Thursday, 28 April 2011

this too shall pass

Jet lag - 24 hours straight without sleep; one child wakes as soon as the other falls asleep; waking up from an hour and a half of sleep feeling strangely deeply rested and for that split second not having any idea where I am; both children asleep, both adults awake, all in the same bed at 2:00am.

After the hecticness of being away I have come desperate for some routine and discipline, determined to just take things slowly, be measured with time and energy. I only took two knitting projects with me to Melbourne (Jarrett and the Faux Russian Stole) and have come home to a whole slew of projects that three weeks had managed to erase from my knit-consciousness - the infinity wrap (oooh), the tibetan clouds (unbeaded) stole (aaah), the babette blanket (oooh), must seam the tomten, must work on everything at once, must cast on for new projects. Must calm down.

So far, I've worked the crochet equivalent of short rows into the dips between the infinity motifs in the aptly named Infinity Wrap. This is my modification; as the pattern is written, I'm not keen on the way the mesh edging pulls in the dips. My wrap will have straight(er) edges, then the mesh-and-bobble edging (although I'm doubting the bobbles).

Monday, 25 April 2011

home sweet home

It's all been a bit erratic around here lately, mostly because our spring break actually took us to Australia for three weeks. Now we're back home, from home. It's all a bit confusing really and that's not just because of the time difference (which is playing havoc with sleeping routines; we got up at 3pm today).

The flights were long (and I did the one there by myself with the two children as Tim was already in Australia for other matters - you can fit one adult, one child and one toddler into an airplane bathroom), our time there was hectic and wonderful and bittersweet. I caught up with old friends, met new friends (hi Leonie!), caught up with family, spent quality hours and hours at the US consulate, watched my children play with my childhood friends' children; they were supposed to grow up together, that was bittersweet.

And I went op shopping - hooray! One precious Friday afternoon solo stroll down Chapel Street, Windsor and various other opportunist stops in the course of our trip. In all it yielded:

MECWA Windsor - Dr Suess ABC game, one ball of Heirloom Alpaca
Sacred Heart Mission, Windsor - Ojay blouse to be refashioned into a dress, Country Road blouse for the lovely material, silver shoes for miss bear and this Nicola Cerini bag for $5
Salvation Army, Windsor - Rainbow Fish card game, a vintage framed story book page with a dear rabbit picture
Salvation Army, St Kilda - princess dress-up dress, Aquascutum coat, card game, Anna Sui blouse, Immune skirt
Yarraville - Miffy book
Glenhuntly - baby toys, children's Birkenstocks ($1!)
And various books from all over.

What I love about Melbourne op shopping is that it really is a case of finding the gem, as opposed to Seattle-area thrift stores which are like huge supermarkets of barely used goods. More details of some of the clothes purchases to come.

Thursday, 21 April 2011


'Ten ultra-smart garments' - oh how I love these old knitting pattern books, if only for the wonderful presentation. I recently received a whole package of them to add to my collection of, hmm, many many dozens.

I'm not sure where to start, with the fetching Maberley there on the left (although I may give the pom-poms a miss) or the very glamorous Judith on the right. Actually, I wouldn't know where to start because so many of these old patterns seem to be written exclusively for a 34 inch bust. I don't need to even convert that to centimetres to know that there's not a chance in Holofernes that this would fit me.

What were you supposed to do back in 1936 if you were in a similar situation? Were all knitters simply expected (required) to know how to size something up or down? I suppose that these days something like Ann Budd's Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns would indeed come in handy for working out how many stitches to cast on or increase for larger sizes and I guess that you would just follow some of the design elements or stitch patterns along the way.

Maybe this is why books like Rowan's Vintage Knits are so appealing - half a dozen sizes, contemporary yarns and ssk instead of slkpsso (even if you don't speak knitting, you can see that the former is simpler than the latter). Now that is smart. Which brings me around to Jarrett, Tim's great garment of 2011 (TGG11): it is almost finished, although I have taken no photographs to prove this. I have one elbow patch, button and buttonhole bands and collar to go. Oh, and all the seaming but never mind that.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


It is all a bit of a tangle at the moment but I have completed the knitting on baby b's tomten. This whole jacket is made from Icelandic Lopi that I bought from the op shop (St Vincent de Paul's in Malvern - before they moved) and the thrift store (Crown Hill Value Village).

The body is all in burgundy and blue with random stripes and the sleeves in bright teal, burgundy and light teal. Yes, two shades of teal - one purchased in Melbourne, the other years later in Seattle. Although not evident in this photo, the teal right up there in the first row of the sleeve will hopefully make the most of the tomten's distinctive structure.

My only question now is what to about fastening(s)? In my mind I envisioned a two-way separating zip, plastic moulded in dark blue, burgundy or any shade of teal. Alas, no such thing exists (or at least not at this length) and so thwarted I am left in a bind. Should I just use the dark blue one-way separating plastic moulded zip that I have already bought (which is not the zip that I wanted and this will probably weigh heavily upon me forever)? Or do some more knitting - button band, buttonhole band and buttons to choose to boot?

(These aren't really the only questions that I have about life but I am content right now that these are the most pressing).

Thursday, 14 April 2011


All through uni I had the best intentions of catching up on those novels that I hadn't managed to read for my various English courses (as in English Literature, not English the language; I studied English when I was an exchange student in Amsterdam too, again literature, not the language). Anyway, Middlemarch by George Eliot was possibly the only one that I did read after the fact. And how fortunate that I did. Oh, Dorothea.

The Vital Statistics
Pattern: Dorothea Wraplet by Lion Brand Yarn, a semi-circular crochet wrap.
Yarn: Noro Kochoran (50 per cent wool, 30 per cent angora, 20 per cent silk) in shade 17; just over 1.5 balls. This yarn has good yardage but lots of knots.
Hook: 8mm - Kochoran actually calls for a smaller needle/hook size but this was all I had to hand.
Start to finish: 2 to 7 April 2011 - crochet is quick.
Stash/recycle content: Oh dear, more yarn from Australia. I bought this from Woolbaa in Albert Park shortly after I finished baby bear's tomten, adamant that I was going to cast on straight away for the next one. Yep, that was three years ago. I haven't used it all so will have to think of something for the bit that I have left.
Comments: I love Noro, even when it is full of knots. I love to see the colours unfold, even when you are splicing in the next length of yarn after the knot. The wonderful texture (which has nothing to do with knots). Quick, simple, free pattern. I modified the edging somewhat and just did double crochet (English terms) along the straight edge, And certainly, do not break the yarn when you finish the wrap and transition to the edging; there's no need to.
Verdict: I made this to give away to someone who has given away far greater things (I just hope they remember to handwash it).

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

march reading

No, I didn't forget (although the book was pretty forgettable) - The Sleeping Dragon by Miyuki Miyabe. Touted on the cover as Japan's number one bestselling crime writer, I was hopeful about this but am clearly not at one with the greater Japanese crime fiction-reading population. Oh well.

Tomorrow I'll show you what I've been working on during my days off.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

spring break

I seem to have taken an inadvertent spring break. I'm enjoying it - be back in a week or so.