Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Both of these kids are doing their own things

The other day I finished a second pair of Fetching wristwarmers, intended for a friend (Hi M, if you're reading here). When I tried them on, one felt definitely a bit narrower and tighter than the other one. I didn't think I had problems with seriously inconsistent tension.

I went ahead and washed them as planned, in the hope that things might even up. But the difference was still clear after washing, and I finally had to give in and count the stitches. Somehow I had managed to do the first one with 10 repeats of the cable and rib pattern around, and the second with only nine. The second one is correct according to the pattern. Now, I admit that I did monkey around with the number of cast-on stitches in order to make them more snug at the wrist. But I am at a loss to understand how I managed to cast on by just the wrong number of stitches (4) to complete an extra repeat and therefore not notice the error until the pair was finished.

It's a good thing they don't take too long to make. But still, I don't relish doing it again, and after I re-knit this one I think I will be done with Fetching for a while.

Friday, May 25, 2007

One of these kids is doin' his own thing

Our grandmother knitted a jacket for my sister from this lovely Anna Bell pattern but she wasn't too keen on crocheting the button covers. I said I would give it a go, and we could always look for something else or even do fabric-covered ones if it didn't work out. It took me a while (well, it was summer for a while there and she wasn't able to wear a woolly jacket; now it's really not) but I finally got the technique sorted out, the right size buttons found, and finally, a full set all finished. Sis is at home just now sewing them on.

Six of them are a set of daggy silver-coloured buttons from Mum's collection, which no-one was too sad to see covered over. When I stretched the covers over the buttons, the holes opened a little and you get little glints of silver through them. We're calling that a deliberate effect.

But the jacket needed seven buttons. The last one didn't quite match: being black and a bit smaller, but we hope you won't be able to tell once they're sewn on.

I was a bit lax following the instructions. Instead of carefully counting rounds, I just increased in a spiral until they looked about right then stopped increasing for about a round and a bit. Stetched it over the button and sewed it up in the back - leaving the shank of the button sticking out, to sew onto the jacket.

The jacket itself is gorgeous on her, and I'll try to get a photo soon.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Still I push my barrow all the day

I was talking to a friend recently about her long service leave and how anxious she is to make use of it. We've talked about it a bit, yet it didn't occur to me until she pointed it out, that since we started our careers at the same time, mine is due early next year too.

I've never given much thought to my long service leave. I guess I just don't really look ahead very far. More that that, it's like those times when I don't realise there is a long weekend coming up. Then on the Friday, someone takes off early and says 'See ya Tuesday!'. There is no better feeling. (Am I saying good things are better if you don't look forward to them too much? That sounds a bit sad.)

As it is, even with Wednesday quarantined largely for my own purposes (I work 4 days part-time), at least some every week is spent in a frenzy of woolly ideas when I should be focused on my job.

It's an entertaining idea to entertain: three at-home months to knit and create and write all about it. I would probably go bit nuts and/or develop knitting-related injuries. It would be hard for me to choose to use up all of the leave in one go. (As a kid Í used to eat my Easter eggs over a period of several months, making my sisters crazy) But I do have a big project in mind that might benefit from some intensive time.

Meanwhile here is the slightly taller, orange/red/green/beige pot from a few posts back, finally felted. With an avocado for scale. I might have to give a bit more thought to my use of scale objects. This is a biggish avocado, if that helps. And, the little blue bowl that Bells has given a home.

Monday, May 14, 2007

And it was a gas

A pair of Fetching wrist warmers for Mothers' Day. They knit up pretty fast, very gratifying when you're deep in the middle of bigger projects. Having heard they tend to come out pretty big, I used a finer yarn, Sean Sheep 'Flinders' and 3.75mm needles. 'Flinders' seems to be a pretty close copy of Paton's Zhivago. Not sure how hard wearing it will be, and it seems to pull threads a bit easily. But it is very soft and shiny.

I put an extra plain round in between the cable rounds to lengthen them just a bit. I also did a plain cast-off instead of the picot because I didn't want it to flare so much.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

It's just the power to charm

It's a birthday scarf for my sister. It was intended for her birthday in February 2006 and delivered one day before her birthday in February 2007. I was suddenly very motivated to get it to her.

At the time of her birthday last year I was still working on my Kiri and had recently finished the grey mohair stole for our other sister. I was in love with lace, especially mohair-y lace, and I don't think I'm even over it yet.

She wasn’t really excited about the multicoloured lace-weight I had chosen, (and now I know more about the challenges of combining variegated wool and lace patterns, that seems like a blessing), and I was happy to swap it back into the stash and shop for something else with her. After some time we settled on Cleckheaton studio mohair. It was a thicker yarn than I had intended but it was the colour she really wanted. She knew she wanted a rectangular scarf, and after a long off-and-on period of pattern hunting, we settled on Eunny Jang’s Print o’ the wave stole. She really liked the centre motif but wasn’t entirely sure about the edging. Well, not the edging per se, but the way it would complicate the overall look. I thought I would get on with the middle part and worry about that later.

The actual knitting went pretty quickly on 6mm needles with only 48 stitches (because of the bigger gauge I didn't do the full width as written). But there were long periods of stuffing around / thinking / consultation. How long to keep going depended on whether the edging was to be added. I was nervous about it but also keen to give it a go. It would have been my most complicated lace manoeuvre yet.

I have to admit it was a relief when my sister decided she liked it without any edging. In the end, each half of the scarf was 12 repeats of the chart. I was hard-core enough to obey the pattern when it calls for knitting the scarf in two pieces and grafting them together, so that the waves cascade out from the centre. I think it would look perfectly lovely all in one piece, but once again I wasn't going to let myself off the hook. I had grafted once or twice before, doing a pretty terrible job, and this time I forced myself to practice on a swatch till I got it right. Even so, my first try on the real thing had to be pulled out and done again, as towards the end I realised I had many more stitches left on one piece than the other. It started to look this way about halfway across or maybe even sooner, but did I stop and count? No, I kept going and hoped for the best. Sigh. Getting the failed grafting out and the stitches back on the needles was pretty painful. The second grafting attempt actually worked though.

Knitting the second half I went to 12 repeats plus 5 extra rows, thanks to Mason-Dixon Ann pointing out that the pattern doesn't match up too well in the middle. The 5 extra rows seemed to help make it flow better, although there is still an obvious line.

Anyway D seems really happy with it, and I really like it too. It would have been a totally different scarf / shawl with the edging. The way it is, just a big 'chunk' of large gauge lace, looks good and really suits her. Shetland purists might not be too impressed, but there's something more modern about it that I quite like.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

On the outside of the tracks

More on this tomorrow.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Heading out singing our song

Come with me for a run. Yes I have my camera in my pocket. And that means I get to stop often to take photos / catch my breath.

While watching where I put my feet, I admire the red leaves carpeting the path.

I love the pines surrounding the oval.

After a long slow uphill slog I reach the place where the buses turn around, and ponder running up Mt Majura one day. Looks pretty flat for a 'mountain', no?

Heh. Turn the other way, through this gate.

Downhill for a bit now. It's mostly a nice packed red dirt path but there are some bumpy parts where I have to watch my step.

It's a big broad strip though the middle of a suburb, an empty swathe of land with powerlines running down the middle. Lots of people walk their dogs here. Old part of the suburb on my left. Across the powerlines, a large brand new section.

Onto the last long leg of this route. Isn't it pretty?

Right beside a major road bringing traffic in from Sydney. Have to turn the music up a notch.

glitter graphic myspace at Gickr.com

Still pretty though.

Nearly home, I am stopped in my tracks by the rich red colour of this tree. And the need to breathe.

Now the best part. Spend the rest of the day feeling virtuous. And maybe doing a little stretching.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

When he's underwater does he get wet?

I recently attended a session of a course run by professional facilitators, where I found myself put firmly offside by the use of jargon or buzzwords.

The one that stayed with me was 'your key learnings and takeaways'. Having been told to think about these and discuss in a small group, I was intensely irritated. I found myself wishing that instead we had simply been asked what we had learned and what were the important ideas we took away from the course.

I've spent quite a bit of time thinking about why this annoyed me so much. I couldn't help thinking I was being quite petty about it. But every time I approached the idea again, I felt the same way. To the facilitators these words may simply be shorthand for terms they find themselves using very often. It's probably appropriate to take these shortcuts when talking amongst themselves.

This explanation gives them the benefit of the doubt that it's jargon as opposed to virtually meaningless buzzwords.

Even so, used this way it sounds glib, and I think the audience can be forgiven for doubting the sincerity of their request for information. Using such shorthand suggests, and even encourages, similarly shorthand responses - in this case a simple regurgitation of some of the 'dot points' of the course material ('messages'). The bottom line is that I don't feel that they want to hear what I really think.

Oh well. They'll probably have a good laugh when they read my feedback form.