Cezanne said something about all things being composed essentially of differing proportions of grey. That may have been more true in nineteenth century Paris, but I think to some extent it is still. Most colours do contain varying degrees of grey and often when I'm mixing colours they don't seem quite 'right' until I add a tiny bit of grey, either cool or warm.

It's been very grey and rainy in Sydney for about 3 solid days, I'd forgotten what sunlight looked

Today the rain was gone, the sky clear and blue, the sun shining.

Obviously this was a shock to the system because what did I buy?

Grey yarn.

I had a meeting on the North Shore and afterwards I needed some yarn therapy...you know...to calm
Hey, it's better than smack (I know Keith Richards might disagree with me on this one).

So I just sort of intuited myself towards Rubi + Lana.

This yarn shop is strictly a no-crap zone, why have I not been here before? Wait a minute, maybe coz it's....
on the North Shore?
Now, before the invective flows dear readers, I come from the North Shore, so I'm allowed to make fun.

Unlike Tapestry Craft where they categorise stock by weight (logical), the gals at Rubi + Lana sort their stock by colour (pretty).

Slowly but surely I was drawn to Grey Corner, where I spent quite a bit of time comparing subtle greys with even subtler greys, thinking of swatching for Here and There Cables and just lost in the
pleasure of grey.

I came away with a few bits and pieces (yep, all grey) including some of their house brand sock-weight in charcoal. It looks like plies of dark and medium charcoal twisted around each other.
All you yarnophiles out there...
is this heathered or marle?

Thankyou everyone for your get well soon wishes for Scout, it's nice to know the blogosphere cares, really. She's almost back to her old self. Bandages off tonight!


Greetings from Convalescent Ward G

Scout would like all her well wishers to know that she's on the mend. She's filling her hours with sleeping, eating a lot of hospital food, watching re-runs of Inspector Rex , chewing open Get Well Soon card envelopes, and making her bandages as dirty and stinky as possible (a dog has her image to maintain you know).
She would also like you all to know that her humans -after the Discharge night of sleeping "let's all pretend we're in Japan"! style on the floor - will also be on the mend after a few intensive chiropractic sessions.

PS: Edited to add - Scout also humbly apologises for the quality of the grainy night-time photography. It's just so hard to get good help these days.


Fuzz + Shadow

Thanks everyone for your great feedback on Ultra Raglan.
A little progress report: it's actually been cool enough to wear it.
Around the house, to the dogpark, in fact it's just the thing for flyfishing in Newfoundland.

it's already pilling a little.

No matter...I'm already on to the next thing.

Jo Sharp Rare Comfort Kid Mohair in Char.
(Yep, more JS. Nope, don't have shares).

Ah mohair, my first love.
I really.
A lot.

Except I find it peskily difficult to photograph.
How do you capture the unique texture?
I ended up photographing the fuzz shadow.

It's going to go a bit quiet around needle's edge - Scout is going in for surgery tomorrow and I'll be dividing my time between work, Scout's bed and a pot of mushy chicken risotto perpetually on the bubble.

Have a good weekend everyone.


FO: Ultra Raglan

Pattern: Ultra Raglan from knit issue 1

Yarn: Jo Sharp Silkroad Ultra. Colour: Rosso - a fraction over 16 balls. Verdict: I've already waxed lyrical on this yarn's smoothness as it flies pleasingly and insistently across the bamboo (oops,there I go again), but for latecomers: in short - fab!

Needles: 6 + 6.5 mm bamboo circulars

Modifications: Sizing, sizing, sizing:

According to the folk at Jo Sharp Inc, I'm halfway between a B and a C.
I worked the A.

Plus I used needles one size smaller than specified to counteract my loosey goosey knitting style.
And I think the fit is just right.

Go figure.
Body: a couple of centimetres longer than pattern.
Sleeves: much longer than the pattern. I basically kept going til they seemed 'right'.
Rib pattern: in lieu of the dinky little 2x2 rib band at the bottom (which I think is becoming a pet hate of mine..that little ubiquitous band), I substituted the rib from another pattern in the same book: the Men's Ribbed Raglan Sweater (prosaic titles aren't they?).

New skills
: Seaming!

General comfort/snuggle factor: Max!

Time: Cast on 4th April. Wove in last end: 15th April: 11 days.

I know there are some bloggers out there that could whip off an afghan, a quilt, 3 pairs of socks and a tea cozy in that time. But hey, 11 days is pretty speedy for me, helped of course by the chunky weight yarn.

Indebted to: words of wisdom from Rosered of the impact of smaller needles on drape, an
d to Pikku Kettu for her invaluable instructions on picking up neck stitches. Thanks gals!

more photos here


Weekend of endless ends.

Pear and Ginger Cake. From Fresh.

Some old friends M + T, who live in LA now and I get to see, oh, about once every two years were in town for about three and a half hours on Friday afternoon.

So I baked a cake.

Which is unusual for me- Goat's usually the baker par excellence in this household.

I quickly wrote out a shopping list, glad that Beurre Boscs are in season, and even though I ended up with out eight times as much almond meal as I needed, we only had half the amount of baking powder. Bugger. Had to improvise. This and the fact that we're still learning to drive our 'new' oven means I was a tad concerned it was going to turn out to be a Pear and Ginger Pudding. Which wouldn't be so bad I guess.

Not only that but as I was folding the batter (Goat also taught me how to do that, apparently I used to be a basin-basher), I also started fretting about how I was going to break it to T that I really didn't want to see his latest film as it's full of shouting bare-chested men. Gerk.

"Oh look, maybe it just won't come up" I reassured myself as I slid the cake in to the oven with fingers crossed.

I wonder if Martha Stewart had this much stress to deal with.
No wonder she turned to insider trading.

So anyhow...
Quick trip to the AGNSW today. Straight past the
Archibald (the Lucien Freud look seems to be de rigeur these days), and up the stairs to the Howard Arkley.
for a retina-stimulating interplay of solids and obsessive patterning.

No knitting this weekend, merely the weaving in of about thirty six ends (I wasn't actually counting, but it actually felt like a hundred and thirty six.
Don't get me wrong, I started out all excited by my new ends-weaving tutorial in the Spring Knitscene. It's all about the diagonal. I'm amazed. Well, amazed for about the first four. After that it loses its appeal somewhat. After about twenty it's strictly for the birds.
I actually wove in the last one this afternoon. That means Ultra Raglan is finished except for a quick block of the neck, and that my life suddenly has no meaning.

The UR as a mass of knitted yarn, unworn, sitting on a chair certainly does seem to have magnetic qualities. T + M both grabbed and fondled it,oohing and ahhing, asking what kind of yarn it was, debating its precise shade ("Thai Sunset" was one suggestion...personally I'm sticking with Red Oxide), and dropping real subtle hints for future gifting. As in "I'm a 44 Long".

I blame it on all the sugar from the cake.
Which, by the way, was delicious. Even if I do say so myself.


Cleft in twain

Hanging out the washing today (the glamour, the glamour) I discovered my favourite old linen bedsheet had almost completely ripped along the little perforated line detail along the edge.
As I tugged at the damp mass in the basket, it just went zzzzzzzzzttttttttt.
Just like a zipper.

And speaking of cleaving. have you seen the intrepid steeking adventures of Pikku Kettu and Brooklyn Tweed? I'ts like extreme sports for knitters.

No vesselling yesterday. At least I can always vicariously vessel (yes, it's a verb now) via others.
No, I was feeling too dispondent yesterday to vessel. That old Ultra, she was a-buggin' me. I had visions of shapeless potato sacks and gapey holes.
But after some fab advice from aforementioned pikkukettu (the blogosphere! She is like a virtual grandmother- dispensing knitterly wisdom- but without the personality disorders), and getting within the last inch of the neck cast off I am buoyed up again.


Anatomy of a Stitch

Is somewhat like Botany.
I now know my heads from my bars.

I've finished making up Ultra Raglan and I've done edge to edge -or ladder- stich on my raglan seams (heads).
And I've done Invisible Vertical Seam -or mattress- stitch on my sides

There's a lot of side. Wow is there a lot of side.

I only wish I knew my head from my ...something else..., coz there is one part of the stitch anatomy that is still eluding me..and that's which bit to pick up from on a neck edge.

The ones above have been frogged already.

I know all you helpful readers out there will be offering advice and maybe even Powerpoint tutorials, such is the joy of the knitting blogosphere, but know that by the time I check back in with you, I will have stubbornly had another go at it myself and fudged something I think is OK.

Good thing I enjoy the actual process of knitting. Seems a lot of work for what I suspect may be a big red potoato sack.

You know... it's interesting that the very first thing I knit last year, a plain old rib scarf out of handpainted brushed mohair, is still my favourite thing. The fringeing may be starting to felt into dreadlocks, but I wear it a lot, it makes me genuinely happy, and I still adore the yarn as much as when I first saw it hanging on the skein there in the shop. In fact I was wearing it the other night at the movies and found I was petting it like a cat. But then, the movie was Running With Scissors.

More poignant than "hilarious".

Still feeling the emotional afterfmath a bit.

Maybe I'll go and pet some mohair.


And they knit until they're crosseyed

They tango till they're sore *

Today's post carries a parental guidance warning:May contain coarse language.

What's everyone else been doing over Easter?
I for one have been knitting Ultra Raglan indeed til almost crosseyed. At least blurryeyed, calloused and in a deep trance.
I'm determined to finish the sleeves tonight (working two at once on circs). Then all I've left to go is the neck which in my book is the best part of this design. Although time will tell whether I can pull it off.

Completely off-knit: what is it about jeans?
During a diabetic-coma-inducing-jeans-shopping-marathon today, I came very close to asking one of the retail sales assistants whether anyone does in fact manufacture a style somewhere between the extremes of "Bum-less Dude" and "Spray-on Slut".

You know, like something that a gal this side of 40 can wear?

Two and a half hours later I emerged with 2 pairs, so hopefully I won't have to go through that again for quite some time, or at least not until the spray-on tubular stovepipe look is over. Could someone please alert me as soon as that happens? I'd be most grateful.

Some more orange to go with the persimmons and Christy's silky tweed. I sense a theme emerging.

* Apologies to Tom Waits


A very orange-themed vessel wednesday

I was inspired by Christy to photograph some orange this morning. Just happened to have some persimmons lying around as you do and thought they might work tonally with Christy's Silky Tweed. If you haven't seen it, check it out. Although a warning, if you haven't had breakfast yet ( all you musicians out there know what I'm talking about ) you should before you have a look, otherwise an overwhelming craving for wholemeal toast with orange marmalade may overwhelm you. Which is not a bad thing.

Now if you're in the Southern hemisphere this will be a belated vessel wednesday.
But if you're like Martha (also incidentally no stranger to orange) and you're in the Northern, then this is right on time (and probably less confusing).

The vessel: a huge pleasingly chunky ovoid white ceramic platter picked up for next to nix at a closing down sale. Weighs a tonne and probably intended to serve whole roasts with all the trimmings. However roast joints with trimmings being rather rare chez Needles & Goat, it comes in very handy for storing a weeks worth of fruit shopping.
Or in this case more modestly with 3 persimmons.

On a more knitting-themed note, but an equally thrifty one- I picked up a copy of IK's Scarf Style at my favourite 2nd-hand bookshop Elizabeth's.
I'm hypnotised by uber talented Norah Gaughan's Here and There Cables (check out knitting box's).
I'm thinking alpaca, I'm feeling a big rip coming on...


Smooth as

Jo Sharp Silkroad Ultra?
Smooth as.
I mean this stuff just charges off the needles like teflon.
I like the way quality yarn gives you not so much your usual chevron-shape on your knit stitches, but rather an aysmmetric twist.

Thank you to everyone for your tension/gauge advice!
Thank goodness for the clear-headed RoseRed advising me not to go down to the 5.5mms!
In my fever to get gauge I totally lost sight of the concept of drape. The fabric that this rib pattern is producting is stiff enough, if I was working it in anything less than 6.5mms it would probably be like cardboard.

The thing I don't like about Ultra Raglan design is the dinky little inch of rib at the bottom (in fact it's all about the neck), so I tossed up whether to go with the "all stockinette n curl up" look that she does elsewhere (and I kinda like) or this rib from one of the mens sweater patterns. I liked how the stitch came up in the swatch so much I'm charging ahead with this option.
See how it goes; a bit of an experiment.
And if it doesn't work out, this is so fast to knit it doesn't really matter if I have to frog (well, not much anyway).