Monday, 26 November 2007

May your chooks turn to emus....

... and kick your dunny doors down.

Last week my copy of The Gentle Art of Domesticity arrived and I've been having a lovely time dipping into it. Keen readers of yarnstorm will recognise many of the photos and stories but I've found that there is enough brand new content to make it worth buying in hard copy. And besides, luscious colour photos on glossy white paper outshine a computer screen every time.

Over the past few weeks I've been doing a lot of knitting. But no other craft work has been touched. On Sunday, feeling inspired(partially by Jane's book and perhaps by the new political leaf that has been turned here?), I rummaged around my "studio" and found this long time UFO which hasn't been touched for the best part of four years.
emu ballet progress

This Emu Ballet School pattern was given to me by Aunty M when she was having one of her periodic clean-outs of her patchwork stash. Ordinarily it's not the kind of project that I would undertake. Most applique patterns I find are really not to my taste, being too twee, or too country, or too naif for my liking. But something in the elegance and shape of these ballet dancing emus appealed to me enough to give them a go. The background was a beautiful piece of linen and the skirts were all scraps from the stash. The pieces were all ironed on with Vliesofix and that was where it stopped. The project got wrapped up with a box of embroidery threads when I moved and then other projects took precedence while I occupied myself, first with a series of 30th birthday quilts, followed closely by the infamous series of wedding quilts.
Now I'm having some fun doing some very simple blanket stitch edging around these outlines. The project bag has a series of scraps which I obviously intended to be used as a pieced border, so there really isn't that much left to do in order to finish this project. It's not very large so perhaps it might be done by the end of the year. I'm not making any Christmas presents this year (well... perhaps one pair of socks for Kris Kringle... but apart from that nothing) so that's not such a big call.
emu ballet progress detail

One of my colleagues, who's currently on maternity leave, came in to visit at work this morning bringing her toddler daughter and brand-new one week old baby boy (I got to have a little cuddle - he's beautiful). Her little girl was clutching a big new bag of buttons and M reminded me that Buttonmania in the Nicholas Building is having a sale this week. I've been to this store a few times when I've wanted some special buttons, but I'd never made the effort to go to one of their periodic sales before. What a revelation. Boxes and boxes and more boxes of buttons. Grab a tray, run your fingers through the buttons and pick out whatever you want, then pay by weight - $60 per kilogram which sounds like a lot until you realise that buttons don't really weigh that much. This is 220 grams worth of buttons.
Buttonmania sale haul

Saturday, 24 November 2007

bamboo cardi progress


bamboo cardi yoke, originally uploaded by Paisley Womble.

Knitting this top down means that as you work your way down to the arm-pit, each row gets longer and longer and you're not sure how much more you'll have to do to get it where you want it to be. It felt like another one of the Yarn Harlot's knitting black holes. But finally, the sleeve stitches are sitting on some waste yarn while I've moved on to working the body and the blob is finally recognisable as a cardi.
The bamboo is lovely to work with. It's pretty slippy, but even on addi's I'm not having too much trouble with keeping the stitches safe. It doesn't split and it feels beautifully soft and slinky.

Vote early... vote often...


Voting Queue, originally uploaded by Paisley Womble.

Most Saturdays I struggle to get going in the morning. Mum usually rings and we spend half an hour or so trying to finish the Friday cryptic crossword (DA on Fridays in The Age is our nemesis!). Then I puddle around at home in my pyjamas and often don't get around to having a shower until way past midday.
But this morning I was organised. I went and got my hair cut and then I ducked round to the local primary school and cast my vote. (I even made the effort to vote below the line for the Senate. Filling in all 68 boxes on the Senate ballot gave me a perverse satisfaction. I don't envy those doing the counting.)
Voting is compulsory here so the chances are that there are scenes like this one all over the country at this very moment. I didn't time how long I was queued up, but in the grand scheme of things, it really wasn't an arduous wait, although I should have worn a hat.
Now all we can do is cross our fingers, fire up the barbie and wait for the count this evening.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Horcrux socks commence

This post contains ever so slight hints or spoilers for anyone who's been hiding under a rock and has not read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows yet. You've been warned.
Sunshine Yarns has been running a Harry Potter Sock Club. My last installment which will be self-striping Gryffindor yarn should arrive sometime this month I think. The two previous colours have been sock club exclusives (for the moment). The first was "Just another Weasley" - lots of browns and reddish straw colours. Then a few weeks ago, "The colorway that must not be named" turned up on my doorstep.
the colorway that must not be named

So it seemed appropriate that this yarn should make its way into a pair of Horcrux Socks. I love the zig-zag shape that goes down this sock which seems so reminiscent of Harry's scar. Given that these socks were designed before the release of Deathly Hallows, this design reflects a pretty accurate understanding or prediction of where JK Rowling was going with her plotline.
Horcrux cuff


In other knitting news: I've finished all the knitting and sewn in the ends on the shawl for Baby A. It needs blocking now before I try and work out how to best photograph the sucker.

In news from the links:
We played 9 holes of golf this morning. It was raining pretty steadily when we first got there so we sat and had a coffee until it eased off. By the time we'd played 4 holes, the sun was out, the temperature was going right up and things were getting pretty steamy. November just seems too early to be getting too many 30+ days. I scored 50 for my nine holes (par was 29) which is my best score so far. My next goal is to make par on at least one hole. I came close today, but my putt did the swing around the edge of the hole instead of going in.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Jitterbuggy

A finished pair of toe-up jitterbug socks:
Jay Jitterbugs fin 01

Plenty of Jitterbuggy yarn left over: (full ball also shown for comparison)
jitterbug 01

Titania's Revenge commences with the jitterbug.
titania's revenge start

Sunday, 4 November 2007

A new bamboo project


bamboo cardi start 01, originally uploaded by Paisley Womble.

I like the idea of knitting a cardigan from the top-down. The flexibility that it offers in terms of getting things to fit appeals. The intention is for this to be a light summer-weight cardi.
The yarn is Cleckheaton Bamboo, a yarn so new that it was in the stores well before Cleckheaton got around to putting it on their website.
The pattern is starting off with the Soy Cardi by Irene McKisson. Mine, of course, will be a Bamboo Cardi. I also plan to make my sleeves a bit looser and longer.

The end is sight


Baby A shawl progress 02, originally uploaded by Paisley Womble.

I haven't blogged much about this project. Mostly, I think, because the progress is difficult to document with the camera, and not that interesting to write about - lots of garter stitch, followed by lots of very basic lacy edging.
So I'm onto the final mitred segment - not quite halfway through that one. Then comes the fun part of knitting on the final edging all the way around which will be slow, but the progress is easy to measure by that stage.
The baby this is for isn't due until April, so I'll have it done in plenty of time, but the threat of sitting under a great woollen blankie through summer gave me the incentive to get it done now.