Saturday, March 19, 2011

Knitting part 2, the good bit :-)

Huzzah! I have discovered that my mind IS that strong! I managed to knit a row without doing any of the decreases and decided to rip out all seven rows I had done and start again (that's about 2500 stitches!!!). Well I learned my lesson, knitted a bit more carefully, and finished the shawl yesterday and it is very lovely.

The wool/alpaca yarn is very soft, this will be a lovely winter neck warmer.

Autumn in Canberra is a changeable season and a very beautiful one in the garden. Roses have flowered for months and are putting on their best faces for the last of the summer warmth.

Yep, autumn is here alright

There seems to be a lot of wildlife about these days. There are still large spiders spinning their nets between the poles of the pergola and, presumably, preparing to raise a family and I fear I heard the sound of little feet and the squeaking of ratty voices on the roof of recent nights.

Moth for dinner

No rat pictures I am glad to say.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

On knitting

I was lucky to acquire a couple of beautiful hanks of sock yarn yesterday. I was at my knitting group ---- yes, you read right 'my knitting group'!! I have joined a knitting group  joolsywoolsy  which meets on alternate Sunday mornings.

.....back to the yarn. My original intention was to knit this yarn into some socks but when I got it home, sniffed it, felt it, looked at the colour in the bright glorious light of day AND discovered that it was produced in Peru, I decided that I needed to wear this yarn around my neck not on my feet.
I felt slightly overwhelmed at having yarn made in Peru in my hands - it was nearly as good as the first time I set foot on Roman soil - a life changing experience.
Fortunately I had already found a pattern worthy of this jewel that I wanted to knit on ravelry. Have a look, it's gorgeous.  Annis
Having made this decision I sat on the bed with the skein of yarn draped around my knees and wound it into a ball because I had to start Annis as soon as possible.

Picture this - finally in bed with a cup of fresh tea, knitting needles of correct size (6mm!! my hands aren't big enough for those mothers!) freshly wound yarn  and the pattern. I discover that this shawl is knit from the bottom up and requires a 363 stitch cast on. I won't go into the horrors of casting on 363 stitches, suffice it to say that after a couple of false starts I was off, using a cable cast on. This is a cast on where you knit the stitches onto the needles and is quite stretchy, so is well suited to lace knitting. It also affords the poor individual doing the job a degree of control (which hundreds of loose cast on stitches don't) and time to count the wretched stitches.

Triumphantly looking at the lovely cast on stitches  an hour later I decided that I could tackle the first row of the pattern as well (at 11pm after much frustration and concentration doing the cast on - why?). I got to the end of the first row and discovered a few spare stitches, no problem I just dropped them off and turned around to purl back. Picked up the knitting this morning to do 'just one row before I get up' and discovered a small mistake about a third of the way along the row. Gripped with terror and feeling an infantile urge to spit the dummy thoroughly, pull the knitting off the needles and decide that I didn't want the shawl after all, I take a long sip of the tea and decide that
a. I don't want to pull it all out and start again, my mind isn't that strong
b. I will knit the mistake into the shawl so skilfully that no one will ever notice ;-)

I proceed. Get two rows done, discover that it is 11.30am and race out of bed ready to embrace the day.

More to come.

innocent looking knitting

Friday, March 4, 2011

Festival weekend, end of summer....

My daughter Max and I spent the past weekend at Cobargo Folk Festival on the south coast of NSW. It is a great little festival in a magical setting and we had a lovely time.  My brother in law had saved us a good camp site and Max and I set the tent up quickly and soon had the billy boiling - she is a very adept camper so it was all very easy.
Me 'n Max showing some festival spirit

The new skirt :-)

After setting up camp we went for a stroll and I bought myself a gorgeous skirt from the first stall we stopped at! Considering that I had made a resolution to not buy any new clothes this year (saving for an overseas trip) this wasn't a great move, but once the skirt was in my bag there wasn't any point in flogging myself about it so I just put it on and got on with feeling glamorous.

We enjoyed lots of fantastic performances over the three days. There are many talented musicians on the south coast (check out a youtube vid of Daniel Champagne, amazing!) and there were many from other parts - most wonderfully Nancy Kerr and James Fagan from the UK. Black Joak Morris were in great form and added a very festive feel with their street performance. The weather was lovely, a real end of summer treat.

Black Joak Morris joyously doing their stuff!

Beautiful Cobargo

Cobargo is a small town about five hours south of Sydney. It is set amid green, treed hills and has a sandy river flowing through it. The festival is held on the local oval which has the river flowing along one boundary. Saturday was quite hot and Max and Gillian and I went down there and found ourselves a shallow,  shaded spot to have a swim and cool off.
There was a good coffee stall at the festival - long live multiculturalism! How did Aussies cope before cappucino?
 I did a little sketching while watching some of the performers. The immediacy and time demands of this sort of work is very good for the 'eye' I think and I was quite pleased with the sketches though I need lots of practise at this type of painting.

I managed to get a little playing on my melodeon in with my friend Gillian, who is a good musician. I have only been playing for a little while and found it difficult to keep on track while playing with another person, it is something I need a lot of practise at doing. The days simply need to be longer so that I can fit more into them!!

Back home I finally finished the nest egg picture and have put it away so that I can get on with something else. This picture really hogged the easel for a couple of months, though that was partly because we have had family staying over the summer and working in the studio has been difficult as I am extremely easily distracted - especially by adorable family members.

Autumn seems to announce it's arrival on March 1st here in Canberra. Cool mornings and warm evenings, ripe tomatoes on the vines and the last of the roses and trumpet vine flowers looking shaggily about, all signal the arrival of a new season. Bring it on!