Monthly Archives: October 2013

is this really spring?

Springy enough but winterly warm

Springy enough but winterly warm

If it is – and if the swooping magpies didn’t suggest so, then the amount of sneezing and general misery associated with hay fever certainly would – then I think my knitting is likely to be put into some form of storage, the sewing machine come out of semi-hibernation and the seasonal swap take place. I don’t really sew much but I think I do more of it in the warmer months. That’s plain silly, really, when YoungB is always on the lookout for warm, knit-fabric sweaters and the frankensweater is yet to be made. On the other hand, it’s generally far too cold in the sewing room for me to use it during winter. It’s clear, though, because I checked on my Ravelry page, that I have been reasonably productive this year with knitting projects, many of which haven’t been hanging around forever but were actually started this year. Of course, some have been around for a good bit longer. By about now, though, I’ve run out of steam and I’m sneezing too much to be bothered with knitting.

Sewing seems to be the answer. I went so far as to purchase a couple of sewing patterns this year, with stash fabric in mind, but whether I’ll ever actually get around to making them up is quite another thing altogether. The PDF one that I have to stick together, then trace my size onto lightweight interfacing, then actually cut out on fabric, is just sitting there patiently awaiting sufficient clear floor space – and enthusiasm – for all of that to happen. The one that has to be ironed, spread out and then traced and cut out? Yeah, see previous comment about floor space or implied lack thereof. I have made up some shopping totes and lavender bags and no doubt I’ll make a few more of those sorts of things with Christmas in mind. But, you know, I’m tired (hence the lack of enthusiasm). It’s been an odd sort of year and it’s quite scary to think it’s nearly over.

YoungB is nearing the end of his first year at university. I don’t understand that at all. It’s only yesterday, surely, that he was starting primary school. Although, come to think of it, I do have some photos of his last primary school sports day and I can tell you he’s grown some since then. Actually, I have photos of his last assembly at high school. They were taken about a year ago. Oh. My. Giddy. Aunt.

We are presently in the throes of organising YoungB’s application for a year of exchange study in Italy. In the interests of assessing his language skills so we can get an idea of his proficiency levels (and what summer courses he might need to do to boost them if they’re not as they should be), I’ve been looking up a few applications and trawling the web for sites that might be of assistance. I tried out a few of them. I have a great verb trainer on my smartphone. It turns out I’m very good at knowing what the verbs mean, even some of the less common ones.

I’m not so good, and this doesn’t surprise me at all, at conjugating anything much beyond fairly oft-used verbs in ordinary tenses but not moods. I think I’ve said before that I get stuck when I’m faced with having to choose between conditionals and subjunctives. It was ever thus, hence my relative silence whilst I was living in Italy. By the time I’d worked out which of them I should be using, the conversation had moved on so far that it didn’t matter any more. YoungB is much more inclined to just jump in and have a go. I’m hoping he’ll have such a fantastic immersion experience that he’ll come back fluent in all conjugations, whatever the moods or tenses and whether it be spring or any other season.

Of course, that’s all very well. But needing a quick, undemanding project (read, something to fill my hands while we’re discussing all the implications of such an exchange at the kitchen table), I had to dash off today to buy some yarn to make a winter scarf for someone in the family. It will be a Christmas present though not required till next year; but if I wait till her birthday, the poor thing will have died of cold in the interim! So, you know, what I was saying about giving up knitting for a bit? Yeah, maybe not just yet.

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Posted by on October 21, 2013 in Knitting, Musing, Sewing


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FO: greeny-purpley latticework scarf and today’s sin

Well, it's greeny-purpley and it sort of matches my raincoat. As for the windblown and half-frozen look? What we won't do to improve our image!

Well, it’s greeny-purpley and it sort of matches my raincoat. As for the windblown and half-frozen look? it’s a step up from how desperate things looked with the beanie included!

I’m so worn out by the ramifications of technology failing that I lack the imagination to think of a clever title for an obvious post: I’ve finished the greeny-purpley latticework scarf I’ve had as one of my portable/transportable knitting projects. I’d originally intended to make it longer but faced with the prospect of a few days in Ballarat with NO WOOLLY SCARF, I decided that, really, if I stopped pretty much where I was, then I wouldn’t have to join in another ball of yarn, which would mean fewer ends to sew in. With time pressing, that idea was a clear winner. Therefore, that’s precisely what I did: finished it forthwith late on Monday night.

But, oh dear, here’s my heinous admission, I didn’t block it. I really did not have time for that. Of course blocking makes things softer and you can get your latticework looking much prettier, but on a cold night, can  you guarantee that the scarf will dry in the three or four hours left before you need it? I was certain I could guarantee it would NOT dry, so I left it unblocked. That’s how it went round my neck early on Tuesday morning and it stayed there fairly solidly until Friday afternoon when I came home again.

I might have been in Ballarat to cheer at rowing competitions – as, indeed, I was – but the weather had other ideas. YoungB and I spent an enjoyable afternoon pottering about doing some touristy stuff instead. We visited Sovereign Hill on a very cold, wet, windy afternoon. There we got something of a taste of how tough and appallingly miserable life must have been for our ancestors (none of mine that I know of was ever in the Victorian goldfields and certainly none of Dr B’s; but I’m sure you take my point). YoungB and I decided that, although we’d never have survived, we were grateful that our forbears had obviously been made of sterner stuff.

My scarf did sterling work. It had hot chocolate spilt on it and goodness knows what else blown onto it by the wind or washed onto it by the rain and the spray from Lake Wendouree, where some rowing did eventually take place, but through all of that it kept me warm. Mostly, that’s all that I require of a winter scarf. If it’s pretty as well, that’s a bonus. I think this one is and I certainly love the colour (why, it even almost matches my very old raincoat). I took a beanie with me but was wishing I’d been more sensible and taken my balaclava.

Yeah, I know, a balaclava is not a good look even for those intent on unlawfully relieving banks of whatever they have in their vaults but I don’t think I would have cared how silly it looked; at least I would have had full-face protection. As it was, the beanie protected the top of my head and the tops of my ears, and you’d probably agree they’re important considerations; but my face? My poor, sore, windburnt and frozen face? No. That would have required my left-at-home – because I didn’t want to embarrass YoungB more than necessary – balaclava. When I mentioned this to him, he said he wouldn’t have minded had I brought it because, when it’s that cold, you don’t care what you look like as long as you’re warm. I’ve been saying that for years, so I couldn’t disagree.

Pattern: A simple, four-row, latticework pattern bordered by garter stitch, somewhat similar to a scarf I had when I was a teenager. It’s not truly reversible, but either side looks okay. I used a crocheted cast-on and slipped alternate-row edge stitches to keep things tidy. Because of swapping from project to project, I missed a couple of slips, I think; but if anyone is close enough to notice, then the likelihood is that they’re not looking at my scarf.

Yarn: two skeins of Moda Vera Bouvardia (a 70% acrylic, 30% wool mix that’s self-striping) in green (colour 104-06, dye lot 4), held with one skein of Moda Vera Giselle in dark green (colour 03, dye lot 1109492). The Giselle is a 70% metallic, 30% wool mix that gives the scarf a bit of sparkle but whose darker hue means the overall tone is less strident (in other words, more boring but totally unobjectionable for work purposes). I had a small amount of each yarn left over.

Needles: 6 mm (UK 4/US 10).

Dimensions of finished article: about 9″ wide by 5’6″ long unblocked. Since washing, it’s softened and lost some of its bulkiness but I decided not to block it much longer, even though the latticework would allow it to be lengthened considerably, so those are probably close to the dimensions it will retain. It’s presently about 8″ by 5’8″.

Would I knit it again? Yes, possibly, although it wasn’t quite such good take-with-me knitting as I’d first thought, and I spent a fair bit of time tinking part-rows because I’d headed off in the wrong direction with a pattern row, or forgotten a pattern row altogether. That was largely a result of being distracted by conversation but you don’t want to be getting huffy with your knitting when you’re pretending to be cool and calm and watching the rowing time trials, do you?

So that’s my latest FO and my latest confession. But what would you have done in such dire need at the eleventh hour? Would you have blocked your scarf? If so, I tips me lid. I suppose I’m just not that dedicated; or maybe I was more concerned about being warm!


Posted by on October 10, 2013 in Knitting, Rowing


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