Thursday, April 24, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Allaying the post-holiday gloom

While technically I am posting this on a Thursday, "WIP Thursday" just doesn't have the same ring to it. Instead, I'm taking the philosophical approach that time is bendy and a construct anyway and pretending that now is in fact yesterday. *clears throat, glances away shiftily*

To the WIPs! The first one is an oldie (six/seven years old at least) that I was inspired to pull out of its longterm hiding spot behind the couch when I got back home from Queensland and was cold. Since I took this photo I have sewn all of the pieces together and just need to knit on a garter stitch border. The problem I am having is that the blanket is so heavy and large that knitting on it is a logistical issue. I'm pretty excited about the finished project, though, so hopefully that will inspire me to push through the pain.

Sam works with a man who I just don't like. This man recently married and knocked up a woman who I also don't like. There's nothing really wrong with these people - they don't kick puppies or hate rainbows or anything - but they're just not nice or interesting. They're the kind of people who never respond to an RSVP or bother to turn up to a party or give you a birthday present, no matter how much you spent on the Christmas and birthday presents you gave them last year or how important the party is to you. They don't bother to remember your cat's name or your research topic or any of the little details that help build a connection between people. In short, they're just not my type of folk. However, Sam and he get on really well and so Sam asked me very kindly if I wouldn't mind pretty please knitting something for their soon-to-arrive baby. I would usually totally mind but fortunately I have the Shades of Purple blanket from last year that just needs a border and it's done. I do find it hard to motivate myself to work on a project for people who won't even say thank you but Sam doesn't ask for much, so I am doing it for him. I know he will appreciate it.

My final WIP of the week is a new project. When I got home from QLD I was super chuffed to realise I had run out of portable stockinette sock projects because I had finished them all! Yippee!  I immediately cast on a pair of bright and cheerful stockinette socks to help me deal with all the upcoming winter gloom. 

Until next week, adieu (I saw The Sound of Music on the weekend. I'm sorry but I just couldn't help myself).

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Gone fishing...kind of

Hello and happy Easter, everyone. I'm back!

I didn't mention anywhere that I was going, mainly because I am repeatedly horrified by bloggers who blog under their real names and post photos of their local area and house and then tweet things like "Just dropping Fido off at the kennel then off to Bali for two weeks! #holiday". I don't know why then don't just pop a placard in their front window that says "My house is vacant please rob me". Of course, my paranoia is incredibly ridiculous because a) I had a housesitter, so my house wasn't vacant b) other than my adorable cat and 10 skeins of the type of sock wool that was fashionable five years ago, I don't have anything anyone would want to steal and c) I only have about five readers (love you guys! Don't go away despite my irregular postings and too frequent pictures of my cat), BUT STILL!

The holiday started off on shaky grounds when we arrived in Noosa at the same time as the rain band of Cyclone Ita. It was wet and windy but I'm from Melbourne, so if there's one thing I know it's how to deal with wet and windy (and how to complain about it too...) so we packed up the car and went driving to Pomona, a local town with a random great big hill in it.

We tried to drive up to a lookout point but the little Hyundai i20 we'd hired couldn't handle the incline. It was pretty funny hearing the engine go chug chug chug chug chug (although less funny when we slid backwards a little bit. But we returned the car without damage, so no harm no foul).

There was a gorgeous art gallery there in a converted railway station. It's filled with art from local artists and had a wonderful artistic community feel.

Unfortunately, there was not much else to do that was inside, so I went home and drank champagne in the spa (no pictures of that! But it was delightful.)

Fortunately, the weather cleared up and we were able to hire a boat for the day.

Sam said it was like driving an incredibly slow water-capable dodgem car. The hire came with fishing gear, so I had a go at baiting and casting.

Have you ever seen such a natural fisherwoman? However, fishing is incredibly boring, so I lasted about three minutes before pulling out my knitting.

Sam approached his fishing experience with a lot more enthusiasm than me but without much more luck, so we ended up returning the boat with the supplied (optimistically sized) bucket for caught fish completely empty.

The holiday also contained of poolside cocktail drinking and al fresco dining, which was fantastic. It was a lovely holiday and I certainly did not want to come back to cold, wet, windy Melbourne.

The only downside of going away was that I couldn't take Lucy with me. Despite the fact that she was very well looked after while I was gone, she was both incredibly cross with me and incredibly happy to see me. Everywhere I've gone since I've got back I've been followed by a little furry shadow. Her favourite pose is this:

Still able to keep an eye on my but letting me know very clearly that she is Not Happy.

Oh, to be on holiday still!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

WIP Wednesday: New socks edition

Before I get to my new project, I have something exciting to share:

My first capsicum! Unfortunately, when they start to grow capsicums look like butts but still - how exciting! I planted them too late this year to end up with much of a harvest but, since I now know how easy it is to get capsicum seeds (use the seeds from grocery store capsicums - thanks Jamie!), I'm going to plant them much earlier this year.

I finished another pair of socks (pics coming soon once I've found a male to model them) and I figured I'd been so good in finishing off pairs of socks that I had earned the ability to start a new project...more socks. I was so excited to be working on something new that I have zoomed through the foot part of the pair.

It helps that these are for a woman so there's only 64 stitches in each round - that 8 stitches really does make a difference! I've only got 60g of yarn so they'll either be ankle socks or I'll do a cuff in a contrasting colour. Sock knitting is such fun :)

Monday, March 31, 2014

Help! I'm procrastinating...

I am in serious trouble. I have a ridiculous amount of work to do but, instead of actually doing it, I am doing things that sound like they might be scholarly but are actually not. Yesterday, I was reading a book on the gothic heroine in cinema. I then somehow ended up watching this ... was fantastic. There is an unexplained fantasy sequence near the end of the movie where Michael Redgrave's (the grandfather of Liam Neeson's deceased wife Natasha Richardson) character tries himself for a murder that may or may not have happened - it was a pure delight. They honestly do not make movies like this anymore.

But, unfortunately, this viewing did not result in any words being added to my thesis.

I then felt guilty about the aforementioned lack of writing, so I decided to to make myself feel better by making Katharine Hepburn's brownies

These were truly delicious. After eating them, I felt better - or at least fatter! - but still, no more words. I think I might need to start using one of those programs that blocks you from the internet or else I am never going to graduate.

Back to work!!

Monday, March 24, 2014

You know your friends understand knitters when...

.. they send you pictures of their children wearing your knitwear.

Adorable, one and all :)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Bye bye, brioche :(

I mentioned last week that I'd finished my brioche hat. I was quite happy with it - it was really warm and it covered my ears, which I loved. After a week of wearing it around the house, I decided was time to stop faffing about and get the hat out-of-house ready by blocking it.

This was a mistake. 

As soon as the hat hit the water, it doubled in size. I have never seen anything like it before in my life - where did all the extra size even come from? I wish I'd taken before and after shots. If I had, they'd look something like this:

Nice warm hat, covering ears well. Photograph photobombed by cat, as expected.

I am now wearing a skirt on my head.

As I discovered when I was unwinding it, the hat was now big enough for a jumper!


You know how all knitting books say "wash your swatch"? Well, it turns out if you do, then you don't need to spend Sunday afternoons turning this...

..into this.

Wash your swatches, kids. Don't be like me.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

WIP Wednesday: I just can't help myself

Frequently, I say to myself, "This year, I'll cut down on my WIPs." Just like a person for whom this bag of chips is their last bag of chips or someone who really really intends to go to their next exercise class tomorrow, I promise myself that I'll institute a one-off-the-needles, one-on-the-needles policy, or even finish projects and just not cast on anything at all, resulting in an reduction of total number of WIPs. I make a proclamation on my blog or to Sam that this time, it'll be different - I really will frog, fix or finish my way down to five WIPs or fewer. Really!

But then I get what I can only describe as a compulsion and start rifling through my stash, pairing up patterns with needles and yarn and starting the whole thing all over again.

This is a simple scarf in linen stitch in some Mirabol Hachu from the deep deep stash. It looks fantastic but it, like brioche stitch, is really slow going - the distance between the markers is what I knit yesterday with this as the only project I worked in all day (in fact, linen stitch basically is brioche stitch, instead that rather than wrap the yarn around the needle you move it to the front or back). I cast on provisionally because I like both ends of the scarf to match perfectly. At this rate, it'll be over a month before I finish it but it looks really gorgeous so far, so I think it'll make a gorgeous scarf.

And once I'm done, I really will wrestle those WIPs down!!