Thursday, December 11, 2008

I laugh in the face of toe up socks!

I laugh in the face of toe up socks. I sneer in the jaws of crochet provisional cast ons. I spit in the eye of short row toes. I scoff in the maw of short row heels.

Presenting the Leyburn Sock, which has broken down my absolute terror of the toe up sock.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A sleep through!

An air of excitment has descended on Casa Joy and Widower. Last night our best WIP, Mr Wriggly, had a feed at 11pm and then didnt wake up until 6:30! Needless to say I got up at 4am to check his pulse. Who knows what tonight holds....

More guerilla action

More guerilla action by guerilla stitch-up.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The return of socks - with added socksiness!

Is there anything lovelier than socks? The way they cling to the arch of the foot and wrap close around the ankle. In fact the only lovelier thing than a sock is, of course, a knee sock! The way they flow from the delicate ankle into the gentle fullness of the calf. No wonder the Victorians demanded legs be covered! The Spiral Boot Socks are especially lovely. I especially like the eyelets twisting around the leg, reminiscent of the seam in a stocking.

After a long hiberation, here is my version of the Spiral Boot Socks in Cherry Tree Hill Foxy Lady. I used one skein per sock, which really shows. While both skeins are from the same dye lot, one is way more saturated than the other. The darker one is clearly a Foxy Lady on her way out for a good time, and the paler one is the Foxy Lady the morning after. Still, I'm pleased with them and they are a continuation of my fraternal paired items. (See Swapies for an explanation.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

The first of the Christmas presents

I've been furiously knitting away on a number of Christmas gifts, justifying it to the Knit Widower in the name of thriftiness, but secretly to get in as much legit knitting as possible. The KW has tried to institute a new household rule. The only successful one we have ever had is a recent one - whoever finds the dirty nappy changes the dirty nappy. The proposed new rule - 50%. That's right, the KW is demanding that he get exactly the same amount of time spent on him as knitting. Hah! Am currently pioneering cuddling while knitting, which with dpns is a dangerous game.

Anyway, here are a couple of snaps of Christmas gifts hot off the needles. Recipients will only be named when there is no chance they may use the internet.

First up - Aunty Norma's Elm Row in Sundara Silky Fingering Merino Winter Skies. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

Knit concurrently with another Shetland Triangle. I love this pattern. I added an extra repeat, but after blocking it I think I really could have easily added another. Still I wanted the triangle to be small enough for a light summer shawl and then be able to bundled up to use as a scarf in winter. The triangle is another Sundara SFM, this time in crimson.

More Christmas presents to follow....

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Guerillas in our midst

There has been a bit of a buzz in the media recently about guerilla gardening. Its a great idea. I'd mainly heard about it in relation to people using grass verges to grow veggies. However yesterday the grubby square at the end of our block got a more commercial guerilla garden make-over. Initially I thought it was local council finally returfing the area, but then I notice the uniformly good looking young people doing the digging and the presence of tv cameras. It turns out that Channel 10 has commissioned a guerilla gardening show. The producer was saying that they've done sites at Bankstown and Ashfield and Killara, and that the only one that had been vandalised, and revandalised after they had fixed it up, was the site at Killara. (For those overseas, Killara is an affluent suburb on the North Shore of the harbour. The other two suburbs are in western Sydney and are much more multicultural and working class.) Anyway, they did an excellent job, as you can see from the snap. They put up the bandstand structure, turfed the site and put in lots of other plants (which may be recycled by some less scrupulous locals as Christmas presents).

There has also been a little outbreak of guerilla knitting in Newtown too. I've walked past this pole for about two weeks now, meaning to take a photo of it. I found another one yesterday, but when I went looking for it today I couldnt find it. Who knew about these guerillas in our midst!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Knitting is not the only craft, and the renaming of the Squeeze

Knitting is not the only craft - well in our household this week anyway. I've been painting Mr Wriggly's room. It occured to me as I feverishly sugar-soaped walls, masking taped corners and slapped up paint during the young lad's naps that I should have done this before he was born. It would have taken a full day or two at the most. Instead it has spun out to almost a week.

Still, some of the delays were unforeseen. While sugar-soaping I discovered a bubble in the plaster. I brought it to the attention of the Squeeze, who before you could say 'Knit Widower' (which he is demanding to be called these days), had stuck his fingers through it and discovered a huge crack running from the inside of the room to the outside wall. This explained the mystery leak in the downstair's ceiling.

I left the Knit Widower to work his blokey magic and fix the crack he had so merrily excavated out the second story window. I came back later to find him hanging out the window with a trowel in one hand and using his other hand to stuff fistfuls of cement into the crack. "You may have knitting" he called down to me, " but I love cementing!"

It occured to me then that I had actually married McGuyver. I have seen the Knit Widower scamper up a makeshift ladder in a storm, lash himself to the chimney pot with a scaly bit of old rope he found abandonned in the back lane and calmly fix cracked roofing tiles. Then there is legendary time he and his mates were riding their motorbikes from Sydney to Philip Island for the Grand Prix and one broke down. He fixed the bike with some chewing gum and one leg off of a pair of pantyhose. What they were doing with a pair of pantyhose on that trip is more of a mystery to me than how he actually used it.

Anyway, painting a room for Mr Wriggly has allowed every member of the household to engage in some form of craft. Here is a quick snap of the finished product, and chance of me to flash my Babette once again.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I've just participated in my first ever swap! It was a 100 gram challenge, coordinated by Bumpy. Yesterday I received a lovely package from CelesteM containing a Beechwood Cowl and all sorts of lovely goodies.

I made a pair of Transition Gloves for Sonia, who said she loved all things pink. The exact colour of the contrast caused much debate in our house as to whether it was pink or purple. In the end we settled for fuschia. I've been wanting to make these for ages. The construction of the thumb was particularly satisfying and I love the way the ribbing branches out so neatly.

However, (and Sonia if you are reading this, cover your eyes. But then again, you probably have already realised this), somehow things happened so that the pattern on each glove is completely unique. Yup - despite following the same chart for both, they are fraternal rather than identical gloves. And as with those things fraternal, it turned out that one glove is mysteriously about one centimetre longer than the other. I had hoped blocking would shrink one and stretch the other. Lets put it down to sleep deprivation and not look at the finished product too closely.

On the home front, Squeak has been suspiciously well behaved. Perhaps it has been the arrival of a crochet blanket from Big Sister (aka The Crochet Queen). Despite the warm weather, this has been the place Squeak has been completely unwilling to leave. Except to fight the neighbourhood dogs, of course, and her nemesis, Greg, the big orange cat from next door.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Seasonally inappropriate gift

After using the excuse of a good friend's birthday to justify getting my hands on some Malabrigo in Ambrosia, I couldnt resist making another cowl. So, heading into a hot Australia summer, what better birthday present for a person born in November than a Zig Zag Cowl? And an Elk broach to make up for not being able to wear it for at least six months.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Educating Mr Wriggly and a squid for Bosco Johnston

It occurred to me the other day that nearly every baby I know is a boy. For example, of the 15 babies at mother's group, only four are girls. Taking this personal observation and broadening it in the most unscientific way I can only conclude that 2008 is year of the boy, and hence Sydney's man drought is being solved even if it will take 20 or so years. This is a heavy burden. Mr Wriggly needs to be sensitive, thoughtful, manly and know which is the business end of a mop. To this end I've been demonstrating the use of many household cleaning implements to him and carefully explaining the link between men, housework and happy marital relations. The washing up scrubber is a favourite which can only bode well for the future.

Mr Wriggly has made some new friends, boys natch. He, Karl Marx and Leo Trotsky-Tolstoy (well what did you expect with all that fight the power saluting going on?) have all been hanging in the local park indulging in pants-free-kicking-time. Exhibit one - a bottomless photo.

In keeping with 2008 being Year of the Boy, Mr Wriggly is awaiting news of the birth of his friend Bosco Johnston. I've been making a present for Bosco, something every boy needs, a giant squid of course. Here are a couple of progress shots. Its touch and go who is going to arrive first - squiddy or Bosco.

Just heard - Bosco has landed! Congrats Simon and Mel!

Edited to add Bosco's Giant Squid.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Stash enhancement

A rainy day, a sleepy baby and new stash enhancements! Heaven!

Hot from the mailman this morning, Sundara Sock Cerulean Seas and

Sundara Sock Deadly Nightshade.

They are joining their other stables mates, Sundara Silk Lace Granite Falls and Sundara Sock Midnight Meadows.

I cant wait to use these babies!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I've been nominated!

Disco Knitter has nominated me for one of these:

She actually did it a while ago, but I have only just (touch wood and any other available lucky object) emerged from a three week round of getting up hourly to every two hours as Lloyd has been having such noisy REM sleep its been waking me up. We are talking sleep screeching here. Yup screeching while sleeping. I cant imagine what sort of dreams the poor boy is having.

So without further ado, here are my nominations:

Knitdevil - what's not to love? Music, cool craft and 'tude. Also her hilarious blog comments and invaluable advice about blocking and the trickiness of gauge. Love ya Madge!

Bells - probably her billionth nomination. I love her honesty, flower photos and prodigious knitting output. And Southern Summer of Socks

Rose Red - also probably her billionth nomination. Shoes, fabulousness and knitting. And also Southern Summer of Socks.

Random Knits - another billionth. Love her friendliness, encouragement, fantastic range of knitting and her bunny.

Kgirlknits - combining The Pixies, The Breeders, Bowie and knitting. And roller derby! Heaven!

Knitting on the Chaise Lounge - cool, arcane and with a picture of Paul Newman looking totally gorgeous.

And finally, a new blog discovery Not Drowning, Mothering. How can you not love a blog that uses such immortal phrases as "but of course, no amount of praline will stop your arse from itching" and reveal the sneaking schadenfreude of your coolest friends announcing the impending arrival of a sprog. Makes me laugh loudly enough to wake Lloyd every time. And in finding those highlights, I've just managed to wake my boy up.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Carmen Miranda

For years my sole associations with Carmen Miranda have been fruit, frills and, for some reason, the dastardly United Fruit Company. Then along came Loani Prior's Wild Tea Cosies, and I knew that I had to make Carmen! During Lloyd's long cold 2am feeds when he was a new born, I mentally sorted through my stash, hoping to be able to create something gorgeous out of ill concieved purchases of novelty yarn. And surely enough, Loani's inspiration lead me to whip up Carmen. Who thought knitting and crocheting fruit could be so much fun!

Monday, September 29, 2008

When bloggers meet, and a master of the art of cuteness

Recently I met with the Disco Knitter. This was my first ever meet up with a knit blogger. Imagine - lunch, adult conversation and knit talk!! Twas heaven! And Inigo provided a great role model for Lloyd by scarfing down beans and broccoli like they were chunks of chocolate. And Ms Disco Knitter has promised to introduce me to a whole new craft experience with a visit to Spotlight at Granville in the near future. Am saving up for the trip.

On the home front, things are well although Mr Wriggly has adopted a rigourous nightime schedule of waking or stirring every two hours. Its a killer, so its lucky he is looking extra cute at the moment. See exhibit one below. At the moment every night is an adventure. Its enough to make me knit fruit. And on that tantilising note, you'll have to wait for news of my next FO.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The biggest FO since 1988

Presenting the biggest FO since 1988! Yes, that was the last time I knitted a cardigan. Now twenty years later, I've managed to complete another. Knitters, I present to you Evie!

Evie was a most instructive garment. I overcame my fear of armholes, pockets and button holes. I learnt to keep a simple pattern. And after I'd sewn her up, I learnt that I should have measured myself before I started knitted! But on the positive front, it was nice to learn that Kim Hargreaves' sizing is generous despite her use of waif-like models. As you can see, Evie is about two sizes too big for me. Luckily though, she is just about the right size for my Mum.... I can sense a Christmas present coming on...

The garment was completed courtesty of: a road trip to Byron Bay (in total about 20 hours of knitting), a road trip to Canberra (about 6 hours of knitting), the final two seasons of Arrested Development, Season Three of Shameless, Season Four oF Entourage and Seasons Three and Four of The Wire. (Yes, I am a teev addict.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

By popular demand...

...and because I have no knit fodder, here is a photo of Mr Wriggly looking only slightly stunned.

And another of my two boys. Awwww.....

BTW 1 - subscribed to Thicket's email list last week and got a lovely package with some sample yarns in it. I hadnt seen Jo Sharp's Silk Georgette in Devon before. It is beautiful. I'm now on the hunt for a worthy project. Anyone have any suggestions?

BTW 2 - I had a live sighting of Sixandahalfstiches beautiful grey Lady February Sweater. I had recently faved it in Ravelry and was so excited to it in real life!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A survey of ufos

I have a number of ufos on the needles at the moment. Here they are:

From left to right: Hanami in Ebony Handmaiden Sea Silk; Spiral Boot Socks in Foxy Lady Cherry Tree Hill; Stacked Eyelet Cowl in Shrinking Violet Socks that Rock; Evie in Deep Rowan Soft 4 ply.

Dont the yarns look pretty? Shouldnt that, plus the fact that all of these projects are ridiculously close to being finished, inspire me?

Apart from an inspiration deficit, I'm also being delayed by having to take it easy on knitting at the moment. My elbows, wrists and hands are sore from the joint softening hormones that are still floating around in my body. This is exacerabted by lugging around the 6.5 kilo Mr Wriggly. So, its very limited knitting for me for a while. Its killing me!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ta da!

And here it is [making flourishing gesture with hands a la game show hostess displaying prizes] - Flourish.

I think the hours of beading really paid off. Trust me, there are about 800 tiny shiny beads of the palest pink worked into the edging of the scarf.

To sum up - the Kidsilk Haze is lovely to work with despite being hairy; Flourish is light yet feels like it will be warm enough to fend off the early spring chill; and it is gorgeous enough to glam up the outfit that I can fit into, thus making it wedding-worthy. Thats a triple thumbs up from me!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Beading - argh!

Am doing the beading on the second of florish's edges. It looks great, subtle yet shiny. But it goes on and on and on.

On an unrelated note, here is Lloyd's message for the week. He says 'fight the power!'.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

Equ, Australia's leading sock model who relocated to the International City of Love, Canberra, is getting married at the end of the month. I've been grappling with the problem of what to wear to a glamourous afternoon garden wedding. My outfit needs to combine warmth (the ceremony will be outside), glamour (natch), fit over and preferrably disguise the extra kilos I'm still carrying (possibly wishful thinking) and be breastfeeding capable. I think the key to this is basic black and a gorgeous accessory - other than Lloyd aka Mr Wriggly.

Remember flourish? This scarf combines warmth, glamour and kilo-hiding coverage! Its been languishing in the stash box, half finished because I ran out of enthusiasm for the endless edge beading. I exumed it, consulted the pattern book just to confirm the stitch when the very first sentence of the pattern struck me. There, in bold, was the instruction to use two strands of Kidsilk Haze. Two strands! Argh! And I'd been wondering why there seemed to be so much yarn included in the kit, and why my scarf seemed thin in comparison to the lush, voluptuous one in the photo.

So I've been carefully and slowly frogging, trying to ensure I dont strip the fluff from the yarn. Actually its not as bad as it could be as the crochet is very loose and lacy, and the scarf hasnt been handled much so with a bit of gentle persuation it comes undone.

Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Shrunken heads

When I was child I saw a shrunken head at a museum. I cant remember which museum, but I suspect it was the Australian Museum in Sydney. The head was about the size of an orange, with stitched up eyes and mouth, and the hair seemed shockingly long. I remember being particularly impressed with the idea that the shrinking was induced by stuffing the skinned head with hot sand.

The memories of the shrunken head sprang to mind when I finished the Red Light Special. I thought something looked a bit wrong, and when I tried it on I realised that unless my friend had a shrunken head, he wasnt going to be able to wear it. Infact the only person in the house who could reasonably model it was Eric the Easter Island Statue. And even he doesnt look too happy.

So, what to give my friend for his birthday?? Woolly Wormhead to the rescue! Ferreting around in my stash produced some lovely Morehouse Merino that once upon a time had been intended for children's mittens. (This was before global warming.) Some quick knitting during Lloyd's sleeps produced a nice, basic beanie which fits a normal adult head. Phew.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

An actual FO and an almost FO

An actual FO! I forgot it in the excitment of my previous post! Here are the finished socks for the Squeeze. If you look carefully in the background you'll see evidence of the enormous amount of little visitors that we've had recently.

And here is my holiday knitting and reading. Barry Maitland has written a number of books*, and they are all excellent. The Redlight Special is coming along ok. The pattern is a breeze, but I'm not entirely happy with my slacker's decision to use Noro sock yarn instead of using acutal different coloured yarn in order to avoid weaving in lots of ends. If I made it again using Noro, I'd choose specific colour sections instead of just letting it come what may. I'll post it again when its an actual FO.

*If you like crime fiction. My favourite is Silvermeadow, where he manages to evoke all the terror of the forest in medieval times in a modern day shopping mall.

West coast charm offensive

Little Lloyd has been sweeping all before him in his west coast charm offensive.We've been in Perth for the last two weeks meeting and greeting Lloyd's extended family. During this time he has learnt to smile, gurgle, wriggle even more, kick like a mule and generally be adored by all who behold him. (No, despite there being crossover time between us leaving for Perth and the Pope being in town, there wasnt a guiding star in the sky.) Here is Lloyd in one of his visiting outfits. I especially like that he's coordinating his hair style, the baby mullet, with his shirt.

We stayed a couple of days in Fremantle, which was ace. The old part of Fremantle is fabulous. Its filled with old buildings

enigmatic shops

and archane institutions.

Not to mention the shopping! Got these skirts from Hustle.

And these boots from Bob's. They made me think of Rose Red, Supergirl and Wonder Woman. I can do anything in these boots!