knitting and the life I almost have around it

Monday, November 28, 2005


I have a hormone induced need to start a new project.
i'm craving some lace weight, something totally impossible like an heirloom baby shawl (why, WHY?). I dont have a baby, I dont plan to have a baby any time soon and I'm sure I would cry myself to sleep every night if i tried anything as crippling as a baby shawl. particularly an heirloom one. Also, they're white! they're fragile! babies are messy and damage-y! i know all these things yet am still craving.
so, stole size
Clapotis it is.
I know I know. My conscience is biting me.

Dear Spider,
Just thought I would drop you a line to let you know I think you're a lunatic. You have a long sleeved shrug to finish by the 10th. Yes, I realise Gypsy's birthday is not until the 21st, but that is not a valid excuse! that's only three days before christmas! and you have a scarf and a pair of sock to finish by then!
I realise the variegated silk has been taunting you from the stash basket, and you finally realised what it must become, but this is not the time!! It's your hormones talking girl! Honestly, a few pieces of chocolate and a hot water bottle and you go right off the deep end.
Breathe, focus, put down the needles, step away from the silk.

Ever yours,
Jiminy Cricket

PS. Yes, I did think it was funny that when you muttered "I'll need 5mm needles" to yourself your mother said "oh, dont you have any?". So, have you decided which one of your 9 pairs you'll use?

Yes well. At least it's one of those things you can stop and start because it wont go out of style and... yes i'm making excuses. i will make my deadlines, i just need to cast on right now. thankyou for your time. As soon as a 12 step program is developed, I'll join.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Happy Birthday Leah!

Ok, as you all may have guessed, my best friend Leah turns 21 today. She is a funny, wise, beautiful, smart and mature woman who is only very slightly accident prone. I am proud to know her and be her friend, and wish her the very best birthday ever. (ha ha Leah, you're an old lady now, ha ha ha!). Just kidding babe, you're the best :)

Went to a (different) 21st last night which was a genuinely strange experience. A whole lot of people I havent seen since high school, jelly shots which wouldnt come out of the cups (looked as though everyone was performing gelatinous sex acts), a battery-operated swearing parrot and my ex boyfriend. Drew was a funny little boy i went out with in yr9 and we were absolutely terrified of each other. we used to meet in the library (ha!) and if he brought all his friends (which he always did) i would hide under a table. i'm really not sure why. He rocked up to the party sporting a very furry looking beard and a very purple earring (could explain 6 months of being treated like a leper). Also a strange young man who used to sit in the front row and get straight A's proceeded to try to chat Leah and myself up... and he was suprisingly succesful. as in, i laughed instead of decking him. and thats quite something for me :p

The Very Blue Day Blue Berry Dye Socks are quite fun. I thought they would kill me (2.25mm needles) but i'm really enjoying them. of course, it is only the first sock, so Second Sock Syndrome has yet to kick in. but socks always make me feel clever, and socks with fair isle bits make me feel even more clever. Add to the mixing pot the fact that i dyed the yarn and designed the fair isle myself and i feel like a frickin genius! they are some patons 1960's mens socks i found a pattern for, and they're supposed to be knee-high (fair to say they wont be that long, though i think they should be longish... for dagging around the house warmth). i shortened the ribbing by 3 inches (i ask you, 4 inches of 1x1?! Nuts!) and added on the fair isle bit. they are fun fun fun!
I tryed to dye the yarn with jelly crystals, since all you American ladies use Kool-Aid which you can't get here. I thought it might work... but no. luckily however, i had a bottle of blue food dye and tossed that in the dye pot... simmered for about an hour, washed, rinsed, dried etc. I will warn any would be food-dyers that i tied my skein of 100% wool with bits of white cotton... and the wool was bright blue and the cotton stayed white. so maybe not an all-purpose solution :p but definately fun. next try will be self striping food dye socks.

and here is a shrug for Gypsy's 21st. yes, i know it doesnt look like alot, but i do have a few weeks and the needles will only get bigger. but you all know how much i like ribbing. and there's a metre of ribbing in this baby. whose idea was long sleeves anyway?? ech. at least its 2x2 so its moving along ok. and i can always aim for her real birthday which conveniently falls 11 days after her party..

Stitch and Bitch is on this thursday, which is really exciting. Gyspy and i did try to go to a Sunday one last week but nobody else showed! oh well, salt and pepper squid made up for it. Am going cherry picking with my grandmother on tuesday and am working all week, so might not be very frequent blogger for a while. on the other hand im really stressed out so i might need to vent.


PS. i dont want to jinx it, but it looks like the lady who bought the spinning wheel at work might cancel her layby. and if she does, my boss said i could have it for $50!!!!! eeeeeehhhhhh!!!

PPS. i have now had a boyfriend for three years. we are going down the coast to eat nice food and go on boats next weekend to celebrate the anniversary. oh god im so old!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

just briefly...

Well, you may have thought i dropped off the face of the earth, but no. i was partly hiding in my spinning wheel shame, and partly trying to desperately finish Arabella. and as luck would have it, she is complete. i finished her on tuesday night, but am having the week from hell so these are my first photos.
i do a cable cast on (really must learn a couple of others) and i think the straps are a bit too curly up at the sides. so i might run a bit of double crochet down them. also , i think it looks weird with lace on only one side of the strap so ditto. But it is finished in time to wear out for yum cha for Leah's (Queen of Wonderment) 21st on sunday. hoorah!

This is the i heart cashmere scarf's progress. It's plugging along, but such a dream so knit.....

And these are the very new to the needles Very Blue Day Blue Berry Dye Socks. i chose the flash photo because a) it was in focus and b) it shows how very blue the yarn is. food dye = fun.

got to run...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

a (wo)man of letters

I have to admit, you guys freaked me out. You said my order was completed on the 9th. the delivery date was "9th-21st Nov". This ensured I woke at the crack of dawn every day since the 9th, shivering with anticipation, only to be disapointed by the lack of morning couriers.
Yes, friends at Amazon, my sleep has been erratic for a week, and my friends and family have started climbing on the roof before offering me cups of tea to avoid being shouted at.
But, Amazon? All is forgiven.

Happy Spider

PS when's the SnB crochet book going to be released???

Dear Bendigo Woollen Mill,

I love you. I really really really do. Be mine?



Dear peeps at Rowan,

I adore Arabella. I love the eyelets, i love the 4ply cotton, i even love the teeny-tiny needles. I don't care that knitting her in white has turned me into a OCD lady macbeth type character, ever fearful of the slightest stain. I adore the fact that when i completed the main pieces and seamed the sides, the eyelets matched up first time round. I have overlooked the slightly pink ribbing from the Pony red needles.

I do, however, have a question. I have neither a 2.25mm circular needle, nor a 2.25mm crochet hook. i am fairly sure i will have to send away for the former. I had promised myself i would follow these instructions exactly for the first time in my life, considering i was using the correct yarn and all. So tell me, would it really be that bad to crochet the neck and back bands completely? It would save me two weeks of waiting and $7-$18...



Dearest fellow knitters,

i have a professor at uni whom i have what is termed 'grudging respect' for. Quite plainly, he is a nutter. a cute, lovely, funny nutter, but a nutter nonetheless.

Now this nutter has a wonderful theory about friendship. he says the thing that stops you being aquaintances and starts you being friends is trading flaws. when someone can know your flaws and still love you, that is friendship. I'm going to test this theory.

I am a failure. I am a failure as a knitter... nay as a human being. I have been putting off telling you all this due to the utter humiliation and stupidity i feel. But now the books have arrived i can cope without the blog for a few days and may be able to recover from my embarrasment from outing myself.

There arrived at my work about 6 weeks ago a spinning wheel. A beautiful pine ashford in full working order. It had a pair of carding combs. it had 5 bobbins. it came with a drop spindle. it came with a bobbin holder (lazy somethingorother). It came with a BAG of wool and a booklet of instruction. My boss put $145 Australian on it. He would have given it to me for $95 at the MOST.

Dear friends, i looked at it for 6 weeks. i did not buy it. i missed out.

weep for me.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Coasting through life

So, this is the yellow submarine. She is technically the property of the BFG, but as i am sure i mentioned previously, i sewed drawer liners for her so she's half mine. and he's very sweet and calls her 'our' campervan. this is particularly sweet considering i can't/don't drive.

We went down to Durras Lake after i finished work on saturday. so didnt really see much beach or sunshine til sunday morning, but it was all just gorgeous. beautiful weather, lots of flowers out, fresh breezes....

I spent most of sunday just lying around on the beach pretending to get a tan (i'm terrified of skin cancer so i completely immerse myself in sunscreen and then go 'roast'. it works eventually, but you really need to spend two weeks down the coast. darn eh?)

also worked my way through 5 novels and got a fair way into Arabella. BFG went fishing two or three times but not a sausage! he became quite disheartened methinks (fear not, he actually catches many fish of various sizes and edibility levels - like so. you may need to select fishing in the menu thingy). we stayed over sunday night as well and made a weekend of it... sort of

this is the only meal i cooked, which seems completely unfair in retrospect. i mean, im now on holidays whereas he is in the thick of honours. and he's making sure i relax. i should've been more pushy... but darn it i wanted to relax. this enchanting ensemble is what happens when you pull a skirt on over your pjs to avoid startling neighbouring campervans when we open the doors up.

and naturally this is me pretending to get a tan. i should also point out that the ocean in the background is a fraudulent implication. i do not swim in the ocean unless its at least 30 degrees. i always seem to get dunked, get cold too fast and there is always the possibility that part of your bikini will get bored and wander off. and dont look at me like that, it can happen. heck, it has happened.

had prawns and peaches for lunch on monday and then came home with a bag of oysters under my arm. life is sweet.

am back at work now, but the boss is recovered somewhat and i get tomorrow off to play. holidays, people, holidays!

My pretendy tan and i bid thee adieu

Friday, November 11, 2005

i conform therefore i am

Well folks, it's official. My soul has been sold, my life is over. I have caved in and am now fitted with an active remote subject location device. it looks something like this:

As you can probably tell from the cracked screen and white case (white???) this is a second hand phone. It was full of messages from someone called Rick to someone called Courtney... and let me tell you, before I found the 'delete all' button and i was deleting them one by one, I wanted to dump the guy. Maybe this is the final piece of the puzzle that stops me being a teenager. I don't know why, but getting "I'm sorry to wake you up babe but I just had to tell you how much i love you, you're the most sweet perfect beautiful girl in the whole world my special darling, I cant live without you" etc etc made me feel somewhat homicidal. I must admit to being occasionally disapointed with the BFGs lack of declaration, but I take him over Rick anyday, i can tell you. Rick honey, let the girl sleep or she won't be so sweet. Eck. (Also he quite frequently changed the spelling of her name.)

Also, I'm not a fan of false advertising and everytime I turn on the phone it says 'Virgin' in the middle of the screen (right before then it used to say "THE OC ROCKS!" but we soon killed that one.) Who are these people!!???!!!!

Progress on I heart cashmere scarf is slow but satisfying, I love variegated yarns :)

My boss is really really ill with the pneumonia, and it's likely they'll stick him in hospital. I shouldnt feel so catty about it, but I was going to take next week easy before going fulltime and now i dont really have an option (he's cool with it, but my conscience can't take it). BFG and i are going to the coast for two days, but I was going to use the week to sew and catch up with people. There are SO many people I have to catch up with and if i'm working tuesday to saturday I probably wont fit it in... he did offer to just close up shop until next friday, but i'd feel so bad.

But then as BFG says, I can't run the business for him and it serves him right for not taking a break in six years. sigh. I'm too soft, I'm going to cave, I just know it.

Wish me luck... and the next entry will make you wish you went down the coast this weekend too

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

how do i do nothing again?

i think i have what i like to call a Uni Hangover. This is where the spider cannot sleep or eat properly, and feels inexplicably guilty doing... anything. It is quite odd. Have resorted to whispering "no more deadlines you idiot" to myself, which has the added bonus that everybody thinks i've lost it and is leaving me alone. always a plus. Especially fun in the frozen food aisle of the supermarket if you sort of sing it and wring your hands.

ToD was supposed to visit me today, but his computer is sick and it looks terminal. I'd suggest chicken soup but it might stuff up his funky wireless keyboard.

So i went downtown all of my own accord. I mean, what else was i to do? i am stumped. Also should tell you i have a new favourite shut-down. (Point of information - i live in this little place just outside of Canberra. It's... well... umm. Archaic. and life for many seems to be a constant ebb and flow between centrelink and the bottle shop. It's almost rural... but not. It's almost a city... but not. It is a town that is completely dissilusioned. All the women my age are on their second kid to a second father and men have nothing to do but try to impregnate other women.)

So here is the shut down. You raise one eyebrow and lift sunglasses (if applicable) and say (very bored) "Maybe you should go back to your rock and evolve." Also this works better if the person you are telling off is familiar with the theory of evolution. But usually, in my home town, big words are enough of a turn-off so it's win-win.

And i went to a sweet little op-shop and bought... these! to the untrained eye they may appear to be pillow-cases (designed by people on acid) but No my friends! folly! these are in fact future WIP bags... or linings for knitted bags. cute or what? and theres just enough fabric for either. and an added bonus, there isnt enough to make a shirt out of (i have a tendency to get exciteable with vintage stuff... whether it suits me or not. especially not.) the green one makes me think of Laura's as yet unlined bag... and i got these and a pair of earrings for... $1! i don't know why, but old people like me.

i also ordered some more yarn. Eck. i know. i don't know why, but i appear to be nesting. this is the third lot of yarn i'll have purchased in a month and my stash is well.. huge. growing. am i the only one who does this? It's cotton from bendigo mill (no website) in a dark lavender to make this. i know, calmer is not the same as 100% cotton 8ply but i cannot afford $154 + p&h for a sweater. I just can't. My cotton cost me $20... and i'll have enough left over to make something for the BFGs new nephew, Frederick. It is a very deep purple, but if i think it's too effeminate i'll overdye it navy or something.

So. Queen of Wonderment is coming by tomorrow to scour the op-shops and decide on what clothing i'm sewing her for summer.

Of to watch House and continue on my Mums lacy heart scarf (guilt knitting i tells ya).

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

half-way house

You all see this? this is how beautiful the world looks when you're half-way through your degree! (and yes, i do realise my house is pink.)

Finished my last (and only) exam at 3pm and am now a free woman! Well, as free as anyone who is a slave to yarn can be. But, no more deadlines for 3 months! hurrah!

this is my baby saying "good on ya Mum!" (this is seconds before he turned from the camer and fled, this picture is a miracle.) His little tongue is just poking out, but i assure you he is not teasing me, merely preparing to investigate the edibility potential of my shoes.

And this is my celebratory knitting. ah ok, i tell a lie, i finished it yesterday when i should have been studying for todays exam, but at least i appeared to be hard working and didnt post til after said exam was over.
I am having that gnawing suspiscion that she is too short and too wide... but i really dont think i have enough yarn to extend any more than i have already. i added 5cm to the body and my belly button still looks like it might hang out. However, highwaisted pencil skirts are in, and worst case scenario i will befriend a short yet busty person and give it to her for christmas.

After i finished the exam i ran into my ex (the lovely furry friendly one, not Monsieur le jackass, no fear guys) because he takes the same psych class as me. so we went into civic together to have lunch and trade lives. Was very nice. It's lovely running into old friends, he knows me so well i can relax because if i put on a super spider act he'd see through it anyway :p. not that i'm not a super spider... but ahem... where was i?

And now i am kind of at a loss. I'm finished for the year. What now? sure, i have my knitting but... nobody to mark it. erk!

Here is a limerick i wrote while waiting for them to let us out of the exam room:

There once was this fellow named Freud
with his parents he was quite annoyed
the critics are critical
of his psychoanalytical
theory, which should not be employed

ta-da! i also drew lots of pictures of my puppy, and wrote another one about Cattell which i cant remember... except that it had something to do with an action figure by mattel (ie. barbie doll people). what can i say, we intraverts have to make our own fun.

Did i mention that my books wil be arriving any day from tomorrow!! hoorah! (stitch n bitch nation, yarn harlot bookbookbook1 and bookbookbook2)

And everyone go and see Yuvee's Gabby and tell her how clever she is!

Make mine a daiquiri.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

not so bitchy stitchers

As testimony to how bad my headache was yesterday, i completely forgot to rave about Stitch n Bitch.

I arrived early (as is my want) and was pretty nervous. had managed to nearly finish my comfort drink (hot chocolate with lots of cream) when someone arrived who looked knittable. In the end there were only three other women. as i suspected i was the youngest but it didnt matter. every one was so nice! and the two hours went by so quickly i couldn't believe it. i wish it was twice as long and every week not once a month :p
Nobody was in the least bit patronising... not that they should've been, but i have this secret feeling that somehow im doing it all wrong. riddickerus really, considering my turn over, but paranoia is like that. And luckily the narky shearing shed lady was not part of it (another secret concern).
There was a baby jacket, a beanie and a feather and fan scarf on various needles as well as me with my scarf, chardonnay and arabella (nobody even suggested i have a short attention span!)
Only down side was that nobody i knew was working at starbucks that night... but that would probably have given me performance anxiety anyway so it's probably just as well.

So yes, are we all updated? Chardonnay is past the ribbing and im trying to get past the arm decreases before i start on the front of Arabella. Oh yes, and i have an exam on tuesday which i should probably study for at some point :p Sorry no pics, but my camera is still away.
And i should really clean the house before mum and dad get home so their relaxing weekend isnt for naught. It's so hard cleaning with the stinky one around (brother) because he wont help, he plays metal too loud, leaves organic fragrances and doesnt clean up behind him as he goes. i just cleaned the kitchen and put on the dishwasher and already i can hear him making himself food... messy fat spitty, splashboard smeary, dirty bench, onion peels on the sink, water on the floor type food. i want to cry. I love kids but i suspect if one of us doesnt move out soon i might get over the idea of having babies one day.

Erk. Wish me luck, i go to combat the stench only a sibling can produce.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

short back and sides

Ok, finished back piece of Arabella on Friday. Would have posted then but my parents took my camera with them on their 25th wedding anniversary long weekend.

Thankfully BFG's camera is compatible with my software so he is very sweet and brought his over.

The white thing is obviously Arabella (and it looks like it might be too wide... and hoping bosoms will factor in to make it fit properly), the blue thing is Chardonnay. Did i mention i hate ribbing? i dont mind 2x2 or bigger but this 1x1 is doing my head in. As soon as i finished the back of Arabella i wanted to start on the front... but am promising myself i will at least get past the Chardonnay ribbing. After that it should be more fun... lots of decreases and funky stuff.

anyway, BFG is being patient and supportive while i post, but now i'd better go pay attention to him.

Good night all :)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

you've got mail

Just as it only rains when you've hung out the washing, my package arrived today after my big yarn spendathon yesterday.

I was SO exci
ted, i love mail. And Oh. My. Guinness! Cheope is something else! it is 100% cotton, somewhere between 4 and 8ply and soft and smooth and shiny... it's incredible i have never knit anything like it! It just glides along the needles... seriously, do yourself a favour and try this stuff. Good range of colours too!

When in Woden with ToD today we went to get some 2.25mm needles for the Arabella singlet. We bought them, then wandered, sat to have a coffee. I went through my bag, desperate to cast on.. and the needles were gone! So i had to go back and buy another pair! felt very silly, but ToD was nice and ushered me through a different checkout... how embarrasing. They must have fallen out of my bag....

Also! shock horror! the needles i bought are bright red Pony brand straight needles, the only type they had. so i knit the 7 rows of rib on the needles, then move up to the eyelet section on the 3mm... and the bit i did on the Pony needles is distinctly pink!!! AArrrgh! whats
the point in making bright trendy coloured knitting needles if it stains our expensive trendy yarn!!
I have been taking slow deep breaths and decided it will be ok - it WILL wash out, it has no choice in the matter. But i am definately writing to Pony to winge... i mean, come on people! what type of things do you generally knit on 2.25s? yes, baby things. What colours are most baby things? yes, whites and pastels. Morons.

So here you see, avec flash the WIPs i started today (i put up the flash one as well because you can see how glossy the cheope is). probably silly, but i have been knitting so fast lately and this should slow me down... both tops are for me, so i feel a leeetle selfish. But.. well... i dont feel bad enough to stop :)

So the white thing is Arabella from Rowan 35 in Rowan 4ply cotton (white, would you believe?). You can sort
of see the pink rib in the non-flash shot. i love the eyelets!

The blue is the vintage top (Chardonnay from Knitting magazine) in Cheope and will consist of rib for a long long while yet.

Am also still plugging away on the lacy hearts scarf. so now have three pretty new things to show of at SnB tomorrow, have to admit to slight nervousness. i was so excited til yesterday, when the lady at the shearing shed said i should try to pick something simple like a scarf on big needles... i hate that she assumed i was an absolute beginner because i was youngish. I had to whip out my cashmere scarf to set her straight, and she was much nicer to me once she realised i was going to spend a fortune. But it's horrible to have assumptions made about you. It's the one hobby i'm totally confident about and.. i dont know, it broke my confidence a bit. I'm sure nobody will be like that at SnB, i think there are couple of women my age. Just nerves :P. Anyway, i cant believe a knitter could be that mean on purpose, she was probably just having a bad day.

Wish me luck tomorrow!


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

money money money

Ok so today i found my way to the shearing shed in Manuka...

bad decision for a poor student spider to make. foolish.

Foolish enough for me to welch on my agreement with BFG not to blog more than once a day...

here you go, goodbye savings.

SO as you can see, i am now the proud owner of Rowan 35, the new Zhivago spring pattern book and some Rowan 4ply in white and dark green to make this lovely Arabella creation.... sorry about the black and white, it was the only decent pic.

Am shocked to discover i cant scramble into this project as i own no 2.25mm needles! Quelle horeur!

Anyway, so there you have it... i have found the best yarn store and now im stuffed for life.

(and my package still hasnt arrived....)


PS i did actually put money on Makybe Diva and the $18 i won really nearly covers what i spent at the shearing shed. i promise BFG! *cough

i heart cashmere

ok, so i got fed up trawling through magazines and free patterns trying to find The One. And i came across some experimental lace stitches i had tried a while ago, and decided upon Lacy Hearts (subtitled leaves, because when knit on a thicker yarn there is an interesting effect from all the K2togs and skpos).

This is a days work (damn you lace!). I am using 3.75mm needles, which i realise are a tad too big but 3.25mm or smaller would have been WAY too depressing, and as i'm making it up, what i say goes.

the colours are just... i can't explain really. words are so meaningless. this yarn is the stuff dreams are made of. It's like painting, or knitting stained glass (only less brittle and cuttable)

you may have noticed a little black book? this is because i cannot afford an electronic version. and i quite like putting pen to paper. and it even has a cute little pocket at the back for storing things... its a pity my Dr doesnt get any knitting magazines or i could do the old cough-n-rip and hide it in the back. i'm sure i'll think of something.

It does mean a lot
of tranferring patterns by hand, but i actually find it more convenient because i can change as i go to the abbreviations i most prefer, and write the complicated bits more spread out and easy to follow. i know it sounds like a waste of time, but at the other end when im knitting on the bus, the book sits easily on my lap and i can see the whole pattern at the same time. even the cover is rough and slip-resistant. Have i mentioned it's a Moleskine?

Spent yesterday wrangling sheep on the BFG's honours farm (remember the bogging?). We had to sort out these 40 sheep from a herd of a couple of hundred and then after they had been shorn (not by us, no sir) then we had to weight them on a sling and pulley system. fun.

so to cut a long story short, i have robe-burn from the pulley on my hands, a sheep butted me in the kidney and i have 3 or 4 perfectly horn-shaped bruises here and there. But it was fun in a weird kind of way. I do miss the country a bit, though sheep were much easier than goats - which is what i'm used to. sheep.. well you just point their heads in the right direction and there they go.

I have to say, i do prefer the more glamourous side of wool (knitting) to what i spent my first day of uni break doing :p but it was nice to be outside and i'd definately do it again if BFG needed me.

happy melbourne cup everyone!
(go on, be brave, bet on someone other than Makybe Diva)