Thursday, 31 August 2006

Yarn of satan

I got on the train this morning and sat next to another woman who was knitting a scarf from "Feathers" (synthetic novelty yarn). The first thing that jumped into my head was this post on Clementine's Shoes last week. "Yarn of Satan" - I love this phrase.

Wednesday, 30 August 2006

The tortoise

Progress on projects Chez Paisley feels pretty slow at the moment. I get all inspired by the blogs that I read during the day (in between reference requests and my retrospective cataloguing project). I see so many beautiful creations on other people's blogs, that I go home determined to create a bit more beauty in my own little realm.

But progress is so slow. I'm stitching away at the quilting on the mariner's-compass-segments bag which seems to be taking forever. The Mossy Variation quilt is sitting on the coffee table looking at me every time I work on something else. There's a huge pile of ironing in the sewing room. I broke the zipper on the fly of my purple corduroy pants so now they need mending.

At least the garden is growing quite happily without too much interference from me.

Sunday, 27 August 2006

Weekend round up

I had a UFO shaped bee in my bonnet this weekend and managed to not start anything new. Instead I managed to finish this cushion which has been languishing - almost finished - in my sewing room for over a year. It's actually a knee cushion for us to use at work when we have to kneel on the reference desk to write up our weekly calendar on the white board (it's awkwardly positioned so that we can't reach the top when standing). The colours match our corporate branding which was developed a few years by some consulting firm. Red and grey for reliability (or some such reassuring phrase) and a splash of lime to represent our creativity. The splash of lime causes me much hilarity. I'm always amazed at the things that people will pay consultants to come up with.
knee cushion

A few weeks ago I posted about my handiwork's appearance on Whip Up.
I managed to guess a reasonably accurate estimate of when I pieced this Mariner's Compass because of the backing papers that were still in some of the pieces. Look closely and you'll spot the word "Lear". I did VCE Literature in year 12 and one of our texts was King Lear. Assuming that I didn't keep my photocopied notes for years and years, which I know I didn't, we can assume that I stitched this some time in late 1992 or 1993.
Mariner's CompassMariner's Compass backing paper

Weeks from Whip Up had suggested two options. One was a bag with the compass wrapped around it. The other was to cut the compass into segments and put them on a wall-hanging or napping quilt. I liked both of these ideas and decided to combine them. So I took to the compass with the rotary cutter. Then I appliqued the segments to a base in preparation for making a bag. The next step is to quilt both these pieces.
Mariner's Compass segmentsMariner's Compass appliqued

Sock knitting news:
  • RPM sock two is coming along. I'm knitting it inside out in order to reverse the swirl. It seems to be working so far.
  • I've also cast on for yarrow ribbed sock two.
  • I'm still hunting for the perfect sock yarn for S's useful ladies stockings.

Wednesday, 23 August 2006

The lazy blogger

I've done plenty of blog reading in the past week, but I've been a very idle blog writer. I spent most of last weekend painting my toilet (or rather, painting the very small room that the toilet is in). I won't post photos unless someone out there has a Kenny fixation. It's Dulux Garden Pond (green) on the walls with Dulux Antique White USA on the skirtings and window surrounds.

In knitting news, I've finished the first Yarrow Ribbed Sock. I'm not sure that it's a terribly attractive sock but it's quite comfortable. Perhaps this second photo isn't the most flattering angle for photographing feet. Plus I was trying to use natural light rather than the flash. I'm still learning about how to take better photographs.
yarrow ribbed sock progressyarrow ribbed sock 1 fin

I've also started on Aija's RPM sock pattern using some of my Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock.
RPM start

(Please excuse the fact that I haven't shaved my legs* - it's still officially winter and I wear trousers to work). I'm using the slight modification which I noted on someone's blog somewhere (I can't remember where) of knitting this on 62 stitches rather than 63 which makes the slanting pattern a complete no-brainer. I'm contemplating Cookie A's idea of reversing the swirl for the second sock. If I knit it inside out (turning it back the right way for the heel and toe) reversing the knits and the purls, then I think this might work. This is my first ever short row heel. I added in the slip every 2nd stitch on the RS rows to give it a bit more texture. There's a bit of a hole at the hinge point (ankle bone?) which isn't a big problem but I'm wondering how I could avoid this for future socks.

*Last night on the ABC, Foreign Correspondent did a story on the gay conversion movement in the US. Their efforts include running youth camps focused on "conversion therapy" where the rule book stipulates, amongst other things, that men must shave every day and women twice a week. Hmmm.... hirsuteness = homosexuality? I've let my legs get hairy therefore I'm a lesbian? I thought I was just lazy.

Wednesday, 16 August 2006

Queue jumping

So this sock wasn't in the official sock queue, but last night I felt like casting on for something different and since this whole knitting thing is meant to be a hobby - and FUN - I scratched my itch.
This is the Yarrow Ribbed Sock pattern from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. The wool is Patons Patonyle which is much softer and nicer to knit with than the nylonny sounding name would suggest (it's an 80/20 wool/nylon blend).

Other sock news.
Progress is being made on sock 2 of the Fathers' Day Thuja variation pair. I've now finished the gusset so just the rest of the foot and the toe to go. I'm still browsing for the yarn for S's useful stockings (she wants plain red and machine washable). It's a case of finding the right red in a nice yarn.

Five things in...

Filched this one from Genevieve.

Five things in my freezer
1. Ice cubes
2. Freezer blocks
3. Chicken thigh fillets
4. Sausages
5. There aren't 5 things in my freezer

Five things in my closet
1. Wool stash (in plastic tub)
2. Some of the fabric stash (in space bags)
3. Papers waiting to be filed (they've been waiting a long time)
4. Sheets and towels
5. Pedestal fan

Five things in my car
1. Yoga mat
2. Kool Mints
3. Melway (Melbourne street directory)
4. A few cassettes
5. Bottle of distilled water

Five things in my purse
Ah - there goes another linguistic difference between the US and Australia.
My purse contains cash, credit cards and membership cards. I think in the US, people would call that a wallet. In Australia, only men use wallets. Australian women carry their cash in a purse which is usually contained in their handbag. So...

Five things in my handbag
1. Purse
2. iPod
3. Mobile phone (not cell phone!)
4. Tiger balm
5. Sock-in-progress

Sunday, 13 August 2006

Sunday afternoon

For the past week or so, after a pretty mild winter, we've been having an early taste of Spring. I think because I have a garden this year, I'm taking a lot more notice of all the little changes in plants - both my own and those around me. I put a Daphne in last spring and it just seemed to do nothing although it didn't look completely dead. I bought another one (a bit bigger) a few months ago and tried it in a different spot. Now they are both shooting new green growth and when I was at the nursery yesterday I noticed that the Daphnes there were all doing the same thing. All this new stuff to learn!

In April the council finally switched over to wheelie bins for our recycling service which left me pondering what to do with the old tubs (we had two - one for paper and one for other recycling). I finally decided on planting the old paper tub up with a selection of mints which I did yesterday afternoon. Clockwise from top left: Common mint, Peppermint, Vietnamese Mint (not a "true" mint), Apple Mint.
mint tub

Today was so nice outside, it almost felt warm. I spent a good part of the afternoon sitting outside.
I drank some coffee, I knit a bit on the sock.
coffee & sock in progress

I did some washing.
Blue sky 01

I enjoyed the blue sky.
blue sky 02

Sunlight has such restorative powers.

Saturday, 12 August 2006

More dishcloths

I had bought two balls of Anchor Magicline cotton, so I made a second Garterlac dishcloth (my first dishcloth here, pattern here) with the theory that I would then have equal amounts left of each ball.
Garterlac dishcloth 02

Then, with the two bits of leftovers, I made a third dishcloth using this pattern. Q.E.D.
dishcloth 03

Apparently dishcloths are a whole sub-genre of knitting obsession - just like socks - check out the Dishcloth Boutique for a big collection of both knit and crochet dishcloth patterns - who knew?!

Wednesday, 9 August 2006

The Sock Queue

I've been thinking today about the obsessions that we craft-bloggers have with the number of WIPs we have on the go and why or how we end up with so many, or, in the odd instance, so few. For the last few weeks, I've been increasing my stash of sock yarn, and the number of patterns on my mental "to do" list has grown considerably. So much so that I've created The Sock Queue on my side bar as a separate list from my intended WIPS. I'm tempted to make a start on a lot of these projects right now. I have the patterns, I have the yarn, I probably have enough needles tucked away (or I could always buy a couple more sets of dpns). But if I start these now, I eat into the time that can be spent on the projects I already have on the go, thus pushing their completion further away. But why the temptation? Is it boredom with the current projects? Partly. But I think that the greatest temptation is the desire to make a start in order to preserve the idea of making that thing. I used to go through patchwork magazines, find all sorts of inspirations and create ideas of quilts in my head which were never written down. Making a start however, acts to preserve the idea or concept.
The Sock Queue is an attempt to preserve the ideas, whilst keeping the WIPs under control.


A few weeks ago Weeks Ringle (co-author of the Modern Quilting Workshop and Whip Up contributor) put out a call on WhipTips offering help or ideas for using or making over unfinished quilts or stray quilt blocks. Send the pictures in and she'll give you some ideas on how to finish them. So I sent an email with a couple of piccies.

Hi Weeks and the WhipUp team,
Any non-cushion suggestions for the block in the attached pics? I hand-pieced this circular block (paper piecing method) about 12 or 13 years ago, probably with a cushion in mind (I made a LOT of cushions when I was first learning to quilt), but it has languished in the sewing box ever since. This is probably because it doesn't lie flat - as illustrated in the profile shot.
Any thoughts, recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

My very old handiwork has now appeared on Whip Up and Weeks has provided a couple of very good suggestions. I haven't decided which one to follow through with yet. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, 8 August 2006


For the last week I've been fretting over my first Thuja sock. Specifically, whether there was enough yarn in a 50gm ball to complete a whole sock for a 6 foot man with 11" long feet. Last night my worries were assuaged. There is just enough left over to include as a little stock of yarn in case darning is required.
thuja 01

I cast on for sock 2 on the train this morning so I'm ahead of schedule on the timetable for these (trying to finish them by Fathers Day - 3 Sep).
Flush with the satisfaction of finishing a sock, I then whizzed through the second half of this pair of mittens that I've been working on intermittently. There's a few fingerless mitten patterns floating about at the moment. If I hadn't have already cast on for these Tiger Paws, then I would have been trying these fetching versions.
tiger paw 01tiger paw 02

The Tiger Paw pattern is from the most recent issue of Yarn (Issue 3, Winter 2006). The yarn is Filatura di Crosa Zara which is deliciously soft. I knit these on 3.75mm dpns which felt quite clumsy after using such fine needles for sock knitting.
Next in the sock queue? S wants a pair of "Ladies Useful Stockings" from Knitting Vintage Socks. Then I'm going to make RPM for myself. After that.... I'm open to suggestions... although I'm keen to work my through a few other patterns in Knitting Vintage Socks and I've got a stockpile of sock patterns from Knitty and a few other spots on the interweb.
My name is Paisley, I am a sock knitting addict.

Saturday, 5 August 2006

A propos of nothing...

... I've found two grey hairs in the last fortnight. (in MY hair)

Breaking sock news
About to do my handwashing this afternoon, I discovered a hole in the heel of my Grandma Crusoe socks. Quelle horreur!
Hole in the heel

So out came the darning mushroom and the little bits of left over yarn (there's no much left after a pair of grown-up socks and a pair of toddler socks). Problem fixed.
Darned heel

Old sock news
The Craft & Quilt Fair was held at Jeff's Shed last weekend and I went with the intention of just getting some nice batting for Mum's quilt. That part of the mission was successful. But, unlike previous years, when the fair hasn't had much in the way of yarn exhibitors (it's usually more quilt focused), I came away with the following:
Sock yarn stash

To be completely accurate, I didn't buy the black and white yarn at the fair, I picked that up at Clegs on Thursday lunchtime, but it's all stash enhancement in the past 7 days. This week interest rates went up for the second time this year. I really musn't buy any more sock yarn until I've worked my way through this bunch.

Another FO

Patons Jet jacket fin
Originally uploaded by Paisley Womble.
This is the Patons Jet Wrap Jacket (or Jakcet as the typo in the patten book would have it). Sorry about the slightly blurry picture. None of my photographers (I tried 3 different colleagues) seemed to be able to master the auto-focus on my camera and this was the best shot that we got.
This was actually a pretty boring knit - all stockinette and double moss on the bands. The multi-colour helped, and I've worn it quite a bit since it was finished last weekend, so it was worth it, but the knitting really seemed like a chore.
I've also finally got around to blogging about my finished Sunrise Circle Jacket here.

Thursday, 3 August 2006

Presenting Pomatomus

Finally some Pomatomus photos. Today is C's birthday and we caught up for lunch and the presentation of the birthday socks. (C reads the blog so I was holding off on posting too much about them until now) (and see that fuzzy bit of red scarf there? that was her birthday pressie from last year - Misty Garden from Scarf Style).

Pomatomi presented

Project Specs:
Pattern: Pomatomus by Cookie A from Knitty (Winter 2005).
Yarn: Marta's Yarns 2 ply. 1 strand Green Multi and 1 strand Pale Green
Needles: 2.5mm bamboo dpns (set of 5)
Date begun: 24 June 2006
Date completed: 27 July 2006

Project Review:
These were fun, but I don't know that I would make them again as they take a great amount of concentration. Perhaps I might reconsider after a long break (and after I've made my way through all the patterns from Knitting Vintage Socks that I want to try). The biggest trouble is that the pattern is ALMOST memorable, so you get into a rhythm and complacency sets in. At one point about half way through the second sock I had to tink back 2.5 rounds to fix a mistake - usually putting a YO on the wrong needle. This was my first time knitting from a chart and I think for this project, a chart is by far the best way to codify the lace. I was trying to imagine the written instructions you would need to represent the same and it gave me the heebie geebies.

Here's a couple of more detailed shots that I took last night. One of the ball bands worked well as a wrapper - with the bonus that it includes the care instructions. These socks are hand-wash only unfortunately.
Pomatomus detail Pomatomi pair with ball band as sock wrapper

Incidentally: I just ran the Blogger spell-check. Have any other Blogger users noticed that it doesn't have "blog" in the dictionary? It suggested "bloc" instead. Does that qualify as ironic or is it just dumb?

Tuesday, 1 August 2006

A fresh look

Regular readers might notice that I've tweaked the template just a teensy bit. I was getting bored with the green. Plus, I think that this template will allow slightly bigger pictures to fit without putting the side bar completely out of whack.

Knitting News: Pomatomus Socks are finished as is the Patons Jet Jacket and the Sunrise Circle Jacket. I haven't had a chance to take decent photos of these yet. Progress is being made on the Thuja variant sock one. I'm getting used to the 2 circulars instead of dpns, but I'm a bit bored with them as the pattern is very plain and the yarn is a plain dark green (to conform to the recipient's v. conservative dress sense).

Quilting News: I've started the hand quilting on the Mossy Variation quilt. Centre nine-patch panel has been completed. Fingers crossed that I haven't left this too much to the last minute.