Warm feet, cold neck

Sock in progress

Older daughter has been waiting (not so patiently) for me to finish her a pair of socks – I’ve only been able to get knitting in on public transport (and at my first meeting of the Bar knitting group).  The return to full-time work has gone relatively smoothly, but it has eaten into my crafting time.

I’m on holidays now in France, and the flight here was when the socks were finally finished.

Sock at Chateau Bussy-Rabutin

The girls have grown so much this year, I built a bit of extra length into Older Daughter’s socks.

Both socks

I was thinking of slightly more artistic shots to show off the socks at the Chateau de Bussy-Rabutin, but you will just need to imagine that the view below was in the background (I promise it was).  If you notice that that the colourway of the sock resembles Regia Kaffe Fassett Random Stripe, then you are not on your own – my sister bought it on Ebay and we both noticed the resemblance as soon as it was unpacked. More details here.

Chateau de Bussy - Rabutin

I’ve been so busy that I delegated some knitting for the trip to Mum, and she made Older Daughter a Luxe Neck Warmer out of Colourmart cashmere to match her hat (thanks Mum!).  Older Daughter loved the neck warmer, and wore it every day of the trip until the car trip to the castle.  Then she noticed a loose thread and decided (using logic best understood by a bored 10 year old in the back of a car) to chew it off.  Now we have a hole (Sorry Mum!).

Luxe neck warmerUnfortunately, I don’t have any more of this yarn with me, so the repair will need to wait until we return to Sydney.

Happy holidays to everyone.  I have to dash – I am hoping to finish a sweater by tomorrow…

I’m against the Book Parade

I’m not against books, rather very much in favour.  We love libraries in our house, even if we tend to pay a lot in library fines.  Even Book Week doesn’t irk me, but the Book Parade!  Every year I am required to come up with a costume for 2 children from a book that we own, or have access to.  My delightful offspring refuse to wear the same costume every year, and also refuse to go as a character who has no especial identifying marks (for example Judy Moody).

Each year, the school gives us only a week’s notice, and then the inter-parent child wrangling begins.

Child: “I want to go as Tinkerbell”

Mother: “You don’t have a Tinkerbell costume and I am not making or buying one. What about going as a witch – we have a witch’s costume?”

Child: “I went as a witch last year!” (Oh the horror of being seen in the same costume for two years running) “Can I go as a My Little Pony”

Mother:”My Little Pony Books are not real books, and we don’t have a pony costume”

Wash, rinse, repeat.  Anyhow if there are any desperate parents trying to figure out a costume – here’s what I did last year for younger daughter. All you need is a tatty old fairy costume and some 100% synthetic highly flammable green fabric and you have Silky costume – Silky being a fairy in the Magic Faraway Tree.

Cut out cape – no pattern necessary.

I aimed for a length of cape roughly the same length as the neck – wrist measurement of younger daughter.  You are aiming for a roughly semi-circular shape – the one below was cut on the fold.

I then zig-zagged all raw edges, and turned the neck edge over to make a drawstring casing where a green ribbon could go through, and ta-dah!  With some cheap lurid green eyeshadow applied to younger daughter’s face, and we have Silky.

If you want to make a decent costume – follow the directions here.  My daughter was happy enough, if inclined to grizzle about the nasty synthetic fabric scratching at her neck. The costume was not a prize winner.  In contrast, when I was in year 2, my mother sent me to the Book Parade as the saucepan man from the Magic Faraway Tree.

I was horrified, and was in tears for most of the morning.  My sense of outrage and injustice was only increased when I won the prize for the best costume and was called up to the stage where everyone could see my costume.  As an adult, I can see that the true injustice occurred because I received the prize, instead of it being given to my mother.

Letting someone else do the heavy lifting

Yet another pair of plain socks in Kaffe Fassett sock yarn for the Fireman.  When I was studying frantically and pondering my future, I need plain therapeutic knitting, and it doesn’t get much plainer than these.  They have been enthusiastically received, and in fact worn several times before I thought to block and photograph them.

The whole exercise of studying as a parent required lots of adjustments – I am a crammer, and I had a lot to learn in a very short period of time.  The Fireman was kept very busy doing a lot of child maintenance activities, and my parents and parents in law helped out enormously. I have new-found respect for anyone who has undertaken secondary or tertiary study while parenting.

If you feel compelled to know the details – they are ravelled here.  Now that my exams are over, and I anxiously await my results, I’m undertaking some more complicated projects – a Chaleur for the Ravellenic Games, and some Virve’s Stockings (because I can).

I like ’em big

The fellow knitters at our knitting group will be familiar with my ranting about the need for generous scarves.  When the fad for tiny shawls was at its peak, I think that many knitters did themselves no favours by knitting tiny unflattering garments. So when I cast on my Colour Affection, I wanted to make it big – and it is.


All knitting details are here. I apologise for the photographs – the photographs were taken in Ballarat Art Gallery, and I had trouble motivating the small photographers.  They kept trying to focus on my face, or moved the camera, and didn’t tell me that the shadows being cast on my face made me look like ghoul.


You get the idea, in any event.


I was pretty keen to wear this once I finished it, and blocked it on the floor of the hotel room.  Luckily the colours were not remotely inclined to run – otherwise we might have left some interesting stains on the carpet.


As for the Ballarat Art Gallery – the art was surprisingly impressive (much more so than the lunch in the cafe), with this work particularly catching my eye.


It appears to be knitted out of jute and hemp by Ewa Pachucka. Imagine how tough her hands must be!


Crafternoon in Melbourne

I’ve been thinking a bit about what makes travel successful for me.  I haven’t written a blog post dissing the company that took us to Vietnam (but have come close) because I think that the problem with the trip might be with me.  For the most part, I don’t enjoy sight-seeing.  In fact, hanging out with a lot of other tourists, eating tourist food, and being hustled about in a manner more akin to a feedlot gives me the heeby-jeebies. So what does work for me?  The day I had in Melbourne this week…We were in Melbourne for the week, and Soozs suggested that we get together at Crafternoon.

For the uninitiated, Crafternoon is an amazing little cafe where you and your children are encouraged to draw, cut up books, and create.  My daughters were with me, and had a fabulous time with Suzie’s kids.  I drank excellent coffee, knitted, chatted, and ate a tasty, satisfying lunch.

The kids made badges, and insisted on them being photographed for the blog.

There were no other tourists to be seen.  I think that a local can give you an insight into a city that most tourist guides are never going to reach. When you have a local who shares your interests – you have the makings for a very fine day. Suzie knew that the two locations were within a quick walk, gave me tips on the tram to take, and the itinerary met my interests…She even brought along some lovely baklava from A1 Bakery to satisfy our turkish sweets needs.

Suzie had suggested a further stop, a trip to the Handweavers & Spinners Guild of Victoria.  I would have taken many, many photos of this place, but there was a sign on the wall expressly forbidding it.  If you have ever desired some hand-spun yarn, this is the destination.  They have a huge variety of handspun for sale, as well as spinning supplies, and some amazing finished garments (a beautiful handspun and woven scarf really did nearly make it home with me).  The prices are exceedingly low – I bought all this (for $72).

That’s a 100 gram skein of wool/silk, a 200 gram skein of wool, and a handspun and hand-knitted pair of booties for our neighbours’ baby.

I can tell that the larger skein wants to be a scarf:

Any ideas on what to knit?  I want to show off the yarn, but am not that interested in measuring it. It looks like a worsted/aran weight – I have 200 grams, so let’s say 440 yards?


Crafternoon: 531 Nicholson St, Carlton North, VIC 3054

Handweavers & Spinners Guild of Victoria: 655 Nicholson St, Carlton North, VIC 3054


When we were on the train to San Francisco airport in April, the Fireman turned to me, and said “is that boy wearing a Noro Hat”?  Now my husband is not a knitter, and I didn’t think that he was paying any attention while I have dragged him through yarn shops around the globe, but apparently some of it has sunk in.

It might help that his favorite casual scarf seems to contain the same colourway (which I’ll wager is Noro Cashmere Island in 8).  I had to kinnear a photo to record the moment.  I’ll apologise for the quality, but I was trying to avoid looking like a weirdo public transit knit-wear stalker, despite acting like weirdo public transit knit-wear stalker.  Here’s the photo in its original context.

What inspired me to recall this photo?  Our family has been struck by a Norovirus, first afflicting older daughter, and then younger daughter and me simultaneously (all I can say is, thank goodness for a house with two bathrooms).  We are all better now, but when I was trying to figure out how many of our friends and family we had possibly exposed to our vomiting bug, I came across the name of the culprit, and it made me think of the hat on the train.

Warm feet with sheeps eye

I’ve knitted these socks before – but this time they are from the very limited edition Kakadu (due to the closure of Yarn Workshop). At some point last year, Roz and I had a dyeing day, and I generated pink yarn for kids socks.  I love the sheep’s eye pattern (from Folk Knitting in Estonia) and thought a tiny amount of detail would lift the socks a little.   These are unblocked, and a bit bumpy, and but will be keeping younger daughter’s feet warm today.  I am still finding colour work in the round to be quite tricky, does anyone have some tips to make it better?

She will probably be wearing these socks in Melbourne next weekend – we have a weekend away at the beginning of the school holidays.  The Fireman is working down there quite a lot at the moment, and we will meet up with him, and show the girls the sights.  Of course, I would love suggestions for craft shopping and eating (especially good Thai, Malaysian or Sichuan) – any suggestions?  We are staying in the city if that affects  your recommendations…

As for the Mizzle, the consensus was to frog it.  I was able to secure a matching skein of Wollmeise, and I plan to make something much larger from it, something that can be flung over my shoulder.

Pattern: “A Classic Sock”  from Folk Socks, by Nancy Bush (of course).   Ravelry notes here. Kid’s size 8-13. Knitted magic loop.

Needles: Knit Picks fixed 2.5 mm 80 cm long.

Yarn:  Yarn Workshop Kakadu, dyed with Ashford acid dyes in Hot Pink.