knitting and the life I almost have around it

Monday, January 28, 2008

self-snaps - the peril!

Err. Yeah.Apologies for the blurriness, flash does not work a) in the mirror or b) with my complection (that's right folks, I'm 23 in a week and I still get pimples you could ski down. Awesome).And i notice here that i apparently have grown a bust but not hips to match. Odd. And I'm wearing Monkey's rugby shorts because I AM THE QUEEN OF STYLE. Yes. Shadap.
Love this top, glad it's over. There is a lot of knitting in one of these. It doesn't look like it but.. yeah. BORING. Nice top though. I'll try and get Monkey to take a better snap for me, but don't hold your breath... am having a 'I'm the most hideous person in the world' kind-a day and i don't know if my cranky brain will permit the kind of photo monkey takes (ie. "but honey, your curves are GORGEOUS" snap snap snap)

So having finished this drain of a project I am sort of at a loss. I knit some more of Mum's cardigan (how did i not buy more of this yarn...? It is UNBELIEVEABLE).For the record, in case I didn't mention it enough, it's Naturally Me (80% Merino/20% cashmere). it's soft, drapey, and a really nice springy yarn. It sheds a little cashmere, but I forgive it and it has the loveliest halo. I have 10 balls of a really rich dark purple and i have NO idea what they want to be... but i am now really looking forward to finding out!
Beautiful as it is, however, it's not ideal weather to be knitting with cashmere (32 degrees C yesterday).

So i cast on Coachella. I don't know if i love this pattern. I'm using Wendy aran cotton and it's lovely but I'm not totally in the zone with this yet (refer back to mention of 'ugly' day and wonder if this is my self- esteem talking: can i wear this?). And you know, cotton hurts my hands and i don't knit quite as quickly with it.. And i have a little voice asking me if i have enough yarn. So, we'll see. It's interesting construction so even if i have to frog it, it can't hurt my brain any to have made it.

Hope everyone oz is enjoying their extra day of weekend. Pity me as i banish house-monsters and prepare for rental inspection (and absolutely sneak in a heinous amount of knitting time - still me here folks...)

Peace out
Ms Spider xo

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

happy dance!

Vanessa is finished! Is bloody well finished!
I couldn't be happier, this really was a trial. I tried it on and it fits well, the colour suits me... all good. Of course i didnt think to snap a quick self-photo in the bathroom mirror so this is as good as it gets until it dries (it did need a block to smooth the fabric out a bit). One blurry pic that shows the colour nicely.And a flash one so you don't think i can't take any decent pics. It's not as stumpy as it appears, the ribbed band is pinned down the front of the couch so it's an optical illusion. Fun.

tra la la la la la la la laaaaa!

Apart from a quick drop-in from quiltingmick (had some yarn for her) I have had the day blissfully and totally to myself. The housemonsters are in the process of moving out and I haven't seen them since about 9 this morning. Monkey has been at work since 10 ish. Today has really made me appreciate how much saner I will be once it's just the two of us.
I'm tired of tripping over other people's stuff.
Of cleaning up other peoples messes.
Of dealing with other people's bed-times and shreaking laughter at 12.45am.
The weird way they always hang up ALL their clothes inside, in the communal living areas.
The way one meal for them manages to use every piece of cook-ware in the house and smell bizarre.
Using my hair-straightener and leaving product on it.
Using our salt, pepper, spices (not to mention the fact that they actually packed and took away our pepper grinder... luckily useless).
The incense during the day when the house is locked up and I'm nauseaus.
The cups used to trap spiders and left around the house (with spider) for days.
The loud music as soon as they wake up.
The way they take our parking space (Monkey says this is an irrational annoyance) and block the gate and when they discover they can't open it THEY TAKE THEIR BIKES AND THE BINS OUT THROUGH THE HOUSE OVER THE CARPET!!!
The way our tea gets drunk and they replace it with an inferior brand (which none of us end up drinking).
The fact that twice have a injured myself of pieces of OUR crockery/glasswear that THEY have broken (not told us about) and then faild to clean up properly.

I could go on. In the interests of not boring all you fine ladies to tears, I shall stop.

Winston thought it was a little warm today.
No, he is not suffering from mange, he is in fact part-way through a mercy clip. He is already much friskier than before: can you imagine wearing a fur coat at this time of year? He's a bit too young to pluck so a rough clip it is. I doubt i will be able to spin this fleece, it's very short and choppy. But as I'm about to go back to work and the buns will no longer be inside with me in the cool all day i thought I'd better do what i can to reduce his stress.

Peace out
Ms Spider

PS. Aussies, enjoy the long weekend.
PPS. Housemonsters, should you read this: I'm sure you have a list this long about us. Let's stop pretending everyone isnt relieved you're moving and be adult. This way we'll actually stay friends!

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Friday, January 25, 2008

getting there

Hello ladies. I don't know why but i am suddenly amazed it's only Friday. I thought yesterday was Friday and now I feel like I have a bonus day! That coupled with the fact I only just realised it's a long weekend... bliss! (yes, the medications might be making me a little vague)
In true Spider form, realising that I was never going to get to wear it until i finished it, I have really knuckled down with Vanessa. I finally finished the front piece last night and decided to do the neck-line ribbing and join up the loose cross-over flap so the piece wouldn't get stretched while it languished in my knitting basket.
This is how much knitting i got out of one 200g ball of Bendigo 8 ply cotton.
And this is the bodice section calmly awaiting sleeves.Oh, and devil bunny wants apple.I also got my hair cut yesterday. First time in about 11 months I think. It was getting pretty dire. I tried one of the hairdressers at the Narrabundah shops and it was ok. I had a trainee shampoo and blow-dry my hair and that was something of an ordeal. Most painful shampoo ever and it took her about 45 minutes to blowdry. And then the hairdresser would correct her and then asked me (nicely) if she could show some styling techniques... i left looking like a weird cross between Barbarella and Fran Drescher. AND $80 lighter! I used to get my hair cut at RJ's in Qbn and they were really good - always did what you wanted, good advice, really know their stuff. And a haircut never cost me more than $55. Did a lot change in the last year or am I being naive. It just seems like a lot - it ain't as though I had foils or anything. Just a cut. took her about 20 minutes...

Anyway. At least I'm starting the new school year with a bit more bounce.

Peace out
Ms Spider xo

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008


(couldnt think of a title)
Had fun at SnB last night, apologies if I was a little embarrasing (glass of wine with dinner really tipped me over. Aren't meds fun?)

I'm getting through Vanessa. Finally completed the ribbing for the front and am now working on the wrap front v-neck thing. One side is complete and I'm doing the other side now. My couch really is very orange isn't it? i think that taking pics at night with the lamp makes it worse too. I wouldn't say I'm enjoying knitting it per say... I mean, Bendigo cotton is lovely and I like the colour but... this is definitely something I'm knitting because I want to wear it, not because I want to knit it.

I also started the Minimalist cardigan for Mum using Naturally Me in Burgundy. No pics becauseI have some idea of what that particular colour will look like against bright orange and I feel for all of your retinaes.

Winston is increasingly comfortable with us. He's actually pretty snuggly.I am also in the process of clipping Winston because he really gets overheated and when i go back to work next week he won't be inside in the cool all day.
It's slow going because I dont want to snip him and he becomes indignant quickly... and Monty is a little over-protective.He's a fair bit balder than that pic now and is already noticeably perkier - spring-bokking around the place. Very cute (even if he does look pretty strange, like the time i let my cousin cut my hair.. i was 4).

And how weird is it that Heath Ledger died? He was only 28!! Really weird. At least it wasn't death by sting-ray, don't think i could cope with that again....

'll leave you with a pic of a truly disgusting drink my monkey found at an asian supermarket - basil seeds with honey. un-be-lievable. eeeek. We both had a sip and then gave up. Horrid. (he says it is Thai)

Peace out
Ms Spider

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How to cut up a mango

This is for TSS who proclaimed last week that she couldn't be properly Australian until she had figured this one out.
Apologies to anyone with net speed issues.

1. Locate a mango. Wrinkly is ok, in fact is often means they are very sweet. There are several varieties and everyone works out their own preferences with time. Little black dots are usually fine... when they are more like ink-blots it's wise to just move along. This is often symptomatic of a mostly rancid mango and there is little salvageable when that happens.
2. Stand on it's tip and slice off each lobe. You know, the chubby cheek bits. Slice as close to the seed as you can without cutting into the seed.
3. Score the flesh in the lobes with a sharp knife. (left handed photography is poor) You know you've done it right when they flip out like echidnas. (depending on how ripe the mango is, you may end up with soggy or very firm looking cubes. It don't matter).
4. You can eat them right off the skin but if we are intending to eat the whole mango or put it in a fruit salad/icecream/smoothie/daiquiri then at this point i would scrape/slice the cubes off into a bowl and retain them. (like the bowl? it was TSS's)
5. Cut the stem end off the seed. (there is often a black patch towards the stem end, if anywhere, so you may want to cut more than this to remove any discoloured flesh).
6. Peel the skin off the seed part. (yeah, i can't take good pics with my left hand).
7. Slice any firm flesh off the seed.
8. Scrape any extra flesh and juice from the seed. You can get them almost white and pretty clean (again, dependent on ripe-ness of fruit. Don't assume you're hopeless if yours doesn't look like this).
9. Scrape any excess flesh/juice off the skins. Sometimes a dessert spoon works better than a knife, less likely to get chunks of skin in your finished product.
10. Serve (or do more interesting things to it).

Oh and wear dark colours or clothes you don't care about because mango stains like anything.

Peace out
Ms Spider xo

PS. I'm not suggesting this is the only way or the best way. This is just the way that I do it and I've never had any problems doing it this way.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008


Excuse very badly lit, and poorly styled photo... and lack of make-up, hair... effort or anything. Perhaps some better pics ought to be forthcoming, considering (as 2paw mentioned) i am the only raveler to knit this so far and ought to make something of an effort, oughtn't i?
Mohair cowl sweater from Knitting Magazine September 2007. Size 34" bust. Used 4.8 balls of Cleckheaton Studio Mohair. yep.
I like it. It's actually more flattering than it appears in this pic, is a great colour for my wardrobe and isn't too itchy (which is always a concern for me with mohair). The lace is enough to make it interesting (in appearance as well as to knit) and deals nicely with the shaping issue - creates enough movement that i don't look like i'm wearing a fluffy sack, without shaping proper. The fitted yet dropped shoulders are flattering and despite giving me nervous issues about proper sleeve lengths and sleeve top shaping.. seamed up effortlessly. As far as i could tell there were no errors in the pattern (the sleeve issue was my fault only from being a ditz).

Coming soon: Minimalist Cardigan for Mum (It's her birthday on 19th of March, can i do it? or will the stress of a new job, my own birthday and 100 gazillion sts in moss stitch finish me off? She requested it, and doesnt think it will be for her birthday but it WOULD kill two birds with one stone, right?), maybe Coachella (love it but am being strangely bothered by the realisation that i have no-where to wear it but can't let it go because i have the PERFECT yarn in the right amount), and/or Vanessa (who is but a lonely back piece and her cry is too weak at the moment).
Or perhaps, none of the above. You never know with me really.

Peace out
Ms Spider xo

PS all of us at chez Spidey are thinking of you Jejune. Big love.

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almost cool enough to wear this sweater

It rained all night. My garden is loving it, i have a decent crop of tomatos and some zucchini and squash ready, as well as my roses which only seem to open after it's rained.
It's been so pleasant, i feel no guilt really hunkering down with a couple of lame dvds and finishing this mohair cowl sweater thing. This might be partially because it doesnt overheat my lap at the moment. I finished the sleeves yesterday (after a slight issue brought about by a foggy mind: i knit the sleeves the the required length before the shaping... and then realised i hadn't done enough increasing. SO after glaring at it for a while i frogged them back about 10 inches and reknit them. There may have been swearing. Fortunately, on 6mm needles at any rate, studio mohair frogs pretty easily) (also, i know this blocking looks kinda... pointy. It's really just so they dont roll too much while i'm sewing up)
I am currently knitting the cowl (in the round rather than back and forth to be seamed later - that's a seam i don't want to risk being lumpt or visible... plus this way i dont have to purl) after sewing the shoulder seams. Should i finish it today AND have access to someone who can point the camera at me, you might have some pics this evening.

Am i the only sick-o around who actually enjoys seaming? Pass the champagne.

Peace out
Ms Spider xo

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

cool change

Today i had a visit from the lovely Jejune and dotter Othlon. There was sandwiching, bunny-snuggling, spinning and knitting.
after this pleasant interlude (and a little nap) there may have been some damage done at Cassidy's in Kingston. thats Filatura Di Crosa, 10 balls black, 10 balls baby pink, 10 balls bluebell blue and 9 balls dark denim-y blue.
Did you know Zara is being discontinued? Im not sure if i believe them, they might just mean that their supplier is no longer going to supply them. For whatever reason, I got 4 sweaters worth of yarn, $388.05 retail value of yarn for $78. Pretty happy really :D Feeling no guilt. honest! For those of you who are still interested, there is a sh-load of Zara in many colours, chocolate brown Me and mustard/poo brown Me, and a sh-load of NZ Haven (merino 8ply). There is some Zarina as well but not much and a varied amount of zhivago and the like. all $2 per ball. Go to it.

Oh and lest you think my brain can't cope with anything but 6ply socks... i finished the body pieces of my Mohair Cowl Sweater (Pattern from Knitting Magazine, September 2007). Yes, I am blocking the pieces but i find mohair on such an open guage is much easier to seam if first blocked. particularly in a grey this dark - i dont need to go blind early. I'll cast on the sleeves tonight (both at the same time or i lose interest after one and I'm not inclined to amputate in order to save myself from boredom). Have so far used 2 and 1/2 balls of Cleckheaton Studio Mohair. I had 8. I think i might have enough after all ;)

Am feeling a good deal better but it's still kicking my arse everytime i over-estimate myself. It's slow going.

And the bunnies are still in love.

Peace out
Ms Spider

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Ok, so i finally have access to my camera : w00t!
so, quickly:
the 5-day parrot socks. check the zig-zag and try not to get a migraine.
bunny-snuggles.and more bunny-snuggles
I do have several nauseatingly cute vids too... but i sympathise with those who do not have broadband. maybe another post.
Oh and anyone feeling jealous of all this cuteness: imagine the state of my carpet trying to house-train two young boys. not so cute anymore eh?

Peace out
Ms Spider

PS. I've finally updated my side-bar (shocker, eh?). i think i have nearly everyone up there, but i got pretty bored with it so if i missed you.. sorry. I'm getting there.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

on "happy" bunnies

Well, after a good deal of contemplation and internal debate, we now have names for both our bunnies.

The new young master is hereby dubbed Winston, Duke of Cardigan. I know a lot of you were gunning for Wallace but it just didnt fit him. And this way he isn't outdone by Montgomery Megatron III.

Now i have to tell you guys, these bunnies are seriously in love with each other. they cuddle, groom each other, fall asleep spooning.... if i pick one up, the other follows... they chase each other around and climb all over each other. I'm getting stupider by the day as i am forced to endure the mind-numbing cuteness of it all.
(Monty has, i must admit, been doing a bit of mounting... but according to all the stuff i've read it's more of a sign of bonding than of sexual aggression. And Winston just keeps on eating or whatever he's doing and completely ignores the shenaningans. It's pretty hilarious to watch though. What a wascally wabbit!)

Perhaps fortunately for you lot, all my camera batteries are zonked. So i have no new footage of the happy couple and their 'alternative lifestyle' - not that i am going to film anything more hard-core than cuddling for you guys. Though talk about fibre porn!

In knitting news, I have finished the Parrot socks. 5 days. Is that some sort of new record? long leg and all (photo when batteries charge). Monkey is thrilled to bits. The second one did this awesome zig-zag pooling thing all over which the first one didnt do at all. Same ball of yarn, needles, gauge... isn't knitting mysterious sometimes?

I also picked up a sweater i started a month or so ago - the nutmeg cowl sweater by Sirdar from Simply Knitting (old pic showing pattern picture... but could be current because i'm that far into the front piece). I'm using Cleckheaton Studio Mohair and it's knitting up very nicely. I finished the back piece and have cast on the front while we are having a cool day. It's a pretty pattern and 6mm addis make for a swift knit.

I also finished the back piece of my Vanessa top a while ago. I havent finished casting on the front piece, for some reason my brain has an aversion to it at the moment. I'm hoping i will become keen again in time to finish it for the new school year. I think it will be ideal.

In medication news, I'm... hanging in there. Yesterday was BAD. The cooler weather is helping marginally, and i think i might be starting to adjust. I have very little energy however and am not very motivated to leave my house, or even the couch. thank Dog for holidays.

Peace out
Ms Spider xo

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Saturday, January 12, 2008


as yet un-named fuzzy blob.He is about 12 weeks old. Monty ( who is now 8 weeks or so) seems to like him, maybe because he is soft and squishy. No major turf wars as yet.Names being thrown around are: Winston, Franklin, Vlad the Impaler, Rasputin, Wallace, Jack. Oh and Monkey thinks 'Frogface' is a good name but we arent going to dignify that are we?
I think i will just call him whatever comes to mind first until something sticks. Any more ideas are welcome, particularly for possible middle names (cant have him being outdone by Montgomery Megatron III/Monty)

Peace out
Ms Spider

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Friday, January 11, 2008

parrot it is

this is the craziest darn yarn. It's quite fun to knit with but i'm glad they're not for me. i think that i might think they are a bit much. I'm not sure though, ask me when i'm less stoned.
And i have been sleeping, despite the heat. not a lot but enough that i'm not totally deranged by now. I haven't been too queasy, just dizzy and.. stoned. really. It could be worse, but i don't know why anyone aims to feel like this on purpose.
Monty says "sup y'all"

Peace out
Ms Spider

PS. told you it was a quick knit yarn. I even did the requested 16 rounds of ribbing.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

check up

Regular readers will know that this Spider has a tendency to be... well... less than well. Migraines, black dogs, girly cramps, insomnia... I'm one great bundle of laughs.
Yesterday, finally, i went to see my Doctor. I have been trying for a while but he happens to be very popular... and i go on cancellation lists but no-one calls me back.
So i had the hideous two-yearly girly check-up and a boobola exam (tires kicked, peered at, prodded, proclaimed "healthy") and was then told that as my black dog has not run away, despite school finishing and stress disappearing... i have to double my happy pills.
I hate altering the dose of my happy pills. HATE IT. It means I'm going to be dizzy and nauseaus for a few days, won't sleep for a week and probably wont be able to concentrate on anything I actually want to do. fun fun. I know it's better to deal with it while I'm on holiday, rather than during the first few weeks of probationary teaching.. but man! I just want the best holiday ever and this is pissing me off.

Fortunately i suppose, i had a parcel arrive from getknitted yesterday. Two balls of opal 6ply in the rainforest range and a ball of tofutsies. yummeh. You are looking (from L to R) at Tiger, Parrot and One foot in front of the other. Now that I've got what i wanted i can mention that getknitted has TOFUtsies for sale. and they have wicked-fast shipping. just saying. If you haven't ventured there before... it's worth it. if only for the drool factor. Trust the spider.
Monkey informed me (midway through secretly killing myself with his Doktorfisch slipped-stitch rib socks) that his favourite socks ever are his 6-ply basic chameleon socks. As they were very quick and easy i was pleased, but considering how many socks i have made him out of 4-ply... also a little annoyed. Luckily, getknitted still has it on sale so i bought some more, and unless my brain clears significantly, i think that 6-ply socks are it today.

yesterday i did some spinning. This is Sarsparilla from Fibreworks and it is ridiculously velvety merino wool. *drool* I've been saving this particular 100g bag of sliver for a while and yesterday i halved it and spun half. I spun a very fine single and then navajo plied it to maintain colour blocks. It's a soft, 3ply sock yarn. It is also so beautiful it makes me want to weep. The other half of the sliver will be treated in the same manner, and i WILL finish spinning the lot of it BEFORE i knit it (i've done this before and it took me 18 months to get around to spinning for the second sock... and i only finished THAT sock two days ago). You are all burdened with the sacred duty of keeping me honest. *taps on shoulder with addi turbos* Rise oh knights of the needles!
Sadly, with an addled mind i really cant be sure my single will stay fine and consistent enough, so simple dum-dum stocking st is probably the best idea for today. If only i had the mental capacity to choose.. Tiger or Parrot?

Peace out
Ms Spider xo

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Monday, January 07, 2008

bunnies are cute - part 1

When it is hot, what do we do?
carpet surf of course.

And when our unkind owner decides to give us a bath, thereby making it cold?Hide in a draught-free room and curl up on a heat pack.
Anyone care to join me in a nice loud "Awwwww!!!".

Also, sitting around and being cute is very tiring.

Peace out,
the clucky
Ms Spider

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