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Tag Archives: Bendigo Woollen Mills

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 🙂

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

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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 🙂 – 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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totally tinked

Next time it won't look messy like this. Promise :)

Next time it won’t look messy like this. Promise 🙂

During a trip to the Hills today, because I wasn’t driving I managed to tink the entirety of the tension square. Now it’s a matter of dividing my yarn so I can do both socks at once, then on with the actual knitting. This would be some of the fiddliest prep work I’ve done in a long time, but I’m sure the resulting socks will be worth every bit of effort.

With regard to time, even doing a tidy job of the yarn division, it won’t come in at an hour’s worth. All the same, there’s a good chance I might spend more time on it later in the evening. I think that’s progress, however slow.

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2016 in Knitting

 

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the unexpected, sideways wallop

Looking the goods in a nicely masculine colourway.

Seems as if it’s looking the goods, in a nicely masculine colourway.

Day 3 saw the tension square arrive at the point where I thought I’d done enough to check it. Then Life did one of those, “You’re getting too complacent. I think it’s time I walloped you with a bit of four be six,” numbers in the shape of news of the sudden, unexpected death of a close cousin: not only close by blood and near in age, but one with whom I’d remained in contact as we’d both wandered across the globe and through life. Yeah. Not truly conducive to knitting for a couple of days, that’s for sure. Sorry, Meredithe; I know you’ll understand.

However, given the restorative power of creativity, I’ve checked the tension and it does look the goods, so I’m now tinking that to reuse the yarn and get cracking on the socks. Straight knitting is going to be easier than the tricky stuff involved in doing a circular sample with a straight technique. You get lots of dangles at the back and it’s messy. Goodbye to all that and on with magically looping both socks at once. That will have its own mess, I dare say, but I should at least hit a good rhythm with genuine circular knitting and the wonderful Old Joe pattern.

So it’s on with the knitting and on with life; and may all your news be good.

 
 

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there’s the injured nephew

Eldest Nephew recently fell and damaged his elbow. It’s in a backslab plaster now but expected to improve to a hinged brace by the end of the week. I asked Middle Aunt if there was anything I could do for him; like maybe knit him an arm warmer? She laughed. But she did ask if I would make Middle Uncle a pure-wool beanie, please, in a nice, sober shade of blue. I suggested a mix with alpaca to ensure softness on his not-very-hirsute pate. The outcome was that, as long as the fibres were natural, that would be fine. Luckily for me, this limited release yarn is a wool/alpaca mix and has a couple of shades of blue. I can do that. I’ve sent off the order.

And then I’ve decided to join Meredithe in doing an hour of knitting a day – in my case – and I’d already said socks. I’ve bitten the bullet and finally purchased the Yarn Harlot‘s lovely Old Joe pattern (of which Dr B approves, and that’s good because this pair will be for him). I’m now about to fossick around in the sewing room to find the sock yarn. I’m a little late starting the hour-a-day effort, but I’m sure to be able to catch up by dint of putting in some dedicated commuter knitting in the next few days.

The other beanie I’d begun (for Dr B)? It’s been back-burnered but not frogged. You see? Plans are always flexible. Happy knitting!

 
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Posted by on July 18, 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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annual cycle of feast or famine

Still going, though perhaps not strong. I made it in 1988.

Dr B’s cabled jumper is still going, though perhaps not strong. I made it in 1988.

You know how it is. After the busy-ness dies down and life gets back to normal, you want to knit, but don’t have a project in mind. You can’t quite bring yourself to get back into the swing of tinking the existing projects (there are several, as I said last time). And then, into your email inbox – right on cue, just like last year – pops some irresistible temptation from Bendigo. Last year it was sock yarn that lured me. This year, it’s their latest, lovely, special yarn. The variegated colourways are attractive and there’s a black-grey mix. YoungB’s birthday jumper – in some pattern suited to the yarn, of course, not the original choice over which he dithered so much I gave up – looks like a winning option again. Quickly, before you change your mind, you dig out a fast, easy pattern and order the yarn. Well, that’s what I did, anyway.

Then Dr B and YoungB returned from visiting a friend, who continues to be remarkably impressed by the – now very old and falling to pieces, but too nice to throw out – jumper I made for Dr B during the first year we were married, and which he still wears because he loves it. As you can see, it’s riddled with cables, albeit at the lower end of complexity. Otherwise you die of boredom. Right? It is a nice jumper and I think it’s beginning to influence YoungB (who once refused to borrow it for a ski trip because of the cables; but who’s now experienced a truly chilly, Northern-hemisphere winter and has doubtless seen others wearing handmade jumpers of similar design).

YoungB then suggested that he’d quite like a beanie. With cables on it. I hauled out my trusty old Patons Book 483 Winter Warmers that I’ve been using for ever, and showed him a couple of patterns. He chose a Fair Isle one, pattern 17, as well as one with cables, pattern 18, after also considering pattern 22, which is the one I made for Dr C a couple of years ago. He and I shuffled off to our LYS to choose some yarn. I’ve been knitting for enough years to know that, as long as you buy reasonable quality yarn and ensure that it’s all from the same manufacturer – as well as the obvious colour and dye-lot matches, if it’s a single-colour buy – then you don’t have to buy the yarn specified. After looking at and comparing several different brands of pure-wool yarns, we picked out four different shades of blue for the Fair Isle beanie, and a grey wool and alpaca mix for the cabled number (I see it more as an obvious grey, he sees it as having a strong teal hue).

Now all I have to do is think of something quick and appropriate that I can make for a colleague’s birthday on Thursday, though I’ll start the knitting immediately and, fnigres corsesd, hope that I don’t get too many interruptions. Realistically, I’m likely to come to grief on the jumper but it IS a quick and easy pattern. The beanies will take time, but when you commute for the best part of three hours, five days a week, then time is not your main problem. It’s finding the dedication. Given that YoungB specifically asked for a beanie, and chose the pattern and yarn himself, then I dare say the dedication will be easier to find than it often is.

Have you reached the annual point where you simply have to have some knitting to keep you sane?

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2016 in Knitting

 

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