FO: matching hat & booties

Pattern: Simple Mules from Crafts Beautiful.
Yarn: ggh cotton, white (tea-dipped). Just over 10 grams. And i mean just.
Materials: 3 MM dpns
Recipient: Jasper
New skills:
Basic theory of shaping footwear.
Making absolutely sure you have enough yarn to complete the project before diving in.

The pattern is easy peasy, I love the simple texture of moss stitch in plain yarn and there's a lot of pleasure in knitting something as absurdly tiny as booties.

Remember how I only had a walnut sized ball of yarn to complete the second bootie and I wasn't sure if I was going to make it?

Missed it by THAT. MUCH.



By 20 centimetres.

The second sole is done in a tapestry cotton almost the same gauge and colour.
It's underneath, no one's going to see it... no wait! don't babies spend most of their time on their back with their feet in the air (and sometimes their mouth)?

Oh well...it's handmade with love.

And seeing as its already vessel wednesday... the matching bonnet inside out

inspired by Martha's interior shots.

For some reason I almost always prefer the (wrong) side of a knitted object and the purly interior of the bonnet reminded me of a basket as I was knitting it.

Ok, so this vessel won't hold water, but it still counts..doesn't it?

* Thanks Max



One. Small. Step....for knitters.

One. Giant. Leap... for me.

Using an existing garment to check size!

I was starting to get a little concerned about my negative ease calculations on Mortie. Especially after watching Sandy Powell's costume designs for Mrs Henderson Presents last night.

Incidentally- how cute is this sweater? And yes this qualifies as Cinematic Knits III.

The 40s silhouette is triangular, with big shoulders, a fair amount of looseness at the top, tapering down to pencil-thin snug at the bottom (relying of course on padding and steel-clad butt-clenching underthings). But I'm..you know... normal shaped and live (most of the time) in the 21st Century. So I thought to use my favourite sweater of all time, my trusty 8 year old black polo neck as my benchmark. It's basically a rib tube, but I figure if I keep checking all my relative lengths, taking the extra widthways stretch of Mortie's rib into consideration, I should be roughly on mark.

I hope.


small step

Lil' Jasper - the intended recipient of the Bonnet - is here, a couple of weeks early.

Matching booties are needed pronto.

The 2 pieces on the left weigh in at 5 grams.

The remaining walnut-sized ball of yarn also weighs in at exactly 5 grams.

Argh..will it make it? C'mon little ball-ey..you can do it.


wednesday already

Vessel Wednesday.

White terrazzo concrete round tapered bowls.

Containing about 40 litres of water, seven
very placid Oryzias latipes (japanese rice fish), one vigorous Nymphoides parvifolia ( a West Australian native water plant), algae, and one Jacaranda blossom because it's that time of year.


stuff and nonsense

Gentle section blocked | The view from where I type.

Two rows of garter at the end of every row" indeed...sometimes obduracy pays off;
rather than rip and work a garter border (which to my mind seemed an incongruously heavy resolution of an essentially airy piece), I stubbornly blocked a section of Gentle to see what would happen.

I think it's absolutely fine.

To paraphrase Ashley & knitting philistine; all part of its inherent undulating charm... thanks gels*!

* That's with a hard 'g' as in golly gosh, St Trinians, jolly hockey sticks and all that...
not the stuff we used to put in our hair in the 80's... or was that just me?


Watcha been froggin' lately?

Me? Only everything I did at yesterday's knitting group.

Went along to a new (for me) knitting group yesterday run by Aspa aka Miss Death.
It seemed appropriate to take along Princess Morte to work on.
Just in case, I took along Gentle as well.

Well... it's clear to me now that I shouldn't take anything more ambitious than a garter stitch swatch along to a knitting group.

Honestly what with all the conversation and stimulation
( I challenge anyone to sit and knit with a large stuffed mammal of indeterminate species with some alarming wire sticking out of its bum, an even larger polystyrene Tiki head and a lifetimes supply of 16mm cult film canisters looming over your shoulder and not repeatedly lose track of where you're up to) I clearly had no idea what I was doing. Normally I'm knitting in a quiet room, solo, in an environment I'm thoroughly familiar sometimes bored with.

But...I got out my knitting last night and I swear someone else had been at it...I mean, was I even paying attention at all to the last 6 rows?

Sigh... frog those.

So to Gentle... just when I thought I'd passed my first lacemaking efforts with flying colours, Aspa raised the curly purly issue (obviously I've been in denial about that) and suggested some garter at the beginning and end of each row. And who am not to heed that advice? Aspa is an intimidatingly experienced knitter people; she was knitting a lace afghan in white yarn without even looking at it while simultaneously carrying on at least 2 conversations.

All I can say is thank goodness Aspa's mum wasn't there yesterday. Her whispered reputation makes her knitting guru status seem somewhat...fearsome.

Do I rip? Pick up stitches at the ends of the rows and work...something? (she said quite unsure of what that something might be), block a section and see what happens to it? Live with it?

Meanwhile, Scout has been frogging her tug toy. Nice work.



From bottom to top:

Gentle scarf in progress

The wall

Your state of mind when you leave all the yarn-over mistakes in and dont frog.

Thanks to all who left such lovely comments on my little experiment.
A few of you were interested to know the stitch pattern. It's "Gentle curves" from Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns. Which I can't in all honesty recommend for reasons I've already outlined previously, but if you're willing to persevere, you can extract some goodness from this publication.
I've modified the pattern a bit and there were various inspirations that led to it. Now that I've got the hang of the pattern, I am positively turbo-ing through the little 220 yard skein and it should be finished soon, and so will post details then.
As I said it started out simultaneously as experiment, as refuge from Mortie's exacting black rib, as pick-me-up after the great Fozzie-Kami disaster (hilarious! will post on that too soon) and as stash-buster.

But to be honest the teal-ey turquoisey hue is one I would never ordinarily look twice at, being more of your dark muted tertiary tone kinda gal, but the beauty of the Zephyr is undeniable; the profound yet so-subtle lustre of the 50% silk has made me think "Hmmm..not bad, not bad at all". And it really sings (harmonically) against cocoa-brown.
But it was your feedback readers that finally tipped the balance, I think this could actually be a garment! OK, so technically an accessory.



Some bloggers subscribe to a little thing called eyecandy friday.

Bugheart has a giveaway Monday.

Even Ashley has the occasional Bail
ey Sunday.

But what about the middle of the week?
Wednesdays for instance. That much neglected milestone of the mid-working (well not technically for us freelancers)- week?

Filling that void -if you'll pardon the pun- is
Needlesedge's Vessel Wednesday.
That's vess
el as in : "a hollow or concave article, as a cup, bowl, ... for holding liquid or other contents". Not the sea-faring variety.

Apart from the obvious alliterative app
eal, I have so many of them and the idea of documenting has been percolating around the back of my mind for a while now.

And this is indeed a concave article, in white ceramic. Holding a mere glimpse of the kilos of white peaches the Goat bought from a market gardeners roadside in Dural (rural outer-outer Sydney) yesterday, minus the ones already greedily eaten while they were still slightly warm from the car. Delicious. And the smell everytime you walk past them is really divine. I thought I'd make an old-fashioned dessert like Peach Cobbler to use them all up.

But there is knitty content here..

This is a little experiment I'm working on in some Jaggerspun the Yarn Fairy left me. A curvilinear lace pattern.
As usual, I prefer the wrong (purly) side.


the ebb and the flow

the stitch and the rip.

Remember how I used her as a bookmark about 2 weeks ago?

Stitches dropped off.
Botched rescue attempt.
Yesterday I was reading Wendy's tale of ripping woe.

And today here I am back where I was 2 weeks ago.
On row 16.

Which makes knitting Mortie feel like Mona Hatoum's
piece " + and - "

Which is a kinetic scuplture where a single turning blade simultaneously rakes grooves into the sand...
then smoothes them over.
Just like they were never there.

Then grooves again....


FO: wee bonny bonnet

Pattern: Top Down Bonnet with Anime Character from Hello Yarn.
Yarn: ggh Scarlett cotton, half a ball (about 25 grams), colour: 023 White (tea-dipped).
Needles: 3MM dpns
For: Friend's baby due in December 06.
Skills learned: Shaping 101
The ears: The pattern for the ears in th
e newborn sizing is a tad large in proportion to the bonnet.
After quite a bit of experimentation I ende
d up casting on 6 stitches, knitting 5 rows -increasing by 4 stitches every 2nd row- until I had 14 stitches, then knitting another 4 rows -decreasing by 4 stitches every 2nd row- until I had 6 stitches remaining. Bind off and sew on.
The pattern says to pick up stitches from the top of the head and work the ears up however (maybe because I'm still learning) I found this ended up with very stretched-looking base stitches and I instead I could get a neater join if I made the ears separately and sewed them on. But to each their own.

The figure 8 cast on: I've lost all sense of how much time I spent trying unsuccessfully to execute this cast on technique. The genius Goat came up with a much better solution ( I say "better" because I could do it..and these things are all subjective after all) which is simply casting on half the amount of stitches you need (obviously this only works with an even amount), then knitting into both the front and back of the cast on stitch. Brilliant!

Subsequently the (elusively named?) author of Hello Yarn has posted
a tutorial here.

Finishing: Obviously I opted to go sans anime character... cute tho' he is!

I'm pleased with the tea dip results. Although hard to tell from the photos there's a subtle variegation in the yarn. And it's very gender-neutral.

Once again, Ms. Vase obliges as model. Although I hope Belinda's baby doesn't have a strange shelf-shaped protruberance around its forehead like ms vase.


Free form

The UTS:Gallery space held an intriguing show yesterday. And as I was early for my class, I was lured inside. The theme digitally mediated environments.

Most of which leave me cold to be honest, but there was one guy's work that drew me in.
His name is Chris Bosse -a European trained, Sydney based architect- who works in biomorphic shapes generated by software.

But it was his analogue work that really intrigued me (just call me old fashioned). An off-white cast resin scale model of this piece (will try and snap a photo next week) was oddly reminiscent of free-form crochet.

And while his work is intended to evoke the forms of cellular structure and soap-bubble film (seemingly an ongoing obsession of his), looking at this one I'm reminded of two things:

1. 1970s "Lycra stretched over hoops" set design (you know the one...used a lot in dance and variety shows
- everything from Martha Graham to Countdown).


2. A moth's eye-view of the inside of a particularly free-form lace shawl.

All of which proves that I'm either:

a) An incurable iconoclast
b) A smart-arse
c) A free-associator
d) All of the above.


Weather aint rockin my blockin

Why is it that it's like an equatorial fan-forced oven outside when you're schlepping the 'not-too-light-model ie cheap' laptop and an equally heavy folio from your car to your appointed rendezvouz for a whole block coz all those pesky students have gotten there early to nab all the parking spots right outside the building and you hence start your day facing 25 adolescents basically drenched, while trying to appear cool calm collected and most imortantly in control of the situation. Yeah right.

Then when it comes time to block that newborn bonnet you have finally finished -after replicating the ear shape purely by eyeballing even though you'd swear you wrote down the sequence the first time on some random bit of paper somewhere...but where?-
the weather takes a capricious turn to the cool, cool, cool and cold.
Moist even.

I'm just hoping the recipient doesn't come prematurely


Well hello... Foz-zie. Well hello... Foz-zie. It's so nice. To have you back. Where you beloooong. *

I'm always telling my students that old chestnut " some
times a picture tells a thousand words" only I try to sound more articulate than that.

The Fozzie Bear chickami.

Enough said.

* With apologies to Jerry Herman.


Taking a wee break from the micro-millimetre universe

There's nothing about the giddy, exhausted aftermath of intense play-reading, back to back lesson-planning, concept-spoon-feeding and power-teaching that a lovely evening, a glass of Western Australian semillon, some stuffed olives and a few rows of K1P1 rib on circulars can't fix almost instantly.

And that certifiably makes me a member of the "caffe-latte-drinking elite" that is the target of so much of John Howard's hate-rhetoric these days... but I digress...

So after all the model making and knitting on skewer-size needles,
I’m feeling the need to do a summer top in an unlikely yarn.

Something fast.
Something highly textured and richly coloured. Hell, if it’s good enough for Stephanie Japel, it’s good enough for me.
So I’m doing Bonne Marie Burns’ ChicKami in a blood red 12ply merino-blend boucle
After Zephyr, this stuff knits up like lightning.
It's in the “That’s so crazy it might just work”! territory.
Then again I could look like a Muppet.
At first, I thought that was a risk willing to take.

But now I'm pretty sure I'm not liking this yarn so much. The colour's not quite rich enough and the nubliness of the yarn, I suspect, will indeed be too muppet-like.

Finally, a major N'OOR* alert for all the dog lovers out there.

* Onomatopoeic. Involuntary sound provoked by exposure to canine cuteness.