Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What would I do without YouTube?

Say what you like about the nasty porn, the racist epithets and so on, there are things I love about the internet.

One thing I love is YouTube. Not for dumb videos blogs or video of people hurting each other.

No, I love it for the fact I can learn how to do just about anything with a simple search.

For example.. things I have learned from YouTube.

1. How to tie a sari for my LARP character.
2. How to neatly and easily carve a whole turkey!
3. Information about top and bottom bobbin tension (several)
4. And today, how to attach bias binding!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I would have sworn I blogged pre-Christmas... (pic heavy & long)

But apparently this isn't the case.

So first off. Merry Christmas (or your chosen holiday of this time of year).

This is our tree, from Christmas morning. With small person looking through for presents for one of the people present (at that time, her, me, and her dad).

There was MUCH baking done. Some (uncharacteristic) family dramas (though thankfully, not on the day itself). There was fairly mild weather (hurrah). My maple glazed ham was awesome, and so was my turkey and the pudding was stupendous. Okay not a lot of modesty there, but I loved eating them anyway. Family reaction was a bit more varied. ;-)

And there was loot. Too many to list here, so I'll just mention those likely to be of interest to the bulk of my readership. (ha! I have a readership. giggles..)

I got a beautiful necklace to go with last years bracelet & earrings. black with pearls and silver beads. I also got a gorgeous book on gothic art. Thus..

You can see the necklace in the next picture.

Sitting on another gift - a signed first edition of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. :)

On the holidays front, I've also been working on sewing a bit. I am aiming to sew actual pieces of clothing.

You see, I made the doll's clothes my daughter requested. While fiddly, it did wonders for my self-confidence for sewing. You can see them here. Princess and Prince Charming costumes. Made by varying the patterns for basic dresses/pants etc.

So anway. I first tried a simple skirt for my daughter. Which she loved.

Next came..

the butterfly dress. Which was also a hit.

After this? Well... I'm going to try something for me.

This. In blue with random white polka dots. Which makes me happy.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christmas projects!

Okay, I have been totally burning the candle at both ends of late. Not with frivolty, no, no.

With working during the week and the working on Christmas/house projects on weekends.

You've seen the deck and the shawl. (And Clem, the shawl was done in 5ply and took about 2 and half weeks. It was fast because it was interesting and portable. And I was paranoid about not getting it done before Christmas).

Other stuff I have done ... curtains. This is sheer and heavy ones for the living area and dining area, and just the sheer ones for the quiet room. They are awaiting a final spot steaming of creases and hemming. And they look like this.
That quiet room is more of "project room at the moment. See? (For my friend who had asked what happened to it).
So the projects.

We have the aprons for gifts. These use the excellent Lotta Jansdotter pattern from Simple Sewing. Using a Michael Miller and Japanese fabrics. The middle one is my favourite - and matches my decor so I had to resist the temptation to keep it!

Then we have this little guy I finished today on behalf of a friend who is about to become an uncle and wanted a gift for his new niece/nephew to be.
It's another Michael Miller fabric (I don't pick out his stuff especially, but it does end up coming home with me a lot!) using another Softies book pattern. More Softies I think it was.

And today I picked up the fabric for those cushions for my nephews. After searching through all my stash I discovered that is almost all either unsuited to cushions, girly or grown-up neutrals.
Oh and I got suckered by the cool 50s housewife Christmas print.. another Michael Miller. [shrug]
And I also bought a bunch of girly-frou-frou satin etc. for a present for my daughter. She wants a princess and prince costume for her girl and boy dolls. I'll find time somehow. I was going to photograph it to show, but she surprised me and I only just got it hidden in time! Evenings only project ;-)

So I have the end of my Koolhaat to knit (about 3 rows), 3 cushions for which I am learning appliqué, a doll's princess outfit, a doll's prince outfit, if I have time 4-5 oven mitts, and something with that cool 50s housewife fabric. Maybe a table runner.

Oh and steaming and hemming the curtains.

However, I do not have any other presents left to buy. Oh I lie. I need to buy 3 small boxes of chocoltates - two for my team at work and one for my cleaning lady. And that makes the work I do need to do not seem so bad.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Things I love...

Some of you might have noticed the impending holiday season. (40 days left)

Well, this year (unlike many) I am feeling more than usually prepared.

There are many things that have been recently finished around my house (in prep for Christmas) that I love.

One of these my Dad and Stepmum did - our new, huge and ultimately fabulous outdoor decking. Let me show it off...
And, notice the wonderful inset pond, that makes the whole thing flow into the garden... beautiful!
(It is huge - about 8 m by 4m in size!)

Things that I have actually done...

Finished my MIL-to-be's shawlette. Which I am very happy with.
And the action shot... (I tried for a front-ways one, but you can't see much of it and the photo was way to contrast-y to post.)
I think it's pretty, and a nice size. If I made another as a shawlette, the only thing I'd do differently is add another pair of repeats so it came over the front more. But lovely still.

From here, its a lot less knitting and more sewing. I'm making a swag of aprons for family for Christmas. But, for this weekend, and probably next weekend... curtains.

Our living area and spare room have no window coverings bar paper (We've been here a year, but the money wasn't really there). And we didn't want another summer without proper window coverings. So, we did the deal and bought curtains. Or more to the point, I bought tracks, hooks and lots of fabric. Custom made curtains were way, way out of budget. And I have a discount cards for textile traders and spotlight.

So I have several piles like the one below in my future. And a big roll of heavier blockout fabric. Sigh. I keep telling myself that prefect rectangles etc. don't matter too much, and that noone is going to score me on hemming of curtains. However, I'm such a perfectionist, it takes real effort not to beat myself up over stuff like this.
Photos when I'm done.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Things I love

Well, there are many.

But since I am now heading into sewing-for-Christmas-time, there is one thing I really wish I could afford to spend money on right now.

Japanese fabric. They have the nicest stuff.

Like linen, and high quality cotton. And the cutest stuff that never gets twee.

Take a look over on Superbuzzy. It's Japanese fabric mecca. (Excuse the mixed metaphor) I've heard. I haven't ever bought anything from them, but boy do I window shop a lot!

On a rough estimate, I clocked up around $80 without thinking too hard. And they don't even have any linen out at the moment.

*sigh* Back to stashbusting..

Friday, October 31, 2008

So.. I've been knitting

Yes, I know its been a while.

The secret (tm) project is done. I have finished a couple of things, and started on some more.

So we have...


Pinky Cloud.
This was happily recieved by its owner who wore it to a wedding, where she stopped every single person who spoke to her to tall them that it was new, and that her mummy made it for her :)

Aura hat.
Gift for Christmas for surfing sister in law to be at some point. It's made from Rowan Calmer, which I love the finished product of, but don't love the price. Thankfully, this only took the single leftover ball I had. Altered to knit in the round because it would be silly not to.

Vintage beret.
Finished Christmas gift for daughters (other) teacher. (She has two). Very nice finished product. I used Sublime Cashmerino Silk DK, which I can't recommend enough. Beautiful stuff. (And just to tease... see that pinky edge in the corner of the picture? Secret gift!


Koolhaat. (in joke, sorry) Okay, not much done on this. It got sidelined by my other new project...

the Da Vinci Shawl.
This one was from a Ravelry knit-along. I'm not doing the full sized shawl (I only have two balls and doubt the recipient-to-be would wear a full sized one anyway. I'm very much enjoying knitting it though. And surprisingly easy to knit in transit, so there you go!
I've also picked up a copy of the book, More Softies. The website is here:

Which may become toys for gifts for Christmas, but possibly not because I have since found out my Sister in law would like personalised floor cushions for her brood. I wish I had known this before I bought the book, not 2 days later. Sigh. Money is tight, and I probably would have left it to buy later. Oh well. It is a lovely book, and thanks to discount vouchers, wasn't terribly expensive.

I also need to make curtains for the lounge before summer. But it's what, at least 54 days til Christmas. Ages. Right? Ha!

Be well all.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

yeah, not much blogging, sorry.

I blame two things.

Warhammer Online. (wave that geek flag!)

And the fact that I am knitting my mum a Christmas present (hi mum!) so can't blog it.

I should be done soon. I hope.

More stuff after that, k?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Math geek strikes again!

Yes, you remember this part of me, right? Where I feel the need to reassure myself through math..

Feeling like I wasn't making progress on the baby blanket.

So I make my Excel spreadsheet. The first column is the block number, then the number of stitches in the block and then rows and then the % complete when the block is finished.

Sigh... my maths heritage always comes out eventually.

Note to self

Dear Spider_knit,

Christmas, you know that big family event at the end of the year where you make stuff for people and give presents? Well, that is happening before any of the babies that are coming.

I know - babies are exciting. And cute. And fun to knit for.

But if you want to give those people those things you were thinking of for Christmas.. well, you'd better get off your butt and get started.


Fondest regards,

Your ever hopeful,


p.s. a photo to show dispite current illness, knitting is happening.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

We have booties! (and a spring cloud on the horizon)

So, the booties are done. Honestly, I think the sewing up took longer than the knitting.
Here they are in their insufferable cuteness ;)
And then there's the daughter's summer cardigan.

Those of you following for a while know that I try to knit one summer and one winter jumper or cardigan for my daughter. Inspired by a photo on Ravelry, (and the promise of a quick knit), I've started on a cotton blend Cloud Bolero (Ysolda pattern).

So far so good, one evening of watching Hellboy on TV and a big chunk done. (The original specification was "pink with a purple ribbon". She picked pink yarn (after a lot of "this one! I love this one!... No! This one!" etc. And then forgave the purple ribbon for a life-like pink flower button. If she wasn't five and as cute as a button herself, I suspect it'd look ridiculous. But I think she'll just look cute. :)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Heartfelt makes me swoon..

And want to be girly, and skinny and flounce around with big dark eye make-up waiting for Mr Darcy to take me to tea... erm... *cough*

My Heartfelt book and Rowan 44 arrived yesterday. Which means record time - I ordered on Saturday (their Friday but still) from the UK. 3 and a bit days people. From a whole 'nother country. Why is our service so poor from elsewhere? (Yes America, I am looking at you.)

At any rate, Heartfelt is definitely my favourite knitting book. Maybe ever. I want to get the yarn for several items in it and wear them. Like right now.

Not that Rowan 44 isn't getting the love, no, I like many items in that too. But Heartfelt is .. my inner knit desires made in a printed form.

Oh and I'm knitting booties. Good gracious they are quick! I've nearly finished one today, just in transit with no other knitting time! Photos when done.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Yes, I'm knitting.

I'm even feeling like I'm making progress, which is saying something since I've only been sporadically in transit. I'm upto block 6 of 10. But of course they get bigger as you go, so.. my calculations say about 33% done. But it feels like it should be a lot more, so maybe there is something wrong with my maths. I know, we're been down that road before...

I'm enjoying it really. Switch brain off. Knit. Occasionally count ridges. Knit some more. New colour. Wheee! Knit.. repeat.

Here it is. Lovely look to it in person, and I'm liking the yarn. Which is surprising because its acrylic, and I'm a yarn snob. I mean, I wouldn't wear anything out of it, but it doesn't suck as a gift yarn for non-knitting aficionados. It's Sirdar Snuggly DK. I give it a 3/5 for general yarn consumption, and maybe a 4/5 for a non-natural fibres (Calmer would get a 5, in case you are wondering. But its 3 times the price, sooooo...)

And if you're my brother, stop looking. It's a secret. (Are you listening mother dear? Don't show him, ok....)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

WAR ate my knitting time

I was doing great on the knitting Olympics... up until about .. um.. Friday.

Which would be when I got into WAR, otherwise known as Warhammer Online Beta.

This has sucked all knitting time as I geek out completely. Ahhhhhhhhhh.

Photos of blankie in progress later. Sorry. Bed now. Work tomorrow, and my man's birthday.

Happy Birthday honey!!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Fuzzy Feet mk. 2

Okay, the second pair of Fuzzy Feet are completed, felted and gifted to the very appreciative mother in law.

Here they are post felting.
I have to give the Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran a big thumbs up for felting. These were hand felted and the finished quality was really quite good.

And, in another note I have "swatched" for the baby blanket. It's not proper swatching, I don't care terribly much if it is on on guage or not, just that I am happy with the finished fabric density.
I am. That means it's all systems go for the knitting of the Moderne Baby Blanket for the Knitting RavOlympics! Yay!

(And those of you who have no idea what I am talking about.. well, it really doesn't matter).

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Because some days i just want something to do the work for me.

Work is hard. Work avoidance is enjoyable. Thus, I give you wordle. This is my blog graphically, apparently. Get your own at http://wordle.net/

(Oh and the second pair of slippers are done bar the felting. Photos later.)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Joss Whedon online musical number

Go now. Right now. Watch this.

I love Joss Whedon.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Arrowhead shawl is done!

I was going to title this "I think I may have become French" but thought people searching for it may not have look at it ;)

So why French? Because apparently I have become the kind of person who wears scarves as an accessory - quite a new thing for me.

In that vein, I've been knitting the Arrowhead shawl.
And the detailed up-close photo:

And the stretched out to see it all together photo:

and the pre-blocking photo. Anyone considering not blocking, take a look at this compared to the after photos. Huge difference.
This is possibly the best use I've ever done of variegated sock yarn. Thoroughly recommended. (Touch 4ply, if you're wondering).

Saturday, July 19, 2008

troll boots .. or why I won't have cold feet anymore

I finished my Fuzzy Feet.

They are very very nearly dry.

I got impatient and hand felted them, which was not difficult and most consisted of what I imagine non-knitters would do to a hand knitted item that was really dirty. Or perhaps had a nasty stain.

I tried them on periodically wet while felting them, checked inside and out to compare colour and evenness to decide which I liked better and so on.

Then they got worn wet for a long time to shape them, then put in front of the heater to finish drying.

They fit pretty well I think.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Making jumbo socks

For felting.

My house is kind of cold, and my feet, once cold, stay that way.

So, I'm making a quick-knit pair of slippers. Fuzzy Feet from knitty to be specific.

First one is done. Note the comparison of size with my converse hightops. It's waiting a mate before being felted. (No, not a gauge error).

And progress is being made on the scarf/shawl. Since you knit from the point and get bigger, I'm slightly bored with it as the shine of very quick rows disappears with the increasing number of stitches. Which is fine, and I'll get back to it after finishing my slippers.

They are much quicker and I'm sure a few more episodes of Dead Like Me will do it. I love this series, I'd forgotten all about it until it came up in conversation at Stitch and Bitch recently, and I have reaffirmed my love of its quirky-macabre humor. Wonderful.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Decisions, decisions..

Ah, siblings have no respect for stashbusting.

My brother is going to be a dad. It is their first child, and is a naturally big deal for him and his partner.

Of course, this requires knitted goodness.

Now... I love my brother. But....


He doesn't take care of stuff the way I do. (Actually, the way most people do.) Anyway, this means that baby stuff for them will require a certain level of unkillable-ness to it.

Since this generally means either cotton or mega-superwash wool or (gasp!) acrylics.. I really do not have anything suitable in my stash, and certainly not in the quantities required. Okay, I can do a hat or booties from stash and probably will, but I am thinking you know, its my brother, and I think I need to go the whole hog and knit them a baby blanket.

Those of you who knew me around 4ish years ago may recall much complaining on my part as I finished my last baby blanket - for my nephew-in-law. It was moss stitch. It was beautiful. But it was moss stitch and therefore god awful slow to knit. (At the time it was also the largest single piece of knitting I had done.)

So, while I am definitely more experienced now, and prepared for the slowness, I still want to pick a more interesting choice to knit.

And this, dear reader, is where you come in.

I am considering one of two patterns, and looking for suggestions for not-too-expensive unkillable yarn.

Pattern One : The Pinwheel round baby blanket.

This would be knitted in probably rainbow striped colours I think. The good example shown above by Knittingnav via flickr.

Pattern two : Moderne Baby Blanket from Mason Dixon.
Again in different colours to those shown here (by Katinka31 via flickr again), since they don't know what they are having.

What do you think? Opinions? Thoughts?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Warning : Unrelated-to-knitting content. A letter to my mentor.

Okay, this is an out of the ordinary thing. I don't even know if I will send him this link or not, but I feel like I want to get this out there.

Tomorrow, Friday, a man I greatly respect is retiring. This man was instrumental in my career and I am very, very grateful to him.

I'd write his name, but I don't have his permission to put it up, so I won't.

But I like the idea that my gratitude be out there in the ether of the web, spreading good vibes about him, because he so very much deserves them.

I have a small gift for him, that I will give him tomorrow. And this letter, which I will also post below.

Cheers. Next post will be back to the knitting, promise.


I’ve thought a lot about this, and am still not entirely sure what to write.

Mostly, what I need to say is simple, but terribly important.

Thank you.

I am incredibly grateful for all of the support, and guidance you have given me over the years I have known you. I know, absolutely and in truth, that I would not be where I am today without your help, knowledge, guidance and encouragement.

Through you I have learned to read what people are really seeking as well as what they say. How to suggest a new way of doing things without telling the client they have been doing it wrong. How to weather office politics with decorum and self-respect. How to moderate my extremes and still be true to myself and what I believe in. How to better pick which battles are worth fighting and which will just cause you grief later. How to get clients on side. How to teach without being didactic. And, hopefully, as I now take on my own management responsibilities – how to be a manager while respecting what your people bring to their work.

It was an honour and pleasure to have worked with you.

I wish you all the very best life has to offer.



Friday, June 27, 2008

Socks are done.

Thank goodness.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Oh and I'm knitting

I thought I should mention, in hindsight of the last post, that I am actually continuing to knit.

I am currently turning the heel of the second Anastasia, which has progressed reasonably well despite my these-are-taking-forever prejudice against them.

They now look like this:And I have resisted casting anything on. I intend to still try to knit small gifts etc as I go with other bigger projects, so the yarn purchase is more of a stumble, rather than a complete leaving of the wagon. But damn.

Arrrrgh - thump. Defn: the sound someone makes falling off the yarn wagon.

Pride cometh before a fall.

I post here the message of downfall I sent to Bibnbub...

I made the fatal error. I planned for the next thing I really, really want to knit.

I created a checklist (wishlist) of all the colours I need for the Smoulder cardigan.

It takes a total of 15 balls of yarn in 8 (!!) colours. 5 of these are discontinued colours.

Janette’s Rare yarns had two of them with a note to email her if you were after something not listed.

I emailed her the wishlist. She mailed back in under 5 min (again !!) to say she was only missing 3 colours, and had 10 balls of the 5 I am seeking! And it’s under $80!)

And then, I looked at who on Ravelry to see who might have the ones I am missing for trade/sell. One person in perth has lots of one of those left. I sent her an email.

I have shades of the Evil Willow episode of Buffy. With Anya and Xander talking. And Anya explaining that when good people go bad they go like, really bad. And I just used a Buffy reference - and tried to Wiki it to get it right - to make a point about my yarn. Oh god. I need to sleep. Or something.

See? Yarn evil. Take over brain.

Anyone have either Night Sky or Fandango in Rowan 4 ply cotton? It hopefully will be all I'm missing...

Sunday, June 08, 2008

I love quick projects

I forget sometimes that knitting doesn't have to be about long term but beautiful things.

Sometimes small can be pretty too. I finished the beret for my daughter's teacher. It's to be a Christmas gift - I have a list of these to do over the coming 6 months as part of the using of the stash.

This is what it looks like on me. Only one photo, because in every other photo, for reasons I cannot ascertain, I look very stoned. And the one photo that would have been great was completely washed out in the upper range - meaning the light beret couldn't be seen properly.
It's pretty, using the Gretel pattern I mentioned earlier and some Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed. I'm fond of this yarn, having used it before, but in this instance I think it was a bit thicker than the called for yarns, meaning a more slouchy and larger beret than originally intended. Not ridiculously so or anything, so it was stay as is.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

I picked Gretel .. and the finished Daisy Cardigan

Because if you are going to be distracted, you may as well pick something you need to do anyway.

It looks like this...the yarn (Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed) is a pretty, pretty colour. I think of it as cornflower purple...

And I finished the cardigan, but it has no buttons because my man went out all Saturday afternoon and thus there was no button shopping. It looks like this...

and from the back with the arms held out...
It's a little big, but not as much as you'd think because its based on an older pattern for kids which is more boxy with lots of ease. Plus you know sprogs grow...

oh and that's our new lawn in the background. Yay for lawn and less sandpit..