More Books!

As he promised, the guy at Artisan Books rang to say one of the books I wanted was in, so the beau and I headed into town. I’ve started the Yarn Harlot book and already had many a chuckle. I also picked up a book on book binding:

Which I’m planning to use when putting my New Zealand trip photo album together. After my UK trip album experience of getting a few hundred photos developed, discovering the developer had cropped the tops and bottoms off them (having not told me they were the ‘wrong’ proportions), getting another hundred redone somewhere else, then discovering I was being ripped off and could have them done cheaply at Hardly Normal, then buying two expensive albums and spending hours and hours applying photo corners and sticking down labels… I decided there had to be a better way to make nice trip albums.

The solution, I’ve decided, is to arrange multiple photos on A4ish sized jpegs and have enlargements done cheaply through a mail order photo enlargment company. I can have the photos any size or proportion I want and the labels can be typed onto the same page. Once processed I can then bind the sheets together myself.

I just need to stop knitting and get around to making the jpegs…

I got lots of knitting done over the weekend. There has been FOage. The Swirled Pentagon Pullover is done. And I’m angry. Angry, ropeable and annoyed. It fits very badly, and the fault is all due to an error in the pattern and, well, is there anyone out there who has spindly arms that never leave the sides of their body coupled with a disproportionally huge chest?

It’s blocking right now. When it’s dry I’ll try it on again, take photos, and explain what went wrong.


Finding ourselves in the northern suburbs of Melbourne the other day, the beau and I tracked down a few shops we hadn’t visited before. My choice was Artisan Books. Oh. My. I could spend a LOT of money there.

I bought these:

One which is beautiful and inspiring, and the other which is amusing and educational. I’m eyeing the lemon gum out the front of our neighbour’s house with renewed interest. And I have an even stronger itch to knit fair isle – more ambitious full sized fair isle garments.

I also learned that two books I’ve been itching to get – the Yarn Harlot’s latest and Cat Bordhi’s sock one – were on order. I so made arrangements for the manager to ring when they arrived, and told the beau to find a few more northernish Melbourne photography shops to put on his list.

Too Ambitious for Waiting Rooms

The final swirled pentagon of the Swirled Pentagon Pullover was added the other night. They have a habit of sticking out in the middle. I’ve heard this is typical of Norah Gaughan’s motifs, and they usually settle down flat after blocking. I hope so. It will look a bit silly, otherwise.

Now I need to see if I can pick up and knit the sleeves downward – my preferred method these days. Anything to avoid seams.

Trying out fair isle knitting for my swap recipient’s gift has given me a bit of an itch to knit more fair isle, so I’ve started on these:

I can see why some knitters become addicted to this sort of thing. Quick, utterly satisfying, and you feel so clever afterwards.

The Drapey Scarf

When I joined the Australian Knitters Ravelry Forum’s We’ve Got You Covered swap I was hoping one of my recipient’s requested item would allow me to do a bit of weaving. It turned one one of the requested items was a scarf, which was perfect. Inspired by Lolly’s experiment in beating lightly in order to get a drapey fabric, I warped up the loom with some thin wool/cashmere yarn (though only about 5% cashmere), which I planned to dye in my recipient’s favourite colour afterwards, and got weaving.

I have plenty of this yarn and I was pretty generous with the warp length. I got to worrying about the length as I worked. Would the recipient mind if the scarf ended up really long?

So I sent in a few decoy questions along with one about scarf length. And it turned out the recipient doesn’t like long scarves, preferring really short ones.


The trouble with weaving is once something’s on the loom, you have to finish it before you can start the next project. Good thing, then, that weaving is so fast! As I finished it I decided it would be either mine, or a gift, and I’d choose whether or not to dye it later.

I’m very happy with the result.

It’s lovely and drapey.

I think I might keep it. But I can’t decide if I’ll leave it as it is or dye it. Perhaps I’ll dye it with eucalyptus leaves…

Mending a Friend’s Granny

Last week a friend emailed to ask if I could mend an old crochet blanket her aunt had made 40-50 years ago. I told her to bring it over, and we spread it over a table and examined it closely.

It’s a classic granny square blanket made of scraps, and had started to unravel in the middle of three squares. I was pretty sure I could fix it, and decided to photograph the process in case I was right, so if anybody else needs to do the same I can send them here for a ‘tutorial’.

The first thing I did was put in a ‘safety line’ to stop more unravelling, through the base stitches of the round outside the ones that had unravelled.

Then I hunted through the stash and matched as many yarns as I could. There were three I couldn’t match, so I headed up to the local op shops and soon had three little balls of similar yarn. Now I just had to work out how to replace the unravelled sections.

After the existing yarn had been removed, I put the replacement yarn on the wool needle and threaded it through where the safey line was, going the opposite way to how you crochet. Then I removed the safety line.

Next I made the missing centre round and joined the end of the yarn for the round that would join it to the blanket. I made enough chain stitches for one stitch and one for the gap between it and the next cluster.

Then I slipped a crochet hook through the base of the cluster stitches in the next row…

… and pulled the working loop through, pulling through any slack in the yarn so the working loop and yarn were on the other side of the cluster.

Next I crocheted the next cluster and added two gap chains because this was goign to be a corner…

… and pulled the working loop through the next two corner clusters of the round above. From here I kept going in the same vein, pulling the working loop through and adding clusters until I’d reached the beginning of the round.

Then finished off by cutting off the yarn, threading it through the working loop, pulling tight and then sewing in the ends.

The rug is now fixed, washed in woolmix and drying on top of blocking squares on the floor of my workroom. I worked out while fixing the rug that it was coming apart because the crocheter had attached new yarn by tying a knot and then trimming the ends to about half an inch before tucking them into a cluster. Those knots are working their way loose, but still, it took 40-50 years for them to do so. Which is pretty remarkable.

I think this rug will now be put on display rather than used. From the sounds of it, my friend didn’t realise how much she valued it until she realised it was coming apart. Perhaps that’s how heirlooms come about. They’re made to be used, but in time they accumulate a sentimental meaning, partly through long familiarity, partly because the maker passes away and the object is a manifestation of their time and love that remains. I bet the woman who made this hoped it would be useful, and didn’t imagine it would still exist so many years later, or that it would become so much more than just a blanket made of scraps.

Two Things I Realised Last Night

* I was more intimidated by the pentagons on the Swirled Pentagon Pullover than I thought.

* The pentagons are dead easy.

* My cold is getting worse, not better.

* I’m about ten balls short if I’m going to make a baby blanket the size I want, in the yarn I started it with.

* Maybe making a baby blanket in white wool isn’t such a good idea, now that I think of it.

* My cold is definitely getting worse, not better.


I whipped up this iTouch cosy a few days ago, out of leftover Lisa Souza sock yarn:

There’s another fo hanging about, but it’s a secret one, so I can’t post pics yet.

There also seems to be wips galore around here lately. I have a crochet baby blanket growing slowly, a weaving project that was going to be the secret project but turned out to be unsuitable for the recipient, and I finally started the Swirled Pentagon Pullover:

The yarn, Naturally Sensation, is part angora and wonderfully soft and cosy. But it keeps shedding all over everything. The cat, my clothes, up my nose… I’m hoping this will stop once it’s been washed.

There are two other projects I’m planning to start soon: socks and some mittens. Why the sudden multiple wips? I usually stick to two or three. Perhaps I have a bad case of startitis.

The Kiwi Knee Rug

The yarns:

Touch Yarns
Ashford Tekapo
Supreme Possum Merino
Rare Essentials (alpaca/merino), ‘grown and produced in Australia and New Zealand’
Magic Garden Buttons (Made by Naturally)
Naturally Perendale
John Q Designer Creative DK
Perendale Premium Blend (made by Design Spun)
Rainbow 8ply New Wool (made by Woolmart)

Of all the yarns I used in the rug, only the Rare Essentials wasn’t labelled ‘New Zealand wool’. I wanted to use all New Zealand yarn if I could, and not only was I able to but by the end of the trip I hadn’t even needed to use one brands of local yarn twice (except Naturally, as I didn’t realise that the Magic Buttons was a Naturally yarn until later.) I could have added more brands of NZ yarn, as I found Crucci yarn and the local Red Heart brand on the last day, as well as Shepherd which, while an ACS yarn, is made from NZ wool.

The Touch Yarns wool was the softest of the 100% wool yarns. The Rare Essentials was close in softness though, along with the Buttons, thin for an 8ply. The Possum Merino was the thickest (the black worked fine as a substitute for 10ply for Le Slouch) and soft in a robust, squishy way. I was surprised to find Ashford’s Tekapo was by far the harshest yarn – really quite scratchy.

The pattern:

I opted for a simple mitre square pattern, starting at a corner and adding a diagonal ‘stripe’ of each new yarn as we travelled, then repeating the sequence of colours at home to finish the second half. Then I added a garter stitch border, starting with the last yarn – in a complimentary colour – then following with yarns used in the middle. And finally there were all the ends to sew in and trim off:


The souvenir rug idea worked better than I hoped. There was plenty of yarn and it was an easy project to work on as we travelled. I love the mix of blues and greens, and it’s the perfect size for keeping legs warm while watching tv, or sitting in a car. I reckon I could do with another one. In red. Hmm.