Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Disaster theory

My darling husband teaches society and environment, and he tells me that everytime it comes time to teach a section on man made or natural disasters, one happens. For instance, he's teaching about earthquakes today, and last night there was one in Los Angeles. I think its a coincidence, but maybe not.

Sunday I had my own personal disaster, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Friday night before work, I decided to pull out the spinning wheel and give the new spinning book I bought in Bendigo a chance to teach me something. I had gotten a couple of rovings from a friend at work, and had spun up a bobbin full of the grey. I got out the other color, a sort of brownish orangy color, and spun it up as well. It went fairly well, and for awhile at least, I felt like the spinning wheel and I were working with one another, rather than working against one another as it's often felt in the past. I went to work and took up the spinning again when I got home Saturday morning. I finished an entire bobbin of the stuff, but the book says to let the bobbin "set" overnight to allow the yarn to relax before plying. So I did.

Sunday morning, feeling I needed to keep going while the "spinning mojo" was still with me, I began to ply. Chris had stayed up late to watch the Tour De France, so he was sleeping in and the house was nice and quiet. Plying did not go as well as spinning had done. I kept getting the threads tangled. Every time I needed to change the yarn to a different hook (which is often when plying), I had removed tension on the two singles and kinks and tangles ensued. A couple of times I forgot and let go of the twist all together, which of course meant it ran almost all the way up to the bobbin and 15 minutes of untangling was required.

Finally, after much trial and error, a bobbin full of plyed yarn resulted. And dammit, it looked pretty good.

I was immensely proud of myself, took pictures, and went to brag on Ravelry of my success. I also wanted to look and see if the yarn once again needed to "relax" or it I could skein it more or less immediately. Now that it looked like I was getting somewhere, I was anxious to have some finished product. I also had the idea that, lacking a Niddy Noddy, I could just skein the stuff on my skein winder.

The rest of the story I am now borrowing from a post I made the next day on Ravelry to some encouraging friends. It tells the story well enough, and given the sad nature of the affair, I don't want to retype the trajedy here:

I could find nothing saying I should wait before skeining my yarn, and I couldn’t figure out any reason why I couldn’t use my skein holder for this purpose, so I decided to jump right in with both feet. I brought my Lazy Kate into the study where the umbrella type skein holder is, postitioned them properly, and began winding the yarn on. I noticed right away there were a good many kinks in the yarn, so I held the yarn taught, as I had read somewhere that I should, pulling the kinks out, and kept winding. What I DIDNT notice was that my “umbrella” was closing ever so gradually…probably due to the tension I was putting on the yarn and the tension of the thousands of kinks trying to re-kink themselves…until of course, kinks started showing up in the first part that I had wound on. Of course, they had been wound on when the skein holder was fully open, but now at half mast, they didn’t have any tension on them anymore. I tried to push the umbrella back open, but of course the last few dozen rounds of yarn had been wound when it was smaller, so it wouldn’t go up. Ok, so I try and wind them back off, but then the kinks just started getting out of control, and suddenly everything was a tangled mess. After giving up, untangling and winding the rest at the smaller circumferance, I took my lopsided “skein” off, and all I can really say is that it bore a striking resembalance to a blue and brown unclipped poodle! I’m too embarrassed at the moment to include a picture, but I might start seeing more humour and less mortification in the business in the next few days and put one up on my blog.

I’m thinking I might need to patiently sit down and rewind it all on the bobbin, then reskein using my old arm…then do the wash thing and hang…oh I don’t know…my car maybe…on it to straighten the kinks out. Here’s hoping. As it is, it won’t even do as novelty yarn!

So that's the whole sordid story, and today, finally, I felt brave enough to take a picture of my "yarn poodle".

I had thought to sort and and wind it back on the bobbin today, but I had way more stuff to do, and not the heart to sit thru all those tangles. So, I suppose the poodle will have to "relax" and wait for another day when I feel more courageous.

On a more positive note, yesterday I finished those heel turns on the "Socks Ahoy" project. The Widdershins heels are a cross between the old fashioned heel flap and the short row heel. I searched thru Ravelry forums and found a post that directed me to this blog entry by K2Knits called Revisiting the Widdershins Heel. It literally saved my bacon. The pattern itself is only in one size, and unlike short row heels, there isn't just this easy "knit to the last wrap" thing going on that will adjust to any size. So for my fat feet, I needed adjustments, and the worksheet on her blog was indespensible, given my arithmatic retardation.

Even armed with the numbers, I still procrastinated about a week, rereading things in my spare time to try and get the idea of how it was done in my head. But yesterday, the first day of my two whole days in a row off, I was determined to get into it. The first one went slowly, both because I was being cautious and because I had two socks on the one needle, and I had trouble keeping the sock I wasn't working on out of my way.

So I knit the first sock off onto my new bamboo knit picks needles, and boy did they work a treat. I had never knit socks on bamboo before, and I know some don't like it, but I loved the way the bamboo held on to the slippery sock yarn. I could knit closer to the ends of my needles without worrying as much about dropping a stitch, and all it all it at least "seemed" faster. And the cords seem much more flexible than the Addi's. I'm going to order me some more, in a longer length. The ones I got in Bendigo are 80cm, which is big enough to magic loop a sock, but not two socks at once, which is how I'd much rather do the thing.

So the heel is done, on both socks. I finished them both yesterday, though I admit I didn't get much else done at all. But I'm very very happy with this heel, and I think I will use it again and again. No holes or gaps AT ALL. It's really a nice, clean, good looking heel, and not that hard once you have the tools to resize it and have knit it through to figure out how it works. In fact, I may never use another type of heel ever again! (Ok, I probably will...but it IS a nice heel).

Now, I'm ready to start working on the leg.

Meanwhile, I'm still knitting on the "Peace in the Hood" (CPH) hoodie, but I haven't gotten much done past the last post, so no picture is really necessary. I am working on that now, though, as I'm almost finished with the ribbing on the first sleeve, and would like to establish the pattern so it will be ready to "travel" when I'm back to work again.

Ok folks, that about catches things up. Off to knit now.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Wayward Sheep Returns to the Fold

ON the trip home, I was trying to figure out what sort of format to use to post about the Bendigo trip. Do I post one long post in chronological order? Do I post first about the trip overall and then do a separate post about the Rav brekky, and another about the Sheep and Wool show itself? Still another, perhaps about my "aquisitions"? Really, all of this became a bit overwhelming, so I have decided, as best as I possibly can, to put everything on one post. For the sake of brevity, I will skim over the non-knitting related events of the first few days. I'm hoping I don't overload my poor blogger balance with all the pictures, but here goes.

Tuesday morning, as planned, we departed right on schedule. It rained most of the trip there, generally just a drizzle, but enough to make my "toilet and fag" stops a bit uncomfy. I knitted on the "Go Go Bendigo Mitts" for most of the trip, and completed them up to the point where all I needed to do to finish was bind off the fingers area and then pick up and work a few "thumb" rows and bind that off. The cast off was one I had never done before, but I did have written instructions with me. Still, I thought it best to wait until we got to the cabin so that I could concentrate (and wouldn't be bumping around so much...I will be nice here and TRY not to complain too much about the roads).

So somewhere around Wedderburn, Victoria, I put the gloves aside and picked up the front peice of the "Peace in the Hood" cardigan, and happily worked on that until we got to Bendigo. There's something about that Peace Fleece. It just feels right in my hands. Oh, don't get me wrong, the Bendigo Woolen Mills Alpaca I had been working with is beautifully soft and supple, but the Peace Fleece just has that "real wool" hearty feeling to it, rustic feeling, but not too rough. It's just right, the way wool should feel.

We arrived at Bendigo, checked in to our cabin and unloaded the overburdened Getz at around 5 PM on Tuesday evening. We unpacked in rather good time, Chris ran out for some takeaway, and we happily settled in for a night of ralaxing in front of the TV.

Wednesday was set aside for shopping. We tried to shop the downtown area, but after taking absolutely forever to find a park, we trudged around for about an hour, Chris bought a few magazines for later and we looked into an antique shop (mainly for warmth), and then we dived into a Chinese place for lunch and quickly made our escape from the crowds. It was feet numbingly cold, rainy, and just yuck.

We proceeded from there to Bendigo Pottery. On my last last trip to Bendigo, I bought a three peice canister set that actually matches my kitchen (no mean feat), which is brown and dark green. Bendigo pottery has a collection in just these colors, but being on the expensive side, I'm buying a few peices at a time, when ever I chance to visit the fair city. So this trip, I bought a sugar and creamer set, as well as what I'm sure is intended to be a jam pot, but I will use it to hold my Equal packets.

We also bought gifts here for Chris' parents, two spillproof mugs which we hope will be handy for them to use on their boat.

From there, we went, of course, to Bendigo Woolen Mills. Chris had his trusty boat magazines, so he stayed in the car and settled in for a long read. (Later, I found out he also called everyone in his phone book). I was inside in a flash, and went, as usual, straight to the "bargain room". I often wonder if the people who live in Bendigo realize what a jewel they have in their midst. BWM's products are really quite top of the line stuff, and even their full price is super cheap by any standards. Ok, I suppose the colors are a bit limiting, and were I to live there, I might get a bit bored with them, but for a once a year holiday, BWM is pure magic.

So, from the bargain room, I got two balls of sock yarn. To try out, really. It's not made at BWM, so I'm iffy as to it's quality, but at $3 a ball, I had to give it a shot. It's called "Miami", made in Italy, and I like the pastel shades. I don't have anything currently like it, but I doubt it will wind up being made into socks for me. Still, a bargain is a bargain.

I also got a great deal on some BWM Rustic in "natural fleck" shade. It's an 8 ply, and I bought enough for a plus sized cardigan or jumper, although in the end, I'm not sure I will use this to make something for myself. I have some Cleckheaton that's very similar, which I was going to use with a Cleckheaton pattern I love dearly, and I'm definately going to make that now in preparation for next years Bendigo Rav Brekky (assuming there is one)....but I'll get to that later. At any rate, the Rustic is quite gorgeous, and I got it cheap because I got it rather peicemeal, in different size balls, probably remnants.

Last but not least, I bought 2 200g balls of BWM Aran. The shade is "Allspice" and it's a pretty dark mauve shade. It's plenty to make a jumper or something nice for one of my grandchildren. The color is pretty much gender neutral, but still, I'm thinking of Kaitlyn when I see it, so that is likely who will be the recipient. I have no pattern in mind yet, but with Ravelry, the perfect pattern is a few mouse clicks away.

I also learned something interesting. The 8 ply cotton at BWM is also "Americanly" known as "light worsted weight". Which means that it will work (most likely) with a pattern from "Knitting the New Classics" called Labyrinth that I have been wanting to make. There was no 8 ply cotton in a shade I would consider using for the project available in the bargain room, and as this project way way way back on the back burner, I didn't buy any cotton on this trip. Still, I can always order it. The point is, now I KNOW that BWM 8ply cotton is the substitute yarn I'm looking for.

I finally drug myself away from the Woolen Mills, and we headed back to the cabin. It was late afternoon by now, and we had bought some sandwich meat for a light dinner, as we had had a large buffet style Chinese lunch.

Now, perhaps, dear reader, you have forgotten about the "Socks Ahoy" project that I had cast on with the intention of working on in Bendigo, but I had not. I had made it through the toe increases, but had yet to do the math required to resize the "Widdershins" pattern for my fat footsies. Now, the time had came. So I parked DH in front of the TV, warned him of the dire consequences associated with disturbing me for the next few minutes (hours?) and closeted myself in the bedroom to work out my delimma. I finally wound up with the right numbers..or at least the right numbers to get me to the heel turn...and joined him, socks in hand, to watch primetime while knitting happily away at the socks. What I had done, essentially, was add another cable repeat to the sock (each side, although until after the heel, the cables are naturally only on the top instep part of the sock). By Friday, they looked something like this:

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Thursday was reserved for touring the area, so we visited the goldmining towns around Bendigo. We drove from town to town and took little walks thru town when we felt the urge, although the weather continued to be disagreeable, rainy and cold. All in all though, not a terribly stressful day. Chris drove and I, of course, rode along and knit on my socks, looking at the interesting sites.

That night, I picked up the fingerless mitts, which were begging to be finished..and indeed, needed to be finished by Saturday morning. Unlike the mathmatics marathon of the night before, I wasn't locked in the bedroom for very long. The "sewn bind off" that I had never done and was a bit worried about was easy peasy, and the thumb part was a breeze. At that stage, all it took was tucking in a few loose ends, and in no time flat, I had the "Go Go Bendigo Mitts" complete and ready to be worn to the Rav brekky Saturday morning.

So of course, I went back to working on the socks for the rest of the evening, and planning, daydreaming, and otherwise thinking of the day that lay ahead at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show.

Friday proved to be not much better weather-wise than the preceeding days, but really, I just didn't care all that much. We headed off for the show grounds, and arrived at around 10 AM, in time to get a decent park. We payed our dues and went in, and although I tried to be interested in other things and see the overall big picture of the thing, I was drawn to the two large buildings full of woolie delights.

The stands were awesome. I wish I could mention them all, but I would invariably forget someone or something. Some didn't interest me overmuch, not because they didn't have great stuff. I'm sure they did. It just wasn't stuff I was particularly interested in on the day. The following pictures are just a few of the stands, and people in the crowd, and such as that.



(Natural Childhood)


During all this gawking and occasional purchasing, Jane from Kimba, proprietor of Mosely Park and I played a bit of phone tag and caught up. It was quite nice to meet her in the flesh after a number of messages passed on Ravelry. Our meeting was a bit brief, as she had others coming that she needed to meet, and as she raises sheep, she had business in the sheep pens and such to keep her busy, but I don't doubt we'll meet up again at other wooly events.

Chris had left me to basically wander on my own for the most part, but we did have to eat, and while eating my empanada I watched a bit of the sheep dog competition, which was fun.

I wanted to see the shearing as well...but somehow never got around to it. Shame on me. But I did catch a bit of the fashion show:

So what all did I purchase, you ask. Well, here's a rundown, quick as I can, as this post has taken me the best part of a day already...

My prize, two skeins of Lara Downs pure Cashmere.

Prize number two, two skeins of Handspun Angora Bunny plied with cashmere from Ixchel. I will definately be looking this gal up on the net as soon as I have more money. She had such a neat variety of beutiful yarns, and all sorts of combinations of fleeces.

Some bright fun, some 8ply merino from Fibreworks.

From Stranded in Oz, two skeins of Banana Palm Silk and a lovely decorative spindle. Such wonderful service as well. I'll definately be looking this gal up on the net.

From Natural Childhood, 2 skeins of plant dyed, rust colored, handspun merino.

From the Colinette stand, Jitterbug sock yarn, easy care merino, and two pair (one metal, one bamboo) of KnitPicks needles.

My apologies, but I'm not sure of the dealer I bought this from, an oriface hook, because I was told by some spinning friends that I might need one if I'm ever going to enjoy spinning. (It also has a built in WPI guage)

Four books. The Yarn Harlot one I bought from Artisan books. The other three I got from my friends at Colonial Lake Books. One is another knitting humor book, one on natural dyeing, and the other is rather a spinning primer. Since my spinning is going nowhere, I reckon it's time to get back to basics and try again.

So that is my haul, such as it is, from the show.

That night we went out to eat at the Mexican restaurant downtown, which was excellent AND authentic. And of course, I continued my sock knitting.

Saturday was the day of the Ravelry Brekky. It was cold, but not as bad as I had anticipated, and it stayed clear for the most part. Now, I won't mention anyone specifically, as I don't want to leave anyone out unintentionally and hurt any feelings, but of course, there were a few whom I particularly enjoyed meeting, and there are a few that I know were there but never did get a chance to talk to, which is a bit disappoiting.

I'm not good at public gatherings. I won't say I'm shy, because that's not true, but more or less I'm "socially awkward". So I don't "meet and greet" easily. But it was a fun gathering, and well organised. There was a contest for those wearing things made from ACS products, but unfortunately, everything I had on was from Bendigo Woolen Mills, with the exception of my socks, which were made from Sullivan sock yarn. Bummer. I thought I was keeping to a "Bendigo" theme, lol, but I'll know better next year!

Then there was Ravelry prizes, and other yarn prizes and of course, I didn't win. I'm not the luckiest, or the most talented, in this department, but I enjoyed watching others win their goodies. Here's a few pictures:

Knitters trickling in.

The group and venue.

Vintagegirl shows her stuff.

Damo judging the ACS contest.

Feisty Wench giving away the coveted Rav T-shirts.

After the brekky, I wound up going back to the show. Chris opted out of this trip, preferring to go back to the cabin for some R&R. I didn't stay long this time. I mainly just wanted to get a few things I wished I had gotten the day before and try and run into Jane again. I did run into a few of the Rav brekky bunch again, had nice chats, and did the rest of my shopping.

Sunday we packed the poor Getz, this time a bit more carefully. It wasn't as bad as I had feared however. While I spent a good deal of cash, it wasn't terribly bulky, and we managed to sqeeze everything in and still be able to see thru the rear veiw mirror.

The trip home was relatively uneventful, except for one small snag. I managed to get to the heel turn of my socks, but then I was faced with a heel that I had never done before, and I'm absolutely unable to make the math match up, so they lay, even now, looking exactly like this:

But I'm relatively sure that someone on Ravelry will have the answer :) What a great bunch of folks that is. And what a great time I've had this week.

It's a shame it's over, and now, faced with laundry, cleaning and eventually, work tonight, I must say goodbye. Anyone stout of heart enough to read all of this is to be commended! But imagine me writing it all. I'll most likely come back in a day or two, add some links and edit my errors, but in the meantime, what you see is what you get.

Now, you know what I did all day Monday as well!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Down to the Wire

Well, the house is a shambles, but I think I'm as close as I'm going to get to being ready to go to the Bendigo Sheep and Wool show. The last minute things need shoved into bags tomorrow morning, and we plan to make as hasty an exit as possible, at 9AM tomorrow morning. But first, I must sleep a few hours (a very few, it appears), work 8 hours, drive home, shower, throw the straggling things in the bag, have a ciggy, and then off we go.

The trip, theoretically, is about 6 1/2 hours from here, maybe 7. For me, of course, it's longer. There's the stops so I can wee, and the stops so I can smoke, and the stops so Chris can eat sitting still. He refuses to eat while driving. Fair enough. For the most part, it's me that holds up our traveling progress. But, according to Chris, the world as we know it will cease to exist if we don't arrive at the caravan park before 8pm tomorrow. Yes, I did the math. That would mean we had 11 hours to get there, and even I shouldn't be able to delay things that much, so we should be fine. The worst part, of course, will be before we actually leave the house, watching Chris standing, tapping his foot and scowling while I smoke "One more" cigarette before we leave the house.

I did start the fingerless mittens yesterday, although I was trying to rush and kept flubbing up the cast on. I'm doing them two at once, using the Magic Loop, and casting on is always hard for me when doing two at a time. I don't know what I was doing. I think I started knitting back the way I had just came from or something. I'm not sure, but it was hideous. So I tore it all out and started over, I worked a couple of rows and then did a few more at work last night in my free time. I will work on them a bit more tonight at work, but for all intents and purposes, here they are before the trip:

Now all I have to do is have them finished by Saturday morning. It's certainly do-able, particularly on holiday.

Because I was getting the groundwork done on the smaller projects and doing all the preparations for the trip and such at home, I've only worked on the "Peace in the Hood" cardigan at work lately, and then, of course, not last night because I was working on the mitts. Even so, I'm making some progress. I'm about halfway thru the right front at this point.

The "Socks Ahoy are just about ready for me to start putting in the pattern. I've worked on the toe increases, done numerous calculations, and to the best of my knowledge, I like 4 rows before starting to knit in the "Widdershins" pattern. I like the way the colors are knitting up so far, but it will be interesting to see how they look in pattern.

So, with the exception of any progress I make on the mitts tonight at work, those are my WIP's that are going with me to Bendigo, and how they look when I leave. I wanted this as something of a yardstick with which to measure my progress on each project over the trip. Of course, I fully expect the mitts to be finished, but it will be interesting as a before and after shot of the other two projects.

Well, I'm wilting in my chair right now. My eyes are getting a bit furry, and I have a big day ahead. I should be returning Sunday night, and back online Monday. I will try my best to get a detailed and newsy post up Monday about the trip, along with lots of juicy pictures.

Until then...

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I'm knocking off yet another post before leaving for Bendigo. My mind is simply whirling with all the preparations. I'm pretty sure there are weddings being held all over the world that required less thought and planning than this 6 day excursion. I started a "Things to take and To Do" list on the computer, and I'm already on my third page.

It's slightly less than three days now until we leave. I have been hemming new pants, scouring patterns and starting projects to take on the road with me. There's an ever growing pile of books and notebooks next to the computer here. Books I MUST have with me...just in case. (Just in case what? I wonder. Just in case I'm lost in the jungles of Victoria and need paper to start a fire with???)

Knitting wise, I have finished the my "Go Go Bendigo" hat made with Bendigo Woolen Mills Alpaca in the Oceania shade. (Stuck to the theme, didn't I?)

It matches well with the Alpaca Jacket I made, both in color and in stitch, and I wore it for a couple of nights to work, but it's a bit scratchy to my forehead, so right now it's taking a soak in some wool wash to soften it up a bit. I'll take it out before leaving for work tonight, and it BETTER be dry in time for the trip. If not, it's coming along wet and can dry at the cabin.

I found a simple pattern on Ravelry for Basic Fingerless Mitts, which I want to make with the rest of the Bendigo DK alpaca before I REALLY need them at the Rav Brekky next Saturday. Pictures and pattern are found here. Trouble is, I haven't even started them yet! I plan on doing that tomorrow, hopefully, but with only 7 days to go, I really need to get crackin.

NOTE TO MOM: You can see pictures of these specifically on that link, but there are many many prettier designs out there. This pattern is the one I found that best matched the stitch pattern on my jacket and the size yarn I have to use for the project. But it is plainer than most. There are some pretty cable ones that Feisty Wench mentioned in a comment on my last posthere that I plan on making for the shoots, or lovely lacy ones here. Of course, there are many many more besides these, and I'll email you more links if you are interested in "browsing" for some.

I've decided on a sock pattern for the boaty "socks ahoy" socks I'm making with the Koolaid dyed Patonyle. It's called Widdershins. After much searching on in my sock pattern books, searching Ravelry pattern browser, and even considering designing some of my own, I finally decided on this pattern I found on Ravelry. It's ropey design seems "boaty" enough, and it looks like a fun, but not TOO complicated knit. However, the size on the pattern is too small for my chubby feet, so I'm going to have to add knit stitches along the sides (at least four..perhaps more..I'll see as I go) Still, they are quite pretty.

I have them cast on, and have now almost finished my increases at the toe. It should be a fun knit, and a good "traveling" knit.

My other active WIP, the "Peace in the Hood" hoodie/cardi has been going to work with me. It has been seeing fairly slow but steady progress, and I'm now about halfway up the right front. I imagine I will start on sleeves during the trip, unless I get too fully into the socks. Who knows. No pressure, at any rate.

Well, this post was more words and links than pictures, but I'm rather waiting until the last minute (probably Monday morning, as Monday afternoon I'm sleeping, Monday night I'm working, and Tuesday morning at 0900 we are leaving) to take pictures of my WIPs. Then it will be easier to judge any knitting progress made during the trip.

That's the plan anyway. If nothing upsets my applecart, I'll post the final "Pre-Bendigo" post Monday morning.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Preparing for the best

Again, I've neglected my blog. Work has been more or less exhausting, and...shock and awe...I've actually been doing some knitting.

After the historic fix (mentioned in my last post)I went on to finish the back of the "Peace in the Hood" cardigan. In all honesty, you can't really tell where the fix was, unless you look very carefully, and I'm still feeling rather proud of myself over that bit of magic. I'm confident now that whatever little evidence of the fix is still visible, it will be virtually unnoticable once I block.

Once I finished the back, I moved on to the left side. It went pretty quick, being naturally half the size of the back. There will be a button band added to each side peice, although I suppose I need to read ahead on the pattern and figure out exactly how that will be knitted on, as there are some odd saved stitches next to where the button band goes that I don't quite get.

I've got a workmate who asked me quite some time ago if I would make her a hat. I told her sure. She kept saying she would buy some yarn, but never got around to it, so she finally asked me if I would get her some, in a cream sort of color. I told her I could probably "suffer" thru a shop for yarn, so I stopped by Spotlight on my way home from work and bought some Basics Entwine. It's reasonably priced, 50% wool, 30% acrylic and 20% alpaca. She specifically asked for warmth, so some alpaca content seemed a good idea.

She wanted a simple rib hat with a fold up edge, so I looked on Ravelry and found a nice hat pattern called "Noodle Cozy", a rib hat knit in the round. It only took me a couple of days to make, and turned out quite nicely. I took this picture of her this morning before coming home. She wore it in to work this morning, and is quite happy with her new "boggen".

After this, I started knitting the right side of my Peace in the Hood cardi, and got most of the way thru the ribbing:

Then I decided I needed another hat, one that matched my alpaca jacket. I made the alpaca jacket with two different colors of Bendigo Woolen Mills alpaca, Pistachio (a light green) and oceania (a seaish blue with green specks). I still had some of the Oceania left, so I'm now knitting away on a hat for myself in that color. It's about 1/3 done, and I'm calling it "Go Go Bendigo".

Next week I'm leaving for Bendigo, for the Sheep and Wool Show and the Ravelry breakfast get together, which is in the park at 8:30 in the morning, midwinter, and bound to be terribly cold. Thus the need for the matching hat. Originally, that's what I made the "Copper Topper" hat for, but it doesn't cover my ears well, and this pattern and yarn will match the jacket much better. If I finish this soon enough, and I feel froggy, I might use the last of the Oceania alpaca to knit me some mittens, or fingerless mitts. We'll see.

I'm so excited about my upcoming woolie holiday! Only 9 days away now! I'm already doing some preparations, digging thru patterns and writing down the amounts/meterage I might need for this or that. The last time I went to Bendigo and visited the woolen mills, I went in rather blind, with no idea of what I wanted to make, much less how much wool I would need. It worked out in the end, but only after careful pattern searching...trying to find patterns to match the amounts I had, rather than the other way around.

This time, with the wool show and the woolen mills on the agenda, I'm NOT going to go unprepared. Hubby is already discussing "taking the trailer to haul all the wool back in". I love the way that man thinks!

I've also cast on a pair of socks with the white Patonyle that I splash dyed with red koolaid, creating a white with red blotches effect.

I've always planned on that lot to go for some socks that would match my favorite summer boating outfit, so that's the plan. I'm doing them two at a time using the magic loop method. I wanted to get them cast on, as I still have trouble with the provisional cast on, and didn't want to be attempting that while on the road. And I wanted a small project to work on during my travels, so of course, socks are the best. I haven't quite decided on a pattern yet, but something fairly simple I reckon, to make for easy travel knitting. Besides, they are to wear on the boat. Anything too lacy or intricately stitched would look silly.

Ahhh, but back to the Bendigo trip. I'm super excited about the breakfast as well! I wish I'd had more time to spend on Ravelry lately, but it will be so great to catch up with some of the folks I have met on there. There's a few I will be particularly glad to see! I suppose I'm a bit nervous too. While I know everyone in "internet land", that's not quite the same as having met face to face, so I revert back to high school and wonder "Will they like me?" Silly me, but that's the way of it.

But anticipation and "saving" for Bendigo did not completely keep me from buying any "stash" in the past couple of weeks, but I did limit it to one small purchase. My LYS here in MB had Sirdar Ultra Denim Tweed at half price. It's a blue denim colored cotton/wool blend. She had 3 balls left, so of course I got them all. It's super bulky stuff and will be great for whipping up quick easy Christmas presents. Or that's my excuse anyway.

After the Bendigo trip, I plan to start working on some Christmas gifts in earnest. Yes mom, that means your jumper, among other things. It may mean I have to hibernate, or simi-hibernate, a couple of my WIPs, but that's ok. I'll still keep the "Peace in the Hood" on the needles, but it's all for me at any rate, so there's no deadline. And I should have lots of time to work on the "Socks Ahoy" and the "Peace in the Hood" over this holiday. Yippee!

I will try my best to make one more blog entry before leaving for Bendigo, although it might be short one. But when I get back from Bendigo, I want to dedicate the entire first post to my woolie holiday, so I want all the loose ends tied up in advance.

Till then...