Friday, 30 January 2009


Today is the third day of the heatwave. It's 9:30 in the morning and I am already a puddle of sweat. I am counting the days to winter.

When the heatwave started I decided to be very zen about it (yeah, right!). I decided I needed a good bit of lace knitting to take my mind off things. So I cast on for the Maltese shawl from VLT. This shawl has long been in my queue and last year I bought some Italian mohair in an almost cobweb weight because I thought it would be perfect for this shawl.

I went down a needle size for this shawl to 4mm because I felt it would be too open on 4.5mm. This might mean that it turns out to be a large scarf or maybe a narrow shawl but that's okay.

So I managed four repeats before my plans to ignore the heat fell apart. I simply could not keep my hands dry enough to work with this yarn. Mohair, apparently, no matter how fine, is a very warm yarn.

I have managed to continue work on the secret project and I'm nearly half way despite frequently losing concentration and having to tink back. I also discovered last night that if I drape my legs in wet pillow cases and sit right in front of the fan I can manage a semblance of coolness to allow me to continue knitting.

Did I say I'm counting the days to winter? Well I'm off to check the calendar again.

Friday, 23 January 2009

What would you choose?

Yesterday was a foul day. All day long the wind blew a gale. In the afternoon I noticed clouds forming behind the trees and ever hopeful of rain gave them a closer look. I saw that they were a strange colour and when I alerted Bruce to this he brushed me off with a "its just dust". So I went outside and the smell of smoke hit me. Back inside and straight onto the CFA site. There I found that large fires were burning at Taradale and Woodend. Towns close to us. A northerly wind was blowing at the time so we knew were weren't in danger but we were expecting a south-westerly change and that would put us in the line of fire (so to speak).

We had planned to meet friends for a picnic that evening and we decided to go ahead because we felt it safer to leave home. Our house would be indefensible in a bushfire because the bush is very, very close to our house. But before going we decide to take valuables in case we could not get back home (several roads were already closed at this stage). So what to take?

This is what I chose:
My glasses and spare contact lenses - without them I am as blind as a bat.
My current knitting project.
My KnitPicks Options set (I have to be able to keep knitting).
Cat Bordhi's New Pathways for Sock Knitters (it's precious, and hard to get and I could always scrounge some sock yarn so as to keep knitting).
My iPod because it is stuffed with podcasts and audiobooks.

Bruce went for the external back-up drive which thanks to Timemachine is always up to date and the laptop.

But happily when the cool change came the wind dropped and the fireys were able to contain the fires. And we were able to come back home in the evening.

So, what would you take with you?

Thursday, 22 January 2009

FO: Ocean Toes

I finished my Ocean Toes yesterday. As this was my first attempt at Bordhi's Cedar architecture I knitted the pattern as is. I'm happy with the outcome and I just love the snug fit BUT... Yes there is always a but. I just don't like the drawn up toe - it looks too much like a cat's bum to me. I prefer a square toe.

The heel and sole construction is quite different because you end up doing your increases on the sole after you've done the heel. This is what makes it such a lovely snug fit.

I knitted these in SWTC Tofutsies. I really like the smooth feel of this yarn. I knitted these socks two at a time using two 3mm circular needles. I have to say that I don't particularly like knitting socks with such large needles. It felt like I was knitting with telegraph poles. Next time I will be more adventurous and use my usual 2.25mm or 2.5mm needles and work out the pattern based on Bordhi's master plan.

Friday, 16 January 2009

FO: Isobel

I finished blocking Isobel this morning. I knitted this in Bendigo Woollen Mills 3 ply using 4mm needles. This scarf is destined to be a birthday swap gift.

Here is Isobel reclining on Acacia Cognata:

And the Hebe is looking lovely at the moment so I couldn't resist draping her over it.

I have also made two more soap sacks for the birthday swap. The leaf pattern in Bendigo Woollen Mills 8ply cotton and the eyelet pattern in Anchor Magicline cotton.

The stash busting is continuing as is the exercising. And Val and T I have taken your comments to heart and thus I'm still puzzling ;)

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

When is stash not stash?

Sometimes this is easy to determine. For example, a friend has asked me to knit two pairs of knee high socks for two teenage boys doing German dancing. She is providing the yarn. So I'm just doing the knitting. I'm not really looking forward to this project because I keep of thinking of those endless rounds of knitting between knee and foot (let alone the large pair of feet!) And just think of all those meters of yarn passing through my fingers which will not be contributing to my stash busting tally. I am making matters more interesting by combining a number of techniques in knitting these socks - that should help to keep things more interesting.

Now the next project is a little more difficult in determining whether all those meters knitted can be regarded as counting towards the stash busting tally. I am making a gift which for the time being has to remain a secret on the blog. I thoroughly investigated my stash but could not find any appropriate yarn so I have had to purchase some. Now does yarn purchased for a specific project count towards stash enhancement?

These projects all have deadlines so I am going to have to make a start soon, very soon but I just want to make a little more progress on my Ocean Toes.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

FO: Mandala

Finally after many months during which my Mandala languished it is done!

Blocking was a bit of a challenge and I spent quite some time on my knees pinning the shawl.

A close-up of the lace.

I knitted this shawl with 3.5mm circular needles in Touch Yarns pure merino 2ply and used 150gms (1350m or 1476yds). The shawl measures about 152cm across. I'm pleased with the way it turned out and now its is destined to be a birthday gift.

On the stash fund front I can add another $3 because I walked 4 km this morning and did an additionl 30 minutes of exercise yesterday.

Friday, 9 January 2009

A contradiction in terms?

So, I've started stash busting right? But I've also joined the exer-stashers on Ravelry. The aim of this group is to get fit, lose weight and reward yourself in the process by building up a stash fund. This is the way to get guilt free yarn. So my system works as follows:

• My basic system: 50c for every km walked and $1 for each additional half hour of exercise.
• My achievable monthly goal: 12 km per week and 2 hours per week additional exercise.
• My bonus goals: $5 for every kilo lost (but minus $5 for every kilo gained!)

I started on the first of January and so far I have walked 12 km = $6; 1 hour additional exercise = $2 and I've achieved a bonus $5 by losing 1kg so far. I aim to buy myself some luxury yarn at the end of the year. Don't know what yet but it will be something I usually only drool over and can't otherwise afford to buy. Now is that an incentive or what?

As for knitting. I'm on the homestretch with the edging for the Mandala and with a bit of effort might get it done tonight. I've also started knitting Isobel for one of my Birthday Swap partners.

Monday, 5 January 2009

FO: Firestarters

My first pair of socks for 2009 completed. I really like the look of these Firestarters and they are very comfortable. I knitted them in SWTC Tofuties using 2.5mm circs. The only modifications I made was to use Judy's magic cast-on. This is really a terrific cast-on for toe up socks. And seeing as I'm not a big fan of short rows I decided not to use them for the toe. Instead I did a yarn over one stitch in on either end of every second row and then on the alternate rows did a ktbl in each of the yarn overs. That seems to work really well for me.

Well, with the completion of these socks my stash busting count has begun: 221m (241yds). Unfortunately this week will see the end of my stash loss because I have to purchase some more yarn. Yep, tough isn't it? I can't tell you about the project in the blog but for those of you on Ravelry you will be able to see it on my projects page as soon as it is up and running.

Now I can go and dip my toes in the ocean and I can't wait!

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Stash busting!

Yep, my New Year's resolution is to diminish my stash. I never used to have a stash. In the distant past I simply used to buy yarn for a project, knit it up and only then acquire yarn for the next project. Somewhere along the line things changed and I find myself with several large tubs of yarn. So, this year, with the help of Baad Medicine, I am going to reduce my stash. If you would like to join why don't you hop over to their blog and leave a comment? The mere thought is already making me feel quite virtuous.

I also intend to exercise on a regular basis. I started the new year on the right foot ('scuse the pun) and went for a 4 km walk this morning. Now I just need to keep it up.

So a Happy New Year to you all and may your resolutions be achievable!.