Wednesday, February 29, 2012


My mystery project is all knitted, but it needs to be blocked to make the most of the lace. I don't have a designated blocking board. I hope this will do instead:

It's  funky floor cushion spread out on my couch. I can't pin anything directly to the couch because it's leather.  I'll try it tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Beading Meets Knitting

I'm knitting away at a mystery project--it's a gift and I don't want to spoil the surprise. But there's no reason I shouldn't show how I'm keeping track of my stitches.

These stitch markers are basically just like an earing, but without the hook. Winding the wire like this minimises the chance of the yarn snagging in the marker. They really help me to keep count and show up any mistakes before it's too late to fix them easily. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Simple Necklace

I spent most of the day yesterday hiding from the heat in my studio. I threaded beads to make a simple necklace while talking to a friend on the phone.

I wasn't quite sure about the gold colour in the feature bead, but I thought I'd give it a go.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Desperately Seeking Cool

It's just about time to turn our thoughts to Autumn here in Melbourne, but instead we've been hit by another heat wave. The forecast today is for 38 degrees--that's higher than body temperature, which is my definition of much too hot for comfort.
It was hot already yesterday, so I spent a couple of hours in my studio. Even there it was too warm to work with wool. Beads don't mind how sweaty my fingers are, so I made this:
It's a little brooch made from glass beads, wired together. I like the way the layers bring out the colour of the glass.
Today I think I'll make the most of the studio. I do need to head out to do some basic shopping, though, so I won't escape the heat altogether. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Testing--Facebook Link

Just testing if this now feeds to my facebook page . . .

OK, I'm looking for some help here. Is there a way to make each of my blog posts automatically link to my facebook page? I know it can be done one post at a time . . .

Suggestions gratefully accepted!


What to do when a morning meeting has been twice as long and twice as difficult as anticipated . . . Go to your local cafe; order a nice lunch and cold drink; sit and sip and eat and knit and knit and knit. One stitch at a time--as if nothing else in the world exists--at least for a little while. You can become immersed in the knitting like this:

After a while you have something like this:

. . . and a slightly better perspective on life in general.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

As It Comes

I'm knitting away at the Noro Sekku yarn in odd moments of the day. I'm knitting from the centre of the ball, so I don't know what's coming next. The stripes should get narrower as the triangle gets wider. All of that gives it enough interest to keep me happy.

And when I get tired of dealing with twisty snarly slubby yarn, then I know it's time to put it down and do something else.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Take 2

I don't want my Noro Sekku yarn to end up in the bottom of a box somewhere, so I'm trying something else right away.

  • 3 mm metal circular needle
  • a yarn-over increase at the beginning of each row
  • garter stitch, so the bias shouldn't be a problem
  • and it just happened to start with my favourite colour.
I'm hoping it will be my new carry-along project.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Learning Things

So, I've been off air for about a week, courtesy of various technical glitches and the humans who are paid to fix them for me . . . I learned a bit more about my computer and what makes my internet connection work--or not. As for the lessons in patience, I'm not sure that I would have chosen to practice that virtue if I had the choice.
Meanwhile I'm still an enthusiastic newbie sock knitter. I thought I'd branch out into something a little more challenging and exciting. This was an impulse buy.

Noro Sekku is 50% cotton, 17% wool, 17% nylon, 16% silk. It was on display as a possible sock wool and despite the fact that there was no knitted swatch available I decided to give it a go. That turned out to be not such a good idea. It's an unbalanced single and despite the promised strength from the nylon content, it breaks very easily. It also twists and catches on itself--not a good combination when knitting on 2 mm needles. Nor are the lovely thick slubs that show up reasonably often. And the wool content isn't enough to give the yarn any elasticity. The big cuff you can see in the pic only just fits over my heel to tug onto my ankle. Once there I'm not sure that it would stay up. It quickly became a "sample" and I've reallocated the yarn. It will be an interesting scarf knit on somewhat bigger needles. Hopefully it will be great and I'll end up a happy little knitter again. Meanwhile it's good to be back on air.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


My apologies for an unusually long absence from my blog. My internet access has been cutting in and out--mostly out--and I've been dealing with technical people . . .

I hope to have things back to normal next week.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Shades of Grey

I'm still on the wristies project . . .

I'd made my peace with the mid-grey and was quite excited about the darker grey, but I had an irresistable feeling that there was a lighter grey just waiting to be discovered. There it is in a skein on the right of the pic. I spun up a natural white and put just a crumb of currawong dye in the pot. It's hardly there, but that's what I wanted. The other skein is a real black--commercially dyed--I just can't get a thoroughly black black in my stove-top dye pot.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rose Reprise

It's been a while since I did much with the crochet roses. There's still a boxful waiting to have pins stitched to them in the studio. When I had just a bit of this brown handspun wool-silk blend leftover I thought I'd have another go.

I didn't have enough yarn to make my usual twenty petals, so I folded and twisted the leftover strip of double crochet to make a centre for the flower. Then I wrapped and  stitched the remaining petals the way I normally do. I like it enough to add to the pile of flowers awaiting brooch-backs.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


The light of my dreams came with a couple of attachments. There's a clip to hold a pattern and a magnifying lens to help me see itty bitty details. I don't anticipate using either of them much, so I wasn't too worried when the only lens available didn't have quite the right fitting for the model I bought. I figured that either I'd work something out with the help of my local hardware store or I'd find a way to set the lens up on my worktable and do without it on the light itself. It took me a couple of days to get to the hardware store. Here's the result:

I came home with two options: each cost $1.10--no great risk there. This morning I rigged up the lens on the standing lamp. I'll test it out tonight. I have a couple of ideas of how to tweek the set up if it's not quite right. Otherwise I'll revert to plan B. I do like a bit of a challenge, especially when the stakes aren't very high.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Cuff Detail

I've knitted the interesting part of the cuff for the second of Ann Budd's "ruffled cuff socks".

You can see the decreases that make the rib panels flare out. I'm wondering about making more of those increases in a future incarnation, but I think the length of the cuff is about right as it is. I'm not sure if more rows with decreases in them would just obscure the design. Anyway, for now I need to knit 24 rows of knit 1-purl 1 rib to make the rest of the cuff and then complete the sock. I'm already thinking about what I might do next. I've had a look around the Handweavers and Spinners Guild library and am wondering about ordering the next book by Ann Budd.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Same, Same, Different

This Ruffle Cuff Anklet sock is featured on the cover of Ann Budd's Getting Started Knitting Socks. I've been keen on it since I first saw the book, before I started knitting my first ever sock.

After completing the pair of plain socks last week, I immediately cast this on. I finished the knitting yesterday afternoon. I just have to graft the toe and I've already cast on it's mate. Unfortunately the cuff isn't as ruffly as I would like in my version. I don't know if that's about my tension in knitting the rib. I know I'm accustomed to over the top ruffles, so maybe I've been spoilt. Anyway it's a good way to consolidate my basic sock knitting skills with just a bit of added interest to keep me motivated.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fresh Start

I'm getting started on a new project. At this stage it's a sketched out lace chart and a thrice ripped out piece of knitting.

I'll try it again with a fresh mind this morning. And yes, that's my hand spun lace-weight "red rock" wool-silk yarn.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Another Grey

After making my peace with the light grey ruffled wristies, I cast on one in a darker grey.

This is more to my taste.

I've left a strand of the lighter grey in the pic for comparison.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Nearly Happy

Last week I asked for feedback on the pale grey ruffled wristie. I wasn't sure about the combination of a dull colour with the exuberance of the ruffle. Since then I've finished the pair.

Somehow having two of them makes the story more convincing. I'm going to leave them as they are. I do love knitspingirl's suggestion of a dip-dye. I'd probably need to dye the wool before knitting it up, though. Another idea I've had is to add a bit of bling to the last row of the ruffle. I might try that on a black pair.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


I said yesterday that I need to keep myself under considerable control when I visit the haberdashery warehouse. One place I do allow myself a bit of leeway is the $1 bargain bin--especially when there are items that I might be purchasing anyway.

Here's what I got:
  • side cutters for beading wire
  • cleaning brush for sewing machine
  • itty bitty paper punch
  • bag of purple pretties
  • blue shell (not plastic) buttons
Total cost: $5--most of these would normally cost more than that each.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


I did some serious damage to my wishlist yesterday. I made a routine trip to the haberdashery warehouse to buy a small number of items. My strategy on these trips is to go with a very definite list. Otherwise the showroom can be overwhelming and all sorts of purchasing accidents are liable to occur. I have been wishing for a proper worklight for I don't know how long. A Daylight company lamp is what I really wanted. I'd decided to start comparing prices and models with a view to buying one soon. When I had dealt with my list, I started to check costs, features and accessories. Then I noticed that the model I wanted was on clearance: 25% off the wholesale price. I took my time making up my mind, but yes, I came home with my dream lamp. Now it's set up and in use.

It's one of those super-hot Melbourne summer days. Closing the blinds helps to keep out the heat, but makes the room too dark to work in. My old halogen light produced a fair bit of heat too. Now I can have cool light and colour accuracy. I'm so happy with it!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Success of the Travelling Sock

The second sock is done.

I had to travel to an inner city suburb to pick up some beading materials yesterday. The cost of parking is about the same as a tram fare. The tram takes a little longer, but I can  knit on the tram. I'm feeling pretty confident with my new double pointed needles, but I'd hate to drop one on the tram. And I love to explore new ways of doing things.

I changed over to two short circular needles for the foot of my sock. The knitting felt nice and secure and didn't require as much concentration as the dpn's. I knitted through my tram ride. I knitted some more while perusing the newspapers at the local library. By the time I got home I was ready to do the toe shaping.  I grafted the toe and wove in the ends over my morning coffee. Now it's all finished. And yes, I'm already thinking about my next pair of socks!

Thursday, February 2, 2012


I've been working through a list of requests for my ruffled wristies. I have to admit I've been putting off knitting the first on the list. The thought of a pair of pale grey ruffled wristies just didn't sit well in my mind. Well, I've made one of the pair. The second is on my needles.
What do you think?

I'm still not convinced. I'm going to try to dye a paler shade of grey. And the good news is that I can always overdye the finished pair in a completely different colour.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sewing Again?

I go through phases in sewing clothes for myself. Lately I've been in a slack phase, but maybe that's about to change. I've been slowly sorting the boxes of stuff that are cluttering the studio. These include fabrics which I have bought at various times and with varying degrees of thought. Here's one:

I'm guessing it was an impulse buy. It had a note pinned to it, "summer top for me". As soon as I started evaluating it I came up against a few challenges. The instant appeal is the lightweight cotton--ideal for a summer top--except with the all over broderie anglaise it's full of holes and therefore see through. It also has a border design--that cute little scalloped edge. To make the most of it I would need to cut the pattern pieces at right angles to the straight grain. I think that's ok. The fabric is so heavily embroidered that it's going to be nice and stable anyway. As for being see through. I'll try lining the top front section. Lining the entire garment would defeat the purpose.

Yesterday I got as far as buying a matching piece of poplin and washing the fabric. Next I need to choose a pattern. I'll see how that goes.