Monday, 31 December 2007

Road Trip

Having fulfilled all familial Christmas duties, Joe & I hopped in the car, and headed south!
He thought I wanted to stop at the woollen mills in Bendigo & Wangaratta. I'd heard from a reliable source that they're closed this time of year. I didn't let on, though. The real reason for the trip was so I could give him his Christmas present ... tickets to Monty Python's Spamalot.

My trickery was so devious that he had no idea, until we were in Melbourne, figuring out what to do for dinner.
The show was great. Very funny, including all the best scenes of the movie.

So what else did we get up to???

Here are the stats (courtesy of the fancy car computer thingo).
over 2000 km driven (in 5 days)
25 and a bit hours driving time.
average speed of 88km/hr
average fuel consumption of 7.2 l/100km

More interestingly ... we had a lovely drive along the Alpine Way through Kosciuszko National Park, shopping in Melbourne, the theatre (Spamalot), a day at St Kilda (including swim, stroll and lunch on Acland St), a quick trip through Bendigo (stopping in at Bendigo Pottery), and plenty of beer, wine and naughty food.

Scenery in included bushfire affected regions of the national park, and Hume Lake, that has heaps of dead trees in it.
On the knitting front, I finished the first Jaywalker sock, and have started the second. I also lauched my summer knitting project, a round blanket along the same lines as the Hemlock blanket. Here are a couple of photos.




It's in 8 ply cotton. The pattern is an old knitted doily pattern that I found for free on the net. I've just about finished the pattern, and now I'm figuring out how to keep the increases going - I needed graph paper or excel to chart what I want to do. Hopefully I'll be able to figure something out.

Monday, 24 December 2007

Baby Fern

It's done. Here are the pics.

Yarn: NZ Artisans Laceweight
Needles: 2.50 mm
Pattern: adapted from Jo Sharp's Lace Panel Sweater.
So here's my question .... How much of your own idea, does an item need to be before you can say you designed it? I adapted the lace pattern from another pattern (for a jumper), (see here)but changed it quite a bit so that it would work well as a scarf, with the yarn I wanted to use.

Baby Name Confusion

'Tis the night before Christmas, and I thought I'd share about something that used to confuse me.

Did Mary and Joseph give their son, Jesus the wrong name?

In Matthew (the first book of the New Testament) an angel appears to Joseph and tells him
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. (Matt 1:21)
But then Matthew goes on to say
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with Child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" - which means, "God with us" (Math 1:22-23)

From the time that people decided to go it alone - leave God out of the picture - He planned to restore the relationship between Himself and humans. All through the Old Testament (even in Genesis) God gave hints or glimpses at the person who would bring peace, between rebellious people and a holy God. In Isaiah, this person is given the name Immanuel.

So did someone make a mistake? Was it Isaiah, the prophet of verses 22 & 23? Was it the angel? Did Joseph mis-hear (a case of Chinese whispers) ? Was it Matthew writing it down wrong? What name is the Son of God meant to have ... Jesus or Immanuel??????

The answer lies in the meanings of the names. The name Jesus means God saves. The name Immanuel means God with us.

So God's saviour has both these names. It is through God, dwelling amongst us, and being with us, that he saves. This concept is HUGE, and gives me big goofy grins whenever I think on it. Here's the really amazing part ... God is holy, and as such, can't be at peace (ie not at 'war') with people who reject him, but because God is with us (Immanuel), now when he looks at us He sees Jesus (and so God saves). When we fast forward to Easter, we see God with us in Jesus dying on the cross - he took all our rebellion on his own head - and so God saves. And fast forward even further, to when Jesus returns (the Second Coming), and there we have an amazing picture of God dwelling with his saved people.

So have you accepted that Jesus is Immanuel?

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Not the hand!

I had a small mishap yesterday morning. Can you see the blisters?

I know it's not very clear, the challenge of taking a photo of your right hand with your left. Here's the culprit.


The steam button was stuck down, and I tried to pull it out, but then grabbed on to the base for a better grip. Not a good move, considering that I'd just finishing ironing the work shirts.


The medical centre at work did a wonderful job of fixing me up, with special burn cream, and a dressing. My hand spent all of yesterday bandaged up, which meant everyone asked what I'd done, and no knitting got done. Not good with the all the projects I want to knit before Christmas.

But when I got home I figured I was up to some crochet (and a beer) . And this is what I made.


I like! Was going to be a pressie, but this one's for me. Now I've got the pattern sorted, the other 2 (or 3) will be heaps quicker!
In other news, the octopus can see! Thanks Charmaine. I thought he might need pupils. The eyes are needle felted, so I grabbed a bit of wool, and a needle, and voila!

Monday, 10 December 2007

Boys & Toys

We bought a hedge trimmer yesterday.


Guess what my husband was up to this afternoon.

I think he really wanted a chain saw, but there was no way that was going to happen.

We found a birds nest in part of the hedge. I don't think it's in use anymore - well certainly not after the hedge got pruned.

I finished the Octopus. I think he looks like he's blind. Not sure if I'm happy with it or not. I think it might be a little too scary for a kid's toy.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

One down, one to go

I decided earlier this year to knit a lace scarf for my mum, and my mother in law. I think it's safe to talk about it ... I'm pretty sure they don't read this.

Well I've finished the first scarf. I really love it. I'm always amazed how much of a difference blocking can make. Here it is hanging on a wardrobe door (as scarves do).



And here's the detail of the pattern - taken when I had it blocking.



Details ...
Yarn: 2 ply hand dyed (colourway Iris) bought on eBay - sorry can't remember seller
Needles: 3.5mm knitpicks options
Pattern: The lace pattern was taken from Ogee Lace Skirt, Interweave Knits Summer 07.
I cast on and worked the charted lace until I ran out of yarn (I had a 7cm tail at the end).


"So what about the other one??" Be patient, and read on. Here's what I've done so far.



The yarn was bought when I was in New Zealand, Artisan NZ Merino Lace Weight. Green is my mum's favourite colour, so an obvious choice. The pattern I chose is meant to resemble a fern, and has been adapted from Jo Sharps Lace Panel Sweater in Issue 2 of knit. This yarn is lighter than the other, and can be tricky to knit with in a car on a bumpy road (like on the way to work). I started it last Sunday, so should be able to have it blocked and wrapped in plenty of time .... providing I don't get distracted!



Now what could possibly distract me?????

Less than $6 at the local book fair. Hurrah!

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Quick Sticks

Look what's jumped on an off my needles!

So it's not obvious what it is .... an octopus of course! Well, what you're looking at is the flattened out, unstuffed head. This will probably end up as a Christmas present for my nephew. He's really into Thomas at the moment, but I figure this is a lot quicker & easier to knit up. Now there's only 8 tentacles to go.

Friday, 30 November 2007

Christmas Baking


So, not really knitting related, but I wanted to share.

Look at what I've made!!!


2 dozen mini Christmas cakes with a royal icing star on top ... plus 3 mini loaf style and 1 normal cake size (not in the photo). We're having our Family Christmas tomorrow, and the star cakes are presents for my aunts, uncles, cousins etc. Would you believe all this cake came from one 'batch' of cake mix, courtesy of my trusty CWA cookbook. It was a monster-size recipe, I had to do it in two lots.

It was going to be dishcloths all round, but my my planning ideas were too big for my fickle fingers (that is, I got distracted with other projects). Plus, dishcloths can only entertain me for so long. Although, they do make the cleaning up process a whole lot more fun!

Monday, 26 November 2007

A watched pot

It certainly didn't boil ...

Last Sunday - having a morning in the house by myself (Mr W was at a bike race). I decided to dye some handspun that I had left over.

True to form, the watched pot didn't boil. It seemed so close for so long. But I got sick of waiting, and started weaving in the ends of dishcloths. When I turn around again, I find the pot of dye boiling away, and dispersing small pink droplets around the kitchen (I think I've cleaned most of it up now).

In went the skeins. I tried out different stirring/lifting devices. I like the tongs. The pasta server tends to give tangles. And 30 minutes later, out they came again. Unfortunately the skeins got a bit tangled up, and untied in a couple of places (I think it was the pasta server). Looking at the mess of yarn sitting in the sun to dry, I was dreading the whole detangling and winding up process. But it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.



And this is what I have to show for my efforts.


Sunday, 25 November 2007

Christmas SnB

Oh what fun we had ...

Zena braved the car trip with her two boys. A & S are soooo cute, and they wooed the group with their excellent behaviour, beautiful eyes, gorgeous cardigans (nice knitting Zena), and general baby goodness.

I got a fair bit of knitting done - finished the knitting part of 'the blue cardigan'. No sewing up done as yet ... I'll wait until I know if it's needed (or if I need to sew buttons on the cream cardigan sitting in my 'nearly finished projects' box).


And there were presents too! I scored a monster size pack (even bigger than the beetle) of fun shaped buttons. Best of all was food. We ordered a few platters of food - fish, dips, wedges, tapas, antipasto etc etc etc, which went well with a bottle or two of red.


Although I did find the next day that I had done some really weird things on the lace scarf I'm still plugging away at. There wasn't much harm done - only two rows to tink.

Monster Beetle

I'm not talking about humungous VW's here ... This is a sure sign that Summer's well on its way.

Mr W and I just arrived home from church. As I was walking up the steps from the garage, I hear this buzzing fluttering noise. When I turn around I see the most enormous cockroach/beetle thing landing on the wall. That was fine, and I tried to have a bit of a look at it (it's not everyday that I see such a monster beetle).

But then, the horrible thing takes off, and flies behind me, and then there's no more beetle flapping noise. I was sure it was on my skirt, but the lights had turned off, and I had my arms full. After an agonising walk up the hallway, with light available, and hands free, I rustle my skirt, and brush over my back.

For a (very) brief moment, I think that all is well, that it landed somewhere in the garage, and is happily browsing around tools, oily rags and various bicycle paraphernalia. But that moment was over, as I did feel something rough on the back of my skirt, and then I heard the flapping/buzzing again, and the horrible, big, huge beetle lands on my shoulder. Instinctively, I swipe at it, and head across the room (possibly shrieking) in the opposite direction.

It wouldn't have been too bad, had not Mr W been telling me throughout the whole ordeal to 'stop panicking'. He wasn't the one with the monster on his shoulder, and in his hair. But, knight in shining armour that he is, he came to my rescue, and squashed the beetle (repeatedly, it refused to die) ... before I could get a photo. It looked kind of like this.


This was no ordinary beetle, and no ordinary cockroach either. It was the cockroach-beetle of the future, 6-10 cm long, and resistant to 3 foot taps. I think I'm allergic to it .... I have welts on my arm.


Friday, 23 November 2007

Trellis

Trellis is finished, and just in the nick of time.
My neice (the impossibly cute recipient) turns one next Saturday.



Here's a photo of the finished item, lounging on the ottoman.



I must admit that I was getting sick of the pattern towards the end. But at least I didn't need to keep referring the chart.




I like working cables, I like the way the twist around, they make sense. Looking at where the stitches have come from, I can see where they're headed. Plus, I've figured out how to avoid using a cable needle (except for particularly tricky bits). So when I work through my current backlog, I might have another crack at this ...

I started using the zig zag rib on another project, but it was driving me batty, using the cable needle to move the stitches around every second row.


I almost forgot to mention ...

Trellis was knitted in Rowan All Seasons Cotton on 4.5 mm needles. The pattern is from knitty, and if you click here, you can have a look at it yourself.

Ravelry

I'm in!

Late nights are looking certain.

P.S. my user name is katewillknit

Friday, 16 November 2007

Attention Span

I'm generally not very good at concentrating on just one project, but lately I'm worse than ever. It's always justifiable - I need car knitting (on circulars, as Mr W worries that if we have an accident I may cause injury to myself), car knitting for the dark (something that I don't have to be able to see very often), long-term projects, deadline projects, extra short deadline projects, play around with an idea projects, distraction from tedious stocking stitch or pattern repeat projects, fit in a small bag projects, projects to knit while talking, projects to fill in time while I try to find the missing dp to finish knitting a sock ... and so the list goes on.

So what's been on my needles the last couple of days???

Here's the beginnings of a blanket that I'm planning to knit. I'm playing with the idea of a knitted doily done in cotton, on large(ish) needles ... along the same lines as what Brooklyntwed's done with the Hemlock Blanket. I grabbed some cotton I had laying around, and knitted as far along the pattern as I could go until the yarn ran out. I reckon the blanket will work, and now I have a face washer or dish cloth to use (or bestow on an aunt as a Christmas present).

I've also been working on a blue baby cardigan. I started it a month or so ago, and am up to my first sleeve. I'm trying to prepare myself for another 'onslaught' of new arrivals. At least three friends are expecting new family members in the next 4-5 months.


And this tangled web of fine yarn will (hopefully) block itself into a lovely scarf - it's going to be a Christmas present, so I won't tell any more just yet.


Something else has come off my needles - here's a sneak peek, lurking in a bucket of woolwash.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

New Project!!!

So I've signed up for a knitting project thingo, as part of Elizabeth's final year project. Here are all the details. The basic idea is that heaps of people knit items, and 'tag' them as they go - writing about what they're thinking, or what's going on in their lives. The aim is to dispel the stereotypes of knitters, and create an accurate portrait of who we are.

It sounded like fun, so I signed up. Now I just need to decide what to knit. Something that I can get finished before March 20, and won't need to be given as a present before it's returned. Hmmm, I'll need to get planning.

Lust

I'm in lust.



I spied a picture of this in Knitting Daily. I know it's a blog used to make me want to buy more interweave stuff, but I can't help it.

Seeing as I haven't gotten around to subscribing, I'll have to plan a trip to a decent newsagents in the near future.

Hospital Knitting

Sitting around hospitals gives you lots of time for knitting. Here's what I've come up with.



Pattern: Zoe Mellor, adorable knits for tiny tots, polka dot booties and hat
Yarn: Shepherd 4 ply wool
Needles: 3.25 mm addi turbos


The booties were okay. not too many colour changes, and I could fudge the stranding across the back to avoid buckets of bobbins.


Not so with the hat. Each column of dots had it's own bobbin - 11 bobbins of white yarn to get tangled up. Now I've finished, I'm going to put the book down, step back quietly, and talk to myself very sternly if I ever think of knitting it again.


We were sad to see Mr W's grandfather loose his fight with cancer last week. But there was comfort that he was no longer plagued with pain or breathing difficulties. And even greater comfort from the words of the Bible, that his confidence in Christ means that his eternal future is secure.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Just in time for Summer

I've finished my lovely fair isle beanie. Hooray!!!!





Here's me wearing the finished item - I was still waking up when the photo was taken, hope there are no visible pillow creases.



And here's the inside. Please note the (somewhat) even tension of the strands (not too bad for my first fair isle project imho). The cotton around the bottom stops itchy forehead-itis.
Pattern: Brooklyntweed's Red Light Special
Yarn: Ashford Tekapo
Needles: 3.5 mm circular

I know I've been quite silly, and knitted a very warm woollen hat, just as the weather's starting to warm up. But it's not that bad, I'll get to wear it in February when we go to Japan. Now I can really look forward to that holiday.


In other news, I'm onto the second sleeve of Trellis.


But I was getting bored with the pattern. So to spice things up a bit, started working on some dishcloths for Christmas presents (it's not blocked yet).

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Baby Kimono

Check out the sea of garter bumps.


This little number was knitted up in Shepherd's Colour 4 Me 8 ply wool. I love the colourway cause it's nice and bright, but with no pink - so suitable for a girl or boy. The added bonus is that knitting baby wear in 8 ply is pretty speedy.


I used 6.5 mm needles to make the fabric more flexible - no Michelin babies please. The pattern was adapted from a Baby Kimono in Interweave Knits (not sure which edn). I feel quite proud of myself having knitted up a swatch, and used the stitch ratios to adjust it.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Snippets

My fingers have been pretty busy this week ... if I do say so myself.



I've just about finished a project using some of the Tekapo I bought in NZ. I started it last Sunday, and it was progressing nicely - until I finished the actual knitting. I have 4 ends to weave in, and then it's blocking time. But here's a bit of a sneak preview....




Having finished the knitting portion of that project, I cast on for another - the impending first birthday of my niece preying on my mind. I'm really enjoying this project, yummy cable patterns and an easy to knit cotton blend yarn on nice big (for baby clothes) needles. Hurrah!




I've also been having felting fun. Using cookie cutters to form shapes (thanks to Interweave Felting for the idea), I've made elephants, stars, flowers, and little people. Here's a card for a friend who's just had twins.


Charmaine has a piccy of them on her blog.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Bamboo to you too!

Ooooh I love bamboo. I spied some balls of Cleckheaton Bamboo at the LYS, and fell in love with the colour, the sheen, the way the ball sits in your hand.

I'd been reading a bit about socks, and sock yarns, and wanted to try out bamboo yarn and it's anti-bacteria, ant-odour properties. So, I added two balls to my purchase of pins and stitchholders - restocking after they were confiscated by customs.


Not knowing how much would be needed for a sock, I knitted my latest pair toe-up, using Ann Budd's recipe from Interweave Knits (Summer 07). After each sock, I had around 18 grams of yarn remaining - so there's some bonus there for a pair of little socks (whoo hoo).

I think I may have anal tendencies, though. The pattern across the top of the foot and ankle is a diagonal rib, that I reversed on the second sock for better symmetry. Is that going too far?

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Ashford - More about NZ

On the way back to Christchurch, the last day of our holiday, we stopped in at the Ashford Craft Village, at Ashburton. Mr W was suitably affected by our arrival at a 'craft villate' and promptly set off in search of a coffee - leaving me unsupervised in a yarn store.

Here's a photo of what ended up stuffed into our luggage


4 balls of Ashford Tekapo - for a jumper/top or cardigan
2 balls of Ashford Tekapo that were 1/2 price (bargain!) - a fair isle beannie perhaps?
2 balls of Ashford Kid Mohair - a stripy scarf?
2 skeins of 'Naturally New Zealand' wool (more to dye)
1 ball of merino/possum/silk blend
3 felting needles (felting fun is on its way).

I've spent a while thinking about the 4 green balls of Tekapo. I love the way the two colours work together. But I was at a bit of a loss as to how to get them both into a knitted garment that would fit me. Horizontal stripes were out, and so were large blocks of intarsia colour (too 80's). I could knit a cardigan sideways, and have vertical stripes, but I'm not in a very stripy place at the moment.

So here's what I've come up with - a close fitting top (with round or scoop neck) with a fair isle pattern under the bust. The bottom half would be the dark green, then transition to the top and (short) sleeves in light green. Because I bought the yarn in NZ, I figure a fern pattern wouls be pretty nifty.

Hopefully I'll have enough yarn to knit it.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Mystery Yarn


I up picked this yarn in our travels in NZ. On the outskirts of Christchurch (on the road to Akaroa), there's a little wool shop. It seems that it sells fleeces to local spinners (and buys wool back), and picks up the ends of cones from ... somewhere or other.

I bought two hanks of white wool to have some fun with dye.

And then I spotted a cone of this mystery yarn. It looks felted, is more like a tape, and has some shorter dark fibres every now and then. All this yarn (>300g) for the low price of $2 (kiwi).

Not sure what it will be yet - maybe a kid's jumper, a doormat, or many scarves or beanies.

Any ideas?

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Just call me 'Master'

Well, it's official - I now have an extra 3 letters that I can add to the end of my name. I am now officially a Master of Business and Technology. It would be tempting to say I'm a Mistress of Business and Technology, but that's a little saucy.

Graduation day went off with a lot of pomp and ceremony, and the requisite screaming children in the middle of the speeches. After much practise, I managed the 3 step process to receive my degree - shake with the right hand, accept the testamur with the left, and then doff with right. It was more complicated than actions to a Wiggles song - "Hands in the air, rock-a-bye your bear ..." I didn't practise the doffing enough, though, and only just managed to make contact with the trencher (they sit higher than you think).


So 3 years of pain, tears, frustration and learning are over with. "What will you do next?" might you ask. Well, I'm over the business studies stuff, I feel I'm sufficiently fluent in management speak. The current plan is to go back to studying for a "Preliminary Theology Certificate" (through Moore College).



Here I am with my mum. Would you believe that this is the best photo that managed to be taken on our camera! Hopefully someone else got a better one.