Friday, November 16, 2007

Furniture Updating

Some eighteen years ago my dad bought a desk from Ikea. Eventually I inherited. I like it. It still looks alright, it still works just fine, it's a nice size. But the black handle is a bit dated, non?

This is why we love Ikea. Eighteen years on and their handle sizes are still standard (128mm). Much swisher, doncha think? Sort of industrial but not. And the little washer-type disks are just a smidge bigger in diameter, which means they cover over the bit where I idly traced round the black washers in blue biro sometime... oops.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I'd like to thank the sewing gods

for Textile Traders in Morley. I was in search of a bunch of odds and sods (batting, embroidery thread, potentially cushion inserts and some dress fabric) for which I was going to have to go to Spotlight Freo for. I couldn't work up the energy for a forty minute train trip and the chaos that Spotlight inevitably is. Scouring the Yellow Pages I worked out that Textile Traders Morley was the closest place to me likely to have anything I might need, and that while I remembered it being not so hot (I ducked in one night to look at quilting cottons) it was worth a try.

Oh. Dear. Lord. It is like, ten minutes drive away (next closest fabric store is at least twice that). It has an okay range of quilting cottons (some Michael Miller, some other okay stuff). But the biggest difference is such a subtle one - it looks like their fabric buyer might have a vague idea of what is fashionable in ready to wear. Shopping at Spotlight means that I have a lot of clothes made of seersucker ticking and gingham because at least they're retro, not fug. At TT today I picked up some stunning wheat coloured dull metallic synthetic on clearance for $2 a metre. I'm going back for their somehow kind of shiny/ metallic-in-a-good-way baby cord ($3.50). Their satin prints were CUTE! Try a pink, grey, black and white print of 1930s fashion plates. Also some pink and black print of lingerie which I didn't love, but was certainly fine. So nice to see satins that aren't all aimed at children. Made me want to buy a PJ pattern (something I really must get on to). Their canvases and cotton dressmaking prints. Also attractive! Christmas fabrics? Actually some that I liked! And nothing over $10 a metre! In particular, their buyer has a similar taste in florals to me. Florals can so easily be unfashionable, but from chiffon to mid-weight cotton to canvas the florals were nice. Retro or Marimekko-ish, usually.

Their pattern range was a little limited, but I buy my patterns online anyway. The store certainly wasn't as large as Spotlight, but frankly, there was more there that I'd want to buy at a similar/ slightly lower price point to Spotlight.

What's more: the staff are friendly and enthusiastic (cf: Spotlight drones*). They all oohed and aahed over my Kokka fabric and made me write down the website. The airconditioning actually works (cf: Spotlight). While it was busy enough to reassure me that they won't close down soon I didn't have to take a ticket to get served (cf: Spotlight). Actually asked me if I wanted to put my purchases in my calico bag which I'd forgotton to give to them, rather than automatically stuffing them in plastic (a sign of people of high ethical calibre indeed).

And they had everything I needed.

* Not that I blame the Spotlight drones. If I was on their wages, in their conditions, cutting fabric for women with whining children all day I'd be surly too.

Rogue Progress

(lookie! Clare can use the macro function!)

Since I had to rip out four inches or so from the body progress back up has been a little slower. But I'm getting there. The goal is to have this finished by Christmas. I'm currently maybe ten or so rows short of the armhole cast off (again), and have just started on my third skein of yarn (210g skeins). I'm really hoping after doing the middle cable repeat eight times (yeah. Eight. You heard) that I have enough yarn.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Babette/ Playing with cameras

Yeah, what did ever happen to that stupidly ambitious first crochet project? Well, I finished all the squares a while ago, and started blocking them... and then kind of stalled. So, y'know, downhill run. Just blocking and seaming to go, really. Some of the squares that are supposed to be the same size vary a lot, because my gauge was not so constant. I figure that that'll sort itself out, right? Right?

That's what I have blocked so far. These were taken on a big fat.. uh.. manual digital camera? I don't even know what you call 'em. Badly Coloured Boy borrowed me one from his work, because he likes encouraging anything I do that approaches film-making tendencies, I think. I took these using the manual focus and zoom. But I think they're a tiny bit underexposed, non? Me and the F-Stop and the ShutterSpeed aren't getting on too well. Ah well, it was fun enough. I like that it makes a big manual click when you take the photo, and moving the manual lens was fun. It was really heavy though - I struggled to hold the damn thing steady, and according to an online review one of the upsides of the model he borrowed (a Pentax thingummy doodad) is that's relatively lightweight!

Friday, November 09, 2007

I really love the colour of indigo dye

I think it's just such a delicious blue, no matter the intensity. I see it as a bit of beautiful luxury item, because it's not so easy to find indigo dyed things. But I was watching Collectors tonight (oh! Such a great TV show!) and a lady specialising in japanese fabrics (she had the sweetest antique pattern books, and handpainted embroidery thread spools) said that indigo was a colour reserved for the working class in Japanese feudal society. Imagine! And she showed off some kimono and helmets with designs based on tattoos. The working class in nineteenth century Japan were really, really heavily tattooed, such that tattoo imagery was influencing fashion! Double imagine!

And should you want some pretty almost-sky coloured yarn of your own, Etsy is a rather good place to look. There's this, or this, or my favourite, this.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Door Jam(b)

See, this is the proper use for the internet. Not shopping, or military applications, or instant communication. A place where I can whine to the entire world about the minor injuries I do myself. I slammed my finger in the door last night. Quite hard, because I was pulling the door closed with the force necessary to close it when it's already locked. There was already a bandaid on that finger, because I bit the nail in one of my exams. But that didn't staunch the gush - the veritable flood, I tell you - of blood. Nor dull the incredible, extreme pain. I nearly bawled like a three year old. The only upside to all this is that I don't seem to have damaged the nailbed. I was terrified until I got the old bandaid off that the nail would turn black. But no, I just bruised both sides and cut myself. If you'd like to, you can click on that picture and examine my war wound in minute detail.

It makes knitting difficult. The door slammed straight across the part where I run the yarn over my finger to knit continental. So last night I got through a small portion of Rogue alternating between English (so slow!) and spazzy continental with the yarn run across the first phalanx from the hand (is phalanx the right word?)

I promise to return with some real knitting content soon. Crazy vegetables and minor injuries are not quite what this blog was intended to showcase, but they make for good diversions (I think).

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Christmassy stuff

I got my Christmas cards in the mail from Flora & Fauna Press. Aren't they great? I wonder if I'm the only person in the world that chooses Christmas cards because they remind me of an Agatha Christie novel. I think it's just the very, very fifties design. Subtle, but definitely there. I wish I knew the name of the typeface.

And behind it is some fabbo Kokka fabric from Duckcloth. Not sure what it will be, but damn I liked it!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Beet Root!

This evening I pulled out a few of the beets that have been hanging out in our garden since the start of last winter (about six months now). Some of them never formed bulby roots properly (not sure why - too warm for them here, maybe?) so we just left them and ate the leaves like spinach. But I decided in the name of a gardening revamp it was time for them to come out.

And look at this crazy one! That root was all coiled up tight underneath what there is of a bulb. Funny, huh?

Here's another shot of the taproot stretched out a little more. With a teaspoon for scale.

Because I'm a bit silly I think the scrabbly taproot bears more than a passing resemblance to my now-half-frogged Rogue. Don't you think it looks like frogged yarn?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Uh, Houston? Problem...

(and it's not Clare's mad photography skillz*)

This is Rogue. This is Rogue cast off for the armpits... oh dear. I think I'll have to rip back to the plain, repeatable cables in the middle and add another... three? four? Jeebus I'm glad I didn't go with the pocket on the front, because I'm starting some serious yarn-quantity angst. There's one extra cable in the body already. My other option is to rip the whole damn thing and try again with a needle size up. But that's too disheartening, I think.

How did this happen, you ask? Well, I'm under gauge on the row count. I admit that. I get 27 rows to four inches, not 24... but I still maintain that this pattern must be designed for the lesser of statute. Because that body is 13.5" right now, the length it is supposed to be for the smallest size. Um, do I have a freakishly long body?

On the upside, it appears the jumper isn't too tight. It was an ongoing concern as I knitted. Not quite as loose as I might have liked, but certainly not tight.

* Photo. Right. Photos taken in the mirror never look good. They will always blur - something to do with the mirror. They look worse when you use the toothpaste for sensitive teeth that leaves these little flecks like cement all over the mirror from where you brush a little crazily. But it was the best I could do, okay?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Checking in

("she's checkin' in, she's checkin' in!" What? You obviously don't watch the Simpsons often enough. It's from the Betty Ford Clinic, the Musical).

I'm just squooshed in exams right now, hence it being quiet (oh, so quiet...) round here. Rogue is leaping and bounding along though. It felt very two steps forward, one step back for a while. But I'm up to the armpit shaping. It's a little smaller round the hips than I anticipated, and I've decided for reasons of length to Frankenstein the armhole shaping for the second-smallest size to the number of body stitches of the smallest. I think this means I will make the sleeves for the second smallest size.
I sincerely hope that this:
(a) works;
(b) doesn't look weird.

Alison, I'm looking directly at you for advice and reassurance right now (Alison has just managed a terrifyingly modded Rogue).

There will be photos on, say, Tuesday of next week.