Monday, September 22, 2014

First sleeve syndrome

There is a popular feeling amongst knitters that second sock syndrome and second sleeve syndrome (or sleeve island) is a problem for many.   I have never felt that was the case for me,  I finish the first item, immediately cast on for the second and off I go,  no problems.   This past week I have I realised why this is the case. 

I suffer from first sleeve and sock syndrome instead.  I get halfway down the first sleeve/sock and feel like it is neeeeeeevvvvveeeeeerrrrrrrrrr going to end.   I can't see any progress and feel like the sleeve/sock is taking forever to get anywhere.   I push myself,  I persevere and eventually after putting the item down many, many times and knitting on various other items,  I eventually get to the end of the first sleeve or sock I am working on. 

All of a sudden I have great enthusiasm to keep on going because as soon as the second sleeve or sock is done,  I am finished! 

This has happened with my second James jumper.   I finished the body on the 7th of August and it took me until yesterday to finish the first sleeve, struggling the whole way, that's 6.5 weeks for one sleeve (with lots of other easy, quick knitting happening instead).   This morning I got up, picked up the jumper,  put the stitches for the second sleeve on the needle and off I went, I have completed two of the twelve decreases and the end is in sight.   I am full steam ahead now! 

As long as second sleeve syndrome doesn't arrive I should have a completed jumper in a few days ☺

Monday, June 30, 2014

Finishitis - Startitis

I have finished my most recent big project: The jumper is James by Amy Miller in Tosh Merino Light in the Grey Garden colourway that I bought at Bendigo last year.  I have knit it on 4 mm needles and love the fabric.  It used just less than 3 skeins which was fantastic and it relaxed a little once I washed/blocked it.  I am going to have to do a row of stabilising stitching around the neckline as my one mistake was my original cast on, which should have been a cable cast on or some other non-stretchy cast on, but I used my usual backwards loop cast on which stretches beautifully.   Not something you particularly want on a neckline!  I have worn it a few times already and it is lovely and warm for a 4 ply.  I have more Tosh Merino Light in another colourway (black currant) and it is VERY tempting to make this again.  Pattern is very straightforward and easy to follow and uses clever short row shaping to make the neckline.  Definitely going to get a lot of wear out of this one!

Getting photos of my garments is always a chore, I am super critical of myself in photos and find it really hard to get shots I like.  This time round after a false start by me, I employed the services of my 6 and 8 year sons.  It only took us 6 shots this time.

I tried first and had trouble aiming the camera:

Then the 6 year old tried, he had trouble with the focussing:

 The 6 year old tried again and got better focus but found it hard to hold the camera steady:

 Then the 6 year old with instructions to just do the jumper, he had great composition but the camera was just too heavy for him to manage.

 So the 8 year old was called in and he did a great job with the focussing and composition:

And after being reminded I just wanted the jumper in the shot, he took the photo shown here:

Not bad for a bunch of amateurs!

Now of course I want to finish the little things that are hanging around, 2 pairs of socks (the orange ones and the green/black ones) and a scarf and cast on the next round of things.  I have started and finished 2 hats in the past week the Cloche enough for Jazz and the Library Cloche, they are both drying now and will hopefully go to their new home tomorrow.  A friend is going through chemo and her hair has begun to fall out so these will be a welcome addition to her wardrobe for the current and continuing cold weather.

So the needles will be emptying out very soon and I'm looking around for the next option.  With the annual trek to Bendigo for the Australian Wool and Sheep show fast approaching maybe it will be small things until I've seen what the new yarn options might be!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The mysteries of children

One of the mysteries of children that has become more obvious in the past couple of months is their attitude to the various piles of washing in the house.

We don't have a clothes drier, so if things needs drying away from the weather we have 3 clothes horses.  Dry clothes from the washing line land in a chair in the lounge room or the not quite dry ones land onto one of the clothes horses and then onto the chair.  Once on the chair they get folded and the children are encouraged to put theirs away, generally with a certain amount of whinging on their behalf.

So, when looking for clothes, the children start in their cupboards, they then complain about not being able to find clothes and are directed to the chair and when really pushed, they check out the clothes horses for whatever it is they are looking for.  But, and this is a big but, if not directed to look on the chair, the washing on it does not exist.  It's always a surprise to them that there might be clothes of theirs on it.

Now, a couple of months ago I folded their stuff and placed it on the couch in separate, sorted piles so it was in their way when they got home and they weren't allowed to have free time (screen time, craft time, etc) until their clothes were away.  This seemed to work nicely.  Now, depending on the day, sometimes I put the clothes on the couch, sometimes on the chair.

This afternoon, the children walked through the front door, into the lounge, spotted the clothes on the couch and groaned about the washing and put it all away...WITHOUT ME ASKING!

There's been piles of clothes on the chair for days and they have done nothing about them!

Mystery Number 1:  What makes the couch so special?  Why is it that clothes on couch = put away, but clothes on chair = ignore?

Mystery Number 2:  If the clothes are sorted into piles on the chair and they have in fact gone through the piles looking for other items, why is it they still don't exist and can stay on the chair for days at a time?

Mystery Number 3:  How can two pieces of furniture, in the same room, less than 3 metres apart have such different responses?

Ah the joys of children!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

When last I was here...

I was working on a Harvest Moon which is now completed and with it's new owner who is very pleased with the new addition to her wardrobe, so that is fantastic!

I was halfway through another Tempest for me, today it is sitting out in the sun drying out the last little bit.  

All it needs now is buttons and it will go into rotation in the wardrobe.  I'm thinking I might give the Tempest pattern a rest for a little while and try my hand at something else.  If nothing else I know that I can come back to it and it suits me and my shape so that is great.

The limbo socks were indeed ripped and have been restarted on a smaller size and being toe up are now half way up the foot and I need to pull out the directions and work out what is next.  They are easier this time round, having been here before and they fit so much better this time as well.

I started a new pair of simple socks for J.  He's had a Zauberball floating around for a while, so now these are on the needles.  They are top down, made up in my head, and I have just reached the heel flap so they are going well.

In between times I needed something quick and easy so I pulled out a pattern for my nieces.  Using Bendigo Cotton I whipped up a Carnaby in next to no time.  It just needs some wide elastic in the waist band and it can go live with Miss A.  She tried it on for me on Tuesday night and it looks very cute indeed.  I might need to make a matching one for her sister Miss M first though or there may be some upset feelings.  We'll see how we go.

I started and finished a shawl for a lovely friend who is going through a hard time just now.  The shawl came out beautifully and I was able to keep the cats away from it as it dried so there are no catches in it anywhere, phew!  Couldn't keep the two legged helper away though!

And as is always the way when you approach the  finish of something, the cast on bug arrives and you start to think about what might be next...

I pulled out the Squared cardigan that I put aside at the beginning of the year with the intention of continuing the re-knit.  The original almost completed cardigan was way too big, it was my own fault.  I had frogged all of the body pieces and rewound them into balls and they had just been sitting around waiting for me to show an interest again.  So I cast on the back and worked the first bottom band section and then I set it aside, again.  There was something bugging me about the whole thing and I couldn't put my finger on it.

Fast forward to last night and I was looking through lots of lovely patterns and thinking about the yarn in which to make the items and I had a light bulb moment.  It occurred to me that part of my problem with the Squared cardigan in this yarn was that I didn't like the fabric that it was making.  It was too dense.   So it is going to be completely frogged and I will play with the gauge until I get the feel of fabric I am after and I will do the calculations and start again.  

Lucky for me, around that time, a friend posted on Ravelry that a designer was having a sale, so I went through the designer's patterns and noticed there was a jumper I was wanting to knit.  So I now have the James pattern and I'm thinking of teaming it with this gorgeous MadelineTosh Tosh Merino Light.

Time to get the ball winder and swift out methinks!

Monday, April 7, 2014


It does indeed feel like there are cobwebs in here.  I have ideas of just posting photos of where I am at on projects with minimal words, I have plans of posting weekly.  All these plans fall away when life throws curve balls and the reality is this space isn't going anywhere, so I can come back here when I do have the time and space to do so, and that is good.  There has been so much going on in real life that finding the time or energy to post here just hasn't happened.  In the past 4 months there has been part-time regular work for me, a shortened family beach holiday, 2 funerals, worry for family affected by the Mine fire in Morwell, a term of school, worry for my Mum as Long Service Leave turned into unexpected unemployment, a trip to hospital for a green stick (buckle) fracture for the youngest, and the sale of J's family home as his Mum downsizes.  And that is the way life goes.

Soooooo, this past weekend I went away with Mum for a quilting weekend.  After a rocky start where we weren't sure if it would go ahead, Mum stitched, unpicked and restitched a red and white square for a charity quilt and finished a patchwork bag she had been working on.  Some 1/4 inch feet just don't do a 1/4 inch seam!

I worked on the shadow quilt I began at last year's weekend away and came home with all of the coloured squares attached and all 4 layers pinned together ready for quilting.  The final quilt will be approximately 2.4 m x 2.4 m and will be for my bedroom.  Seen here folded in half and hanging over the sides of the bed.

My next quilt is going to be a pieced Storm at Sea quilt in navy and white prints also eventually for my bed.  So far it is still all in pieces and I still need to do some more cutting before it is ready to be sewn but it is indeed getting there!

The challenge will be to continue working on both of these projects when knitting is a lot easier to pick up and put down.

I recently completed my Lily Cardigan in a gorgeous grey which, as the weather cools, will be getting a lot of wear as it will go with pretty much everything.

I currently have two cardigans and a pair of socks on the needles.  One cardigan just needs a sleeve, the second cardigan needs 2 sleeves and half a front, and the sock is sort of in limbo.  I can't decide whether to frog the sock and make it smaller or keep going and give it to someone with larger feet than me.  Decisions, decisions!

Friday, November 8, 2013


The children had the second round of orientations into new classes for next year at school today.  They seem to be coping quite well with this change, which is really nice.  Other years, Orientation has set off all sorts of anxieties.  The youngest is coping better then I thought he would.  It helps that even though the teachers are not necessarily ones he has had before, he has become familiar with them around the school during the year.  He is one who doesn't like change so much, the familiar is reassuring and at his age, just turned 6, I don't blame him really.

We also have a lot going on in the family at the moment, my FIL's health is declining and he has spent the past 2 weeks in hospital recovering from a bout of Pneumonia.  We have had to alert the children to the state of his poor and declining health and they have each taken that on board as we expected.  Unfortunately FIL has a degenerative lung condition and while his symptoms can currently be relieved it will get to the point where that is no longer possible.  It's a difficult situation in many ways with decisions being made that have left us astounded on a regular basis.  We are trying to be understanding, but there are days when that is very hard and you just want to yell at someone.  We are offering help when it will be accepted and that's all we can do for now, in the end it's not our decision, we have to live with what they decide, it would just be easier if there was a flow of information rather than a black hole followed by apparently ridiculous decision making.

In the meantime I have been knitting.  No surprise there really :-)

I finished the mitts I was working on in the pattern to match the Thyone cardigan.

I finished my third Tempest.  I have been wearing it today despite it not having buttons. I will have to go shopping for some as I don't have appropriate ones stashed away anywhere.  I made the same adjustment to this one as the second of making it more of a V-neck than the original which is a high curved neck and knitting it all in one piece from the bottom up including the sleeves from the armhole up and then knitting them down the arm afterwards.  In the end I had 6 g of the main colour left and 16 g of the multicolour yarn left.   It is the perfect length and with the addition of buttons will be much more useful on those slightly cooler days like today.  Another wardrobe staple to be sure. Woot!

The Teacher's socks were tried on for size and declared too tight so they were frogged and have been restarted in a 2x2 rib to allow for more elasticity at the heel and firmness around the ankle and foot.  they are almost at the heel, but since they are swimming lesson knitting they don't see a lot of airtime so progress will be slow.

I started a new garment, a Squared cardigan, for me from my book Knit to Flatter.  I have dutifully photographed and measured myself and am hoping that using this info I will get another beautiful garment that fits well, looks good and has that little bit of extra chest space where it is needed :-)

This week has been a busy one despite being a short school week.  We have had the fencing guys here the last three days pulling down the fence, installing posts and erecting the palings.  It was a disgrace out there with dirt having come under the fence from the other side because of the downed fence, it's been coming down in bits and pieces over the past 12 months.  I had a helper who earned himself some pocket money by taking the wheel barrow out the back and dumping it while I did the next section each time.  I was happy because I didn't have to stop working every 5 minutes and he was happy because he got to help and earn money at the same time.

Under all of those weeds and dirt are concrete grass pavers.  We had to move a trailer load's worth of dirt to the backyard before they were unearthed!

The new fence needed to be put in low enough to stop the steady stream of soil from the higher gardens on the other side.  Having land at a lower level on our side is a pain, the new plinth (board that runs horizontal along the bottom) is 2.5 times as thick as the standard boards now so that it will take a lot longer to rot out than before.  The new palings were put on today and it's actually a bit of a shock to have a full fence again!  I will have to find some light weight creepery things to grow along it to hide it a bit I think!

This weekend there is one party to attend for one of the kids and the in-laws to visit so it should be a nice break after the hard work of last weekend :-)


My boys are sitting together eating their dinner.  It is taking longer than usual because the pasta has made them remember all sorts of things from when they were younger and they are giggling away wildly while describing it all.  Of course they aren't eating and their imaginations are starting to get a little over the top.  But.  I have three boys and they are talking to each other, enjoying each other's company and giggling madly with each other.  You've gotta love that :-)