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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A wonderful weekend gets a slight custardy ending

On Friday evening Joanne picked me up for our weekend at GlenTui.  It's an annual spinners and knitters getaway that I went to for the first time last year and Joanne went for the first time this year.  It's a wonderful experience aside from the showers which take ages to warm up.  However the company more than makes up for that.  
Over the weekend I got 7 bobbins filled, 2 and a bit plied off as well as 2" on my second bug sock.   I also did my first ever felting, now I just have to turn it into moccasins; I have the sheepskin bottoms so it's just a matter of designing a pattern and then sewing the felt shape onto the base.   Felting is hard work!  The food was really nice and this year I remembered to take my own hot chocolate.
As with last year I took way too much fibre, and I came back with more than I arrived with as Shona Schofield was there with a large amount of deliciousness.  I'll take photo's of that later, but there's 2 100g bags of dyed fibre in rich shades, 1 of a light periwinkle, that's rather more than 100g and 1kg of the most divine combed Merino top in grey!!!  One of the ladies in my room (Heather) had some she was spinning up and it was just to die for.
Here's some of the yarn I made
On the left is some Vintage Purls fibre called Merry-go-round, which I've renamed Dutch Iris (415.5m of worsted weight).  The right top is my scrappy yarn from the NZ scrap fibre swap (205.5m of worsted), and the bottom is the remainder of the scraps plus what was left on my bobbins from other projects (166.5m of various weights).   The top scrappy is going to be the contrast on my Catamount cardigan which should be started on Thursday; all other knitting will go on hold.
This time next year I'll have more to show as I'm booked in again; if I'm really lucky I'll be there for one extra day though as it's starting on Thursday.  Hopefully DH can take a day off.

The custard - turns out George turned into a troll the moment I left and had to be taught a lesson about who's in charge.   George has now realised it's his father, not George!   Further custard was added when the dishwasher stopped working and started making strange noises.  The repair man came out today and took it away; the water heater has died so we are without it for 2 weeks minimum and will be out of pocked by $654.50.   Thomas asked how much a new one would be, at $1700 for a decent one we decided that repairing was the best way to go.  Would have cost us $217.00 to have not repaired it anyway to pay for the work they'd already done in finding the fault.  All I can say is this had better be the last appliance to die!
In the last couple of months we've had the washing machine, DVD player (luckily covered under extended warranty, but still took a month for the part to arrive), the TV and DVD player in the bedroom got totalled by Ian and now the dishwasher.  Oh, and Ian's scooter broke; not his fault.   I got him a new one yesterday using my spending money and also a new popcorn maker.  I'm feeling a little less financial atm.

On the plus side, we've just arranged to increase our mortgage repayments so we'll be able to start saving for our retirement properly in 3 years.   It's going to be a tough 3 years though.  No spending for me except for my normal spending money, have to save as much of that as I can for the various crafty things I have coming up.

Upcoming crafty things.  I have a traders day to go to on 17th September, luckily I have 2 pays before then.  Then 1st weekend of October I'm heading to Raincliff for a crafty weekend with some online and real life friends; oh and between them is a bus trip with the spinning guild to a farm.  Should be a good month or so if I save hard!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

School Wearable Arts

Our boys school did a wearable arts presentation, the first one was at 1.30pm today, unfortunately I wasn't well placed for photo's, but here are two of the boys in their costumes.   I'm thinking I need a better camera, but that's not an option for 3 years; more on that later.
Photo's - George, he's the one in the stripy top.  They were doing "Where the Wild Things Are", hence the growly look
Here's Ian, they were doing Deepsea Divers.  Ian's really good at avoiding photographs in this sort of situation; it's not intentional it just works that way.
Both boys did a really good job and I was really proud of them.  Unfortunately that pride didn't last.  Once they got home things went for a real nosedive.  Ian was watching Bob the Builder in the bedroom and there was an almighty crash!  He's fine, but we now have a broken TV, a broken DVD player and a rather annoyed Mummy.   George turned into a whinging, whining, grating wee so and so.  So, no icecream tonight, going to leave console removal up to DH as I won't be here this weekend.  George is back at school now for the second performance of the day and DH will go and pick him up at 8.30pm.  One more performance tomorrow night and then that's over for the show.

On other news, the bunks we had delivered on Tuesday had to be packed up again when one of the side rails split when the dowels were inserted; new ones hopefully arrive tomorrow morning and the old ones (which didn't fit back in the box properly) get picked up.  I really hope the new ones are ok, will put the dowels in first thing so I know if that's ok.  Also tomorrow Ian's carseat is being picked up and he's now using a booster seat; yay!

Further up I mentioned about 3 years before we could get a new camera; there's a reason for that.   We're increasing our mortgage repayments and fixing for 3 years.  At the end of that period our mortgage will be paid in full (the fixed part), we expect the revolving bit will be cleared by then too which will be good.  The revolving part will be kept active though for house improvements like new carpet etc.  We're also going to start Kiwisaver and once we're mortgage free we'll increase our contributions to that.

On the knitting front not much has happened, I've not been feeling well and nor was Ian so the knitting just didn't happen.  Knitting night tonight though so will be right back into it and this weekend is the knitting/spinning weekend.

One last thing, our kitten caught her 4th mouse today, brought it inside while it was still very much alive and running so I had to expose it so she could catch it and then turf them both outside.  She's very much a huntress, pity she doesn't kill them quickly but I guess that wouldn't be so much fun for her.  Hope she doesn't end up doing the rat thing; I don't want to have to try and catch one of them to put it outside.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Knitscene Review

I just received the Fall 2010 Knitscene in the mail today so I thought I'd do my usual quick review, I don't post photo's but Interweave's website should have them up for you to look at

Lettuce Raglan:  I'm really not sure about this one, the basic shape is fine and I love that it's laceweight, but the collar/neckline is rather low and doesn't sit right.   If I do knit this one up I'll be raising the neckline and doing a mitred V rather than whatever the heck that is!

Lapis Yoke: This I quite like, it has some shape, the neck while a little wider than I like is still not too wide and there's some interest at the top which should take away some attention from my fluffy bits further down

Carrot Cardigan:  Shapeless is about all that springs to mind for this one, I won't be even considering knitting it.  It doesn't even meet in the front, brrr!

Aryn Tunic Cardigan: I rather like teh pattern on this, reminds me a bit of the owl cable pattern, would be a good layering piece, though I'd probably lose the belt they've put on their picture.  Pockets are a nice practical touch.

Thalweg Socks:  Cute socks, but nothing really special.  Might knit them, but there are so many others I like even better elsewhere.

Xylem Pullover:  I quite like the body on this if a little longer, but the neckline doesn't sit right and would demand constant rearrangements if I was wearing it.

Bryophyta Cowl and Mitts:  I quite like these, there's a little colourwork, but nothing too fancy.  I think I'd reduce the number of colours used though as the mitts are a bit busy.

Strata Vest:  A fairly basic vest, but that means that the yarn used gets to shine and the pattern doesn't detract from the striping.  Doesn't look like there's any body shaping which is a pity, but aside from that it's quite knittable.

Typha Scarf: Very basic triangular scarf/shawl thing with a little crochet around the edges, not sure why a pattern was needed to create this one.

Blume Hat and Gloves:  Quite like this, simple but pretty.

Xenocryst Hat:  A beanie shape but with a braided look to it, this is a must knit.

Brise-soleil Cardigan:  Very pretty and would be good for slightly cooler days.  Not cold days though as it only has one button.  Love the asymmetrical closure.  I think this one might get queued.

Northumbria Cowl:  Almost looks woven, this is another that might well be queued.  Simple, but effective.

Osciloscope Shawl:  Side to side shawl can be worn as a scarf or shawl, could do with some shaping to make it sit better, but pretty enough.  Probably not going to knit it as I have other patterns that are similar but nicer.

Dorflinger Tee:   I really like this, good for taking the chill off and pretty at the same time.  I think I'd make it slightly longer, but aside from that it's gorgeous as it is; love the cap sleeves.

Gwynedd Hat:  Love the looks of this, but unfortunately I'm wanting to move the bottoms of the bow off my face and I haven't even knit it up yet!  I think if I did knit this I'd have to sew those bits to the brim of the hat to avoid the tickle factor.

Axiomatic Mitts:  Hmm, what's the point?  You wear mitts to keep your hands warm, this only covers the smallest bit of the back of your hand.

Who Me? Cardigan: The photo's on this are terrible, got no idea how it fits and I had to go to the pattern to get some idea of whether it was a hood or a collar at the back (it's a collar).  I think I'll wait till I see it on a real person before I commit to a point of view on this.  It has possibilities though.

Brit Lit Vest: I like this one, a little longer to cover those cold bits would be good, but it's pretty, it seems to fit reasonably well and I love the back!

Quantoid Hat:  Another nice looking hat, I could see any of the men in my life wearing this one without feeling like there was any girly input.  Black and charcoal for DH I think, navy and grey for eldest and something bright for youngest.   This may even become a good standby for Christmas presents.

Pop Quiz Mitts:  Nice basic mitts with a touch of colour, I like these as well.

The Essayist Pullover:  I want this, it looks so nice and snuggly while still being pretty.  I can just see me wearing this in front of the Xbox on a cold winters night.

Balsam Jacket:  Another quite nice cardigan, but I don't know if I could cope with the inside-out look of the seaming.  It'll go in the favourites, but not the queue yet.

Alexandra Hoodie:  A fairly simple looking pattern, but there's something about the shape of the hood on this one that makes me think of ladies from Avalon riding horses in hooded capes.  I rather like it.

Whisk Cardigan:  A nice warm fuzzy looking cardi, I think they're right about it being one you'd reach for all the time.

Birthstone Cardigan:  Quite like the shape of this, but hate the fastening, it looks like it was an afterthought.

Ok, that's the lot, not one of the best Knitscenes, but still worth getting IMO; let me know what you think.

gotta go now, have the rest of my lunch, painkillers for afters and some cough medicine for youngest.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Good bugs and bad bugs

The first bug sock is finished, and I've found my sock blockers!   That's the good bug and here's a couple of photo's

As you can probably tell, they're not blocked yet.  I don't want to block until both socks are finished, the second one is cast on and I'm doing the toe increases atm.   The finished one is a tad tightish across the top of the ankle area, but it's my first colourwork so I'm happy overall.  If my second one is right then at least it taught me something.  Once these are finished I'll be adapting the pattern to mittens, I should have enough of the yarn left over with luck and if not for the background yarn I do have some other brown yarn that will work just fine.

Bad bugs:  Ian has yet another bug, he's been off school today, let him play on the computer as he's just not feeling well.  He's got a bit of a temperature, coughing and has been suffering from a gassy tummy with some pain as well.  Doctor has checked him out and reckons it's viral, I have a antibiotic prescription for just in case, if he's not improving by Thursday then it's likely gone bacterial so I fill it then.  I'm not expecting to have to do that though.  In the meantime I'm busy working to try and get the stuff my boss gave me on Friday finished.  
One good thing happened today though, I had won a hank of Madelinetosh sock yarn in Scarlet last week on a NY blog PhotoKnitDog.  It arrived really quickly, was in the mailbox today which made me feel a little better.   I also won a download of the latest Knitcircus; as I'd already bought it I gave it to Joanne.   Some lovely stuff in this one, which is why of course I bought it!   I can't give you a photo of the second win, but here's the first, it's beautiful!

My latest purchase was from Vintage Purls, some laceweight in the limited edition colourway Mother of Pearl
This is going to be a Whisper Cardigan, will have to cast that on soon if it's to be ready for summer, it struck me as a wonderful colour for a summer cardi.  Will wind it into a cake the first day Ian's back at school.  In the meantime I'll keep working on work as well as my bug socks, my Spiral Bound socks, my Central Park Hoodie and my One Sided.  Long way to go on the last 2, but the Spiral Bound has turned its first heel so is back to being my carry along project.

Won't be able to do a lot of knitting on Saturday, going to Ashburton for our nephews birthday party.  Assuming that Ian's well enough of course.  Not much on Thursday either, Ian had better be back at school then as George has his appointment at Mental Health to be assessed for Aspergers.  If Ian's still sick then Thomas will have to take the afternoon off work to look after him.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

No photo's till later

I'm at the point where if I was following the pattern on my Bug socks that I'd be getting ready to do the top ribbing, however I've decided to add another bug as they're not quite long enough.  I've ordered another 50g of the green from Morag as well as some laceweight and some fibre to make the postage worthwhile.  Hopefully it'll all be arriving tomorrow.   Once the current last bug is finished then I have another sock to do.  Hoping to have enough yarn left over to do some bug mittens as well, or failing that mitts using Morag's charts.
Also did some more work on my Spiral Bound sock, it's now up to the heel turn and I've noticed that I'm turning my active needle into a banana!   Never mind, it's still working just fine, looks a bit funny though.    I want to get the heel turned tomorrow if I can so it's back to easy knitting and is my take-out sock again.
Finally did some more work on my Central Park Hoodie again too, it's now talking to me again, was in time out for a couple of months.  Unfortunately there are other things that need doing as well; things like tidying the house, getting stuff ready to list on TradeMe  and of course looking after the family.
I'll post photo's of all the knitting next time.
There has been some good news though, our washing machine saga is almost over now, the retailer has agreed to pay $150 as well as the manufacturer paying $300 so now I don't have to take them to the Disputes Tribunal.  He agreed to that yesterday, just waiting to hear how we get the money now.   And I won a skein of Madeline Tosh sock yarn!   Had to buy a lotto ticket today on the strength of that.
Will have to do a Lotto wishlist on here at some point, but there are a few of things that would definitely happen if we won Powerball.
Donate $100,000 to school and kindy
Give some to family
Pay off mortgage and set up family trust
Fix driveway
If there was enough I'd love to move out to the country, but I can't see Thomas going for that idea unfortunately.
Upgrade to a younger car.
Add on the craft room to our garage and make a book/fibre/yarn order
Engage a cleaner once a week

Wishes are free, which is good as I have expensive taste!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Bugs up and a review

A quick photo of my socks, just got up to the gusset increases, really going to try and get them finished today but there are other things to do as well so it's possible I won't quite make it.  I do love these socks though!  Hopefully I'll find my sock blockers before they're finished; I know they're somewhere in the craft room....

I received my swap from Germany today too; Gudrun has been a very generous and crafty lady.   I got some Lindt Chocolate in I think vanilla and summer berries (not sure it's all in German), some lovely Czech glass buttons, a necklace that she made herself which is very nice, a fulled bag that she also made which is lovely and a skein of hand-dyed sock yarn in my favourite colours!
Isn't it lovely?

Review of Interweave Knits Fall 2010
I'm not going to put photo's on here as I'm sure they'll be on Interweave's website, but I thought I'd go through it and say what I think of the various patterns.

Brattleboro Hat: this pattern is actually from a new book called New England Knits.  It's a simple hat and rather nice, but could do with being a little lower over the ears; I know mine would get cold and after all the main purpose of hats of this type is to keep your head and ears warm.

Alpen Socken:  A pretty sock with a twisted stitch pattern, I do like this, but there are other twisted stitch patterns out there in the sock field that make me drool.

The Proverbial Cap: This is more like it for length, it's basically a beanie with some twisted stitchwork on it, I probably won't make it but it's a nice hat.

Barvarian Tulip Mittens: Nice enough, but not really inspiring to me atm, once again twisted stitches are on the back and it does have a decent length in cuff which is nice to see.  I'm into colourwork and true cables atm though so it's not pushing my buttons.

Lietmotif Cardigan: Is a horizontal knit from a centre back provisional cast on, I like the fit but it wouldn't be warm enough with no overlap on the front here in NZ come Autumn.  Would look nice for summer though.

Hawthorn Pullover: I can see this one in handspun, it's all cables and a slim fit which is nice.  Not sure about the boat neck, I can feel the breeze sneaking down there already and I'm not even wearing it!

Plein Air Tote: What were they thinking?  It looks like she took the couch squab cushion cover and stuck handles on it; it's so deep that her keys will never be found again so she can't ever put it back where it belongs (on the couch).  Knit some of these if your couch cushions need recovering, it would look fantastic there; as a bag?  Um, NO!

The Point Gammon Pullover: This is for a man and I have to say it's a good jersey for a bloke.  Lots of cables with some interest in the middle panel but not frilly at all.  This would also look good in handspun and I could see my husband in it in a rather larger size.  That guy is skinny!

Inversion Gansey:  I love this, lace, fitted just a couple of things I'd change.  The sleeve length; 3/4 sleeves are a pain and possibly take the neckline in a bit on the shoulders, I'd feel like it was falling down all the time as it's a touch too wide.

Cloisonne Jacket: Very sweet, love the colourwork on it and the lace at the bottom is a nice touch.  I can see me making this in handspun again, though probably not in the colours they've used; brown is not really me.  Funnily enough the 3/4 sleeves I think work on this, but would be better a touch longer so they don't end so close to the hem of the main body.

Leyfi Pullover:  Another one that's worth making, lace and shaping make for a very flattering jersey.  They've knitted this with a strand of Cashmere laceweight held with a Merino singles yarn so would be very luxurious too.

Running Stitch Skirt:  Nice enough I guess, but pretty basic.  If I'm going to be knitting a skirt I want something with a bit more oomph.  I won't be knitting this one.

Pizzicato Scarf:  It looks like a fishermans rib scarf to me, doesn't do anything for me at all.

Sea and Sky Shrug: This is beautiful, would be fantastic in handspun yarn.  Nice ruffled edge is feminine without being over the top; would be great for those autumn outdoor weddings.  I'm going to queue this one.

Breacan Swing Coat:  Nice shape, but I don't really like the oversized plaid in large yarn; if you're not as skinny as the model you'll look like car upholstery.  Knit plain or possibly with a colour that blends rather than shouts it would be rather nice though.

George St Pullover and Cowl:  I like the look of this one, nice and simple, but with interest in the yarn overs.  It needs to be longer in both body and sleeves and then it would be almost perfect.

Family Pillows: I'm not a pillow girl but I quite like the bolster style one, the others are a bit too bold for me.

Slanting Plaid Stole: This I'd knit, it looks simple, but effective.  Would be lovely and warm and very versatile.  I think the finished look would be all in the yarn choice; something with a little sparkle or sheen for evening, the alpaca used makes me think of reading in front of the fire at home.

Elementary Vest:  Nice shape, love the colourwork and I think if a touch longer this would be the perfect vest; going into my queue.

Peavey Jacket:  Can't see any man I know wearing this, just looks sloppy to me.  Just cos I like colourwork doesn't make me like this.

Chiral Cardigan: I like this, the assymetrical neckline and closure looks nice; I think I'd go with different buttons though, flowers are just too little girl for my taste.  I can see this one working for handspun yarn too.

Williamsburg Cardigan:  This doesn't fit very well, makes her look like she's big in the hips and it just hangs.  They do call it oversize and it has some nice features but not wearable IMO for anyone who wants to look shapely.

Tamarix Quilt: I'm not a baby blanket knitter, but this is cute; it makes me think of pieced quilts and I think if I was going to knit a baby blanket this would be it.

Hoarfrost Mobius:  Very pretty, but unfortunately I've never seen stainless steel/wool blend yarn here so I think I'll just admire from afar.

Arching Cables Jacket:  To me the porportions on this are wrong, I think the waist fastening needs to be lower making the body longer and the sleeve length is wrong too; not sure but I think it needs to be a lot longer.  Not planning on making this one I'm afraid.

I guess that's my review done, some nice items, some not so nice ones but overall not as good as some of their older magazines.  Mind you most mags seem to go through a phase of not being so good before they come back really well, so here's hoping they'll do their comeback soon.

Monday, August 02, 2010

A tale of yarns and shoes

I finished Lilac and Linen on Friday night, it's a 3-ply fingering weight which is what I was aiming for.  The fibre was Merino/Nylon pin-drafted and is rather lovely.  Should make beautiful socks once I've finished the current 2 pairs on the needles.

The weekend held good and bad; Thomas and the boys came into town with me on Saturday while I went to the guild which was good, the bad was that the boys weren't quite as well behaved as he'd hoped so I had to leave a little early; nothing bad really more high spirits but considering they almost ended up with Ian under an SUV I think Thomas made the right decision.  While at the guild I got a reasonable amount done on my first ever colourwork socks; these are being knitted using stranded knitting and just 2 colours.  The pattern is Bug Out which is the second Vintage Purls Winter Sock Club 2010 pattern and is just yummy!
 I'm so glad I managed to get into the sock club, I was really hoping for a colourwork design and I got exactly what I wanted!   I'm enjoying this so much that I'm already planning my next project which will be a hat in Jamiesons Shetland Spindrift, then a vest in Jamieson and Smith's Shetlland Jumper Weight and then my Henry VIII.
Getting back to these socks though, on the left is the top of the sock.
On the right is the bottom, you can just see the squashed bug starting to emerge; isn't that just great?

After we left the guild we went to get shoes for the boys, George's old sneakers were pretty cheap and you could tell, they were literally falling apart.  This time instead of Dowsons we went to Hannahs and got the boys each a pair of these:
They're New Balance sneakers and both boys love them.  Ian's in size 13 and George in size 1, they were marked down to $49.95 from $69.95 and I really hope they last well.   If they don't then it's back to cheap shoes for the boys again.
When we got home Ian got into his Dad's Judo Gi; perhaps  a little too big?  He really liked it though, pity he doesn't listen when we try him at a class.  George does Judo on Monday nights but he's only recently started getting it and tonight is testing night so we'll see just how much he has been listening!
Saturday night Ian wore his second pair of new pyjamas for the first time, I'm really pleased with these, they're so cute!
Still a bit big atm, but that's not a bad thing for a growing lad.

Sunday; the usual boot camp in the morning and she pushed us hard!  The boys were playing on their scooters in the skateboard ring and having a blast which was good.  Bacon and eggs for lunch; yummy.  In the afternoon Mum rang to say they'd be coming over as she's finished George's new jersey.  Now George has recently decided he doesn't like wool as it's "scratchy".   However it's only scratchy if he knows it's wool; he has some wool singlets, the cream ones are scratchy (Merino), the marled grey ones aren't (wool, but not Merino) so I don't think it's a true wool allergy; just a perceived one.  When Mum arrived with this jersey however it was immediately labelled as "not scratchy"; do you think he likes it?   The colour really suits him; it's a discontinued Ashford Tekapo colour called Tartan.  It's got an argyle looking pattern on the front and back with the way the pooling has worked out and fits him quite well, a little growing room in this too.

Once Mum had handed this over it was time for her to get the knit I'd made for her.  This is Swallowtail knitted in a hand-dyed 100PureWool laceweight yarn, the colours are light enough that they'll go with most things and despite Mum having said on another occasion that shawls weren't much use she loves this one.   The really nice comment was made of "Gran would be really proud of you".  Gran was the ultimate knitter in our family, lovely even work and churned out a lot of knits in her time for us and also to sell.   He colour sense was a little unusual, but there was love in every stitch; just like there was in Mum's new shawlette.
I was planning on holding onto this till Christmas, but it'll get used now seeing as it's winter so I decided to hand it over now; I can always make something else for Christmas if I draw Mum.

2 more photo's to come, the first is of the wonderful fibre swap that arrived here this morning, this is from Kate in New Plymouth.  Thomas will get the chocolate, I'll drink the hot chocolate and needless to say I'll be spinning and knitting the fibre; it's very nice indeed, and there's some very cute wee flowers that I think were crocheted.
Last photo is one I've been trying to catch for some time now, but Smokey always seems to have finished her investigations by the time I finally get the camera.  Here she is though, washing machine cat!!

I don't know what the fascination is, but she does it with the dryer occasionally too; funny cat!

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