribbles that mean a pattern to me that no one else can read.
I'll try and set them out in a readable form, however, I'm assuming prior knitting knowledge and an understanding about various garment constructions, particularly socks. First off the rank is the Bliss socks.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Here are a pair of socks that have finally been given the handwash treatment.
They are made from DB baby cashmerino and have been thru the machine to be washed and dried several times.
But I wrestled them from the laundry lovin' man and hand washed them.
A bit of work had to be done to depill them, but they have managed to survive.
These are socks I wear with my Birks all the time, so I think the pilling is more to do with the socks than the washing.
Will post the pattern (including modified or longer stockingette toes, forgot about these toes until it was too late, but I wanted to wear as soon as possible so there are short, sharp toe decreases.
One sock a night, a quick knit.

EDITED to say: look to the sidebar on the right and click on the link to the 'pattern'.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

a party means work

I've been busy working out exactly what wool I have stashed in the shed, on the piano, hidden behind the lounge and crammed into my bookcases.
You see I've finally found the best way to keep track of what I have.
No more scraps of paper and good intentions of keeping track of wool purchases, let alone cataloguing the needles, you see, an invite to Ravelry turned up earlier this week and I've been working away on my profile, logging in wool as I remember it.
So far I haven't taken pics and have only put in a smidgen of my stash, let alone collated the needles, but already the possibilities that are Ravelry are clear.
I'll finally know what I have, down to the yardage thanks to Ravelry magic, so I won't be going out and buying wool for a project only to stumble across suitable yarn in the stash months down the track.
And the patterns, oh the patterns, and the work of other knitters.

Monday, August 20, 2007

new feet

Well the baby's socks are done and he loves wearing them, but I have to do some improvements with the next pair. He certainly needs more than 2 inches for the leg, and possibly the first two inches rib, the second down to the heel in straight stocking stitch to tighten it all up a bit.
But with 14gms used on each sock, I have enough from the original 50g ball to do another set, as long as I do contrast heels and toes.
Before I do new ones for him the Gal wants a pair of 'crocodile' scale socks. So I'm knocking these out in some wool I bought from Spotlight a while ago in muted greens, browns and a touch of yellow.
Now this yarn is a 75- 25 split and according to the ball band it is 8ply with 22 or 20 stitches with 4.5mm needles.
Considering I've managed to get 20 wpi with this yarn you have to wonder about the quality control at Spotties.
Anyway the yarn is working out well as a 'cheap' sock yarn option.
Out in the shed there has been a look of dust flying around as I cleaned it out and up.
End result, more room, I can use the table fully extended and work is so much easier.
So I whipped up a blanket for Susan the soon to be cloning member of our stitch and bitch.
As she has no idea about the gender of the impending arrival I've had to go for non gender specific colour combinations. And this is the best I could come up with.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

under the roof

Well the roof went on and then one-by-one the kids got sick. Seems I drove too close to the near by hospital that had to close wards off to visitors thanks to the dreaded gastro.
So no posting and little knitting. It's hard to knit away with a mumbling, feverish two-year-old on your lap for days.
But I have managed a bit.
Firstly a pair of Lavender Lace (Vogue Socks on the Go) in Lornas Laces shepherd sock in mineshaft colour way. Knit up on the new Knitpics needles, size 2.25mm. Only a bit of pooling, over the instep. These have been washed many times (including in the machine by accident) and are looking like firm favourites.
A quick and easy lace pattern, and with plenty of other muted LL colourways in the stash there may be a few more pairs soon.
The sock on the right of the picture is in Heritage Jigsaw, on 2.75mm based on one of the sock pixie free patterns.
I've always steered away from the Jigsaw's of the sock world because I don't like the self patterning yarn, but the simple stripes don't hurt my eyes too much and I'm loving the machine-dryer ability of the yarn.
Also going, some dark grey socks (again for me) knitted on 2.25mm (knitpicks) based on the Charade pattern which is floating around.
These are being done with some Bendigo Mills sock yarn that I bought many years ago at a Sydney craft fair at Darling Harbour for the ridiculous price of $3 for a 50g ball.
Already one sock has been grafted and with my changes to the stitch count and using smaller needles (this yarn would be perfect on 2.75 or 3's) I've managed to come up with a nice dense sock, perfect for wearing with the Redbacks.
Although I don't like the patterning yarn, I found one lone 50g ball of Patonyle in pale blues in the 'shed' the other night. Then the next day Jar Jar (the youngest) discovered a hole in his Bob the Builder socks.
"Broken sock, oh no," he said as he ripped it off and gave it to me with my sock needle case, obviously wanting me to knit it back together.
So with 14gm a sock for him he will get 1 pair complete and another pair with some contrast heels and toes. I'm doing 48 stitches on 2.75, but a 2x2 rib all down the leg and foot so he will get some wear out of them.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


I've been having a bit of fun over the past few days.
While the house shakes from builders repairing storm damage I've been dodging plaster and cruising away. There has also been a bit of knitting, some pattern drafting and cutting of fabric.
Firstly there is the free chevron pattern socks from sockpixie. I had some Heritage Jigsaw black and gray striped sock yarn that is hard wearing, but not too soft on the fingers. Already I've knocked over one and ready for the heel flap of the second.
Secondly I've been looking at shapes.
Shapes of clothing, shapes of bags, shapes of toys.
For a long time it was always the colours that attracted me, but now with the eye of a pattern drafter I've put blinkers on and looked beyond the pattern of the fabric and looked closely at the design side.
And I like what I see.
There are some stunning pieces in gray and black, some delightful shapes in muted vintage fabrics.
So I've dragged out the interfacing and started just drawing on it, cutting it out and then using old sheets to try out different shapes.
From one pattern I pleated and then gathered for the next attempt. Both worked, both are simple shapes, both let the fabric speak, or shout, depending on the colour and print.
I've never been one for patterns, I'd rather just wing it, which is probably why it's been years since I made clothing for myself.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

clean slate

Once again I've deleted the posts.
Gone, scrubbed, ripped out so to speak.
It's time to start anew.
With a new machine, new ideas and a few dreams ready to be enacted, it's time to start all over again.
In the past few months I've been wandering around blog land, mainly in the realms of Australian and New Zealand knitting and sewing blogs.
I've seen some wonderful things, noted the copying and rip offs going on and read with interest as various bloggers wade into the controversy of what is unique, what has been copied and who is right and wrong.
I've realised that in many cases some of it just synchronicity, other times just blatant copying, and sometimes it is a case of being influenced by the stunning work of another blogger.
That being said I can see how easy it would be to copy work without realising it, having read the same people over and over it, beauty does sink into the brain.
So as I restart the adventure if I do use a seed of inspiration I'll link to it. If I find some synchronicity I'll point to it.
Often it is just a small world out there.