Heavy Thoughts

Monday being the day that residents arrive and leave the writers retreat, I spent some time yesterday doing a mental tally of the additions and subtractions from my luggage and the overall effect this might have on its weight when I go next week. (Bear with me, this does relate to knitting. And chocolate.)

I removed six books. I bought three. One of the books I bought I suspect the beau already owns, so maybe I could give it away or something.

I brought one block of chocolate (eaten) then bought two more and was gifted a chocolate rat. Clearly to reduce weight I need to eat all the chocolate. (I so love that sentence, taken out of context.)

I bought 400g of yarn and was gifted 200g. Unfortunately knitting faster or more is not going to reduce weight as I still have to transport the finished object. Or perhaps that should be ‘fortunately’, considering my time here should be spent writing, not knitting. But then it occured to me that if I knit something as a gift I don’t have to pack it. Something fast, so not sock yarn. The only yarn I have that qualifies is the baby alpaca.

Then I realised frantically knitting up the yarn I’d just bought for myself, in order to gift it to who-knows-who, only to reduce my luggage weight by 100 g might be taking the weight reduction thing a little too far.

(BTW, the chocolate rat is delicious, Kate. And I’ve got just the right project waiting in the wings for that yarn.)

Knitting! And chocolate!

Yesterday, just when I was thinking I was still too sick to get any work done, but well enough to be bored with staring at the same four walls (except there are seven, because there’s this mysterious columny thing), I got an sms from David Reidy offering to give me a lift to a local chocolate cafe where some knitters were meeting up.

Oh, what a great afternoon! There was knitting. There was chocolate. There was a talk about both, and podcasts, and more. I’d tell you the details, but the net connection here is so slow that I can type twenty words before anything appears on the screen. I sucked up all this good knitting company like a tonic and went back to my room content and cheerful (and regretting that my occasional attempts to get a knitting group going in my part of Melbourne had been as successful as herding cats – must try again).

Thankyou David and Lara and Mark and Kate (did I get all those right?). I had a wonderful time.

No Winter Magic For Me

Two day’s after I arrived in Katoomba I had a bit of a sore throat. I thought it was from talking too much, but no, it was the start of a “who the heck shoved an orbital sander down my throat” sore throat. And as anyone who has tried to sleep with an orbital sander down their throat will know, sleep is a bit, well, challenging. And functioning as a human being becomes a distant and fond memory once I get a little sleep deprived. Writing and knitting? Was I really once capable of such things?

There was knitting before the sleep deprivation really set in. It’s been rather chilly here – two nights ago it reached -3 – so fingerless mitts suddenly had immense appeal. I managed somehow to come up with a whole new pattern, which I’ll post when I get back.

Today I’m feeling a smidge better, like I may be over the worst of it. The Katoomba Winter Magic Festival is on, but I don’t think I’m going to make it. If any of the knitters who invited me to hang out are reading this, apologies for not making it.

Instead I might curl up in a sunny spot inside, and try to remember what I’m supposed to do with these sharpened sticks and soft stringy stuff.

I’m in Katoomba!

And I have internet access! But it’s a bit slow and I probably won’t post pics until I get home.

I’ve been to Tapestry Craft at last! And they were having a sale. But I have to admit, the 80% off yarn didn’t grab me and I hesitated to buy the less discounted nice yarn because my suitcase was already too heavy. The night before I’d discovered another knot followed by a colourway change in my Mega Red Socks, and had only brought enough wool to finish the sock. I couldn’t continue with them, so I needed more sock yarn.

For some reason I expected Tapestry Craft to stock more than just Patonyle and Heirloom. I was wrong. But I found a nice dark tweedy Heirloom Argyle, and there were just four balls of Sirdar Town & Country sock yarn in navy left so I got two of those. And some aqua Heirloom 5ply, because the Patonyle plain colours are a bit boring.

When I got back I noticed there was no discount indicated on the receipt. Trust me to pick the only non-sale yarn!

Today I’m going to check out the Katoomba yarn store.

A Few Days Rest

Phew! What a weekend! It was as busy as expected, and far more social than anticipated. A few international and a lot of interstate friends were in town and some were even knitters.

Yes, I knit in public on World Wide Knit In Public Day. In fact, when my UK editor met me in the hotel lounge he laughed and said “why doesn’t it surprise me to find you knitting?”.

But overall I didn’t get much knitting done. I did finish one of the Mega Red Socks and worked just a few rows of the toe for the second sock, though. I’m looking forward to a few quiet evenings to relax and stitch. And my cat has definitely missed a stationary heat source to snuggle up to each night.

It’ll only be a few nights, though. Then he and the beau will have to keep each other company for a few weeks.

(Hey Michelle – did you get my email?)

Tension Issues

The last few days have been hectic and things aren’t going to slow down soon. On Saturday the beau and I went to IKEA to buy this shelving unit.

Which is now my craft bookshelf. (The top shelf has books and magazines, second is two-thirds of the stash, third has some craft stuff and the adopted stash in the middle, and forth is for heavy stuff like the sewing machine, overlocker and such.)

We really shouldn’t have gone on a Saturday, but we both hate shopping at IKEA so much we kept putting it off until we couldn’t any more. I’d have bought one of the more expensive versions available at better quality furniture stores closer to home, that don’t aim to make your shopping experience as torturous as possible, but I’d planned a year and a half ago to buy two of these, and went ahead and bought one to use as clothing storage while we were lacking wardrobe space.

The rest of the weekend, plus Monday, were dedicated to moving my office/writing/craft/art stuff into my new workroom.

It’s still a bit of a mess, and there’s still more stuff to go in. I have more art stuff and a filing cabinet back at my old house, and I can tell you I’ve missed that filing cabinet a lot!

An unexpected bright side to a five-month house extention being over seven months late finishing (and counting) is that all this moving took place in the nice cool winter, rather than sweaty hot summer.

I’ve got a little bit of knitting done. I started the Glamour Vest, using my top-down conversion of the pattern I used for Violet Femme. Bendy Colonial for the body, then some black/green/silver handspun sample yarn I picked up at the Australian Country Spinners shop a few years ago for the collar. It’s the right balance of simple stocking stitch with a few interesting bits of shaping to qualify as stress-relief knitting.

And I’m needing stress-relief. I’ve been spending my nights lying awake constructing conversations with a long list of people, explaining to my UK editors how the House Extension From Hell has caused me to fall so far behind on my next book (meeting this Saturday), explaining to the architect and builder just how much I want to sue their sorry *rses, and explaining all sorts of things to the plumber, electrician, carpenter, etc. and finally – very bizzare – explaining to a literary snob at the writers retreat I’ll be staying at later this month that only the most deluded egotistic arrogant writer ever expects JK Rowling-style success, and since they probably are so sure of their perfection that they’d never believe their work might need polishing and reworking, it’s unlikely they’d be published in the first place.

Definitely a strange one, that. But it was the only conversation that was amusing to recall the next day.

My meeting with my editors is happening alongside a national science fiction convention over this long weekend. The beau and I will be catching up with interstate and international friends, some who will be staying with us. Then next week I’m off to Sydney (Tapestry Craft! Tapestry Craft!), and then the writers retreat in the Blue Mountains where I won’t have internet access (but I’m hoping to hang out with some knitters up there and check out the LYS). The upshot of all this is that I probably won’t be able to blog as much as I’d like. And I’m sure going to miss reading blogs!

But I promise to post lots of nice photos when I get back in July.

Mum’s Black Crochet Hat

Mum is a hot person. By that I mean she doesn’t feel the cold that much, but finds hot weather uncomforable. Unfortunately, this means she doesn’t wear much knitwear. She’s always very resistant to me making her anything. Not even socks.

But she does like hats – preferrably made of cool fibres like cotton. Last year I tried out the sunhat pattern in Yarn magazine, using some leftover navy cotton, and decided to give the resulting hat to Mum. Her response?

“I’d like another one, please. In black.”