Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Secret Pal 10 Questionnaire!

Alrighty! Here it is - The Secret Pal 10 Questionnaire! And just in the nick of time before the end of Feb! hehe :) I'm so SO super excited about Secret Pal, and cant wait for it to get started and be set up with my Secret Paalll!!! For those of you not knitterly, or for knitters who haven't heard of it before - The Secret Pal exchange involves people registering their interest, then the co-ordinators pair everybody up such that each person has someone to spoil, and someone to spoil them! So you get to meet two new knitters in depth as you prepare a little package of all sorts of goodies for the person you're set to spoil, and as you receive all sorts of treats and things in the mail from the person who's spoiling you! Your spoilER and spoilEE are never the same person. Sounds like so much fun!!

So here's my completed Secret Pal Questionnaire.. now my new Secret Pal (hi!!!) will know almost everything knitterly about me! =D

1.What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I adore natural fibers - something about keeping the craft as un-processed and un-manufactured as possible - but of course that doesn't apply to colour!! LOVE colour! Hehe :) Wools I've had most to do with, and cotton - I love them both, and though I tend to steer away from acrylicky types, I'll use them if the need dictates, or if I've got some hibernating in my stash!

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I use vases with a little soft felt in the bottom to protect needle tips. I love that vases/bowls keep the needles on display - very aesthetically pleasing!

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I'm a very new knitter! I started knitting around August last year, but I've gotten pretty gung-ho into it so I'd say I'm an intermediate. Love cables, always keen to try new techniques, and starting my first lace project now!

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
No - there'd be too much on it I think!!

5. What's your favorite scent?
Vanilla is a definite favourite, and light jasmine type scents too

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

Oh my goodness.. I have to pick a favourite?! Sheez.. Well I love chocolate, flat out - simply love it. In terms of lollies I like all sorts really, I'm a bit of a sugar-addict and definitely a sweet tooth! And although I'm being more disciplined and healthy now with what I eat, I always make a little room for something tasty - otherwise it's simply not living, is it? :) I love trying things from different countries - so the British sweet shoppes around the place are always a hit!

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I'm one of those all-round crafty types - love getting my hands dirty, learning new skills and creating! I do spin, a hobby I've recently taken up and love love love! I also do some beading, writing etc.. all sorts! And I plan to get more into sewing too :)

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
ooohhh.. I'm a big music fan really :) Love tunes and love going to gigs of favourite bands and jumping about like a (knit) nutt in the crowd!! I like alternative rock, punk rock, bluesy tunes, ska bands with brass interjections!, but I love an eclectic mix really, including barbershop, tribal percussion etc.. etc.. the list goes on! I love music with passion and energy :) Yupp - my computer can play mp3s and I have an ipod I can play them through too :)

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
My favourite colour is definately green - I simply adore it! But I'm a fan of all bright colours really :) Colorus I can't stand.. that's hard.. I suppose dull lifeless colours (are there any?!), and I don't wear a lot of pink.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
Oooohhhh don't tease! I'd LOVE pets! Have always had critters in my family until now - but my scrumptious bum partner and I are working away on and off etc.. so we can't inflict that upon a little fuzzy muffin - we'll have dogs, geese, ducks, ferrets, chooks etc... once we've settled! So at this stage it's the two of us on pat-malone! :)

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Here in Australia we don't have that much need for toasty mostly woolly items, but being a knitter I certainly make the most of the cooler weather! I'm a scarf and mitten/fingerless glove person, but the ponchos don't do much for the large bust!

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Ooohhh.. see now that's tricky because I haven't been knitting for very long!! I'm super keen to try lace and see what that's like, but of the techniques and garments i have done.. I enjoy cables, and shaped items, like beanies, mug warmers etc.. so I imagine I'll love making up larger items like jumpers and cardigans etc! Can't wait to make some Fetchings!!

13. What are you knitting right now?
I'm knitting a few things...

  • a little woollen baby beanie on circulars/DPNs
  • my first pair of socks! Toe ups, in wool/cotton blend - delish!
  • a clapotis (though so far I've only swatched for it!) in pure wool, Welsh Green Dragon colourway, hand dyed -yummo!
  • And I'm about to start a birthday pressie for my Scrumptious, and a shawl for my Gran!

Phew! It's fun seeing all my current (and almost current) projects outlined like that! :)

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
I love handmade gifts and goodies!! I love that people put time and effort into creating things - even if they aren't as gifts! - although they're always super special :) It's awesome to see people be inventive and create!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I love the feel and smooooooothness of bamboo *drifts away thinking about it* So I tend to use Addi circulars a lot in the bamboo range. I find the circs are lovely because you can knit in bed with the doona up around you, or on the couch without long straights getting caught up or stabbing my shweetum as I knit!! hehe But I do love the romantic and classic look of the straights, ans have been eyeing off some of the gorgeously hand crafted wooden ones that are about :)

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
As of recently, I certainly do! And aren't they magic things!?!

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
I don't think I have UFO!! How's that for a revelation! Being a relatively new knitter I haven't had much time to leave anything by the wayside. I recently finished the only item that could be described as a UFO, as it took me several months to keep working on it and finish it!

18. What is your favorite holiday?
Either Australia Day or Christmas :) I love the mate-ship feeling and relaxation of Australia Day, and that everyone gets into costume and Aussie gear! Christmas for me is a magical (and yet a little poignant) time full of sparkle, wonder and light - I try not to get too caught up in the stress and consumerism.

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Hmm... not really.. I adore Rainbow Brite so I keep an eye out for shirts, figurines, stickers - anything to do with Rainbow Brite and her crew! But apart from that - nothing springs to mind! oooh except Christmas ornaments! Writing the above Question's answert reminded me! I do collect Christmas ornaments :) Usually I'm gifted a special one each year by various special people :)

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I'm absolutely hanging OUT to try Koigu and Socks That Rock! The Chapman springs colour way of socks that rock makes me weak at the knees, and Koigu I've heard so much about but can't source it from anywhere here in Oz! Oooh and needle-wise I'm lying in wait to ambush the new addi lace needles! yum! I'm subscribed to Vogue Knitting, and am thinking of subscribing to Interweaves, seeing as I pretty much buy it every time anyway!! Books I'd love to get my hands on are some of those Japanese craft books, particularly around making those awesome little critters! The amigurumi figures of little animals either sewn, crocheted or what not - cute!!

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I have deemed 2007 to be my year of learning to knit Continental and Combination style, and to learn Fair Isle. I've had a crack at a little fair Isle swatch and pulled it off okay, but I figure with Continental under my belt it'll be a lot faster, easier and more fun! I also want to spend more time dyeing and developing those skills, plus I plan to learn how to Navajo ply and other exciting spinning tricks!

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
I certainly am a sock knitter! At this stage it is 'sock' singular - still have my very first sock (toe up) on the needles! But I'm enjoying it very much! Love love loving the novelty of using multiple tiny wooden needles and knit knit knitting in the round on them! Ooohhh.. foot measurement eh? Well I'm about a size 8 1/2 - 9 shoe.. but I'll have to check my actualy measurements!! Sorry!!

23. When is your birthday?
Early January - I'm a Capricorn, Year of the Dog and a summer bub!

Culinary Darings

Skoot is one of those people who has an instinct for cooking. HE doesn't use measuring cups or recipes, but simple knows how much to put in, when to stir, and can be sitting on the couch watching a moofie with me then suddenly jump up "It's ready!" and go to the oven to pull out perfectly golden brown creations with no timer on the oven at all!! I am -not- one of these people (yet?) so am constantly amazed by the magic that is skoota :) The other day he wanted to make a milkshake.. He got a pint glass and put in cashews, date honey, ice, tumeric, cinnamon and a few other choice ingredients I didn't identify, poured milk over the top and...
Picture sashcam 273

***bbrrrZzzzzzzzzz ***

Picture sashcam 277
Hehe, one of these days it might rub off on me and I too will become a kitchen wizard! But for now I'm happy being awed and delighted by the taste combinations and innovative thinking that is skoot :)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

knitalicious relaxation

*nice long contented sigh* ahhhhhhhhh :)

After yesterday's frustrations, heat and hard work it was so so nice to indulge in a purely relaxing and quiet evening :) Skoot and I did head out for a super delish meal with his mum and sister, which was really nice - an filling! But the best bit of all was after we left, and I went back to the little kitty dwelling and was able to totally veg out and relax to my knitterly heart's content! I can certainly relax at home too, so it's not a difference in freedom or personal space that I'm noticing, but I'm really enjoying spending some time truly on my own in a house, as I've never lived on my own before. It's nice to sit there, doing exactly what you feel like doing without any external influence on your choices. Not a bad influence, but for example at home I'll often put aside any knitting or reading to watch a moofie or something with skoota - both equally enjoyable, but often I don't get any of my knittingy stuff done as much as I could because I'm distracted by the Scrumptious!

Speaking of knitting I've been tonking along on the little mini bubbie beanie and have finished the stockingette rim
little orange bubba beanie
I wanted it to curl up on itself, so have finished a few rows of stockingette and done one row of garter so it'll curb the curl now as I change on to the yellow yarn :)

I picked up two books the other day that I've been wanting for a goodly time now! They are so intriguing I couldn't wait to get reading!! They're both by Maggie Sefton, two of a series of murder Mystery novels set around a knitting store! How brilliant is that!?!
MAggie Sefton books
The bookstore had two in stock, the first book 'Knit One, Kill Two' and another, 'Needled To Death'. I'm about halfway through the first one and I'm loving it! I've been curled up on the couch with the cuddley kitty-kato completely absorbed in this fabulous book!! I really do recommend them, particularly as they're not as exie as I had expected them to be - which was a lovely surprise :)

Righto! We're off to do some grocery shopping! Soon the cupboard will no longer be bare!

p.s. A snapshot of the aforementioned "frustration, heat and hard work"!
It really is good fun, I do enjoy it - but not under a time constraint. It's fun when there's no pressure to get the car going, because then if one single bolt decides to be a b@stard and take an hour and a half to get out you can walk away and chill out for a bit!!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Homing away from home

I'm house/kitty-sitting for a friend of mine for the next week or so, and won't have access to the internet except for when I'm back home. This is a good and a bad thing, as I won't be able to post as much, or check out all the lovely things online etc.., but it means I'll spend a lot more time actually knitting!! The house is super cute and has a snuggly little kitty-kato who has deigned to cuddle with me :) Very nice and takes the edge off living on my own for the first time!

In preparation for so much knitting time I went to Calico & Ivy the other day to buy some yarn and needles for knitting some little bitty beanies for a friend of mine who's expecting next week or so. I plan on making a little beanie for her newborn-to-be, and one for her little boy who's about 4 :) I think it'd be nice to make something for her and her hubby too, since the parents always seem to miss out in the baby gift giving saga, when really they're the ones who need the most pampering!! I have a design idea in my head for how I'll knit them and what I want them to turn out like, so it'll be fun to see what it turns out like!
I chose super-wash Heirloom yarn, pure wool - nice and snuggly warm, but washer and time friendly as it won't felt!
new needles!
I also got a set of 5 DPNs 4mm in size, and a super teeny short set of 4mm addi circs - for total beanie making power!!

The real estate saga has simmered down to a dull crankiness and we're still looking for someone else to move on to. I mean... *shakes head and gets off subject before becomes indignant again*

A lovely friend at work gifted me these tasty tangy dried cranberries for helping her out - yum yum!!
And I lunched beneath this gooooorgeous fig tree near work the other day when everything felt a bit much re: the stinky real estators- a truly stress-relieving experience!
fig tree
So all in all things are content and lovely once again :) We spent the day today working hard on fixing the clutch on one of the cars so we're having a well earned relax before heading out to yummy dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant! Mmmmmm!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The little things

A little jacaranda, grown from seed, was gifted to me for my birthday this year by boodiful binkett :) I've been absolutely doting on the little sprite, look how gorgeous he is!!


This is a few weeks old this shot, so he's a little taller than this now *proud little smile* Isn't he gorgeous!! The little green faery has been keeping him company :)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A bit of a disappointment, anxiously

Well, despite the many hours I spent scrubbing tiles, de-cobwebbing, mopping and generally cleaning and the many hours skoota spent vaccuuming, re-organising the workshop, washing and generally cleaning... we did not receive a satisfactory inspection report yesterday awaiting us on the kitchen bench as we would normally. Instead we found the report to state all was fine apart from weeding in the back yard, and bathroom "needs attention" (oh so helpful and specific), but that we would have a re-inspection in 14 days. whaaaaat?? From a previous post you already have the general gist of how non-polished and Taj-Mahal-y the joint is.. so I'm sure it surprise all round as to why the real estate are all of a sudden becoming so vigilant and an@l about the inspections.

And then there was the other letter..

The one that said we were in breach of contract and were being ousted in 7 days.

*blink* *blink*

What just happened?!

So skoota's going to go in and talk with them to see what on earth is going on. We've been wanting to move to another place for a while and I guess this can be seen as a helpful little motivation in that direction!! But we certainly don't have a cache of money lying about to use for Bond on a new place, and I worry what sort of black mark this might put against us for future rentals. In breach of contract?!?! *confusion and indignation*

So I am distracting and comforting myself with (copious amounts of chocolate) pictures of the lovely fluffy muffins in my life :)

Here we see Tess, the gorgeous doggalog companion of the equally gorgeous bink :)
Tessie in ute
We took her out to the dog beach last time she was over, and on the way home she had her first ever ute ride! She looks a little concerned as we were snapping shots of her when she was eager to get back down to the ground with her Mama!
Tessie in ute 2
And of course my heart's delight.. my lovely fluffy bum husky girl Chilli *soppy smile* This was from when she was staying with us and was all wet from an outing and had flaked out on the floor in exhaustion :)
wet snoozing chill
Okay, I'm off to the couch for some knitting, then out to the craft store for some yarn to knit little baby beanies for a friend of mine at work who's expecting shortly :) I will restrain myself from buying materials to fashion a real estate voodoo doll from..

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Photo snaps!

Not much time to write, so a few snapshots of the weekend :)

The resort we stayed in has a lake-style pond running through it, with masses of ducks and maine geese who trot about, laze on the banks and generally look gorgeous all day! Just look at his stunning turqouise feathers!

Duckie feb

Seeing them makes me yearn so badly for our own land where we can have the stability and space to have our own little menagerie of ducks, geese, chooks, a mob of dogs, ferrets etc... *sigh* ... But in the meantime I can enjoy the duckies where-ever else I see them :)

We took a drive out to one of the beachfronts Dad has frequented since his youth, surfing trips and weekend away. The weather was blustery, cool and at times wet over the weekend, which meant some scary big waves at some of the surf spots!

surf bay feb

In the mornings Dad managed to get a ripper surf in while we were all still snoozing!

The delicious knitting continues - and with such satsfaction! Using Colinette Point 5 (completely drool worthy!) on 10mm needles is knitting up so quickly! Talk about instant gratification!! I absolutely adore the colourway I'm using too, the Popsicle colours of fairy-floss and make-blieve rainbows is so enchanting I drift off while I gaze at it as I'm knitting!!

my so called start

I've had the two skeins of Colinette in my little woven stash keep practically since I first started knitting so it's such bliss to be able to play it it finally :)

Monday, February 19, 2007

Back to the routine - happily happily :)

Yes, we have returned from the gloriuos weekend away in Busselton! It was SO relaxing and ultra refreshing to get out of the city and down to a luxurious, beach-front self contained resorty place with Scrumptious Bum, lovely Dad and my grandparents (on Dad's side). Lots of decadent gourmet foods, cool sometimes rainy weather, lots of duckies in the lake!! Simply a fabulous get-away :)

I got a good amount of knitting done both in the car on the journey to and fro, but also sitting about one the verandah and so on - lovely lovely!!

Pics and more details to follow - of Finished Objects!! - and my Secret Pal 10 Questionnaire!! *excitement* But for now my work day is officially beginning!

Friday, February 16, 2007

A day off!

*yawns and stretches languidly*

It's very luxurious, and I'll stop showing off.. but I have today off work! Yippeee!! It's not quite so luxurious as you may be imagining, as I've mainly been locked in a full-scale hardcore cleaning frenzy with skoota to prepare for a rent inspection coming up. There's not that much to be done, but always more than you think once you start looking into it! So as much as I would've loved to have plentiful knitting time yesterday and today... I've mainly been scrubbing tiles, mopping floors and cleaning windows amongst other thrilling occupations! But today I WILL cram some knitting in - I simply must!

There will be MUCH knitting time ahead this weekend however, as we're going down south - hooorraaayyy! I mentioned it last post but didn't elaborate - we're going down south with my lovely huggable Daddio to stay with my Grandparents down there while they're on holiday. It'll not only be a lovely opportunity to spend time with Gran & Pa, but a faaaabulous time to get out of the city and spend some time on HOLIDAY!!

OOOHHH!!! It's just started POURING with rain outside! Sounds gorgeous! I raced out to smell the rainy smells, and feel the cool rush of wind - so delish!
Tried to capture on photo but didn't come out very distinctly - nevermind :)

Ohmigosh.. I'm sitting here in realtive silence apart from the sound of rain outside.. and I hear this "chitch"... "chitch".... "chitch"... I look over to the fireplace to see if it's a little cicada or some critter who's come inside - no... can't see anything. Hop up and walk closer, listening carefully.. "chitch"... "chitch".. Hmmm.. move aside the large photo of Skoot's late doggalog - nothing... then "chitch!" - It's water dripping from the CEILING!!!
yucky roof!
It's looked skanky like that since I moved in w skoota here, but I've never seen it DRIP! Shows the kind of place it is, really, and how much we really don't need to put too much energy into preparing for the inspection! You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear...

No way! So much excitement is happening AS I'm actually typing out this post!! No sooner had I finished the dot dot dot above, than I heard a car door outside, footsteps, and met a delivery lady at the door with the package from Wendy of Dame Candle Company!!
dame package
How bizarre!! Am super excited and will tear the package open and begin 'reviewing' *sits up straighter and puts on haughty professor expression* right now! The rest of the post re: knitting can wait!! hehe!

p.s. ANOTHER excitement has occurred! I have signed up for Secret Pal 10!! Wheee! I've never done a Secret Pal Session before but have seen it looks like SO much fun spoiling and be spoiled I couldn't resist! :)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Short post - hurt back!

Well.. back or shoulder.. not sure at this stage! But it's not fun! And what are the chances - the DAY before we go away for the weekend!! Gah! Hehe, nevermind, it's not toooo bad, I can still type! And I'm hoping I can still knit because.....

The Peacocks pattern arrived yesterday which is perfect timing... although of course I won't be knitting the peacocks with the seasilk anymore! Hehe, again, nevermind!! It's super luch and soft to caress and love, colours are divine, although I have to say the white "pilling" that clings to the silk is more noticeable than I'd anticipated (I heard it mentioned on the Knitters Review). But it is super deluxe and I can't WAIT to get cracking knitting it up!!
More postings later, have starting swatching the dragonny greennie goodness and it's v. lovely! But for now I'm ot the couch and a G'n'T to nurse my shoulder blade tendons!!
p.s. gorgeous sunrise driving to work :)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

All wound up

My my... I'm in a bit of a dreamy mind-wandering blissful state just at the minute... Not at all conducive to beginning my work day!! Never-the-less here I sit at my work desk, waiting for that phone to start ringing. But infront of me, a little below my monitor sit two plump, round, waffley balls freshly wund out of a lovely Welsh Green Dragon's plumes. *sighs contentedly*
I took many many photos, which I'll post once I'm home and upload the shots to flickr. *another contented sigh* I've printed off the Clapotis pattern too, so I'm actualyl completely ready and raring to go!! Will be good knitter and do a gauge swatch first to see if I should use the 4mm or 5mm.. I shall enjoy the swatching though *gazes dreamily at yarn sitting there* oh yes.. *drifts off into yarny day-dreams*

Goodies goodies GOODIES!! Everywhere!

As always I have returned home from Library SnB completely inspired, excited and geared up for all the fabulous projects I have bustling about in my brain!

I took along ball-winder and swift as I knew Helen had many a skein of delicious sock yarn she needed to ball up for future knitting. So after settling in and chatting with all the gals, flipping through all the new books to the library, and Helen's stunning and amazing Victorian Lace Today we set it all up (with the help of Suzanne - I'd never set my swift up before!) and got winding!! First some delicious wool/cashmere, then the cherry coloured SeaSilk Helen has received in the mail! Oooohhh it's SO DIVINE!!! I'm in an extreme state of anticipation for my four lovely skeins zipping their way across the seas to me! Helen had bought the subtly variegated colourway of berries - not as strongly hue changing as the Nova Scotia I've ordered, and my goodness it is sensuous and delicious! Just look at it shining in the photo as it was being lovingly wound into an edible raspberry waffle ball!!
Helen winding
Linda then had a fang on the very popular winder and swift combo - many/most of the ladies had never seen them used before so it was quite a mini-presentation and demo we had going! Linda's yarn was gorgeous, the colours all purple, green, blue, yum yum! Another tasty waffle I'd eat up if I could!!
Linda and  wound balls
I talked over some design plans with Helen for patterns I wanted to knit up, the yarns I had, and whether a combination of the two was viable! In most cases it wasn't, but has led to a fruitful outcome none-the-less! Two items we discussed shall remain secret as they are Christmas and Birthday presents I'll be working on this year for people who read da blawg, but the others we thought through were a pair of Fetchings out of the Sunshineyarns Welsh Green Dragon I bought months ago (and meant to blog about but didn't! So here's a photo of the AWESOMENESS that is Welsh Greenie!!)
Welsh Green Dragon Sunshineyarns
I've wanted to knit these up for aaages, and bought two skeins so I could knit the Fetchings and a pair of socks too. But then realised quite quickly that the Sunshines yarn is more of a socky/sport weight, and the Fetchings call for Aran weight! "Bah!" Thought I, "Double stranding it should do the trick!" But no.. on further inspection it probably won't do the trick. So I decided instead to knit up a Clapotis with both skeins combined!! I've been planning to knit since I first knew of it back last year when I started my whole knitting fandango but didn't yet know with which yarn, so it's brilliant! Even better, it will be much more snuggly and enjoyable around my shoulders rather than around my ankles, plus gets rid of the tricky gauge dilemma!! Yay! What a perfectly magical Dragonny solution!
Welsh Green Dragon
Next, for the direct purpose I picked up from Helen & Ann's Knitting Inspirations my first ever pair of Addi Turbos!

*crowd gasps*

I know! I've used the addi bamboo circs a lot and ADORE THEM!! It's a post I've been meaning to do lately, to show off my stunning 5mm bamboos and gush for a while on how smooth, silky and yummy they feel and how fabulous they are to knit with - but I shall say that now instead! haha! Plus I could not believe how inexpensive they were to buy!! I'll be comin' back for more in all sizes!
So I'm super keen to try out the metal addi turbos *insert light saber sound affect from Brenda's Cast On here* on this most exciting and anticipated project!!

Then, as if all this excitement and mental stimulation wasn't enough! I returned home to a PACKAGE!! Skoota had told me over the phone earlier today that there was a package awaiting me, but that it was a box inside a huge bag, and labelled from Sydney!
postage bag
How bizarre - I didn't order anything from Sydney... ? So I came home, puzzled a moment and cut open the bag to reveal...
My amazon order! Hooraay!!! =D
So now I have two more glorious books to keep me inspired and drooling over such fantastic use of colour, fabulous yarns and brilliant patterns!

Now after all that excitement I must MUST go to bed! Don't know how quickly I'll be able to doze off with all the knitterly thoughts and urgings, nay, cravings to cast on IMMEDIATELY, but it's almost midnight and I have work tomorrow!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Yesterday was the W.A Handspinners, Weavers and Dyers Guild AGM, so I packed my knitting, my wheel, my fibre and myself into the ute and off we went! It's always lovely to catch up with all the wise, crafty and spirited ladies who frequent the guild, but also being in such a supportive creative environment fuels the motivation and creative spirit no end!

I was keen to put my hand up for one of the many Guild roles being filled during the meeting (secretary, treasurer, librarian etc..) and was encouraged by the ladies, but as much as I am eager to get involved in the knitty (hehe) gritty of it I simply .don't know my schedule this year in terms of free time and when I'll be in Perth, Fly-In-Fly-Out etc.. - so I'm far too unreliable to commit to anything like the Guild Committee at the moment :( But they assured me that the positions change each year so I can have a go next time! :)

I've been hiring a spinning wheel from the guild since I joined late last year, and decided it was well and truly time to swap over and try a different type of wheel. I wanted to try as many as possible before I committed to buying one. I really want to be an educated purchaser and get exactly the right wheel for me! So I took in the lovely little Ashford Traveller -somewhat sadly as I've become quite attached to the little lovely! - and swapped it for....

An Ashford traditional!
ashford traditional
It's significantly larger than the traveller, and from the mini-spin I've had on it, it has a slower, more weighty spin - less treadles for such power. I really enjoyed the traveller, and it will have to be a pretty magnificent wheel to out-do it, but I'm determined to be fair and try all sorts before I buy :)

I also spent some time perusing the shelves of the Guild library. Members can borrow books or magazines for 20c each - brilliant! I picked up a copy of Spin To Knit - which I've borrowed from Helen before but wanted another re-read! The FANTASTIC Twisted Sisters Sock Book - a book I've heard so many good things about and now I know why! Definitely on my wish list! And for help with my up-coming lace projects Ruth recommended the Interweave issue with the Lace Primer, so I picked that up too :) So I've got some busy times ahead!
library books
I'm also super keen to try some more dye-ing. I still have one skein of the white wool skoot and I dyed last time, but I also have all that gorgeous undyed merino tops.. mmmm.... Which reminds me, i MUST write up the post about the Sash'n'Skoot Dye Adventures!

I've been LOVING the ballwinder, winding anything I can get my hands on - even commercial yarns already wound into balls!
woolly windings!
I'm still an old-fashioned romantic at heart, and love the aesthetic of a hand-wound ball of yarn - but the waffley look of the ball-winder-wound balls is fun too :)
cotton wound
Anchor cotton - yummy colours :)

So now I'm off to do some spinning until my lovely huggable mate Bink arrives for a day of fun, crafting, Hugh Jackman moofies and heart-to-hearts! :)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Very Lucky Drum-Cardologist!

I have returned, laden with fibre-related goodies!! Wheee!!

The lady selling the drum-carder was SUCH a lovely and generous person, not only did she sell me the fabulous drum-carder at an extremely reasonable price, she also gave me other goodies and wouldn't accept any more money from me no matter how hard I tried!! I am SO stoked to have my very own drumcarder *big wide grin* I've been looking at them on ebay for a while but YIKES expensive!! So then I thought I'd hire one from the Spinning GUild.. but now I have my owwwwnn!! :) He (the drumcarder - he's clearly a 'he' though for now remains nameless) is an Ertoel, and I think it's the Kate, the larger of the two models. A lovely dark finished wood, and all pieces intact.
Very good condition despite coming to me third hand! I love it! I LOVE IT!! I'm really looking forward to having a go on it with some of the Corriedale I have from the Royal show still!

The other items she generously gifted me were a book on hand spinning, a swift (which is fantastic as I've been wanting one but have been a bit put off by prices)
Swift and book
and... drum(carder)roll....
A funky super duper retro style BALL WINDER!!!

How amazingly awesome is it all?!!!! I'm so so thrilled to bits; it is a little adventure that has brightened my somewhat low day today, which is very nice :) As I'm off home today (I went into work but found it all too much so came home I'd been tempted to not go in at all, which would have been wiser given the long drive, but nevermind!) I think I'll treat myself to a little nap before skoota gets home :)

Hope all's fiber-y and knitterly with the world elsewhere too :)

p.s. now I think of it Maybe Ertoel should be an Ethel... will have to see how he (she?) Cards to decide on a name and i guess from that.. gender!

Drum Card-ologist

EEEeeeee!! V. excitment! Skoota SMS'ed me that an Ertoel drumcarder is in the quokka for $100! I've called the lady and am driving off now to potentially buy him and take him home!! It'll be fab to be able to card up all that raw fleece I've got from the show last year, but buying a new carder is sooo expensive. Yippeee!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

In lighter news, on my drive to work today there was the most gorgeous sunrise, through amazing clouds - truly stunning. Getting up early and driving to work with a sunrise is a MUCH better alternative to leaving home at a reasonable hour but fighting completely UNreasonable peak hour traffic to work.
odious traffic
Blergh. That's one of the things I'm finding most unbearable about my current work, is that it's about a 45min-1hour drive EACH way to get there from home. So add to that atrocity that I'm not really stimulated by the work anymore, it's not a caeer path for me, it's the same every single day again and again, and the pay isn't enough to get skoota and I to where we want to be - and it's clear why we're on the job hunt together for work away on the mines or such. Something different! Something new! Learn more skills, further myself! Save up to buy land! Yeehar!

I have been on a mega cooking stint lately, trying to take better care of myself; step one of which is getting a good amount of exercise and putting the right nutrients and foods into me! I made up some super tasty cheesey scones which have just seen me through a famished morning tea moment at work - I shall delve into the Lolly Tin no more!!
cheesey scones

On the knitting front I'm tonking along at a good speed with the penultimate belated giftie, as seen below. I finished one for a friend the other day but can't show too much detail as there are still two to be given and I don't want to spoil the surprise any more than I can avoid!!


Hehehe and Bink forwarded me the link to a page, which held the following fabulous little snippet!!

An Aussie oil spill in '00 resulted in a global call for penguin-sized wool sweaters (which keep 'em from preening themselves so they don't swallow oil).

How cute is that! I mean.. ecologically terrible, but awfully cute once they're cleaned up and in their little woolly warmth!

Chest constriction

Ohmigosh.. *tries to slow hysterical breathing pace*... I might be in big trouble!!

*slows heartbeat to explain*

I love LOVE when people comment - it's awesome :) - and especially when they save me from imminent doooooom!!!

Donna commented :

Hi Sasha! Both Sea Silk and Zephyr are gorgeous yarns, but they are very different. Sea Silk isn't a lace weight. It's equivalent to an Aussie 4ply, and it knits at 28sts/4". You get 400m in 100g. Zephyr is equal to an Aussie 2ply, and you get about 1100m in 100g. It is much, much finer than Sea Silk. I have both here right now, and I'd guess that the Sea Silk is around twice as thick as the Zephyr. Peacock Feathers would look gorgeous in the colourway you've chosen, but do a gauge swatch, or you might end up with a *gigantic* shawl!!

You see now the reason for my terror!! Lace was a little intimidating, but it's all knit and purl, right? So I was confident I could give it a fair shot... But dealing with a different gauge as well?!?! EEEEEPP!! How could I have missed that they're different weights?! I suppose I was breaking the cardinal rule of using the same fibre anyway, by changing from wool to silk.. and I didn't really have an option as I was determined to use the seasilk.. *big sigh* Ah well.. I guess I'll just get stuck into the project with more gusto and determination now!!

I would super mega mondo appreciate any hot tips on dealing with changing gauge..? :) ...anyone?? *pleads*

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Plans of knits to be!

The purpose of this post is to fill in the details of subjects and projects I've briefly mentioned in past posts - delicious knitted items I plan to knit up as soon as I can get my hands on the supplies!

Firstly, I mentioned earlier that my huggable Mum is sponsoring my the yarn for a jumper as my birthday giftie this year - extremely exciting! I have wanted to knit the Central Park Hoodie ever since Michelle and Yin were debating whether they should knit the CPH or the Arwen hoodie. I loved both but at the time wasn't in the mind space to consider another project, so put them in the back of my mind as possible future endeavours. Then I picked up the 'Fall 2006 KnitScene' and found the CPH was in it! Then the next Interweave Knits I picked up had Arwen! I decided then and there that I preferred the Central Park, and would definitely knit it up.
Central Park Hoodie
I trolled the net looking at yarns, thinking I'd knit it in black to match most things, then when I talked about it with Mum we reassessed and decided it would be much nicer in green - it would stand out more, be a bit more special and different - and in my fave colour to boot!! Further to that, and after a bit more trolling on the net, we found that the we really liked the chosen yarn in the pattern more than anything else we could find!! It's in Tahki Donegal Tweed - which I adore for it's multicoloured flecks, and the gorgeous shade of green - adore adore ADORE! Only problem is no matter how hard I search the net, I can't find anywhere that can ship to Oz with enough balls of it! And how bizarre is this, the actual main distributing company, Tahki Stacy Charles only ship to the US!!! ?!?! Gah!! So we've decided we'll ask our rellies in the US if they can order it and post it on to us and we'll reimburse them. Must have delicious yarn.. must knit hoodie... mmmmm... *talks like zombie* I'm so so very keen to get cracking on my first 'real' garment! Plus, made with yarn from my Mama, I'll think of her while I knit it, and every time I snuggle up into it! :)

So in the meantime, I've been eyeing off the Knitty Cleaves pattern - as I posted about previously.. but something exciting has happened recently to perhaps delay the Cleaves knitting for a while. Something really exciting :)

I've been planning since before Christmas to knit a clapotis for my paternal Gran in Handmaiden SeaSilk - knowing that her skin is sensitive and irritated by most wools. I really want to knit something beautiful for both my Grans as a special sign of my love, respect and bond with them, especially as I still am lucky enough to have both my Grans (and Granpas!) with me! And when I first saw SeaSilk I was SO excited as it meant the means to knit a glorious stole for my (paternal) Gran! But before Christmas it simply wasn't financially viable to purchase the Seasilk, so plans were put on hold. I did however decide on the Nova Scotia colourway as the most suitable and gorgeous for my Gran - all blues, greens and turquoise - simply lovely :)
Novascotia 1
Christmas and New Year flew by, and before I knew it I jolted with the realisation - "I can justify putting the money aside for that yarn now!!" By this time I was beginning to hesitate about Clapotis.. I'm super keen to knit one, but it didn't seem special enough to knit for Gran. That was when I found the perfect project.

The Peacock Feathers Shawl from fiddlesticks
It is completely divine and even more fitting as Gran has always been a huge fan of birds - so how perfect to hand knit her a stunning silk peacock tail shawl!

So I wasted no time in ordering the pattern, and begun my SeaSilk search of the net, with help from my lovely uber-knitterly SnB friend Helen, for an Aussie or non-Aussie stockists that would ship internationally. I'd seen on the pattern info for Peacock Feathers that 1260 yards of Zephyr was required, and as SeaSilk is lace weight also I figured I'd need the same amount of metre-age. Three skeins of SeaSilk would make it - just. But I didn't want to risk running out and having to chase up another skein from the dyelot, or wait for shipping or any other number of disastrous potential outcomes from only ordering "just enough". So I decided on 4 skeins. If I ended up with left over I'll make myself a little something luxurious too :) The problem was that I couldn't find anywhere with enough skeins in stock to ensure I would get all I needed from the same dyelot! Poohh!! So each day I'd troll about a bit and search website for Seasilk, and go through Handmaiden's list of web-based stockists. Finally I discovered Colorsongyarn has 12 skeins in stock! TWELVE!! Surely I could get 4 of the same dye lot amongst that 12!! SO I sent through my order, with special instructions for all skeins from same dyelot etc.. and it's on it's way! As easy as that!! I am SO SO excited and can't wait to get cracking! Peacock Feathers is listed as an Advanced Intermediate pattern, however, and as I've not ever tried lace before I'm thinking I had perhaps better start with a slightly simpler lace pattern to start with. Helen has been so supportive and helpful, guiding me to multiple yarn tutorials and hot tips! Amongst these I've seen the Flowerbasket Shawl and the SwallowTail Shawl.. and another idea has sprung into my mind!

These are gorgeous and perfect for my (maternal) Gran! So my idea is this... I could get cracking now on the Swallowtail(or Flowerbasket - but have just seen online that pattern is no longer available!) shawl for Gran while I'm waiting for the pattern and yarn to arrive for the Peacock Feathers Gran shawl!! How perfect is that?!?! I would get some experience on a not-so-difficult pattern, and knit a shawl for each Gran!! Might be a little optimistic.. particularly as the super friendly Nancy from Colorsong told me it would only be 7 days for my SeaSilk order to arrive! But it's definitely worth a shot and definitely worth investing my time, effort, money and love for two such amazing, inspiring and loving women :)

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Toe up progess is up!

After many days - months even! - of distraction and diversion from my lovely spring coloured sock knitting... I've turned the heel!! Woohoo! I'm so SO excited about it! Seeing Yin knit up her first toe up has enthused me so much and filled me with inspiration to get stuck back into my sockies! I took the needles out today and strung some yarn through to try the sockie on - and it's fabulous!
sockie heel!
I still have a few gifties and things to knit up, but I'm definately carrying my liddle sockie around with me to knitta away at some lovely little stitches here and there :)

Friday, February 02, 2007

Knitting Knoggin!

I have SO much knitting on my knoggin! I mean.. noggin.. You know it's bad when you start adding 'k's' to words that start with 'n'!! But before I can update about knitterly thoughts and cravings, I must update on the Australia Day weekend - must keep these things in order people!!

So last weekend was the long weekend, which skoot and I made even longer by knocking off early on Thursday and heading out bush to Boddington and Dwellingup! Our plan was to stay for a good few nights, dreamily lazing about and swimming in the rivers... but it was PACKED!! I don't know how we managed to over look the fact that every man and his dog would be out and about that long weekend!! So Friday morning we packed up quick-smart and headed back to Perth! We did get to enjoy the stunning surrounds though, I sat knitting a little strip of wool to make into a stubby holder for skoot (close up shot of stitches was in last post) gazing up at the fluttering leaves of the gum trees surrounding us, and of course we slept in the swag under the stars - lovely lovely! I discovered a FABULOUS knitting accessory, one not normally associated with knitting..

The Camp Chair!!!

Camp knittin

hehehe, see how well the little ball of yarn fits in the drink holder?! PERFECT! I sat there knitting away and not once did my ball of yarn roll off into the dirt, get prickles on it or anything! It was fabulous!

So over the rest of the weekend I finished knitting it up and am now sewing it onto a stubby holder - I wanted the extra insulation of the stubby holder as well as the wool.

And while we're on the stubby-holder-wool topic...
Comment from Michelle :)
"wow...that wool is really colourful!! did you dye that yourself??

The answer to which is.. yes.. and no...!! It's shop bought white yarn (100% wool - anon. brand from Spotlight) which had been dyed with food colouring my THE SHVEETUM!! Yay!! *crowd roars* A saga I have been meaning to tell for some time... I shall post about it in a separate title to this - But isn't it FABULOUS!!! Skoot's a scientifically minded chap, so he used three colorus of dye, and created the MASTERPIECE you see before you!! He's so clever :) But then I'm biased..

Camp knittin 2

The Saturday I went to a gorgeous movie with my gorgeous Mama - Miss Potter. We so enjoyed it, and it has given us the motivation we needed to get started on our plan of writing children's books together - something we've been thinking of and talking of for a while - how exciting!!!

Saturday was a monster massive clean up mission of the house - badly needed since the Christmas shamozzle, Halloween B'day caboozle and general disorganisation!! Unfortunately La Nestie was the one room that missed out on the clean up! Gah!!! But I did some on it yesterday so gradually I am reclaiming my lovely den from the MESS!

Sunday we'd planned to go for a fang on our jazzy bikes with lovely Dad, which I was particularly excited about as I've ridden pillion with Dad a lot and was so keen to ride together on our own bikes - zooming about the wilderness - wheee!! But the day dawned a 41.5 degree celcius day (MENTAL!!!) so we opted for having some lunch inside with air-con instead!!

In other news - before I go on to the next catch up post! - I zapped over to Spotlight the other day in my lunch break to pick up some yarn I needed to finish skoota's scarf (I know I posted before that I was done and only needed to stitch the two lengths together.. WRONG! I had done the wrong number of squares on one length! Gah! Then discovered I was out of yarn! Then bought the wrong ply yarn!! So now I've finially got it right! I hope...) and the shelves were EMPTY!!! *crowd gasps* well... almost empty.. and it CHAOTIC! The store's relocating so they were having a %50 off everythig sale (yeehar!!), hence managed to pick up not only the ball of 100% wool red Cleckheaton (LAST one in the store! All alone on the top-most almost-unreachable shelf!) and two gorgeous calligraphy pens for a total of $7!! Whhee! :)

Spotlight goodies

I didn't get to do the beanie I was hoping to knit up for Skoot over the weekend - though the multiple balls of 8ply red and black wool I bought THINKING it was right for the scarf will be great to do the beanie in, but when I knit it with a strand of red and black together it becomes so chunky I need 10mm needles to knit it up! I've got a pair of 10mm Addi bamboo's (sutnning lovely smooth and delicious!) but too long to do a beanie, and nowhere I tried had them in stock. Plus... when I get to the crown I'll need 10mm double points!! And that's just mental! Must rethink the design and see what I come up with :)