Friday, November 28, 2008

a quick WIP around

i thought it was time to blog about some knitting in between all the rest of the stuff thats been going on around here. especially given theres no point philosophising anymore.

so i am working on a few things. firstly, my easy night time knitting (now that i figured out how to join in the round on something big without twisting) is cobblestone:

doesnt look like much but it is growing and will be ready in time for next winter, trust me. its such a lovely design, and the yarn and colour are perfect. its just endless stocking stitch, thats all.

to balance that out, i am working on not one but two lace projects. i blogged before about frogging the embossed leaves socks in the knittery slim sock, and i have opted instead for the Scarf with a handsome border from Victorian Lace Today:

i would like this one to be nearly done by christmas, so i have put ruby on the back burner for now:

but i do miss her. i am totally in love with this book which jen lent me, and i am going to have to give it back at some point, so it was with some glee that i saw a copy of it on the shelf last night at tapestry craft snb (my first time, it was very nice), and i took it down to the counter but of course it was a little *cough* expensive, and it was the last copy, and i didnt really want to pay $70 for a very well thumbed and crumpled edition. i settled for some extra knitpicks options tips and cables, but when i came home i did happen to look it up on amazon and they do happen to have it for under $20 and with the shipping and currency conversion it did still only come to about $44so i may have slipped and ordered it...when it arrives i will return yours jen i promise!

i am also making up a pair of socks with the vatican pie jitterbug. i really think this is the best sock yarn, such gorgeous colours and crisp stitch definition:

the pattern is called SweetiePie and borrows elements from my other favourite socks, so its plagiarised really. its got a picot edge (my favourite sock edge, doesnt keep the sock up but looks lovely), then two rows of purl rather than eyelets for a ribbon. then i had to work out where the back of the sock was going to be, (or which stitches would end up being the heel flap) and then on the ends of those particular needles i am doing k2 p2 and then knitting the rest. this is to make a column of purls on either side of the leg which will run down to match the k2p2 at the edge of the german heel from knitting vintage socks, which is my all time favourite heel. you dont want anything much going on with the jitterbug, it does all the good stuff by itself i reckon.

there are two other pairs of socks also on the go, a simple rib for me thats resting while i do the xmas knitting, and one sock of a christmas pair that i am saying nothing about right now.

plenty to keep me busy.

and in other stuff, because i cant help it, i am frustrated beyond belief at insurance companies and smash repairers who have had the smashed up subaru for over 2 weeks but only just started work because the insurance company were thinking about writing it off given how much its going to cost, but of course our policy only has a rental car for 14 days, and those days are up, and they wont extend it! we have other cars here we can use but its a pain and i want my subaru.

also painful has been the process of replacing my mobile phone which i managed to put through the washing machine. not just IN the washing machine, but through a whole cycle. i didnt like any of the telstra replacements so trent got one through work and it has taken them forever to figure out how to unlock it so i can use it on the telstra network, but its working today finally. i meant to take a picture, its shiny and red and comes in a red velvet pouch and the ring tone goes 'hello moto' (its a motorola). i feel whole again. call me superficial, go on, i dare ye!

k xx

Thursday, November 27, 2008

its all relative

i took the test that caffeine fiarie took. the result, while reflecting a schizophrenic approach to philosophy, does not entirely surprise.

Your result for The Find Your Philosophical Era! Test...

The Post-Modern

25% Ancient, 19% Medieval, 25% Modern and 31% Post-Modern!

Congratulations! You are: a Post-Modern!

Congratulations! Unlike everyone else, you Post-Moderns were born in the right era. You can even influence the further development of Post-Modernism! Post-Moderns like you are bowed down by the weight of all the writers and thinkers who have existed before them; but, rather than respecting the authority of the past, as a Medieval thinker might do, a Post-Modern thinker is more likely to reject or reinterpret everything which came before him. While the Moderns ridiculed religion, Post-Moderns ridicule religion and atheism alike. The parody is _the_ classic Post-Modern art form.

Post-Modern thinkers tend to cast every commonly received notion into doubt. The naive, common-sense interpretation of things is shocked when Post-Modernism declares, for instance, that perfect translation is theoretically impossible, or that the connection between a word and its meaning is merely illusory. The distinction between meaning and meaninglessness is blurred--see the poetry of e.e. cummings or the works of Joyce for an example of the Post-Modern disregard for the orthodox English sentence.

Moreover, Post-Moderns like Freud and Nietzsche, with their psychological insight, cast into doubt the freedom of the human will, and helped to blur the lines previous eras might have drawn between a good person and a bad one, between a madman and a sane one.

Some post-modern philosophers: Wittgenstein, Nietzsche, Derrida, Foucault, Freud, Benjamin, Hegel, Kierkegaard

Some post-modern artists: Joyce, Henry James, Proust, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Faulkner, Woolf, Samuel Beckett

Typical post-modern art forms: the non-traditional novel, black comedy, jazz, film, photography, the music video, the psychological case study, the parody

Take The Find Your Philosophical Era! Test
at HelloQuizzy

philosophy is dead anyway
k xx

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

photos of photos

i was hoping to bring you some pictures of the hair cut, because trent took some on the weekend, but a terrible thing has happened. we went out on sunday for a drive in the rain, and trent took some great pictures of things along the way, and then on the way home we detoured via a big homewares supercentre near our place where there is a big electronics chain store. im going to name them, it was domayne, and we sat in front of one of those little print stations and printed off some of these photos. this was the first time we had done this, and we had a lot of fun, and when we got home i cut some of them up and put them in these glass photo-coasters i got for my birthday. they look great, and we were happy.

this morning, i pulled out the memory card and plugged it into the computer to resize some of the pix for blogging, only to find that ALL of the pictures we took on sunday are not rendering, plus also some random others. some we printed, some we didnt. now i dont know if there is a problem with those machines, or we did something wrong, or something else has happened to the memory card, but i am Not Happy Jan. they were great photos, and i am disappointed by their loss.

i have however, taken photos of some of the prints with my little digital. they are not quite the same thing, but you get the idea.

so, on sunday it was raining. we went for a drive down into the national park at the back of our place, where there are a couple of nice little spots with marinas for the locals to park their boats etc. we stopped for a while at cottage point. trent took photos of the oysters:

sydney rock oysters. mmmm. and a couple of shots of me when i wasnt looking, including close ups of the hair cut, which are gone. this one remains, which even i quite like:

the hair doesnt look this good now, cos i washed it and i dont have one of those super straighteners but i am happy enough with how it works with no styling!

then we went and had a coffee and snack at the kiosk:

and trent took some great shots of the boats and the rain:

i also spent some time on sunday trying to cast on one of my christmas sock presents. because it was a failure i can tell you what i was planning, which was a pair of embossed leaves for someone in this:

it is lovely knittery slim socks, but there is no way this pattern and this yarn go together. this yarn needs to be knit on really small needles, not on 2.75s, so after three attempts at casting on that rather complicated tubular thing, i gave up. i sat and looked at it for a moment, thinking how it might be called a sock yarn but really its a lace weight, as thin as the cashmere i am knitting the Victorian Ruby with, and suddenly a light bulb went on over my head. 500 yards of potential lace weight grinned up at me. who said you had to give people SOCKS for christmas? so this is destined to be something a little more exciting and the recipient might not get it for christmas, but it will at least now be fun trying. also slated for a christmas present is this:

colinette jitterbug in vatican pie. this colour is not listed on their website anymore (but if you go look especially in jitterbug it is still there). i have my own sock design in mind for this one, and am planning to cast on today sometime, hopefully, though i am very busy with research work deadlines, and a guy here fitting new blinds, and other projects that are going to have to languish for a while because it has just occurred to me that in fact it is exactly one month until christmas. how the hell did that happen????

k xx

Sunday, November 23, 2008

totally addicted to lace...

wo-oh wo-oh (ear worm anyone?)

today i am glad i am not a dog, because dogs cant knit lace. and knitting lace is So. Much. Fun.

i had yesterday to myself, trent had the joy of being chauffer and playmate to young things at jamberoo (where you control the action. i do believe he went on the taipan. twice). there was not room for me in the bus. oh well.

so i made yesterday into a kylie-day (i am trying to let go of the guilt of even saying that, because in some ways i feel like everyday is a kylie-day, but like george once said, i feel guilty if i sit and do nothing while there are even possible chores that could be done) but i made myself ignore the vacuuming and ironing. i needed time and space to let go of a few balloons, so i did.

first i got my hair cut. its been a while, and i was quite attached to my old hairdresser who knew how to deal with too much curly stuff. also its usually an expensive exercise, but i found a mid range place in the local mall, and was lucky to get a very good cutter who was not scared by putting layers into curls, and i even had a treatment, as it has been let go too long. everyone in the salon commented on the end result, so that made me feel good, and then i bought some groceries, and a birthday present (not mine, and personally i am quite glad that the sun has now passed from scorpio thanks very much), and came home to start HP and the Half Blood Prince for the third time (finished the Order of the Phoenix on friday).

then, there being nothing on tv, and no ABC shop in the local mall (i was hoping to buy the dvds of life on mars, which i loved but didnt catch all of on tv), i went back to the beginning of the xfiles, and worked on ruby. i am at row 22:

i think i am starting to see the pattern. there might be one place where i messed up a bit but i am not sure, so im not ripping! it looks vaguely like its supposed to and its one of those patterns that wont show until you do the whole chart, but i am really pleased with it so far, and the yarn, oh the yarn. jade sapphire mongolian cashmere. you may drool now:

then i went for a little stroll around the block with miss possum, and showered and dressed and drove out to the burbs where i met trent for a friends birthday dinner. it was a very nice meal, in very nice company, and we got home late and crashed.

this morning i am happy to report that the wallabies beat france (i am not surprised that new zealand won the rugby league world cup and am quite happy about it really, not being a fan of the current crop if gen Y footballers), and now trent is out mowing, and i am going to do the vacuuming i promise, but not before i show you pictures from the garden, in appreciation of the simple things and the wonderful space we have here. someone, long again, tried to make more formal gardens here, but its all been overgrown. the agapanthus survive, not in as good shape as they could be, but they make an interesting juxtaposition to the natives:

the pots are going well, we have had too much rain this week probably and not enough sun, but at night time there are heaps of spider webs around the pots and i think this will take care of pests for me. i also gave them a drink of worm wee this morning. i dont know if the plants like it but jem did:

and is not the passionfruit flower one of the most spectacular things youve ever seen:

the vine is wild and straggly and unkempt but covered with buds. heres hoping for some fruit.

k xx

ps thanks for the all kind words, it helped a lot :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

not simple enough

i wish i was a dog. they dont worry about anything, except whether someone is stealing their bones, or getting a longer tummy rub than them. they dont have to worry about calories or exercise (they seem to magically get the right amount of both around here), and if they're hungry, they just eat dirt:

they sleep all day, chase birds, roll in crap and get taken on cool car adventures. sometimes they get to run and jump over things, grab a ball, chase some sheep. roll in crap again.

me, im too busy freakin' analysing everything to realise how simple life can be if you let it. i am sick of being a human female who thinks too much, feels too much, cares too much. i have been turning myself in knots about family complexities, work opportunities, health care, other peoples driving skills (or lack thereof, i am really a bit scared on the road now), and What Other People think...its driving me to distraction.

for example, yesterday i had to go to wollongong unexpectedly for a meeting with someone else who wants me to do some research work for them, and its possibly a big deal with possibly a big deal job in the new year (the current work is just on contract to see how we work together), and i met some of her other staff, and they were all 20 something skinny lizzy PYTs and i felt every single one of my excess kilo 40 year old self. it was so bad, i came home via the chemist and bought hair dye because i can not possibly work in that centre with grey hair. sorry RR, i caved... gah!! whats going on in the world?!!

and just now i have had a ridiculous phone conversation because i couldnt just say whether i would or wouldnt do something on the weekend without thinking about all the underlying implications and how it would appear and what other agendas were at work, and its no wonder sometimes People want to strangle me. I want to strangle me.

i have also been worrying a lot about life post-phd and what i should or shouldnt be doing. i feel as tho there is a strong expectation, from others, from myself, that i should pursue a full on academic career but i cant honestly say i want the crap that goes with it, and i feel like i need to be doing something more grounded, that gives back to society in some way. this is a good thing about the research work i am doing, the latest project is about the affect of sports peoples off field behaviour on young peoples perceptions of risk taking, however the deadline is like, tomorrow, and the other nursing research work im doing has just been taken to a whole other level because of a late night teleconference we had with the UK earlier this week, which opened up a whole other 'can of worms', plus i still have my 2 day office job, so i have more work than i know what to do with, and there just arent enough hours in the day!

i took an hour at lunch time to cast on the Victorian Ruby scarf from Victorian Lace Today (which i am carrying around like its my bible at the moment), i made a rather simple crochet cast on into some sort of contortionist act, but when i did figure it out i felt a whole lot better:

also making me feel better is the way the weather has been here the last few days. this was at 6am the other morning:

look closely and you will see its wabbit season. i wish the dogs were better at catching them, cheeky little pests.

and just now a storm rolled in that was quite spectacular:

it dumped a lot of rain:

which is really helping my pots and the rocket has righted itself, so thats one less thing to worry about.

did someone say 'breath'?

k xx

Sunday, November 16, 2008

ups and downs

shortly after i posted about my reading material etc on thursday, things went a little pear shaped. firstly i decided to make a yarn cake out of my jade sapphire so i could get started on the victorian ruby scarf. only thing is, it was either very bladly skeined or i am a yarn cake making retard (the latter is entirely possible). every few circles of the swift, and the yarn got stuck. i couldnt for the life of me find a way to unstick it, it was as though it was coming from the middle of the skein and needed to be unthreaded. so i took it off the ball winder and did it by hand:

it was frustrating, and i had to leave it half way to go drop a rental car off, grab a taxi across town, and pick up our subaru from the smash repairers, because a couple of weeks ago someone bumped us in the back and the bumper bar needed replacing. not a bad one, but annoying.

so then on friday i get up early and go off to do my grocery shopping, and i had to go to the big mall down at manly that i hate, but its the only medicare office around here and i needed to claim back my therapy (trent thinks its funny that im paying someone $160 an hour to tell me to breath. it is funny. but im very thankful that the govt covers 12 of these trips per calendar year, with a small gap. if you didnt know about that, and need to see someone, get thee to a dr and have a mental health plan done).

anyway, so i spend too long buying food and have fresh fish for dinner in the car and am driving home watching some kid on his mobile phone behind me, when i stop and he doesnt. he hit me very hard in the back, and he had to be towed. luckily i could drive but only just. the whole floor of the boot had been pushed up and into the car, and there is a major kink in the rear door and the frame of the back of the car:

the insurance company were great and got it towed from home, and i was a bit shaky and sore. i am a bit tentative in the car, and now all i see is young men on mobiles driving around, and my message is pretty clearly, dont text or drive or you're going to have some mad woman shouting at you.

that was a down. an up was when i got home there was some mail. in it was a present from caffeine fairie who had missed my bday party because she was too busy swanning around the halls of cambridge and the british musem to bother, but she compensated by bringing something special back for me:

100g of louisa harding silk/wool in the most gorgeous deep reddy pink (fetchings anyone?!) and these gorgeous magnets from the brit:

i love these to bits! it made me feel a lot better on a very bad day.

another up was yesterday getting my hands dirty in our new garden. you may have noticed we have a huge place here and we do intend to do the whole vegie garden with chooks thing, but its a little overwhelming, let alone expensive. so we decided to start small. first the worm farms wer inherited needed work - we were left two in styrofoam boxes

we merged them into a new home and moved them into the abandoned shade house (which is going to get unabandoned shortly):

we need to buy another proper box but they arent cheap either. then it was onto the gardening proper, but because i dont have a very green thumb, something manageable and close to the house seems a good idea for now. so i ordered a tonne of good dirt and went to the nursery:

trent helped me empty out these old pots:

and i refilled them, plus some others, with new dirt, warm casting and this amazingSeasol gel stuff (my Product of the Week), and put in tomatoes (roma, cherry and a specially for pots one), a chilli plant, coriander, mint, chives, parsley, strawberries, lettuces, rocket and bee attracting flowers. i also meant to do basil but forgot to buy some, and the rosemary plant was already there. i left it cos its doing well at the moment. this is what it looks like now:

then it rained all evening, and trent devised a snail catching device, and we went into darlinghurst to visit a friend in hospital and thenr dinner at our favourite thai (s thada) (hmmm gai yang).

more ups than downs, i think.

k xx

Thursday, November 13, 2008

a little light reading

i used to be such a book worm. this is just one of my bookshelves, my favourites, the classics:

the phd put paid to that. when you have to read to work you dont want to read for pleasure as well. hence knitting.

but lately i have been feeling the urge to read again, especially as christmas is coming and that is traditionally the time i stock up on all the latest releases, and there are some good ones this year.

to ease back into it, i chose a classic i havent read in a while, elizabeth gaskells 'wives and daughters' and read two chapters about sweet molly gibson, and gave up. then the potter movies have been on tv again, and i thought i might go back and read the last three just to brush up and see if i could pick up some details i had missed. so i am now happily ensconced in this one:

i know that some people dont get the potter thing, and say they are not well written and not original stories, and this is to some extent true. but they are kids books, and i think they are well written for kids. the level of writing and themes is far and away better than any enid blyton i ever read when i was young, and no one ever said they didnt get the famous five! and i cant explain why i love them but i do. i am happy when i am reading about harry (even tho i think hes a bit of a prat, of course i totally relate to hermione) and thats all that matters really.

potter reading was interrupted yesterday by the arrival of a package of books being generously lent to me by a very fine lace knitter who had read of my lace knitting dilemmas and took pity.

there are three books with fantastic lessons in lace techniques and some beautiful examples of scottish, american and russian lace, and i think i might end up making some doilies after all! and i have flicked through victorian lace today before, but to sit with it and read each pattern and all the techniques at the back made me much more appreciative. there are so many patterns in here i like, and so much useful information, i think i will end up buying it. given i have two lace weights to use over summer, i have decided on two patterns. for the jade sapphire i am going to go with Victorian Ruby, a lovely wide bordered scarf with a drop stitch body.

i am going to start with this because its complicated at the ends and easy in the middle and i think thats a good start to serious lace, especailly leading into christmas where i am not entirely focused! i have 400 yards of the jade sapphire 2 ply cashmere and the pattern calls for 450 of a 2ply, so i may end up buying another skein and making it longer.

and for a less-than-800 yards bigger scarf/wrap, i cant go past the melon shawl for the alpacka.

i will have more than the pattern calls for so again, can make it bigger if required, or at least make it with out the 'do i have enough' tension. its surprisingly complicated, not the pattern repeat, but the construction, with the corners and border so i am looking forward to being challenged by this one early in the new year.

after that i am going to do some lace weight stash enhancement and try one of those huge circular shawls, like the cap shawl (rav). seriously tho, i want to knit just about everything in this book.....thanks jen!

other reading i am doing is a pile of first year exams.

this is definitely my last lot of marking in the immediate future, and its that thought alone that is getting me through each piece of plagiarised drivel.

on that note, i interviewed on monday for 'that museum job' and they were quick to tell me they were interviewing all day and had received 'many fine applications'. i put that aside and did a good interview and felt happy that i had done all i could, and the rest was out of my hands. so i was momentarily crushed when i didnt get the job, but am ok about it now. i have an opportunity to make more of the nursing research i am doing, and they were pleased to hear they could have me on a more permanent basis, so who knows where that will lead (apart from cardiff in march. hmmmm colinette.....)

and in between all that reading, i am running around like a fool today getting cars in and out of mechanics etc. jem knows i am going out and is waiting for his bone:


k xx

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

lace dilemmas

bells has been blogging about peoples 'lacy summer' conquests, and i am frustrated. not with bells, heaven forbid. with myself. it turns out i am a dreadful lace fusspot. i was working on cambria with the bruised bloodwood 'packy, but suddenly i yawned and was bored. its a lovely pattern but its written for a 4 ply and the packy is not that, and it was too open and light, and cambria is not lacey enough for a lace weight. so i frogged it. i know i know.

the dilemma of course is what else to do. i have two lace weight options. unlike some who have whole baskets and still cant decide.

i have the bloodwood, looking a little sad now that i have frogged it and cant rewind it into a yarn cake.

(i heard centre pulling balls werent a good idea for lace weight anyway, but im pretty sure ripping back three times isnt great either...).

and then i have one single skein of the most incredible 2 ply cashmere:

today i fell in love with nancy bush's estonian scarf, and the whole idea of learning something new in 'nupps', and i downloaded the pattern and it is just gorgeous, but i need about 100 yards more than i have in the jade sapphire.... do you think i could cast on less stitches and make it narrower perhaps as it does block out pretty wide? and i SOOOO want this book. otherwise im thinking this one might work, although i worry its too similar to the shetland triangle pattern.

for the bloodwood i have my heart set now on the melon pattern(rav) from victorian lace today (and what wouldnt i give for that one?).

do you see a theme developing here? i have learnt something in this quest for the perfect lace pattern about what i like in a lace. i knew with the shetland triangle that i liked things that were circular as opposed to angular. so diamond type patterns are out. but more than that, i like something that is really lace. by really lace i guess i mean heirloom type lace. something really symbolic, with historical meaning (hence my love of all things nancy bush) or of cultural significance (hence the estonian). and something really lacey, like complicated with charts and fancy patterns. the cambria was too straightforward in that area.

this is kind of ironic, considering i cant even get the most straightfoward things like garter stitch in the round right. you will be amused i know to hear that the cobblestone got frogged AGAIN because i had managed to knit two rows of stocking stitch somewhere in amongst the garter stitch. i tried to tink it but no luck, so i ripped it. i cast on for the third time last night, which is about right for me on any serious project, and am working on 'bringing my awareness closer'.

oh, and i promise no more soap boxing on controversial social justice issues for at least a week. promise.

k xx

Sunday, November 09, 2008

just a couple of things...

been a bit busy here this week....i meant to blog on thursday about something that we did on wednesday night but lost track of time, so will do it now!

so, on wednesday night trent and i had dinner at chez jardin de botanique (thats my made up french). this was the view from our 'table':

then we went to the sydney peace prize lecture inside said opera house to hear patrick dodson talk. his inspiring lecture was preceeded by a fantastic and moving welcome to country, and archie roach and ruby hunter singing, and then followed by the moorambilla voices, the most fantastic little choir ive ever seen, and the kids were so awesome and beautiful they made me cry. i was in a choir when i was young (and have been in one again as an adult) and their joy in singing and performing brought back a lot of memories.

the welcome to country (sorry, i cant find a good link to explain what this means to international readers...but it could be a good research project!) made me very aware of how i feel about living deep in traditional aboriginal land up here - you cant help but feel it every time you look around, and the interesting connection between this and childhood memories is my returning to therapy this week. it went really well and i like her a lot, although i had to put aside my thoughts about her being white south african. this doesnt matter in terms of therapy, but it has been interesting since moving here to see the predominance of white south africans, so much so that the local franklins has a south african food section. i bring this up because it strikes me as ironic that in a country that is forever banging on about assimilation and ghetto-isation of migrants (see recent debate about the islamic school in camden, for example), no one ever said anything about all the south africans living up here. again, i dont care where migrants live or what they do there, so long as they share their yummy food, but as a whitey migrant (polish on my dads side) in a black country, i feel a little uneasy about the good life i have and the 5 acres i'm having it on. i wish more people were just a little bit uneasy about it as well, maybe then a change might come to australia as well....

on a lighter note, yesterday i had the great pleasure of driving 4 hours to be told my cobblestone pullover was twisted. see, i went down to helen's at bundanoon to catch up with george and bells and to meet some lovely new canberra knitters as well, and to try yet again the art of spindle spinning, at which i am irredeemably remedial, and bells asked how the cobblestone was going, and i pulled it out and george and bec say, almost in unison, is that twisted? of course, i had no idea what they meant. i always read that line in the sock pattern that says 'join to knit in the round being careful not to twist the stitches' but that only happened to me the very first time i knit socks on my own and i saw straight away there was a problem. i didnt even think about it on a circular cable. i just joined them up and off i went, and i had done about an inch when it was spotted. i am of course entirely thankful to my fellow knitters, who made sure my cast on and rejoin was not twised, but i cant help but feel that all my recent talk about technique kind of rings a bit hollow today!

i did pick up a couple of things from out of helens little lounge room store, but i was quite restrained - some dark stripey sock yarn, because dark sock yarn is hard to find:

and some 5 ply to make fetchings:

it was a lovely day and i had a lovely drive home and when i got out of the car there was the smell of bush fire smoke (i think they have been back burning this weekend) followed by the most amazing sunset:

everything is ok, today.

k xx

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

and making progress

its interesting how once you get serious about knitting, like really working on technique, and getting the right bits and pieces together to help, the end product tends to improve! funny that.

some people call themselves process knitters, and are really good at just winging it, and adding their own touches to things, but i am not real good at that. i think i dont know enough about the actual technical aspects of knitting as a form of engineering to know how to experiment, if you know what i mean. on the weekend i was looking through a book, which i now cant remember the title of, but i really need to read it cover to cover, it was all that stuff about knitting that if you are self-taught you really never learn, because all ive ever done is learn from patterns, or from other people showing me what to do in certain situations.

i think this is often the case, that you need to know the rules in order to break them, and i dont know enough about the underlying rules of knitting. but i was explaining lace knitting to a novice the other day and i was able to explain the whole decreases sloping one way, and decreases needing to be matched with increases etc etc, so some of it must have sunk in.

this is good, because its a long lacy summer, and i have this gorgeous baby alpacky in donni's bruised bloodwood, and i tried three times to get the cambria wrap off the ground, but it wasnt happening. it looked to some like i had missed a row here or there. i think this was the case. on the weekend, i saw bells had one of those magnetic board things, and she said she got it from craplight, so i went there yesterday and snaffled one, and my what a difference $7.45 makes

also, i am surprised to find that charting the written pattern has helped. i got used to a chart with the shetland triangles, because it gave me a visual of what sort of shape the yarn overs etc should be making. i am pleased to find that my hand drawn chart for cambria has yielded improved results:

also, i have learnt enough from knitting misshapen garments to knit test swatches. i dont bother for socks or wraps etc, but for clothes its vital for someone who needs to follow a pattern line by line (ie, me!) i am about to cast on the cobblestone pullover (rav) for trent tonight, and i want to use smaller needles than the pattern suggests because i want it to be a bit finer on him. gauge is 18 stitches and 29 rows on 4.5mm (4inches). i always always always get row gauge and and am always short on the stitch gauge. how weird is that?!

in this instance, with a bit of blocking, i get close to gauge both ways, using 4mm needles, so i am pretty confident i can proceed as per the pattern for his size on smaller needles and have it block ok. its also got a bit of ease in it, so should be fine i think. this yarn is jo sharp DK in 'heath' (they were out of smoke). it suits him very well and is a lovely cool violet grey with a nice shine on it in proper light.

in other matters, progress is being made on the home front, and though there will always be iss-ews, at least there is willingness. in something that may be considered too much information (but its my blog and i can say what i like!) i have decided to go back to therapy. its been a while and you think you get done with things but they have a way of coming back to haunt you. like the ghost-sickness dean had last night on supernatural. mmmmmsupernatural....

on a lighter note, i am highly opposed to the australian habit of taking days off work for sporting events especially when only two states get it, and its the wicked and cruel sport of horse racing, except for when you get Viewed in the work sweep. i love (almost) black horses, so that makes it ok.

k xx

Monday, November 03, 2008

getting serious

knitting is serious business. it might be going only a little too far to say that knitting saved my life. when i was doing my phd it kept me sane when everything else was crazy. now i cant stop, and i dont want to. it is the most creative and productive thing i do, and it makes me feel cleverer than all the the french psychoanalytic theory in the world ever did!

when i started off i had no idea how to even hold the yarn when i turned the work to start another row. my first baby scarf wasnt even straight because of this slight problem. today, i have a whole knitting corner, my own swift and ball winder, can make socks without a pattern (i am even thinking about designing a pair of my own), am comfortable making garment modifications (for this part i might even get really serious and swatch first!), and today, i wrote my own chart for a lace pattern - see:

but where knitting really saved my arse is the people. every so often there is a wave of posts in knitblogland about the 'right' way to blog, or the right way to knit, or even the right way to have knitting meetings. i find this intriuging - i just dont get that there is a right way to do anything in this world! no one is a more serious, or better knitter, than anyone else. some people might be yarn snobs, maybe even i am (no acrylic, no feathers) but i dont begrudge the people who do knit with that stuff, just like i dont begrudge the people who spin die and knit their own. but there is no knitting royalty, we are all just people making stuff with strings and stricks. its not solving world hunger, after all.

simply put, the meeting, blogging and ravelry part of knitting have bought people into my life that i never would have thought possible. not all of them i have liked, not all of them like me. not all of them have become close friends, just like i have not become their 'bestie'. that, as they say, is life. there are lots of people everywhere i dont like, who i dont become friends with. just because we all knit doesnt mean we all have to like each other, but i would hope that we could be civil! variety is the spice of life, and it takes all types to make the world go round. we would all do a lot better to be more accepting, less judgemental.

at the same time, i have met people who would drop everything (well ok, maybe not the baby) to help me out during a tough time, who would change their plans to eat cake with me and help me feel a bit better, whose words of wisdom helped restore the balance, and without whom i dont know what i would have done this weekend just past.

you know who you are. love yas all :)

k xx