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.