Wednesday, 17 September 2008

I'm it

Bells tagged me for a meme, thinking I needed some bloggy inspiration, bless her cotton socks!

She's right, I do.

So without further ado, here are Seven Random Things about me:

1. I wanted to be a vet from when I was about 5 years old. Even though I did pretty well at high school, university came as a bit of a shock to me and I only got very average marks in first year Science (first year of the general science degree was the requirement for entry into the vet program). I applied every year through my Science degree and never got in; I did however get a scholarship to do my PhD.

2. I don't have a sweet tooth at all. I appreciate fine sweet things (good dark chocolate for example, or lemon tart) but can mostly take or leave chocolate, cakes or other sweets, or stop very easily after one piece. Being in the same room as a pavlova makes my teeth ache. I do, however, have a raging savoury tooth and can devour chips or savoury biscuits by the boxful.

3. My favourite snack is Jatz crackers. I used to be a Savoy girl, but when I moved to Darwin I couldnt buy Savoys so moved over to Jatz, and never went back. I have been know to eat a box for lunch. Love them with cheese, mustard pickles, smoked mussels or just on their own.

4. Others have noted their ickiness about feet, so they might want to avert their eyes now. I love cutting my toenails. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction, and I force myself to wait until they're quite long (not claw-long, just a few millimetres) before I cut them.

5. Despite having a couple of dozen pairs of shoes, I wear my blunnies almost exclusively. I *want* to wear other shoes, but I'm just too lazy and value comfort too highly.

6. My first car was a Holden Escort with a 2.0L engine. It went like the clappers. My second car was a red short-wheel base Nissan Patrol diesel. It didnt go so fast, but I thought it was still pretty cool. I once drove from Melbourne city to Brunswick (only about 10 kms) with 11 people in it.

7. I had pet rats as a teenager. My first, Ratty (inspired, I know), used to go most places with me, sitting on my left shoulder. I got a kick out of freaking out checkout chicks at the supermarket and the librarian at the public library when she peeped out from under my hair or ran down my arm to sit on my wrist.

So that's a few random thoughts.

Here are seven people I'd like to know more about (apologies if youve already been tagged this round):

1. Bec from Kids, Knits, Classes, etc
2. Kuka
3. Pransell
4. Kate from Knitting and Knotting
5. Strikerin
6. Twitchy Fingers
7. Cindy2paw

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Saturday is for swatching

You're probably aware I've had a bit of mental blockage about starting new projects, particularly larger items, since the Princess arrived (Ok, ok, long before that). I've spent the last few weeks trying to actively play down the angst and get myself a bit organised - lots of Ravelry-ing, updating and prioritising my queue, a good Toss of the Stash (you are so not seeing the photos of that little exercise), researching patterns and yarns. And polishing off a few lingering WIPs.

While I still have a few of those pesky WIPs hanging about, Ive made some good progress and finally my head is in the right place to make a start on some new projects.

My German god-daughter, Little Miss M, turns 4 at the end of October - the end of autumn start of winter in Europe - and I have (for better or worse) started a tradition of knitting her a jumper for each birthday. So I've ordered the yarn from Bendy for that, but in the meantime I thought while I had the desire to cast on, I'd run with it. I've paired off patterns and yarn in the stash, so had a few options.

What's a procrastinator to do when faced with choice?

Why, swatch of course! So I picked two - one big (gotta get back on the big-things horse, its been way too long) and one small.

The "big" project is a Goldilocks project: not too big to be intimidating, not so small as to be avoiding the issue, but j-u-s-t right.

Stephanie Japel's Back to School U-Neck Vest from Fitted Knits. An adult-sized garment, but not the whole catastrophe of front, back and two sleeves. Easy does it, don't want to get spooked.

When Lincraft had their Balmoral Tweed out for $2 a ball a few weeks back, both Bells and I snapped up 10 balls with exactly this pattern in mind. The yarn is listed in Rav as DK/8ply, even though the ball band says worsted, and others have told me I'd have trouble making the 18 sts / 10 cm gague required. And the yarn did feel a leetle thin as I was knitting it.

Well ner-ner-ne-ner-ner, because I got 17 sts on the 4.5 mm needles recommended! The fabric is only slightly more open than I would like, and so I'll go down to 4 mm (I typically gain or lose a stitch per needle size) and just keep an eye on the length and reckon I'll rock it in.

I'm loving the waffle stitch that makes up the bodice too.

My "little" project is of course something for the Princess. (Btw - I've shelved the Wollmeise for now. Too much pressure. Thanks for all your suggestions, but as Beloved is fond of saying "it needs a little bit more thinking").

Given that spring has sprung, I figured I'd better get cracking on some lighter-weight garments for her. I'm hoping the berry baby hat has broken the hoo-doo on knitting for her. So first cab off the rank is Blossom, a sweet little sleeveless (hmm, pattern developing here!) wrap around dress.

Big W had a $2 yarn sale last week (what is it with me and $2 yarn???) and I got 4 balls of Cleckheaton Cocoon, a yarn whose colours I love and have been dying to try but was put off by its 4-ply-ness.

So after all the chores were done, I retired to the deck with a cuppa and the latest Yarn to swatch.

I'm still waiting for it to dry (yes, people, I even wet-blocked my swatches!), but it looks like I'll come in a stitch under the 24 sts required. The fabric is quite open, but is lovely and soft and drapey even before a bath, so I think it will be lovely for this garment.

The Princess seemed quite pleased with this outcome when I told her.

Now I've just got to decide which one to start right now.....arrggghhh, the indecision is killing me!! Maybe I'll swatch for something else.....

Monday, 1 September 2008

If I remember her name I'll never forget her

Despite all appearances to the contrary, there has been some knitting going on here at Chez Kitchen Table. Not as much as I would like, and limited to small, quick projects (because I have the attention span of a boiled carrot right now), but nonetheless I have managed to finish a few things over the last few-ish weeks.

So I thought Id just get a few of them out there in one hit. There's one more to come, but it deserves its own post.

1. Anouk. I actually intended to gift this, back in April last year, but lost my nerve. I packed it away, sans buttons, and forgot all about it. Bu clearly the Knitting Goddess knew I would one day produce a baby girl, becasue I re-discovered it a week or two after Grace was born, found the perfect buttons with some help, et voila!

Knit in Patons Zhivago, no mods.

2. Waratah beret. I adore hats and have been feeling the need for a beret all winter. Espcially after so many other gorgeous ones were popping up in my circle of friends.

This Waratah Fibres colourway (whose name escapes me...blueberry perhaps?) knit up a beautiful simple beret, using Margie's Carla pattern. I love it.

3. Fetchings. Two days before the arrival of some dear friends at the end of July, I realised that Bev would be celebrating her birthday during their stay with us. They live on Kangaroo Island, and are very outdoorsy, so 15 seconds after loading the pattern search page on Ravelry, I knew exactly what to make her. Clearly I am the last person on the planet to knit the most popular pattern on Rav!

I used a single skein of Natually Harmony 10ply from the stash (bummer - no excuse to dash to the LYS for gift-making supplies!). Great pattern though, very fast and I'll certainly make them again.

4. Berry baby hat. Grace has suddenly outgrown almost all of her beanies, but it's still chilly enough here to warrant the wearing of head gear outside. I'm also a sucker for cute baby hat patterns.

I made this in Shepherd Colour-4-me 8ply, increasing the cast-on stitches to 80 to make up for the lighter weight yarn.

I'd post a photo of it on the recipient, but she proved to be a very reluctant model this morning. Trust me, though, it looks very cute.

So, to make up for that, here's one of her modelling Anouk.

Clearly the Knitting Goddess knows what she's talking about.