Saturday, November 29, 2008

Taking leave for a while...

Okay, this'll be short and sweet (and free of blurry photos for a change), for I have a 6am plane to catch!

Am heading off to gallivant merrily (i.e. freeze my joyful behind off) around the northern hemisphere, so things will be a bit quiet on the blog front over the next month (though you never do know - there might be the odd people out of me - it remains to be seen). Though I'll definitely have the knitting and the writing with me (as well as a truly impractical amount of books, and a large handful of sudoku puzzles), so things will still be carrying on as normal...

Heaven knows it'll be nice to get away for a bit - for anyone who hasn't noticed, it's been kind of a crazy year for me to say the least, and without a doubt the hardest I've ever had to wrangle in my admittedly not particularly long life. What with wrangling a law degree while working 35+ hours a week, helping run a business, being too broke to buy food on a regular basis, trying (and subsequently succeeding) to work up the courage to leave a relationship that, well, wasn't treating me well to say the least, starting a new job, screwing my head back on after moving back home for some much needed recuperation, etc, etc. Even the last few weeks have been crazy - what with exams and planning the holiday, as well as the somewhat recent appearance on the scene of a poor impressionable young man who is attempting to win my easily distracted favour by reading Baudelaire to me in the park...

What a bloody year... What was I just saying about it being nice to get away for a bit?

Anyway, Happy Christmas all, and take care of yourselves!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Malevolent dinner!

Well, Ravelry is down for maintenance and I need something to do while I give my hands a rest from sock knitting, so I figured I'd do a somewhat uneventful update...

True to my word, I've started on some socks with my lovely Live 2 Knit yarn:

This is a sock of firsts for me in many ways, so how well it will work out is a little up in the air. First time not knitting socks on dpns, first time using Magic Loop, first time I've tried colour work in a sock, and first sock I've ever knitted from my own pattern. So I guess we'll see. I still love the colours, but it's occurred to me now that this sock could be interpreted as a little bit, erm, Olympics-style patriotic (green and gold, anyone?). Oh well, there are worse things.

*sigh* There's so much knitting I want to do before I go away, but not nearly enough time to do it all when I consider all of the other things I need to do before leaving. I've wrangled the law faculty re: my enrolment for next semester (they were being difficult), and I've already pencilled in all of the people I need to see before I leave, but there's still buckets to do. Meh. The knitting will be here when I get back.

The weather over the last while has been archetypal Melbourne weather. Last Thursday - I was wearing a woollen jumper, hat and scarf out and still shivering. The Thursday before that - it was in the mid thirties and I was in a mere singlet top and still sweating. I suppose I should look on the bright side - at least I'm getting wear out of the jumpers I knitted so late in the year...

Hopefully I'll finish something interesting before I leave.
In the meantime, I leave you all with a picture of the Evil Avocado of Doom!

Is it obvious from looking at this that my parents never told me not to play with my food?

Pretty good, eh?

Friday, November 21, 2008


Well, exams are over for another year. Thank heavens for that. So now I have nine sweet, sweet days to procrastinate before I skip the country. I'm seeing a lot of knitting in my future. Not to mention I need to pick a project or two to take with me on holiday - I guess it will have to be something fairly lightweight, and probably in a small gauge, as I need something that'll occupy me for as long as possible without being too bulky... *muses idly* Socks or lace, I guess.

There hasn't really been a great deal going on around here as far as knitting goes - exams sort of ate my brain, and when I was knitting, a lot of it was just random swatches of stuff - it was just pure knitting for stress relief. However, I have started a summery top - I was sort of in between projects and needed something to take to the Melbourne Ravelry meet up (which incidentally was about eighteen different kinds of fun, and I met buckets of awesome and talented people), so I figured I'd finally try out the design I'd concocted a while back.

(please ignore the immensely unflattering around-the-house pants - that's an order)

I started from the waist and am working upwards in an openwork rib stitch pattern. I wanted something airy and light, but also something that wouldn't be totally shapeless (I'm not a fan of the whole empire waist thing that everyone seems to be so enamoured with at the moment - the fact that I don't think that they do anyone any favours aside, I have a waist, and I'd like to make the most of it instead of hiding it, thank you very much), so a lace ribbing seemed like a good compromise. I'm also adding some shaping by decreasing in the purl sections. I quite like how it's coming along - it's quite loose, so should be good in the warmer weather. It's in a pretty cheap cotton acrylic blend, but if I end up liking how it comes out, I might end up trying another version in a nicer yarn.

Speaking of nice yarn: I got my post-exam reward in the mail this morning. It soothed my one-beer-too-many-the-night-before headache quite nicely too.

Yum. They're from Live 2 Knit and they are quite, quite lovely. And one of them is yellow! I never thought that I'd ever buy yellow yarn - normally, yellow is most definitely not a colour that I go in for. But I couldn't resist this, and it's so beautiful that I'm glad that I didn't - it's like summer time in skein form. They're going to be socks. I'm thinking I'll try my hand at toe-ups for a change. I just invested in a new sock knitting book, and I'm itching to try some of the techniques in it. I'm also idly considering some colourwork, because these two yarns do look beautiful together.

Oh, and again, speaking of yarn (but not quite as impressively gorgeous, to say the least):

My other post exam present to myself (hey, I need all of the bribery that I can muster) was a drop spindle. See this yarn? I made it! And I made it that colour as well! Yeah, yeah, I know it leaves a little to be desired - this was my second attempt at spinning (second to a five minute spree when I first got the spindle), and because I have a short attention span when it comes to following instructions, my technique still leaves a lot to be desired. Still, I'm very pleased with it. I do love doing things myself, even when the result is a little bit half arsed. The way that I see it is that when you make something yourself, you can either sit there and be dissatisfied with it because it isn't perfect, or you can make the choice to love it anyway because you made it and you enjoyed making it. I opt for the latter. I'm going to use it to make a pouch for my poor long-suffering laptop mouse...

Anyway, I'm off to have a quiet moment with a strawberry Freddo Frog, and then I'm off to bed.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Corona at last!

Well, I'm still alive. Just. I kid you not, I have been studying for, on average, around 12 hours a day for the last week (thank you, law degree!). But I lived through the two hardest exams (Constitutional Law - *shudder* - and Remedies), and I should get over the line fine. Whew. I've reached the hyperactive stage of tired - which usually means that I'm an hour or so away from crashing. Must administer more beer, I think...

Anyway, my post-exam reward was to try on my new Corona jumper (I'd finished and blocked it day before last, but decided I wasn't allowed to try it on until the two nastiest exams were over). So worth it:

Yay! I was very happy with how this turned out. I had high expectations for this pattern, and the yarn too for that matter, and neither of them disappointed. This photo doesn't show the colour variation at all - suffice to say that it's actually a mix of greyish, blueish, pinky, browny, greenish shades - I've called it "grey rainbow" on Ravelry, and I stick to that.

Only change I made to the totally awesome pattern was to lengthen the body and sleeves by about an inch - I'm tall, and a lot of my height comes from my stupidly long waist (which I can also attribute the back problems to - joy). I wasn't sure about the long waist ribbing when I was knitting it, I still have slightly mixed feelings - it's not normally my thing. Still, it does make for quite a flattering fit, I will admit:

I was worried the cables wouldn't be defined enough in the varigated yarn, but blocking seemed to fix them up sufficiently.

I do love it :) Quite a lot... Enough photos of it though - I've already spammed Ravelry and Flickr enough with them... Actually, in the process of taking photos of this one, I somehow (despite the dark circles and crazy-eyed look I get around exam times) managed to take a rather nice photo of myself. I am not normally a photogenic person (I'm always making a weird face), so this was rather nice (yay - self esteem!)

Anyway, in other news, I no longer have any big projects on the needles! This must be rectified! Of course I'll finish that bloody hat finally, and there are some other things I have in mind. My other exam reward was to finally invest in some Malabrigo from Yarn and Kisses (yay - Aussie shop - in your face, exchange rate!), and it's rather seductively wonderful...

Also I've started knitting another Woodland shawl, this time in my Sundara sock yarn (that stuff is far too beautiful to go on my big nasty feet - on the average day I probably walk between 5-10km just getting from A to B, and therefore I am VERY hard on socks). Problem is that I'm not sure if it's really the best pattern for it - as is often a problem, the varigation masks the lace design. I blocked it out a little bit to see how it looks, and I'm still on the fence on this one. Shall probably continue to muse over it for the next few days. Hmm...

Meh. Anyway, carry on internet! I'm off to go and do something frivolous with my time... because now I can...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sweet procrastination

My my, twice in two days - how utterly prolific! It really must be exam time - you know, just in case I hadn't already realised, what with the eye strain and the boredom and the revision classes and all. Anyway, in the spirit of procrastination, I was good on my promise and finished weaving in the ends on my raglan. Behold - I'm quite chuffed with this one!

Not the most flattering shot of me, but a good one of the jumper! There's currently a piece of wood sitting by my front door (I think it was originally part of the desk I was using before I moved back home again) that makes a most excellent platform for my camera when it's on self-timer setting. I must remember this for future shots - it can be bloody difficult to take a halfway decent photo of something you're wearing when you own a camera as cheap and dodgy as mine!

Um, I was talking about the jumper, wasn't I? I'm rather pleased with how it turned out. I was a little underwhelmed by it when I was knitting it, since I pretty much failed at jogless stripes, and my neckband was very sloppily done (picking up stitches is not my strong point at the best of time, and it was late at night and I was impatient and irked over something or other), but blocking did wonders and I'm happy with it now.

The breakdown: It was pretty basic really - just cast on about 40 (I think? I didn't bother to note) stitches and worked from there. Didn't do a gauge swatch or anything, for I am reckless and slovenly! Cast on 3 extra stitches in the arm holes after dividing the arms from the body (and picked up the same amount when starting to work the sleeves). Wrangled a little bit of waist shaping - I think I ended up decreasing 12 stitches total for the waist, knitting even for a few inches, and then increasing the same amount.

Worked 6 rows of garter stitch for the hem/wristbands/neckband. Striping was totally random - only attention I paid to it was to deliberately make the sleeves different (better completely different than matching closely enough that it looked like I was just lazy in trying to match, if that makes sense). Unlike the previous green raglan, the armholes were quite big already, so I started decreasing right off the bat. Decreased 2 stitchs 5 times from memory.

Yarn used was Patons Soft Haze. Not the greatest yarn in the world (but it was cheap, and according to my Dad I am genetically predisposed to tight-arsery, given the Scottish ancestry and all), but I quite like it here. Yes, there's a high acrylic content, but it doesn't worry me too much. It's soft enough, has perfectly adequate drape, and more to the point, it's not too warm, and I want something that I can wear at times of year other than deepest darkest winter. So there! I was really just after something to wear around the house anyway...

In conclusion, man do I love top down raglans. I already loved my green one, and this little number clinches it. They might not be the most interesting things I've ever knitted, but as far as wearability goes (for garments anyway - it ain't rocket science to knit a wearable hat/scarf), they are quite totally made of awesome. Wearability is something I'm thinking more about these days - yes I want to knit interesting things, but in my mind knitting something that you love wearing, and wear all the time, is more to the point than making something that is technically innovative but stays hidden away in the wardrobe 364 days of the year. Perhaps this is my boring-arse pragmatist talking, I don't know. Fear not, most of me will always be silly!

And now, after that pleasant diversion, it's back to the Constitutional Law revision.

Can never resist the opportunity to strike a stupid pose. I'll be fine in the exam - look how thoughtful and intellectual I am! If I had a goatee, I would so be stroking it...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Scarfy diversions...

Well, it's exam time again. You know, that wonderful time of year when I suddenly feel the urge to clean my bedroom, and can't seem to stop playing Minesweeper. The time of year when I get all these wonderful ideas that I don't have the time to capitalise on... The time of year when I get jealous of everyone doing NaNoWriMo and all the non-writing variations on it and feel chronically left out... And so on... Stupid law degree... What do you mean you expect me to work?

Anyway, I had a whole lot of Constitutional Law reading to plow through (still do, unfortunately), and some Noro Iro squirrelled away that was earmarked for a scarf. You can probably guess what comes next...

Please ignore how disgustingly messy my room (through the door on the left) is - what was I just saying about exam period?

I remember when I used to think that knitting while reading was something that only scary prodigies were able to manage. I at least thought that it was definitely out of the reach of my dexterity/concentrationally challenged self. But I managed! Yes, it was just garter stitch for several hours, but I managed! This pleases me greatly.

I'm rather happy with how this scarf turned out. I needed a new, toasty warm scarf to wear on the upcoming holiday, and this should fit the bill nicely. There was just the right quantity of yarns in the two skeins I used - the scarf ended up just wide enough, and just the right length too (length and width are both very important to me... and that's all the bad innuendo we'll have for this post!). It probably ended up about seven feet long - just about right, as few things frustrate me more than a scarf that isn't long enough.

I believe I've already gone on about how much I love this yarn - chunky and rustic and lovely! And in this colour. Yes, I admit it, it is exactly the same yarn/colour that I used for my Foliage hat - I loved it too much to only make one thing out of it. Don't worry, I'm not quite lame enough to wear them both at the same time.

The other works-in-progress are getting there too. I've resolved to weave in the rest of the ends on my raglan tonight and then get it blocking - it's languished for far too long already. And all that's left to do on my Corona pullover is the hood - all the rest is done. I've made a couple of small errors on it, and the cabling doesn't stand out all that well in the varigated yarn, but I'm still pleased with how it's coming along.

Behold! It might still be a little while before it's finished - the revision timetable for the next week is truly gruelling. But, we'll get there. On that note, off to trawl through the Boilermakers decision... I'll just have to hope I can concentrate - a little earlier my family and I were partaking in some celebratory beer over the US election results. Yay Obama! *returns to usual determinedly apolitical knitblog status*

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Officially returned!

Spotlight were selling candles that look like cacti. I had to have one - the cactus fetish demanded it! Here it is with the real live cactus (still clad happily in his cactus cozy!)

Well, my internet died on me, and stayed dead for a good week. Not that this is particularly evident in the lack of posting, because I've never really been a consistent poster, but you know, just saying...

Have been knitting away busily, since it's nearing exams, so of course I want to do everything except study. I've been merrily wasting hours watching Boston Legal dvds (hey, it sort of counts as studying - it is a law show after all!) and knitting jumpers. I've very nearly finished the black/purple raglan I was knitting - just have to weave in the ends and block it, and then I'm finished. I'm quite happy with it. It's not a perfect piece - some of the colour changes are messy, and the neckline is a little uneven - but I was only ever after a hanging around the house type thing, so this doesn't bother me.

And I've been working on my Corona jumper. I'd post a picture here, but I've come to the conclusion that WIP pictures are rarely good, or at least rarely good when taken by yours truly. So here's a photo of my lovely new Sundara yarn instead. Yum.

The Belle Beret is still languishing. I'm too scared to touch it. Maybe tomorrow...
And I just realised that it's 1am, so I should probably go and sleep now...