Category Archives: WIP

wip it good

if you are my age you will now have Devo playing in your head. you can thank me later. and yes i deliberately mispelled it because i am going to talk about some of my Works In Progress (wips).

but first, thank you so much for all the supportive comments in the last post. i am feeling much better about things, and was reassured by all the ‘get a cleaner’ comments. i used to have one when we lived in terry hills in a very big house, and i dont have a problem with employing someone. there are a few possible changes happening in the housemates circumstances that may effect that decision and i should know this week sometime, but i at least feel like i can do something about that issue!

i think this has been helped by ‘wipping’ (haha) a few other things into shape in other areas of my life as well. part of my overwhelm feeling was that i wasnt looking after myself, and that means nutritionally as well. i had a day last week where i just couldnt be bothered cooking and i ate sandwiches or toast for every meal, and i was sick as a dog for three days. actually, not ‘as a dog’ because dogs get sick and move on, i was worse. i felt like my gut was being twisted. i couldnt move, could hardly breath. it took three days to subside. i’ve been having increasing reactions to bread, pasta and rice and that precipated a discussion with my friend kris who i knew had done low-carb eating before. so i have made a decision to change my life in that regard.

i am not one for diets. i dont believe in short term fads. and i get very angry about all the ‘stuff’ that is caught up with women, weight and body image. if you think fat is not a feminist issue you’re probably a guy. my thoughts on this matter are best summarised by naomi wolf who wrote about how impossible it is for women to be politically active (or active in their lives in any real way) when they are busy starving themselves to death. (if you havent read that book you really should. right now). and i get extremely frustrated with all the bullshit tv shows and pseudo weight trainers who make money by objectifying and humiliating overweight people. the problems caused by a society in which its ok to automatically assume overweight people are  bad, lazy and unhealthy do little to help the issue and in fact make it worse. i must declare my own self interest here, i am overweight, and have struggled with that since i was about 16. it runs in my family, everyone is overweight. but im lucky. my dr says im in perfect health. low everything thats supposed to be low. i think its mostly because i dont drink and smoke (never have smoked, thankfully) but also im still young. i cant rely on that luck forever.

so my big decision is to mostly remove carboydrate from my diet. i’ve been working on it since tuesday. i’m well under the recommended 100g a day by taking out bread, pasta, rice and sugar. of course, i pretty much want to kill someone for a timtam right now. and i dont intend to never eat those things again (sugar in particular. in fact, if i get through a month sticking to my plan for 6 days a week im going to make a pavlova). but i cant tell you how great i feel already. just a little thing like changing my breakfast from grains to protein has changed the whole shape of my day. im not hungry. not at all. this means im not thinking about food. this is a huge step forward for me, being one of those people who has an emotional relationship with food. i feel alert and energetic, am sleeping really well and feel like this is something i can sustain. i always was a meat lover, so this plan works to my natural strengths! dont worry, im not going to blog about it endlessly, because there really is nothing more painful than diet blogging (get a life people). but i think its important to acknowledge the change and to let you know if it works!

but what i really want to talk about, related to the issue about obesity above, is the expense! my groceries are not cheap anyway, i already eat mostly fresh food. but when you take out a sandwich for lunch or toast for breakfast, and start getting your fibre wholly  from fruit and veg, you’re looking at a lot of money being spent on food. which is what makes me so angry when we have newspaper columnists running around talking about how much fat people are going to cost the health system and NOT talking about the fact that macdonalds is cheaper and easier. i had someone living a very comfortable middle class life once tell me there was no class in australia. you want to start linking obesity to postcode and try sell me that one again? i can see it here, near where i live. the coles supermarket closer to the housing commission area has dreadful quality fresh food and a very limited range. the woolworths not more than 1km south is like gourmet world. yet another social problem that we blame on the individual, yet another great big silence. im lucky, i can afford to make this change. we should think about those who are less so before we rush to judge them.

and on that note, i shall stop pontificating and get to the knitting. i am feeling more in control at work by setting some clear boundaries about my time and availability, but instead of just resting with that, i decided it was a good time to take on a knitters guild responsibility. apart from being co-secretary of my own guild group, i have offered to co-cordinate the sydney royal easter show feature display. this is not the competition part, its different. every year a particular craft gets a separate space to showcase its best work, hold displays, talk to the public etc. the knitters guild will be part of this display this year along with the handspinners and weavers and the machine knitters. its already started to be bigger than ben hur, and my spare computer time has been taken up this week with endless spreadsheeting and emailing. so much for taking things off the desk.

it also means i havent had a lot of knitting time, although i am finding by sticking to only a few things i am making some progress. for example, the restarted wasabi pea socks are now at the heel (turned it today)

the amiga ‘rowan calmer’ cotton cardi is well down the body (although i keep adding front increases which doesnt help)

and the ‘different lines’ shawl in the hoslt garn silk wool is nearing completion. another one or two black stripes and it will be onto the final red band.

these are all proving good summer projects, its been warmer here this week and i cant imagine touching anything heavy and furry. but already, we’re at the end of january and i’m worried i wont have the things ready i want to wear this winter!

oh time time time see whats become of me…from devo to the bangles in one post. dont say i dont do anything for you.



walk (clean) knit

i am not one for delaying gratification. i have a long and messy history of giving in to what i want when i want it. i dont really have a problem with that way of thinking, but sometimes the consequences dont make me feel good. which then defies the purpose. so, in my attempt to restore some balance to my psyche, i’ve been trying to do things i DONT want to do before i do the things i do. if you know what i mean.

so ive been walking. im aiming for 4-5 times a week, for at least 40 minutes a time, plus incidental walking around campus during the day etc. and i dont mean strolling. i can do that any old day. both me and possum need to get moving a bit more (a quick aside on the unfairness of life: the three other male creatures in this house eat more than the two female, walk less than us, and all lose weight quicker than us. proof that god, if real, is a male).

to try and help us keep on track ive been using runkeeper. not because im in training for anything, or because i need to prove anything, but  because somehow, the tracking thing works. it keeps me accountable i think. also, the two legged male creature in the house thinks he can walk more kms than me. we’ll see about that.

yesterday we went walking through the bush up on the escarpment.

it started out really warm, and possum had to take a little dip

the dogs love it up here, so much to explore

and i love seeing the traces of history on this path,

once used by cedar cutters and now a waterpipe/firetrail. i love the way the dogs run on ahead and get lost for a while, and you can hear ricco barking as he chases something, and then you whistle and they come running.

if i get too slow, jem comes back and touches my hand with his nose and trots along beside me for a while. sometimes i get nervous up there on my own, what if i tripped, what if someone was up to no good up there, but nothing ever happens, and the car is always just were i left it.

and i always feel good when we’re done. i smelt smoke up there yesterday, and this morning i can see why:

summer is definitely on its way. its another lovely day today and ive done the grocery shopping, some housekeeping, hung sheets on the line and cut back some of the wisteria. now i can sit down and knit

the dilemma is what to work on? atelier, which trent has dubbed the silver bowl project’, is looking good:

i am alternating three balls now and have figured out the pattern construction, and i want to keep going on it while its still cool enough. but there is my sisters frame to finish before november, and i have a sudden urge to cast on something large and seriously lacy in the wonderful glenora weaving alpaca silk 2 ply. im thinking a rectangle this time. all the ones in VLT seem a bit ho hum. suggestions?

i wont do it today though. there are three football games in a row on tv, including the wallabies at the international tournament of the odd shaped ball, so i think it will be back to some mindless socks.

thats kind of sounding like a pretty well balanced day isnt it? hope yours is as well.

k xx

onward upward

so im over the sad now (thank you for the lovely comments). im not one to wallow, these days. i did a lot of that when i was younger, it got me nowhere. it doesnt get anyone anywhere. there is too much to be grateful for. apart from the job thing, and how promising things are looking there, i am most grateful this week for friends. some people know just what to say. and even when i dont feel like being around people, being around people is just what i need. i have lots of ‘being around people’ happening this weekend coming. as most of us who knit are aware its ‘world wide knit in public week’, with some events being held last saturday, and this saturday is a kind of ravelry meet up in sydney. lots of my favourite people will be there, and i am especially excited about shelley coming over from new zealand (ash cloud permitting). along with our wicked partners in crime, we have scored a very nice secret 5 star hotel deal for friday night, and there will be much giggling late into the night i suspect (no there will not be pillow fights). there will be breakfast, shopping, knitting in public (im hoping for sunshine so i can decamp to the forecourt outside customs house and really annoy people), and then shelley and i are off to the rugby saturday night. then shes coming back to visit in the gong for a couple of nights, and monday we’re planning a little car ride over to balmain. apparently there is some cute yarn store. and macarons.

the problem with all this is not what to wear, but what to KNIT! the current WIPS are a bit meh. i really like these conwy socks and want to get them finished

but cable socks on dpns are a bit tricky out and about. i have restarted work on these lovely regia kafe fasset toe ups,

because they are magic loop and plain knitting, so very practical. but they bore me after a while. i dont want to start new socks (I have yarn and pattern lined up for both unst and a do-over of the ‘evening stockings’ but i owe trent at least one pair of socks this winter, so i must be strong). also, i really want to finish the greenfield cardigan while its cold enough to wear. i finally cast off sleeve one last night

and started sleeve two, but its not at all portable. it might spend a couple of days home alone.

if you are a knitter like me, you will know that the perfect solution to this scenario is to start something new. something soft and fuzzy. something lacy. on the weekend just past i admired greatly missfee’s celes. i have the pattern. i also have 2 skeins here and 2 skeins coming of this lovely bluesky alpaca silk.

i might need a few more to get it as long and wide as i like, but that doesnt mean i cant start right?

so whatever youre doing this weekend, have a great time, knit lots, and remember how lucky we are to be alive and well.

k xx.


so what have i been doing with my holiday i hear you ask? apart from whinging and railing against the world, that is. it mightnt look like it but i have been relaxing. ive finished season six of buffy. that last moment always makes me laugh, poor bastard. ive taken a dog for a walk every day. ive done a lot of washing, even though it pretty much hasnt stopped raining. ive done some knitting, although probably not as much as i’d like. its hard to tell because the greenfield cardigan is just garter stitch, and lots of it. lets just say it’s getting longer and i’ll spare you the photo. i am headed down the foot of the first conwy sock,

i had hoped to have this finished before knitcamp but looks like its coming with me. speaking of camp, ive been quite busy getting ready for that. one more sleep! on tuesday i drove up to visit yogaknitdra who lent me some saris and bindi powders to take (the sat night dinner theme is bollywood of course)

arent they lovely? the royal blue is mine. it goes with my eyes, ive been told. im going to do some baking to take (these) and ive already picked up a few essential camping supplies:

most importantly, ive been thinking about what knitting to take. the greenfield cardigan obviously, because garter stitch is easy when youre busy talking, or laughing, or eating, or drinking, but because the endless black is a bit boring i’ll take the stripe study shawl just to mix it up a bit. and because they’re both kind of large projects, and you cant be never not knitting at knit camp, socks are also essential. even though the conwy’s seem to have booked a ticket, i was hoping to start the second of the long evening stockings, but i have had a little stocktake on those. on tuesday, i saw alison’s version, knit in gorgeous red wollmeise. they are super long too, and mine are not.

i dont have as much yardage in this spud and chloe as the pattern calls for, or as much as there is in a skein of wollmeise. i do love how these have turned out, but when i saw alison put hers on, mine felt inadequate. for fear of making them too small around the calf, i have instead made them too big, and the pattern doesnt stretch out like hers. the foot is just a tiny bit too short. and they arent really long socks at all.

you know where im going dont you? i consulted the brains trust, and i decided to frog them. not right now, and i will reuse the yarn for unst, as originally intended, but im going to cast on another one this weekend in either of these wollmeise reds:

the wound up ball is ‘vamp’ reclaimed from the disaster that was ‘rick’. the skein is ‘ruby thursday’. i love them both, the ruby thursday is a bit darker so maybe a bit more ‘vintage’. the vamp seems to want to be something more modern. what do you think?

so all in all, its been a great week off so far, and im very excited about heading up the hill with most of the regulars this weekend. and its going to be cool too. the rain has stopped today, but the leaves are nearly all gone from the magnolia,

which means we might be in need of the big fire in the lodge. that would be just perfect.


a tale of two cardigans

despite appearances to the contrary (ie, it not being cold), i hear that winter approacheth. i realised the other day that my snails pace on the leaving cardigan would mean No New Cardigan come the the cooler weather. dont get me wrong, i love Leaving. look at it, whats not to love?

gorgeous madeline tosh pashmina in the now discontinued ‘vintage frame’ colourway (mwahahah, i have seven skeins!), and a wonderfully detailed and elegant pattern. its going to be a very classy piece, if it ever gets finished. the issue is two fold. firstly, that wonderfully detailed and elegant pattern requires looking at the chart for every row. there are no rest rows. there are 32 rows in that pattern repeat, and they are all different. i can follow along to a point, but i still need to look. secondly, im alternating three balls at once (due to colour variations).

this does not make for transportable knitting. its stay at home knitting. its also not mindless knitting. so, its slow. i have been trying to be something like project monogamous, that is, knitting one thing for at least a few days at a time in order to make some kind of dent in each thing (thats monogamous, isnt it?!), and i had wanted to finish this cardigan before i moved onto the next one, which i knew would be in the berroco ultra alpaca light i grabbed at that fantastic looped yarn works store in DC. but it occured to me that i actually needed a black cardigan more than any other knitted object right now, and i was going to need it soon.

so i consulted the brains trust, and then ignored everyones suggestions, and cast on this:

its the greenfield cardigan from new england knits. i wanted a top down raglan but ive done lily twice and thats enough. and i wanted one with good sizing and shaping, and something that was a little bit pretty. greenfield seemed to fit the bill. i was a bit worried about garter stitch, i normally use stocking stitch for garments to keep the bulk down, but the alpaca light is only a sport weight, and is going to have lots of stretch in it which will make it block pretty flat anyway, so the garter stitch seemed safe. i also modified the neck line to reduce the fall-off-the-shoulder risk.

it feels great to be knitting a black top down raglan again. i think im just going to have to make a new one every year! on that note, could it just hurry up and be winter already?


holding pattern

contrary to the majority of the rest of the two legged fauna on this continent, i try to hibernate during summer. the only time i ever liked summer was when i was a kid, up till i was about 12, and free to ride my bike around my half wild- bush cicada and christmas beetle infested neighbourhood, and get smashed repeatedly onto the shore at wanda beach. these days, im scared of the sun, having had a BCC removed from my face a couple of years ago, and am mostly ideologically opposed to the outdoors rednecked culture of australia-major. yes yes gross sweeping generalisation, and there is lots to love about australia in the summer. the smell and feel of salt air (this is why i could never live inland again), sand in everything, melting icecream, the joy of a cold shower after a day in the sun, the fantastic fresh produce, mangos, seafood, outdoor cafes, all that. but its getting hotter out there, and the beaches are more crowded, and the outfits getting skimpier, and well, im not 12 anymore. and its so hard to WORK when its that hot. i guess thats the clincher for me. summer means holidays. how are you meant to get your head into gear when you work in front of a computer in a non air conditioned building with a workmate who doesnt want the ceiling fan on? (trust me, it got turned on).

so i feel like i have been in a bit of limbo for the last month or so, really struggling to get my head and feet moving. the feet havent had a lot of choice, kept moving a little at least by being home alone for most of the summer and needing to take the dogs for runs. today is my last day of that, and i cant wait for it to be over. not that i dont like living on my own, i actually really enjoy it, although i do start having conversations with the dogs after a while and they look at me like im quite mad.

maybe i am. its a strange living arrangement we have here, me and my ex of fifteen years living together as friends! its not always easy, and sometimes i think its a terrible mistake, but most of the time we get along better now than we did when we were together, and its just too hard to separate the dogs, and hes quite handy about the house, and if you have to share with someone it might as well be someone you know well, right? plus, im getting a lot of joy out of watching him realise his dream of going to law school. he comes back tonight after a summer in canberra doing a government cadetship, and to be honest, im very happy about it. looking after the house and three dogs by myself, plus trying to work full time, has been much harder than i thought it would be, and with things about to ramp up at work, the timing is perfect.

i’ve been in a bit of a holding pattern at work during the academic summer, but the last week has seen that shift, with a project ive been working on unfunded getting the official stamp of approval and a large sum of money from the uni. i get to hire minions now and will be travelling to perth and melbourne, and working pretty hard this year. im hoping it doesnt cut into my knitting time, which is all about the ‘in progress’ since girasole was finished (thank you everyone for the wonderful comments!). im trying to get my not-shurtugals finished by the end of february

and i just started the heel on the second one last night

so these should meet the deadline for the ss62011 first installment. im enjoying the knitting-to-deadline part of a sock club, and its nice to know i might actually have some knitted socks this winter. i am hoping to have a couple of new cardigans as well, i was left in awe last saturday at guild by missfees amazing cardigan output and i came home thinking i needed to rip what i had done on the leaving cardigan because it was so daggy and old fashioned compared to her modern snappy things. but i did some more on it

and fell in love with it again. the pattern panel up the back is really lovely,

and works beautifully in the madtosh pashmina. and anyway,  i have a whole heap of lovely black berroco alpaca to make into something a little more ‘trendy’ when leaving is done.

and we are about to start on a whole round of flyball comps as well, which means the hibernation is nearly over, and the year is really about to begin. lets hope its a good one!


seeing red

i stayed up late the other night, knitting like a demon in front of the fan (yeah its kinda hot here right now. lets not talk about it), and i managed to get girasole off the needles. tada:

i’m so happy with it. when i spread it out over the bed it looks like it might actually be mistake free. i like that feeling, knowing that i took the time and effort to get it right and don’t have to apologise for that bit over there that’s not quite straight. because it’s not blocked yet, it looks like there are some wonky bits, but there aren’t.

so i was very happy to be able to submit my easter show entry for this shawl, knowing it was flawless. that doesn’t mean it will win anything though, but i am happy to be in it, for the first time. i am going to need help blocking it, and am planning a day with wires and pins and mats on the floor with knitabulous’ help next week sometime.

in the meantime, i am continuing with my quest for a complete set of red accessories this coming winter:

(please let it be a really really cold one!) and cast on a new shawl, just a small one, that i am going to wear more like a scarf.

its romi hills ‘celeano’ (minus beads) in the gorgeous alpaca that ailsa bought me back from la droguerie in paris. i have a hat planned in red blue sky alpaca/silk, and along with the slowly progressing hederas in malabrigo

i will be dripping in luxury yarns come winter. did i mention i would like it to be really really cold?

this weekend i am off to canberra for the first flyball comp of the year. its meant to be hot.


k xx