knitting and the life I almost have around it

Thursday, July 31, 2008

still alive

This little meme has been doing the rounds and I thought I'd throw it on (as it were) just to prove we're both still breathing. I'm ok, he's ok, life has just been weird. Transmission will resume when I can think of anything worth saying

Me: What is your favourite thing about my knitting?

Monkey: My socks.

Me: What is your least favourite thing about my knitting?

Monkey: Pointy sticks on the floor.

Me: What is something I have knitted, that you recall as good?

Monkey: Peacock Shawl.

Me: Do you think knitters have an expensive hobby?

Monkey: Hell yeah. (Adds after I give him a look) I think you make it expensive... it's not like it needs to be.

Me: Any hobbies?

Monkey: Being awesome?

Me: Do you have a stash of any kind?

Monkey: Old computer bits?

Me: Have I ever embarrassed you, knitting in public?

Monkey: It was very embarrasing when you were knitting that uterus-bag-thing in public (He means the Snatchel which I have never knit, he is mentioning the most embarrasing knitted item he can think of)

Me: Do you know my favourite kind of yarn?

Monkey: Of course. You like yarns about pirates.

Me: Can you name another blog?

Monkey: Ooh, I would call it 'Pomegranite Sunrise'! No, hang on... 'Chunder Muppets'! (chortles at own hilarity). I know many other blogs. About knitting? knit and tonic, crazy aunt purl, um, cast-on, the yarn harlot.

Me: Do you mind my wanting to stop at knit shops wherever we go?

Monkey: Not as long as I'm not required to have an opinion about anything.

Me: Do you understand the importance of a swatch?

Monkey: I do. But I also know you never make them. Even though I know you understand the importance of a swatch as well.

Me: Do you read my blog?

Monkey: When you tell me to.

Me: Have you ever left a comment?

Monkey: Yes.

Me: Do you think the house would be cleaner if I didn't knit?

Monkey: There wouldn't be as much stuff in it, so probably.

Me: Anything you'd like to add?

Monkey: (burps) No, wait, don't put that in! Ohhh...

Thankyou and goodnight.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

anything else?

You know that thing, when you were a teenager, where you were so caught up in your own dramas that you were utterly convinced the universe was screwing with you? Well, I guess I didnt get as old as I thought.

Reasons i think the universe is screwing with me:

Monkey just lost his job after they decided to close 61 of the 85 starbucks stores in Australia. As a sub-point, of course he is now out on the town with all the other bereft employees and I am left at home to worry.

On Saturday, silkydoll and I were on our way to Kingston and our journey took a detour due to a burst open tin of square crackers sitting in the middle of the intersection. (It's not the detour that freaked me out, it's the tin of crackers. I didnt know they even sold crackers in tins anymore)

A student told me I was as 'scary as a bucketful of kittens'. I know I am the approachable one but I did think I was scary when I had to be... sigh

I have had seven new students added to my assorted classes in the last week, which means that there are no longer enough copies of the books we are studying for three of my classes. Somehow this is my fault for not being better organised (organised enough to see into the future?) and does not warrant 'outrageous spending' on a few copies of Macbeth, Much Ado and Goodnight Mr Tom.

We have a mouse. I am not scared of mice, and this one is very cute but it does not bode well. I also cannot kill anything since a childhood experience and the thought of putting out any kind of trap makes me tear up. This means I rely entirely on Monkey to do the deed and for whatever reason this little fellow has been our companion for some 4 months i think. Now that this 'one' mouse appears to be a significantly different size every time I see it, I have to accept that there is probably a mummy mouse and some baby mice... which makes the house seem much dirtier than I thought, and has the added bonus of making me feel positively wretched at the thought of having them killed. A family! With babies!

There are ants building a nest under my clock-radio. You don't believe me, do you?There (ooh, ignore the dust). There are usually big white eggs as well, but I looked at them this morning and they've moved them. No, I don't know where to, but I suspect I should be careful to shake out any knickers vigorously before putting them on.

Oh and I have serious issues with my black dog at the moment (this one, not this one). Is partially a hormonal thing but knowing that there's a biological reason for the sense of impending doom and hopelessness doesn't necessarily make it easier to deal with. Anyway, having dealt with serious bouts that go on for months and months I'm always terrified that it wont end when my hormones settle. I think I'm also just in the middle of a self-pity party: sick of being sick, sick of headaches, sick of being tired, sick of dealing with crap at work, sick of spending my time off cleaning and never getting ahead of myself. Really sick of being barely functional and collapsing in a big weepy heap every three weeks. Really truly sick of being a massive burden (and often a complete dickhead) to Monkey and to my friends. (Also getting really sick of these pity-party decorations... getting pretty dusty from being up too long!!)

And now I realise I'm still writing because I don't feel like knitting but am completely lost without it and dont want to return to the couch and have to deal with the unease. blech. I'll try reading.

Please excuse the revolting display of self-pity.
Ms Spider xo

PS. If you see Monkey, send him home with a boxed ear.


Saturday, July 26, 2008


I know I already told you but I'm so pleased with myself I'm going to do it again.
I have an online store with Yarn Collective and I am sooooo thrilled. So much nicer than eBay, i can just list things until the person the yarn is waiting for comes along. And it's pretty! And the owner is super helpful and friendly and... GRIN.

Here it is again (now there's heaps up and they are actually purchasable. I wonder if I will ever understand computers the way Monkey does? He makes it look so easy!).
I have also edited the link in my sidebar - no more dead-end eBay visits!

Ok, thankyou for indulging me.

BSG 2/3 done. Very pretty. I've been thinking it needs some buttons that are pansy shaped... any ideas? I haven't been to Lincraft yet and will check there, but if there's an indie button maker that I am as yet unaware of..?

Now I'm thinking I need to upload some handspun.... or even spin some handspun! Goodbye weekend ;)

Leaving you with a cute pic I found here:Peace out
Ms Spider xo

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

almost back to the salt-mines

Well, for three days anyway. That headache that was threatening turned into a full blown migraine on Monday evening and by Wednesday afternoon I was past denial so I left lesson plans for today. I'm still pretty rough, but it's amazing how much easier it is to cope without dealing with loud kids, bells, builders (there's a new disabled access lift being put in) and general mayhem.


I finished the back piece of my little cotton cardi. I didnt notice until near cast-off, but this yarn has a definite bias. I know most cotton yarns do, but this is quite pronounced. I think it will be ok after blocking and seaming.Back piece blocking with wall'o'yarn backdrop.
Also cast on a BSG for Georgie. This is my 4ply sock yarn in Pansies, and I'm having fun. I've knit it enough that it's pretty mindless migraine knitting so it's my partner today (don't worry George, migraines are not contageous as far as i know).
And... I have a little news for you all. Still ironing out the bugs and in no mental place to deal with coding right now but... well, click here. :)

Peace out
Ms Spider xo

ETA - rant removed. didnt need to be reminded of all my bile. hello, gremlin?

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

where's my gremlin?

This week I keep flashing back to times I've said truly stupid things. To that end, I really want a little gremlin to follow me around and jump up and stuff his fist in my mouth before I say the stupid thing that is threatening. Wouldn't that be nice? You know, before you ask the not-pregnant woman when she's due? Before you freak out new people by forgetting that not everyone considers anti-depressants a necessary evil? Before you say something narky about someone else's friend without realising? yeah, well, where was my gremlin this week?

I think my all time favourite (if that's the right word) stupid thing I've ever said was during a job trial at a little new age boutique place. I was there, there was another girl (i was about 17) and the older manager (probably in her early 30's). Manager woman was complaining about a man who kept asking her out and that she'd finally caved in and was going out with him tonight but didnt really want to. I suggested that she call him and say "sorry but I'm having rather a heavy period" (quote from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life). Cue blank yet slightly freaked out stares from both of them.
Of course, I wasn't as good at subtext back then. It was my gap year and I was out of the habit of spending time with other people and listening to their... stuff. Particularly women. As soon as it was halfway out of my mouth I realised that she wasnt really dreading going out with this guy, she was enjoying telling us she was being chased and worn down by his dedication to her. And of course, neither of them were Monty Python fans. Or probably ever admitted to menstruation.
Needless to say I didnt get the job.

I think I'm getting a little that way again with other adults. I deal with teenagers so much and while there is certainly a persona that I project, I do find that being very honest with my students works well for me. Most of my classes are gloriously... open. The kids say what they think without too much concern about recriminations.. in fact i think most of them know the one thing that will always piss me off is verbally attacking someone or their ideas in class.

trouble is, I get to this point where I forget to hold my cards close to my chest with other adults. If they are not immediately and obviously threatening to me (ie. a boss or manager type) I guess I say things that should probably only be said to close friends who will still love me even if it's a stupid thing to say. And be confident enough to say "Spidey, you're full of it".

So... I guess I'm saying I'm sorry if I've offended anyone recently. It's a strange assurance to make, I know, but if i truly was having a go at anyone... i would think it out carefully first because that's just my way. Chances are, if i said something dumb to you and you were offended... it's because I need a gremlin.

Now that's off my chest! hurrah!
I have no proper modelled shots of the Seashell Shrug but I intend to wear it to SnB this arvo so it will get a public airing.
I finished and felted my second pair of clogs. These are for Monkey and I used woolbale again. The orange didnt felt as densly as the brown, probably because they would have to bleach it first to get a dye that bright. Monkey is very pleased with them. He wasnt sure if he wanted a pair, so we agreed if he didnt like them they would be a birthday present for his Dad in a few months... but since they came out of the dryer (damp) he's had them on.
Also, I started the Flutter Sleeve Cardigan by Pam Allen in Moda Vera Paul. I think I must have been a bit over all the winter knits to gravitate towards something short-sleeved, cotton-y and drapey but that's ok. I'll be prepared for spring, and it's such a lovely colour. The yarn is going a long way too, this is only a third of the way through the second ball.
I also finished spinning some yarn I've had on the go since the Celebration of Wool day. I'm very pleased with the results;light 2ply merino, 50g, 225 metres. The fibre was originally dyed by Rachel Meek of Fibre Dyeversity (one of my biggest girl crushes ever.... this woman has forgotten more about colour than I will ever know).

Back to school tomorrow, so of course I've been wrestling with a headache for a few days. hopefully an afternoon of friends, knitting and hot beverages with soothe my troubled soul ;)

I leave you with an older pic of the buns. I swear they are both completely mad.

Peace out
Ms Spider xo

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Monday, July 14, 2008

a heart-felt post

Well, the stall on Sunday was quite a joy to behold.
Sadly, my camera's batteries ran out rather early on, so i only really got a few shots before the markets technically opened (I say technically, because as anyone who has ever run a garage sale knows, there are always the overly keen who show up at 7am).
We had a variety of my yarns, wristwarmers care of Taph's Mum, pears, pods and pendants care of Olivia, beautiful bags from the Shopping Sherpa and of course Jejune's gorgeous knitting art cards. Everyone's offerings received many lovely compliments and new friends were met. I don't think i speak for myself alone when i say there may very well be another stall in our future.

I would also like to take this moment to thank everyone for saying such lovely things about my seashell shrug :D While i know i would love it if it fit like a potato sack, it's heartening to have such great feedback for something i cherish so dearly. so, thankyou!
Olivia said: Looks like more than a shrug to me...did you add to it?
No, this is one of the few times I knit exactly to specs (except for the yarn substitution). Although I would describe it as a wrap jacket, it is still technically a shrug i think, because the construction (as discussed here) is about knitting off a central sleeve-shrug bit. Definitely not a 'little shrug' type thing though!
Tinkingbell said: why aren't you modelling it!
Err... because. The pics I took where while it was still wet... and I'm having one of those weeks (seasons?) or feeling slightly podgy and pimpley. Keep at me to model and I'm sure I'll feel up to it sooner or later. Another lady who made this pattern has blanked her face in the pics on rav, maybe i should consider that option?
Kate said: Did the ribbing drive you compeltely nuts?
Yes, yes it did. Which is probably why it took me six months. By the end though it became kind of subconscious and therapeutic. I think this is down to having such a nice yarn to work with and of course nice shiny addi turbos - if it had been 8ply acrylic on plastic ponys I may have been a little less zen towards the end.

As usually occurs with me, finishing the shrug left me with the what-to-knit-blues. I have several socks on the go, but i the shrug left such a big gap in my knitting basket. And i really felt the need for something... new.
I finally settled on a pair of felted clogs. I've been putting off making them, partly because the pattern is printed on green cardboard and i hate reading off dark coloured backgrounds (is this just me or does it seem a little stupid to print instructions that need to be followed carefully in black ink on a bottle green background?) and partly, i think, because Brenda Dayne has mentioned several times how much trouble she has with the pattern and i didn't really want to be made to feel stupid. I was also always a little torn as to what yarn to use - it seemed silly to buy yarn for this pattern.. but now i have such a big stash of woolbale, the stash is my oyster!
Put it down to my OCD but i didnt actually have any trouble with them! They knit up quickly, with enough chops and changes to keep you awake. They are so big pre-felting! The final 'buffer' bit on the sole was the only thing that was weird... and really that was just because it looks a bit obscene. If you've made a pair you'll know what i mean, I'm not about to corrupt any innocents by explaining myself.
Right now one of them is spinning around in the dryer. I did try them in the washing machine but because it's a front loader I'm never game to put them in for longer than the 30 min cycle because i cant fish them out before they shrink too much.So this evening I had a go at Olivia's method with the plunger and it was a) very fun and messy and b) quite effective. It got them going enough that i think i can finish them off in the dryer. Of course, one is more shrunk than the other (which is why there is only one in the dryer right now) but i find this happens often... whenever Monkey shrinks a pair of socks, they are never identical!

Before i go to wrestle with more felting, I will leave you with this thought. If you market a product as "New! Completely Reformulated!" what does it suggest to you about the old one? Especially when they also add this:For the record, it's still pretty gross (and I am not the caffeine fiend in this house. But on such a lofty promise, i had to test to save my gentle readers. Stear clear... it's like raspberry cough syrup mixed in with a melted down zooper-dooper icy pole thing... only worse. The old ones tasted like stale rum and coke that someone had accidentally put a cigar out in, so i dont know if i would call it an improvement. )

Happy Monday!
Peace out,
Ms Spider xo

PS. Yarn left over from the market is being slowly added to my trade/sell page on ravelry, for those who are so inclined.

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Friday, July 11, 2008


and I managed to get a hair cut and an eyelash tint!
On a roll, baby, that's me!

Peace out,
Ms Spider xo

PS. Can't remember if i told this story, but the yarn was inherited from a woman who wasn't really, but was anyway, my grandmother. I had 20 balls of it and it had to be something special, which is probably why I persevered despite the whole 'rib' issue. So yes, this is for you Rae. Thought of you with every stitch.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

paving the way

I am sitting here at my desk, looking at the tail end of my fourth day of school holidays. What have I been doing, I hear you cry?
Saturday was swallowed with bunny fun and oh-my-god-i'm-at-home-zzzzzzzz type seizures. By which i mean I keep falling asleep by accident.
Sunday contained minor seizure action and birthday celebrations for young Othlon.
Monday... I'm trying to remember. We've had the dog since Sunday evening so there's been dog involvement.. but really, I think i've spent the last two days knitting my seashell shrug.
I finished the sleevey bit on... (quick check on rav) the 29th of June. And then I counted backwards and discovered it took me 6 months. (everyone out there who just told their computer monitor that that is a normal and rational amount of time to spend on a bit of a sweater... I know. But we are talking about the Queen of OCD here and that is a loooong time for me to leave something I havent decided to frog. Perhpas one is maturing?).
the sleeve bit looks rather like this (realises one didnt snap actual piece and makes swift diagram).
That's the shape of the sleeve thing (except all in 2x2 rib, ech) and then the arrows show where you sew up the sleeves... where the sleeves are decreased in the middle you dont sew them up, but instead pick up and knit in the round, increasing where the little dotty dashy things are.
Things are moving more swiftly now (as predicted) if only because i have shaping to look forward to every so often.
Also, this Sunday is the second Holy Day of Obligation (AKA Fibre Day at OBDM) and again I shall be present with yarns and friends to freeze my butt off in the nicest way imagineable. So of course, I want something lovely and warm... but also obviously a hand-knit. I'll put it down to my Hungarian belief that skinny chef's can't be trusted - people selling yarn should be able to do things with it themselves... beyond pom-poms.

My calculations suggest that I have about 24 rounds to go before it is finished. I should add that it grows by about 16 stitches every 4th round and I'm currently on about 570. So it's starting to get pretty old.
But it is close.
Being so close to finishing has put me in mind of Thing To Do While On Holiday. I realise, of course, that listing things here is a really good way to ensure I dont do them, but I am at heart a great big silly fool and no amount of self-knowledge stops the inevitable.
  • This week there will be dyeing. I have heaps for the stall on Sunday but it never hurts to have back up. plus the colour is therapeutic.
  • Read all my Elizabeth Zimmerman books (again). Have already re-read Knitting Workshop and Knitters Almanac and Knitting Without Tears awaits me. Having already knocked this one over most of the way I am quietly confident.
  • Get hair cut. Is disgraceful shaggy mess and does not help the older members of staff to differentiate me from students. Maybe should try for a more grown-up cut (nearly said 'sleeker' but then I remembered who I am. There are tarpaulins that are sleeker than I am).
  • Get eyelashes tinted. Am forever rubbing mascara into and around my eyes and this does not help me maintain a professional image. Figure it's worth a try before i throw it all away and just invest in a nice brown paper bag.
  • Possibly (indication that i realise this is madness) stick post-its to various bags of stash to indicate intentions. Very unlikely to change my practices but may generate appearance of productivity and then Monkey cant complain if i buy more yarn. ssssh.
  • Clip bunny toe-nails (perhaps after investing in head-to-toe chain-mail suit with matching gloves and gauntlets).
  • get a blood test so new doctor can get her bearings.
Now i can tell you right off the bat that the eyelashes, bunny nails and blood test are the least likely to happen. Eyelashes - have to admit vanity to another person and run risk of looking like kewpie doll. Nails - bunnies object strongly and make their feelings known. Blood test - Am so bad with needles that I will lose a whole day to head-spins and nausea and that sounds un-fun.

But the seashell shrug might happen yet.

Peace out,
Ms Spider xo

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Saturday, July 05, 2008

show us your buns

Today we went for a little wander in the garden.we examined many flavours.We kept an eye on each otherWe disapproved of wearing leashes. We disapproved of the cool wind. We played peekaboo. We located more delicious flavours and swiftly disarmed them. We wondered what was on the other side of the fence. Then the smelly dog on the other side of the fence barked and we got scared so we came inside. Stupid dog

Happy weekend (and school holidays, mhuaha ha ha haaaa)
Peace out,
Ms Spider (and Winnie and Monty)