Saturday, July 31, 2010

Book Recommendations

I have just gotten around to having a look at The Book Depository which is based in the UK and delivers books worldwide at no charge. They also have quite cheap prices on most books, one I've been wanting for a while is about $65 here in the stores but is $41 there, so I have now added it to my Wishlist. I figure with a birthday approaching having a wishlist may help solve some of those present buying dilemma's for my husband :-)

I have barely read a book since having our first kid. Apparently all I had brain space for was magazines (New Scientist, Super Food Ideas and more recently Better Homes and Gardens). But I am slowly reclaiming book reading space (I have managed to read 4 books so far this year) so I figure now is the time to start getting ideas for what's out there that might be good. I have no particular preferences in style or type or whatever.

Sooooooo, anyone read any good books lately?? All ideas and suggestions welcome.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

On soup

Just an update for those of you who provided such great suggestions on the soup front recently.

We have (well I have really) declared Sunday night dinner as "Sunday Soup Day."

We had a couple of false starts with lots of cajoling but we have it down to a fine art now:
Soup is made. If parents want soup "as is" we take ours out. If not we puree the lot. Toast is made. We sit down to pureed (or not) soup and toast for dinner. Any left overs are frozen ready for the next week.

So far we have had vegetarian minestrone, chicken and vegetable soup and pumpkin and chicken soup. We will be working our way through various lamb, beef and chicken soups as well as curried versions like Laksa as well. If we leave the soup "with bits in" for the kids it can take an hour to eat. If we puree it, it will take about 20 minutes. I'm a mean hand with the stick blender since preparing kids pureed food when they were tiny, less mess than transferring to the food processor and back. Looks like our stick blender has a crack in it though so it may not be long for this world. Never fear it will be replaced immediately if that happens :-)

So thanks again for the suggestions, we are now able to get veges into the reluctant one and soup into all three. Best of all we appear to be having a positive effect on the behaviour of the youngest with regard to food which can only be a good thing.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Craft Hatch Market

Craft Victoria hold craft markets and recently I saw advertising and was encouraged to apply for a stall at The Craft Hatch Children's Theme market to be held at Federation Square on August 8th.

I have been notified that my application was successful and I am now gathering all of my items together, checking labels and tags and laying everything out to ensure all is in readiness for the big day!

It should be an exciting market with all sorts of stalls selling items relating to childhood.

Look out for more hats and socks for kids being finished up in the next two weeks.

Now I just have to find someone who can join me at my stall to keep me company :-)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bendigo Roundup

For me the Australian Sheep and Wool Show held at the Bendigo Show Grounds has multiple wonderful associations:

-There's the yarn of course and the lovely knitted goods on display at the various stands.

Shawl at Standed In Oz's stall at Bendigo 2010

-The wonderful items submitted by the general public for inclusion in the judging, this year's stand out for me was the First Prize winning entry of a delicate blue and green hand dyed and crocheted granny square blanket made by a grandmother for her grandson who was learning about our Carbon Footprint (can't find a picture of it anywhere yet and completely forgot to take a picture of it myself, will keep looking and post a link if I find it somewhere).

-Catching up with friends from far away that I have conversed with online but haven't seen during the year.

-Meeting new people (Members of the Spinner's Guild who I stayed with, greeting Helen in person and spending time with the fabulous Mel)

-Visiting the Bendigo Woollen Mills building and excavating the baskets in the famous back room.

-I also had uninterrupted sleep guaranteed for two nights....BLISS!!!!!!

The adventure started on Thursday when I joined spinner friends of one of my SnB group at Lake Eppalock at a school camp. The view and facilities were perfect with enough space for more than 20 spinning wheels to be put in use at one time!!

View from covered walkway.
View from covered walkway to Lake Eppalock....water in the back there!
Lake Eppalock with "some" water in it. Apparently the drought has meant there has been little or no water present for years now.

After spending Thursday afternoon and evening with The Spinners, on Friday morning we set off to The Show and all went our separate ways. I met up with groups of ladies from my Tuesday SnB group, the Botanical Gardens SnB group, The Bloggers and The Spinners, at various points during the day checking out purchases and being pointed in the direction of new wondrous yarns :-)

I am a very hands on person. When buying items I must be able to touch as this has a great influence on my decision to purchase or not. This means that I don't often buy yarn online at all and when I do I am very hesitant as photos just can't tell you how something feels. For me, attending Bendi is a chance to get my fingers in there, rub the yarn, stroke the yarn, put it against my skin and see whether it's itchy or not.....all those things that the online experience lacks. Through my two experiences at The Show I am gradually gathering a select set of yarns that I would definitely buy online when I need something. But to have everything there in one place at one time is my idea of heaven!!!

Suffice to say when I was let loose on Friday morning, I did indeed go mad.

The Show haul (oops, the four balls of German sock yarn in the top left corner actually came from Barb, one of The Spinners, not from the show)
Top line: Savanna German sock yarn x 4, Wooldancer 3 ply in Rainbow, Shiloh 4 ply Silky wool in Apple Orchard, EGMTK 4 ply super sock yarn in blue & teal, navy & white, blue & green, Wooldancer 10ply in Waratah, Ixchel BFL Bunny 4ply in rainbow.
Bottom line: Moseley Park 10 ply Anti-felt treated yarn in Amocean (200g) and in Rising (100g, see below), bag of Shiloh 4 ply Silk dream (small balls) in natural colourway, Gusseting 4 ply sock yarn in grey & black, purple tones and blue & purple, Tarndwarncoort Polwarth 8 ply in Parrot and Grevillia and a second skein of the Ixchel BFL bunny.

After "The Show" we headed off to the Bendigo Woollen Mill. I had 4 projects in mind while I was there and managed to find all of the yarn I required in the Back Room at either $2.50 or $3 a ball. No complaints from me!

The Backroom haul

There is yarn here for a hooded cardy for each of the boys back R to L 100% wool: Hunter, Zac, Tyler and a "Lorelei" cardigan for me 70% wool, 30% cotton (Ravlink) front. Oh and if I need a little more of the yarn for my Lorelei I know where the other bag of 10 balls lives. Apparently "you won't need all that" is code for "I want some, it's lovely, please don't take it all" :-)

Dinner Friday night at the Bowling club organised by the lovely Tara was wonderful. The slippery ground outside not quite so lovely but my Physio consultant declared no major damage just muscle strain in my shoulder so all is good.

Breakfast Saturday morning was a busy buzz of knitters, chatting and checking out little people who had arrived since last year's event, discussions of the various knits on display and trying to be first in for the wonderful prizes donated by heaps of vendors. Off to The Show for a few hours and a mercy dash for A Spinner who had missed the set of blocking wires at $20. I kept my wallet to myself this time :-) A quick drop in at The Mill for the Pre-School teachers who had requested some wool for grandchildren knits (they were very pleased with their scoops). Back out to Eppalock to drop off the wires and pack up my stuff and then back into Bendigo to the Show to meet up with ladies from my Tuesday SnB group, capture a photo of Tom the farmer's son, and then a late afternoon knitfest and chat with The Bloggers before heading home via my sister's house to catch up with my brother and his wife who were down from Brisbane for the weekend. Home at 10.30pm and time to catch up with what had been going on while I was absent before falling into bed and thanking my lucky stars that the children didn't know I was home so they all stayed tucked up in their own beds for the night :-)

Some skeins were spun into balls with my ball winder and swift on Sunday (yes I had forgotten to take them with me).
Moseley Park Rising

Moseley Park Amocean: note the four balls....knots :-(

Ixchel BFL bunny, rainbow

Of course I was aided by the children. The only yarn disappointment for the weekend was the three knots in the one 200g skein I bought. I will be able to work around them but it would have been nicer not to have to.

I have indeed started on the knitting.
I completed this hat on Sunday and immediately started a second slightly smaller one which is now well on it's way too.

Also picked up a couple of toys for the kids just to let them know they weren't forgotten :-)

Many thanks to the wonderful Jules who sole parented for 3 days and two nights while I was away :-) Oh and just in case you thought he had been forgotten, this is not the case, the grey and black Gusseting sock yarn is for a pair of socks for him.

A wonderful time was had, I'm completely exhausted but soooo looking forward to next year!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bendigo was....

Awesome :-)

It has been busy with loads of hugs, declarations of "I love you" and "Can I look at/wind the yarn Mum?", happy children who apparently missed me and managed to behave well for their father in my absence. Some knitting with new yarn has also been happening. What, you thought I could hold out until my other projects were done??? Sorry, really don't have that kind of self control around yarn :-)

Will be back with photos of new stash acquisitions and tales of adventures once I get through the next day or so. Also a progress shot on my Pride sock.

Today we have a Birthday boy in the house. Zac is turning 5 and if the grin is anything to go by he likes his "big" present. So there's heaps to do today.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Is off to Bendigo

I'll be back in a few days with lots of new yarn. I have a few projects to buy for and of course will be tempted by LOADS of other stuff. The challenge will be where to stop!

Enjoying dinner on Friday night and breakfast on Saturday morning with various friends. Meeting up with ladies from my SnB group on both days. Sure to be heaps of fun.

So Australian Sheep and Wool Show in I come :-)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

2010 FO# 24 - Girly rainbow socks #2

This is the second pair of socks I have made from this yarn. Loved them and had enough left so just made another pair. These ones have been sitting around without the ends sewn in for a while.

Yarn: Wooldancer Organic Merino DK/8ply
Needles: 3.25 mm KnitPro circs
Started: a while ago!
Finished: 11/07/2010

These feel amazingly thick and warm :-)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A new Project...

Because after finishing off such a big dark project it was time for something small and bright!
Yarn is Socks that Rock medium weight in Colour: Pride.

Pattern is Shelves upon Shelves by Erica Lueder. Had a look at quite a few patterns and think this will work well with the yarn.

Cast on with 2.75mm needles and got this far:

Before checking it for fit and tension. It's a little loose on the leg and it is 6.5 st to an inch instead of 8 so I'm frogging and restarting on 2.5mm needles. Once I'm happy with the fit I'll be packing them up to take with me on my trip :-)

Friday, July 9, 2010

2010 FO# 23 - Twigs and Leaves cardigan

The Front

and The Back
With many thanks to my little sister who came over today and wielded the camera in daylight and took about 10 shots while I felt extremely silly posing this way and that, you are absolutely not seeing any of the other shots!!

Many successes were achieved with this one garment.
1/ First time at reading charts
2/ First chart only pattern attempted ever (the written directions did not cover the patterned area of the knitting)
3/ First fitted garment ever
4/ Successful recalculation of increases and decreases in the sleeves and armhole depths on body pieces due to difference in row gauge from the original pattern
5/ First time sewing together reverse stocking stitch

Details, details, details:
Yarn: Heirloom Heatherwood, Navy with red and aqua flecks ("identical" to Bendigo Woollen Mills Rustic in Midnight Tweed colourway)
Needles: 4mm bamboo straights
Started: March 30, 2010
Finished: July 8, 2010
Modifications: Added extra rows to the back, left front and right front at the waist to lengthen it before the upper body shaping, also recalculated shaping for armholes and sleeves to adjust for row gauge differences. Tried a fine leather tie and a bulkier leather tie as per pattern but went with a braid made from the same yarn to tie the fronts together.
Notes: There was only one error in the pattern and it had been reported by another knitter prior to me starting so that was ok. Kept track of where I was up to by setting up an Excel spreadsheet and crossing off every row as I did it. Bonus of this is that all body pieces have the same number of rows as do the sleeves so sewing together side seams was a breeze. The yarn felt a little rough to start with but now it has been washed is softer. Will probably only wear this with long sleeves.

So it's all done with a week to spare because it is definitely keeping me warm at Bendigo!

2010 FO# 22 - Orange hat

This was a quick knit on fat needles. Needed a break from paying attention to the cardy I'd been knitting. Something mindless going round and round and round.....

Yarn: Naturally Colourworks. Got it on sale pretty cheap, have a darker orange colourway as well that might get used soon ;-)
Started: June 24th, 2010
Finished: June 24th, 2010
Ravelled here

2010 FO# 20 - Michelle's baby's hat

Knit for a new little man to join our knitting group.

Made from SWTC Karaoke on 8mm needles. Should fit him until he's about 3 as long as he doesn't lose it ;-)
Started: June 9
Finished: June 9
Modelled by the lovely Tyler

Ravelled here

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Happy Endings

I know that a lot of knitters out there have a thing about sewing seams and weaving in ends of yarn when completing a project. So much so that some knit completely in the round to avoid side seams. Others spit splice so there are no ends. I can't spit splice, I just find it hard to believe that the splice is as strong as leaving the ends of the old and new ball at the beginning of a line of knitting and sewing the ends in when the garment is completed. I know there are people who won't agree with that and that's fine, fantastic even, as knitters we all have our little quirks. Things we do, things we don't do. That's one of the things that makes knitting so wonderful. Each person can cater to their own style. There are multiple ways of casting on, casting off, increasing, decreasing and sewing up. Pretty much everyone has stuff they like to do that others would never do.

Some times I will leave the finishing for days, weeks even. Because honestly even two ends of yarn needing to be sewn in are getting in the way of a much more exciting project. Eventually I get back to them and wonder why I left them so long. I have a couple of projects hanging around like that at the moment: a tiny pair of socks and a hat.

But today was not a day for putting off finishing, nope, I have been sewing up and weaving in ends. I love side seams, I love the way they give structure to a garment. I like fitted shaped garments on me so the seams help to achieve this. Every end I wove in today helped the smile on my face grow and grow. This project was begun on the 30th of March when I was still claiming back brain space (that mysteriously disappeared whilst bearing and feeding my youngsters) and desperately needed to use Excel spreadsheets to keep track of what line I was up to in my knitting. This project required 3 charts, 2 with a matching 16 row repeat and one with a 22 row repeat, I also needed to keep track of waist shaping increases and decreases and there was no way I was doing that and keeping it all straight without help, LOL. Having never completed a chart only pattern let alone used a chart before, having always relied upon written instructions, this was a project that certainly made me stretch myself in numerous ways. 14 balls of yarn later, and if I manage to find a shop stocking leather shoe lace stuff for the front ties, today it will be finished. It still needs a little bit of a steam along the seams to help them stay open but nevertheless I am absolutely pleased to introduce you to the almost completed Twigs and Leaves Cardigan that I have been working on for the last 3 months.

The colour is hard to capture but this one is close:

A proper Finished object post will be up soon, this one is a teaser for those who have been keeping track of it's progress. I will definitely have a photo with me wearing it as soon as there is someone around to wield a camera and some decent light. Our house has terrible light for photos at night so you may have to wait until the weekend for a posed shot :-) Oh and I love the way it fits, the sleeve length, pretty much everything about it. Love it.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

No good deed goes unpunished....

Have just spent the last 3 days and 2 nights at my big sister's place with her husband and 4 kids. 7 kids in the house, you'd think it would be mayhem and madness but that was not the case. Two of my three are good matches with hers they keep each other occupied very well. Lots of trampolining, scootering, riding, sandpit play. Between 3 meals and two snacks a day for 7 kids aged between 11 and 2, the amount of food consumed always amazes me!

My sister and I got to chat a little, do some organising, a little knitting (she has a new second hand knitting machine she's trying to work out how to use, I was working on a sock for a friend) and we also managed a little cleaning. She had mentioned a need to clean the inside of the windows in the upstairs section because they keep getting lots of condensation on them so while she was organising food I'd grab the squeegee and remove the water from a window and then clean the window with some windex. It was all going well until I took down a lace curtain from the study window. I noticed a dead wasp and moved my grip on the curtain rod so I could flick the wasp off when I felt a sharp sting in the hand holding the curtain rod. Yep there was another wasp that I hadn't noticed and I had grabbed it when I moved my hand. Should have checked, just didn't think of it. A little under the breath swearing and an ice pack later and the window was clean and the curtain replaced. I've been surprised at how much it hasn't annoyed me. The drive home was a little uncomfortable because the sting is at the base of my central finger on my left hand and I had to hold the steering wheel, but it hasn't been itchy at all. I'd forgotten it had happened until I rubbed some hand cream into my hands and irritated it.

I'm hoping it won't be too annoying tomorrow because I have plans to sew the final two seams that will connect the two sleeves into my Twigs and Leaves cardigan and the "millions" of ends and then I will have my new cardy all done :-)

Friday, July 2, 2010

It's raining it's.......

not pouring.

So much promise and not much in the way of fanfare or deliverance.

It is in fact just sort of lightly falling out of the sky.

Oh well better luck next time!

A storm is coming.....

I love the way the light changes, telling me a storm is coming.

I love the blackness of the sky.

I love seeing the front approaching

I can't wait for it to come through....

Will there be thunder?
Will there be lightning?
Will there be hail?

I'll let you know later :-)

PS this one is for Cam who may be facing the wrong way and can't see it coming!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Knitting finished

Just finished knitting the last piece of my Twigs and Leaves cardigan.

Now I need to block the pieces.

Stay tuned.

It's almost there!