Monthly Archives: November 2012

dark glasses

I made sure I was wearing my sunnies today when I dropped off my contribution to the Victoria Square yarn bombing. Ideally, I’d like to be able to participate in the placement but I can’t guarantee my availability. Therefore, I delivered my rose and scarf to the cafe in the square. But, you know, it’s graffiti, so I thought I should disguise myself! Just in case.


Posted by on November 26, 2012 in Knitting


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You remember that blue top I made for Nonno? I asked Dr B today if its recipient regarded it as OK and did he want another? Dr B’s response was that he’d put the top straight in the laundry basket when he delivered it so he didn’t really know whether the fit was good or not, but he thought it should have been. I was a little puzzled by that, I admit, because the fabric had been washed and, you know, I hadn’t been trampling it on the ground or anything. I said as much. Dr B admitted that he’d had an accident with a box of liqueur-soaked cakes and the top was, uh, one of the nicest smelling he’d ever encountered! But, alas, not able to be worn without laundering. Oh. And, yes, please, Nonno would like another. Fine. That can be done. Now that I have the pattern sorted out, you’d think it shouldn’t really take me all that long.

Knitting has been the thing this weekend. I’ve only a few more rows do to and the White Caps Cowl will be finished. I’ve packaged up the crocheted orange rose and the knitted red scarf to take to the yarn bombing coordinator – they’re not large contributions, but every little helps and I would struggle to knit more articles between now and 7 December, which is the deadline; I’m not a fast knitter – then I need to turn my attention to aprons and lavender bags and other Christmas sewing.

I hope you’re making great progress with all your Christmas projects. I usually end up sewing till midnight Christmas Eve – which is really Christmas Day, I know – because I’m not well organised. But I get there. Good luck with your efforts!


Posted by on November 25, 2012 in Crochet, Knitting, Sewing


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a life on the ocean wave

Actually, just the White Caps Cowl. I’ve been knitting a row here and there and now and then with the occasional longer burst of activity. Mostly, it’s restricted to what I can do on the bus, which is rarely more than two rows (and that’s with the bamboo yarn, which provides faster results because it’s smoother, easier knitting), with maybe some night-time bowling over of a few more rows and once in a while some weekend work. On the whole, this has been fitted in around many other things, so although it’s taking longer than I’d hoped, and missed the birthday deadline entirely, it will certainly be ready as a Christmas gift.

Nearing completion

Normally at this hour on a Saturday, I’d be at a rowing regatta. However, although YoungB’s crew is rowing today, he is away this weekend and I no longer feel greatly obliged to be there on my own. When he was rowing, I would have gone to help set up marquees and chivvy the kids along at appropriate moments but the nature of school rowing is that the people change. So this morning, I slept late – for a Saturday – and don’t feel a bit guilty about having done so. DrB was up and about early for cycling purposes. He’s not home yet.

What do you reckon? Should I just knit a few more rows while I have some uninterrupted time?


Posted by on November 24, 2012 in Knitting, Rowing


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I read somewhere in blogland recently – and I’m sorry, I really can’t remember where – a question about what the concept of layering really involves when it comes to clothing. In my understanding, it’s pretty much mix and match separates, whose colours complement or contrast but play nicely together either way, with some consideration for lightweight fabrics per layer that, when combined, provide warmth without too much weight and/or bulk. I imagine it might be possible to fit a dress in there, but it could be trickier to get the layering going as well because you’ve automatically limited your options (unless you’re very clever and have a dress whose top and bottom are different colours, and that’s perfectly feasible; but in my opinion, it would still be a more limiting option than separates).

This may seem tangential, but we have been doing a bit of tossing of old stuff recently. We had consigned a pair of striped, cotton trousers and a full, cotton skirt to the ragbag for donations to the RSPCA shelter. I harvested the buttons, of course, and there weren’t any zips. There are only so many old items of clothing you can throw into the “What can I do with this?” basket and hope to be able to reuse. While I wasn’t knitting on the way home tonight (my homage to the White Caps Cowl is nearing completion but I was too tired to fossick around in my bag to find the yarn), my mind was going a million miles an hour thinking about how I could combine the skirt and the trousers – or their fabrics, anyway, both of which are shades of blue – to make a new top for me. When I got home, I rushed out to the shed and rescued the garments (isn’t it a good thing we were waiting until we had a full box before we made the trip down to the other side of town?).

Thanks to Portia for the inspiration – and watch this space!


Posted by on November 20, 2012 in Knitting, Sewing


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when the answer to “Why?” is, “Because.”

So why haven’t I sewn that new top I desperately need? Because I’ve been sewing something needed even more desperately by someone else, namely a long-sleeved T-shirt for Nonno. It’s too complicated to explain why he needed it so urgently, but I’m sure you’ll appreciate that, as we’re coming into summer here, thermal undies are more than a touch difficult to track down in the shops; Nonno needing something to keep him warm presented a dilemma that shopping couldn’t truly resolve. This is not thermal but it’s a step in the right direction. It’s long-sleeved and it’s made from a cosy knit fabric.

Although not sewn according to instructions, the neckband is tidy enough

Why is it blue? Because that was the colour of the fabric I already had in my stash. Why is the fabric so wrinkled? Because it had been laundered and folded less carefully than it should have been and then carted around the countryside a few times. Why didn’t I wash it again to get rid of the wrinkles? Because that would have required more time than I had available to me. Why didn’t I pop it through the tumble dryer for a while? Because that probably would have shrunk it. As a last resort, why didn’t I iron it? Ah, well, as a matter of fact I did iron it, so there’s one question I can’t answer with a because. However, I can tell you that because I ironed it, it’s not nearly as wrinkled as it might have been (or, indeed, was prior to being ironed)!

I didn’t have a pattern for a long-sleeved T-shirt with raglan sleeves, so I had to nut out what additional taper might give me the required result (loose sleeve, no cuffs) using a basic short-sleeved T-shirt pattern (one I’d used to make a sports day top for YoungB some years ago). I sort of followed the construction instructions on the pattern and I sort of didn’t. I sewed in the sleeves, which the pattern called for. Then it wanted me to put the neckband on, but I really like to do that last.

I sewed all the seams and overlocked them as well. Why? Because I wanted to give them extra strength (this will be subject to rougher laundering than it would be if I were doing it at home). Then I did the hems and ran into difficulties with the white thread I was using for the topstitching. Why did I use white thread? Because I didn’t have any blue and I suspect I’ve never had any. I also suspect that I had trouble with this thread when I first bought it (it’s a Coats Drima Polyester thread, so certainly not the cheap rubbish I often use; and it’s not listed on their page which might mean it’s discontinued). I seem to recall it misbehaving with my twin needle even when it was new though I struggled on and topstitched the garment I was making (accompanied by significant amounts of muttering and unladylike language, I don’t doubt).

Then lastly I applied the neckband and I didn’t align its seam with the left shoulder seam of the T-shirt as instructed. Rather than matching notches, I quartered both band and neckline and matched up that way. It’s a funny thing, I suppose, but I like my neckband seams centred at the back and much prefer the way they look. It might simply be that, because that’s how I learnt to do it when I first started sewing with knit fabrics, that’s what has become second nature for me. Do you have a preference for either method, or do you mix and match according to what you’re making?

In any case, I overlocked the band – it wasn’t ribbing, just the stretch fabric – then sewed it. I’m sure some folk would be able to do it all in one smooth operation but I’m not that clever with my overlocker. I’ve done it once or twice, but I then sometimes have trouble with the topstitching. If I do it this way, I don’t tear my hair out battling with the bulk (you can’t trim away all of it) and trying to negotiate tricky curves. Anyway, I think the end result is neat enough.

This morning it was all ready and waiting for Dr B to take to Nonno but it’s still here. Why? Because Dr B has been running around all day doing a thousand other things. So why did I break my neck rushing to get it finished? Because that’s just how I like to do things, I think! Why? Why, because!


Posted by on November 16, 2012 in Sewing


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knitters are everywhere

Rowing parents are a varied bunch. At a recent regatta, two of the mums had their knitting out. Yes, I was one of them. The remarkable part about it was not that we were knitting but the comments we garnered from other mums (no dads commented, I’m not being sexist or elitist), many along the lines of how lucky we were to be able to knit. Knitting is like many skills, easily learnt. Yes, expertise takes time and practice, but there have always been lots of books and nowadays there are online resources to help with that.

The funny stories from other would-be knitters? One – whose jumper made for herself would, she assured us,  have fitted your average horse – had us in stitches (I know, couldn’t resist) imitating her serious husband wondering at which point she hadn’t realised that the sleeves were, ahem, MUCH too long? I had to say she obviously hadn’t knitted a tension square – she admitted that was true! – but who hasn’t had similar experiences sometimes even IF there’s been a tension square? Real garments don’t always behave like tension squares.

I pounced on the other knitting mum to ask if she was participating in the Victoria Square yarn bombing? She knew what yarn bombing was if not that there was a sanctioned plan afoot to bedeck Vic Square for Christmas, but generally she didn’t appear interested. Oh. It can’t just be me, can it? Dr B finds it a nice idea if somewhat nutty. YoungB has me sussed. He knew the moment he read about it in the local paper that I’d be there with my knitting needles (and crochet hook, I feel bound to add).


Posted by on November 14, 2012 in Knitting, Rowing


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bloomin’ heck

I said I crocheted a giant, orange rose. So I did.

And it only took me an hour to make

IRL, as they say, the colour is much, much more vivid.

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Posted by on November 13, 2012 in Crochet


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