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Monthly Archives: April 2013

how YoungB sees it

Middle Aunt rang a little while ago and we passed the phone along the family. While it was YoungB’s turn, Middle Aunt must have asked him if I was around, because his response was that I was staring deep into my knitting! Quite so. I’m working on a frilly scarf, made with one of those lacy, lattice-type yarns (for the life of me, I can’t find the ball band) only because I’ve reached a point with the beanie I’m making where I need to decrease and keep an eye on cable rows and, because they don’t always happen on the same rows, I can’t do all of that and watch TV. The lattice yarn I can just about wield to some purpose and still get the gist of whatever the TV show might be. Horses for courses, you know? I hope your weekend has provided you with many opportunities to stare deep into your knitting, too.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2013 in Knitting

 

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reinvention

The company where I work recently lost a major contract and jobs went, too. Mine was one of them, though I’ll be working for another month or so. I’m quite sanguine about it, recognising that those of us who are going are perhaps facing a better future. We might struggle to find jobs, but we won’t have to deal with the incoming chaos of a management system ill suited to the needs of the business. I will find it far more difficult to reinvent and redefine myself than when I last undertook such an exercise. I was 45 then and now I’m 57. My general office skills need brushing up and my computer skills are not what they were (I’ve been working in a very particular area with very particular systems for far too long), but I am still capable of learning quickly and my store of general knowledge should stand me in good stead. I’m presently optimistic though I reserve the right to change my opinion should I end up unemployed and in dire straits.

Bendigo Woollen Mills’ image of Murano in the colourway I’m presently using to make a hat

I’m having much fun clearing out my desk and chucking out years of EBA negotiation memos and drafts and I’ve cleared a huge spot on the bookshelf at home by throwing out related documentation (when you take your task seriously, you end up accumulating a lot of what later might or might not prove to be rubbish; but whichever of those is the case here, I don’t care any more, so out they go). Now, what shall I put there? New knitting books? New sewing books? Plastic boxes of yarn or fabric scraps? Oh, the possibilities are almost endless. In preparation for the weeks where I’ll be job hunting, I’m keeping myself sane now by knitting a lot. It’s a good thing to be doing these days. This morning’s real temperature was around six degrees. That’s quite cold enough for me. The hat I’m knitting with lovely, thick Bendigo Woollen Mills‘ Murano yarn, is keeping me sane, busy and productively occupied. Dr B loves the colours (this hat is not for him, though I could probably be persuaded to make one for him). I might have lost my job, but in the knitting stakes I reckon I’m onto a winner.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2013 in Knitting, Musing, Sewing

 

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different yarns

Have you ever had unexpected results when knitting? Sometimes a yarn that looks pretty knits up to something quite ho-hum. I’ve had that experience recently with Lincraft Big Wool, a soft, fifty-fifty wool and acrylic yarn. It’s a thick/thin yarn described as roving style and I bought dye lot 18308, a denim mix. It knitted up in blobs of colour and texture that looked clumsy; and it didn’t matter how I tried, that flat seam was never going to be invisible. The hat is OK – it even looks all right on Dr B; and YoungB rightly said it’s nice and warm – but perhaps not for gifting to anyone. Dang. There went that bit of birthday knitting!

Quite an obliging hat model, don't you think! However, colour and texture in the hat itself are best described as lumpy.

Quite an obliging hat model, don’t you think! However, colour and texture in the hat itself are best described as lumpy.

And then sometimes, a yarn that looks all right if not spectacular knits up to something impressive. I have what is probably a love-hate relationship with Moda Vera Bouvardia yarn. It’s soft and there’s a lovely range of colours but most of them also have bits of utterly unrelated and not flattering colour within the skein and in the past, I’ve found the skeins to have significant amounts of knots. I think you’d agree, that’s frustrating at best, particularly if you don’t notice the knot till you’re halfway through a long row. This one proved a lovely exception. There were no knots and it has knitted up to an overall look that’s dark but not dull. The resulting hat/beanie is so nice I almost don’t want to give it away to anyone!

Soft yarn and a pretty colour mix.

Soft yarn, smooth texture and a pretty colour mix. Nice hat!

These are a couple of my recent concurrent-with-mitts projects that I can knit at the table, listening to vigorous discussion as to what movie we might watch, and not fear I’ll make a mistake. The first is made using my Villawool Inca hat pattern, the second pretty much of my own reckoning with some assistance from the Yarn Harlot’s Knitting Rules as to decreasing. You need plain projects but the results don’t have to be plain.

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2013 in Knitting

 

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the difference between H and K

In knitting news, I’ve sewn up one of Youngest Uncle’s fingerless gloves and, if I say so as shouldn’t, have done a lovely job of the side seam. The fingers? Not so good, but fiddly sewing doesn’t always lead to the tidiest results. YoungB, whose hands are about the same size as Youngest Uncle’s, tried on the finished mitt and pronounced it lovely and warm. I have the house to myself today (for a few more hours, anyway) and intend to finish the second mitt so I can move onto Eldest Niece’s really quick mittens, which are next in line. One thumb and the sewing-in of ends are the only tasks remaining there. I need to finish the back seam on the hat I knitted last week. It’s like any handsewing on dark colours in that it requires good light but I could possibly manage it in the presence of others, so that needn’t be done immediately. I’m still working on the Easy Lace Cowl – there hasn’t been a lot of bus knitting this week, for all sorts of reasons – but there’s no looming deadline on that, so I’ll just keep plugging away at it as the mood takes me.

I'm pretty happy with that side seam

I’m pretty happy with that side seam

So what about H and K? H is a shoe fitting, a wide one. K is an even wider shoe fitting, one I’ve suddenly discovered to be magnificently comfortable. And the difference between those two? It’s whether or not I can even wriggle my foot into a shoe in the first place! In other words, it’s the realisation that, if I want shoes that don’t hurt, I need to pay for very good ones. I’ve had wide feet for most of my adult life, even when the rest of me wasn’t quite so wide. I’m not averse to spending good money on good shoes – in my youth, I regularly wore Footrest shoes because they were comfy and, so long as I avoided one or two designs made on a last that didn’t suit my foot, I knew they fitted almost without having to try them first; and I loved K Shoes when I was living in England because they came in wide fittings – but my income these days is far more limited and therefore can’t be made to stretch to paying hundreds of dollars for shoes.

Yes, I know, it’s not as if I’d be spending it every week and one can rationalise it over an annual budget and so on; but sometimes you just can’t stump up that amount of money at one time in the first place. Finding cheap shoes that fit is problematic (read, impossible). I can get away with sandals in summer, though even they can be less than ideal if they have straps in the wrong places (in the interests of full disclosure, I admit to having had problems with swelling feet since I fractured an ankle in a vehicular accident a very long time ago) but I can’t wear sandals all year. Those of you who live in truly cold climes will laugh to hear me say that my feet get too cold, but that’s the way it is for me. Therefore, I need closed shoes. Closed shoes that fit are hard to find. My head hurts trying to solve the dilemma.

Youngest Aunt offered to buy me some really nice shoes as a birthday present, so off we went with a particular brand in mind (one that Youngest Aunt herself wears). It turns out, however, that they are indeed lovely but don’t fit me. My feet are too wide for most of their styles. The woman who served us was extremely helpful at suggesting an alternative brand, and obviously good at her job: I ended up with two pairs of shoes (the second pair is not home with me, but still in the shop and being purchased on lay by; not all shops offer lay by so I was happy indeed about that option). They’re both black, which is of course functional and pretty much OK with pretty much anything, but they are very different and don’t look at all as if they’re meant for the same task.

The shoes I brought home look like granny’s dancing shoes or perhaps something that Phryne Fisher might wear. They’re comfy and elegant (and nobody is more surprised than I am that my feet aren’t screaming because, gasp, they have a small heel). I suppose I should now hope that no-one decides to have a summer wedding that might require my purchasing light-coloured shoes or, heavens, I might have to buy some of those! (No, there are no weddings in the offing that I know of; but there are lots of youngsters at marrying ages and a couple in long-term relationships, so who knows?) At least now I know what size shoe I should be looking for.

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2013 in Knitting, Musing

 

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after the party

A OK

A OK

YoungB’s birthday party went off well. The music wasn’t too loud, and certainly not too loud too late (no police responding to complaints; always a good sign), there were no fights (high spirits and alcoholic spirits aren’t always a good mix) but, most importantly of all these days – particularly in our area; and it’s a sad comment on society that things should be so – there were no gatecrashers. The morning after crept on into early afternoon and the last guest waved goodbye at about lunchtime. YoungB and I did a rubbish round, dealt with the last of the recycling and discovered that the Pale Ale he provided is not many’s preferred drop; except ours, as it happens!

There were, it’s fair to say, a few sore heads but nobody completely written off. On the whole, the guests behaved well. And was YoungB’s head sore? Yes, probably, but more from weariness than intoxication. He said, quite rightly, that it was his job as host to ensure his guests’ safety, which meant that he needed to be fairly sober at all times. It didn’t meant he couldn’t or shouldn’t have any alcohol, but that he had to be sensible. He was. He was also sensible enough to drink copious amounts of water and make sure he ate plenty.

He was weary because he’d had a l-o-n-g day. The Schools’ Head of the River Regatta took place on the same day As a coach, he’d had to be there by about 7.30 to get his crews organised and give them some last-minute tips. (No, they didn’t win but he was pleased with how well they rowed, particularly because of some late crew changes.) All of that had entailed a 6.30 am start. YoungB then didn’t really stop until about 3 o’clock the following morning. He has flat feet and, as he admitted when I was shooing him back to bed for an afternoon nap, they hurt after that much standing about, orthotics or no orthotics.

We agreed that, although we’d have liked the guests to have eaten more (you don’t want to even think about how much food we had left over) it was an enjoyable party and nobody misbehaved too badly. The guests were most enthusiastic in their rendition of Happy Birthday. I have to say, somewhat bemusedly because I truly don’t understand why, that it was one of the most energetic but least tuneful efforts I have ever heard! It was sung twice: once in English and once in Italian (oh, yes, most of the kids had studied at least one year of Italian at high school). The boys even did an emu parade the next morning, between my appearing with the toaster, raisin bread and crumpets, and returning with the coffee; something I considered polite and thoughtful. And, when sober, most of YoungB’s friends have always been that. They’re a likeable lot and, as I once said after a presentation ceremony, if our future is in their hands – and I suppose ultimately and immediately it is, because they’ll be choosing our nursing homes; but in a wider way, it might also be so because some of them certainly have the potential for politics – then it is likely to be a good future.

There are some more bits of tidying up to be done that Dr B will deal with today (returning the marquee, chairs and trestles; things of that nature). Then YoungB will catch up with most of his mates again at uni for the last week of half-semester. And I, I’m going back to finishing-up Youngest Uncle’s fingerless gloves. I am. Really, I am. Honest. Or perhaps finishing the winter hat while I watch a TV show. At the very least!

 
 

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