30 April 2008

Closing In

OK, getting to a nice short list, with Dotter and Tinkingbell's help today (thanks gals!) :

Beryl on ChicKnits (designed by Bonne Marie Burns) - this is currently top of my list. Looks like the shape would suit me, I prefer V-necks, it's mostly knit in one piece, has a long-sleeve option, and it would be warm and not floppy. Check out knittingpark's Beryl, to see how it looks on a busty lass (like me). But would the alpaca be 'firm' enough for this design? It's a very soft fibre...

Midnight Special Circular Sweater (Ravelry link) - love this, not floppy, but with circular / seamless construction! Won't keep my tummy warm though... but if I don't knit this now, I want to knit it soon (same goes for the Lara Pinwheel Sweater). You can also see Midnight Special here, down the page.

Another Kirsten Hipsky design, the Market Street Tied Cardigan.

And a third... the Blossom Cardigan.

The Brennan is still in the list, too.

Have also looked at (and bookmarked) Lily, Sylph, Ivy, Cable Love, Hot Cocoa, and much more, but I'm feeling pretty good about the list of 4 above. Dotter has given her stamp of approval to Beryl, and has offered to help me unravel Mariah tonight. Eeeep! But I'm feeling better about it now, more able to cope with the Big Frog, and the prospect of a quick knit cardy which I can wear soon.

Can you tell I'm procrastinating??! Argh. Back to work...

29 April 2008

> <

Soooo, you know Mariah? The cabled hoodie I cast on a YEAR ago? With the gorgeous sleeve cables? I'm nearly finished!

Up to the neckline, ready for the hood... um, hang on, hmmmm. Pattern isn't making sense... oh, OK, found some help online.... right-o. Back on track, more or less....

But - er. The sleeves are looking awfully - um - long. OK, I'll sew up the sleeves, so I can try it on properly (sew sew sew).Shit.

OK, so the sleeves are about 5cm (2") too long (the short white line is where it should be, the long white line is where it is). Well, I can (gasp) unravel the whole yoke, and the tops of the sleeves, and recover from there. It's all about the process, Hubby keeps telling me, as I look fairly pale about this time....

Then I figured I should look more carefully at the fit of the whole thing. Dotter is called in for consultations.

F**king hell, the whole thing is too big! It's not just a 'oh we can fix it with a wider seam, or a judicious pleat' too big, it's a how the hell did you knit the completely wrong size? too big!

Look at the overlap in the fronts :

And the back is way too wide as well - WTF? I'm spot on gauge.. I think by choosing the size based on my chest measurement (busty gal, remember), the pattern was then just BIG all over - while I'm short and little in other dimensions...

Dotter helped me come to grips with the fact that I would have to completely frog Mariah, and knit something else. Aaaaargh! I highly recommend having another knitter in the house at times like this! And Kahlua.

She sat with me while we trawled through Ravelry (damn it's such an amazing site when it comes to looking for patterns!) looking for a new pattern (lots of Bendigo Alpaca 8ply, Rustic (blue), gauge ~20 st:10cm, warm cardy top or wrap, and preferably a FAST knit).

So. Some new designs... this Jacket is by Shirley Paden (Vogue Knitting, Winter 07/08). Fair bit of seaming, though. But I like the design a lot. Shawl collar, long sleeves, not floppy ... insanely long front edging though 0_o

I'm also partial to Silver Belle by Debbie Bliss (Ravelry link, sorry) - but after Mariah, I'm a bit over cables for the moment - a fast knit is what I'm after - I want to have something to wear right about yesterday! (ETA : I'm not over cables forever, just for a little while; I do basically love them :)

There's The Brennan Cardigan (which I would make shorter) - not sure if the soft alpaca would suit this pattern... but it's a simple stylish little cardigan.

Taph has suggested this Pinwheel Sweater, which is gorgeous - the gauge is right, the alpaca will drape beautifully, it's fairly mindless knitting for the most part, but has a pretty lace edging (and there's a knitted lace variation too by WendyKnits), no seams, and I haven't made a circular garment like this before.

Some people comment that it slips off their shoulders easily. And it's a bit floppy - very very beautiful, but maybe not very sensible with chores and computer work? I need something very warm to wear while I'm working at my desk, doing stuff at home, and generally gadding about town.


I can't bear to unravel Mariah until I've got the new project chosen - I am starting to feel a little bit enthusiastic about it now, but it's taken a good 24 hours ....

OK, other stuff.

On Sunday Hubby and I ventured forth to the Southside Famers' Markets (Woden CIT, 9am - 12pm) which was utterly brilliant! All local produce (from within ~ 100km of Canberra), good prices (apples for $2/kilo, instead of the $6-7 at Woolies!), and SO yummy. The vegies are noticeably more yummy, no joke. Will be doing this again, and regularly. Feels good on all sorts of levels - supporting local growers, fresher produce, cheaper, and a smaller greenhouse gas footprint (lower transport costs). My green bamboo string bag came into its own :

And the especially good news for the end - I've been asked to be Technical Reviewer on an upcoming puzzle book by a BIG publisher! My job is to check all the puzzles in the book (all 300 of them) for fairness / balance / ease. I get credited in the book, and even paid some real money *gasp*.

The biggest plus for me, though, is my CV is now lodged in their ivory tower, and it's another step up the professional Puzzle Writer ladder - very exciting!

Will not reveal the title and publisher details until the book is out (Sept 08), in fairness to all concerned. The review has to be done by early June. So if I'm off the airwaves and not commenting much, it's cos I've got a shirtload of work to do! And a jacketload of knitting to recoup...

25 April 2008

Bop Bop Pot Top

What do you get when you mix the Koolhaas Hat pattern with a ball of Vintage hues, and a tea pot?

The Bop Bop Pot Top, of course! Name courtesy of my silly teenagers....

Don't the gorgeous colour variations in Vintage Hues work perfectly with the Koolhaas pattern?

Basic pattern is to cast on 72 stitches (or some other multiple of 8), do a few rows of ribbing, then knit the Koolhaas pattern, splitting into two halves knit flat when you need to for the spout and handle holes, then rejoin when the time is right. Make up the top decreases, and finish with an i-cord 'bop' top knot!

A smart idea (ie one I didn't think of until after I'd finished) is to use a bigger needle size around the rounder parts of the tea pot.

And yes, the Koolhaas Hat is done.... I know the pattern off by heart now!

22 April 2008

Super Kool

I'm knitting the Koolhaas Hat from Interweave Knits Holiday 2007 issue for the girl who shared a room with Jen at hospital ... it is a very cool pattern, if slow! I'm using the Estonian Cable technique to do the little 2 stitch cables that abound, which means I don't have to use a cable needle. The technique is described in IK's Favourite Socks (Meida's Sock pattern by Nancy Bush). Very cool!

Holidays is nice. Now to finish Mariah!

ETA : Yarn is cheapy Panda Carnival 100% wool - fairly soft, and not machine washable. It's not to bad, really, and only $3.60 per ball!

18 April 2008

Staunchly staunch

I got this email this morning - I quite frequently get requests of this kind, asking for a reciprocal link, or whatever :

Dear Ms. Sutherland:

I am currently putting together a directory for writers. [Oh, OK, fair enough]

As I was researching several sites I encountered your website page Denise Sutherland-Puzzle Writer. The site I am referring to can be found at http://www.sutherland-studios.com.au/puzzles/puzzlewriter.html. I am writing to ask your permission to include your website's link in my directory. [Hmm, sounds OK]

Writers will simply clink on your link and be taken to your page. We will not place any of your content in our directory. The only thing we will put in our directory is the name of your organization with your webpage’s link. The directory will be sold as an e-book and offline at a later date. [Fair enough, pretty standard]

There is no cost to you to include your article. [Cool] You will benefit by gaining more exposure to your website. Please reply with your response. We will let you know when this publication is completed. Thank you. [I guess I'll agree, always helpful to have another link to my site]

R. C. W, President
Writers for Christ [Hold the phone! WTF?!]

I replied :

Dear Mr W,

Thank you for your email, and for requesting permission. I would prefer not to be included in your directory, as I am a staunch atheist, and do not want to be associated with any religion.

Thank you,

Denise Sutherland

I thought this would be the end of it - but no!

Dear Ms. Sutherland:

Sadly, we will not include your site in our directory. [Well YES - this is what I requested!] Thank you for responding. I know you are a staunch atheist, but If you are ever lead to learn more about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and why He died for the sins of all people do not hesitate to email me. [Coughs and chokes]

R. C. W,
Writers for Christ

The teenagers I live with thought I should reply along the lines of 'If you are ever led to learn more about why the Bible belongs in the Fiction section of the library, do not hesitate to email me' - but I restrained myself ;)

14 April 2008

Out of hospital

As you can gather, we're back home; Dotter was released around 7.30pm on Friday. It's taken us a few days to recuperate (and to get the house back in order)!

Her lipase levels are nearly normal again. Here she is knitting during the SEVEN HOUR stay in Casualty, before getting a bed in the blessedly quiet Adolescents Ward. I think the Paediatrics section of Casualty must be the worst - we were surrounded by very ill or injured babies and children, most of them crying and/or screaming. We really were starting to Not Cope after 5 hours of it, and we still had 2 more hours to get through ... very distressing.

Generally people with acute pancreatitis (and NOW I can easily add a link) have lipase readings of about 300-400 (normal is less than 20). Lipase is a digestive enzyme that should stay in your digestive system, and NOT be in your blood or abdominal cavity where it starts digesting your organs. She's such a high achiever - Dotter's reading was 1,805! 0_o Thankfully she responded well and quickly to the standard NBM treatment (Nil By Mouth).

The severe pain was a single 5 minute episode on Monday night (the day before she went to hospital), so she wasn't in any pain while in hospital (apart from all the needles and IVs they were sticking in her).

My old Voodoo Wristwarmers were great for keeping her hands warm, especially as the IV was making her hand cold and sore. I gave them to the lovely girl in the other bed when we left, to pass on some warm knitted love, which she needed. She and Dotter are going to stay in touch.

As you know, Lulu came for a visit one night. Dotter was happy to see her, especially as she has a new companion - young Prune the SHEEP DOG! Lulu wasn't sure what to make of him! I suspect she's going to find it harder to get into trouble at home now...

Here is evidence of the infamous Pole Dancing Incident - it's lucky the nurses didn't catch her, she would have been out on her woolly little ear!

While all this was going on, and for the endless hours where we were just waiting for things to happen, or a Doctor to see us, or whatever, I kept knitting on this Elisa's Nest Tote bag. It's nearly done. I decided to use 2 balls of Cleckheaton Bamboo - a bit extravagant, I know, but they were in my stash, and it's wonderful stuff to knit with.

That's all for now! Thanks again everyone for all your lovely messages and love - Dotter and I really appreciated getting your messages there in hospital.

ETA : I have been remiss in forgetting to say a huge thank you to Kuka for visiting us, and bringing an orchid for Dotter, and magazines, and yarny goodness to pat, and DVDs to borrow (oooh Fisher!) - her good cheer was infectious (which is a GOOD thing in hospital :)

10 April 2008

Further dispatches

Thank you all for your kind wishes. It's been a real treat for both of us to get your comments despite being stuck away in this little room! The magic of blogging!

The news from today is Dotter has definitely had acute pancreatitis, and thankfully there has been no organ damage (basically digestive enzymes are released in high levels and can digest your liver etc). Also no sign of gallstones. Her blood tests are normal again, too. Phew.

They don't know why she got it, it's not linked with diabetes. Can be viral. She was thrilled to be allowed to eat again this afternoon, I don't think a cheese sandwich was ever enjoyed as much! We're still in hospital for another night, and should be coming home tomorrow.

Lulu has been to visit, but had to be taken home in disgrace after being caught pole dancing on Dotter's drip machine!

Ok, that's all the "sms" typing I can handle for tonight! But at least I found the return key-

09 April 2008

From my phone

Well, isn't this exciting? I'm typing this post from the web browser on my mobile phone! Why? Good question! Because for the past 29 hours I've been at the hospital with Dotter, who has acute pancreatitis. I can't do links easily (or paragraphs) so will leave it for you to look up. She's on a drip - no food or drink, and in a 2-bed room in the adolescents ward. Not in too much pain, mainly v tired and generally unwell. She had a massive 'attack' on Monday night, which led to us being here. We're waiting for test results, and not sure how many more days she'll be in. Fun fun fun. Thank goodness for knitting!

03 April 2008

All Very Blue

Here is me wearing my Ice Queen (and not wearing my glasses, so please excuse the slightly maniacal and myopic look!) - the weather's actually been cold enough to need it this week! What's great about it is it's so light and soft and warm, and doesn't slip off (like a shawl or scarf) cos it's a tube. Love it.

And here's where I'm up to on my Bellydancing Boobholder by Stefanie Japel... this is a seriously fast knit! I'm up to the 'putting sleeve stitches onto waste yarn' bit after only a few days. I'm using the very thick German cotton which I've been trying to turn into a tank top for over a year now - time to move on!

Note the gaw-jus stitch markers by George...

The whole thing is knit from the top down. My adaptations have been to make the edging in seed stitch instead of garter, and to not do puffy sleeves, my upper arms are quite puffy enough, thankyouverymuch!

Main downer at the moment is the resurgence of RSI, so I'm having to rest my hands :p I keep sneaking another row in, and my family (knowing I'm in pain - my right wrist is bandaged after all) yells at me to "Stop knitting and just watch TV without DOING anything!! Like a BOY!"

My next job for the week is figuring out where I'm up to with Mariah, and getting back into it. I lost all my project notes when my knitting notebook disappeared, so I need to figure out which cable is up to where, and which decreases I'm up to at the shoulders, and - ugh, can you tell I'm putting it off?

ETA : hmmmmm, photos seem to have disappeared for some reason.... not sure what the problem is, will try to fix it!

01 April 2008

Knitting Scouts

I know, I'm later than everyone else with this Cast-On Scouty thing - anyway, on with the main event!

I was a Brownie for a little time, when I lived the States as a kid - I have distant memories of a hall full of noisy young girls, many of whom were unkind to the girl with the 'funny accent' and who couldn't walk properly (so I didn't last long). I enjoyed the Brownie book, though. So I was never a great Brownie or Girl Guide. But I can do Knitting Scouts :)

The “Proselytize Knitting” Badge
I've spoken to people on buses, and at doctors' waiting rooms, and lots of other places - to the point of taking needles and yarn in to one family at hydrotherapy and giving mini-lessons to a bunch of kids! I also taught my now yarn-addicted daughter to knit.

The “I’ve Been Published in a Knitting Magazine” Badge
Not a pattern (so I hope this counts), but a small article about my Knitting Art paintings was published in the Winter 07/08 issue of Vogue Knitting.

The “Knitting Has Forced Me to Seek Medical Attention” Badge (Level One)
Combined with playing violin and lab work, knitting heaps of fair isle jumpers contributed to severe RSI in both my hands. This stopped me knitting (and my science degree, and playing music) in the early 1980s, and I've only been game to try again in recent years. I still have to be careful, and can no longer crochet or do cross stitch. In fact, my Meida lace socks are currently causing me more hand & wrist pain than I should be in. Bugger.

The “I Will Crush You With My Math Prowess” Badge
While not a high-level maths user every day, I really enjoy maths, and have knit socks with Fibonacci series stripes, and use algebra to calculate pattern alterations.

The “MacGyver” Badge (Level One)
I've made knitting needles from varnished pencils with rubber band on the ends so I could knit on a flight (where knitting needles were banned). I also use paper clips as stitch markers, lotto cards to mark off rows, magnetic sheeting as a pattern-tracking board, rubber bands to hold DPNs together, and I know there's more stuff I can't remember right now! Is there a badge for forgetfulness?

And lastly, today I got to Word 12,000 (DOUGHTY) in my Dictionary list - only about 43,000 words to go!