So maybe I have a problem

Knitting and crochet seem like such innocent pursuits, don’t they ?

but nobody tells you about the dark, hidden underworld

where yarn purveyors tempt you with luscious colours and textures

and diabolical designers break your resolve with their tempting designs

the stash grows

the magazines

and books

and computer printouts

and PDFs on your eReader

and then when you think you can sink no lower, an evil temptress a friend introduces you to the even murkier sub-culture of the testknitter.

It seems innocent enough at first

“Who would like to knit up this pattern for me and let me know if there are any changes that need to be made ?”

“You get the pattern ahead of almost everyone else, and free … all you need to do is knit it up by such and such a date, post a picture and give me feedback”

What nobody tells you is how damn addictive those test patterns are.

Perhaps I should’ve realised with that first test for YarnMadness’ Baby Bolero when I made three of them before I could stop myself

or maybe when I jumped straight into her Baby Bubble vest.

or how much I agonised over not being able to fit in her current temptation

but this week I really discovered the depths to which I had sunk

Sunshine.

It’s just one little lace shawl. Where’s the harm in a little bit of wool? and silk? and cashmere ?

Well, I have to tell you that this seemingly harmless pattern [ which is totally logical and well written I hasten to add ] has nearly driven me to the brink.

January 17 – I cast on and power through the first repetition of the lace, only to have one of the flowers mysteriously fall apart in my hands

NOTE TO SELF: when executing multiple increases into the same stitch [ make 4s and 7s ] it’s not enough to pack those 7 stitches on there. You need to make sure that you catch each and every one of them on the next row. Miss just one and kablooey!

January 19 [ I think ] start over again after pulling out about 3000 stitches.

I resist the temptation to hit the Bailey’s bottle … or the Valium [ score one point for me ]

Knit obsessively until lace is finished, retire to my virtuous bed and arise on the morning of

January 20 to discover that one of the resident felines has managed to drag it off the needles and has redecorated the livingroom.

Attempt to calm jangled nerves with another quick hit – these adorable knitted and felted slippers by Anne-Lise [ravlink to pattern]

January 21 –  cravings temporarily assuaged so it’s back into the shawl

buggerit

no pile of wool,silk and casmere is going to whup my … ahem … rear.

I am aware that shawl knitting during a week long heatwave is probably not the sanest of pursuits [ see notes above re the addictive nature of testknitting ]

but:

SO worth it

and greater love hath no DD than that she model woolly things in the middle of a searing hot day.

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Introducing the fibre fanatic

If you’ve been following along with me for the last six months or so, you will be at least marginally aware that – as a result of a Eureka moment at the Bendigo Wool & Sheep Show in late July – Nadie has leaped into hand spinning like the proverbial duck into the equally proverbial water.

The rumpus room is now doubly deep in fluff and the wool-and-fibre stash is growing exponentially.

I tried a few times to interest her in highjacking the blog, but that didn’t happen.

I suggested she think about blogging about her fibre-y pursuits herself, and it seemed as though , at least until today, that suggestion was also falling on deaf ears …

but no longer

As of about an hour ago, Nadie has rejoined the blogging community

so I hope you’ll all wander over to her nice shiny new blog

She hasn’t quite finished arranging the furniture but the kettle is on, so do drop in for a visit

TTT Tiny Turkish
 

Dear Mighty Hunters

I actually – and rather strangely – would prefer that my ” See what I caught. Aren’t I a good cat?” presents be left, wherever possible, on the outside of the house. Near to, but not actually on, the front doormat would be good.

All in one piece would be great too

Bottom of my list of options would be in pieces, minus anything resembling a head, and in the middle of the loungeroom carpet.

Of course I am not being ungrateful

I do realise that any mouse that ventures into a space inhabited by four cats and a small dawg probably is too stupid to live.

Could I just ask that my presents be bloodless ?

Thankyou for your kind attention to this matter

The domestic staff

Okay, yes

Once again I’ve let a week cruise by without an update

and my explanation [ not an excuse mind you, just an explanation ] is that , once again, life got in the way of blogging.

Mmmm, let’s see …

There has been a c**p load of goat wrangling and block clearing. Two years worth of ‘not drout anymore’ coupled with the surgery halfway through last year has meant that the obligatory keeping-ahead-of-ten-acres-worth-of-detritus hasn’t quite happened to plan.

The goats help with as much as they can but there’s still a lot that has to be dealt with manually. The goat[s] on clearing duty have to be caught, put on a chain and persuaded to walk past my delicious looking garden to whatever corner of the manse that is the target du jour. Ever tried lugging 90 kg [ 200 lbs ] of goat in a direction other than the one that it wants to go ?

Also on the agenda this week was the Great Christmas Decoration Takedown and Pack Away of 2012.

Nowhere near as much fun as the Great Christmas Decorating of 2011, but just as much work, with the added ‘bonus’ of having to find homes for anything that I may have acquired in the interim. Basically a lot of stuff to be moved, dusted / washed, wrapped, boxed up and then lugged up the slope to the shed, where I discovered that the elves had gone on strike so I had to pack it away as well.

This has pretty much taken all week.

Not everything revolved around the acreage though.

There was delicious brunch in the courtyard of The Dove with David, Nadie and Bear [ followed by some post-Christmas Sale shopping  followed by absolutely nothing at all at Malmaison, The House of Fergus Frog and Skydancers Garden Centre ]

There was a visit to the quilt shop in Maldon [ who are having a $15m sale on all fabric this month, and where a few modest purchases may have been negotiated ] with a side trip to the Ice Creamery [ David and Nadie ] and the Christmas Shop [ where it is just possible that I may have been persuaded to part with some of next Christmas’ decorating budget  where nothing at all happened … honestly ]

I managed to fit in a bit more work on this year’s Christmas quilt:

Let me see. What else ?

There may have been a bit of knitting and crochet finished since the start of January [ blurry photos courtesy of my mortally wounded camera-that-I-haven’t-replaced-yet ]

Two Rolling Waves Berets testknit in 12 ply BMW wool/angora [ no ravlink yet until the Designer posts one ]

another testknit for Madeleine aka YarnMadness [this was a fun knit and the  Baby Bubble pattern will be available soon ]

finally finished the third of the Nekos – which is actually #2 – he’s the big guy in the middle sitting on his tail

and a baby blanket in cotton destined for a member of the extended family up in tropical Queensland.


and my ever so clever son-in-law managed to resuscitate Nadie’s Bear-masticated sewing machine

So all is well

Bad Bear

I could have told you about the stitching, quilting, knitting and spinning sorority that invaded my house on Saturday.

Or the shenanigans that ensued on Sunday along with a totally unexpected visitor.

Or the many and varied projects that Nadie and I have managed to finish in the last week or so.

Or the total chaos that has been my house  for the last three days as we began the Great Post-Christmas Takedown of 2012.

Instead I’m going to tell you that a certain canine should be thanking his lucky stars that he is not currently a dog-skin cap

because THIS

is what was formerly a rather vital part of Nadie’s 18 month-old Husquvarna sewing machine

currently reduced to just so much useless plastic.

One Year Finishes

okay so:

my tally for 2011:

  • 95 finished knitting or crochet projects and this is NOT counting the 30 or so snowflakes /stars made for Christmas decorating and gift giving

[ because I totally forgot – again – to keep an accurate count ]

These cute little baby boleros

only just scooted in under the wire in the week between Christmas and New Years. They were a test knit that I was doing for Madeleine  on Ravelry,

and I finished #3 – the grey one – at 11.54 pm on New years Eve.

  • finished 109 novels*
  • 1 [9 foot square ] finished quilt that I have mostly failed to blog about. My quilting friends can attest that it took me all flipping year to get the binding hand sewn onto this one.
  • and I produced about 600 metres of handspun [ and almost all of that has been knitted up ]

 

* If you can be bothered plowing through the list, I’d welcome new author suggestions:

January/February
I Shall Wear Midnight – Terry Pratchett
Changes – Jim Butcher
A Kiss of Shadows – Laurell K Hamilton
A Caress of Twighlight – LKH
Seduced By Moonlight – LKH
A Stroke of Midnight – LKH
Mistral’s Kiss – LKH
A Lick of Frost – LKH
Swallowing Darkness – LKH
Divine Misdemeanor – LKH
Oryx and Crake – Margaret Attwood
Dead Over Heels – Charlaine Harris
Guilty Pleasures – Laurell K Hamilton
The Laughing Corpse – LKH
Circus of the Damned – LKH
The Lunatic Cafe – LKH
Bloody Bones – LKH
The Killing Dance – LKH
Burnt Offerings – LKH
Blue Moon – LKH
Obsidian Butterfly – LKH
Narcissus In Chains – LKH
Cerulean Sins – LKH
Incubus Dreams – LKH

March
The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson
The Girl Who Played With Fire – SL
Many Bloody Returns – Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher et al
The Harlequin – LKH
Dark Lover – JR Ward
A Touch Of Dead – CH Book 30
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest – SL
Merlin – Stephen Lawhead

April
Murder By The Slice – Livia Washburn
Goodies Rule OK
Wild Sheep Chase – Haruki Murakami
Dance Dance dance – HM

May
Clockwork Angel – Cassandra Clare
City Of Bones – CC
City of Ashes – CC
Side Jobs – Jim Butcher Book 40
Keep The Aspidistra Flying – George Orwell
Deja Dead – Kathy Reichs
City Of Glass – CC
The Devil You Know – Mike Carey
Death Du Jour – KR
Deadly Decisions – KR
Dark Side – Belinda Bauer
Rite – Tad Williams

June
Fatal Voyage – KR
Grave Secrets – KR Book 50
Bare Bones – KR
Devil Bones – KR
Blacklands – BB
Mint Juleps, Mayhem and Murder -Sara Rosett
A Cottswold Killing – Rebecca Tope
Bones To Ashes – KR
Indigo Dying – Susan Wittig Albert
Fever Of The Bone – Val McDermid
Vicious Circle – Mike Carey
Dead Man’s Boots – MC Book 60
Monday Mourning – KR
Legacy Of Lies – Elizabeth Chandler ( had to push myself to finish )
Don’t Tell – Karen Rose
206 Bones – KR
Under The Dragon’s tail – Maureen Jennings
Mistletoe Man – SWA

July
Thicker Than Water – MC
The Naming Of The Beasts – MC
Giants Dance – Robert Carter
Break No Bones – KR book 70

August
Dark and Stormy Knight – Jim Butcher et al (short story anthology)
Cross Bones – KR
Dead Reckoning – CH
Thief of Time – Terry Pratchett

September
Johannes Cabal Necromancer – Jonathon Howard
Johannes Cabal Detective – JH
Blood Of Angels – Michael Marshall
Spider Bones – KR
Flirt – LKH actual zombie raising and minimal raunch – a return to the form of the early books

October
Bullet – LKH Book 80
Hit List – LKH
Unholy Ghosts – Stacia Kane
American Gods – Neil Gaiman
Unholy Magic – SK
City Of Ghosts – SK
Ghost story – JB
Night Watch – Sergei Lutkenyenko
Day Watch – SL
Twighlight Watch – SL
Last Watch – SL Book 90
The Folklore of Discworld – Terry Pratchett & Jacqueline Simpson
Three Bags Full: a sheep detective story – Leonie Swann (as good as everyone says it is)

November
Wee Free Men – TP
Hat Full Of sky – TP
Wintersmith – TP
Sunshine – Robin McKinley
The Osiris Ritual – George Mann.
Real Murders – CH
A Bone To Pick – CH
Three Bedrooms One Corpse – CH BOOK 100
The Julius House – CH
Dead Over Heels – CH
A Fool & His Honey – CH
Last Scene Alive – CH
Poppy Done To Death – CH

December
The Affinity Bridge – GM
The Elegance Of The Hedgehog – Muriel Barbery
The Man With The Golden Torc – Simon Green
Carpe Jugulum – TP   total  109 books