31 August 2007

She's baaaaack

Only a few hours in the house, and Lulu's already unravelled my latest project! She told me she was 'kuh-nitting'.

Many thanks to Barb for supervising this naughty young lamb for the past 6 weeks, I know it was a tough call. I'm afraid the bottle of wine she came home with had already been drunk - sigh - I don't think the community service sentence has dented her spirits one little bit.

In rather cool news, my Nereid Gloves pattern is up on Knitting Pattern Central!

29 August 2007

Nereid Gloves

It's here, boys and girls, the Nereid Glove pattern! This is my first free pattern, so please be gentle - let me know of any glaring (or not so glaring) errors :) The file is a 1.3 Mb PDF, which you can download. The link will also be in the sidebar of my Blog shortly.

My inaugural Jejune's Day was very nice - breakfast at Michel's Bakery in Erindale (after dropping Dotter at College at 8.3am, that's a given for every Tuesday). Home for a few hours of drawing (yes, there's a new Knitting Art painting on its way, and all I'll say is Blue and White...). Off to Carers ACT in Belconnen for the Carers' Singing Group with the inestimable and amazing Judy Clingan. REALLY good fun. Just loving it.

Popped over to Civic to pick up Dotter's and my knitting from Craft ACT - always great to see the lovely Barb! Then hooked up with Taph, and headed over to Starbucks for a surprise meeting with Miss Spidey as well! Home again for some more knitting (made a start on the mystery wedding gift), and dinner by hubby (a very nice Fettuccine Calabrese). Was too tired to head out for SnB at Woden, but it was a lovely day all told. Glad it's happening every week :)

27 August 2007

Ciao bella

Why the Italian, you ask? Why?! Cos there's a new free Italian Foods find-a-word which you can download from my web site! Go on, you know you want to :D

I've nearly finished my mum's shedding annoying vest - see, up to doing the neck band! Armbands, and then it's all over... I even did Kitchener stitch to graft the shoulders together seamlessly - so the whole vest is seamless! Dotter keeps saying it looks really big (shutupshutupshutup)... when I block it I'll stretch it down (as Miss Spidey sensibly suggested), to increase the length and decrease the width a bit. Well, Mum wanted something that would keep her hips warm when working in the garden. This had better do the job - or else!

Here's a little treasure I found at our local Salvos shop for a whole $5 - don't know if this flyer will fit Dotter's spinning wheels - doesn't look like it will work on her Ashford travelling wheel. I haven't braved the cobwebs under the house to check her other Ashford wheel yet. Any clues as to brand / model it's from?

In Jejune Alone Day news, Hubby is supporting me 100% on having a regular day off, and he and the kids will be making Tuesday night dinners. I agree with MadMad that it's pretty crap I have to work harder to fit everything into 6 days so I can have 1 day off... still, can't be helped at this stage anyway. Thank you everyone for all your very encouraging comments - it's clear this is something that I have to do - and many of you could use as well!

Tomorrow I'm off to the Carers ACT Singing Group, and meeting up with Taph at Craft ACT - will be good to see her after such a long absence. I'll also be taking custody of Lulu again - sigh - I have my doubts that she's learnt any lessons in moderation or good behaviour over the past 6 weeks, and has only succeed in corrupting Barb ;)

Finally, if you want to see how some of my CafePress stuff looks for real, you can check out Stacie's Blog!

PS My Nereid Glove pattern is nearly ready for you all! A Nereid is one of the sea nymphs from Greek mythology - I wanted a new name apart from Mermaid Gloves, seeing as that was someone else's name...

22 August 2007

Rockin' and Resting

The delightful Bells thinks I'm a Rockin' Girl Blogger - so there's a new button in my sidebar. Thank you Bells :)
I think all the women I'd nominate are already in the Rockin' Ranks...

Saw the counsellor at Carers ACT today, was a Good Thing TM, and somewhat overdue. She's encouraging me to take a WHOLE DAY out of EVERY week for myself (frikking hell!). I normally manage a fraction of a day every month.... so this is going to be a bit of a challenge!

But I can feel my sanity, peace of mind, sense of humour, and health (such as it is) slipping away over the past few months, there are just too many never-bloody-ending family stresses : Hubby with severe M.E. (CFS) and ADHD (his life consists of staggering to work, and collapsing in bed at all other times) ; unemployed Son with Asperger's ; Dotter with ADHD (which requires ongoing help with written schoolwork), Type 1 Diabetes (still getting our heads around that one) and possibly something else autoimmune which still being investigated; 84-year-old annoyingly impossible FIL with dementia; plus my own crap (fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis). When it comes to running the family, I'm practically a single mum, only I have a sick husband as well. He brings in the main income, so mustn't complain bitterly.

The Plan : have Tuesdays OFF. Go to the Carers' Singing Group (Tuesday afternoons) - I've wanted to sing for ages, since RSI stopped me playing the violin. Don't drive kids anywhere, don't cook, clean, work in the business, write puzzles, fill orders, answer the phone, go to medical appointments, or run around after anyone. Have lunch somewhere by myself. Go for a walk alone. Listen to music. Knit. Read. Paint. Sleep.

How to get there? I'll need to work more steadily on the other days of the week so I can afford to have Tuesdays away from my business. So probably less blogging time. More focussed work. Get the family to agree to do dinner on Tuesday nights. Don't allow any other appointments on Tuesdays. Set limits. Stick to them.

Wish me luck. It seems impossible right at this moment.

21 August 2007

Glove with Guardian Angel

Glove #1 is finished - although it's probably not strictly speaking a glove as such. Not entirely sure about the no-fingers aspect, may revise at a later date... The Koigu is really wonderful to wear. I've been out today wearing just this one, and knitting the other - what me, care for normal dress conventions? Pah!

Pattern for this version to be posted soon!

I'm about 15 rows into the second glove, but - bugger it - have missed a K2tog a few rows back, so am fishing around with dropping and fixing stitches and stuff.

And look what landed in my mail box this morning! From my lovely Secret Pal 'Molly' :D She's a good 'un all right! The card reads "May a guardian angel alight upon your shoulder and not mess up your hair." LOL :) It looks hand-drawn but isn't - well, obviously the artist hand-drew it, but it has then been printed. It looks very cool, definitely a keeper :) Thank you Molly!!

In Secret Squirrel news, I've bought the Patons Inca for my brother's wedding gift today, but will say no more, and won't post pics until after the wedding (in December). Ssssshhhhhhh!

20 August 2007

Oh gee!

Ogee Lace Skirt from Interweave Knits. Bamboo / cotton from Lincraft. $3.99 a ball. Purple. What's not to like?

I'm not allowed to cast on until my mother's vest is done. I'm up to the armholes, so the end is in sight! I've nearly finished the first mermaid glove, too. At Sunday SnB, Happy Spider, Victoria and Bells talked me out of doing individual fingers, so at this stage I'm just doing a ribbed top across the knuckles. Pics soon! I got to meet Janette, who was just delightful in person. So great to put real people to blogs...

Head is much better, thank you everyone for your kind and quiet wishes. Still foggy and generally stuffed, but that's another matter. Am flat out with work - my syndicator ran out of my Connoisseur crosswords, and didn't give me any frikking much notice. So I'm trying to write 3 or 4 of these a week for the next little while until stocks build up. They take me ages - 5-6 hours each (as opposed to 2 hours for a quick crossword).

Oh. And - um. All the Secret Pal mint chocolate is gone.

17 August 2007


Still have this $#!@ blasted migraine - have spent all day asleep on the couch :(

In nicer news, I've submitted a button design to Secret Pal 11 :

I've also made progress on the Mermaid Gloves - I ripped out the thumb gusset a second time, and am happier with my third attempt. Photos added Saturday morning :

You can see that the thumb stitches are now on some waste yarn, and I'm not far from the fingery bits! Should have this first glove finished this weekend :D

16 August 2007

Special Speedy Secret Pal!

Not a great morning. The damn dog woke me at 6.30am to be let out. Hubby is snoring so much that even Call of the Ocean (wave sounds) on my iPod doesn't drown it out. And for joy, I have a headache. Bother. Grumble grumble. Get up, shower, have tea and pain killers. Do some e-mail, read some blogs, think about maybe doing some actual work... Disappointing phone call with Centrelink...

Hark! A knock on the door - not expecting anyone... it's the Postie, with a box from - OMG - my Secret Pal 'Molly' !! I don't believe it!! *faints* Secret Pal 11 only officially started YESTERDAY!

But no - it's all for real.... I'm just about in tears...

My first ever sock book - and a choice one at that! And a magazine I haven't seen before!

The sweetest little candles AND a glass holder. Cinnamon, Vera Cruz Vanilla, and Sage & Citrus. Divine!

Watermelon lollies are part of any healthy breakfast. And as for the chocolate - *swoon*. Don't think I'm sharing. I can make things like this last for ages, too!

And last but totally NOT least - 2 balls of actual real Mission Falls 1824 wool. You know. The stuff we see in ads in American magazines, and don't ever buy... Perfect colour, and SO soft.

I am bowled over, my day has definitely improved out of all sight!

I hope that 'Molly' has as wonderful as Secret Pal as she is to me. Let the fun begin!

12 August 2007

Marvellous Mermaids

This is the start of my 'Mermaid Gloves' - the Pomatomus sock pattern turned into gloves. I'll have to figure out how to add the thumb gusset and do the fingers myself, and will post the final pattern here if there's interest...

The yarn is my GORGEOUS Koigu brought to me from Canada by Five Ferns. I . LOVE . IT. The most delightful stuff to knit with.

I'll keep this short - am feeling pretty ill. When I'm really run down, my eyes stop working so well. I've had double vision all day :p Will comment on all your blogs again when normal service has been restored...

09 August 2007

Secret Pal Secrets

Here we go - my SP11 Questionnaire! I'm a bit confused about how this all works, so my apologies to my SP if I've stuffed up along the way...

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

I love soft wool, alpaca, cashmere, silk, cotton, bamboo, hemp, and other weird and wonderful natural fibres... thick, laceweight, sock yarn, it's all good :)

I'm not that keen on mohair (almost always too itchy for me), acrylics, or feathery eyelashy lumpy novelty yarns. A bit of an acrylic / nylon etc in a blend is OK (eg wool/nylon blends in sock wool).

2. What do you use to store your needles in?

I have a couple of handmade cloth rolls for my various knitting needles. I also have a Knit Picks Deluxe set, with the zip-up holder. I store my other circular needles in an expanding portable file case thingy.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

Intermediate/Advanced knitter. I've knitted since I was a kid (my mum taught me), and used to make Icelandic jumpers when I was in my 20s. I returned to knitting, and became seriously obsessed, about 2 years ago.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

Yes, I have an Amazon wish list, which has just been updated :)

5. What's your favorite scent?

Fresh floral (daphne, freesia, tea rose, green tea) and spice (vanilla, cinnamon, cloves). I wear Allure by Chanel (my one expensive luxury in life!).

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

But of course! I love those Watermelon Jolly Ranchers, which I can't get in Australia... in general, fruity flavours like berries, apple, lychee, peach, coconut (but not lemon/orange so much). Chewy things. And chocolate of course, dark by preference. Love mint chocolate.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

I am a watercolour artist, and collage artist. I also sew sometimes (mainly clothes). Beading at times. Keen cook. I don't spin (although my daughter does, I'm resisting the temptation at the moment!).

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

Yes, I can play MP3s. I have very eclectic musical tastes (I was a classical and orchestral violinist in my youth!), ranging from early music, baroque, classical, romantic, to heavy rock, desert rock, and "modern classical".

Current favourites are Phillip Glass, Arvo Pärt, Shoshakovich, Schubert, Bach, Vivaldi, Gregorian chant, Hildegard of Bingen, Telemann, Prokofiev, Gluck, Elena Kats-Chernin, Nigel Westlake, Pink Floyd, U2, The Cat Empire, Ratatat, Cake, Franz Ferdinand, Gorillaz, Big Audio Dynamite, Muse, Queens of the Stone Age, Nine Inch Nails (I think my son owns all the albums for these last 3 bands)... and lots more!

In terms of what would go well on a CD, if you're thinking along those lines, I only have Phillip Glass' Violin Concerto, Arvo Pärt's Berliner Messe, the first CD by Franz Ferdinand, and no Hildegard of Bingen. So anything else by these composers/artists is good :)

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?

I love purple! Also contrasting mixes such as purple with green. Blues. Greens. Reds. Blacks. Most colours are good.

I don't wear a lot of browns, creams, tans, apricot or puce. Pink in moderation. I also don't like rainbow-coloured things in general.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

Married for over 22 years, and we have two teenagers (aged 16 and 18). I have an elderly chihuahua called Lily, who is only slightly nuts ;) My 16 year old daughter has just been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. My husband is an astrophysicist.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

Yes to scarves. I don't wear beanies, but like berets and hats with brims. I have a little head, only 21" / 54 cm around. Don't own any mittens, but do love fingerless gloves and wrist warmers. Smallish hands. No to full size ponchos, but I do like short poncho 'capelets'.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

CABLES! Also lace, and top-down socks. New patterns!

13. What are you knitting right now?

A vest for my mum, a lace shawl that will never end, a Mariah cardigan for myself, a nameless wedding present for my brother, a cotton top which I'm designing myself, and am about to cast on more socks!

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

Yes, always happy to enjoy the skills of other people!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

Circular needles all the way, plus nice short DPNs for socks. I have hand-wrist problems at times, and find circulars are much easier on my hands. I have metal, bamboo and caesin needles, and like them all. Not fussy. I do steer clear of bamboo/wooden needles in the thinner sizes (2-3 mm) as I've had them snap before. I don't have any of the metal Knit Picks DPNs yet, but would like to have some sets of the sock needles.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

I have a yarn winder, but not a swift (yet). I'm dropping heavy hints for my birthday next month!

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

About 10 months (the cotton designed-by-me top, needing repeated unravellings and restarts!). Generally I finish projects in a few months.

18. What is your favorite holiday?

Probably my birthday. Christmas is too stressful... I actually really liked Thanksgiving when we lived in the States, but there's nothing comparable here in Oz. In terms of going away, I love going to the beach :)

19. Is there anything that you collect?

Maigret novels by Georges Simenon (English translations). I've also collected little boxes since I was a teenager - my favourite one is a little round box made of cloves sewn together. And knitting gear, of course, but you knew that, didn't you!

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 don't subscribe to any mags, but regularly buy Interweave Knits and Yarn. There are some back issues of Interweave Knits I'd love to get my hands on : Winter & Fall 2006, and anything earlier than (and including) Fall 2005. The Knit Picks DPNs for socks (2.25 mm). I don't have any books on cables or sock knitting, so anything's a bonus there!
I'd love a pattern for Jess Hutch's robots, but I don't think she's publishing the pattern book any more?

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

I'm just dipping my toes into the world of lace, and enjoying it a lot (I have the A Gathering of Lace book)... also interested in trying felting - both needle felting and 'whack it in the washer' felting :) Just getting into dyeing wool too.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

Yes, I knit socks! I'm a Size 7.5 shoe (in Australia) which is ~ 9" long.

23. When is your birthday?

19 September

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?

Still waiting, waiting, waiting.... :) 10,258 people ahead of me...

07 August 2007

Lulu loose

Look out, Lulu's got out again! She and Trudy Bunny have got into Barb's knitting.... AND she and BB have been caught out trying to effect a jail break!

If you want to come to the Knitting First Aid class please sign up quick like a bunny. Enrolments close on Thursday afternoon.

06 August 2007

Funny Puppy

As requested, here is a pic of poor Lily swimming in the bath (held up by my son). Her leg is dark cos of skin pigmentation - it's not bruising (any more). If you have fast broadband and want a bit of a laugh, you can also download a movie of her swimming! The file is 11.5 Mb, so be prepared for a bit of a wait :)

Miss Spidey and I had a secret meeting yesterday (yeah, so secret I'm telling you about it, LOL) to plan our Knitting First Aid class, which is on next weekend! We're both knitting swatches to demonstrate common errors - finally, a chance to stuff up and NOT fix it ;) I think the class is going to be great fun - hope to see some of you there! Contact Craft ACT to book if you want to come along.

Over the past few days I've been knitting this little hand towel for the kitchen, using the lovely American cotton that Donna sent me - I had some dark blue cotton in the same weight which helped this go further. The pattern is an adaptation of the Bells' Hand Towel by BrownPants. I probably could have made it a bit wider and longer, but meh, it works, and it's a good size for drying hands. I've hung it on the oven door.

Finally - my favourite flower is in bloom - Daphne! I have a large bush that grows in a tub, and is looking and smelling just divine. I have a little vase of the flowers on my desk, too. It reminds me that spring is not too far away now :)

02 August 2007

Estonian Ecstacy

Look what I found in my mail box this morning!! Postmarked from Austria, where my friend Penny lives...

She writes : "Estonia seems to be the traditional knitting capital of the world so I couldn't resist buying you some Estonian wool and a pair of traditional socks." Eeeeeeeeee!!

It's Liisu 100% pure new wool (Täisvill), 100g, probably a 5 ply or so (3 - 3.5 mm needles recommended). Destined to become some lace socks, I think!

And the socks are seriously amazing. Can you see how the top row of cats are white and the second row are pale grey? Penny says that the only sizes were Big or Bigger - these are a bit big on me, but great for keeping my toes warm when I'm working at my desk.

What a perfect friend :)

01 August 2007

Gift Therapy

My pen pal Cindy and I have been corresponding for many years - around 7 or 8. She lives in Pennsylvania, I live in Canberra. We occasionally even chat on the phone (remember those things?). About 6 years ago we started to send each other packages of pressies, often with each item wrapped up. We started to realise that when we were feeling crabby, or depressed, or angry, or sick, or generally fed up with our lot, opening a little present from our stash really helped. So the concept of 'Gift Therapy' was born.

Since that time I've made many Gift Therapy boxes for friends and family who are going through stressful times - marriage breakups, serious health problems, loss of homes in fires, and so on. I also make them for birthdays sometimes. They are always well received - often with tears - and the recipients do find them helpful and therapeutic during the bad days.

I've started to write a book about Gift Therapy, along with ideas for pressies to make, inexpensive things to include, silly and fun presents, and so on. One day I'll get it done.... !

Cindy and I still swap pressies once a year, generally around our birthdays. This one arrived for me yesterday, and although my birthday isn't until next month, I thought - bugger it, I've had such a dreadful month, I could really do with some Cindy Gift Therapy!

TWO American knitting mags (Creative Knitting, and Knit 1), a ball of what's almost definitely yarn, a few select and yummy choccies, a cute frog card, and a nicely-written article from a magazine about growing up...

Inside the pink bag - a ball of Caron 'Felt It' yarn - aren't they gorgeous colours? I think I might try one of Olivia's little felted pods with this.

Thank you Cindy! xxxxxooooo!! This was just what I needed :D

I went hunting at Cooly Court Salvo's yesterday, and found THIS. For $3. Happy serendipity dance! Just what Dotter needs!

In knitting knews - Mariah's second sleeve is this far along :

And my Toe Up Opal Socks are finally finished. Ta dah!

The spiral rib pattern is effective, although I was heartily sick of it by the end. The second sock (left) is a bit too long in the foot section, which is stupid of me, as being toe-up I could easily have tried it on while knitting and checked for the length. Duh.

Finally, Jenny's Shawl is now available on my CafePress shop, on a variety of things. Enjoy!