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Tag Archives: Bendigo Woollen Mills Classic yarn

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 🙂 – 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 🙂

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2016 in Health, Knitting

 

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that rare occasion and some questions

As it turns out, it fits me quite well.

As it turns out, it fits me quite well.

I rarely get smug about my  knitting. I make too many stuff-ups for that! But generally, I reckon that if I follow the designer’s instructions, I’ll end up with what I want. Now and then, I might look at something I haven’t seen for a while and be pleasantly surprised by what a good job I’ve done. Is that being smug? I don’t think so.

Imagine me the other day, sitting on a suburban bus and watching other passengers file on. Several of them were wearing beanies. The day was chilly. I also wore a beanie. And I admit to having a moment of feeling utterly – yes, dreadful but true – smug about mine: it was handmade and unique 🙂 Justified, just a bit? Probably.

The only remaining question is, should I retrofit a pompom?

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2016 in Knitting

 

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getting round to things

Eldest Niece's mitts have finally left my hands and I hope they'll soon be keeping hers warm.

Eldest Niece’s mitts have finally left my hands and I hope they’ll soon be keeping hers warm.

Today, the Aunts, two of the Nieces and I joined a fundraising walk, a gentle 4 Km circuit beginning and ending at a beachside venue familiar to me from the occasional Audax Christmas dinner. I don’t think any of us came remotely close to working up a sweat. No matter. We did it and enjoyed ourselves. Also, it provided an opportunity for me to hand over Youngest Niece’s birthday cowl (crocheted using Moda Vera Ambruni yarn) as well as the fingerless mitts for Eldest Nephew (knitted using Country Tartan 8 ply yarn) and Eldest Niece (photographed above and knitted using Bendigo’s Murano yarn, nominally an 8 ply). Middle Niece is pondering her options and will probably put in an order for one or the other article for her birthday in June 🙂

Meanwhile, I’m about four stitches away from completion of unpicking the sticky beanie (knitted using Moda Vera Bouvardia yarn) and hope to be back on the knitting of it by tonight (the four stitches are where I’ve woven in the ends, so I’m finding them particularly tricky). I won’t complete it tonight but it will only take a couple of evenings of work (it’s knitted in the round so there’s no seaming to contend with) to have it where it needs to be: ready for popping in the post to the friend whose head it’s intended to cover. Then, and I’ve promised myself it will be only then, I can make a start on some socks for Dr B.

And that’s as much of a plan as I can wrap my head around at the moment. Work is manically busy and we continue to have computer problems on the home front. I hope you’re faring better, whatever your weather and whatever you’re getting round to 🙂

 

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musings on mail and vexing calculations

Definitely white; this was a practice effort that has found a home with a colleague

Definitely white; this was a practice effort that has found a home with a colleague

Online ordering is quick and the results are occasionally fantastic. I was delighted that YoungB’s combined Christmas and birthday present, a pair of mid-length Ugg boots, arrived safely in a remarkably short time frame (particularly given that he’s in Italy; and, yes, I did send him some fingerless mitts for his actual birthday). The colour of the boots is brighter than I’d thought it might be but he loves them. Excellent.

I remain similarly impressed by the rapidity with which I take delivery of yarn orders from Bendigo. The contents of one recent packet were earmarked for a couple of cowls and a hat or maybe a couple of hats and a cowl but the idea was that one lot was for immediate use crocheting Youngest Niece’s requested cowl. My heart sank, however, when I pulled out what I’d seen as a white only to discover it wasn’t white at all. No matter. It won’t go to waste. That did, however, leave me with a shrinking time frame that I thought would be best addressed by the purchase of different yarn that I could actually check for myself as to colour.

Friday nights in the city can be quite a lot of fun. I walked into town after work, then I tucked into a bowl of laksa noodle soup with dumplings and a big pot of jasmine tea at one of my favourite eateries (Dumplings R Us, but it has no website). After that, I set out to buy yarn. I went from Lincraft to Spotlight, looking for a thick, white, woollen yarn. What I eventually found wasn’t what I’d had in mind but it was soft and, although there’s an acrylic component, it’s not so high that the resulting yarn feels plastic (unlike one that I used to work out a pattern; that was so plastic it actually squeaked). Luckily or unluckily, having been unwell with a cold, I was able to sit about and do not much but crochet the cowl, so I finished it well in time for Youngest Niece’s birthday.

What would it cost if I were to charge for it? Of course I take no account of the practice cowls or any of the work I did on the not-white one – I’ve now finished that and put it in my “this will come in useful for someone” box – but it took me easily 10 hours of work. You couldn’t possibly expect anyone to pay what that would mean in terms of cost, even if I worked it out at the Australian minimum wage (which is around $16.88 per hour). The yarn was $8 per 100-gram ball and I made a sizeable dent on the third ball. Let’s call that was $20. The work? Even at $10 per hour – such a low figure would raise the ire of people who do this sort of thing for a living; and rightly so – let’s say we’re looking at 10 hours or $100? No, you couldn’t anticipate that anyone would actually pay that amount for a very plain, hand-crocheted cowl. Yes, in real terms, it would be worth at least that much. I personally would be astonished if anyone were prepared to pay $50 for such a thing. So there’s the old discussion: handcrafting doesn’t pay.

As I say, for me this is just a hobby so I crochet in this case, or knit more usually, during my long commutes and maybe while I’m sitting around after tea discussing the day’s news or the next day’s schedule. It gives me something to do and makes me a nicer person. That shouldn’t devalue what I do but I understand that some might make an argument that I ought not to charge a high hourly rate. Some might even suggest that I shouldn’t charge at all for my time in those circumstances. I’m happy to make things for family members who appreciate them – and that Youngest Niece actually asked for this because she loves the original so much means she certainly is one such person – and I would never expect to factor in cost. All the same, if I wanted to be paid for my time, how would I ever calculate its worth?

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2015 in Crochet, Knitting, Musing, Travel

 

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if not winning, then certainly grinning

You’ve probably noticed how erratically I’ve been blogging. That’s been largely because I’ve had no desktop computer for the best part of a year. Tonight I’m back on a desktop computer; my own, what’s more. This is a reality too wonderful to contemplate so it’s a good thing that there are downsides such as a very sticky keyboard – that’s been swapped already – and quite the wrong workstation to accommodate the new machine.

The experience of being without a computer for such a long time leads me to observe that, when you can’t use your computer, you end up not doing a lot of work that you should be doing, which is occasionally close to disastrous. On the other hand, if you knit and crochet, you end up doing a lot of crocheting and knitting and I have been: several crocheted cowls and six pairs of knitted, fingerless mitts (at last count). The mitts – using a variety of yarns but predominantly Bendigo’s Murano – have garnered particular admiration and a rash of requests for made-to-order birthday presents. “Please?” Eldest Niece asked in a very winning way. I like it when people ask for something I can manage that I know they’ll use and enjoy. Not having a computer for so long wasn’t a win in most respects but I am at least grinning because I can truthfully say that I’m doing quite well with my not-a-New-Year’s-resolution to spend more time being creative.

Next step, sorting out photos! Wish me luck.Or do you think I should step away from that for another year?

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2015 in Crochet, Knitting

 

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not a good start but a better second plan

You know how I mentioned that I was considering remaking an existing garment so I’d have a newer one to wear to a party? Yeah, well, I didn’t do it. There was no time. Too many of life’s little interruptions are already interrupting the smooth run of the year. No big deal. The intention was a good one but sometimes other priorities override the best of intentions. That’s why I have a couple of respectable dresses in my wardrobe. They’re old – we are talking considerably older than YoungB – but they were good quality when new and I wear them so seldom that people think they’re new. 🙂 Even Dr B has made that assumption about one of them!

That was the outcome of my first half-maybe-a-sort-of-plan project for the year. Moving right along, Youngest Niece has asked me if I would make her another cowl for winter. She offered to buy the yarn and pay me for my labours, which I greatly appreciated. Her birthday is coming up, so I think I can use that as a very good excuse for getting busy with my crochet hook and not worrying about payment; though, as I say, I truly appreciate her offer because it’s a recognition that there’s time and effort involved as well as yarn. The caveat might be that if, for instance, any of her friends would like such a cowl because they admire hers so much, I would expect them to pay. With that in mind, I intend to keep a rough tally of how many hours it takes. It will be several bus trips, I promise you.

Yes, it’s a crocheted cowl. I made her a green one some years ago and she loves it but finds that it’s not a colour she wears with much but black. However, she would wear a white cowl with most other garments in her wardrobe. That’s me sorted for commute crafting for the next couple of weeks, I think, if I can remember quite which of the many designs I used for her original cowl. The beauty of crochet, of course, is that it doesn’t require quite so much arm space on a crowded bus. I have ordered some yarn from my favourite supplier and it’s on its way; but that will mean I don’t make an immediate start. Her birthday isn’t for another three or four weeks. That’s bags of time, I tell you, absolutely bags; probably enough time for me to knit her an accompanying beanie, so long as I stick to a plainish design (not TOO many cables and stuff).

Anyone wanna bet how quickly that plan also gets derailed?

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2015 in Crochet, Knitting, Sewing

 

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