Sunday, December 30, 2007

bless my little cotton (ankle) socks

the days after festivus have been a whirl of too much sun, some bad dvds (and some good), long walks and swims, and yesterday a bevy of inlaws involving three teenage boys (eeck) and fish and chips in kiama. in amongst all that i have managed to finish sock number one of the Vog Ons in Lana Grossa Millenweit Cotton Fun:

after a rather tricky picot cast on, these turn out to be a joy to knit. the simple lace is perfect for the cotton, as is the whole ankle thing as there is no way in hell this yarn would make socks that stay up of their own accord. they are super quick to make and light and comfy as a feather. and whats more, i will get two whole pairs from 100g, so someone else is going to get a pair of cotton ankle socks as well.

if i wasnt becoming so exhausted from DOING stuff with my holidays i might get the other one knitted soon. i will be glad when trent goes back to work so i can relax!! ;-)

k xx

Thursday, December 27, 2007

a festivus for the rest of us

boxing day at our house was festivus. jo and dave came down. we broke from tradition a little by giving presents (very thoughtful and kind ones thank you both):

dave is now a convert to the knitted sock (i owe him a matching one and he was the lucky recipient of jo's first mega pair). but we did have a festivus pole (a tent pole through the middle of the table) and we ate a lot:

including the pudding:

nice. we opted for no chocolate sauce which was wise. next time i will just put more chocolate in it. the sun shone brightly and there was much lying around:

including watching the actual episode from seinfeld (series nine, the strike). there was a walk on the beach and a single feat of strength which involved the opening of a sarsparilla bottle. dave left without having to be pinned down.

next year i have decided to improve my christmas experience by not being so bloody bah humbug and buying proper presents for people (including each other) to show how much they mean to us (we were very pc and bought jo and dave each a goat and pig from oxfam, which were promptly donated to families in africa. this makes us feel good but it doesnt tell the people you love how much you love them). i am also going to be more organised on the knitting front so that whole pairs of socks can be gifted. given that there will be no pensky this time next year i think thats possible.

so festivus was great. today we are going to sydney to visit a particular camping store which might have some sort of sale going on.

hope you are all relaxing/knitting well.

k xx

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

isnt it ironic?

christmas always fills me with irony. i wont go on about the irony of crass consumerism, because im not a christian either, so dont really care about 'the true meaning' of christmas. as a historian, i suspect that the true meaning has something to do with pagan solstice festivals in the woods of germany, but we wont go into that either! the reality is that capitalism is the religion of our age, so people are, in many ways, doing exactly as required.

the other irony about christmas is much more personal for me, being that i loved it when i was a kid. far and away my favourite time of year, i totally believed in santa and left out my little mince pie and glass of lemonade. i wrote letters, i never peeked. i was a very good girl! i enjoyed being around my families, my paternal one especially, my nanny was a polish jew but she did christmas anyway, and for a day, or maybe half a day, people were nice to each other.

then of course, families split, dads disappear, things turn nasty...eventually i grow apart and dont see my mother or sister at all anymore. my dad is off in qld in a caravan spending my inheritance. we have met up again after many years apart but im supposed to be all grown up now and not need anything from him.

the irony is of course that i do, but i cant let myself. so i spend christmas day being all bah humbug, but i really would like to have a big happy family around, to have a tree and open presents and all that stuff.

instead, i am very lucky to have had a coffee freshly made and put in front of me, to have a yummy sweet fresh ham in the fridge that im going to make into ham and eggs for breakfast, and for maybe the sun to come out later to take the dogs for a swim.

and tomorrow, i am extremely lucky to be having two great friends come down for festivus! we are having a bbq lunch, there may be feats of strength but we might pass on the airing of greivances, because i dont have any with jo and dave. ok, jo's bossy, but we all know that already :)

in preparation, i have made my signature christmas dish, icecream pudding. you mix dried and glaced fruits with lots of brandy and grand marnier and orange peel with chocolate bits and pecans, and 2 litres of the best vanilla icecream:

pour it into a bowl lined with plastic wrap:

and freeze it for a day or two, so when you take it out and peel off the plastic it sits on a plate like a proper pudding. you drown it in chocolate and brandy sauce and enjoy. i will take pics of that when it happens.

also ironic, is that i should have just listened to bells about the right pattern for this cotton i am trying to make into something. i was doing jaywalkers and there was some evidence of zigzagging, but not in that strong strident way that is necessary i think. so i frogged it, and am making these instead.

whats ironic about this is that i said i didnt want to make lace with this cotton cos it would look like c*****t which it does:

but its the perfect pattern, firstly because it is working quite nicely tho you cant see it in that picture and secondly because who wears long cotton socks? of course cotton should be shorties! and i get 4 socks this way and get to share the love (btw, those little yellow bits on the wool are some dried glue from the label, anyone know how to get that off?)

anyway, have a great christmas doing whatever is right for you, catch you on the other side.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

contrasting contrasts

so a while ago i made a single mens contrast sock for trent using some patonyle black faux fair isle that i matched with some black bendigo. it took me a while to get going on the second sock, and you may remember i whinged a while back about how i did have enough of the patonyle to make non-contrast socks, but had been led down the garden path by the pattern book. so the second sock is finished but as you can see, it doesnt match (apologies for the rather unfortunate photo, they are actually in the correct proportions in real life):

trent tried them both on last night and despite a rather clunky inside-out three needle cast off seam inside the toe which he could feel, he says he prefers the one with the black heel. more masculine, he says. so because some kind soul is sending me two more balls of the fair isle patonyle, i get to make two more of these that match these two. trent can have the pair he likes and someone else may get a pair. i prefer the patonyle heel - is patonyle not the softest sock wool out there? not happy about the discontinuation. not happy at all.

i also asked trent what he saw when he looked at this:

no leading questions. he said he saw zigzag. so i think i will continue with the jaywalker pattern for now. i can see zigzag too, not as obvious as i'd like, but i dont want to do lacy cotton socks, for some reason i think it would look like c*****t.

and we know that just wouldnt do, would it ;-)

k xx

disclaimer: of course my comment re the craft that can not be named is a little bit tongue in cheek because i have seen some lovely little crocheted things being done for xmas. so dont go getting uppity with me and put those hooks away

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


i have written 2767 words of the pensky file today. chapter six (the last chapter) sits at 3195 words. a total of 8000 words would be entirely respectable. it is doable by christmas. i may, however, go mad before then.

and i have hives.



Tuesday, December 18, 2007

magic looping

i solved my no-needle-for-magic-loop-jaywalker problem:

oh. how did that happen?

this is what they look like:

im still not sure this yarn is going to work with any kind of pattern really, but its fun trying.

i love magic loop.

k xx

Monday, December 17, 2007

itchy fingers

what a weekend. i had three parties to go to, it started friday night with a family one in sydney where the most interesting people were trents 17 and 16 year old half brothers. sad but true. i was most looking forward to the garden party scheduled for saturday evening for someones 50th but was struck down by something nasty from the night before. not a hang over, i swear. i usually have an iron constitution but something we ate didnt agree with both of us and by saurday afternoon we were exhausted. so we missed the garden party and im sure im in trouble. not happy jan.

sunday was the dog club christmas party, held in a big park in sydney. about half an hour before we got there the heavens opened. we tried to ignore it and huddled under a gazebo:

which proved not entirely rain proof so we gave up. even the dogs were over it:

on the way home i got very itchy under my wet clothes and am now covered in some sort of rash that is driving me CRAZY!! what the? its so bad i need to go buy some calomine lotion. good lord.

meanwhile i have chapter six of the pensky file to try and write this week. last week life interfered and i really only got to sketch out some dot points, so i have given myself about four and a half days to write 10,000 words. we'll see.

and all i really want to do is knit socks. i spent some time on the weekend deciding what to cast on post-waving lace (i still have the contrast mens socks to finish but they are the non-challenging, knit in the car socks.) i need something more complicated. this is all the sock wool i have to work with:

i want to do more lace, but am saving the pink dappled one up the back for the simple lace socks pattern in vintage knits. i have lots of cotton blend and a bamboo in there which seem to make sense for summer, so i thought about that front red and purple lana grossa millenweit for jaywalkers but i couldnt figure out how to do the required number of stitches over three needles not four. (if anyone has any ideas about that id be happy to hear it).

and then i remembered one of my SSS challenges was to try magic loop. i have some 2.25 knit picks circs and i thought i would try the jaywalkers with them, but then i discovered the cable was too short. so i looked through my Options set but the smallest tip is 3.5mm. then i saw that the cotton socks in IW Favourite Socks uses larger needles, so i thought i would knit a test magic loop swatch and try that technique with that pattern and the lana grossa:

magic loop proved to be not as hard as i thought and i managed to make this:

an egg sock.

but do you think i can get it to work for the actual sock pattern with 60 something stitches? nooooo. three cast ons and counting.

meanwhile, my fingers are getting VERY itchy.

k xx

edit: 6.05pm. i did four rounds of the flame wave pattern at lunch time but it got completely lost in the colours of this yarn. i think it needs a plain yarn. frogged it. so, i either do some serious maths this evening to work out whether i can do jaywalkers on 3.5mm using magic loop, or i go back to dpns. sigh.

Friday, December 14, 2007

happy sock dance

i have finally finished my second pair of socks wholly started within SSS (i had two singles to do to make two other pairs and have nearly finished the second one of those). these are one of my SSS personal challenges, to try lace socks, and i loved it. i feel like only ever making lace socks from now on.

anyway, here they are lying flat (unblocked):


i really liked this heel and the way the first round along the gusset is knitted into the back of the loop giving a very neat edge between gusset and heel.


a perfect fit.

the pattern is Waving Lace from Interweave Knits 25 Favourite Socks. The yarn is Waratah Fibres Hand Dyed in 3 ply, knitted on 2.25 mm over three needles. I amended the pattern slightly, because the pattern used lornas laces in 4 ply and this yarn was obviously thinner, i upped the stitch count, but i had to up it by a whole lace repeat, so its 8 more stitches than the original (72 i think instead of 64). also, i changed it to knit over three needles instead of four, i cant hold that many needles at once! i just put all the instep stitches on one needle instead of two.

i also did the proper scalloped edge rather than the rib, it took me a while to get used to the yarn over thing and i had to follow the chart closely (ie, write it all out and tick off each line!) but they were surprisingly easy.

i love them. i want to make another pair!

k xx

ps. i have given up being angry and resentful with the world and all the people in it. instead, im going to be a shiny happy person from now on. are you feelin' the love? :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

do you see what i see...

its a rhetorical question, not a trick one. it is a sad fact of life that i am a glass half empty person and spend too long dwelling on the things and people that are not right rather than the ones that are. i am on a complete emotional roller coaster at the moment given the pressure of the pending pensky completion and how ridiculously hard i am working on it, so i really need to stop thinking about the people who are not on my wave length and focus on the ones that are. there are plenty of those around and i really am very fortunate. big kisses and hugs to the people who have been so supportive over the last couple of weeks and that includes all those in the knitterly blogosphere. where would we be?

i have been overwhelmed with support for my post doc application, i have had two international professors offer to be referees and lots of local support and have come up with a pretty good application, i hope to send it off tomorrow sometime. i am not attached to the outcome, but it is a potentially really great job....

in the meantime, there are two very important things that remind me how lucky i am, and that make me really really happy.

one - my puppy dogs. they're sooo cute! possum wanted to play tug rope and tried to put the tug in my WIP basket, perhaps sensing that everything important goes in there.

when i didnt react quick enough she grabbed it back out and enlisted jems help instead.

yeah big tough cattle dog that one.

two - sock knitting. i am suffering from some SSS envy, people are really whizzing through them and i havent posted in ages, but i will have two pairs finished soon:

it is raining again so i had to take these pix inside and the colours in the waving lace are all washed out in this picture, but gee they are coming along well. i had ideas about giving socks as christmas presents but alas, the pesky file has got in the way.

oh, there is a third very important thing. he knows who he is.

k xx

Monday, December 10, 2007

tired and emotional

i have not been drinking, no, but i am feeling a little overwhelmed today. we had a good weekend away practising our sheep herding, this is a photo that trent took from the top of the hill at the farm where we work:

possum and i are doing great, really starting to work like a team, fine tuning our skills. all we really need is trialling practice but its hard when all the trials are a long way out in the country and you only get one go at it, so you drive for hours and spend a fortune for 8 minutes of anxiety-inducing trialling. call me crazy, but its not really my idea of a good time. the practice schools are better because i get to hang out with my friends and this weekend we started the Herding School Sock Club, finally inducting jo into the joys of sock-knitting:

thats amanda hiding behind scott who is trying to ignore the fact that he is surrounded by women weilding pointy sticks and bits of string. here are amanda and i in close up.

i am pretty impressed with jo - she is an experienced knitter but socks were new, yet she picked it up in a flash. well done jo :)

and a great time was had on saturday night at georgies. i know nothing about any $2 cassidy's sale? ;-)

but as for the rest of the weekend, well, thats the emotional part. i know i have a lot going on right now with the pensky file and perhaps thats all it is, but i am really not sure that i am cut out for dog-sport world. politics, bitchiness, one-up-manship, tall-poppy syndrome, arrogance, game playing and judgementality, to name a few, are what i noticed most this weekend. this is disappointing, its not what i go for, and it makes me lose sight of how far me and my dog have come and how much we have achieved.

it never ceases to amaze me that the great australian myth of egalitarianism and mateship, which is said to emanate from the 'country', as if rural people are 'real' and the rest of us are 'fake', is complete and utter BS.*

lets just leave the ranting at that.

in other news, there is a postdoc at UWS that i am thinking of applying for, it would start next year. the idea of applying is making me face the harsh fact that i am soon to be no longer a student but rather a grown up person. the horror the horror.....

k xx

* this statement is, of course, qualified by the fact that some of the nicest people i know are from the country. i lived there myself as a teenager. and its not like city people are all great either. i am just constantly disappointed by the human race. as kamahl once said, why are people so unkind?

Friday, December 07, 2007

progress report

just a quick one to report that i have finished another pensky chapter. 4000 words this week took chapter five to a grand total of 10204. this is what 10204 words looks like (disappointingly slim!):

only chapter six and a conclusion to go.

waving lace two is past the heel and into the gusset decreases. making these socks never ceases to make me smile:

and we have had sooo much rain here i feel like someone somewhere must be building a big boat and hasnt told the rest of us about it. major thunderstorms, including power surges and black outs, and two freaked out dogs. hard to take pictures of too:

this weekend we are off to chase sheep in the mud at michelago, which means a sleepover at georgies tomorrow night. yippee! i get to see the haul from the $2 cassidy's sale in person.

have a good one

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

same but different

a few days ago bells ran a poll on her blog about how she should use contrasting yarn on some socks she is making. i made a comment at the time, and i have been thinking about it since, and i have to say i am a little annoyed with the fine people at patons. i know this is possibly some kind of heresy, and i know that someone out there has a mum who used to be a test knitter i think it was, for patons, but still, i am annoyed with them.

i won some patonyle at the yarn harlot event last year and i set about making trent some socks from it from the patonyle book. i chose the contrast sock pattern because i only had two balls of the patonyle, i had moved back to The Gong and couldnt find any more of it, and the pattern said that the socks i wanted to make (the plain mens calf socks) would take THREE balls of yarn.

so i opted for a contrast cuff, heel and toe, as per the pattern, but using bendi 4ply.

i was a little surprised by how much i had left over and i thought, hmmm, i suspect i could have gotten away without the contrasts after all. but i carried on regardless and started the second sock with the same contrast.

the other day i was knitting the second sock while out and i reached the heel. i didnt have any bendi with me, and i didnt want to stop, and i remembered how much yarn i had left from the first sock and decided to dive in and do the heel in patonyle. in fact, i decided to do as much of the sock in patonyle as i could and only go back to the plain black when i ran out.

as you can see, i am not likely to run out anytime soon:

so. a little annoyed. why do they tell me 3 balls when im clearly going to only need two? two balls is 100g. 100g is pretty standard for socks. i thought this at the time, but then i thought, no, its their pattern, they must know what they're talking about. but i dont think they do.

so now, i have at the very least a pair of mismatched socks with either a lot (if i do a contrast toe on the second one) or a bit (if i knit right through and use up the remains from sock one) of patonyle left over.

why do they do that? to make me buy more?

one good thing, i will probably have enough left over to make him a little matching mobile phone cover, like those ipod sock things.

k xx

Monday, December 03, 2007

things of beauty

Being a Full and Accurate Account of the Week's End just Past, told in Pictures.

1. knitting while watching flyball racing:

2. flyball racing:

3. trents new dog:

(this is cookie, sandra's dog, trent ran cookie for two races and got red carded because cookie decided he wanted to leave the ring to look for sandra rather than come back to trent. teehee).

4. the shrubs outside the kitchen window:

(we planted these when we lived in this house before the jamberoo-canberra move and now they are over the fence line).

5. some weird red flower plant out the front that the honey eaters like:

6. a new holland honey eater:

7. a tired possum:

8: socks in progress:

not beautiful: having to go back to work on the pensky file today.

k xx