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Category Archives: Knitting

if that was the beanie, that was it

Morning cheer, with snapdragons already adding a splash of colour.

That bit of knitting I showed you last time? That’s all you’re ever going to see of that beanie, because it flew off my needles and onto the recipient’s head fairly urgently around an emergency hospital admission. Dr B wore it for a day to block it! Life gets a bit like that sometimes. The friend – who was certainly in a bad way – has been discharged, I’m relieved to say, and while he’ll never be back to full health, he has improved remarkably.

In gardening news, I’m delighted to report that not only have all the lifted and transplanted rhizomes and bulbs bounced back to a state of flourishing, the geranium is well on its way to thriving. Mission accomplished. The seedlings are settling well and some have already flowered. The mystery bulbs are shooting and close to flowering, but I still have no idea what they are! It’s cheering to step outside and see everything looking so bright.

And in commuting news, I’ve started crocheting a (deliberately) just-off-square granny-square knee rug for use at work, or as a throw rug, or for picnics. It’s mainly something to keep me occupied on the bus or while I half-watch TV, and it’s an effort to use some of my cheap but cheerfully coloruful (or that might be colourfully cheerful) stash. So far doing well on both counts.

I hope your endeavours are all meeting with success ๐Ÿ™‚

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diversification

Replanted and still alive

I dug up a clump of agapanthus. The wisdom has it you should thin them every five years. We’ve been here more than three times that and I haven’t done it once. It likely hadn’t been done for a while before, either. So it was a big clump. I managed to divide it and replant about 60, The green bin was full. I also dug up and replanted lots of irises. There might not have been 60 of those, but they’re so prolific when given a chance that there might be that many next year. I also replanted a geranium of which the best you could say was that it was alive. The aim with relocation is that it now might thrive. I’m not a gardener, and have been known to kill plastic plants, so this will be an interesting journey. There’s also a tub of mysterious bulbs. I’ve no idea what they are, because they’d been so choked by the agapanthus that they never bloomed.

In other news, I have knitted a blue beanie. Dark colours and plain fabric don’t photograph well, but I think you get the general idea.It’s meant to have been my commute knitting, but more often ended up as my lunchtime knitting. No matter. This is a progress shot from a previous, rainy weekend. Yarn is Bendigo Woollen Mills’ Classic 8 ply, colour Ensign. Knitted on UK 10s, I think, because they were readily to hand. There wasn’t much science in this one, it simply happened to be all I could find when I was desperately looking for something to knit ๐Ÿ™‚

Actually finished knitting this today. I have only to sew the back seam and block it, then it will be ready for its recipient ๐Ÿ™‚

 
 

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multiskilled just isn’t the right description

YoungB signed our work, because all of us had more than a hand in it ๐Ÿ™‚

Once upon a time, Dr B and I built our own house (and yes, I do mean with our own hands). Back in those days, he and I poured a concrete tank-stand and some paths. Recently we’ve concreted more paths, one of which now boasts a tank on a stand without necessarily being the tank-stand.

The path behind YoungB’s cabin, seconded to use supporting a tank-stand.

We’ve also ventured into laying pavers, greatly assisted by a variety of online resources. My personal observation is that, when your little fingertips are very sore from laying down little brickies, you do NOT want to pick up any sewing. This is, however, gratifying in a different way.

They wanted to finish the cabin’s courtyard before we went out for my birthday ๐Ÿ™‚

And when I say I did some paving, it’s quite true. My input was to the path connecting that cabin courtyard to the garden shed.

Going with the flow around the curve and lots of fussy cutting (Dr B did that part).

Back to getting on with something else now. Winter is here, and I’m craving the feeling of working on a beanie. Plenty of those in my UFO pile ๐Ÿ™‚

Whatever you’ve been up to, I hope it’s been as gratifying – if, perhaps, less labour-intensive – than my recent efforts.

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2017 in Knitting, Musing

 

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comfort of a sort

You know that feeling when you’ve lurched to the last working day of the year and what you haven’t done is not done but you can’t dredge up sufficient energy to care? That happened to me halfway through December. In my previous job, the obligatory holiday during the Christmas shut-down could vary greatly, so I mostly made mine long to enable me to cope with all the family, cycling and rowing events that clustered round that part of summer. It wasn’t the sort of job where the work you hadn’tย  finished would be waiting when you returned. Jobs didn’t hang around or hang over for that long. You might find yourself typing later sittings of the same matter, but it would have moved on.

In my present job, almost everything I hadn’t done was awaiting me when I returned, plus a few extras I hadn’t anticipated. That’s a distinct deterrent to taking long breaks, because it means that the return workload is crushing and you need a good life-jacket. But I had a holiday, anyway, during which I managed to tidy my sewing room somewhat.

2017 will be challenging. The sector is changing and in order to survive and flourish, organisations have to not only change but come up with new ideas for growth. I feel remarkably inadequate in that scenario. I’m still reasonably good at thinking on my feet, and quickly, but I have no business background at all. This is, I suspect, a shorthand way of saying that I need to enrol in some suitable units at a local TAFE, or within an undergraduate degree, if I’m to have any hope of not going under. My problem is that I don’t know what I need because it’s difficult to intuit what shape the future changes will take with regard to my job. I often feel now as if I’m close to drowning because of the workload, so perhaps I need to invest in a better life-jacket because that feeling is unlikely to lessen.

As near to drowning as I might be, something I do know is that I’ll need to knit and sew more, or I’ll be too grumpy for words. I also know that I’m going to have to do a l-o-t of work to get my photo app to talk to my blog. Lots to work on this year, and not a resolution in sight! All the best with all of your plans, resolutions or just general intentions for this year’s crafting. ๐Ÿ™‚

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2017 in Knitting, Musing, Sewing

 

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whatever the weather

Dr B was happy to give his fingerless mitts a good workout

You might have heard that we’ve had some wild weather here lately – it’s still wild, to be fair – and we endured a statewide blackout last week. That’s always the time you discover your torches aren’t as reliable as you’d hoped, because that’s the only time you use them; but we were fortunate. For starters, we have a gas stove and gas hot water. Our supply of oil lamps, candles and torches (even the less-than-brilliant few) meant that we could manage without electric lighting for the several hours required. There has been flooding in neighbouring suburbs but we’ve had to deal with nothing more major than a few tree branches across the road and a couple of bins blown about in the backyard.

There seems to be more than the usual equinoctial tempestuousness to contend with right across the globe, so I hope you haven’t been adversely affected by any weather events, wherever you are. It’s true that I’ve been happy to be home on a holidayette – an extra-long long weekend – and not having to be out and about. I’m sure I need only add that knitted fingerless mitts and knitted beanies have been and continue to be well to the fore ๐Ÿ™‚

Those that Dr B is sporting are Maine Morning Mitts by Clara Parkes, knitted using Moda Vera Jester in the Gelato Mix colourway. I made them in February 2015 and, although they weren’t meant for Dr B, he was delighted to be their recipient when they proved too large for the co-worker for whom I’d originally intended them. There will always be someone whom they’ll fit ๐Ÿ˜‰ Isn’t that right?

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2016 in Knitting

 

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heads need hats

This year we don't have to contend with these. (Photo courtesy of Frank Gervasi)

This year we don’t have to contend with these. (Photo courtesy of Frank Gervasi)

Training for the walk should be occupying more of my time than it is. I feel a bit older and creakier this year and the fact that Youngest Aunt won’t be walking – and, therefore, we haven’t been training together – means that there’s less incentive to make the effort to walk long distances. Plus it’s been cold and wet and miserable in a way it wasn’t last year. I’m not inventing that to garner sympathy. We’ve had the wettest winter on record in a goodly number of years; and, being winter, it has indeed been bitterly cold. Therefore, I’ve been choosing the easiest, warmest, driest options for public transport connections, meaning that the incidental walking I might ordinarily get has been ultra minimal. The lunchtime walks help but I’m not dedicated enough about them when I’m tired and/or I want to eat at the lunch table like a civilised human being. Again. One good thing is that the gradient for this year’s walk is mostly downward. There’s about 29 metres of climbing across the whole 35 kilometres. Last year there was a total climb of 756 metres (mostly the steps in what one of my old schoolmates described as the Stair Chamber or Death Valley – see photo above).

But no matter the state of play for the walk, the knitting is also stumbling along. The instructions for the beanie pattern I’d chosen instructed me to use a tubular long tail cast-on. I had three or four attempts at that and can only say that, yeah, there’s a reason I don’t usually use a long tail cast-on. I know it’s often the cast-on of choice and I have used it in the past. However, this time it just wasn’t coming together. I ended up achieving a similar end via a method you could describe as half cable cast-on, half TLT cast-on. I did the cast on as if it were 1×1 rib – cast on knitwise, cast on purlwise, rather than all stitches knitwise; a variation I’ve often used in the past – then worked the two set-up rows to get that tubular look by slipping purls as instructed. The result was perfectly acceptable and a bit less stressful. No, not significantly less stressful because I kept being interrupted. Every. Other. Damn. Five. Minutes. By Dr B, wanting to ask questions about things totally unrelated to what I was doing. Hair-tearing ensued.

It took a while, but I managed it. However, a closer examination of my yarn choice showed that I’d goofed. I’d thought I’d ordered three balls of Bendigo’s Savanna, which is a 70% wool, 30% alpaca mix. Turns out I was wrong about that. One of them was Classic, which is a 100% wool yarn. Uuh, yeah, even though they’re both 8-ply (equivalent to DK), I though it might be wiser not to mix them. So I have a beautifully started beanie that’s eventually going to end up striped with other remnants of Classic that I have about the place – plenty ๐Ÿ™‚ – and I’m trying again with the Savanna.

At least, I will be trying with the Savanna when I track down another circular needle in the right size but grateful that I can skimp on the stair-training this year ๐Ÿ™‚

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2016 in Health, Knitting

 

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today the memories, tomorrow the tears

Sprigs of rosemary for remembering

Sprigs of rosemary for remembering

Today Dr B and I attended my cousin’s memorial gathering. Tomorrow YoungB and I will attend his interment. There were some laughs today and will doubtless be a few tomorrow, too. But on the whole, it will be real as we watch the coffin descending in a way it wasn’t today when our attention was focused on poor speakers and funny photos of a much younger man. Death is like that. It’s not only a great leveller, its (nowadays all-but mandatory) accompanying slideshow brings hilarity and heartache in about equal measure: a particular t-shirt, a wildly 70’s set of (naturally) auburn-coloured sideburns – they were impressive, I must say! – and children you never knew as children now young adults with whom you share a blood tie, the experience of grief, and little else.

In the photos I have – few enough, for all the years, because, when we were younger, photos were things for occasions not the everyday; and this particular occasion was my 21st birthday – he’s wearing a cardigan I know to have been handknitted by his mother. I can guarantee there was love in every cabled stitch ๐Ÿ™‚

As to progress on my own knitting for an hour a day, either the socks for Dr B or the beanie for middle Uncle? Yeah, no. I’ll get there. Just not yet awhile.

 

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