Monday, June 1, 2009

A Week in Time

Sometimes I think that I should change my style of writing this blog. Maybe write more about feelings, or do a kitzy essay about knitting, or something along those lines. But then, I thought, really, this is more of a knitting diary, and while deep thoughts have their place, I'd rather keep this as more a journal of what I'm doing at this point in time. So, I think I'll keep it as it is, and if I do decide to do a bit more "creative" writing, I can always make another blog and link it.

Over the past week I've managed to finish the knitting part of Peace in the Hood, which is my version of the Central Park Hoodie. Given that I started it almost a year ago (I was knitting on it during the Bendigo Sheep and Wool show last year!), one might say "About time!" and be perfectly justified. It spent many months in hibernation, and I had it marked on Ravelry as 95% done. HA! Hardly. The hood was a huge square of knitting. Then there was still the button band. Not your average button band, by any means. It went from the bottom front piece up and all the way around the hood and then back down to the bottom of the right side. Three hundred and seventy eight stitches in all, first to pick up, and then to knit the longest 2 1/2 inches in width I have ever knit in my entire life. It took, literally, days. I was so heartily sick of it before I was halfway through. All that is done now, however, and it still needs stitching up. That, however, will have to wait. I have more on my plate right now, and as it's not going to fit me anymore anyway, there's no hurry. It will, however, make a dandy Christmas present when it's finished.

I've been knitting on my Blooming Bloomers as well. I've been doing the legs at work, as they are stockingnet stitch in the round, and you just can't get any easier than that. During these days off, I really wanted to knit a bit on it, so that I could get myself up to the crotch part, where the legs join and you start knitting the body portion, but that was not to be, due to the aforementioned excessively long time it took me to finish the hoodie. So, I will simply take them to work over the next few days, and face that problem when I come to it, which could easily be tonight if things are quiet, tomorrow night at the latest. The join looks slightly complicated, but not terribly so. I'm using my knit picks for the knitting, and my Denise cords to hold it on. I'm taking both sets with me to work, so I should be able to knit them off with no problems.

Just last night, I started another project. It's a market bag for my mother in law, June. I'm calling it "The June Bag". I'm using a pattern I found on Ravelry, called the Saturday Market Bag. I must say I don't like it. I'm sure the pattern is fine, but I'm not terribly fond of trying to do stringy lace with 10mm needles. Nope, it's a labour of love. And the desperate need to make something she might like very quickly. Of course, it's so tedious, I can't do it even while watching TV. Taking it to work is also not an option. But, I have one side almost half completed already, so perhaps my agony will be over quickly. A good thing, since her birthday is next Friday.

I tried to begin with to work it in the round, but that did not work at all. I just couldn't wrap my head around it, so I'm working it now per pattern, which means two sides that are eventually stitched together, although how I'll stitch the stringy mess is beyond me at the moment.

There are a couple of projects in shouting distance of getting started. The first is a scarf for a coworker. I made her a hat last year our of Basics Entwine yarn from Spotlight, a nice bulky yarn, in a creamish colour. This year, she has requested a scarf to match. This shouldn't have been a problem, but it was. Entwine had been discontinued at Spotlight. (It seems few yarns there make it past a years run before they are discontinued). This is where Ravelry comes in, and one of the many things I love it for.

After writing a friend in Whyalla about looking to see if they had any available there, and getting a negative answer, I went to the Australian Knitter's Group on Rav. They have a "in search of" (ISO) thread, so I put the word out that I was in need of some. A lovely Rav member just happened to have some in the colour I needed, we negotiated a price (more than reasonable) and in a few days I had 5 balls in my mailbox.

People on Ravelry are the nicest people in the world. Knitters are always so kind and helpful and willing to help another knitter in distress, and it's this general feeling of goodwill and comraderie that makes knitting not just a hobby, but a way to make, and keep, some really fantastic friends. I've known this for a long time, but just little things like this remind me of what a wonderful community we have in the crafting world, and the knitting world in particular.

The other project waiting in the wings is the Anchor's Aweigh vest, from the book Son of Stitch and Bitch. I found this pattern on Ravelry, showed it to Chris, and he actually said he would wear it. So, as I mentioned in the last post, I ordered the book from Fishpond. It arrived this week, and I set about searching for yarn. I went first to the local LYS, then to a bigger one in town, but 5ply in Australia is quite limited, particularly limited in colour choices, so I wound up going back to Gabrielle at American Yarns and ordering the Brown Sheep Nature Spun 5ply that it called for, in exactly the colours used in the photo below.

The yarn is a preorder, so it will likely take a couple of weeks to get here, but that's fine. The price was reasonable at $5.50Au a ball, but I probably ordered more than I need. Still, I didn't want to get stuck without, and I do need to modify it a bit to make it long enough to suit Chris. Besides, if I have much extra, Brown Sheep can be a hard brand to come by here, so I'm sure I can resell it.

For the past year or so, I've been getting books from Librovox, and listening to them mainly on my rather long commute to work and back, but also while I'm knitting and need to watch my stitches carefully, and sometimes on the treadmill when there's nothing to be watched on TV. is a free service that provides books in the public domain, read by volunteers and offered to the public as free downloads. Due to copywrite laws, these tend to be the classics, or books written in the early 1900's or earlier. Many of them are British or European, as the US has stricter copywrite laws than the UK or some European countries. I had a great time at first, going thru all the Jane Austen novels. I listened to the ones I hadn't read first, and then listened to the one's I had read. For awhile, I was finding some interesting books, but after 9 or 10 months, this became harder and harder. Not that they don't have many books on there. They have hundreds and hundreds. But of course, like anyone, not all of them fit my taste in reading (or listening, for that matter). But after slogging thru a few questionable titles, and getting a couple that I couldn't even force myself to finish, I started looking elsewhere for something to fill my ipod.

Since Librovox downloads chapters to my itunes in the form of podcasts, I started searching podcasts available. Needless to say, the first thing I decided to search was knitting. I found way more than I expected to find, but the first podcast to catch my eye was "Sticks and String", which came with a little description, something like "An Australian Bloke Who Knits". So I went to the site and eventually downloaded everything he'd ever done, from his first podcast a couple of years ago to the present, put them in order on my ipod and began to listen.

This guys name is David Reidy. You can find his website and podcast HERE. He's got a voice that would melt butter, and his podcasts are very topical on Australian knitting, although he appeals to alot of people overseas as well. He did a tour of ACS (Australian Country Spinners) mills in the Melbourne burbs that I particularly enjoyed, but I do love all his on the road shows.

I'm caught up with his now, but still listen to the latest when they come out. Meanwhile, I've decided to go back and listen to all of Brenda Dane's Cast on podcast, which is also a very professional sounding broadcast, and full of information. It's quite entertaining, although I must say I like David's music better. I'm more into the "mellow" stuff, and even though she plays a decent mix, alot of it is more contemporary than what suits me. When I get caught up with hers, then I'll start hunting up another one.

That pretty much covers the goings on this week, except for buying three knitting magazines this morning. I bought the most recent issues of Yarn (I really need to subscribe to this one), Creative Knitting and Designer Knits. I just went on a magazine buying frenzy, I suppose. I haven't even looked at them yet though. I just tucked them into my knitting bag, and I'm saving them for my breaks at work over the next few days.

I'll be back with more as soon as more happens! Apologies for the terrible pictures, but it's been cloudy or raining here for a week. Not the best picture taking weather.

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