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Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Yarniful Day

It was a beautiful day too, though I was waiting impatiently for 2 lots of yarn.  I kept checking the mailbox and nothing there, nothing there.
Then, I could see something in there, raced down the drive and there was a wee bag in there; not what I was waiting for, but a lovely surprise all the same.   Joanne had left it in my mailbox to lift my spirits a little, and it worked!    A set of glove blockers she'd found in Nelson last time she was there, made from No.8 wire (as all good kiwi things are), she kept a set for herself; we'll both have to knit and block gloves.  I have a set of mitten blockers on the way too, I'll have a full set of blockers when they arrive!
This weekend I had been going to go to Glentui for the weekend, but with the bottom bug I've had I cancelled, didn't want to risk making anyone else sick; especially as some are elderly.   Turns out we have some people with weak immune systems too so a good decision; though I'll miss going badly.   I think the glove blockers were also to make me feel better about missing that too.

After opening that wee spirit lifter I went back to waiting for my yarn.   First to arrive was Thomas' sock yarn, it came with the Tangled DVD, The Crow DVD and some blank DVD's.
This is going to be a pair of colourwork socks for Thomas, he loves the darker shade which is actually more colourful than I'd expected.  I think it'll be really nice; got a couple of patterns that might work well with it.

Second package was unexpected though wanted more than the first as this is for my Camp Loopy project

I'm knitting this up in the Jetty pattern.  The yarn has a much greater depth of colour than shows in this picture and should look amazing!

My third parcel was very late; it's the final installation of the Vintage Purls Winter Sock Club 2011 and I think Fastways was trying to see if it would hatch into something if they sat on it long enough.    Love the pattern, love the background yarn, not so keen on the foreground so a friend is buying that off me as she wants to make longer socks.  I'll be using a different yarn with it, still dyed by Morag, but from the previous years sock club.
The 2 yarns on the right are the ones that came with the club, and you can see the pattern in the middle.  I'll be using the yarn on the left instead of the pale pink and I think it'll be gorgeous!

There was a surprise yarn as well, it was in with Thomas' yarn and was sent because I reached a certain level of orders with the company.   I got a clear tote bag with the company's details on it a pattern and this skein of yarn
It's rather pretty and I think it'll make nice socks.    That's the last yarn for quite a while though, need to work through some first.

On the knitting front I got the thumb finished on my mitten last night, tried it on and frogged it; restarted with 2 more stitches and now it feels right.   Not quite finished yet though, and of course now that Jetty's yarn has arrived it's gone on hold!  Will cast on Jetty tomorrow and start frantic knitting, 10 days after everyone else.

Monday, August 22, 2011

6 months on

Six months ago today our complacency after our first big earthquake was shaken off it's foundations.   Our first earthquake was big, unexpected but free of deaths and although damage was done to buildings, it was in most cases repairable.  Not quite so in Kaiapoi, but the government was talking about land reparation so that rebuilding could happen.

22.02.11 at 12.51pm we were all doing what we normally did.  I was sewing a quilt, Thomas was on the toilet at his 6th floor building in Cathedral Square and the boys were at school.   One moment all was well, the next the world moved; literally.   All our power went and I knew it was big simply because of that.   I didn't go down to the school immediately simply because I knew they had to evacuate the classrooms and I'd not be able to find the boys until that was done.  Instead I stopped to clean the hot chocolate out of the computer keyboard, shut off power points and check for hazards at home.   I texted Thomas to see how he was, I heard back from him 2 hours later; he got my text well after he sent his.
My neighbour checked on me, I think we were both on autopilot, he was lucky to be home for lunch so all his family was there with him.
After that I went down and picked up the boys, Ian's bike was left in the bike sheds; he's not ridden it to school since then, probably afraid he'll lose it for 2 weeks again.   I made the boys wait in the garden while I double checked the house to make sure it was safe and then I let them inside.   No power, no water and no Daddy.   We luckily had everything else we needed though; a radio to listen to which told us eventually how bad town was.   Thomas eventually got home and we cooked up baked beans and spaghetti for tea on the single gas burner.   Early bed that night, no power so no point in staying up once the light went.   Some used candles, but I wasn't about to take that risk with the continuous aftershocks.
We came through fairly well, some nighttime wetting from both boys showed they'd been affected even if they didn't show it, but we all stayed calm and I think that helped.
Unfortunately this time there were deaths, too many deaths and many of our historic buildings are lost permanently.  Life will never be the same again, we will always remember and mourn what was lost on that day.

6 months on though, many things are getting back to normal.  We have all our modern conveniences again, and have done for a while.  No-one in our family has lost their home, all back on full sewerage.  Most of the shops we frequented are also back, though many have shifted to Papanui so I don't go to them any more.
The boys are no longer bothered by quakes and most of the time we just sit and wait to see if it'll get bigger, it did in June, but even that wasn't as scary for us as February.  Things are quieter now and we hope they stay that way.   Unfortunately many are not in the position we are, homes lost, loved ones lost and things will never get back to normal for them, not the old normal anyway.   There will be a new normal, but not till EQC has finished paying out and the rebuild is done.   In many cases people can't rebuild where they were and have to decide whether to accept the government offer or insurance.  There are some exciting plans for the city, once it's all finished it will be beautiful again, but it won't be the Christchurch we remember.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cold days

This post is a bit of a mix, it's been a busy few weeks what with snow, sewing, knitting and family.   Also Thomas and I both got hit with a nasty bottom bug, just coming right now and we've also picked up the cold Ian brought home; not fun.

I did manage to get a few things done, George's pyjamas are now finished and he loves them!
I can now show you the socks I finished for a friend's baby in my Lace Chain Baby Socks pattern.
After I'd given the socks to Sonya, they got passed around along with all the other gifts and were much admired; I got a slightly swelled head for a few moments there!

2 days later we got hit with snow again, a lot of snow!   We had more shovelling to do than last time, but we got onto it earlier to avoid the icing problem.  In the end we probably didn't need to bother, it got rained away 2 days later; however it was deeper and fluffier than last time.   A couple of photo's I took turned out quite well, my helpers for shovelling the path and drive:

Both had fun helping, I had to go and get the old shovel as both my spades got appropriated.  I took a few more photo's, but the one I like best was this one:
this is our nicely iced peach trees; aren't they beautiful?   Was kind of glad that we had the fire though (don't tell Thomas), I would still like a heat pump as well, but T doesn't want one for some reason.

Tonight I finished the sleeves on my Central Park Hoodie, they're looking really good.  I'm not starting the next bit yet, waiting on the yarn to do the final Camp Loopy project; this is feeling a bit like deja-vu.  Yarn I ordered a week later arrived today, hoping it'll arrive on Monday now that I've finished these sleeves. 
Isn't it gorgeous?     Got further on my sock too, now past the heel turn and about to pick up stitches for the gusset.  Might get a bit further with those tonight.  Almost up to the colourwork part of my mittens as well and feeling the need to cast on something new.   Need that yarn to arrive!   Ian needs mittens too, but I need to get mine finished first.

I think my cats have the right idea, no knitting, not worrying about when yarn will arrive; this is where I normally find them:
I think that's Star on the front and Ray at the back.   Ray was the original beanbag cat, now both are.  I usually find both of them on our bed in the morning and here in the afternoon.   At night they often sleep with us, but if they go outside they stay there unless I hear them; fed up with the black and white tom coming in, eating their food and occasionally fragrancing the house.  If I could catch him I'd make him regret it, but I can't so I've taken precautions; cat door is now out only.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Interweave Knits Fall 2011

Well, my yarn may not have arrived before the snow, but the latest Interweave Knits did so it's time for my latest review.  Here's the link to the magazine Fall-2011

First up there's an interesting article on double knitting; this is a technique I haven't tried yet, but I do want to give it a go at some point.

Cardiff Coat: If you like knitting with bulky wool this may be the coat for you.   It's got a big snuggly collar, cables and no seams.  I suspect the cables will help to stablize the coat and stop it from growing too much.  It's not something I'd knit simply because being such a bulky yarn I suspect that I'd end up looking like a hippo.

Pembroke Wrap:  A traditional pattern for a shawl in bulky yarn is surprisingly attractive.  I'd probably want it a bit larger; after all if you're knitting bulky a couple of extra repeats will get you a shawl that will be a great winter warmer.  In its current size it's perhaps a touch on the small size

Bryn Mawr Skirt:  I have to say this looks shapeless and unflattering.  I think that bulky yarn over the hips was a mistake.   Aran weight is about as thick as I'd like to go for a skirt.  It might possibly work if it was longer; short with thick yarn ends up dumpy.

Snowfall Sweater:  This has possibilities.   It's a reasonably flattering shape, the only thing I don't really like is the random looking snowflake motifs on the front; they look unbalanced.  That would be easy to fix though and I like the way it looks with no belt too.

Now if I can get the cat off the magazine I can look at the rest of the magazine!

Strobilus Pullover:  This is very pretty.  It's  bias lace pattern that fits and flatters your curves.  On a cooler day you'd need something under it, but would be lovely like that too.  I think this one may end up in the queue; I do after all have curves that need flattering.

Shadow Tuque:  This is basically a cabled beanie, nice but not really anything special.

Cardigan Bay Jacket:  This looks like one of those comfy weekend waist tie cardigans that just bring to mind a roaring fire and hot chocolate.   Not something that is extraordinarily flattering, but oh so comfortable!  Wouldn't take too long to make in Rowan Big Wool either.    The only worry I'd have is the big holes on the raglan increases; I'd want to close those up.

Solstice Jacket:  This is basically a cardigan that meets at the front with a really big collar and cuffs.   I'm not sure about it, I think this could be due to the fact that the colour match on collar and body is slightly off.   It might look better with slightly slimmer sleeves too.  It has potential, but it's not quite there yet.

Gemini Cardigan:  This is simple, but pretty too.  I like the wide garter stitch front panel, the shaping is nice and it's not fussy.  It probably won't enter the queue as there are other patterns I prefer, but it would suit many body types as it has some shape to it.

Honeycomb Jacket:  I like this assymetric fitted jacket.  I prefer the collar down, but like that you can button it up to add warmth if that becomes more important than good looks.  I can see it in a heathered purple or red; yummy.   I think this one might just pop into my queue; a handspun yarn would probably work really well.  Oooh, and it's DK, and easily accessible weight here in New Zealand.

Flanders Bay Pullover:  This is an exerpt from Vintage Modern Knits: Contemporary Designs Using Classic Techniques book, which strangely is part of my personal library.   I like this pattern, though it's not my favourite from the book.  It is however a nice shape with some simple colourwork to make it interesting.   You could easily change the motif from anchors to something less nautical if desired too, and the neckline would work really well with a button front shirt.

Dahlia Cardigan:  I'm really not sure what to think of this one, when worn open it's not that flattering, but when they tuck the bottom ends in at the neckline it suddenly changes.  I do love the lacework on the back  and I think if you made it longer it would be more flattering.  I also suspect it would be a very useful cardigan too which would work well with a range of outfits; that lace over a strapless sundress?  Yum!

Hex Mesh Stockings:  These I love!   Think fishnets but they have a lovely panel at the top that makes them less sex and more schoolgirl.   I love the feel of opposites from these and will definitely give them a go; love the colours they chose as well.   No black, grape and dusty red were fantastic choices.  They use Malabrigo Lace, I have some silk laceweight that might work; I bought it for socks.....I think for me the knee highs would be better; the over the knee ones seem a little over the top.

Fern Lace Stole:   Personally I wouldn't call it a stole, it's more of a long scarf.   It's pretty enough, but nothing that screams "knit me now!".   You could knit it wider to make it a true stole though easily enough simply by adding pattern repeats as it's knit from the long edge.

Wheeled Lace Shawl:  I like the main pattern for the shawl, but the little bits on the edge make it look messy to my eyes.   I'd forever be getting things caught in it like fingers, children, cats etc.  In fact looking at it further it looks like the moths got to it, sorry, but that's just how I see it.  I'm sure there are plenty out there who love it, if you do add it to your queue, but please don't give it to me.

True North Mittens:  I normally really like colourwork mittens, but these ones look a little messy and I'm having problems seeing the pattern in them.  With a change of colour choice it may well work though; I think the deer and antlers should both be the same colour, in the choice they've used the deer sort of disappear.  Possibly too many patterns in there too, a bit of repetition goes a long way in colourwork.

Rio Capelet:  This is rather pretty and I think would work well in handspun singles.  I like the simple colourwork in it and it's not too long which is good.  Like the high neck too.

Angel Fire Jacket:  I can see why she says it's based on Southwestern American jackets as ti's got that Aztec look to it.  It's not something I'd knit, shawl collars aren't the best on me, some are ok, but that's not one I could wear; also the colours they have used don't show it off to great advantage.  I think the colourwork areas are too much of a contrast to the rest of the cardigan making it look supremely touristy.  

Border Socks:  I can see my man wearing these; in fact I have some yarn on the way for colourwork socks so I might consider this pattern instead of the Durmstrang Socks I was going to make; I'll see what he thinks.  They look like something my Grandpa might have worn going to golf, but in a cool way.  I would need to find one more colour, but in my stash that shouldn't be a problem, lol.

Canyon Cardigan:  Something isn't quite right with this, it could simply be the choice of a yarn with white flecks through it which detracts from the Nordic emblem across the middle.   Not that it matters for me, I can't see my husband wearing a cardigan, he's a sweatshirt guy and only occasionally wears a jersey.

Varsity Stole:  This is wide enough to be a stole and definitely has potential, I love that it's reversible.   Not keen on their colours, but I'm not into pastels and having pastel blue and pink in one item is overkill to me.  Change the blue to a wine though and you'd have a winner.

Kelmscott Throw:  This is a very nice looking throw and being done in double knit has the advantage that it's completely reversible.  If I were to be in the mood to knit a blanket I'd consider it; but the only blanket I'm likely to knit is one from sock yarn remnants, which are way too fine for this.

Ok, that's it for this review; I think I've done a better job this time with more descriptions and you can at least go and take a look at the patterns to see what you think yourselves.  Time to go and add the ones I want to the 17 page queue; play some Xbox with Thomas and then a little knitting.  Have fun!

Friday, August 12, 2011

More snow?

We're hoping not, but the forecast is for snow from Sunday through to Tuesday; I might get to do a fair bit of knitting and housework.    Unfortunately the yarn for my Camp Loopy project 3 isn't here yet and if it doesn't arrive tomorrow then I won't be able to work on it from the start date of 15th.   Fingers are crossed though.
In the meantime I've been working on my Central Park Hoodie, am now past the elbow on both sleeves, my handspun socks are also gaining length.  Plus I've cast on and finished a pair of wee baby socks in my own pattern (Lace Chain Baby Socks).  I love this pattern, even if I say so myself.  This pair is in green, but no photo's till the recipient has been given them tomorrow.   My pattern testers all said that the socks stay on really well and fit well.

My new project when the yarn arrives is a Cecily Glowik MacDonald pattern called Jetty.  I'll be knitting it in Cascade 220 in the colour Aporto.  I think it'll look fantastic!   The brief for the final Camp Loopy project was to knit something with 800 yards or more.  I was originally going to do the February Fitted Pullover, but someone else on Ravelry mentioned the Jetty pattern, I took a look and fell in love!   Yarn, please get here tomorrow, I want to be able to get started swatching!!!!

Still no movement from EQC about our contents claim, only good thing is Thomas gets paid his bonus later this month which will pay the hp off before interest is being charged.  We will also pay the motorbike insurance, the Visa (though that's pretty low) and maybe a little spending.  I want Thomas to get his own battery charger for his bike and the car so we don't have to keep borrowing his dad's one.   Thinking about a stereo for the car, but I don't use it that often so not sure; however it could be that I don't use it cos it stops going, jumps from one speaker to another and is basically dodgy as all hell.

On the spinning front I've not done a lot, finished the last of the Tour de Fleece yarn, this is Pukeko Paradise, 625 yards of medium weight yarn
My next spinning project won't be as pretty as it's a plain undyed Merino in a camel shade, spinning it finely and will be a 3-ply yarn aimed at making jersey's for the boys, probably with some cable patterns.   A 3-ply yarn will be nicely rounded and should work really well for cables, it'll be soft enough to keep George happy and if he doesn't like the colour I can always dye it to a darker blue (his favorite colour).
I won't be buying any more fibre or yarn for a while, have way too much at the moment and want to create some more storage space.

On the sewing front I've made 2 pairs of trousers for the boys for school, as well as finishing a pair of pj's for George.  Both boys love the new clothes.   I've started on my skirt; at the moment only the embellishment is done, but I have the inch-tape on the front and also free-motioned a rose in black thread on the grey fabric.  Looking really good so far and as soon as I get some more time I'll get in the sewing room and get the skirt finished and then work on my tunic tops too.   If we get snow and don't lose power.....

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