Sunday, 31 May 2009

a is for ...

... apple. But also for ape and artichoke and aegis and aisle and awl. What a versatile letter. I remember with quite some indignation how in beginners - my first year of primary school - Mrs Baxter refused to include 'a is for Amelia' because it wasn't the 'a' as in cat.

A is also for Australia. Guess where we are off to tomorrow?

Saturday, 30 May 2009


Everyone who knits should knit lace. Just for the thrill and satisfaction of blocking it out and seeing the amazing transformation. Nevertheless, I'm still not convinced that I want to continue knitting this. It is lovely, it does look wonderful but as a friend said, life is too short.

I am convinced, however, that I'm not ready to rip it all out so I will be placing this project in hibernation for a while. This may or may not be related to the fact that I cast on for the 'knitted veil in Pyrenees wool' yesterday evening. I just wanted to see what it was like, just wanted to try the yarn out, just ... just ... just ...

Friday, 29 May 2009


I am having qualms about my faux prussian stole. Back in March when I started it I was filled with misgivings - to quote "do I really want to knit this? do I really want to knit this now? do I really want to knit it from this yarn? what else would I prefer to knit it from? do I have anything else that I would prefer to knit it from?"

And now that I am a quarter of the way through, they are back. While straightforward enough and an enjoyable knit, it is still quite onerous. There is absolutely no memorising the 81-stitch-by-96-row pattern so knitting involves constant attention to the chart. This is quite mind-soothing and completely takes your thoughts away from everything else (which is something that I love about knitting) but there is enough time and effort involved that you need to be certain about what you are making. And I'm not.

I do love the pattern, I'm enjoying the knitting, I'm just not convinced that the finished product is going to be something that I want and it's too big a project to just knit for the sake of it. There are some other things that I would prefer to be working on. I haven't given up yet though - what I have completed so far is currently upstairs blocking so that I can get a better idea of whether it is a project that I want to finish. We'll see tomorrow.

Friday, 22 May 2009

post script

Ok, just need to add that I have now hemmed both sheets. And mended the belt loop on my jeans (and they still fit me). Whoo-hoo!

someday my prints will come

This is what I imagine all the creative projects queued in my head saying, 'someday the right sewing machine needle will come along', 'someday there will be the right fabric to finish me off', 'someday there'll be some time for the hand stitching'. Ok, these projects are in my head so that is exactly what they say. Anyway, today this project got lucky.

A couple of weeks ago I got Ikea-ed. Anyone who has ever gone in there specifically to buy item X and has come out with half the alphabet knows exactly what I mean. I went there to buy a mattress for baby bear's 'big girl bed' and ended up spending about three times that - an embroidered cushion, an embroidered lampshade, toy cutlery set, toy baking set, etc etc. And a mattress, just as well. So then I dropped in to the nearby Tukwila Goodwill - hooray! - where I bought two Ralph Lauren fitted sheets for said mattress and an Ikea doona cover (one side check, one side floral).

I liked the print and figured that I could make a couple of sheets out of it which is precisely what I have done (well, half done). I ripped the two fabrics apart and this morning was finally grabbed by the desire to hem the edges of one of the sheets.

And that's when inspiration struck. I realised that this floral was just the print for binding the edge of the candlewicked bedspread that has been waiting for ... oh, let's just say several months to be finished. I can't actually remember whether I bought it at a thrift store or a garage sale but it is a white candlewicked bedspread that I had to cut down because half of it was very damaged. Which left me with a raw edge on the bedspread. Until this morning, when I decided that the floral was just the right print.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

make do

I seem to have inadvertently taken a blogging break. What have I been busy doing? Umm, well ... I'm sure that I've been busy, what else could I have been? Maybe just forgetful. Anyway, I love that phrase, 'make do and mend'.

Do you notice a small colour variation in the belt at left? That's the 'make do' bit - making do with what I have. Given that I am knitting Wallingford from recycled yarn, there was really no choice in the matter. I always had anxieties about whether or not I would have enough yarn and always had a contingency plan in place. The centre of the belt will never be on display as it will be contained within the belt casing, hence the portion knit in another colour to save on my main red yarn. Likewise the casings have all been knit from the burgundy as they are on the inside of the garment and will rarely be seen.

All the knitting is finished on this now - hooray - there is just the seaming, finishing to go and the matter of finding three identical, preferably vintage, buckles for the belt and wrist straps. Could be a while yet!

Further, when you can't be bothered mending you have to make do with what you've got in your wardrobe. I was very pleasantly surprised when I went to said wardrobe a few days ago to find that my mending had been taken care of. Yes, the trousers in question no longer actually fit me so there is no longer any need to take them in at the waist. I might spend the time exercising instead ... ha ha, or knitting.

ps - I've been pipped at the post in the Ravelry stakes. Someone recently put up their fully finished garment - no warning whatsoever.

Monday, 4 May 2009

1 project, in 5 queues

Can I do it? Can I possibly be the first person on Ravelry to complete Walling(ton/ford)? So exciting.

Today I completed the right front which was the last of the the main pattern pieces and now it's all blocking.

Problem is, there is a lot of finishing to go - not just seaming and button bands and collar but also two straps for the wrists, the belt and casings for the two sleeves, two fronts and back (which the straps and belt respectively feed through). Good news is that it looks like I am going to have plenty of yarn - whoo hoo.

This has been a great knit so far although the endless stocking stitch is way boring. There is very little shaping - just the armholes, shoulder and neckline - but I'm hoping that all the details with the straps will make it look sophisticated enough. For future garment knitting (yes, I think that there will be more now that I've got the ball rolling) I think that I will have to knit something with a more complex shape or in a pattern stitch to keep the interest up. There are some great jacket patterns around - Darcy, balloon-sleeved jacket - but as if miles of stocking stitch weren't tedious enough, imagine all that in moss stitch. No thank you. I think that I can see the sunrise.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

gold rush

Amazing! We went to the second-hand book sale at a church in the University District today. It was a fantastic outing - there was live music, traditional food from Cameroon and an excellent selection of books. I now have more Golden Hands than I know what to do with:

There appears to be every single volume there, kept pristine in the binders plus the fourteen sequel issues. Thank you someone for being so careful and for donating them!

Not to mention the entire sixteen-volume set of Time-Life The Art of Sewing series with volumes like 'Basic Tailoring', 'The Sporting Scene' and 'Restyling Your Wardrobe'.

Each volume has its own fabric cover:

And a book about creativity:

And children's books with wonderful illustrations:

And an absolute deluge of inspiration to boot. Photos of that to come after I make it to the church spare-time fête.