knitting in the time of astronauts from Mars

I've started editing our holiday photos and when they're done, I'll write about our holiday. It was great but somewhat intense and I think I'm still processing it. Or recovering from it. As well as recovering from my third major (as in requiring time off work) cold for the season. I suspect I'll be counselled in terms of my attendance when I return to work. Oh, yay me.

While we were away I didn't read one book and hardly saw any election coverage. In between much family time and lazing in the sun and being driven along sunny freeways I knitted. A beret. This beret. Even though I wasn't sure that I can wear a beret successfully. Swatched and cast on during the flight up. Not the ideal plane knitting, but it meant that once I arrived and some time for knitting appeared, I was ready to go. I love this beret - the pattern is great, and now I understand something about beret construction. It's also really warm, something I thought I might not need until next winter. Yeah right. On the way home, I started swatching for a hat for Grace. I'm using this pattern, but without the stripes because she liked the look of yarn held together better. For some reason I couldn't cast this on during the flight, I kept trying to do the very stretchy cast on but couldn't get it to sit right. But I did enjoy the play of light from the airplane window of the red and pink wool against my new black and white knitting bag from my sister. I wish I'd taken a photo but we were jammed in tight and I couldn't easily get to my camera.

grace wears the mohair jumper

I voted before we left Queensland at an interstate polling place, which was separate from where the locals vote. Which was inconvenient, but whatever. As it turned out, I probably would have made it to the local one but I didn't want to run the risk of missing out. On the plane I sat next to someone who went to school with Julia Gillard's partner and we gossiped and talked politics and she looked strangely at my knitting. Re-entry to Melbourne was a shock, particularly the Tiger arrivals area which after a long cold walk turns out to be an even colder tin shed. Ugh. 

We ordered pizza and chicken salad and stayed up to watch the election coverage and I alternated between cautious optimism and a sense of impending doom. Then the doom set in. Only to be lightened next day by the greenslide and the possibility that Mr Rabbit might not have won either. Grace is quite disappointed that Julia Gillard has not won and I explained it like something this - the team that wins by having the most elected players, well they get to choose the leader but we still don't know which team has won and it's so close that the teams might have to try and convince people not on their team to join them. I think she got it. This morning as I lay in bed (dreading calling work) she was getting G to chant Julia Gillard with her - kind of as a wish/prayer/barracking. However, although the soap opera of Australia politics is all very interesting at the moment, I do not feel particularly optimistic for the longer term. I suspect that once one of the teams wins, then all niceness will be off.

grace is adamant that I am making her a blanket from this wool

As well as her new interest in Australian politics, Grace is also learning the language of knitting. She talked to me the other day about my stitches! And made serious comments about two different swatches. She has also claimed the light blue mohair I salvaged from an opshop jumper. And is adamant, despite my suggestions of jumpers, vests and no-sleeved dresses that I knit her a blanket. Because it will be very soft and snuggly. So that may well be my next project. It was my second go at salvaging wool and it went pretty well, although I would only do mohair again if it is a fairly loose knit. My first salvage was some grey wool but I didn't undo the sides very well and it's very bitty. Maybe it will be the basis of a crochet stripe blanket I have in mind. For a double bed. Yikes.

In other knitting news, I completed a baby hat for a new arrival due very soon and took some slightly disturbing photos of my vest (now with white spot cloned out). And I will model the beret once my face has lost the sinus puff because I think one the big the joys of ravelry (and oh aren't there many) is seeing what garments look like on real people. Oh man, I love knitting. I wish I could say the same for politics.

the tree, she came down

I know, I should possibly be outside enjoying the Queensland sunshine but I've got some uninterrupted quality  time so I might catch up on some blog posts and ravelrying. Just so I can get straight into the Queensland photos when I get home.

Anyway, a fortnight ago Gerard chopped the big old plum tree in our back yard down. He quite liked the tree and would have been inclined to keep it, had it not been so obviously dead and full of rot. It was also looking like it might start to drop limbs. I'm delighted. I've wanted to get rid of this tree for ages.

gerard ponders the tree

We now had lots of kindling and wood in the yard. And a perfect opportunity for a stump burning.

gerard and eamon

gerard does love a fire


Complete with expected and unexpected guests, marshmallows, home delivered pizza, and children running around in fairy dresses. Much to my concern. If we have a big solstice bonfire, I think we'll have to ban fairy dresses. Too flammable. The weekend after that we had another stump burning just the three of us. With corn chips, guacamole and other snacky things. Oh, and more marshmallows. There's enough stump left for a couple more before summer is upon us.

OK. Time for some vitamin D and knitting.

more new adventures in knitting

So. I have finished the vest. It has been blocked and is folded over the back of a kitchen chair, waiting for me to try it on once I shower and get dressed. Tsk, Tsk, still in my dressing gown at midday. So is Grace, she's watching ABC kids and eating raisin toast. Anyway, the knitting. The knitting. Not sure. It was a bit tight and a bit thick when I tried it on yesterday before blocking. Despite adding some extra stitches. I think the design is meant to be more form fitting than I am comfortable with. I don't really like bulky knits either. It didn't look too bad when I tried it on damp (thinking of how people used to mould denim jeans to their shape by wearing them in the bath). But I can't wear a damp vest. We shall see. I may yet rip it. But I will photograph it for ravelry first. 

scissors and plastic needle

Once I finished, I felt quite sad - my comfortable TV project has gone. That's good in a way, it means that I like the process in itself. I have felt the same when I have finished big crochet projects. So maybe garments on small needles might be the way to go. Anyway, I do have some next projects in mind. A baby hat for a friend's baby due to arrive soon and perhaps a beret for me. Unravelling some opshop jumpers to try my hand at reclaiming wool. Started one last night and it was a disaster (oh how the learning process continues). The seams were sewn together in a way that made them hard to unpick - even though it was a hand knit. But I love the wool, a dark grey 5ply with a bit of colour variation. It will most likely become part of a crochet rug or a vest. I have a pattern I am thinking of drafting from scratch. Ambitious? The other jumper to unravel is a loosely knit pale blue mohair and I was going to dye the wool and make something for myself but Grace loves it, so I may try making her a short sleeved jumper. 

before knitting the band

So what else? Knitting in public, yeah. Not as easy as I thought. I feel too squashed on the train - and really it is a very short trip. Took it to a family lunch and that was not as comfortable as I would have thought. All I can say is that my family has some issues about knitting and craft in general that go a long way back. Which has made me realise anew how much I appreciate having a partner who makes things himself and who supports and encourages me to make things. Especially when that support is sometimes just taking it for granted that this is what we do. And part of who we are. It goes without saying too that, I also really appreciate that I can go on craft weekends and have a dedicated sewing area in our tiny house. That's important to me. Oh and G decided that he didn't mind if I knit whilst he drove as long as I could still do directions as required and it didn't stop me talking to him. Which does seem to be the issue - I have learnt that I need to set aside special concentrating time for casting on and tricky bits. Otherwise it is fine.

Crochet is starting to look very tempting - but I think I need to keep going with the knitting. A couple of yearsand I will start to have an idea of what I am doing.