Saturday, December 30, 2006

socks/etsy yarn

raam pondering my first socks (let's not count what i unfondly call the chorizo-socks (because that's what they made my feet look like)). Can't decide between Jaywalkers and the Falling Leave Socks. Opinions, anyone? I can't dye my yarn until I've decided, because if I make Jaywalkers I'll dye it self-striping, and if I make Falling Leaves I'll dye it pretty much solid. I say 'pretty much' to cover the inevitable irregularities that will come from the fact that I am an inexperienced and haphazard dyer.

in other news, my etsy purchase arrived. too late for christmas, so i guess i'll have to keep it. too bad, huh? It was from Mystical Creations Yarn. The yarn is a great price, and beautifully dyed. The actual fibre quality isn't *fantastic*, but for the price I'll certainly cope. It's a single ply, and feels a little bit rough and inclined to felting. Kind of how Noro feels, but not scratchy. Sort of sticky? You can kind of see from the photo the way it clumps together. My ball also has an odd thread of brown wool that was spun in, but I chose it because I liked it. It looked like seaweed. Including postage this wool/ silk blend was about $20 Australian. Plus I got a voucher for a discount on another purchase (which I'd be happy to make).

Thursday, December 28, 2006


that was the view i woke up to on christmas morning. no white christmases here, nuh-uh. went down south to spend the day with badly coloured boy's families. unlike my own family, which has turkey and ham and hot roast vegetables every year, there was seafood present at both the christmas meals we had (one christmas day, one boxing day). oysters featured prominently at both, which was a bit odd for me, as i haven't encountered them since i was about ten. here are some of the oysters naturale hanging about the in the fridge.

they were also served kilpatrick and rockefeller, and were accompanied by The Walrus and the Carpenter poem on Boxing Day. I still don't enjoy them very much, but I do like the way they smell of the sea. boxing day involved crayfish tails too, something else I haven't eaten in a decade or so. yum. I can kind of see why people do seafood for Christmas now.

christmas afternoon i went bareback riding at the beach, on one of badly coloured boy's mum's horses. actually, while i was technically on the horse's back, someone else held the bridle for me... i've only ridden a couple of times before in my life. i enjoyed the barebackness alot though. easier than balancing on a saddle, i think. there would have been photos of me and Psycho Bob (the horse. ironically named because he so reliable), but i forgot to take my camera to the beach. i managed to be the only person stung by a jellyfish, and given that i was in the water for a mere five minutes, and others spent hours down there, that didn't feel very fair.

oh, and just because I can, here is my fabulous weekender bag, and the book I took down for some light holiday reading. The Short Life and Long Times of Mrs Beeton. A most fascinating read, though the author isn't quite as skilled a writer as Antonia Fraser.

My only craft-related Christmas gift (and what a gift it was!) was a set of five fat quarters of Moda Fabric (thanks to Miss Meshell for identifying it!) Anyway, they're all complementary colours (luckily the store packages them up. Badly Coloured Boy is colourblind (hence his name), so picked out a package with a print I'd said I liked, assuming the rest of the bundle was nice too. Polka dots on green, the alphabet on green, two colourways of little ribbon flowers, and tape measure print (my favourite). Most will go towards a Glamourous Needle Roll, the scraps will go towards my chair cushion.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

see the sucker

remember that seersucker that was drying on the line? well, this is what it became:

or, more clearly, this:
(can you believe that in the entire ginormous house i am babysitting there is not a single full-length mirror? i honestly wonder how the women of the house can go outside, utterly confident that their shoes match their eyeshadow, without having seen them both together).

a dress! for christmas! and there's enough left over to make a matching cushion for the $10 chair in the new year. it's butterick 4790. i made a red and blue one already, but this one fits alot better because i'm getting better at sewing. i pinned the darts really carefully this time, so no angular bust. and i had to resew the shoulders, much lower down, to suit my narrow bookish shoulders. mum showed me how to stretch the bias binding to go round curves, so that looks much neater too.

the pattern calls for 'three packets' of bias binding. i don't know how that stuff is sold in the states, but here that equates to twelve metres. i bought six and had five inches to spare; but i did need five and half metres of fabric, rather than the four and half the pattern calls for (last minute dash to spotlight for more seersucker, yes).

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

christmas things

these are the free inserts in the weekend papers in england. my housemate posted them to me. second package of these that i've received. she posts them because she knows i'm obsessed. i just can't believe that these things are free. free! they're the equivalent of our STM magazine in the sunday times, but really it's like comparing woman's day to vogue. i've had a little peek through Style (my favourite), but haven't had time to open the rest. they're like an early christmas present. speaking of which...

my stitch'n'bitch had a kris kringle last night, and santa brought me some rather delicious washable merino in fingering weight and a most hand-dyeable shade of cream. a hint to get started on some socks, do you think? we were not allowed to know who our secret santas were, but i have my suspicions. shan't name names though. that would ruin the fun. and further below you can see all my wrapped chrissie pressies. as i have no tree in the house i am house-sitting they are elegantly propped against the dresser (i must take a picture of me mam's tree. it's deliciously foresty). the brightly coloured wraps are from my work. the embroidered white paper is a scrap left from the wrapping of a gift my housemate got. the brown paper is from ikea, and the red organza was on clearance from spotlight at 10cm a metre (i took the whole roll). one stack of books is not actually wrapped (though it has a birdie tied to it) because they are proof copies. these are advanced copies that book reps give to stores. they tend to build up in our back room (particularly the fluffier, middle-aged lady ones) so for the past couple of christmases i have liberated a stack for mum. not quite a 'real' present, so no real wrapping. i'm also quite pleased with the little box with the brown and red ribbon. it's actually an old chocolate box, with a tray that slides out from the cover like a matchbox. i wrapped the cover only, leaving the dark brown tray visible at each end (not that you can see it).

my plans for christmas are thus (pity the bookpimp child of a broken home and the lover of a country boy): friday: christmas at my mother's with both of my parents. christmas eve: work until i am allowed to go home, go straight to my mother's to swap our gifts. badly coloured boy meets us there after he finishes work, and we drive straight to his father's place in bunbury (some two hours away). christmas day: drive another hour to his mother's place, have christmas day there. drive back to bunbury that evening to spend boxing day with his father. 6.30am on the 27th i catch the train back to perth to go after christmas sales shopping with my mother.

we are giving gemma (the tempting gloves recipient) a lift down south too, which should make the car ride a bit more fun and festive. a crowd is always cheerier.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

i'm eating the last of those cherries while i type this

about three months ago i was lying on the floor of badly coloured boy's kitchen (actually, half in the kitchen and half in the loungeroom, as his kitchen was the size of a cupboard) having a tantrum. a fists and feet beating on the ground kind of tantrum. i was finding my uni course a wee bit difficult, and was quite certain that i wanted to drop out, a month short of my exams and four fifths of the way through the degree. it had been a truly grotesque semester, punctuated by periodic bordeom, bare passes and parental breakup. i had hoped to do honours next year, and it didn't look like i was going to be offered them the way things were headed. badly coloured boy made me a deal. if i sat my exams (as he knew i invariably would, once i calmed down) he would buy me yarn based on my final marks.

my marks came out on monday, and i gots me my yarn. i picked noro. silk garden. i have never knit with noro before, and was/ am so excited by it. i think this colourway (211) is just divine. a nice mix of dirty colours (ink, mud, muce (mud/ puce), buffalo grey) and pretty colours (pink, purple, clear green, mid blue).

i wanted to make a scarf for me that makes people say 'wow! what an awesome scarf!' when i wear it. i tend to wear scarfs more than any other knitted item, and unsurprisingly my garter stitch acryclic get little attention. leaning heavily on this and the good ol' lady eleanor stole i taught myself entrelac.
despite my issues with short rows i haven't had a single problem with the entrelac. in fact, i even picked up what i am fairly certain is an error in the instructions i learnt from. because the squares are smaller and the scarf is narrower than lady e the colour is more obviously graduated. but i still think it's pretty. although it really is straight out entrelac if anyone would like me to actually type up the pattern i will.

oh, and i got a letter in the mail yesterday. i got offered honours after all. what with the noro, and the cherries and the future dissertation things are definitely looking up.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

i think it's summer.

that would be some four and a half metres of mid-blue seersucker drying on the line (with towels in background). what is it for? oh, surprise. seersucker is so summery, so retro, so wrinkle-proof and so utterly soft and squishy that i can't understand why it isn't more popular. not to mention the fabulous name. Seersucker.

i bought cherries at the markets today. yup. that many cherries. for those of you that live in lands of cherry pie, and, um, cherry tarts and cherry turnovers and homemade cherry jam understand you this: in australia cherries are expensive. so expensive that i personally have never eaten a baked good with fresh cherries in it. i got these at the markets for $17 a kilo. In a regular supermarket you might pay $20 -25 a kilo. premium cherries from a fancy grocer can be $40 a kilo. by comparison, plums and pumpkin at the market were $2 a kilo; parsnips and beetroot $4 -6; mangos were three for $4. cherries truly are a luxury. i'm hoping i can make this little bag last a few days.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


heavens! while the lady over the yarn magazine blog has issues with interweave, i have to say that overall i am - indifferent. i have had problems getting my winter issue of interweave knits, and ended up sending a pointed, grumpy e-mail (it pained me to write it. really. i was cross, but i had to pretend to be crosser in order to write the nasty letter). they are (finally) sending my issue, but have extended my subscription 'for the inconvenience'.

pity it means i'll get an extra summer issue. the winter ones are always so much nicer.

i apologise for the absence of pictures recently. when i work on something more exciting than anatolia, you shall all be the first to know.

Friday, December 08, 2006

short rows.

i would have liked a clever, punning title on short rows, but i couldn't think of one. sorry. imagine your own. i have started on the short row ribbed scarf, using up some bulky, variegated yarn that is pretty, but rather hard to find a suitable pattern for.
from the bits i have knit and frogged so far, the concept of (ribbed) short rows is good. looks damn fine, even with a distracting yarn. problem being i don't like the current width of the scarf (my yarn being bulkier = my scarf being so very much wider than my neck is long). so i should alter the pattern, right? but i just don't *get* the theory behind short rows. my stitch'n'bitch will attest to that. i can follow a pattern with short row shaping no problem (the triumphant 'I have boobage!' i yelled a little too loud in the cafe when i finished the bust shaping in this attests to that), but i just cannot go beyond that.

i can't alter this damn pattern! i tried, and things (namely the short rows) went awry. i will try once more, but any recommendations for where i can find a nice spot of theory on short rows wouldn't go astray. i looked at an article on knitty and the pictures alone did my head in.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

bits and pieces chapter 2

it appears there is now an invisible stripe scarf knitalong. how flattering. how fun!

last night i made my first etsy purchase. i have a sinking feeling that it's all downhill (savings-wise) from here.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

to market, to market

no fat pigs bought. i went to sell off old clothes (i buy too many) and books (i somehow acquire too many) and jewellery (the earrings i made out of bread tags and guitar picks went to a thrilled twelve year old) at a car boot sale. to raise money for the 'i want new curtains for the kitchen but cannot justify them' fund. i managed to park myself across from a really lovely guy i go to uni with (given my course, i don't really get on with many people i see regularly) who was helping his girlfriend raise money to do charity work in costa rica.

i bought a chair. it was not my fault. the chair called me. he was $10. i wandered off to think about it. i went back to buy, and the guy selling it told me someone had offered $20. i was mournful. but that person never came back! so just before the market closed, i got my chair. here he is, with part of anatolia's second sleeve:

just stunning, no? never mind that i will inevitably end up with an ikea dining table-ette (did i mention that i got the place i applied for? and that it is in fact a shoebox?), a matching ikea chair, and my odd chair. it is really firm, not at all wobbly. remnants of red paint that has since been stripped all over. i think i will varnish it with something low gloss, though, because it is rather raw right now.

i was really strong and didn't buy the 1950s/60s aqua sewing machine in working order with a travel case. and i didn't even look through the professional bookersellers' stalls for zimmerman.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

on dishcloths

i do not understand knitted dishcloths. i used to also not understand hand-knitted socks, but i have come to an uneasy acceptance. i fear that when it comes to dishcloths that un-crafty mantra comes into my head: why make it when you can buy one for so much less time and effort? it is not like a jumper (or a sock) where your time, effort and expenditure can result in a unique garment that fits you perfectly. it is a dishcloth. it used in a most utilitarian manner that degrades your handiwork, and before long it will be thrown out. it will probably smell bad.
i do not even understand exactly what the dishcloth does. i use a sponge or a green scrubby thing to clean the dishes, and a tea towel to dry. which of these does the dishcloth replace?
i do not understand fancy dishcloths, heart-shaped or entrelac for 'when guests come to visit'. i really do not think guests will consider you a lacking host for using a regular sponge or tea towel. and if the concept of using a grotty everyday sponge/ tea towel bothers you, you don't strike me as the kind of person who would be so rude as to do the washing up while your guests were still there.

let me not get started on the concept of hand-knitted washcloths, either.

Monday, November 27, 2006

lucky rabbit (and tips for finishing stuffed toys)

here is a jess hutch bunny, in terrifying polar fleece. he seems to be a little shorter and fatter than the original. i guess fluffy stuff does funny things to your gauge. his head is on a little wonky, and without something to lean against his default pose is the glamourous Lying on his Back with his Feet and One Hand in the Air. but i think he is a little bit suave nonetheless. his face is stitched with a scrap of debbie bliss cathay, leftover from the vogue high neck top, and two terribly cheap toy eyes, onto which i jammed two washers each because the stupid plastic washers were rather easy to yank off.

a little trick for finishing off toys (if this is widely known and accepted, tell me and i'll blush): once you are done stitching on a limb/ ear/ tail, stab the needle into the body right next to your stitching, and go straight through the body and bring it out any old place. tug the yarn very, very hard so the body buckles up a bit. snip the yarn, let go and the body goes back to its normal shape and swallows that yarn end up into its good polyfilled belly. beats weaving in ends on the right side, for sure.

i am a bit wishing i didn't sew all Rabbit's limbs on yet, so i could take a foot with me to the viewings i have lined up today, for luck. right now i am torn between worrying about getting a place at all, and worrying about getting a place and having somewhere better come up next week. god i'm good at stressing.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

in my tracks

the knitting has slowed a little while i work on super duper top secret Things, and while i look for a new place to live. which these days seems to involve calling real estate agents at 3am to catch them off guard, and clawing out the eyeballs of unsuspecting fellow applicants, so they cannot see the delicious bargain abode just listed. apparently people have begun offering to pay above the listed rental price. suffice to say that if this practice is common, i will have to knit a tent and live in a park.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

more birdies!

the polka-dot one is the same as in the previous entry, only with his pale green unpicked and silly yellow french knots added.

i like the polka dot one, though the printed felt is a bi-atch to work with, both physically and design-wise. the one on the right seems kind of tropical to me. the 'star' reminds me of a hibiscus. i still haven't decided who these are going to yet... i guess i'll just use them as gift tags for everyone.
in other exciting news, calico&ivy actually let me return some yarn(!) and they didn't even demand a receipt (!!) so i swapped for two garlands of red and white felt stars, strung on white leather with little white wooden beads. i would have preferred all-red, but unexpected- returners- of- purchased- goods can't be choosers.

Monday, November 20, 2006

christmas birdies

this one is finished, except for his hanger (they're christmas ornaments). it was so much fun to go embroider for a bit. and they're quick, fun free-hand projects. this birdy was 'inspired' by chika mori's. it has my first ever sucessful french knots on it, and some very messy lazy daisy stitch.

polka-dot birdie is going to have his pale green bits unpicked, because i don't like them. he will get more dark green stars before i stitch him up.

i would like to make a sailor jerry birdie next, with anchors and stars. and i'd like to make some black or navy blue ones with gold thread.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

stay tuned...

i spent my first day after exams going on a shopping trip to spotlight, and playing with my new toys in my room. while some of my purchases were for the toy bunny-rabbit, i also branched out. and made christmassy things that weren't knit. oo! they were fun. i made a big mess on the floor with lots of coloured embroidery threads.

but you will have to wait for pictures, because i am working/ going out (i'm on the door for little birdy (and trying unsucessfully not to look smug))/ moving the badly coloured boy's wordly possessions across perth.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

quick! another bandwagon!

like clementine, i must jump on it.

the fetching gloves, for gemma:

because gemma has kiddie-hands, i cast on a mere 30 stitches. after the cuff was complete i purled into the front and back of each purl stitch, so the rib pattern became k4 p2, with a total of 35 stitches, to account for the fact that palms are broader than wrists. they are a bit of a wriggle to get onto my hands (palm 7 inches, wrist 5.75 inches), but fit nicely once on. this is one of the reasons i don't really like knitting for hands/ feet. they're such pernickety things to fit. such lumpy shapes.

here are her gloves packaged up in a box i got in a swap (it was filled with candy corn, since we don't really do halloween here). it was the perfect size for a pair of rolled up mitts.

the other side of the box says 'Boo!' i intend to leave it somewhere to surprise her.

i have also started on jess hutch's bunny, in horrific brown fleece yarn. i am terrified of dropping a stitch in all the fluff. it will be part of a christmas present for someone, paired with pretty, girly boxer-shorts/ cami-knickers.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

na na na na na na - Stash Bust!

(that was to the tune of the batman theme).

since i'm getting ready to move and all, and am planning to buy vast quantities of yarn over the next fortnight (oo, some 25 - 30 balls) i thought i should thin out what i have. which is not very much. it fits into three kassetts boxes.
Thus far i have:
- one fetching glove, and the second cast on.* photos tomorrow.
- plans for the combined frogged boobholder/ one skein wonder. it will become a truly perculiar new candy cardigan. stripes of navy blue cotton and red merino. should look... um, well. i'll wear it.
- plans for a small bear out of the weird brown polar fleece yarn.

i need ideas for two balls of 5 ply wool in red and mauve; and two balls of trellis yarn that is not a scarf. i want the yarn to go to someone who actually liked it (!) and she doesn't wear scarves.
i als have half a ball of pink/ grey/ white/ black self-fair-isling jawoll sock yarn that i am sure is cursed. well i have ongoing trouble with making anything that isn't too small with this yarn, so i am going to make a clean break of it. anyone who wants it, speak up (now that i've spoken so highly of it and all). recent intentions for a half-ball included drawer sachets, mini xmas stockings and an ipod cover.

* fetching is going to badly coloured boy's best friend/ ex-girlfriend (and also my friend too, don't get me wrong). every time i see her she begs for fingerless gloves. the last time i saw her i thought of fetching, which had never grabbed me personally, but which seemed quick and easy. the conversation went like this:
"Well, i wouldn't do actual finger-holes. there'd be a single hole for all your fingers to stick out of. is that okay?"
"Yeah! It's better!"
"Do you just want plain, or what?"
"Just plain.... well, maybe a few cables?"
Done and done.

Friday, November 10, 2006


i was too distraught to post about this yesterday. i cried. i went to bed convinced i would give up knitting and take up some other popular fad, like poledancing. when i woke up this morning, the pain was still there, but bearable. not to be melodramatic or anything, but last time i felt like this was when a boy unceremoniously dumped me in first year uni after our shared Introduction to Modernity class. what happened? well, see my first ever jumper? beautiful, sailor-esque candy, knitted in snuggly soft wool/ silk blend?

she got a weeny bit of indian takeaway on her, so i went to handwash her. i used tepid water with pure soap, i didn't let the water fall straight on her, i didn't let her soak, i didn't wring her. i did gently squeeze the water out. yet when i drained the water out of the bucket and laid her out to dry - well! this!

she stretched! ALOT! my fingers are stretched out and you can't even see them poking out from the cuff! the shoulders don't stay on! and she smells weird. like burnt hair.
why, why did she do this? what did i do wrong? i killed not only the first jumper i ever made, but my favourite jumper of all.
any ideas on how to fix her? or what i should do with her battered, elongated remains? (a formal burial remains a possibility. do you think the cats would dig her up?).

Thursday, November 09, 2006

old bags

i take my knitting lots of places, and i used to lust after some terribly complex and glamourous knitting bag. but i've finally come realise that a simple tote bag, or even drawstring bag, is really quite sufficient. everything can just be dropped in the top, and don't they look pretty? these are my three drawstring bags:

the striped one and the one with astronauts are the bags that peter alexander pyjamas come in (god knows why - they're such a tight fit that once you get those jimjams out, you ain't never going to fit them back in). luckily, my housemate has a bit of a pyjama fetish, and buys a couple of pairs per season, meaning i reap the incidental rewards of bright knitting bags. the kansas seal flour bag i got in a swap, and i love it very much. it's the perfect size for socks. pity i don't knit them.
all have pins on them, that some lovely craftster sent me for suggesting slogans for knitting related pins, and each matches its own bag (that's a big coincidence)! there is 'i'd rather be knitting'; 'knit in public' and 'just one more row'.

the only bag not shown is tangled up with anatolia. it's a larger black cotton tote bag, free from Vintage Publishers, to celebrate the reprint of the Peter Carey backlist. it has a stylised naked redheaded woman and the titles of all his books on. quite the loveliest free bag from a publisher i have received.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

buttons and froggings

here's what the reds under the bed jacket looked like just prior to posting it. with added buttons and bonus care tag! the buttons did make it look more polished.

and this is what used to be a glampyre boobholder:

Sorry for the dim picture, it was that or flash-assisted painfully bright overexposure. i made an executive decision, so turn your monitor brighter. having an exam today motivated me to do things like finish frogging the half-frogged cardy lying about in my room. it had been trailing long bits of yarn all over the place because, to my surprise, it's harder to rip apart than it is to knit, and i got stuck all over the place. on the home run now, i will finish it in front of the tv tonight.

Monday, November 06, 2006

a gallery of stripy scarfs

since i have no progress to show (well, i imagine that another inch on the anatolia sleeve; and another half an invisible stripe scarf is perhaps not that interesting) i've put together a little gallery of invisible stripe scarfs other people have made.

Here is jess' nice hairy blue one:

And rubbish knitter's red one, for her mother in law (just like where one of mine is going! well, not to a mother-in-law, but to badly coloured boy's ma, which is nearly the same).

and lowredmoon has her's here; but as i haven't heard from her about whether i can post her photo here, you'll have to follow the link. her's is pink and made from moda dea dream.

Friday, November 03, 2006

reds under the bed jacket

Here is what used to be the baby burnout jacket getting a little bath (in Dove conditioner for colour treated hair. Not that i dye my hair. Nuh-uh. Not me. It's all natural... really). The conditioner really did soften it up a lot. I'm very pleased.

And here it is all blocked out nicely (it still needs buttons though). the neckline is a little stand-up collar, because i was studying when i picked up the neck stitches, and picked up far too many. but that's okay. i like it. i actually happen to think it looks a lot cooler than the original pattern, especially with all the moss stitch instead of ribbing.
why the name change? why is no longer the baby burnout jacket? well, the little stand-up collar reminded me of a pattern in an old vogue book i have called the Russian Pullover. or else kind of like the uniform of chairman mao. the red seemed a little soviet too. in australia in the 1950s we had something akin to mccarthyism, without the denunciations and public trials. but everyone was terrified of the big bad bogeyman communists, that for a large part didn't exist. the hysteria was nicknamed 'reds under the bed' - a bit of a reference to children being frightened of monsters under the bed. since this is a jacket for a child... well. reds under the bed it was. it's just how my mind works.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

whoo! whoo!

(that's an owl noise, doncha know?)

Looks like Marc Jacobs is getting down with the owl cable (or 'owl intarsia' as Net-a-Porter mysteriously labelled it). Seems popular too. Sold out of Net-a-Porter and ShopBop. It's a very cute design, one which I am rather tempted to thieve (before or after I thieve the pringle trapeze line jumper? decisions...). But why white? the little owlies hardly stand out. Much nicer would have been a tweedy brown-ish grey. The colour of an owl.

I was dreaming about making owl christmas decorations last night too.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

tutorial on how to sew horizontal shoulder seams

i am so sorry about the blurries. i didn't realise until too late (that is, both seams were done). hopefully they work as a kind of visual hint (rather than a visual guide) to help you understand my fabulous written instructions.

firstly: this is what happens when you get very frustrated, and try to use kitchener stitch to join the shoulders on a jumper where each piece is cast off. See how it looks weird and ruckered?

That is not what you want. You want delicious, smooth, invisible seams. So you pick apart the mess you have already made. You lie your two shoulder pieces facing flat, right side up, cast off edges butting up against each other. the back is the 'top' piece, and the front of your jumper is the 'bottom' piece. Take a tapestry needle threaded with yarn, and poke it through the very corner of the outer shoulder of the top piece. Leave a tail enough on the wrong side to darn in afterwards. Then, look for the first vertical row of Vs made by your wonderful stocking stitch. See the V closest to the cast-off edge in the very right-hand column of Vs? Slip your needle under that V. Like in the rather lousy picture.
Then, find the V closest to the cast-off edge in the far right hand column of Vs in the bottom piece. Slip your needle under the little bars of that V too.
Pull the thread to a nice, even tension. So it looks about the same as your actual knitting. Then, find the V in the second column from the right in the top piece. Needle under the bars, right to left. Repeat for the bottom piece.
Do it again, and again, moving along the columns. It should look pretty much like this:except not red if you aren't using red yarn. Don't fret about the colour.
When you're all finished, and all the Vs in the columns that butt up against each other have been stitched under, stick your needle through to the wrong side of the fabric. Darn in the end. And don't forget to darn in the other end too! Do it now before you forget!
Flip over the right side of your work again, and admire your beautiful seam. Even the camera likes this seam enough when it's finished to go back into focus.

Now go and have a cookie, because you, my friend, have just sewn together a beautiful shoulder seam.

Friday, October 27, 2006

like tomato soup for the psyche

(since i am none too fond of chicken soup).
there is little to report on the knitting front. i have exams and tonsillitis, so no stitches are rolling forth from my needles in the waves of stitch-soldier armies i dream of.

i ventured uncertainly out of bed this afternoon (the penicillin i was prescribed has made me feel worse than the tonsillitis did. i have built a little fortress in bed, with reams of lecture notes as walls) in search of a birthday gift, and i found the most fantastic greeting cards, by one Laini Taylor.
the christmas cards made me giggle - they said 'Merry Christmas to Nearly Everyone'. And for myself i got this lady:
only her caption read 'and what is it you want to do with your wild and precious life?' Since that is the sixty four dollar question right now.

i wish the store had have had this one:

i feel i should add a disclaimer that inspirationally sloganned greeting cards are usually one of my pet hates. but the kitschy collage style and slightly off-kilter messages are really doing it for me. blame my illness if you must.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

so many stitches, so little time.

Well, it turns out I just couldn't wait until March for a stitch dictionary. My need for more than the thirty or so stitch patterns in the weeny little dictionary I currently had led me to this:
It's out of print, so I had to pay what the ebay seller demanded for it. But, including postage it is a mere 1.49c per stitch pattern. I would have almost preferred the 1963 edition, which had (only) 900 stitches, but portrayed them in the lurid technicolour combinations that mark the sixties. Sadly, my 1985 edition is heavy on red-and-grey; or primary blue, yellow and green. I'll just have to use my imagination.

Here's another picture. I particularly love the cable in the bottom right hand corner.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


i went to another booksellers' trade night last night. i went unaccompanied by anyone from my store (which was a bit awkward, given that the first half hour is always a drinks&food&mingle thing, and i had noone with which to mingle). But the point was that it was a very glamourous non-fiction publisher with a tolerably interesting craft list.
And i got their 2007 catalogue.
March sees the release of '400 Knitting Stitches' stitch dictionary, with charts and text (and photos goes without saying, I guess). Available in the UK and Australia/ New Zealand. Unclear as to exactly what it covers (fair isle? slipstitch? cable, lace and knit/ purl patterns are a given, i would imagine).
Beautiful (as with all of Murdoch's books) cover - lush purple and green yarn all over. Heavy duty paperback. the kind with a sort of solid-ish plasticky cover. hard to explain, unless you go find a murdoch paperback cookbook. then you'll understand.
i think i shall hold off buying a stitchionary until this one comes out.

Monday, October 23, 2006

burn, baby, burn

not literally. but here's the promised progress pics on the pea pod/ burnout jacket.
i am tearing through it, desperate to finish so i can get onto other things.

Because the button band is knitted at the same time as the body I can't run the yarn up the side. Meaning I have a squillion ends to weave in. Lucky me.

On a better note this Sunday I am off to be a photography model for a friend (all things going well - this has been intended for so long, and keeps being cancelled because of our erratic schedules). Her photos tend to be portrait-style. The subject is individual and identifiable, not just some anonymous figure. Which is rather appealing. I'm hoping to scam a couple of prints off her, since I haven't had nice portraits done since I was a child. She wants me in all my crazy finery (read: silly clothes) - I'm planning to load up a carful. And take the knitting too. It would be nice to be captured doing what it is I do for fun. I have this vague idea that the eye-popping pattern of anatolia will look just fabulous against an orange plaid dress and black and white op-art tights. Or maybe purple mohair against a hot pink tutu...

Friday, October 20, 2006

burnout baby jacket

I bought the yarn today for a commissioned piece (for the lovely Ms. Vyvyan). Well, not for her as in her impending offspring, but for a gift for her friend.
The yarn is Shepherd brand Colour4Me 8ply. I've been using some Shepherd in Anatolia, and very nice it is too. Soft, bright and machine washable (i may know very little about children, but i assume machine washable is a pre-requisite). And cheap to boot.
Loving the assymetric front, i am using Kate Gilbert's Pea Pod jacket construction, but doing away with the lace and the cabled bands. Instead i'm going to put in burnout stripes - starting out with thick black stripes and thin red stripes and working up to thick red stripes and thin black. whether or not it ends up with spider-shaped buttons is Ms Vyvyan's call.
Pictures once I cast on.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

guess i quite like red and blue

here's an update on anatolia. Sleeve number one is just pre-elbow. I am quite excited.

And here is a dress, quite a bit older, but never yet photographed. It was Butterick #4790 (the retro whirlaway dress) and although marked 'Very Easy', and only made of three pieces, it took me twelve hours and i swore like a sailor. can't you just imagine me sewing that bias binding, all squillion metres of it, with a cartoon speech bubble stream of expletives flowing out in a string like the binding?
the fabric is some poly-cotton that I bought for $2 a metre down south. just something cheap to play with (i knew my sewing limitations before i started). and what you can't tell from this picture is that the bust darts went a bit wonky, meaning that when i wear it, i look like i have a breast with corners. an angular breast. very flattering.

this summer i intend to pratice a bit more though. i will make a sewing needle case, and another dress from a vintage pattern. and maybe even another retro whirlaway dress.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

bits and pieces

my IK sub runs out after the next issue, and i'm not going to renew it. when i bought it you couldn't get IK in my part of the world, unless i got an international subscription; and vogue knitting was looking pretty miserable at the time.
well, they're on a par now, i think.
but that doesn't stop me being excited about the winter issue. rambling rose, with colourwork, lace (and cables?) has jumped to the top of my to-knit list. though i'm mystified as to why it only seems to come in two sizes...

knitting has slowed to a crawling pace, because i have impending exams o' doom. while everyone else seems to knit and study (even my housemate embroiders and studies sometimes), i need to hold a pencil in my hand and underline things regularly else i'll find i've read for an hour and not absorbed a word. wielding needles and pencils simultaneously is beyond my skill level.
i have found, to my joy, however, that i can frog and study. yep! i can rip to my heart's content and learn. it's fun, even. so, the glampyre boobholder that was never especially flattering on me, and the one skein wonder that should fit a three year old*, are being plundered for their yarny goodness while i learn.

* it's not glampyre's fault. really. it's just i think she has broad shoulders and mine are skinny and i find the patterns just don't suit me so well. and i do have a remaining, wearable, much-loved one skein wonder, knitted in jo sharp silkroad tweed.

finally, loving elizabeth zimmerman, but having trouble forking out the cash for an entire book right now? Well, hopefully you'll learn a few things from this.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

invisible stripe scarf

I turned half of this:

into this:

Here is what it looks like on:

It was intended to be a gift for badly coloured boy's mum, because purple is her favourite colour, but i think the mohair is a little fluffy and delicate for her. She's an outsdoorsy, horse-riding, bush-walking, orphan-possum-rearing kind of lady. my housemate hinted pretty heavily that she'd like a similar scarf (she knows i have that one remaining ball), so maybe i'll just give this one to her for xmas. still doesn't solve the problem of what to do with the other ball. maybe a scarf for my grandmother.

the yarn was just fabulous to use. i am so disappointed that mango moon don't make the pash-mohair anymore. the nylon thread in it keeps the yarn strong (unlike other mohairs i've seen) and the colours it came in were just gorgeous. such a pity i only bought two of the purple. i remember a deep clean gold, a fuschia, a dark inky indigo, a blue-ish turquoise... *sigh* if anyone has any old pash-mohair they want to sell me, let me know.

It's just a step up from a regular old drop-stitch scarf, but it really is my favourite simple scarf pattern. Far more interesting to look at than refular drop-stitch, i just love how it's all loose and lacy, but stripy! both delicate and deconstructed, i think.

The pattern if you can call it one, is as follows:
175 yards (or thereabouts - i would have liked this a little longer, actually) of mohair yarn.
6mm needles. i really recommend bamboo, not aluminium. i started off with aluminium needles and they were just too slippery for the mohair.

Finished size: 26cm/ 10.3 inches wide; 103cm/ 40.5 inches long

Cast on 35 stitches.
Rows 1-4: Knit
Row 5: Knit, wrapping yarn three times (instead of the usual once) when you knit each stitch.
Row 6: *K1, slip the next two stitches off the needle.* Repeat to end of row.

Continue rows 1 -6 ad nauseum.

Knit Rows 1-4 once more, then cast off.

edit: copyright 2006, for non-commercial use (except for if your best friend tells you they'll pay you to knit one of these. then you have my blessing). Please let me know if you intend to reproduce the pattern en masse; and please ensure that this blog URL is visible on the reproduction.

Friday, October 13, 2006

anatolia details

alright, it's an old photo, but it encourages me no end.

excuse the mess

it gets that way when you're moving in and redecorating all at the same time.

obviously that bizarre blue streak through the header won't be staying (anyone know the code to fix that?); not will the white and grey text.
Now, while I can manage cleaning up over the next few days if you, as you navigate about, discover anything that happens to be hot pink, please let me know. There seem to be some hot pink bits lying about in the code still, but i sure as hell can't work out what they're doing.

to the knitting!
Works in progress:
- purple mohair drop stitch scarf, for badly coloured boy's mother
- anatolia, for me. i have been working on this unwieldy beast of a sportsweight jumper since march. i am on the first sleeve.
- uh... in the 'unlikely to be finished' pile is a marnie mclean Hooray for Me glove, and a bear.

Stash size:
Small. Fits in three small navy blue cardboard archival boxes from Ikea.

To do:
(what, aside from make the blog look pretty?)
- Knock off this pringle jumper
- The U-necked fair isle from VK
- My own delightful jumper-y things. To be specified later.