Sunday, 31 March 2013

travelling knitting

This is what I knit when we travel - whenever there's a reasonably long car ride, Tim takes the wheel and I put in some time on my Tibetan Clouds (un)Beaded Stole. Clearly, we haven't been travelling much because it's the first time that I have picked it up since December of last year.

Nonetheless, I am determined to get this finished this year. Three years really is the maximum length of time that I can tolerate a project being on the go. This one is only 27 months at the moment but I do know how long these things can drag out unless I really put some effort into it. I managed half a repeat today which means that I have three-and-a-half repeats to go, that I could foreseeably complete it in a week at half a repeat per day, that I ... just need to keep knitting.

Monday, 18 March 2013


This was one of those attempts at quick knitting satisfaction that actually worked - very quick, very satisfying!

The Vital Statistics
Pattern: Duffers - revisited by Mindie Tallack.
Size: I knit the US 3 size but felted them down to about a US 1.
Yarn: Cascade 220 in '7803 magenta' and '9404 ruby' (100 per cent wool), 0.4 skeins and .17 skeins respectively; Knit Picks Wool of the Andes (100 per cent wool). Yarn was held double throughout which makes me think that you could do some nice ombré effects by holding two different colour yarns together and shading into a solid colour.
Needles: 8mm.
Start to finish: 14 March to 16 March 2013 with a couple of mistakes and rip backs and reknits.
Stash/recycle content: Yay, 100 per cent!

Comments: Mine are a bit of a colour mix because I ran out of the magenta and had to finish the sole with ruby, then ran out of cream and had to do the cast off in ruby again. But I completely used up two random, hanging-around-for-ages skeins of yarn - hooray. I also left out row 11 I think but not to too much detriment. Felting was hard work because I did it mostly by hand, thinking that my front loader wouldn't do the trick. Well, more being anxious about not being able to regularly check without draining the machine each time. I did end up putting them in for 20 minutes on a hot wash with a couple of towels which turned out to be the last nudge that they needed.

Verdict: Warm feet at our house. I wonder if that will make it any easier to get miss bear out of bed in the morning?

Sunday, 17 March 2013


The Vital Statistics
Pattern: Eris by Lisa Mutch of Northbound Knitting. 
Size: There's only one size in the pattern but it would be easily customisable. 
Yarn: Wollmeise "Pure" 100% Merino Superwash in the colours 'Admiral' (dark blue; 0.28 skeins) and a wd 'Oooohm' (the turquoise; 0.33 skeins) and madelinetosh tosh sock in 'tart' (red; 0.56 skeins). 
Needles: 4mm 

Start to finish: 19 November 2012 to 11 March 2013. It shouldn't really have taken that long but I got two-thirds of the way through and then it sat for a while. Quite a while. 
Stash/recycle content: nope. 

Comments: I don't often have trouble reading knitting patterns but this one gave me some grief. What does this mean to you?: "k to 1 st past last wrapped st". To me it means knit up to but not including the stitch after the wrapped stitch. But, I can sort of see how it might mean to knit until the first stitch past the wrapped stitch. No, not really. Anyway, the grief was indeed that I interpreted it as the former and found out many rows later that it meant the latter. Rip rip rip. 

There's also an error (in my opinion) in row 1 of section C. It should read k8 instead of k6, otherwise the numbers just don't add up. 

Also, I picked up the wrapped stitches along the change from section 1 to section 2, as it helped to preserve a smooth line. 

This was my first time knitting with Wollmeise. I had a bit of a panic attack upon returning to Australia that I would never be able to find gourmet yarn again. Never fear, turns out that quite a few local ravellers are selling theirs off and I now own quite a few skeins. The Wollmeise colours are fantastic but I found the yarn itself to be a bit splitty.

Verdict: Once the pattern is clear to you (!) this is very easy, albeit slightly monotonous, knitting. The result is a really great shape, best seen in the shot of it blocking. I think often of Di's comment about my knitting choices, that I knit for texture as opposed to shape (Di, that's going to stay with me forever, probably because it was so apposite). This knit went quite some way to showing me why - textural knitting is exciting, absorbing, engaging, yarn-over, knit-two-together, pass-the-slipped-stitch-over knitting.

Graphic knitting (for want of a better term) is just a lot of knit knit knitting, little bit of shaping, knit knit knitting, wrap and turn, knit knit knitting. Not that I have anything against knitting, obviously, but garter stitch never achieves the flow that stocking stitch does, particularly stocking stitch in the round. There are a lot of wonderful garter stitch shawls around at the moment, several that I have under consideration, but I really need to give that particular knitting a break for a bit.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

the sixty-five per cent barrier

I'm sorry that I haven't been around much. Sorry, of course, to not be putting anything much up here but also a bit sorry for myself, to be neglecting this recording aspect of my creative (do I dare say it?) practice. Going back to work has put a bit of a rock in the pond and I'm still waiting for the ripples to adjust and settle.

I've also been up against a sixty-five per cent barrier recently - I get about that far through a project and just lose interest. I keep casting on new small projects in the hope of a quick completion fix and then they too fall by the wayside. How appropriate then that I have just cast off Eris and may this signify the end to any lingering discord.

The wall in the background is kindly provided by the Museum Victoria where we hid yesterday from the ongoing heat that is plaguing Melbourne. Unfortunately, it's going to be a tad cooler tomorrow, just when I was intending to block it (cooler, huh! 29C instead of 36C, that is 84F instead of 97F).

Friday, 1 March 2013

february reading

I did a lot of reading last month. Partly enabled by reading young adult fiction which does go really quickly. I got a bee in my bonnet (huh, again?) about a book that I read when I was young which included a boat ride along a canal and through a lock. That was all I could remember, and that they were on the run. I consulted the good people on AbeBooks BookSleuth forum - cannot recommend this enough if you are searching for a lost title with only the slightest notion of the content; the collective knowledge or readers is amazing - and found what I was looking for!

The Silver Sword by Ian Seraillier - A book I certainly read when I was younger and I thought was the canal book but no. There is a canoe ride down the Danube and, curiously, for a book about post-WWII displacement and prison camps, no mention of Jewish people whatsoever.
Ashes to Dust by Yrsa Sigurdardottir - Icelandic crime thriller, a good one but I did guess one of the plot devices way in advance.

A Stranger in Mayfair by Charles Finch - British historical crime thriller, a good one but again, I guessed the plot device in advance. Perhaps I'm reading too many of these?

Thursday's Child by Noel Streatfeild - My second attempt at finding the canal book. Nope, and not worth reading. Really crappy Victorian orphanage, completely two-dimensional characters. And boring.

The Girl who Kicked the Hornets' Nest by Stieg Larsson - Very long and read in three days. Great.

The Devil's Children and Heartsease by Peter Dickinson -These are parts one and two of the Changes Trilogy. Fantastic slightly science-fiction/fantasy, dystopic future setting, great characters, great writing. And yes, Heartsease was the canal book of my youth.