Sunday, 29 April 2007

Things are getting a bit silly round here.........

I am a disciplined knitter.

I am a "keep my projects under control" kind of knitter.

So when I decide on the spur of the moment to put down a current project to just start something a little fun on the side, a little fling, well that is blogworthy.

And when I decide to put down my current project to start maybe 3 or 4 or 5 little flings all at once well that is just plain un-American. (This is one of my most favourite American sayings. Anytime anything is unsavoury or weird Americans will respond "that is plain un-American"; imagine having the market on all that is right and good in the world. Got to give it to the States, they are a confident bunch! I especially like to use it in completely inappropriate moments, funny how touchy Americans can be about this one)

So fling one:

It was noticed on my trip to Queenstown that I only have one winter hat (technically I have may have more than 1 winter hat but since I only have one hat I will even consider wearing.....) so I felt it was of great importance that I knit not one, not two but possibly three more hats for myself. This is the beret from Interweave Winter 2006. It does the cutest little thing on the band, the ribbing goes in peaks, I will have to remember that. I made it out of a leftover ball of Frog Tree Alpaca (from Yarns in the Farms). Delicious yarn. Very styly as kiwis like to say, not my proudest moment when I first heard that one coming out a fellow citizen's mouth. (And it must be said that I love to shorten words; trackies, sunnies, brekkie, cuppa but styly - good lord what is the world coming to)

Friday, 27 April 2007

Dumb Jumper

Another good thing about going away, it gave me lots of time to knit.
Lots of time to finish one certain pair of socks.
Lots of time to figure out what was wrong with the Cable Down Raglan.
And lots of time to completely frog it and start again.

I was unhappy with how the Cable Down Raglan was working out but not quite enough to frog it. Then I found myself avoiding it and pretending we weren't friends and I knew the time had come. When we went away I took only 2 projects, the socks and the jumper, so I would have to take care of them both.

The socks were sorted out first. I didn't bring enough warm socks so I would have the extra incentive to finish them, cunning ain't I? Oh the games I play (and win) against myself!

Then the Cable Down Raglan. After giving it some thought I made the necessary changes (in how the increases were done, the position of the side cables and starting the front cable earlier so it wasn't quite so bumpy) in the pattern and picked up the needles and started again. By the end of the trip I was back at the beginning. I mean I was back to where I was when I started the trip. Confusing. But you know what I mean right? And it looks good. Much much better. And I am happy with it. But now I have hit a wall on it. We need a break. Let me tell you how I have handled that one next time.

(No photos. This jumper is shy that way, all photos look drab. You will have to wait until we have a little more to show)

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

That will be Ms Weaver to you........

For some bizarre reason I have allowed myself to become scared of a loom.

I am embarrassed to say it. Of all the things in the world to be scared of.........

Maybe it was because of the spectacular failure the first time around with the thing but this fear is getting out of control.

I bought an Ashford rigid heddle loom almost a year ago and I still don't weave. But that is not all. Then when we arrived in NZ I was offered a great deal to buy 3 large floor looms. Why not I had 2 friends that wanted the other two and I would end up with a floor loom for a song. That would solve my weaving woes (yep make the machinery more complicated, it seemed reasonable at the time). So I rented the truck, drove up to Timaru (about 2 1/2 hours north) and picked the looms up. While I was there the woman also had a small tapestry sampling loom which I bought for $5. Keeping count with me, we are #3. We dropped off the first loom and then disaster struck. "Friend" 2 changed her mind, she now longer wanted the loom. Now I own 4. Okay well I will just sell her loom for what it cost me and no harm done. Except that I haven't been able to. Anyway then I was at the auction yesterday and what do I see but another Ashford rigid heddle loom in perfect condition with a warping board and then before I know it I have it for $10 so that would make #5.

5 looms for a woman who doesn't weave.

I may try warping again.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Bayerische Solution

Option 1: I frog the socks and reknit an ordinary sock that won't eat yarn like it is going out of fashion

Option 2: Push them to the back of the closet and never speak of them again

Option 3: Rip back part of sock 1 and knit both socks with different toes - a design detail

Option 4: Pretend I am super quirky and finish the second sock in a completely different coloured yarn and revel in my individuality. Or rather just remember when someone asks to see those extraordinary socks just pull out the correct complete sock.

Why don't people ask to see handknit socks, can't they see how truly special they are?

Here I am:

Super quirky

Maybe if I did this more people would ask about the socks (joking, just joking, really not even around the yard)

Thank god I am done.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

This one is for all the ex-pat kiwis out there.......

The real reason I came home...........

Finally, 'tis the season!

Saturday, 21 April 2007

But does it have a soul?

Queenstown - a beautiful town for the rich and richer.

No wait, Queenstown- spectacular natural beauty for a high price.

I can do better, Queenstown - watch backpackers blow their trip budget in one weekend!

Damn at this rate I am never going to get that job at the Queenstown Tourist Board.

So how did the trip go.......great! The area is absolutely spectacular, without a doubt, it warrants its reputation. Queenstown is a charming, over the top, tourist town that is better viewed with a wad of cash in your pocket. But as we don't have that wad can it be done on the cheap? Why yes. Can you enjoy it? Why yes again.

Our trip started in this:

We had already postponed a day due to yucky weather and we didn't want to wait yet another day. We left in cold, drizzly weather which once we hit the mountain passes turned into snow flurries. Since I hate being cold (I should clarify from a previous post, I like cold weather, I like being warm in cold weather) things turned a little frosty in the car when Ted noted he wasn't sure if we had enough propane to run the stove (our heating and cups of tea source). We did and all was well (otherwise god help him). It was our shakedown trip for our "new" camper. There were a few bugs left (oh and mice.... literally) but it did well and we did well in it. We found a DOC (Dept of Conservation) campsite about 10km from Queensland that for a family of 4 would set us back $17 per night (as opposed to the $50 in the private holiday parks - ouch!). We could have gone cheaper at another DOC campsite but then our view wouldn't have been this:

See that little dot down there at the lake edge in the trees, that is us, right there, right on the beach. Heaven.

Meals were all from local supermarkets (given that our family is now fully vegan this is the best option for us anyway) and were mostly picnics at the wonderful parks and public places of which there are many. There are some world class restaurants in the area if your budget allows for it but expect to pay a couple of hundred dollars for two. The kids fave picnic area: the original AJ Hackett bungy jumping spot. We spent several hours watching people jump off an old railway bridge one after another into the canyon and river below. This is the birth place of bungy jumping, you did know it was "invented" in NZ right? Well modern day bungy jumping at any rate. They allow you to get really close, right next to the platform so you have a wonderful view of what it would feel like, should you be willing to shell out the $150 needed for each jump! (with DVD and photos, about $240!).

We ended up staying a week and will return. Other towns in the area were equally appealing and worth a longer look, mainly Arrowtown and Wanaka. Wanaka is a quieter version of Queenstown, it is about 45 minutes drive over the mountains at the next lake north. Another lovely spot.

Now the Tanya standard: would I live there? For a short time yes, maybe 6 months or so, though my preference would be Wanaka. Queenstown is created and run for tourists (both local and international) and I like towns where the locals have a strong presence and I didn't feel that in Queenstown. You would be hard pressed to afford a home, even smallish homes with no views are 700,000. The planning whoevers have done a great job in keeping all of the parks and beaches very accessible and lovely. Nice town, beautiful area, but does Queenstown have a soul? I am not sure, maybe, maybe not, depends who you ask. Maybe you shouldn't ask me.

Thursday, 12 April 2007

This time to give the camper a test run...........

So not too much knitting has been done around here as of late. We bought an old beat up (cheap) pop up camper and in all my wisdom I declared "no problem, how about I just remove the canvas and replace the windows, screens, zippers, part of the canvas". So many hours later it is done. I will never do that again. Sewing canvas is hell. It is hard on your hands and body as it is so heavy and difficult to manoeuvre. At night my hands would cramp up and screw up any chance of knitting (it is all fun and games until it mixes with my knitting then.....). But now it is done, freshly painted and full of all things camping. So we are off for a trial run. This time we are heading to the mountains, to Queenstown, about 3.5 hours drive from Dunedin. The one spot in New Zealand where if you know anything about NZ it will be about Queenstown, a place I have never been but my US partner has! (I am from Auckland originally, the big smoke in NZ, Aucklanders are notorious for not travelling in NZ. We are like the New Yorkers of the South Pacific, we head to Europe). I don't know how long we will be gone, 3, 4, 5 days? But I will write upon my return and let you know how it all went, let you know if Queenstown is all it is cracked up to be, let you know how one who hates the cold enjoyed a camper in possible snow flurries.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

It's a pair of undies for crying out loud

So I made the lacy thong from the latest Interweave Knits.

There, I said it out loud. Now according to many that makes me either perverted, wasting my time, stupid or all three.

Now I ask you why are so many knitters getting their knickers in a knot over, well, over a pair of knickers? When I considered making these I did my usual trolling of blogs and forums seeing if anyone had made them and what they thought of them. What a can of worms I opened! My favourite was the knitter who had just purchased an IK subscription for her sister-in-law and now what was SIL going to think of this smut she had received in the mail! (Personally I think it is obvious, she is trying to hit on her, I could see that one a mile off.)

For the sake of argument lets look at the common reactions to this pattern.

1. Perverted: I either lead a very boring life or a very exciting one but either way I don't see a pair of pretty undies being perverted. It is pretty and it is underwear, something that most of us put on everyday, at least I do so maybe I desensitised. However I am still not going to model them. You can let your breath out now.

2. Wasting my time: What as opposed to socks? I love handknitted socks but they aren't exactly practical now are they. This is a stupid argument. We don't knit to be practical.

3. Stupid: I say the folks who use this label need to think this one through. Have you ever seen those divine skeins of expensive, hand dyed silk and said, oooohh but what would I ever make with that? I could only afford one and how many decorative scarfs do I need? How about those lovely little seaglass beads, yummy ribbons? Well I say underwear. Not only undies but bras, camis, you name it. Hey how about all those incredible lace patterns that you will never try. Uh huh underwear. And you will actually get use out of it.

Now as for the pattern. I loved making it. It is a charming pattern. It moves quickly and incorporates many different techniques. But it is flawed. For one even as just a pair of play undies these are too skimpy in the front. I added an extra crochet edge but still. The gauge is much too big, they look "knitted". They don't have any stretch. I used a wool/silk mix and it took an act of god to wiggle them over my hips (yeah real good for the ego let me tell you). Once up they fit but you wouldn't want to be drinking lots of water through the day if you get my drift. (I actually ended up chopping them at the sides and sewing in some more ribbon with ties but these will never be in everyday use.)

But I haven't given up. I am going to buy Knitting Lingerie Style the moment it comes out because this chick knows her lingerie fitting stuff and I need all the help I can get. As opposed to being a waste of time I would propose this is one of the best uses of knitting time I have come across since my first socks. I can't afford the lingerie I could make. I can't even afford to be in the same room as the lingerie I could make! Handknitted (on tiny needles), delicate lacework, hand beaded silk, custom fit bra and knickers. Talk about something special.

ps: the word panties, now that is perverted
pps: garish acrylic from Walmart, that is perverted
ppps: actually telling someone you don't ever read, you just wait for the movie, that is perverted
pppps: asking me if I would like a coffee and then proceed to make me instant, that is so very perverted (and a trap, then I have to drink it!)
ppppps:speedos on men, I don't even have words for the level of perverted

Monday, 9 April 2007

Oooo la la!

I think she likes them!

And yet the celery keeps coming........

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Me, me is all about me..........

I once left a knit night after it was noted that since most of my projects were for myself, I was a selfish knitter. I never went back.

So how many projects should you do for others and how many for yourself?

My 3 year old noted the other day when I cast on for another jumper for myself that "Mum's should only make things for their daughters not for themselves". To give her credit she is so wrapped in my hand knits that she was trying to push ahead in the queue (she is after Ted, who is now after me).

I would say about 50% of my projects are for myself, maybe more. I don't see much wrong with this but sometimes in certain knitting company I keep this to myself. I am after all the one who knits the item. I feel like I give alot of myself in most other parts of my life, do I have to in knitting as well? Why should there be so much guilt spread about about knitting for one's self? In fact I say if all I wanted to do was knit for myself then why is that wrong? I knit to knit not to really wear so if what gives me fever are things for myself so what? Is this just aimed at women? Are male knitters given the same pressure? How about knitters without partners? kids? This holiday season I knitted nothing for gifts. Shocked? The last holiday season I went all out and burnt out, this one I decided instead of "all" I would go "nothing". It was a good decision for me and I may make it a tradition.

So yes I have cast on for another me-me-me project. I pushed in line. I had a knit that couldn't wait. I cast on for the Cable-Down Raglan from the latest Interweave Knits. I thought I had the perfect yarn right in my stash. A gorgeous soft heathery green from Jo Sharp. Now this came as a surprise to me but reverse stockinette has a profound ability to make even delightful yarns look like crap. I went through the stash like a madwoman, swatching like a demon and had one failure after another. Given my commitment to working down my stash I was getting worried. What I need I thought is a good old fashioned yarn and then I remembered this. Brown won't work I declared but lets try it for the hell of it and guess what it did. It was crisp and solid. And I loved the warmth of the brown. And it is as cheap as chips. All up this jumper will cost me about $24 NZ dollars (less than $20 US or about 2 Euros, not really but it feels that way when I do the exchange on the NZD). Of course the gauge was off so it required a little bit of fancy footwork. I reworked the math, made the original cast on a little smaller since it is the neckline and all was well. The wool is slightly itchy but I am assured by those in the know that it softens up like a dream once washed and worn. This is planned as a winter jumper anyway so I will always have long sleeves under it. Because it is brown I am having the damnest time getting the cables to show up in the photos so this is my best shot.

Monday, 2 April 2007

Say hello to the new kid in town...........

First the good news.........

Deciding it was time to do some knitting for my daughter I took away some Knitpicks Sock Yarn on our camping trip. The plan: some 1x1 rib knee high tube socks. She is 3 years old and heels aren't very practical at this point, she grows too fast, this way she will get the whole winter out of them (ask me how I figured this one out? lets just say I may have experience in this from last winter). I had this knitpicks yarn that I knew I would never knit up for myself because the colours are on the garish side but it is perfect for a small child. And no I don't think I save my crap yarn for my kids projects, god maybe I do, bad mummy! Anyway she is loving them even if they do make me wince a little. I want to love knitpicks I really do. I mean I love the price. I love the concept of the company. But the yarn, while the quality is good sometimes (and dodgy others), the colours are just, just, well just a little trashy. Believe me I like trashy as much as the next person, in fact it may be said even more, but not in yarn colours. But I am being a little hard, some of their colours are good, it is just many aren't. I think I have a bit of bad attitude about this due to a sweater that went wrong once it was cleaned, so very, very wrong and well since then I have never felt the same. So anyway this sock yarn, it feels a little stringy and not so much fun to knit with but it will work. Cheap (and nasty; damn be nice)

Now don't look away, don't cover your eyes, let this be a warning to all who think it can't happen to them:

I am out of yarn

Really, really out of yarn. Like there is no more.

I don't know what I am going to do. I know what I am not going to do. I am not going to frog these. I have never, never run out of Socks that Rock yarn, never. This is unbelievable. I am not even close. I just kept thinking by some freakish occurrence it would make it, even when I could see it wouldn't. I can't even begin to face this at this moment. The socks are now in the naughty chair.

My current solution is to just do this when anyone wants to see the socks:

I think I am fooling them.