Tag Archives: Moda Vera

that was the CAL cowl


Fit for purpose and very warm

Tracy was running a series of KAL/CAL events, with a range of themes. For the March event, I knitted the Bloom-ing beanie for Nic, and delivered it for her 50th birthday, as planned. I’m sure it’s been getting a great workout since then as she dashes about suburbia on her morning walks. We are past midwinter and the daylight hours are noticeably longer, but early-morning temperatures remain appallingly unfriendly.

I managed to crochet a cowl for the April event, with the intention of wearing it under my new, maroon jacket. That’s it in the photo. I used Moda Vera Malibu, a pure wool 8-ply yarn, with inbuilt colour changes and slightly irregular thickness. The colourway is 86718, which is mostly shades of blue and grey. I used a 5.75mm hook, and worked half-trebles (UK terminology) into the back loop only. The side outermost in the photo looks knitted and is delightfully smooth. The other side is also attractive enough to wear facing out. It is bumpier in appearance and rougher in texture, but not harsh against the skin.

For August, the theme is to finish a WIP. I have so many that you’d think I could gallop to the finish line. You’d be wrong. I find myself well occupied with other sorts of creative work: reinventing oneself requires new ways of looking at everything. Repackaging and presenting to best advantage is surely creativity at its finest.

I am also rewarding myself by catching up with a few old friends during the interlavorum. This is a new word I coined in the style of interregnum, to mean “the time between jobs”. Purists – that is, people who are Latin scholars – might argue that it ought to be interopum, but that doesn’t roll off the tongue nearly as easily and, you know, it’s my word. I can do what I like with it.

All the best to you with enjoying your interlavorum if you happen to be at such a stage 😀


1 Comment

Posted by on August 12, 2019 in Crochet, Knitting


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

degrees of difference


My phone camera is dying, so apologies for the poor quality. You get the idea, however. Another tidy little scrapbuster.

There I was, sitting with Dr B and watching a TV program. I needed something to do with my hands. And I need to keep whittling away at that stash. So the other night, while YoungB zizzed on the mattress with the aircon at full bore, I crocheted up a beautifully soft, warm cowl. Yeah! Just what you do when it’s above 40C.

This is a mix of yarns, all with a high acrylic content. The lighter stripe is Lincraft Big Wool Solids, in what I think was described as denim. It’s a blue colourway, rather than green. The yarn at the bottom of the photo is Moda Vera Manor in colour 52, dye lot 1010109, and it’s definitely a green colourway. The starting blue-green colourway (at the top of the photo) is a mystery, but possibly Moda Vera Bouvardia leftovers from an earlier beanie. I used a 9mm crochet hook.

Best wishes for all your stashbusting, and may you never be afflicted with unidentifiable yarn 🙂


Leave a comment

Posted by on February 4, 2019 in Crochet


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

done and delivered

Accompanied by the usual: a handmade lavender bag

Accompanied by the usual: a handmade lavender bag

After work today I took the cowl to my friend for whom it was intended. She knew exactly what it was. And she loved it.


Posted by on May 31, 2016 in Knitting


Tags: , , , , , , ,

not torso

"Madonna mia," he said.

“Madonna mia,” he said.

YoungB took a couple of photos on one of the proper cameras, but then the card reader wouldn’t work. So what you have there is me horsing around with a finished object that YoungB insists is headgear rather than neckwear.

I’ll let you decide, shall I?


Posted by on May 30, 2016 in Knitting


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

heaps good moments

Right there, just where you get to take off that row marker. How good is that?

Right there, just where you get to take off that row marker. How good is that?

When I’m knitting something in the round, there are a couple of moments I particularly enjoy, and one follows hot upon the heels of the other. Taking off the row marker is one.

Then you start to see the gap and you know the end is near

Then you start to see the gap and you know the end is near

That’s the next bit that’s heaps good. You know you’re on the home stretch.

So, yeah, it’s taken considerably longer than three hours, and total time elapsed from start to finish probably exceeds thirty-three, but it’s done and blocking.

Dr B loves the colours but hates the cowl. I’ll admit that, at the moment, I’m entirely unconvinced by either. I suspect the yarn lends itself better to something knitted more vertically, such as a long scarf, but I’m not about to turn around and find out. And perhaps its thick/thin character isn’t as good with this garment as a yarn of more consistent thickness. Never mind. The cowl is certainly warm and, now that winter seems to have arrived, heralded by a clap of thunder and torrential downpours, the warmth is definitely the main consideration.

Leave a comment

Posted by on May 28, 2016 in Knitting


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

if we’re still talking multiples of three

Obviously larger now, and with the end in sight.

Obviously larger now, and with the end in sight.

So that’s how far I’ve gone with the cowl. Only a few more repeats of the fancy row and I’ll be finished. It acquired some unintended dodgy bits today as I sat at the kitchen table and read a friend’s imaging report, which mentioned the dreaded “C” word. That’s probably why I either miscounted or got tangled up in a loop. No, I didn’t unpick to fix it up, just kept right on knitting; rather as we’re going to keep right on laughing through the latest lot of bad news.

I don’t see myself doing one of these for today’s visitor, even though he could probably carry it off. My poor little hands just would not cope with a lot more work on those large needles. They’re 7 mm and on straights I can manage up to about 10 mm with relative ease. Much as I love circular needles, I find them clumsier and more painful. So, you know, a mistake or two knitted in along with the love and pain? Nobody is going to notice.

I hope your knitting is progressing well and that all your news is cheerful 🙂

Leave a comment

Posted by on May 21, 2016 in Knitting


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

bean(ie) counting?

Bright and cheerful and bound to be deliciously warm

Bright and cheerful and bound to be deliciously warm

You remember how I’d hoped to finish that second beanie really quickly? Yeah, I know. Dooming myself to failure at the outset, wasn’t I? It has been such a busy time at work that there was an evening last week where I was asleep at the table, face down in my dinner much the way a toddler sometimes is. You can’t count stitches and decreases in a beanie when all you’re eyeballing are your beans. And that’s my excuse for the appalling miscalculation with beanie 2, which is too small! I could perhaps wear it and one of our extremely petite female friends could certainly do so, or it could be put in a raffle as a child’s beanie. Someone, somewhere will be able to wear it. No harm done, though I don’t think I want to knit another to that pattern just yet. Something with unambiguous cables will be fine.

But in true, “You thought that was tricky? Try this!” fashion, I’ve found myself suddenly needing another cowl for a friend who’s unexpectedly about to undergo major surgery. I’ll once again knit a 3-hour cowl. It takes me longer than three hours – I’ve already had to unpick! – but it’s a quick knit even at my pace and the resulting cowl attractive as well as something different from anything you could purchase.

The yarn is I’m using Moda Vera’s Fitzroy, which I think is a new season’s release. I bought it at my LYS on Sunday while Dr B and YoungB hunter-gathered some groceries. Fitzroy is a 12 ply/bulky weight and I’m knitting it on a 7 mm circular needle. As with my previous make, I’m not following the instructions religiously, but the difference in appearance caused by my knitting the slipped stitches in situ then passing them over – rather than, as the instructions advise, moving them around then slipping and knitting – is minimal. For me, there’s less likelihood of dropped stitches and if I say that’s what it’s meant to look like, I’m sure the recipient won’t argue.

So, yeah, beanies? Not entirely 🙂


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

more rovescio than diritto

To put that into context for you, they’re Italian knitting terms: diritto means knit, rovescio means purl (and knitting is lavorare a maglia as opposed to crochet, which is done with an uncinetto and is also called uncinetto). Rovescio also has that other connotation or overtone of “reverse”. Although I’ve been knitting my most recent beanie in the round and therefore there’s only been a bit of rovescio at the start to do the ribbing, I’ve certainly been reversing a fair amount of it while helping out with the Italian emails. My pile of kinked yarn is growing as I steadily tink back to the point where I goofed with the shaping. You wouldn’t think it would take so long – and if I’d simply yanked the needles out and pulled, it probably wouldn’t – but this yarn (I’m once again using Moda Vera Bouvardia, which has some unexpected but attractive colourways and always knits up to a soft, warm finish) is slightly sticky and I’ve found in the past that it’s better served by being taken apart stitch by stitch, however painful. That’s what I’ve been doing, round by careful round and doing my best not to poke anyone in the eye as I wave my spare set member about (that would be a DPN, by the way, for anyone who prefers that terminology).

Reversing a reverse

Reversing a reverse

Also, we’ve been doing a lot of Italian here lately (spot the Italian dictionary in the photo). All three of us spent a whole day curled up in bed – because Dr B had bunged up his knee and couldn’t walk; but there was work to be done! – writing a fairly simple email to the Italian academic liaison officer who’s YoungB’s contact person at Bologna. There is nothing simple about an email that needs to clarify many of the subtle points arising from the very different academic systems. However, with all of us on the job, me on coffee brigade, YoungB occasionally calling it quits to go stretch his legs and Dr B keeping us focused on the job and acting as our (Italian) thesaurus, we did it. Trouble is, as YoungB says, we’ve set the bar too high. His [written in the email] Italian sounds so good that they probably think he’s practically dreaming in it. Uuh, not quite. However, by the end of the day – you might call it a crash course in bureaucratese immersion – he was certainly much better able to come up with his own alternative modes of expression.

After a few heart-stopping moments early in the day, when it seemed as if nothing we’d said previously was going to carry any weight short of taking our case to a Very Big Wig (and that’s something you want to avoid at all costs, Italian bureaucracy being what it is), we managed to convince the folk in Italy that, well, all things considered, this kid is practically a genius! No, he’s not. He’s bright enough but intellectually lazy – one of his Year 12 teachers advised him that he wouldn’t be able to get by on good looks and charm for much longer, at which we laughed uproariously (hardly the ideal parental response) – but even so, the biggest hurdle wasn’t whether or not he was up to the subject choices, disparate though they appeared at first glance, more that the Italian system doesn’t seem to have much space for combined degree patterns though there’s enormous flexibility within degrees. In the end that might amount to the same thing.

Be that as it may, YoungB is enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science combined degree. It’s not that uncommon here though there are other degree programs with higher enrolment numbers (anything with Law and Economics, for example, and the Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Music is likewise popular; in that case largely, I suspect, because it allows music students to have better employment options at the end of it all). Because YoungB likes humanities subjects and science subjects and he had – indeed, still has – no idea of what he wants to do when he finishes his undergraduate studies, the double degree sounded like the best of both worlds and a good basis for whatever he might decide to take to higher study. Nobody said it was going to be easy, and it hasn’t been, but he’s passing his exams and enjoying himself. That’s reward enough for his efforts, we think.

While it might be the case that there are Italian universities where such weirdness exists happily, Bologna doesn’t seem to have that crossover readily available, hence the root cause of much of our recent anxiety. Once we’d curled up and nutted out a detailed but not overdone explanation of what YoungB’s subjects hitherto had involved and further explained why he’d chosen first-year subjects at 75% load – his poor Italian skills being a big part of all that, as he pointed out at different parts of the email – the very prompt response was, “OK, you’re good to go with what you’ve chosen,” or words to that effect. There was a further comment in the email that it’s unusual to be doing such unrelated areas of study concurrently, hence our feeling that combined degrees in such diverse disciplines are either rare or non-existent in the Italian tertiary sector. Never mind. We got the green light so whichever way you look at it, that was a very good use of our day.

I’m not quite back to going forward with my knitting, but there’s probably only another round to tink before I’ll once again be roaring full steam ahead with diminishing the number of stitches. My friend whose head this beanie is intended to cover is already in dire need of it – he lives in Tasmania, where the mornings are cold – so, along with the urgency of needing to explain newfangled Aussie degrees and degree patterns to an Italian at Europe’s oldest university, there’s the urgency of a bald head that needs a warm hat. It’s now going to be diritto all the way and no rovescio at all if I can help it. Would you reckon that’s going to work or will there be another slew of unpredictable reverses to push it all onto the back burner? Only time will tell.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

FO: chevron-style scarf

The little scarf I made is just a single-repeat version of this lovely pattern which is, as I said, simple enough to require minimal concentration. I used 6.5 mm needles and one skein of Moda Vera Faith yarn which is described as 2ply/laceweight. After blocking, it’s about 6 inches/15 cm by 68 inches/172 cm. It wasn’t intended to be for me (I had it in mind for the FO/emergency gift container) so it was nice to find a recipient for it at a family dinner recently. We were celebrating what would have been my Dad’s 100th birthday and a newcomer to the family, hailing from a warmer clime, didn’t have a warm scarf. Obvious answer? Giver her this one.

Remember, it's about the scarf, not whether I've tied it well or it.suits me!

Remember, it’s about the scarf, not whether I’ve tied it well or it.suits me!

Leave a comment

Posted by on July 13, 2013 in Knitting


Tags: , , , , , , ,