Sunday, December 23, 2007

Last weekend...

I know. It was last weekend, and now it is already this weekend. But in the Christmas spirit, lets just pretend I had got around to this earlier....
Last weekend, as well as the usual knitting, there was much other stuff made in our house - here is just a little sample:
Elderflower wine
A consolidation of S's hobby - he swears that the goal is to put something in all these bottles but I am not so sure. In the meantime, I pretend it is some kind of installation art thing. You can still see the last stronghold of books & papers...not for long, I fear.
Bread. I am getting better (slowly)
Dinner - my version of fish & chips! It looked better when the fish was cooked, but I was too busy by then! My kitchen looks like something from the dark ages in this pic (I guess it kinda is).
And just to continue the time-lag theme, here is a picture from the weekend before! This is a brilliant place called The Apple, in Bristol. It is a boat (see the porthole?) which is why it is so blurry & dark, and it only serves cider. Not just any cider, but the best cider I have ever tasted. Except I was designated driver (see my water there!) so I only had a taste of other peoples. Now I need to go back -without a car! So - cool venue and fabulous cider - I reckon if you are ever in Bristol you really should check it out.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

UK Swap

Well, I had planned to join the next SP swap, after having a little break but very much enjoying SP10 earlier in the year, but they are having a rest from hosting SP. Instead, I think I might join the UK swap - is not as prolonged as SP, and that might be a good thing for me - I feel perpetually flummoxed by the amount of stuff I seem to have to do. Despite this I seem to want to keep signing up to new things. Who knows why, clearly I am just mad.
So, UK Swap - basically, its for anyone who lives in the UK. It looks cool. You should join in. Also, you should go to their website and make a comment that I sent you - I could win a prize! Which is the important thing, really. Anyway, check it out - sign-ups open on Jan 7th.
On non-promotional topics, I took a heap of pics of all the things we made/were making on the weekend - I promise to post them soon.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Despite the fact that I am meant to be knitting a cardy for me, and if I was a more generous person would be knitting more Christmas gifts, I have knitted an Anemoi mitten. I love these, and have done since I first saw the pattern. The cardy is going along nicely, but there is a large amount of stocking stitch and I am nervous of getting bored. I figure if I can do one piece per week, and intersperse that with a weeks worth of other knitting, then I mightn't tire of it too much. And so far it is working!
So this weeks knitting:
The colour choices might not be the best for bringing out the swirly pattern, but I love the colours in the Colinette Jitterbug Castagna, and these really are my kind of mittens! The pattern is there, but subtle, and kind of reminds me of woodsmoke drifting around. And, (I think) the colourway is kind of sophisticated, and definately something I would wear. I really loved knitting them, although I am not going to start the partner glove until I have finished the other front to the cardy.
I learned how to do a tubular cast on (Italian style), and learned that despite having done a fair bit of stranded knitting before, I am hopeless at using two colours frequently - I still don't have a great technique for holding both yarns and getting ok tension (which is why the first parts of this glove are less even than the later parts), but I am getting there.
Given the lack of sunshine when I am anywhere near the camera, I decided to get a shot as soon as there was a glimmer of sun today, so they aren't quite done and haven't been blocked and jiggled around yet, so the tension is still a bit uneven. But I do love that corrugated rib!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Oops - I even knew that this was on its way, but still I forgot - blogiversary was 23rd November! As it was so close to the old 100 posts thing, I think it took a bit of a back seat. And as it took me forever to get to the postbox to post out prizes, I'm not going to do anything to celebrate. Other than pat myself on the back for still doing this a year after. This would seem like a prime opportunity to be all reflective on the good blogging life, but you know what? I think I have said it all before. Except that it is always such a wonderful thing to meet great people through such interesting means! And that I agree with Anne, that whilst Ravelry is fantastic, and changed the way I look for new patterns, the blog is still what I come back to.
So in celebration - some knitting! The small hat is for a work friends premie baby, who is a few weeks old now (despite not yet reaching his due birth date), and the larger one is for another work friend whose baby will hopefully be fairly large in the head region (for my sake, not hers!). Or maybe it would be nicer to hope that he has a rapid growth spurt after his birth! Anyway, fun to knit.
Small hat: Kind of a Waffle Hat, knit in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino.
Larger hat: My improvised hat pattern, again in the old DBBC. Quick and easy!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Melbourne street art

I miss street art. In Melbourne, there was fantastic graffiti, stencils and posters. Many were pretty unnotable, some were beautiful, and a few were intelligent and insightful. One day, this turned up on the door of the abandoned dyeworks factory next door to our block of flats. I thought it was a good time to reminisce, given that Howard's reign is over (oh the joy of being able to write that!)
I know this probably makes absolutely no sense to almost anybody, but I love it. And its my blog. So there!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Selfish knitting

Well, I got sick of knitting for others (the festive spirit only goes so far, it would seem!), and with all this coldness decided I needed a new cardy. And a hat. And some mittens. But one thing at a time - back of new cardy:
It is Jo Sharp's Wrap Jacket, from Knit Issue 3, knitted from soemthing that I can't remember at the moment (the details are on my ravelry thingy), but it was the biggest bargain in the entire world. I bought it in Australia a few years ago when Lincraft had started stocking more yarn, but knitting hadn't quite caught on the way it has now. Also, it was a little uncool on the shelf, plain and lonely next to all the blingy big sparkly fashion yarns. So it went on sale. And I picked up 15 balls of lovely German 100% merino in a very usable colour for less than $20 Aus dollars. I actually think it was something like $16, but I lost the receipt eventually. For those that aren't sure, thats about £8. Insane. And worth bringing with us to the UK.
This pattern seems to be working out ok so far - I am knitting a size bigger due to not quite getting gauge, but not liking the fabric when knit on bigger needles.
I am now forcing myself to knit hats for poor little new babies who are desperately cold, I reckon. I really just want to get on and finish this though! And then there are the grand plans for the hat, and the'll be spring by the time I am through!


Saturday, November 24, 2007


Well, no - Ravelry, actually! I am now in - wordsandstitchs (surprise surprise). I have done absolutely nothing yet, cause I literally just got the message, but I will spend a fair bit of the weekend exploring, no doubt!
And there has been knitting...dreadful, self-indulgent, egocentric knitting that is all about me and nothing about christmas presents! but this does mean it is blogable. Except I have to wait to the weekend to scrounge any little speck of natural light for pics - so I promise, photos soon!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Winners! There are winners (finally)

Sorry to everyone for being so slack - I am not sure why I thought I would be able to sort out the blog competition in the middle of last week, being the potential (and actual) disaster that it was. And then, our new computer turned up on Friday, so I have spent any available time getting it online and up to speed. Which it now is, and so....
Given that none fo the winners listed a preference for a prize, I just allocated prizes according to draw, based on how they were listed on the blog post. So, S did the honours, and...
Congrats to Jenn, who won the yarn, Turtle won the shawl pin, and Stephieface won the book! Yay! I don't have email contacts for Jenn or Turtle, so if you could email me with your address details, little parcels will be heading your way soon!
Thanks to everyone who entered - it has been great getting to know some new blogs, and seeing what everyone else is doing.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Billions of Buttons

Well, not billions, but some. A lovely postman delivered this on Saturday morning, a purchase from EBay. What a great Saturday - buttons, knitting, new friends, then partying to the wee hours.
There are some beauties in this lot - I am very happy. Something ridiculously lovely about all these buttons. And despite what S might think, there is a purpose to them all, but it is a bit of a surprise (and you'll only get to see if it works - otherwise, we'll just call it a collection!)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Total Lack of Bitching

This is surely the only complaint I could have about the UK Stitch & Bitch yesterday. Completely devoid of bitching. Apart from the fact that I was late to meet up with the wonderful Esmerelda (yes, she is every bit as great in person as her blog would lead you to believe) it was fantastic. Great company, friendly friendly people all around, knitting happening everywhere you looked, and the A few from folks that I hoped would be there, things I have looked at for ages but held off buying. Some were completely new to me - even the extremely local Oxford Kitchen Yarns, whose stuff was so pretty. The Natural Dye Studio yarns were spectacular - E & I spent some time marvelling at how they could possibly be plant dyes. Anyway, I bought a few things. Well, a little more than a few, but most (well, half) were presents & stuff so I can't blog them all yet.
Here's what I got for me....

Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Shop Aran weight yarn. I loves loves loves this - I was thinking a hat maybe? Maybe for me? Is so very good, I want to pet it all the time! Even S thinks the grey is nice. Was very reasonably priced and they had some spectacular garments.

This is one of the fantastic Natural Dye Studio merino tencel sock yarns - it isn't quite right colourwise - a bit more greeny and variegated. But gorgeous. So lovely and shiny and gorgeous. For socks, once again for me, I reckon!

And this is for you! Well, for one of you, anyway. This is the contest yarn - 100g (460y) of Knitwitches Sock Yarn, machine washable Blue Faced Leicester/nylon, in the colourway Wine Gums. It is a much richer, deeper purple than in the pic, with subtle variations. I love it. I am going to have a hard time parting with it!

So get commenting - I'll draw winners on Thursday!

And finally - guess who bought one of these? And it wan't me....

(excuse the bad phone-camera pic)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Sweet Weekendy Bliss

I'm sorry, I just have to have a little gloat. Not only did I make it through the week, and most importantly through a big seminar presentation this morning, but tomorrow, I get to go to this, buy yarn and meet this fantastic person in actuality! And then a party! I am afraid that the excitement may be all too much for me. Well, the excitement and possibly the champagne.

Let just forget that I haven't finished all the work I need to do for next week - and its looking like a killer. Instead, I'm going to go and have the celebratory one, maybe even in the bath...mmmmm. Happy weekend y'all. I will return with yarny prizes for my contest (don't forget to comment!)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Autumnul shades

I love Autumn. Since we moved to England, it has really become a favourite season. There is such rapid change and shifts in colours and growth, and it influences my moods...I feel nostalgic and homely and...kind of grown up (which of course, I would deny at any other time of year). I have made bramble jam and quince cheese, I yearn to make bread and meals with beans. Most of all, I love the fungi.
Ever since I was little, I loved mushrooms, toadstools and fungi. I remember trying to grow them, once I learned about spores (very unsuccessful). I remember making spore prints from mushrooms, fixing them to the paper with hairspray. I haven't eaten many, but our recent trip to Italy reignited a passion for fungi, mainly due to fresh porcini.
Anyway, here are some pics from my recent fungi encounters whilst out and about in the local area:

OK, this is just moss - but ain't it pretty!

More Contests Even!

Miss T is having her blogiversary contest too - go check it out!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Contests everywhere!

Looks like 'tis the season!
Esmerelda is having a 100 blog celebratory do (blog snap!) so see what she has to give away (lovely lovely things!)
Anne is having a contest for November too - she is asking for your favourite patterns, so is a good way to sneaky a look at what everyone else is knitting too!
Go and check them out - and good luck!
(oh, and remember to say that I sent you! )

Monday, November 05, 2007

100 Posts!

( Random pumpkin image - totally irrelevant)

It feels like only yesterday.... actually, it doesn't. It feels like years and whole other lifetimes ago that I started this blog. But only 99 posts later, I feel such gratitude to my little rambling blog - I have met wonderful people and feel that I am part of a wider community of knitters and genuinely great folks. So I figured it was time for a little celebration! A competition, even!

Here's the deal:
Post a comment telling me about your most successful/disasterous/favourite yarn substitution. I am deep in the throes of trying to use up my stash - gleefully substituting yarns and only sometimes getting it right. I am keen to hear advice, pitfalls, and pointers! I'll pick winners via random number thingy.
Also, if you wanna put this competition on your blog, you can - anyone who enters and says they came from your blog will earn you an extra entry.
Now - the goodies!

  • As I am going to the London Stitch 'n Bitch next weekend (small scream stifled) there will be a yarn prize from there. Sorry not to be more specific, but I will run the comp until after next weekend if you wanna wait to see.
  • Also, there will be one of my dad's 'shawl pins' available (pictured below or more info here if you didn't see them before) - probably one of the ones pictured. They are hand-carved from Tasmanian timbers.
  • For the non-knitterly, there is a copy of Richard Flanagan's 'Goulds Book of Fish' - my favourite Tasmanian piece of literature.

So what are you waiting for? Post away! And let me know which prize you would like (or if you don't care!) Entries close Wed 14th November.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Perils of Gift Knitting

So, inspired by Esmerelda, I have been busily gift-knitting in preparation for Christmas. It is very satisfying and fun, but not great for blogging. However, I thought a few choice shots wouldn't give the game away too much ....
Unfortunately, due to almost no natural light today, this looks grey, but I promise it really is an army green colour. Yummy.
These are (surprisingly) pretty good true to life colours. I had such fun knitting this yarn (it is the Colinette I bought a few weeks ago). There isn't heaps of the blue in the picture above (mostly greens) but it was a joy to come across it every now and then - like seeing a kingfisher on the wing.
An appropriately autumnal yarn.
Also, we spent much of Saturday dealing with this....
Wonderful, aromatic, sustainably sourced wood! I was a very happy girl last night - warm at last!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Four Good Years

This weekend, S surprised me by a little celebration for our anniversary. It was four years since the day we met. A while ago, we decided that this would be our anniversary date, as it got a bit confusing when we should celebrate, and without a set date it seemed like we might just let a yearly acknowledgement of our lives together slide by - which neither of us wanted. So we decided that the day we met would be appropriate. Only this year we both forgot. We are now a good 6 weeks later, and I had still forgotten! Anyway, we had a lovely picnic, in the same place that we went to last year, and a place that has alot of meaning for us in England. And I received a lovely bottle of Tasmanian Pinot Noir (to share!) which I am drinking as I write this (and as he cooks dinner).

I want to say that I feel so very lucky to share my life with him, and to have the opportunity to do all the things that we do. Four years ago, this seemed an unlikely outcome. I couldn't have imagined a life as good as this.


Chiusi: Holiday Italia Pt II

So, after our Rome adventure, we headed up to the town of Chiusi to meet with Simon's friends. They had rented a villa just out of town, and it was spectacular (thats it in the photo above). There was a busy road nearby, but the villa itself was huge and gorgeous. Chiusi is another Italian town, struggling to merge ancient with modern, but Montepulciano, a short drive away, is a fantastic tourist town. It is a hill town, as are so many in this area, and full of caverns and Etruscan tombs and wine and cheese.

Simon's view from the hammock.

The light really is that golden honey colour, even in autumn. It was still pretty warm most days - this particular day was much cooler thanks to a fresh breeze.
This was a fantastic part of our holiday - I am fully converted to a standard programme of a one week holiday with a day for travel, two days in a city, a day for travel, two days in the country, and a day to get home. With a day at home either side for packing/unpacking. If we do holidays like this, I tend to go back to work feeling refreshed and relaxed, rather than having a great holiday but feeling rushed and behind schedule when I get back.
We are currently planning our Chrismas/New Year break - the current idea is Morocco.
Anyone got any advice?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Roman Holiday

We spent a fabulous week in Italy last week, with three days in Rome to start. It was spectacular - I love Italy, and Rome is a fantastic example of all the good parts. It is busy, mad, and crazy, but in the best sense! The food was fantastic, the people are great, and the sights are mind-boggling.
The Forum is incredible - the details remaining on the ruins were so evocative of what this once must have looked like.

Everywhere you looked, wonderfully dressed men in uniforms - so very Italian!

The Italian beer is as good as the wine (Peroni especially!)

My travel tips for Rome:
- avoid the Vatican Museum, unless you are absolutely desperate to see the Sistine Chapel. The rest is a little dull and repetative, and you get herded through the Capella Sistina like cows, with lots of shouting from the guards for 'silence'! It is a bit crazy, and does ruin the experience somewhat. As does the lining up - be aware that while it opens at 0845, they only let the scheduled tour groups in until 1000, so we were there for 2 hours waiting before hand.
- we stayed in a fantastic hotel near the Termini - it is not so dodgy an area as I had been led to believe, but the food is better down near the river.
- It is worth working out the bus/metro system- there are miles and miles of footpaths waiting for your weary feet!
- get up early - we were one of the first through the door at the Colloseum (unplanned but excellent accident!) which made our experience of it so much more interesting to see it empty, then to see it fill up with people, just as it would have two thousand years ago. Once you are up, go for as long as you can, then siesta in the late afternoon - this means you can get up and ready for dinner at 'Roman' time (around 9pm).
- don't be surprised at small breakfasts - by the end of the day you will be glad that you left a little room!
- make sure you have a cioccolato caldo at the bar in a cafe. It is the espresso of hot chocolates!

Unfortunately, I arrived home with an unwanted gift from Italy - the 'flu! Feeling much better today though. Anyway, more pics to come of the second half of our holiday.