Thursday, June 29, 2006

itchy feet

oooh lucky me

i met up with a little spider today who drew me into her tangled web of sock knitting, complete with four slippery needles and this 'knitting in the round' concept which ive never tried before.

i ve never felt so unco-ordinated in my life! but thankfully the spider knows her stuff and showed me everything i need to know for the tube part and picked up my mess when it all slid off one end of the dpns. she even bought me a pattern and some practice wool so i dont waste my precious new bounty:

precioussssss....isnt it gorgeous? so i am starting with baby socks and when i go to the snb next thursday night i hope to be ready (physically and psychologically) for the next challenge of sock-knitting: turning of the heel.

for anyone whos read the yarn harlots new book, ms spider is DEFINATELY a knitting missionary. im hanging somewhere around organic! (ie, my tendency not to knit tension swatches will most definately come back to bite some time soon).

jumper? what jumper....

ps how nice is it to be able to meet up with a complete stranger over coffee and learn something new. thanks spidey, i am, as ever, in awe! nice sherpa youve got there too :)

Monday, June 26, 2006

a dogs life

after the frost/ice melted this morning, jem thought he might go check out this sunbaking thing of possum's:

he spotted me taking pix and wondered if there was something better on offer:

but decided to stay anyway:

meanwhile this is what im doing:

and this is what i want to be doing!

yes thats right i have bought a sock pattern book. no wool yet. still thinking about the idea of more than 2 needles. thinking that it might be time to take things to the next level....

after the jumper of course which now has a front, half a back and half a sleeve all proceeding well.

back to work...


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

to be a possum

now is this not the life?

smart girl that one. unlike jem who insists on sitting on the cold concrete porch staring in the back window just in case i move towards food. just in case.

meanwhile i watch her in envy. to be a dog and not to be sitting in a cold house trying to get your head around lacanian psychoanalytic theory. ie, "When a master signifier is dialectized, metaphorisation occurs, the subject is precipitated, and the subject assumes a new position in relation to the cause." Oh yes, of course. (What the....?????)

and at my feet lies a basket containing the first third of the back of a certain jumper just screaming out to be knitted..."knit me knit me and all will be right with the world". this is true, but it wont get my thesis finished.

and neither will blogging.


Monday, June 19, 2006


all this travelling the last few weekends has worn me out! i missed yet another SnB this sunday because i was up at belgenny farm at camden rounding up sheep again.

had a great weekend and more progress on the steep learning curve for both me and possum (check out the focus!)

and trent with jem.

these fantastic pix are from marj's flickr, she has this awesome camera which trent covets badly, and a lovely red cattle dog girl called dusty who is somewhat easier to manage then our jem. thanks marj.

i did get some knitting done, however, although it was not entirely succesful. i took the sleeve i have started for trents jumper and it has a one stitch on each end increase, every six rows. on the right side. and it says to 'keep the pattern correct'. i had to ask other, non-knitters, what that meant, given that the pattern is in multiples of three and i was adding two stitches. plenty of helpful advice was forthcoming from people who have logical minds and to whom this kind of thing is like, obvious, so off i go but do i get it right? um no. in this picture i have just discovered my mistake. jo pretends to be interested (well really how interesting is someone whos just discovered a mistake in their knitting whilst among a group of non-knitters?) and alyssa thinks im hilarious.

so i frog it back to the row under the mistake and rethread the stitches (have you ever tried to do that while sitting in a camp chair in a paddock in 5 degrees?). and then start again. i figured it out at last though, and it now looks right and is increasing 'correctly'. i wish these pattern makers would explain what they mean.

so now i am rather tired and with lots of washing to do. and i wasnt happy with my seminar presentation on friday and am feeling a bit overwhelmed by the amount of work required to get this thesis finished by march and feel more than ever that i should repair to a large piece of land with no one else around and not one book on it and play with sheep and chooks and dogs and wool all day....



Thursday, June 15, 2006

the front and the outback

long time no post, spent yesterday immersed in a washing machine. how is it possible to make so many dirty clothes on one short road trip? more about that later but first...drum roll...the front of the jumper has been completed. i present it here:

i am quite happy with it, it has knitted up nicely and is very soft and smooth. i am a bit worried about the sizing (did someone say somethinga bout a tension swatch???) - it fits across the chest but seems a bit short in the neck dept but it does have a knitted on neck so that will give it more length there i guess. i had trouble reading the pattern for the shaping of the raglan and the neck but thankfully we were staying with someone in brissie who is a mad knitter and she knows all the tricks of the trade. ie, write down what you need to do in each line. thankfully i had my knitting journal with me and this is what the neck shaping looked like:

adding up not being my strong point it took a while! now i have simultaneously started on the sleeves and the back so i can carry the sleeves around with me. for the sleeves i bought these lovely wooden needles from a little shop in bangalow (near byron) on the way home and they felt a bit bigger than the 4mm bamboo circs i was using so i put them in my little needle measuring thing and they are perfectly 4mm whereas i discover that the bamboos that have 4mm printed clearly on them are perhaps slightly smaller than that. im not going to undo the bloody thing now. the difference is so miniscule, perhaps it wont show up. pray for me. and stop talking about tension swatches ok?!

meanwhile the road trip. great fun.

left here early, hit heavy fog outside yass:

made quick time to coonabarabran, quaint little place. the warrambungles were pretty spectacular as they flew past!

odd little cabin for overnight. freezing cold of course. set off before dawn for the border:

stopping at gurley up on the wheat belt, funny how things are different to the way you remember them. im sure this pub used to be two stories.

used to swim in the tank, which i also seem to remember as being slightly taller as well!

anyway it was fun to see the place again. it rained in brisbane. a lot. we raced the dogs in the rain, they were a lot slower and our team had many stuff ups, but we met some nice people and had fun anyway. we came back ont he coast road and stayed at this gorgeous tourist park at nambucca heads but it was dark when we got there and dark when we left. home tuesday night safe and sound.

am off to wollongong tomorrow to give a seminar presentation then staying in sydney for the weekend and going to more herding workshops out at camden. at least herding is good knitting time, sitting in my camp chair waiting for my turn :) perhaps i will get the sleeves done. hopefully next week life returns to normal and i can get to an snb one day soon.


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

small progress

after the disaster and the subsequent unravelling i have started again on trents jo sharp ribbed raglan jumper. this is the first 35 or so centimetres.

taken me eight days to get back to here, and i have been loyal to this one project i promise, despite people posting their fantastic socks and pringle scarves, and emails about the sales on at cassidys and the fact they sell my favourite needles (brittany) there now. thanks guys for the support!!

obviously i dont knit 24/7 but i spend at least a few hours a day on this and look where it gets me! of course, the pattern requires some thought, its knit the right side and then p3 k1 p1 rpt on the wrong side, so i have to watch what im doing. but i think i am quite a slow knitter.

now i am onto the stocking stitch part, which goes for another 10cm and then the decrease starts, its a 'sl1 k2tog psso' decrease which i dont think ive done before but it looks like it gives a nice effect. i have a debbie bliss book called How To Knit which is where i have taught myself from, and it has instructions for this kind of decrease. one thing i have learnt about knitting since blogging is this thing called blocking. because i didnt have anyone to teach me the tricks of the trade, i just followed the patterns instructions for making up and they never say anything about this groovy technique. but i will definitely be doing it from now on. if i ever finish anything again, that is.

speaking of learning things, that long ridged scarf i made out of cleckheaton country prints has been doing very well out in the cold paddocks until it fell in the dust. not just any old dust. sheep-pen dust. wool shed dust. mmmmm. so without thinking i threw it in the washing machine. lets just say its lucky i wash with cold water. a warning tho, the instructions on that wool say it can handle a gentle machine wash. id say only just. i have a new half-felt half-knit scarf. at least its soft.

on the bag front (see The Eternal Quest below), i have given up on the bag that i can take to uni/library/shopping/knitting all in one! a tote is just too big for all that and i couldnt find one i really liked that wasnt all leather and worth about $400. so i bought TWO new bags the other day, one a very stylish little red number for after dark (no knitting allowed) and the other an everyday over the shoulder, big enough for a small project, with lots of compartments etc but not too bulky. and when i want to carry a whole lot of stuff around its just going to have to be the basket or the canvas book bag. i did see a nice little tote pattern on the yarn magazine website from their sample issue, they felt it but i would like to keep it knit i think. i think that might be my next project. after the cardigan i want to make myself. there is a really nice one in the jo sharp knit mag with a shawl collar but needs some upsizing...will wait till i see taph's BGK book before embarking on that. thats if i dont get hooked on this sock fetish first, some of the things "people" (yes we know who you are) are doing is just amazing!

anyway better go start packing for the big road trip tomorrow. we are going out through the west rather than through sydney, stopping overnight at coonabarabran, then up through moree and into queensland on friday. my stepfathers family are from a little wheat belt truck stop called Gurley and i havent been there in 20 years and want to show trent what amazing country it is out there. will see what the droughts been up to. wont be back till next tuesday and will post photos of finished back of jumper. 12 hours in the car. perfect knitting time!

have a great long weekend.

Monday, June 05, 2006


another great weekend had pretending to be farmer joe roundin' up sheep. out at binalong this weekend and it was rather chilly at first. miss possum and i have been promoted to the big ring which was a bit frightening. so far we have worked in the small ring where she can see me all the time and she doesnt have much room to move, and as i expected in the big ring she ran a bit wild and forgot that i was there. we had a new instructor brad, and he was very patient! (he may be laughing behind his hand in this picture, however!)

he had to help me out a couple of times but by the end of the weekend we had possum starting softly, which meant she worked softly, and we were able to put a stop on her most times. she learnt to stop in the front of the sheep and hold them there, and to work without barking all the time. not without some resistance tho!

overall tho she works really nicely, brad seemed to think she was a good dog and said that he could take her out to work tomorrow. the problem of course is me, despite living on a working sheep farm for three years, i still really dont know what to do. i asked them this weekend if there was a textbook i could read. everyone laughed but i was serious....give me the theory and i'll have it perfect in no time!! but thats ok, we've only been doing it for six months, cant expect to know it all right now.

the sheep had just been shorn, like in the last week or two, and the clip was all piled up on a truck ready to go. one of the biggest clips ive ever seen, my stepfathers clip was only about a third of sure there was about 50 bales. i wanted to get some photos to put up here so we could all drool over the pure unadulterated product, but the batteries on the camera ran out!

speaking of wool, the jumper mark two is progressing really nicely, trent even agrees now that it looks like the picture. as for SnB, i have been thwarted, and continue to be! last thurs i was sick and this thurs coming when i am scheduled to do my own lunch time thing, i will be in the car on the way to queensland, trent is judging a flyball comp there. and then the sunday after, the 17th, i will be herding again. i was going to not go as my friend deb is coming to canberra that weekend but we had already booked to go and if we pull out they wont have the numbers and anyway im kind of obsessed now...

so it will be a while yet before i get to meet any of the other knitters i am meeting in the virtual knitting world...feels strange to be talking to people you dont know but thats the thing about the internet i guess.

meanwhile i am not so cut up about the missed job now. i will get some casual teaching next semester anyway and it just clears the decks in terms of getting the theis finished and who needs supervisors anyway?

hope to have pics of jumper up soon.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

not happy jan

why is it that s**t happens and in threes? i have recovered ok from 'the disaster' (much hot chocolate later) and the new pattern is emerging beautifully. (funny how that happens when you follow the instructions as they are written). then i get an an email yesterday from a certain institute of mediocrity, sorry, boys club, sorry, higher learning, to be told that the job i had been offered actually had to be offered to someone else. this has serious implications financially and in terms of the thesis progress, considering the said job was my supervisors while he is on leave. of course he is still on leave and im still supposed to complete by march. while hes on leave. *sigh*.

then its the lovely trents birthday and i meet him in town for lunch (after perusing the fiasco that passes for a sale at DJs and still no closer to finding the perfect bag - the eternal quest continues)... (perhaps i should make a trilogy of movies about that) and no sooner did i finish my weird chilli chicken burger (what SORT of place IS the banana leaf anyway?) do i have to run to the bathroom.

so i feel like crap on so many levels that im going to get into my grandma flanelette nightie and sit in front of the the tv with more hot chocolate and just pretend there is no thesis, only knitting.

however, no snb for me tonight. taph, please hang on to that ball winder thingy for me and i will be at the next sunday session. im sad not to go but too sad to be around people, if that makes sense.

have a good one