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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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never mind the fingers, find the feet

I did it last year, over tougher terrain. I can do it again.

I did it last year, over tougher terrain. I can do it again.

YoungB has appointed himself my personal trainer for this year’s Bloody Long Walk. So far we’re both failing spectacularly. Even more than last year, Life seems to be getting in the way of our best intentions. For example, he’s just returned from a donation at the Blood Bank with orders to sleep. That won’t provide motivation or training tips for his poor old mother, will it?

But the clock is ticking and 21 August is, gulp, entirely too close. I’m planning to do a walk today, while the sun is shining and before I find too much housework whose screams for attention can no longer be ignored. So it will be a matter of not minding my fingers, finding my feet – on longer walks than those I manage daily – and, if I can pull it off, pretending to a fair amount of deafness. My tinnitus is about the same pitch as many of the appliances, so it might just be my ears buzzing. Right?

If you’ve done your bit for personal fitness today, then happy knitting, crochet, sewing, tatting or whatever your activity of choice might be, everyone. If you could manage a row or two for me while I’m out acquiring some blisters (I hope not; but best to be prepared, don’t you think?), that would be heaps good 🙂

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2016 in Health, Knitting

 

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the backward glance

Made it to the end, just like the year.

Made it to the end, just like the year.

Here it is, New Year’s Eve again. If you celebrate Christmas, I hope yours was happy. If you go all out for the New Year’s party, may it be wonderful and you not have too sore a head tomorrow.

2015 has been a messy year and not one I’d consider particularly productive. Having said that, my Ravelry page reminds me that I knitted fingerless mitts and crocheted (mostly Moebius) cowls, some begun long ago but all finished this year. There were 13 in total. I also failed to complete mitts that I began around the time we were moving offices, although I might well complete those in 2016, and another pair where I ran out of yarn and couldn’t find anything matching. That will require fancier footwork than I had time for when I was making them, but they have not been frogged.

With regard to sewing, apart from rescuing various bits of this and that – YoungB’s jeans, mostly – I made four cooling neck bandannas for the Bloody Long Walk. I also produced 270 metres of bunting for Eldest Niece’s wedding and some lavender bags for a raffle prize, as well as some pockets for YoungB’s motorcycling armour (additional protection for a couple of long road trips). Perhaps I didn’t need to do a lot else.

My other mighty commitment and achievement for the year was training for and completing the Bloody Long Walk, with splendid support from workmates, everyone in the family and my HiTec boots. Even though I said I wouldn’t do the BLW again, Youngest Aunt and I agreed only the other day that we need to start training soon 🙂

YoungB returned from Italy and has managed to reach the end of his academic year with reasonable results. I think that’s as much as we could have expected from him, considering how much he struggled to regain momentum and motivation.

Also, Eldest Niece is now a married lady and her wedding to Mr Eldest Niece was one of the happiest such occasions I have ever attended. The bunting looked good, too 🙂

Christmas? Yes, it happened. I managed to get our Advent Calendar hanging a few days before it was required and the tree up before Christmas Day. Winner! We spent time with family and friends and if things were more chaotic than usual because of unexpected equipment failures – vacuum cleaner, gearbox in family car – and some equally unexpected medical issues, then it didn’t detract from our enjoyment of the occasion.

I’ve managed to read a few books – too few; but I generally don’t have a lot of opportunity to read except on public transport and, although I’m on that for hours of every working day, I’m sometimes too tired to make the effort – and feel particularly chuffed to have finished the latest title in the Inspector Ricciardi series by Maurizio De Giovanni, one that YoungB brought back from Italy for me.

I’ve successfully reached the halfway point in an online family history unit I’m undertaking through the University of Tasmania. In real terms, my genealogical research is often shelved for months at a stretch because life happens and it’s not the most important thing. In this instance, I’ve renewed subscriptions to this, that and the next genealogical website and/or organisation and started delving into written records because there’s nobody left to ask. Like most of us, I don’t have to look far to find mysteries. I’m toying with which mystery to investigate further for the long, final assignment.

And in something utterly unrelated to anything, we’ve wound up the year splendidly with a trip to the Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens to see a rare event: the flowering of an Amorphophallus Titanum, also known as Titan Arum or corpse flower. The day was stinking, even if the flower wasn’t (at least when we were there). There were koalas watching us from some nearby tall gums. It was a fitting finale for 2015.

 

 

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bombed again

We weren't looking for any of these yesterday :)

We weren’t looking for any of these yesterday 🙂

Youngest Aunt and I trained for the Bloody Long Walk yesterday, and did encounter one part that required scrambling on the beach. After having walked about 20 Km (17 Km on the actual training walk, the rest on various to-and-fro trips around public transport, shopping, visiting friends and the like), I wrote a post about our day’s adventures. It disappeared when my computer crashed. Again.

In other news, fabrics for the wedding decorations are now in my sewing room. I’ve ordered new pinking shears, stocked up on thread and ensured a supply of blades for my rotary cutters. Given half a chance, and measurements for the area to be adorned, I ought to be able to make a start on the project fairly soon.

I sincerely hope that your endeavours have encountered fewer frustrations :-/

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2015 in Health, Sewing

 

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flexibility is the name of the game

A small dam along one of the walking paths, just the thing for pausing and catching your breath while you take a couple of photos :)

A small dam along one of the walking paths, just the thing for pausing and catching your breath while you take a couple of photos 🙂

Today’s planned training for the Bloody Long Walk involved Dr B and YoungB accompanying me to conquer some serious hills and a few steps and stairs. What eventuated was my walking alone for 10 Km on relatively flat ground. No matter. It was a walk and there was some up-and-down involved (where we live, any walking involves a degree of climbing).

Because the Bs weren’t accompanying me, I was disinclined to tackle rough terrain in a park where I couldn’t guarantee there’d be anyone remotely nearby if I fell. The alternative path I chose is well used and backs onto suburban housing. I’m still feeling the tail end of that bug, because the two-hour effort today was about as much as I could cope with.

Dr B has gone into town to listen to a band, YoungB is zizzing on the lounge, and I suppose I should finish folding the last of the laundry before it’s bedtime and Monday morning is once again summoning me.

I hope your weekend plans have gone according to plan. Or, if not, that you were able to be flexible to suit the changing circumstances 🙂

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2015 in Health, Photography

 

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shall we cross our fingers and hope it’s third time lucky?

Taking it at a run makes it easier but sometimes you have to plod along until you get to the other side

Taking it at a run makes it easier but sometimes you have to plod along until you get to the other side

Two previous posts vanished. One might have been my fault, the other was not 😦 and I’m uncertain if this will make it beyond my desktop. Fnigres corsesd.

So it’s oh well, here we are again and, you know, it’s still winter, I’m tired of the cold (how about just tired?), the Bloody Long Walk is frighteningly close and I’m still somewhat under the weather with a tail-end-of-winter bug that has made, and continues to make, training a fairly unappealing if not occasionally impossible task though everyone else is going great guns with their training, work is so busy I don’t know what to tackle next from the pile, I finished Nonna’s cowl (using remnants of the Moda Vera Ambruni), and YoungB is home and it cheers me to see him still wearing the grey sweatshirt I made for him and even – take note! – to see Dr B wearing a balaclava I made for YoungB. It’s so cold we don’t care who wears what, really, it’s whatever it takes to keep the heat in (Dr B is not entirely bald. But there’s not a lot on top).

More worryingly, I haven’t started the bunting for Eldest Niece’s wedding, though she assures me she has all the fabric. The trouble is, the wedding is in October and, you know, I rarely have the luxury of full days available to me for sewing (especially with training to catch up on and maybe one weekend day with shared availability because of domestic interruptions). Never mind, we’ll get there. We will, one foot after the other. It’s really no good stressing about it because nothing I can say or do will change the situation.

I’d like to make all our Bloody Long Walkers a cooling neck collar – there are 11 in one team and six of us loosely associated but not precisely a team – so that’s another sewing task I need to address more urgently than the wedding decorations. If push comes to shove, I’ll do the six for my immediate crew and let the other team manage without but it would be good to have something for everyone. I think it’s unlikely to be hot in September, on present indications, but it’s foolish to be unprepared. Neck coolers are at least simple and, in this case, I think Great Aunt’s nurse’s uniform fabric might be just the shot: quality cotton and plentiful, no matter how many collars I make.

Wherever you are, whatever you’re up to and whatever weather surrounds you, I hope you’re finding a comfy spot to pursue all your favourite activities. I’m off to do some sewing.

 

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