Friday, May 30, 2008

Humptygumpgar and Prenvickie

Some time ago my 2 1/2 year old nephew started talking about 'Humptygumpgar', 'Prenvoke' and 'Prenvickie'. He might have just been playing around with words. I even think he might be over all that by now, but the rest of our family adopted these names and ran with them. They became stand-in names for "your little brother and your little sister". That's how he talks about the twins, due any day now, because he is still a bit confused about the whole my/your concept.

prenvickie cardie
A few months ago I treated myself to some beautiful sock wool from Live2knit. The price seemed like a real steal, until I realised that I had bought only one 50g skein of each colour - not enough for a pair of socks. Heh.

As soon as I held the red-pink colourway (I think it is 'Vivid') against that orange baby wool (yes, years ago I bought a lot of it), I knew what I had to make. The pattern is the Baby's Bolero from Patons book 1078, and the motif is taken from Neiman by Weaverknits.

The pattern called for the edging, which goes continuously around all the edges of the cardie, to be knit separately and then sewn on. After the seaming I had already done, I wasn't keen on that method. I decided to pick up stitches all the way around and then try to knit the edging on row by row. As soon as I had picked up the stitches, I realised it would be much easier to just keep knitting on the same long circular needle, completing the border in just a few long rows instead of hundreds of short ones.
It didn't take too long, though I did rip it out once and do the whole thing a second time to correct a few poorly picked up stitches and put the buttonholes in the right place (it really helps if you mark the positions for buttonholes before you start bunching the whole cardigan up on one needle!). I wish I had remembered to use a smaller sized needle, though, like for the cuffs. I do like the way this edging method matched the cuffs better than the one in the pattern - though this is just a side-benefit.
humpty cardie
After experiencing the fiddliness that is knitting a baby garment in pieces and then seaming it (doesn't the softness of baby wool just seems to emphasise the lumpiness of seams?), for the second twin cardie I was ready for a seamless pattern. I used Carole Barenys' top down raglan, which knit up so fast! A long time ago I started a top-down raglan for myself. That project didn't make it because I ran out of wool, but it sold me on the magic of the seamless raglan. I omitted the garter stripes and went down a needle size to get the fabric I liked. For sleeve length and body length I looked to the orange cardie as a rough guide (though of course it is a very different shape). You may be able to tell that the bottom button is a bit close to its neighbour - that's because I ended up stopping a few rows short of the pattern.

The contrast green yarn is the other Live2knit sock wool from the same purchase, colourway 'Spring'. It looks like my inexperienced colourwork has come out tighter in the round than it did when knit flat for the orange cardie. It sort of looks like I did waist shaping! I don't think it will be obvious when it's squished and wrinkled around a baby, though.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Oscook the Gronster*

Many little pods went to market but there was one that had to stay home.

I generally don't spend long thinking out the combinations of wools (colour and texture) for these pods - I like to grab things that appeal in the moment and just see how they turn out. Occasionally they don't, as in the case of this ugly duckling.

I guess it's easy to blame the feathers-esque novelty yarn (that's what the blue protruding stuff is). Always a risky move, but I have liked it in felting before. There were a few others in this batch incorporating other kinds of novelty yarn, and which I thought turned out pretty cool.
19 novelty_img_06563_novelty img_0608OBDM 21

But this one. Oy. I was simply grossed out by it at first. Then I realised, in describing it to someone, that it looks like the love child of Oscar the Grouch and the Cookie Monster. Over the last week I have gradually becoming quite attached to it. I don't think I would sell it now if you offered me a thousand dollars. Mind you I'm still pretty sure no one would or should buy it!
The photographer gets desperate: will a pretty ribbon help?

Oscook's base yarns are a variegated Lincraft cosy wool (green, brown, blue and white) held with another strand of green or blue at different points. The blue novelty stuff isn't great, but I think the real problem is the colour combining. It's all very murky with the exception of the bright blue feathers, so that stuff stands out in the wrong way. Even without the feathers, I don't think I would like it much. When I use up the rest of that particular variegated colourway I might try to throw in something more bright, colourwise (not feather-wise).

*Clever name? I can't take credit, it was Jen.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A blonde senior moment

This afternoon I was knitting and watching the episode of Medium which I had recorded on Thursday. It's a good thing I often record TV to watch later. I don't know how many times I've had to hit rewind because I've just realised I missed something important. And then as soon as I decide I have rewound enough and hit play again, I automatically look straight down at that tricky section of my knitting which distracted me in the first place, and miss the exact same bit of the show again.

So, during this episode of Medium, I got to this scene where Alison and her husband are discussing something in bed (anyone who has ever watched this show will know that this describes a good 25% of any given episode) and there was a phone ringing. I though, ok, they're just deep in discussion but one of them will grab that phone any second now. But no, the show just shifted to the next scene.

I was so puzzled by this that I rewound to watch it again. And there was no phone ringing. It dawned on me that it must have been MY phone, in my house. Sitting on the table right in front of me. And the best part?

I was actually expecting a call. (she reached me on the mobile).

The only thing I can offer slightly in my defense is that I'm sure something has changed in the sound of the phone - possibly it's just been turned down - in the last week or so since we have been changing things around attempting to get a broadband modem running.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

we can fly on the wings we create

Et voila. For anyone who really needs a pod in their life, here is what I have left after the markets last Sunday. Please note that my measurements are approximate! Pods are not perfectly circular. To buy one you can leave a comment (please fill in your email address so I can contact you) or send an email to oliviasherwoodAThotmailDOTcom.
SOLD! Pod #4 is about 7.5 cm high, 16 cm wide.

SOLD! Pod #7 is about 6.5 cm high, 9 cm wide

SOLD! Pod #15 is about 7cm high, 9.5cm wide

SOLD! Pod #12 is about 7.5cm high, 9cm wide

SOLD! Pod #9 is about 8cm high, 11cm wide

SOLD! Pod #22 is about 6cm high, 13cm wide

Pod #10 is about 9cm high, 10cm wide

SOLD! Pod #25 is about 5.5cm high, 9.5cm wide

SOLD! Pod #21 is about 6cm high, 12cm wide (plus hair)

SOLD! Pod #23 is about 5.5 cm high, 9cm wide

SOLD! Pod #18 is about 11cm high, 12.5cm wide

Blue pendant SOLD! The pendants are $15 each. The maroon one with pink edging and white glass flower beads is about 6cm high and 4cm wide. The one with the blue edging with a shell pendant is 5.5 cm high and a bit over 4cm wide.

Monday, May 19, 2008

never been this far away from home

Yesterday was great. (See The Shopping Sherpa for lots of pictures). Overwhelming, and quite chilly, and also... great! The combined market stall / knit cafe worked really well. Maybe a little crowded at times. But it was really nice in the afternoon to have a friendly little group around, when the markets were dying down after lunch, and many other (solo) stall holders looked cold, tired and bored.

I was very happy to sell over half of my items. It's just really nice feeling that people liked my stuff, and some of them paid money for it. Yeah, some of them asked - but what's it FOR? That's ok too.

A Little Bit Crafty Jen asked in the comments if there were any pods left to buy. I think I might put the pictures and prices up here later this week, in case anyone who wasn't in Canberra on Sunday would like to buy one. Then I have a couple of other potential avenues in mind...and in the end I don't mind having a gift stash either.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Like a man with a tiger outside his gate

It's the Old Bus Depot Markets Celebration of Wool Day this coming Sunday. Although the markets are on every Sunday, the woolstravaganza only happens once a year. The Canberra SnB group has booked a stall and we'll be hosting an all-day stitching - knitting, crochet, whatever - session for anyone who wants to drop in.

A few of us will also be selling stuff: there will be hand-dyed yarn and bats of spinning fibre from Happyspider; hand dyed yarn from Monica; and Knitaholic and Happy Knitting bags, Groovy Green Bags, painted bamboo knitting needles and knitted cupcakes from The Shopping Sherpa. Taphophile will be providing a skein-to-ball winding service, and I've been podding up a storm, and with luck will have some felted pendants as well.

UPDATE: Jejune's gorgeous Knitting Art products will be there too.

Here's a peek into how I've been spending my time lately:
Hand felting several items at once using a plunger (bought new for this purpose) in a bucket.
Afer that they individually get a bit of rubbing and agitating - the best way to really reduce stitch definition and make a really 'felty' fabric.
My new favourite step. Chuck wet soggy item hard onto the concrete, repeatedly. If I do enough of this I have sore arms the next day (in the good way - felting muscles!)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Wish I was in 'Frisco, in a brand-new pair of shoes

If you've been reading here for a while you might remember that I have knit these before, and that it was quite a journey with many interesting challenges.

This time they are for my grandmother, for an important milestone birthday. By request. And also kind of as an exchange because I still need her to knit for me! (A fair isle cardie).

I made a couple of improvements. I finally figured out how to make the spirals go in opposite directions - knitting one stocking inside out, purling everything instead of knitting. It's lucky this was the one I completed first, because then I found that it looked much neater overall. I made the other one match better by doing all pattern rows as YO, SSK. The pattern that these are based on, Lolita Legs, alternates patterns rows with K2tog, and skp.
opposite spirals
The other thing I changed, and which I had wanted to change even on the original ones, was to use smaller needles (2.25mm) for the toes and heels as well as the ribbing, decreasing (k2tog)and increasing (kfb) the stitch count as required.
Right. Off to knit something else!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

pocket full of horses


Time flies. The week before last (actually, it's practically another week gone now) I went to Tasmania with my Dad. The trip was mainly to visit his family, but it also happened to coincide with the Targa Tasmania. OK this really didn't just happen by chance.

I have kinda mixed feelings about car racing so it Dad who was most keen to go to some Targa events - I was more interested in knitting and book shopping with my grandmother. However, I did decide to go with Dad to the Targa Expo at the Silverdome. There were some very cool cars and a few very weird ones to see, and plenty of photo opportunities.



All 300-ish vehicles competing in the Targa were lined up inside the Silverdome (a velodrome). There was a big crowd and a great atmosphere, with a brass band playing most of the time we were there.

Despite having raced in the prologue stages that day, all the cars were very shiny and clean. There were a few works-in-progress, though.

Pagani, the yellow car at the top of this post, seemed to be the star of the show. But another yellow wonder also caught our attention, as by far the strangest car.
Lots more photos in the full Flickr set.