Saturday, 22 September 2007

Disappearing 9 Patch - completed

Machine pieced patchwork - tick

Machine pieced backing - tick

Quilt sandwiched - tick

Hand quilting with stranded embroidery thread - tick

Make bias binding - tick

Bind quilt - tick

Photograph quilt - tick.

aaahhhh...... that's better.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Training first tree

eucalypt bonsai 070915, originally uploaded by Paisley Womble.

Last Christmas, Mum gave me a little Bonsai starter kit - pot, potting mix, fertilizer, training wire, and a couple of seedlings - along with some books on the art and how-to's of Bonsai. Quickly devouring through the books, it became clear that this was hobby that you commit to for years to get results. It also became clear that design and balance and technique were paramount.

I got a little spooked. I plonked the seedlings in regular little pots "to grow for a while" and worried about getting it right. There seemed to be so many things to take into account. One of the seedlings didn't make it through the summer, but the peppermint gum (eucalyptus nicholii) seemed to do ok.

Finally, this weekend just gone, I realised that I was over-intellectualising the whole process and that I didn't need to get it perfect first time. So I pulled up the gum tree seedling, trimmed its very vigourous roots and little branches and plonked it in the pot. It ended up off-centre because of the shape and angle of the roots. I wired the trunk and two of the branches so that it wasn't too lop-sided.

Now I guess we'll just have to see what happens.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Small satisfactions

my favourite bit, originally uploaded by Paisley Womble.

Every now and then, I notice little things about knitting that give me great satisfaction in little ways. Some people get it from blocking a piece of lace. I haven't done much of that yet (despite it having been my intention to do more lace this year - somehow it didn't really pan out... but no matter).

But what I have found, is that when knitting a top-down sock (which is how I knit socks most of the time - except when I'm terrified of running out of yarn), I love the corrugations that form from knitting a simple 2x2 ribbed cuff. I'm not sure what it is about this that pleases me so much. Perhaps it's the neatness (I like it best with smooth yarns) and the regularity.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

plug plug plug

Enabler extraordinaire Donni is having a Knit Picks contest this month. I'm giving her a plug so I can go in the running. I've bought Knit Picks stuff from her before and can vouch for her excellent service and competitive pricing.

She also points out that Knit Picks have just brought out a new range of wooden needles. And these aren't just plain wooden needles. No sirree. These are psychedelic multi-coloured wooden needles. These will definitely be going on my wishlist when they become available here. Knit Picks also claim that their wooden needles are stronger than other wooden needles (especially in the smaller sizes) because of the way that they are made. I would be very interested in testing this. I've used Brittany Birch 2mm sock (US size 0) needles and whilst I've managed not to break them so far, they warp a bit and I knit with them in constant fear as I feel them flex in my hands.

Photo-less Sock Knitting Update:

I'm working on the second Drunken Bee sock. I'm back to working it the same as the first. So much for my intentions of "going fraternal". Perhaps another time.

I've also begun work on a new Summer-weight sock from TOFUtsies and I'm trying out, for the first time, the magic loop technique. All is well so far although the big loops are freaking me out a little bit. If I were knitting two-at-a-time, there would be less loopage (new word?) so perhaps that will be the next challenge.

Monday, 10 September 2007

A perpenSOCKular pair of Sidewinders

I finished the other Sidewinder. So I now have a pair. I made a few deviations (both deliberate and accidental) on the second sock, but it still fits just fine.

Sidewinders FUTAB

On reflection, I really like this pattern. The socks fit beautifully and truly feel like they were actually made for my feet (which they were - duh!)
I'd probably do the legs shorter next time. These fit just fine, but I'm pretty lazy and shorter rows sound quite attractive from a knitting perspective.

Sidewinders in repose 01

It's really hard to hold your hand steady when trying to take a photo from this angle.

Sidewinders rear view

And the grafting? It's actually a lot of fun when the graft is long enough that you can get a rhythm going.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Teal Surprise Jacket

I can see myself making this pattern again and again. I love that it knits up with left-to-right symmetry so when you include stripes, they match up automatically. Therefore, it offers great scope for using up leftovers.
Teal BSJ front

Very few people seem to show photographs of the back view of the BSJ. I think this almost has a kimono-esque feel to it.
Teal BSJ back

I'm hazarding a very rough guess that this would probably fit a six month old. It definitely looks too big for a newborn, but apart from that, I'm really bad at guestimating baby sizes.
Lots of lovely garter stitch is very good for mindless TV knitting.
Teal BSJ detail

I've just got the little bit of seaming and finding the right buttons left to go.

(A propos buttons: EZ says to put the buttons on the "appropriate" side once the baby's gender is known. What is "appropriate" for each gender? This little piece of etiquette or convention escapes me. I seem to remember that it got a mention once in an Encyclopedia Brown book. I only remember that because it was news to me that buttons were on different sides for men and women - why?? - Too bad I didn't pay quite enough attention to remember which was which.)

Bees going over the waterfall

honeycomb waterfall, originally uploaded by Paisley Womble.

I'm not sure..... maybe I'll rip back and do the drunken zig zag for the second sock after all. I've had a little break so the thought of doing the same sock again isn't filling me with so much dread.
The waterfall pattern just doesn't seem to have enough definition.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

One word


Monday, 3 September 2007

I finally finished the first Drunken Bee sock. The foot just seemed to go on forever. The lovely green colour (Forest Moss from The Knittery) has worked pretty well with the pattern.
Drunken Bee 01

I have yet to cast on for the second sock, but I've done myself a little chart which combines the Honeycomb element from the Drunken Bees pattern, with a slightly-amended-to-fit-the-stitch-count Waterfall Rib (from Sensational Knitted Socks).
waterfall bees

My theory is that this way, the socks will retain the same feel whilst being different enough that I won't go completely doo-lally knitting the same thing over again. (I've completed an identical pair of Bayerische socks. I don't have to prove my stamina to anyone!) If I knitted a completely different sock, the fit would be different and that would drive me a just a little bit more nuts.

Sunday, 2 September 2007


Rippling, originally uploaded by Paisley Womble.

I pull this out whenever I feel like doing something really mindless and work another stripe. It started with a 200 chain width, so it's going to be huge. But it's now getting long enough that it's nice to have on my lap when there's a little bit of chill in the evening, but it's not cold enough to put the heater on.
It's inspired, of course, by the ripple blanket craze that was instigated by Yarnstorm, which subsequently spread throughout the blogosphere. I'm joining the party somewhat belatedly, but I'm having a lovely time with it.
I've chosen the Holiday Waves pattern from Jan Eaton's 200 Ripple Stitch Patterns. It's worked with trebles (I think American crochet terminology would call these doubles) so it's growing at a reasonable pace, although it gobbles up yarn like nobody's business. I have no plan, or a complete stash of yarn for it. I pick up the odd ball or yarn whenever I spot some that takes my fancy, or is on special. My only criteria is that they are 8ply weight, plain colours (mostly jewel-like tones) and wool based.