Tuesday, 28 November 2006

an angel(?) in red shoes

I finished the vaguely remarkable socks last night and I'm wearing them today. They are proving to be more comfortable than I had expected given the non-fluffiness of the yarn. Perhaps it's a summer thing.

Vaguely-remarkable socks

The design uses the Chevron pattern from Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks, the Dutch / Horseshoe flap heel from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks, and a modified pointy toe (dec 6 per round - using p2 tog - every few rounds until 12 stitches left, then gather rem sts). I've decided that the Dutch heel is my favourite heel style trialled so far. I like the strong boxy shape that it forms and it sits nicely with the slipped heel stitch pattern (which I like to continue on the heel turn, not just the flap).

I found this group on Flickr called Handknit Socks + Shoes = Happiness Forever. I know it sounds a little bit fetishist (*) but nevertheless I joined up and this is my first contribution.

keep your eye on the red and the blue

When I bought these shoes I didn't really think about how bright they are. Sometimes I think they're just that little bit too Ronald McDonald-ish. But they get quite a lot of comments. I was in the lift with one of the senior partners the other day and he commented that "those are very bright shoes". I replied that yes they were very bright and that they were very comfy. Then I think he got worried that he'd said the wrong thing and he added "not that there's anything wrong with that". Then he started reminiscing about a song that Elvis Costello sang "before you were born" about an angel in red shoes. I'm older than I look but I'd never heard of it so I did what all good librarians do. I looked it up. The song is actually called (The angels wanna wear my) red shoes and it's from his debut album My Aim is True - released in 1977 - so I was born - I was two years old.

(*) Speaking of fetishists, I also found this Flickr group for Obsessive Sheep Photographers. There are some fantastic photos there. Sheep can be very photogenic with the right lighting.

Monday, 27 November 2006


Sunday was taken up with cricket-watching and Christmas-crafting (the alliteration is fortuitous rather than intentional). I spent most of the afternoon waiting for Australia to break the partnership between Collingwood and Pietersen and cutting out little 8-shaped pieces of fabric. I was inspired to make some ornaments for the tree (which will go up this coming weekend - it's four weeks today until Christmas!) by this post from Craftapalooza. But I decided I couldn't be bothered with making little yoyo/suffolk puffs so I drew some inspiration from another of her projects from earlier in the year (scroll down to the last necklace). This is the result.

Christmas ornaments

The lighting isn't great in the photo - it was late afternoon and I was trying to avoid using the flash. I interspersed the little fabric bundles with beads that I had left-over from other projects which helped pad out the ornaments so I didn't have to cut out quite so many little shapes to get a decent length. I'm pretty happy with the way they've turned out. Roll on December!


Saturday was our state election. I voted in the morning. Then I handed out how-to-vote cards for a couple of hours (for the Greens) which was an interesting experience. My shift was early to mid-afternoon. It was a pretty quiet period (people mostly go in the morning (getting it over and done with) or late afternoon (leaving it till the last minute). The ALP guy there was pretty chatty so there was quite a bit of yakking going on. There was a dippy middle aged lady from Family First who kept on trying to engage the three Liberals in conversation by asking them questions about John Howard's intentions on future policy in Iraq (she was making the strange assumption that Liberal party members would have inside knowledge of what Howard's plans are on various policy issues...). Then the Liberal candidate's daughter (aged about 19 or 20?) turned up with a friend. They were both dressed in tight designer-looking jeans and t-shirts with photos of the candidate plastered across them. The daughter's t-shirt was emblazoned with "Vote for my dad" across the bust line and I couldn't help but see them as a pair of spoilt princesses.
The government has been returned with what looks to be a slightly reduced majority. If Bracksy serves out this full term then he'll be entitled to be immortalised in a pretty much life-sized bronze statue in Treasury Place alongside the other 4 premiers who were in office for over 3000 days (Bolte, Dunstan, Hamer & Cain).

Saturday evening was dinner (curried tofu and fishball noodle soup - yum!) at S and T2's. I got S to try on the first useful stocking to double check the fit before I finish off the foot.

useful stocking fitting

I think it's a teensy bit too short in the above the knee stakes, but S is happy with it so I'm very thankful that I don't have to frog back at all on this. It's not a difficult knit so it wouldn't be the end of the world, but it would be a tremendous bore, especially when I'm itching to knit new things and try out more interesting sock patterns.

Thursday, 23 November 2006


Happy Thanksgiving to any American readers (what's that all about? I have some vague idea of starving pilgrims being invited to share in a feast with the Native Americans). Here in Australia we're celebrating the arrival of a "scorching summer of cricket" with the first test against England starting today. The cafe here at work has a big plasma screen TV tuned in to the match so we're finding even more excuses to just "pop down and grab a cuppa".
I've finished the first vaguely-remarkable sock and have just cast-on for the second. Hopefully we will be able to schedule a fitting for S's useful stocking this weekend (in amongst voting and handing out how-vote-cards - it's the Victorian state election this Saturday).

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Rasta Ram

Rasta Ram
Originally uploaded by Boered.
I just logged into Flickr and clicked explore. This is the face that greeted me - isn't he cool?!
It seems to be my day for sheep spotting in the media. Nigel the sheep is the page 3 girl in the Hun today.
I've also been reading about Cookie A's first encounter with alpacas over at Knitters Anonymous. Check out all the sock yarn there! Very dangerous.

Vaguely remarkable socks

I like this yarn. It's a wool / cotton / stretch blend. Looking at the ball though, I had thought that it would be a self striping yarn. I have a bit to learn.
denim sock yarn

I'm using a chevron pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. She suggests that these patterns are particularly effective when used in conjunction with stripes. The popularity of Grumperina's Jaywalker socks is further testament to this assertion.
This is the resulting sock so far.
chevron 01

Effectively, I'm knitting a blue denim sock rather than a sock with dark and light blue stripes. I like the result, but it's not what I expected and if I want to get the real ziggy-zaggy stripe effect that I was aiming for, I'll have to try the chevron pattern again with a yarn that I know, rather than expect, to be self-striping.

So. Vaguely-remarkable Socks.

Monday, 20 November 2006


  • I haven't been terribly inspired to write much on the blog lately. There has been some sock knitting (useful stocking number one is down to the foot, but I want to pin S down for a precautionary fitting before I finish the sock off). The good news with these socks is that given the wonderful yardage that you get with Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, a stocking can be achieved with only a little over 1 skein. The first skein did all the way from above the knee, through the heel flap and ran out during the heel turn so I only have to get a foot out of the second skein for each stocking. Which means that there will be plenty left over for me to make myself a pair of bright red socks. I've got a design in mind for this project, but I'll wait until they're at least in progress before I blog about them properly.

  • I've also made a start on another pair of socks, which are vaguely remarkable, but I really need to take photos to illustrate their vaguely-remarkableness. I'm obviously not a very organised blogger.

  • Quilting continues in fits and starts on the Plain Spoken quilt but photos are pointless at this stage as they won't show anything new.

  • I made a second Christmas stocking. I need to do a third to have a family set.

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

on the platform

In the interests of pushing the boundaries of strange behaviour on public transport (or at least pushing my own boundaries), I present photographic evidence of progress on the ladies useful stocking number one.

useful stocking progress

Knitting in public is a little bit unusual and possibly a little bit eccentric, but it is not weird or inexplicable. So today whilst waiting for my train, I got out my camera phone (hence the weird lighting) and snapped a shot of the sock.

I know, of course, that in the grand scheme of things I've got a long way to go before I can match the Yarn Harlot for sheer Chutzpah (I'm not brave enough to ask complete strangers to pose with my sock for photos). But for me it was a little step on the road to being the crazy old lady (who perhaps really isn't that mad) on the train that everyone gives a wide berth. Long live the life just a little less ordinary.

Sunday, 12 November 2006

Stuff I made this week

Christmas stocking
Originally uploaded by Paisley Womble.
It's six weeks until Christmas and I had this idea of making Christmas stockings using up scraps from my stash. This one used up the precious leftover bits of Filatura di Crosa Zara. That yarn is sooooo soft and delicious. The cuff is Patons Zhivago (leftover from my too slippery clapotis). Together they look nice and Christmassy.
I've also made progress on the first of S's useful stockings - I've done maybe a third of the leg.
The other major project at the moment is the quilting for Mum's birthday quilt. Progress is quite quick so I'm hoping I might be able to knock most of the work over before the weather gets disgustipatingly hot. That way I can avoid using the air conditioner quite so much.
plain spoken quilting

Sunday, 5 November 2006

useful stockings commence

I made the mistake of letting S look through "Knitting Vintage Socks" for ideas about what style of sock she wanted me to make for her. Of course she decided that the Ladies Useful Stockings were exactly what was required. A few balls of Lorna's Laces later, some time with the ball winder and some maths to adapt the pattern for her shorter legs has resulted in a start being made.
Although they're going to be long, the knitting is pretty mindless - good for meditative process which is a nice change. The red is a gorgeous colour and S' hubby T2 is quite impressed with them going to be "real stockings".

Saturday, 4 November 2006

Two Toe-up on two circs.....

After finishing the pair to the Madder Ribbed Sock, I still had about half the ball of ONline sock yarn left so I tried out the two socks at once on two circs toe up (try saying that three times at top speed) method. This is the result.
toe up pair

Not bad eh? (goodness I really do have flat feet) I've found this to be a very useful technique when you don't know how far the yarn will go. I can see that my left-over bits of sock yarn will benefit from this method in the future. But I think my first preference is for one sock at a time on dpns cuff down. Circs and bits of yarn going everywhere meant the whole knitting experience didn't feel quite so zen as it usually does - not so rhythmic and meditative.
My short row heels still need some fine-tuning.
toe up 01

I haven't worked out how to avoid the hole at the pivot point yet. Still, with these summer weight socks it doesn't matter so much - more ventilation!

Thursday, 2 November 2006

the circle of life

I looked up bee & wasp removals in the Yellow Pages and got a man in who came into the back yard and said "ah - you've got a swarm there". "No shit" was my unspoken response. Having sent me inside and donned his veil, he "dusted" the bees. They obviously didn't like that and I felt bad that evening as I swept up their remains. The bee-man reckoned I could put them on the garden as mulch - "the low toxin pesticide won't hurt the garden". I wasn't so sure, so they went into the green waste bin. My bee karma is a little low at the moment.

I did, however, take advantage of a morning off work to pop down to the local shops - the local Brotherhood op shop in particular where I scored these old pattern books ($2 for the three)which are in really good condition.

Patons Book C.14Patons Book C.19Patons Book 890

I love the expression on the baby's face in that third shot and I suspect that the next couple of years might well bring quite a few more babies into my circle of friends, so it will be fun to try out some more old fashioned designs. The gifts to knit book has a wide selection of tea cosy patterns and some tv and bed sock ideas that I am keen to try as well.