RSS

Tag Archives: Ravelry

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 🙂

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 😉 Isn’t that right?

 
4 Comments

Posted by on October 4, 2016 in Knitting

 

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

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.

 
 

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

a big, post-election grumble about a lot of what I see

No grumbles with this pattern, which is progressing nicely

No grumbles with this pattern, which is progressing nicely

I sat down to write one post and seem to have written two! Please ignore whichever half bores you 😉

The thing about trawling the web and looking at lots of posts on sewing is that so much of what I see strikes me a bit like Arthur Dent‘s house: it precisely fails to please the eye. I can see that the cut is lovely, or the colour is, or that it’s beautifully made but sometimes? Sometimes the proportion is all wrong or the colour doesn’t suit the person wearing it and the cut isn’t flattering on the figure of the wearer. The bodice of a drop-waisted skirt is too long or perhaps it’s the skirt that’s too short (or possibly long), though the overall length is fine, but together? It just doesn’t work. That is to say, even allowing for the fact that IRL when it’s moving rather than static it might look better, it just doesn’t work to my eye.

There are patterns about which the online sewing community seems to go into raptures and, although I can find individual things to like about each of the iterations I come across, it leaves me cold. Most of the Colette patterns are in that category – and because plainly designed for a body shape that mine has never been and is now unlikely to achieve, I don’t buy Colette patterns – which is a bit sad because I like the idea of supporting Indie designers rather than the Big Companies. The passion for Tilly‘s Coco was a bit similar; it didn’t ring my bells. And that’s OK. We’re not all the same.

With regard to the clothing, I accept that I’m in no position to criticise, because I myself don’t really make much; some might say I don’t make anything at all and that’s perhaps near enough to the truth. But it’s like singing: just as I can still hear whether that’s good or bad and give you very concise and informed reasons why it’s one or the other, though I do so little of it myself nowadays, I can tell you why those patterns don’t work. That doesn’t mean other people will have the same opinion.

Overall, however, it serves to reinforce the notion that anyone who wants to make their own clothing really needs to be able to draft a pattern and/or be able to make drastic alterations to a pre-existing one. That’s quite an ask in an age where these things are not taught at school. I was fortunate enough to learn pattern-drafting at primary school. My suspicion is that the more any person who sews uses a prefabricated pattern from anywhere – Big Company or Indie designer – the more the realisation grows that, no, it’s not going to cut it to keep doing this. You have to draft your own.

While I’m on a roll, something else that gets up my nose big time is the modern penchant for squashing breasts to flatness. I genuinely appreciate the need for comfort and support, I get the bit about not wanting to bounce around too much and I certainly understand the value of a minimising bra; but one that leaves you looking like some weird sort of chook gone wrong? Uuh, yeah, maybe not. It’s not flattering, it makes the clothes hang badly and, in some cases, is decidedly part of why the clothes don’t look particularly flattering. They’re being beaten at their own game by over-eager corsetry. I don’t have a problem with what’s occasionally described as industrial-strength undergarments so long as they don’t make the body shape they’re assisting into something that no longer resembles a normal, female body. (For tonight’s homework, define normal.) Yeah. I’m feeling cranky.

I admit it: that crankiness has been exacerbated by post-election ennui and the still-in-doubt election result.

On Saturday, I spent hours standing out in the cold, handing out how-to-vote cards. Talk about wondering about a lot of what you see! There were people who turned up beautifully dressed and brightened the day, others who’d obviously come straight from work or sporting events, youngsters being shepherded along by anxious parents afraid of looking right or left lest thoughts be contaminated by a leaflet not to their liking, many grumpy people whose expressions said louder than words that they didn’t appreciate having to vote or what a privilege it is to have that right, those who complained about how far they were forced to travel as if that were something we poor volunteers could magically mend, and many who laughed along with the silly jokes we were making as we handed out leaflets for the umpteenth time.

I occasionally regretted that there is no Socialist Alliance in my electorate, I say with tongue in cheek, because reactions would have been hilarious had I been handing out something with that logo. I certainly don’t look the type to be a rabid Left-winger 🙂 You’re fair game, whatever you’re doing, so you need to be thick-skinned. Luckily, I am. I was reprimanded for my not-at-all-radical views by one older man, who told me I should be ashamed of myself because I was old enough to know what I was doing. It’s not part of the patter, but the queue had stalled at that stage. I drew myself up to my full height – which is not great, but greater than his – and shot back that I certainly am old enough to know what I’m doing, and that’s why I do it. I had a little discussion with another, younger, bloke in the queue about hung parliaments and his view that voting for anything but a major party would result in chaos, despite the fact that many such governments exist worldwide and function well. One chap walked past all the leaflets, muttering as he did so that they’re all bloody criminals (he may have a point; it made me laugh). Another wanted to vote for Pauline Hanson. I reassured him that this isn’t her electorate, nor was there a One Nation candidate. I didn’t suggest he ought to move to Queensland, because I thought it was likely he wouldn’t know where that is.

Silliness aside, I was truly astounded – and not in a good way – by the number of people who seemed to have been caught unawares by the election. We’d just come to the end of one of the longest campaigns in many a year and still they seemed startled by it all. Entirely too many plainly hadn’t given any thought to how they would vote. I don’t expect everyone to do what we do – spreadsheets; I’ve said before that’s how we roll – but I wasn’t surprised that several of my colleagues had worked it all out before election day and taken their print-outs with them. A vote is too valuable to waste.

YoungB was doing his bit at a different polling booth – one with a sausage sizzle, I add with some resignation and a great deal of jealousy; there wasn’t one at mine – and he had some entertaining tales, too. He is a very charming young man and learnt early that if you’re polite to people, generally they will respond in like manner. He reported that he had made eye contact and cheerfully, but very politely, handed out his how-to-vote card. The old trick worked, even though some of them, he thought, would rather have responded with a mouthful of vitriol. Dr B was at a different booth – also sans sausage sizzle – and had a good time, doing two two-hour stints so that he could duck up to see Nonna and give her lunch in the interim. I closed my booth, and YoungB came to help me take down the last of the posters that I simply couldn’t reach. We swapped tales of our day when we arrived home, then he and Dr B went off to the party to watch the tally. I was too tired, too cold and too far behind with domestic chores, so I watched at home while I attended to laundry and the like.

Yesterday the boys went for a motorbike ride, to blow away the cobwebs and reconnect with something other than endless spreadsheets comparing political parties and their policies. We’ve voted, made our choice known, and done it unmolested in a democracy where we can be reasonably assured that our votes weren’t tampered with or ignored. We are in a dreadful, and dreadfully ugly, mess, but we remain extremely fortunate. And the queues about which I heard endless complaints on Saturday? At my booth, they extended to the gate and meant the wait was half an hour to perhaps 40 minutes (at most). It wasn’t days. We were out in the open, but we weren’t there for long.

My personal fitness guru, as YoungB has appointed himself, thought that, while they were out motorcycling, I should do a 10 Km training walk in order to be ready for the Bloody Long Walk at the end of next month. That would take me two hours. But I thought that if I didn’t bring in the laundry, we’d have no clothes for the rest of the week. More pressingly, I was convinced that if I didn’t knit some more of his beanie he wouldn’t have it for next weekend. He’ll certainly need it, because he and I will be visiting friends in a cold part of the world. There, I’ll have good reason to be grumpy; except that the warmth of the friendships will ward off the worst of the chills.

So, yeah. I’ve said my piece about practically everything, I think! Back to the knitting now. I’m pleased to report that it is going well, and I’ve taken the plunge and done some of these cables without using a cable needle. The reason why is probably another grumble, but I think I’ve been cranky enough. Pax 🙂

 
 

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

sometimes all ya wanna do is knit

But all the fates seem to be conspiring against you :)

But all the fates seem to be conspiring against you 🙂

I don’t knit as much as I would like – with regard to either quantity or frequency – but it’s a good thing I don’t have many urgent requests on my list this year. YoungB seems no closer to getting a beanie, though I have done a tension square for the Fair Isle number he selected. That won’t be good bus knitting, however, so I need another project. I’ve spent hours trying to find a pattern on Ravelry. Of course that’s frustrating because there are so many wonderful patterns to choose from!

Another part of the frustration arises from trying to match Australian wool thicknesses with patterns designed for something else. I found one that seemed to offer a similar needle size to the one suggested on the ball band – that’s at least a good indication that you’re on the right track – but getting the PDF to download? No. It didn’t matter which browser I tried or which “Download here” button I clicked, the pattern resolutely didn’t download. Sometimes technology and I are like that: we exist in a state of mutually armed neutrality.

Searching among my existing hard-copy patterns netted one that would probably work. The circular needle required was a size I didn’t already have and a length that seems uncommon. On my way home from work on Friday, when the city stores are open late, I managed to find what I was after. By the time I got home, I was ready to go. I pulled out the yarn and pattern. Then I tried to get the new circular out of its packet. And, well, that’s what happened.

Returning it? Certainly an option, but not the best one. The local branch doesn’t have this size – I’ve checked many times, and quite recently – so the best I could hope for there would be my money back and still no needle. Enter super glue. I’m now just about to start the first round of grey beanie number 3. Wish me luck!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 19, 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: , , , , , , , , , , ,

soon it will be winter and I’ll have to knit

I can see it now. But what will I be knitting?

I can see it now. But what will I be knitting? And, no, I don’t actually have a cat.

You remember this was going to be a busy year with birthdays? It has been, and there’s another zero-ending one in the offing. Then we can breathe for a while before the usual slew of “not zero or anything particularly special” birthdays continues unabated. I think I’m off the hook for scanning photos with regard to any of the forthcoming numbers but there’s always something unexpected in store.

It’s frightening to think that it’s already March, nearly April and my creative efforts this year have so far been almost minus. When Dr B and YoungB were working in the backyard in 40-degree heat and I was concerned about their dehydrating, I fished out the sewing machine to make another of those cooling neck collars. Yeah, right. Something I don’t like about the Janome, as fabulous as it is in terms of variety of stitches and as good as it was for sailing over the loose-weave hessian, is that it’s a pig of a thing to thread. I had to re-thread it several times because apparently I was doing it wrongly. I sat there with the book in front of me, carefully following the diagrams. I redid the bobbin a few times, in case that was causing the difficulty. Nothing worked. I ended up putting it away and uttering a few impolite suggestions around behavioural change. And didn’t make the cooling neck collars. The Bs simply wore wet bandanas, instead.

It’s getting to the time of year where my fingers are itching to have knitting in them, so I’ve just revisited my Ravelry projects to see what’s awaiting completion that I could reasonably pick up in the expectation of finishing it without too much drama. There’s nothing. What isn’t finished is in the middle of serious tinking. To wrap my head around what’s necessary means being back in the knitting groove. And I’m not. So what do you reckon? is the only answer to start something new??

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 26, 2016 in Knitting, Sewing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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.

 

 

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