Monthly Archives: August 2012

progress note

Just to confirm that I have really been working on Youngest Uncle’s fingerless gloves, I took a photo of the right one on my hand. My hand is considerably smaller than Youngest Uncle’s, so obviously it won’t look at all like that when it’s finished – for one thing, it will be finished! – and it will fit Youngest Uncle much better. But, you know, you’ll be able to see what progress I’m making.

Hoping this will keep Youngest Uncle’s thumb as warm as it keeps mine

This is the Cleckheaton Country Tartan 8-ply machine washable wool in colour 2804. It’s been approved by its future wearer as suitably sober.

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Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Knitting


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misleadingly spotted

I have to say the weather forecast was misleading. 21 degrees? Nowhere near me!

Spotted just lurking on the bedside table

Spotted this morning atop Dr B’s bedside table pile of books were these keep-you-warm items. He hasn’t had to rug up quite this much in yonks. You will tell me, I know, that they’re not spotted at all but stripey and you’re right; but it was good to see clear evidence that Dr B actually uses something I made for him. That would be the balaclava, which is the colourful number. It dates back a very long time indeed (and was made using my favourite Patons balaclava pattern and any bit of wool I could second to the purpose, hence the fairly wild colour scheme. The job brief was to knit something warm and what it looked like didn’t matter).

I made the fingerless mitts for YoungB (an early experiment with Twinset Ellen’s wonderful pattern) but owing to my less than ideal yarn choice, they stretched significantly. That’s never really a problem because Dr B has very large hands and he’s always happy to have extra bits of covering to keep them warm. The mitts turned out to be a perfect size for him. What happened then was that YoungB appropriated the pair I’d made for myself. Eventually, I made another pair for myself. Then Nonno ended up with those. I still don’t have any!

And as that warmer weather doesn’t seem to be forthcoming, I might need to do something about that sartorial lacuna. What do you reckon, if I start knitting some fingerless mitts for me will the weather take a turn for the warmer?


Posted by on August 28, 2012 in Knitting


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all abuzz

I was harvesting some more lavender this afternoon and the bush was abuzz with bees busily doing whatever it is that they do. They don’t bother me but I had to warn Dr B to stay well away (indoors, for preference), The sunshine was wonderful and for a few minutes I thoroughly enjoyed the notion that spring is on the way. Then the clouds blew over again and the temperature dropped. Oh, well. But I saw that we’re heading for 21 degrees on Tuesday. Wow!


Posted by on August 26, 2012 in Musing



somewhat hysterically

Having a teenager is as much of a roller-coaster ride as having a baby and even more entertaining. Sometimes, anyway. I asked Boy if he’d try on the first fingerless glove (which I’m pleased to report is going well) so I could assess how much further I need to knit before I start the fingers. He assured me it fitted like a glove. Right.

As a matter of fact, I took a photo. Also as a matter of fact, Dr B has, ahem, borrow the card reader. Ergo, no photo.

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Posted by on August 25, 2012 in Knitting


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oh, no, you’re not getting me that way

I’m told that Youngest Uncle has changed his travel plans and will now not be trekking in the Himalaya in September. Rather, he is likely to be travelling in tropical northern Australia. Hm. Not a lot of call for fingerless gloves in that clime, is there? But I’m not going to stop knitting!


Posted by on August 24, 2012 in Knitting


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clouded perceptions

I’m upgrading Boy to YoungB because it has reached the stage where he and Dr B are as bad as each other AND YoungB is about to tick a computer course as his first preference for university studies next year. Did I just say that? Oh. My. Giddy. Aunt. How did that happen?

Dr B is as enchanted by the idea of YoungB’s learning about such things as cloud computing as YoungB is. Maybe more! Actually, YoungB and I have become a bit bored hearing about the cloud. I don’t understand it and I don’t really want to but I’ve been forced to be part of the revolution, very much against my will, I say glumly. I perceive that it could be useful but it’s just something else to occupy parts of my mind that could be taken up much more productively with knitting or sewing or even singing!

I’m not clear about the cloud, not at all.


Posted by on August 21, 2012 in Musing


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fingerless gloves again

I’m back on fingerless gloves for Youngest Uncle. It’s been a busy day today – university Open Days – and yesterday was meant to be busy but I was utterly worn out from Friday’s two hours of post-workday house-scrubbing at the Nonni’s place, so I just lolled about and did as little as possible for as long as possible!

The original fingerless gloves pattern had confusing instructions, so I looked around for something else and found this pattern which has nice long fingers (ideal, you’d think, for Himalayan trekking). Time being now of the essence, I’ve cast on and am already wishing I’d been less hasty about getting stuck into a new pattern late on a Sunday when I’m bone weary. Never mind, I’ll sort out what I’m doing, I’m sure I will. I mean, how hard can it be to knit round and round in 2×2 rib for an inch or so?!

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Posted by on August 19, 2012 in Knitting


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sew I was planning to write something

I intended to do a review (of sorts, or maybe I mean an overview) of some of my sewing books. But, excuse me, I’m far too tired. It’s been a long, busy day and if this comes out coherently I’ll be very pleased!

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Posted by on August 15, 2012 in Reading, Sewing


replicating the toob

Bikes, whether of the pedal or motor variety, bring attendant problems, among which are to be found helmets and what you have to do when you’re wearing one and the weather is cold if you want to keep your head and face warm. (That made sense, didn’t it?) You want to be warm but not hot. Whatever keeps your head and face warm must not fall down when your helmet is pulled over it. There should be no bumpy adjustment mechanisms. Such things are OK with a pushbike helmet, where they don’t run into the helmet, but problematic with a motorbike helmet which covers a lot more of the rider’s head.

Dr B had what he called a toob – it might even be a Toob, though I think one of his other pieces of paraphernalia is an actual Toob – and Boy borrowed it to keep his face warm during his five-days-a-week motorbike ride into school. Winter here is nowhere near Antarctic in its coldness but it’s cold enough and although Boy loves the knitted balaclava I made him, it’s not quite the solution it could be because it’s too bulky under his helmet (even though I knitted it in soft yarn and sewed it up using a very flat seam, there’s just not a lot of space in a motorbike helmet, which is as it should be, of course).

The toob covered the bottom half of Boy’s face and didn’t need to go under his helmet in the way a balaclava does, so it was a winner. Except that it tended to pull down a bit when the helmet went on and the adjusting knob had a tendency to dig in but, you know, despite those disadvantages it was warm and not bulky. I offered to sew an imitation toob using black polar fleece (already in my stash, left over from sewing a supporter’s scarf for our first Head of the River regatta nearly five years ago) and sewing in some elastic instead of an adjusting knob. Boy and I discussed what width and softness of elastic we should use.

The other night, I sat down and made one, which is really a prototype in the sense that the elastic was a bit hit and miss and perhaps a firmer one than I should have used (I didn’t have quite enough of the softer elastic we’d decided on). But the toob doesn’t pull down when Boy pulls his motorbike helmet on and it keeps his face warm (he’s already used it for several short rides to shops), so, even if it’s a prototype, it’s functional.

Black imitator on left, blue original on right (showing knob adjuster)

I couldn’t say it was difficult. I mean to say, how hard is it to sew a simple tube? One side seam. Hem top and bottom leaving a small gap at one end to thread elastic (I could have made it with an attached elastic, but I didn’t). That end will be the top, because you pull the toob over your head and adjust it so your nose is nice and warm. It required only very simple sewing, which I can do reasonably well. Boy could have done it, but he was busy with homework. The toob works fine. I recommend such a thing if you’re looking for a quick, easy project (and you have a cyclist of some variety or other who’s looking for such an end product).


Posted by on August 13, 2012 in Cycling, Knitting, Rowing, Sewing


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oh, was that the weekend?

A former colleague once used the word “busy” to describe me. I think that was probably during rowing season and getting on for Christmas and they are busy times of year. Usually, I just potter about and feel cheated when Monday comes around before I’ve really enjoyed Saturday. Do you have weekends like that?

This weekend I’ve accomplished practically nothing (other than some laundry and that’s not exciting at all). Yes, we watched a few bits of Olympic telecasts, making a concerted effort to view the rowing, but we were occupied doing cleaning and tidying prior to selling a house (not ours) and catching up with visiting family and old friends and going out for lunch today and dashing about the suburbs in pursuit of an elusive piece of equipment (eventually located). I have road-tested a roll-up silicon keyboard for Dr B (it’s no good to me; you need a much heavier touch than I can manage if you want to get spaces and all the letters, but he reckons it might do for him and ought to be coffee proof, so let’s hope he’s right). That took time even if it wasn’t productive in a big way.

But I mean, here it is apparently Sunday evening and I haven’t yet put clean sheets Boy’s bed! Don’t hiss and boo at me, he usually does it himself but because he’s away and because it’s a loft bed and an absolute pig to make I thought I’d do it for him. Yes, no matter that it’s now getting on for winding-down time, I will do it. I’ll even do it before he returns tomorrow morning because he’ll want to get into it and have a good sleep. I, of course, will be at work and wondering did I actually have a weekend? And that’s how I feel most Mondays. Is there an answer? Is it actually possible to go back to work on Monday, feeling rested and relaxed as if you’ve had two days of not working?


Posted by on August 5, 2012 in Musing, Rowing