Post Kid Post

I was reading Melanoma uberalis this morning; she's posted a "Are you ready for Children"? mock-quiz.

I thought I'd seen it before, then I realised we got something similar in the documentation that came from Scout's breeder (yes, Scout came complete with Instruction Manual: a mix of certificates, helpful hints and light entertainment to get us through the sleepless nights of house-training).

Are you ready to adopt a Stafford?

Little did we know in our sleep-deprived stupor that this was more along the lines of a fact-sheet rather than humour.

The Goat's nephews and nieces (all aged under 5) visited on the weekend.
The Goat did a lot of cooking.
Needles Edge did a lot of cleaning up.

A lot of chairs were moved around.
And moved again.
Scout had to pretend to be a hippo.
For a few hours.
The whole family is a little...
tired now.

No knitting.


Only in Dreams

I want to live in an Adrienne Rogers photo shoot.

When can I move in?

I want to snuggle in (but not necessarily knit) that thewr for about..oh I don't know...a month or two?

And I really want to know how they got those handrail-less stairs past council.

Alas, there's no way The Goat could cope with those stairs without ending up in traction.

A girl can dream though.


Oh Bugger

Get home braindead. Try to concentrate on As You Like It and formulate master class lesson plan in your head while whipping off a few rows of Mortie.

Observe progress on Mortie is glacial.Yet you’ve managed to produce 5 centimetres of regular mistake free ribbing.

Use Mortie as a bookmark in aforementioned Shakespeare.

Later realise Mortie has shed her last 6 stitches while reading the part of Rosalind.

Still braindead, attempt several times to pick them up and get them back on – as originally worked and not strangely twisted around the wrong way in several spots.

Decide to work a few more rows to “get some distance on the problem” , then go back and untwist those mystifyingly twisted stitches with the “Crisis Stick” aka crochet hook.

Sigh resignedly as you realise you have, in fact, made the whole situation much worse.

Flirt briefly with the idea of a radical departure from Vintage Knitting to a Deconstructed look.

Rip instead.

Convince yourself that this is in fact a blessing in disguise as you were worried about too much negative ease (around ever-increasing positive ease of flesh) and can now add extra stitches to the bottom.

Start casting on again.

Have difficulty keeping eyes open and call it a night.




Or at least I should feel like I am.

I ususally do at this point.

Which is post-presentation of the kind where there's been a big adrenaline build up.

But instead I'm right into preparing for teaching on Friday instead

Two strands of Zephyr on 2.25 MM needles.
It's my idea of winding down after a week of 'knitting' with

Water-jet-cut panels of .08 MM diameter hole perforated stainless steel in .5MM thickness.
It's to simulate acoustic tiling in the recording studio set.

A sneak preview:

The Goat is going to be muchly relieved to have the kitchen reclaimed as a cooking and eating area as opposed to a workshop area.


Cinematic Knits II

After a weekend full of working, I collapsed on the sofa, ribbed 3 rows of Princess..or Mortie... (short for Princess Morte aka 1945 V Neck) and managed to watch enough of The Bourne Supremacy to note the story's shameless antecedence in Frankenheimer's Manchurian Candidate , except with annoying coverage ( no, unmotivated camera movement doesn't make a story more interesting).

But also long enough to see Julia Stiles' handknit scarf starring in quite a long scene of its own.

Oh dear, I'm a bit tired and grumpy can you tell?

I cannot wait til the big presentation on Wednesday, the teaching and the marking is over and all I have to do is mindless cathartic housework and rows and rows and rows of rib.



Black is Good

This definately helps...
the Deadline Fever.

Like a pressure valve on the the double-boiler of concentration and adrenaline.

I'm working 2 balls of Zephyr.

Which was a breeze on the swatch but now that I'm onto the Real Thing, it's like I'm subconsciously freaked out about making mistakes and even though I'm only 6 rows in, I've already had to frog back and do stitch surgery.

The double-strand-stitches make it easy to accidentally increase and then your whole K1 P1 is shot to hell.
Again, this was not a problem on the gauge swatch.

Maybe I need to try and fool my subconscious mind that this is in fact only a swatch .

A large, sweater-shaped swatch.

And then I'll be fine.


Results of the Ear Poll

Well Ashley's come in with a wildcard vote for the original WTWTA triangle.

But I'm afraid it's been a landslide for the small nub.
But at a rakish angle.

So now we can all get some sleep.

Oh, and a couple of people have asked about the painting sneaking into view behind wee bonnet.

It's done by yours truly.



Jacaranda Time ticks away...

According to The Goat, the old saying at Sydney Uni is that once the Jacarandas in the Quad have started to flower, it's too late to start cramming for exams.

In a similar vein, the first Jacaranda blossom plopped down in the yard today.
And it's a keen reminder that I have a major scary deadline breathing down my neck and I am feeling waaay behind.

To remedy this, I choose to procrastinate in blogworld.

So I was reading Knit and Tonic, where the new Reader's Gallery currently features Lisa who garners a special 'clean house' mention from Wendy.

how is it possible that you can be a knitter (of animal hair -let’s face it folks) and have a dog (yet more hair…and loads of it) and not have frighteningly humungous dustballs in every corner?

Could it be:

a) It's not actually your home, just a day-rental for the photo shoot.
b) Ritalin.

I’ll spare you photos of my corners dear readers, Needles Edge likes to present the sanitised version for your viewing pleasure.

Thanks everyone for your opinions on the very pressing Ear issue. So far it's a tie. That means unless someone else votes between now and finishing, I may well have to cast the deciding vote myself, which in my current marking and deadline-brain-death, I may be incapable of.



This week
I have been mostly knitting

Referring to Maurice Sendak for a Where The Wild Things Are feel...


Going for a nub shape.
So big nub (L) or little nub (R)?
Waddaya think?


Saturday was

While the 38 deg. heat and the neighbour's auction raged outside, I relaxed in the much more civilised 20 deg of the front room and watched Mildred Pierce.

I'd never seen Mildred Pierce before, I knew of it - mostly via the Sonic Youth track of the same name, but seeing as that was 99% instrumental it didn't tell me much - so it was about time I caught up with this particular classic.
And it reminded me that when I was young watching black and white movies, I thought all women prior to the 60's wore black lipstick, especially Joan Crawford. Well, it was so dark.
I didn't question this, I just assumed it was so.

And I was spurred on by Mildred's steely determination to grasp FG by the horns, attach those tassles and weave in those never ending freakin' ends.

By the time Monte Beragon's true killer was revealed, so too was the finished FG.



You Don't Look a Day Over 41. or Some Things Never Change

October 2006.

For those of you who thought that Close Encounter of the Alpaca Kind was an actual finished object...

(sum)Headway is finished.

1 1/2 balls Eki Riva Alpaca 8 ply in the poetically titled 402.

3 1/2 mm bamboo circulars.

Band is 4 cms of P2 K1 rib, then the rest in "Easy Cable" :
4 rows of 2 x 2 rib, every 5th and 6th row you P2, K2tog, knitting into back of stitch before you slip off the needle. No cable needle involved.
I did fairly rapid increases and decreases at top and bottom.

I'm not completely happy with the shape, as it's a bit mushroomey. In fact I think the rest of my knitting life is going to be consumed to varying degrees with the eternal search for the perfect beret pattern. Next time I think I'll do more increases early on to get the shape I'm after.

But all in all, for my very first made up garment, I think it's not too bad. I'll certainly wear it.

In fact I was wearing it when I went into my LYS and while I was paying, the owner commented on it and asked where I got the pattern. When I told her I just made it up, she said rather graciously "Well, aren't you clever"?

I don't think she was being facetious. I am after all a loyal paying customer.

I also didn't have the heart to remind her that only
4 months ago she was showing me how to cast on.
Mugging for the camera in sumHeadway with Scout doing her best portugese chicken impersonation.

Edited to add: Ashley as far as I can tell, Scout doesn't have any portugese chicken in her pedigree... but one never knows does one?


Meanwhile, 35 Years Later

October 1971.

I don't remember actually choosing this outfit.
I don't think I was allowed to exert my free will via clothing choices until a couple of years after this photo was taken. But check those orange lacy stockings! I do remember those.

Strangely, I'm still a fan of Late 60s - Early 70s Orange.

I say strangely because for example, I've only just recently been able to appreciate jazz as an adult, having always had fairly strong negative associations with it being around midnight, still being grumpily awake on a schoolnight, and still not having done my homework.

Likewise, I was surrounded by a lot of orange, mostly of the heavy lumpen scando-germanic-ceramic variety.

I think Late 60s Burnt Orange was finally redeemed, however, by our Fiat 850.

I still remember the colour of the duco, the highly polished timber steeling wheel and the perforated black leather upholstery with some fondness.

> Is there a single childhood photo where I'm not clutching a dog?

The Goat understands my penchant for 60s Orange and so my beeday ( or should that be bidet) card is very appropriate. It looks just like a swatch of 60s Laminex.


Old Friends

I had forgotten, during the time FG had been languishing, just how soft alpaca is.

er realising that the ear on the Bonnet is just way too big, (sorry Hello Yarn, but has anyone actually done the newborn sizing?) that it should only be half that size so it doesn't
a) look like a bilby, and
b) fall over from top-heaviness.

and after a big sigh, I put Bonnet aside and picked up ol' FG, thinking I would finally attach those tassles and get it in the bag, so to speak.

But wait! There's almost a whole ball of yarn left attached.

The Goat looked up long enough to raise an eyebrow and comment " I thought you'd finished that". Well, so did I but there's clearly more to go now.
Did I mention just how comfortingly soft alpaca is? Yeah yeah, you all know that already.

Honestly, going back to FG after the Bonnet is like being reunited with your long lost Golden Retriever after hanging out with a bunch of ballerinas for a while. You know... pale, tiny, highly strung and demanding.

Unlike FG...hello old friend!

Oh and btw... yes they are plastic needles I'm working FG on.
I know, I know
They hark back to the days when I had just started knitting and didn't know about bamboo yet.

I neglected to mention earlier we saw a fab show at the Tin Sheds on the weekend. Emma Wise's
< Unsafe Passage.

She's sculpted these wonderful forms reminiscent of plumb-bobs out of styrene, weighted them at the base so they sway and wobble when you push them (yes, truly interactive art!).
Really beautiful.


Cinematic Knits 1

It started with Glampyre's City Shawl.
Now it's official.

Cinematic knits is here to stay, albeit on a random basis.

DVD viewing on the weekend was the exceptional Normal from HBO (god, their quality is consistently high!) in which Jessica Lange
delivered a killer scene, whilst knitting.

TV viewing on the other hand... now what's the first thing that springs to mind when you think "Starsky and Hutch"? OK, what's the first thing that springs to my mind then?...

The trademark bulky cardigan of course!

Louise Mingenback (costume designer) got it just right.

And finally, last nights actual cinema viewing was Robert Altman's Prairie Home Companion. Alas... no knitting!

All the Top Down Bonnet needs now is ears. I started the first ear in front of the aforementioned S&H, but thanks to its highly distracting nature, I discovered half way through that I was knitting it inside out. The ear, that is. A purly ear.

So the ear is now ripped out (or off?) waiting for me to sit down in a more focused and contemplative state to finish it.


As Cool As Kim Deal


There's nothing in my art.
I'd rather be cool than be smart.

Here's what I feel,
ba ba ba ba.
Just want a row counter
as cool as Kim Deal.”

- With apologies to Dandy Warhols

How utterly and cool and smart is the row counter?

Who would’ve thought such a cheap and rudimentary little plastic mechanism could make or break one’s knitting?

Not me til I tried it.

I’ve ripped the top-down bonnet at least 3 times.

It’s working out now, thanks to this new thingie.

Superficially, the pattern seems like a no-brainer. Just alternating rows of plain knit and rows of increasing either side of the plain knit “side seams”.


Tune out.

Ah.. the tuning out part….this is where I get confused as to where I’m up to.

Result: A dog’s breakfast of a bonnet.

So then I impose the simple discipline of row counter and 2 improvised side markers and success. Note to self: not a good idea to use grey alpaca as a marker. It sheds, leaving tiny filaments of dark fibre in the bonnet’s side seams. While I was working it I thought the sides were getting grubby-looking. On closer inspection I noticed the small dark “hairs” knitted in, then just as I was about to blame Scout (those dog hairs get everywhere!)

^ Shifting focus.... wheee! Scout likes to loll about with her belly in the sun where she gets so relaxed her top lip starts to droop on the ground.

I inspected yet closer and picked out all the alpaca.

I know..while Rome burns and all that…here I am picking out alpaca fibre from a baby bonnet.

Well, someone has to.
^ goat gift gum leaf.


Ye Olde Yarne Faerie

I have to cast my mind back a looong way to try and recapture the time when I still believed in the tooth fairy and even further still when I still believed in Santa Claus (I do remember thinking that it was odd that Santa's handwriting was so similar to Mum's).

And yet here I am.
Forced, empirically, to believe in the Yarn Fairy.

First of all I have to visualise what the Yarn Fairy looks like...

Like this?

This fabulous woman used to be the check-out chick (she may very well have been the manager, or even owned the place!) at my local mini-mart back in the very early nineties when I lived in the Kings Cross/Darlinghurst area . For non-Sydney readers that's an inner-city area famed for its bohemian grandeur pre-WW2 but during the post-war years it slipped into a sadder red-light/ junkie state of dereliction.

photo: sadly, un-noted. if you're reading this let me know!

Anyway, I used to love stopping in on my way home from college to get a few essentials (student essentials being coffee and toast), just to experience the full wonder of being served by this creation. Yes, her hair really
looked like that. All the time. I used to marvel at how much hairspray she must've gone through. Yes, the nails and the rocks were there too.

Clearly I wasn't alone in my fascination with this local icon, as she popped up featuring in a very glossy magazine David LaChappelle style.

But in my mind, the Yarn Fairy looks more like the animated Elizabeth Montgomery in the opening credit sequence of Bewitched.
I know
she's a witch but, but let's just refer to our friend as Generic Yarn Ethereal Being.

So..the GYEB left me something

200 yards of Jaggerspun Zephyr in Juniper. The colour is quite rich and jewel-like. And the texture.. oooo.

But the real winner is..

The Jaggerspun Zephyr in Black.
Actually I think the folk at Jagger ought to consider calling this one Graphite, as that is exactly what this luscious yarn resembles.

Darkest dark charcoal that it is almost black. Don't get me wrong I'm not complaining. I love colours that are so dark they're almost black.So much richer than straight black. And the contrast of the merino and the Tussah silk gives a sheen contrast as well, the wool being slightly matt-er.

Weight-wise...laceweight. Even doubling up the strands to get gauge (as recommended by Rhiannon at Vintage Knitting) it's so tiny.

Will I go insane before I finish? Well the Goat assures me that level of minute-ness is (apparently) right up my alley, so I should be fine(?)

So now to secure that pair of 2.75 MMs and the v neck can finally get underway.


Road Swatch

Bonnet Swatch,
Reflection of Bonnet Swatch,
Dirty Window,
and the Sydney - Newcastle Freeway at 110K.

Proving that it is possible to wind a ball of yarn and swatch up a 10cm square between Sydney, Tuggerah Lakes (on a visit to the inlaws - let's just say I was glad to have my knitting with me) and back again.

And a very special knitted birthday cupcake (courtesy of Chilli con Yarne ).
for Michael and belated birthday for Tim all the way over there in their bird watching hut in the LA hills.
(Imagine the candle guys!)