A little patterning

On Thursday I took Goat & Goat's mum* to the Craft Fair (yuk website, but readers who haven't been yet might want the info).
MaGoat is a quilter.
So we spent most of the time looking at the quilts.
About ten acres of quilts.
Lots of photo realism.
Lots of sparkly bits.
With the exception of the odd indigo dyed, sachiko-stitched examples (like the one in the above photo), for me it was good practice in dispassionate observation and restraint.
Actually, restraint is an understatement, as MaGoat is a full-on Christian and I spent a good deal of my energy trying not to blaspheme.
Under normal conditions, the quilts would be enough to let the judgement flow as to make a wharfie blush.

Fondled a good deal of yarn, most of which was really overpriced.
Serious yarn addicted readers will be shocked to learn I came away empty handed.
Yarn wise, I was most curious about Eco yarns. And I'm glad I never got around to ordering some online as I gotta say the range was oddly unappealing: rough textured and insipidly coloured.

Highlight of the day for me the Handweavers & Spinners Guild corner.
I'm going to have to find room for a loom, as I'm increasingly drawn to weaving.

The punishing deadline has really kept me away from the blogosphere for a while now. It's been nice to sit down finally with a Winter Vegetable chicken casserole in the oven (thankyou Michelle Cranston for once again saving my culinary arse, as in "what the hell can I make out of what's in the fridge"? ) and catch up on what everyone's been up to (my Bloglines feeds....argh!, but then I no longer get the weekend papers, so I get much more meaningful content this way).

Possibly the most eventful of what you've all been up to is giving birth.
So everyone rush over right now and congratulate Di on the arrival of little C.

*this may seem a perfectly banal fact, but Goat and I have been living together for almost five years and this was the first day we've met.
A red letter day my friends, a red letter day.

Oh, and the gift? Part of Goat's birthday. There's been a lot going on.


Short n sweet

The Baby Kimono is blocked and awaiting sewing up.

Then all that's left to do is decide on the button for the outside closure.

The modernist in me thinks timber tube:Big

no, better yet... small

But the sentimentalist in me says:
"It's a laaaaaady beeeeeetle"...

Which is more baby,
but I'm probably going to go with the tube which is more the garment, and the diameter of the tube sits perfectly in the purl gutter.


Dog ate my homework

Just in case you were wondering where I'd got to, I'm still here, just currently shackled to a scary deadline.

I've been working 'offsite' all week, and Scout is used to me working from home most days.
So instead she's alone in the house for 9 to 10 hours a day which she's clearly pretty pissed off about.

I know this for a fact because she demonstrated her pissed-off edness by chewing through the ethernet plug.
So when I went to plug the ol' laptop into the router the other day, this is what I found. Quite chewed.
I actually found it quite funny at the time.
So...no blogging, no email, no nothing.
It felt
strangely liberating to be momentarily out of contact with a good excuse..."Sorry, dog ate my plug".

Needles Edge is returned to you thanks to a new one, and I'll try to post updates on the Baby Kimono this weekend.
However normal transmission might not resume for another week: just gotta get unshackled from this deadline first.

Hope everyone's having a good week and I look forward to catching up with all your blogs soon!



There will be knitting content dear readers, so if you like you can scroll down over the following paragraph to get to the yarn action.

More of my laser etching arrived yesterday.
When it arrived, I thought the label apt. Not only about the stuff itself, but also alluding to my general state of mind.
Today though I'm feeling much more robust and I'm getting into it.
Which might have something to do with the the wonder of delegating.
I'm really bad at delegating.
Always have been.
But yesterday I asked my colleague to take over the detailing on a mind bendingly complex bit which frankly was doing my head in.
Seriously I was so chronically anxious about it I was waking up in the middle of the night obsessing about how I was going to ge it done.
So I just asked him.
Lo and behold he's fine with it!
It's only taken me twelve years to learn to do that.
With some things I'm a slow learner.

So last night feeling like a huge weight had been lifted off and I could breathe again, I was tucked up in bed with gentle rain on the roof and instead of the usual barely managing to keep the lid on my anxiety, instead I was in a lovely knitting trance.
I cast on and finished the left front of the baby kimono all in one go. Heaven.
Photos tomorrow!


Mea Culpa

Yes it's true, I did force Di to set aside searching for her lost cat Walter for the far more important and pressing issue of publishing the pattern for her baby kimono.
Not only that but I when it promptly arrived, I didn't actually cast it on for
Five. Whole. Days.
I know!... treacherous villain.

Or just slack?

Well, to be fair maybe more like currently going insane with this job...but in the interests of making amends to the knitting gods...

Look at me go! Multitasking, multitasking! Not slacking, really I'm not!

Meanwhile, Stephanie's article in Sunday Life (link over at Poppalina here) is absolutely right about the blogosphere being a network of support and friendship.
Unexpectedly so.
I have evidence here:

I got home yesterday after a truly craptastic day to find a large box almost overflowing with homegrown mandarines,

some homemade jam,
and a lovely card.

(Actually that's not entirely true.
I got home and a couple of hours later checked my email, then crept about in crepuscular darkness outside to find said box of goodies, just like an Easter egg hunt really).

How is it possible that someone can drag themselves away from what Maurice Sendak might refer to as an infant-induced "big shlongola of breakdownville" to hand deliver handpicked/made goodness?
How lovely is that?
And no prizes for guessing who that lovely someone might be... check the beautiful branding.



The long weekend

I hope readers on the Eastern Seaboard have survived the last few days’ storms with their roofs intact. I think we were lucky to get away with a single leaking skylight.

Seeing as I’ve spent most of the long weekend working, I’ve been quite glad of the miserable weather; it makes it so much easier to hunker down without that resentful feeling of not being outside frolicking in the daisies.

I did allow myself the treat of dinner & a movie: Zodiac (beautifully shot, really astute evocation of period and suspense? edge of the seat I’m tellin ya), followed by a Punjabi Thali at Maya .

Mmm mmm.

Oh and Happy (belated) international knitting in public day.

I participated in my own small way.

Waiting twenty minutes for the train home on Saturday, I was glad I had my Tapestry Craft sale purchases: enough Grignasco Bambi for a baby kimono, and a new pair of Knitpicks circulars to cast it on with.

Yes I’ve been to the sale.


Both times I was remarkably restrained though, just a few bits and pieces for gifting.

The latest trip, I'd just been to Funkis (where I got these clogs)

which I'm hearting muchly, and where I was stimulated by the clean yet complex olive greens in amongst the greys, blacks and whites.

I love Funkis.

I’ve always loved Funkis.

I could could move in to and live in a Funkis.

Given unlimited resources, I would go grocery shopping in Funkis.

No wait, they don’t do tinned tomatoes.

I hassled poor Di so much about her Baby Kimono that I'm now taking the pattern for a test drive.

Very sensible of her to change the 2,3 rib into a 3,3, and so far it really couldn’t be easier except for maybe a garter st granny square, I’m really savouring some colour on my needles, and the needles themselves? Smooth, shiny, quite a different handle to bamboo but I think I could be converted, at least in some yarns.

It does feel faster.

To extend the metaphor, it’s like bamboo is fourth gear and nickel is fifth.

But you know…sometimes you need to stay in fourth.


The long + winding road

That leads
To your heel flap.

Passed the honeymoon phase on this a while ago and frankly the last ten centimetres have been in the 'slog' phase.

I felt such a frisson of relief when I worked out I'd done the last row of the hourglass cable.

But now the heel's turned and we're into the home stretch, I'm easily going to make it out of the single 100 gram ball.
which crimps and waves pleasingly now it's down to this size

vessel wednesday
today is a leap into Outdoor Documentary mode.

Anodised aluminium (green) picnic tumber. Probably 60's. From a set of four. Made by Vermont, NSW. That's probably Vermont, Dubbo.

Photographed at a knitting picnic in Balmain I was at on the weekend. Crisp winter sunshine, good company, I even managed to get in a few rows of Clessidra without stuffing up! A good day really.


Le Poste Noir

Scout thanks you for sending her all your best wishes dear readers.

still from outtake of Marcel Carne's forgotten classic Le Chien 1938

Some notes on Clessidra so far:

It may have been because of the clear ineptitude that was inherent in my initial questions about modifications to the pattern that kept Gabriella from responding,or her email may have been on the fritz.
I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt because let's face it, struggling with this beautiful design is worth it.
And I am now thankful... yes, thankful! that I was forced to really engage with it and work it out myself.

Adding stitches: for some strange reason I have muscley calves (strange because I'm the oppostite of athletic..must be a genetic throwback) and so I heeded Gabiella's advice for the more amply calved amongst us and duly cast on an additional eight stitches.
The decreasing modifications are all worked out for you if you go with this option but the the instructions are written in such a way as to make it a tad (for me) confusing how to accomodate those extra stitches into the actual pattern.

Now that I'm about half way through it seems so obvious but starting out?
A bit baffling.
I'm also reminded of similar bafflement with a baby bonnet and a certain notorious felted slipper

Which brings me to thinking about how patterns are traditionally written.

Similar to modelmaking, the kind of instruction or plan I respond to is almost an axonometric sketch showing how all the bits go together with some notes.
I do this for myself to figure patterns out before I cast on.
The convention of a slavish narrative of what to put on which needle is just too abstract, divorced mentally from the final shape.

I read shapes, and how they fit together like sculpture: the stitches just fall into line after that.

I wonder if anyone else knits this way?

Bloody hell she's off on another tangent you're thinking, what does this all relate to Clessidra?

Things I'm liking a lot:
The fact that I bought 20cm bamboo dpns for these.
Despite the fact that my working one repeatedly catches in my sleeve to the point where I'm developing a strange knitting tic, they are long and flexible enough for me to try this baby on every few inches.
Consequently a perfect fit thus far, unlike my previous sock (which I plan to
donate to Bozo the Clown).

Things I'm not liking so much:

Apart from the forementioned, this is not 'sit in front of the telly & veg out' knitting. This is broad-daylight, full concentration territory.

Things I'm amivalent about:

The yarn, so soft but so tightly spun -which I know will make them durable- but makes it liable to sproing-oing off the end of a cable needle at the slightest provocation and run like a scared meerkat down its hole never to be found again, we're talking digging around with the crochet hook back four/five rows...in cables...fun!

Gave up on the instructions for decreasing the twin travelling cables into a single cable just above the ankle and I'm doing a lot of improvising here. But it flows and I think it will be fine.

the foreshortening on this photo makes it seem rather short, but I'm actually almost to the ankle!

Learning to live with mistakes.
So far I've counted five in the hourglass cable alone. Have I gone back and fixed them? Nope.
I figure this is a gestalt knit and no one is going to be examing them with a magnifying glass.

Finally a tip for the beginner:

Don’t place your outdoor knitting chair in long unmown grass at a table which is basically wire, in a spot which is prone to gusts of wind.

You will most likely lose your cable needle and row counter in said long grass and your dog will not be able to help you find them.

Or if she does, she will surely eat the evidence.