is there no middle ground?

Friday, December 31, 2004

Kate’s front is back to where we last saw it. My gauge has gone from 18st/10cm to 16st/10cm. Where oh where is the 17st/10cm I was looking for? How many times can I knit the front of one tank? I am now fairly certain that the excess tightness of Wednesday morning’s car knitting was to do with sticky fingers. With that in mind I really didn’t need to think loose thoughts tonight, just clean my hands. I am off to bed, all the better to rip Kate back to the rib again tomorrow. Tomorrow I shall have clean hands and think no thoughts about gauge at all. I shall not think loose, I shall not think tight, I shall simply knit. And pray.

happy new year

Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy new year everyone. I saw the year in by having a glass of champagne, eating a mountain of berries covered in cream and shaved chocolate and ripping out the second half of my progress on the front of Kate. Actually that was all at about 10pm, before Jesse went out to an actual party with actual friends (which is not say that I have no friends but only that the idea of seeing them at night, at a party, is positively novel). Since then I have been watching a DVD while re knitting what I so gleefully ripped and waiting to see the year in for real. And checking my gauge. A lot. The sound of the fire works prompted me to come write this post.

My goals for the year, in no particular order:

to teach Isabelle to ride her bike so that I can start walking again
to start doing pushups again
to loose the 3 or so kilos I have gained since weaning Isabelle
to get pregnant or start the adoption process before the year is out
to join a Steiner playgroup for Isabelle
to decide whether we are going to send Isabelle to school or homeschool
to make further progress on sorting out our finances
to go away at least for the weekend at least every 2 months
and to go bush walking at least once a month
to make Isabelle a quilt for her Birthday (the first I will ever have actually finished)
to knit socks, something for Jesse, a poncho, scarf, hat and cardi for Isabelle, a knitting bag and hand bag for myself, and the rest…

how could I forget to mention…

Thursday, December 30, 2004

I have a gauge problem. This could be the real reason I have made no progress since getting out of the car yesterday. I have spent pretty much all the time since finishing my last post with some pins and a measuring tape. My gauge was perfect for the first half of the back, by the end it was about half a stitch tighter than it should have been. The front ribbing is find but the stocking stitch is 16, maybe even 18.5 stitches to 10cm rather than the 17 I was aiming for and I have one extra row plus some extra excess from my first ball of yarn. Should I rip back to the ribbing or just think loose thoughts from now on?


Thursday, December 30, 2004

Kate is about 75% done. I used just under two balls for the back and I finished the first ball of the front in the car on the way home yesterday. This is a fun knit and the mistakes I have made have so far been quickly identified and fixed.

You may recall that my first swatch for Kate was WAY off gauge. I tried a second swatch driving to a friends for desert Christmas day, this time on 5mm Addis, and second time was the charm so I cast on Christmas night while blow drying Mum’s Market Bag. I had done about an inch when I decided to double check my gauge and carefully spread my knitting out on the floor. My very first thought was “that looks WAY too small” I was too confused to even bother checking my gauge. I just sat and stared for about 5 minutes (while adjusting the hairdryer absent mindedly). Eventually I thought to count the stitches, which I had cast on in sets of 20 divided by makers for easy counting. I was 20 stitches short. Ooops. That was my biggest mistake so far.

At the same time I also realised that I was supposed to have used smaller needles for the waist ribbing. I put it aside in disgust and started again the next day in the car, careful to cast on enough stitches this time. I forgot to use the smaller needles. Again. As it happens I am quite happy with the result and the needles I would have used were bamboo, which I have decided that I loathe with a passion. Since then all the errors have been to do with making decreases on the right hand one stitch too soon and having to drop two stitches for 2 or 3 rows in order to move the decrease to the correct spot. That, or using the wrong decrease on the right and doing the same as above to correct the mistake. Knitting combination style means I have to remember to first untwist my knit stitches before doing a k2tog or it comes out looking like an ssk, despite this I still feel compelled to actually slip, slip, knit my ssks rather than just doing a k2tog minus the untwisting.

I have been feeling a bit flat today, thus no progress on Kate since our return but this brightened my day - a long awaited parcel from Threadbare.

The Raspberry Lamb’s Pride will go with all the Lamb’s Pride remnants from my Christmas Booga Bags to make myself a knitting bag, probably very similar in shape to the Market Bag I made Mum. The Brown Cascade is to become a Sophie. The Colour Cards make me happy because I clearly have issues about ordering online and that is the only way I can get Lambs Pride.

travel tails

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Jesse, Isabelle, Robyn, Anne and I spent 3 nights at the Bundanoon YHA, which was lovely and we had a lovely time. Monday morning we went for a bit of a drive to the other side of the National Park and this is what we saw when we got out of our car.

My chasing him around with a camera alerted the owners of this picnic just before he made his own presence felt.

Let it be said that our picnic did not involve beer or cigarettes, or a doll for that matter.

Jesse and Isabelle got a really good look when he came their way

As did Anne, perhaps a little closer than she had planned in fact.

The Goanna that sat watching us from the trunk of the tree we ate our lunch under had very impressive claws and was shedding his skin.

This one sat in the grass near by, clearly hoping to chase us away from our picnic so it could have a feed instead.

Tuesday we discovered that Isabelle loves bush walking.

and “Binoculators”

This morning we went for one last walk at the Fairy Bower.

knitted gifts, gifts for a knitter

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Isabelle’s knitted gifts - the bag I made, stuffed toys that my grandmother bought at her guild and finger puppets that my mother bought (also at Gran’s guild). Can you believe the cuteness of those toys?

After all that time knitting everyone else gifts for Christmas, Jesse and Isabelle gave me the yarn for Carla and a Jacke in Apricot (make mine blue) so I can knit something for myself at last! Mum gave me the needles I will need for Carla and the Skein Holder is a little something extra from Jesse.

I am new enough to knitting to still be surprised, delighted, fascinated by how different two cotton yarns can be.

one last christmas gift

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Pattern: based on the Knitty French Market Bag
Yarn: Jo Sharp DK in Orient (MC) and Khaki (CC)
Needles: 7mm Addi Turbos (60 and 80 cm)

After much attention with a hairdryer, my last christmas gift made it into a box just in time for mum to arrive and take it back out again. This bag was based on the French Market Bag from Knitty with some modifications to make it more like the shopping baskets my mother bought in Vietnam 10 years ago and still uses to do her shopping every week. 10 years ago they were wonderfully unique, today you can get them everywhere, you know the ones - brightly coloured plastic baskets woven from packing tape (the stuff they use to bind palettes). Mum loves this shape of bag so I based the ratios of the sides on her 10 year old shopping baskets, consulted Montse Standley’s The Knitters Handbook for how to knit a rectangle from the centre out, cast on and prayed. I cannot tell you how relieved I am that it worked. For the record:

Cast on 2 stitches, pm, cst on 42 stitches, pm, cast on 2 stitches, pm, cast on 42 stitches.
Work as for the base knitted in the round in the original pattern.
When you have enough stitches to be able to flatten the base, seam the cast on edge together (the two 42 stitch sides should meet up nicely creating a rectangular base once sewn together).
Place the handles centered on the long sides with 4 stitches between the two sides of each handle.

The Jo Sharp DK was lovely to work with but really didn’t feel like wool at all. Not long after starting the first ball I felt compelled to go check that I hadn’t somehow made an awful mistake and bought DK cotton. The yarn was stretchy and easy on the hands like wool but not at all scratchy, it really did feel more like cotton sliding through my fingers. Unfortunately the colours bled a bit during the felting process and the blue that I was so in love with is no longer quite as vibrant but Mum is happy and that was, after all, the point…

galavanting around the country side

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Jesse, Isabelle and I are off for a few days vacation with both of Isabelle’s grannies. I am taking Kate with me and there will be plenty of car knitting time so maybe there will be some progress by the time I get back.

hairdryers really are quite handy

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Pattern: Booga Bag
Yarn: Brown Sheep Company Lamb’s Pride Worsted. MC: Rasberry, Contrast: Victorian Pink
Needles: 6.5mm/60cm Crystal Palace bamboo circular, 6.5mm Tulip bamboo DPNs

After much assistance from Robyn and a hairdryer my second Booga Bag is done. I really like this pattern, so quick and easy and such a lovely result. I was planning to finally make one for myself out of the remaining Lambs Pride, but now I am thinking I will wait until I can get my hands on some Kureyon and use my Lambs Pride to make a Market Bag for my knitting.

Here’s one more photo for good measure.

christmas day 2004

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Our tree after many hours of wrapping last night, and on the other side of the room a not very discreetly hidden, a suspiciously bike shaped object.

Isabelle was transfixed by all the gifts under the tree this morning. So much so that she did not notice that great big parcel hiding in plain sight. So much so that she did not even notice it when breakfast was over and the time to open gifts was upon us. So much so that she did not notice it while distributing gifts and opening gifts and playing with gifts. So much so that she did not even notice it after the last present under the tree was opened and was a bike helmet. So transfixed was she by the tree that we had to repeatedly point out that there must be another gift to go with that helmet and that might be somewhere else in the room.

Jesse and Isabelle getting the camera ready for later

Isabelle waiting to hand out the presents

Can you help me open this dad?

hand knitted toys sent by Grandma Mary, purchased at her spinners and weavers guild.

There is something so wonderful about giving Isabelle the sort of magical christmas I wished for as a child. We have all had a lovely day.

In knitting news I changed needles on Kate and got gauge so I will be casting on tonight. I am going to try a tubular cast on. Oh, and I received lots of knitting related gifts today, I will post photos soon.

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