Monthly Archives: February 2012

ever knitted the same item multiple times? have I ever!

Vogue Knitting asked:

Do you have a favorite pattern you have knit more than once? I think many of us do. Have you knit one pattern more than 5 times??? Mine is this one skein NORO hat. What is yours?

Of course I have. I wasn’t surprised that their one pattern is a hat. My go-to items tend to be balaclavas and beanies and it’s easy to see why they are. In cold climes, people need warm head covering. A basic beanie pattern is open to a lot of imaginative reinterpretation.

I have a broken-rib pattern that knits up quickly and can be made to look very different depending on how you choose to do it: do you have a turn-up or not? If no, how do you treat the ribbed edge? Do you vary it simply by being smart with changing colours? Or knit it at a firmer tension than the patterns asks for? At last rough count, I’d made about 10 of those. The pattern came from what I believe to be a now defunct women’s magazine way, way back in the early 1970s.

Another of my hat recipes is a chunky, garter-stitch one that’s even quicker to make. I think I made four of those last winter, one or two the winter before and at least one for myself many years ago. I call that a useful pattern too. Like the broken rib pattern, it’s from the early 1970s, in this case for a Villawool Inca jacket and cap.

Then there are the half a dozen or so balaclavas I’ve knitted for various friends and family members, often at their request because they’re out in the cold and need the wind-blocking properties that a good balaclava provides. Boy was happy to receive one for use under his motorbike helmet. That doesn’t qualify as a quick knit, not for me anyway, but it’s a good, basic pattern from an old Patons book; and it’s one that you can play with.

I’ve also made and given away five or six pairs of fingerless mitts, using a free pattern from Twinset Ellen on Ravelry. They’re quick, they’re warm, they’re easy, they’re small and portable during construction (which means I can knit them on the bus) and they’re funky enough that Boy and Dr B both use theirs in public. Gasp.

Otherwise, feather-and-fan baby singlets (three that I can remember making from a Patons pattern), blackberry stitch booties (three pairs I can remember, and I think it’s sometimes called bramble stitch; again, a Patons pattern) and plain jumpers would head my list of things of which I’ve made multiples and would make again. What about you?

Edited 12/4/12: You can also find the pattern for the fingerless mitts at Twin Set. Just scroll down to Handed Yes, Fingered No, Mitts that Fit for a PDF download.

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Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Knitting


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knitting grass with sticks

We are a single-income family, and not a particularly large income, so I am often jealous of the what are obviously reasonable sums of money that other people spend on yarns and fabrics. I simply cannot. Often, even if I see fabric (or yarn) at very good prices in end-of-season mark-downs, I just can’t make the budget stretch that far.

The Yarn Harlot, in one of her books, makes a comment along the lines that real knitters would use sticks to knit grass if they couldn’t afford anything else. I think that makes me a real knitter, because an awful lot of what I knit has the feel of grass. It’s just a bit softer and much more colourful, that’s all.

It’s a good thing that I do still have quite a bit of fabric in my stash that dates back to the days when we didn’t have a better income but our expenses were lower. The fabric I’ll be using for Boy’s fleecy top (contraindicated in the present Very Hot spell that we’re enjoying – well, I am) dates back to when he was at primary school. He is now in his last year of secondary school, which takes a bit of believing. But, yes, he is, and we attended his leadership assembly yesterday. Sigh. How my baby has grown up.

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Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Crochet, Knitting, Musing, Sewing



upside down and out of sorts

I was so tired and flat and fed up with work today that I thought I’d try an energy drink. Did it make me fizz? No, it was a fizzer. After a lifetime of not getting pepped up on coffee, you’d think I’d have suspected that a caffeinated soft drink wouldn’t do much, but I tried it anyway.It made me fall asleep! I confess that a couple of biscuits had a better effect in terms of keeping me awake.

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Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Musing


but not very far up

The crocheted Moebius cowl (sorry, my machine doesn’t like umlauts) and the twirly scarf (with a lavender bag to accompany each) have been finished and given away to happy recipients.I’ve also done a neck warmer/cowl for another birthday gift and that’s stashed away awaiting the not-too-distant day.

Additionally, I have knitted a fair bit of a soft, pretty shawl. That started out as a neck warmer/cowl but Dr B said that Nonna wouldn’t know what to do with a cowl. As it was intended for her birthday present, I agreed to make the shawl he reckoned she would like and understand. She might. I don’t know. Dr B plainly doesn’t. I held up a large, knitted triangle for him to say whether it would do or needed to be larger. “How does it work?” he said. It’s a triangle. What could I say?

I think it needs to be a bit larger although there’s a point where a shawl that’s too large simply gets in the way. Dr B thinks it’s all right as it is. Actually, I can tell that he just wants me to stop knitting because he thinks it’s a waste of time and money. It’s not very time consuming, nor is it expensive. The yarn I’ve used for the shawl cost me less than $5. It’s acrylic but it’s pretty and warm and certainly soft. It will launder easily. Sometimes, when you’re in a nursing home, as Nonna is, that’s a big advantage.

If I offered to knit you a shawl, would you reckon a large triangle would fit the bill?

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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in Crochet, Knitting


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things are looking up

I’m almost back in business with an almost computer! Well, it’s a real computer but, as Boy’s school laptop has recently died, it’s not entirely mine just yet. But soon it will be. Aha. Then, and only then, we might have photos.

Also, on a non-computer-related note, I’ve finished some crocheted articles: I completed the little, twirly scarf for Middle Niece (yes, by the end of the holidays, before I went back to work) as well as a crocheted Moebius cowl for Youngest Niece. Sure, I’d already made a neck warmer for Middle Niece but, as I keep saying, she is off to Germany for a year and will need some warmth. Youngest Niece will need some warmth for the winter that’s soon going to be here. Boy was surprised by how nice the Moebius cowl looked. Don’t you love the honesty? I will take a photo but can’t promise when it will be posted.

At lunchtime I went walking to the fabric shop of choice (for which you should read “nearby and where prices are not likely to break the bank”). There I tracked down some ribbing to match the fleecy fabric from my stash. It was on sale for the princely sum of $3 per metre. I bought a metre. Though I’ve no need for quite that much at present, I know I’ll use it. Now that I have the ribbing, I can fire up the sewing machine and make a start on Boy’s trial-run top. What fun! Oh, if only work didn’t get in the way of having a life.

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Posted by on February 8, 2012 in Crochet, Musing, Sewing


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during my holidays

Do you remember those essays we were obliged to write when we returned to school after the summer holidays? I’m feeling a bit like that now, rambling from thought to thought and wondering what I’ve been doing. I’ve not much to show for what I’ve been doing, because most of it has been necessary domestica.

I’ve been away from work for nearly six weeks and just the thought of returning there tomorrow is utterly depressing. However, what’s equally as depressing in its own way is the fact that, for all those weeks of not working, I’ve achieved very little of what I’d hoped to achieve during that long holiday. Apart from the obvious busyness associated with Christmas festivities, there have been other good reasons for my lack of achievement.

Dr B has been running hither and thither in the cause of frail, aged parents (unexpected problems with Nonna’s respite care and a change of GP, unexpected, major surgery for Nonno) so I’ve had to pick up most of the slack in what are meant to be his parts of the domestic gig. Of course my part of the domestic gig kept going so the extra workload meant no sewing, no knitting, no crochet – or at least, not very much of any of those things and none of the serious stuff (read larger scale; I admit that I did make a few lavender bags).

Yesterday marked the first rowing regatta for the second half of the season – Boy brought home a lovely medal, but he was grumpy about it as his crew won by default because it was the only crew in the race not rowing by invitation! – and the beginning of our last hurrah as rowing parents. This is Boy’s last gasp with school rowing, which will culminate in the Schools’ Head of the River Regatta. He’ll have duties beyond that with exchange visits and the like, but the end is in sight. He won’t do as much club rowing this year because he’s in his final year at high school and needs to be dedicated about his academic work. That’s a given. Club rowing, when it recommences for him, won’t require as much input from us. Club rowers do their own fundraising.

I must have a notion that Middle Niece will have a dreadfully cold neck while she’s studying in Germany, because I’ve begun crocheting her a little, twirly scarf as part of her going-away gift. It’s not at all serious and it’s a quick make, so I should finish it today. That means that I’ll get to the end of the holiday with one tangible piece of handcraft and perhaps – it’s a big perhaps – a blouse for myself, if I can make it today. The weather is being disagreeable so laundry has to be hung inside to dry, which always takes longer though I don’t know why it should.

In any case, holidays aren’t about rest and relaxation, are they? I have had some rest simply by virtue of not being at work and I have relaxed in like manner. But spend days at a stretch doing nothing very much? Or achieve something I’d like to do? No, those things haven’t happened. (I wasn’t able to finish a jigsaw puzzle, for example, because it had to be packed away to make room for something else to happen.)

For some reason I can’t fathom, but don’t question, it seems to have occurred to Boy that I could actually make some clothes for him other than boxers (he’d forgotten the pyjama tops and school track trousers I’d made for him in the past; he’d worn them proudly but then reached a point where if Mum made it, it wasn’t trendy). Could I possibly make him a sweatshirt-style top? Could I ever! I’m happy. We agreed on a trial one that he’d definitely wear at home and, if that’s the goods, we’ll shop for the fabric he wants. Given such incentive, I’ll make time for sewing, no matter what else is neglected. I bet nobody will notice the difference. 🙂

In any case, I’m not complaining. One night Dr B was curled up on one lounge with a book (forcing himself to read edifying literature), Boy was on the other couch with his fantasy/sci-fi novel (a great deal less worthy but much better for his creative spirit) and I was on the floor doing that jigsaw puzzle I mentioned. Boy remarked how nice it was that we were all there, just in the same space and having a good time. He was right. It’s something we rarely do because we are often so busy with sporting, school and work commitments.

So, yes, no matter that there were no tropical islands and being waited on hand and foot, that evening alone made the whole holiday a good holiday. That’s my random report. What did you do during your holidays?

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Posted by on February 5, 2012 in Crochet, Musing, Rowing, Sewing


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appropriateness – or not

There’s some urgency about clothing for work as most of mine is old and worn and some of it either beyond mending or beyond the point where it should be mended. I need to make some clothes suitable for the office. That much is clear. What’s equally clear is that fabric for making those clothes has to come from my stash.

I have a lot of fabric in my stash – a lot by my standards, anyway, though I suspect it’s fairly modest really – but very little of it was purchased for me and little of it is therefore appropriate for me. One fabric I particularly like is a shot green satin with guitar-playing skeletons on it. I thought it would be ideal for making a top to wear to work When I showed it to Dr B, he vetoed it. I work in a legal area. Why on earth would he think that guitar-playing skeletons were inappropriate? I’m mystified.

But perhaps he’s right. The colour might be too boisterous and those skeletons could get noisy, what with all their clanking bones and the like, not to mention those guitars. We know how much noise they can make. On the other hand, have I let myself be talked out of something that might brighten my day? I don’t know. I’d be wearing it under a jacket when in court, so it’s not really all that likely to be intrusive. You might ask why I have such fabric in my stash.

It was originally purchased to make new boxers for Boy, but when I showed it to him, he didn’t seem at all keen to have it turned into boxers or anything else. I was mystified by that, too, as I’d have thought it just his style. Then again, he has colour deficient vision and perhaps he sees the fabric as brown and boring. It isn’t. It’s a fairly quiet sort of green really. Understated. Just patterned with guitar-playing skeletons, that’s all. I might yet make that blouse.

What I am sure I won’t use is the Thomas the Tank Engine fabric that I recently purchased at Boy’s earnest request (to make more boxers). He’s of an age where it’s hip to have silly undies. That much I can manage without too much questioning as to whether it’s appropriate. If Boy is happy to wear them, I’m more than happy to make them. Maybe photos will eventuate one of these months (and it is likely to be months before normal computer networking is restored).

So off I go to peruse my stash with work in mind. Would you think guitar-playing skeletons inappropriate in an office? Or would you think they added a note of fun? One day I’ll talk about my socks. They are anything but serious and I wear them to work all the time!

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Posted by on February 2, 2012 in Musing, Sewing


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regarding photos

I like to have photos on my blog, but I generally like them to be my own photos that have some kind of meaning for me and relate to what I’ve been writing about, however loosely. Presently, the continuing technical problems mean I don’t have access to my digital pix. Though I’ve plenty of “hard copy” photos I could use I’d have to scan them first – and see previous comment about technical problems to explain why that’s no use.

Another blogger once suggested that blogs without photos weren’t worth much. That might be so and if it is, then mine clearly isn’t worth anything! However, as soon as Dr B is able to work his usual magic on our aging computers and related systems (aided by significant injections of my earnings, I should add, so that you don’t count me as a non-contributor to the household), I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to get back to blogging with photos to accompany the text. Meanwhile, sorry. There’s only so much you can do with photos when you can’t access them.

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Posted by on February 1, 2012 in Musing, Photography