I made these “Handy Spider Webs” last night:

Sometimes you need to take a break from worthy charity knitting and serious garment construction, and make something whimsical. The pattern is a Ravelry download.

I’ve also been enchanted by dust lately.

Yes. Dust.

Specifically, the dust under my table loom:

Which is rainbow coloured to match my Leftovers Blanket.

I did some more weaving on said blanket yesterday. No point taking pics, though. They’d look just like the last ones I took. Though the weaving is fun, every time I wind on the warp I can’t help hoping to see the ends come into sight. It seems like I’ve been weaving this for months and months. It’s starting to seem a little bit like the Neverending Warp.

And yet I’m a little reluctant to finish, as I can’t decide what to make next.

The Details

When the beau and I headed off to Bendigo on Friday, I had done my research. I’d spent many virus-addled hours looking at patterns and calculating yarn quantities and realised there really wasn’t much I needed from Bendy. I’d worked out that I had yarn for most of the patterns. All I needed was 2 balls of black 4ply cotton, one of red 8ply cotton, and maybe enough Rustic for a jumper.

The chat on the Bendigo Woollen Mills Ravelry group had hinted that the back room was rather full. No point filling your basket with full price yarn when there might be a bargain to be had, so I headed straight for it.

And immediately grabbed some craft yarn. Normally I wouldn’t give it a second glance. But there’s a method of rug making that I’d like to try, and the instructions in my book specified ‘craft yarn’ for the warp. I hope this is what they mean.

Next I scored some 8ply cotton in white for about half price. This is for weaving hand towels (as is the red full-price ball in the pic). While I have some white already, it was too good a bargain to miss.

(I’d like to point out that up to this point the yarn is all for weaving. But after this the stash diet rules went out the window.)

First I found some of the new sock yarn in navy. It looks nice and smooshy, but came in a rather boring colour range of black, navy and brown/grey. Is the fact that it was in a bin in the doorway of the back room and not on their website a sign that they’re not going to keep making it?

I also bought some Cameo – a wool/angora mix that isn’t on their site and I think is discontinued. The colours were awful, so I bought natural so I can dye it. I also bought an undersize ball of Aran, so I can test swatch it ready for the new colourways coming out soon.

Then I found myself filling my basket with packets of yarn. It really is hard to resist when you’re holding a pack of ten balls – enough for a jumper – and you realise the whole thing is only going to cost you somewhere between $20 and $30.

It got a bit silly, so I set my basket down and culled back to two packets. First, lots of Classic 12ply in black for a Buttony jumper, which I’m planning to put a rainbow of coloured buttons on.

Then some 50/50 alpaca/wool blend 8ply – which doesn’t appear on the site either – for the 3-Hour Sweater.

Finally I surfaced from the back room and grabbed what I’d come there for, the red 8ply cotton, and this:

The black 4ply cotton to make the Cardigan with Lacy Edging from Crochet in No Time. 0h – and I also bought some plastic dpns.

SES Hats and an Impending Yarn Binge

Just dropped these off at the post office:

The larger is the first one I knit, on 4mm. Well, I do knit a little loose! I went down to 3.75mm for the second. Then I started a child’s version, and that’s when I realised that I’d used the child’s sizing for the depth of ribbing on the first two. Probably just as well, or the first would have been enormous!

The second one fits fine – plenty of room – but I remembered that I’d used an entire ball of orange for the ribbing. No way would I get even an child’s hat done with what I had left. So I reduced the ribbing even more, and only managed to finish the hat by decreasing on every round halfway to the crown. But even with these reductions, the hat still fits me!

They’re strangely addictive, these hats. I think it’s because I don’t get to knit with orange often, since it doesn’t suit me. They’re also quick projects to do – a good break from larger ones. I’m out of orange now, though. Unfortunately the yarn I bought in anticipation of a CFA hat pattern is in yellow and white, and the pattern turned out to be for red and white. I could buy more…

But I don’t think I’ll be knitting more hats any time soon. My left shoulder muscles have been playing up off and on since I wrenched them in January, and at the moment I have some sort of virusy thing that’s like a flu (but with no visible symptoms like a snotty nose to encourage sympathy from anyone!) and my muscles, particulary the left shoulder, are all achey. I can knit for only about an hour at the most before I’m hurting too much.

This is driving me a little batty. I’ve been getting my knitting (and crochet) fix by browsing patterns, matching them up with yarn in my stash, and plotting yarn purchases. Not ordering yarn, though. I’ve been good. Though I passed a gadzillion yarn stores on the way home from a funeral yesterday I didn’t succumb.

But then the beau suggested we visit some friends in the country on Friday, and drop into the Bendigo Woollen Mills on the way. And it just happens that some of the patterns I’ve lined up require Bendy yarn purchases…

Goodbye yarn diet. Hope you have a nice time, wherever you go. Send me a postcard, won’t you?

Crochet in No Time

I like crochet, but I don’t do it as often as I’d like. Partly that’s because fewer crochet patterns appeal to me than knitting patterns. I’ve realised lately that while I don’t like most current crochet designs, I don’t mind vintage designs, particularly the rustic ones.

I’m not as used to following crochet directions as I am with knitting directions, too. In the past I’ve made things up as I went, and they weren’t projects that had to fit a body. The extra effort to translate US patterns is a huge put-off for me, especially because you can’t just drop a few stitches down to fix mistakes. Trying to crochet two of the projects in The Happy Hooker was such a disaster, what with the extra effort translating of terms and the errata that added even more errors, that I gave up on crocheting from patterns. But I keep buying books and magazines…

I bought Cool Crochet last year because I liked a lot of the patterns in it, but still haven’t crocheted anything from it. Why? US directions.

I also bought Crochet Techniques, which uses UK/Aus terms, but haven’t made anything from that book, either. That’s mainly because the projects are huge and intimidating. The classic 36 stitch sampler rug (left) is in my queue, though.

So with my not-getting-around-to-making-anything habit with crochet books, I decided that I wasn’t going to buy any more unless they had a) UK/Aus directions, and b) at least three patterns I liked. I didn’t think there was much chance of finding anything, so I was surprised when Crochet in No Time qualified:

Flicking through, I wasn’t impressed at first as the first section of accessories was hardly inspiring, and there’s a very big section of children’s wear. But then the garments caught my eye. This one is silly, but strangely appealing. I mean, if you’re going to go with the granny square, why not go big?

And then this grabbed my eyeballs. And not just because it’s red:

Then finally there’s the coat. It’s in Noro Silk Garden, but I’m not going to hold that against it. There are plenty of other graduated yarns out there. I could even try dying my own.

So now I’ve decided to dump the one crochet project in my Rav queue that uses US terms. If I’m going to make the leap to crocheting garments there’s no point making it harder for myself, when I can learn with familiar terms. I may even stop buying US crochet magazines. If I’m not making anything in them, or liking the patterns, they’re a waste of money.

I just wish Ravelry included whether a pattern used US/UK-Aust terms, so I could include that info in a search.


At s’n’b on Saturday there was a bit of yarn aquisition. First a box of Vintage Hues. It seems I can’t resist this yarn. I tell myself it’s for weaving, but really the project that comes to mind is this:

It seems coats are my current obsession. Preferrably crocheted. More on that in another post. Unfortunately I’m about 16 balls short of being able to make this and, if online stores are to believed, the yarn is discontinued.

The black Dale Garn is definitely for weaving. Though I haven’t finished the Leftovers Blanket, I stop now and then and admire the way the black weft interacts with the different colours. I’m particularly liking it with the varigated blue-green-purple yarns, which I have a couple of balls of. I’m thinking using a different twill pattern – one that I came up with on my sampler scarf.

Yesterday I went to the Camberwell Market, where I picked up the buttons shown above. Two possible kinds for the Alex jacket, plus the usual extras that caught my eye. I also bought this:

And, yes, it was the coat on the cover that caught my eye:

Though this one also got my attention:

Though aran weight and garter stitch? Not sure about that. Strangely, I kinda like these intarsia postage stamp pillows:

But I can only daydream about new projects. I have so many waiting in my queue. Last night I finished another SES hat:

Knit on 3.75 needles, it’s a bit closer to a normal hat size. I figure the bigger one is for a guy with a big head – or lots of hair! Unfortunately I’m about a quarter of a ball of orange short to make another one. Though… it just occurred to me there’s a child’s size. Yes, that’s what I’ll do!

Patterns, Magazines… Stuff

Two night ago I finished the back of Alex. I’d promised myself I would start a SES or CFA hat once the back was done. But then I cast on for the fronts. I’d decided to knit them simultaneously. Since I usually knit garments in the round as much as possible, it had been a long time since I’d had the opportunity. I ought to get the fronts started so if I needed to take some simple knitting with me (after all, I’m nearing the heel on the sock) I could. So I cast on. Then knit the first 14 rows, just to make sure I knew what I was doing.

And then I stopped making excuses and cast on for another SES hat. Which is what I worked on last night. And it occured to me that the ribbing was pretty simple knitting, and a hat is much more portable…

It’s been magazine season lately. A new knitty, a new Twist Collective, another IK and IC preview.

(I almost wish I could resist looking at IK and IC previews. A few weeks back I found IC in a newsagent, but because it looked familiar I couldn’t remember if I’d already bought it, or just seen it online. I took the risk and bought it, and was relieved to find I didn’t already have it.)

None of these magazines inspired me. But that’s pretty normal for me with Spring Issues. It’s the Fall and Winter patterns I tend to like the most. So I was pretty chuffed when not just the latest Yarn magazine appeared, but a new Aussie mag. Bring on the southern hemisphere magazines!

Yarn didn’t seem to have many patterns this time, but the articles were numerous and generally good. The patterns were well photographed and set out. Though occasionally the design work is a little wonky (the way the alpaca article was set out was very confusing) but pretty good for a mag not produced by a big company and overall it has a nice look and feel that isn’t overly commercial. Still, I didn’t find anything in this issue to inspire me.

Australian Knitting, in comparison, had less articles (but good ones – I love the fashion report!) and a lot more patterns. Many of the projects aren’t photographed being worn, which is something that makes me mistrust a pattern – I want to know what it looks like on a person (and in the case of the hottie cover… how hard would it have been to find a hot water bottle to put it on?). The design is good – this is a company experienced in publishing craft magazines – but I found the placement of the credit for the maker of the pattern ambiguous – it could be simply where to buy the yarn. And it isn’t clear the aran jumper is a child’s pattern, which is annoying because I thought I’d found something I liked at last. I like the Kaleidoscope Vest, too, but not enough to put it in my queue.

I as amused to see, on the inside front of Yarn, there’s a full page ad announcing that Knit Picks is changing its name to Knit Pro. There’s no mention of this on their site as far as I can see. Is it a change only for Australia, like Vogue Knitting now publishing as ‘Designer Knitting’ here?

And if so, do they know that ‘pro’ was (and may still be) short for… let’s call it an ancient mainly female career choice… in some parts of Australia?

Jackets and Socks

I should be knitting SES and CFA hats, but for the last few nights I’ve been engrossed in something else. I fell in love with this pattern last year:

Alex, by Debbie Bliss. I don’t often buy patterns because there are so many in magazines and books that I want to make. This one was different. I had to have it. But once it arrived I kept putting off starting it. There were other projects to finish. Then other ones that caught my attention.

But this year I’m determined to knock some of the larger garments off my list. So the other day I knit up a swatch, washed it and found the yarn I’d chosen (Millspun possum merino – trust me to follow up knitting a 12ply coat in summer with an extremely warm possum blend yarn in autumn) knit up at almost perfect gauge.

Three nights after casting on I’ve nearly finished the back. The pattern is just so darn easy (compared to Sylvi) and the yarn, while a bit splitty, is a delight to knit with. And all that stocking stitch is great for reading or watching tv at the same time.

And it’s been cold, so having a warm, fuzzy knit to work on is nice. In fact, it’s been cold enough that I wore Sylvi on Sunday morning, and handknits every day since. And handknit socks. But yesterday I discovered something that annoyed me. Remember these?

The ‘Coriolis Socks’ from New Pathways For Sock Knitters. The pattern, with the diagonal stitches, isn’t as stretchy as plain socks. Now it seems the yarn, Fleece Artist Sea Wool, has been shrinking with each wash, and I can no longer get them to go over my heels. I’m considering ripping them down to the ankles and reknitting them in plain stocking stitch.

I’ve been thinking lately how I keep getting to a point with socks where I’m tired of a certain form of them. First I got sick of fake fair isle, then varigated yarn and all the flashing. Then I was so over busy yarn with busy patterns, and wanted plain or nearly solid colours, with a nice stitch pattern. Now I’m really bored with overly complicated, cabled, ktbl ribbed, whacky ways of shaping, kinds of socks.

And I am SO over socks that shrink.

(And no, I still refuse to handwash them. Machine washable should mean machine washable.)

Sylvi Hat

Swayed by the comments:

Once again, I started with a sleeve cuff, knitting until it fit firmly around my head. Then I picked up two stitches for every three around the inner edge. I calculated from my swatch how many stitches I ought to have around it for a firm fit and decreased to that amount. Knit a few rows, add the bobbles as they are in the coat pattern, knit a bit more, and decrease at 1/6th intervals every second row to the crown. Then it was just a matter of knitting the smaller leaves from the coat pattern and sewing them down (one over the ‘cuff’ join to hide it).

I am officially tired of knitting leaves.