A Berry Nice day

Red sky at morning, shepherd’s warning … which probably means a flipping cold night tonight …

but it was a lovely way to start in the day, which continued in  pleasant mode:

A lovely squishy package waiting for me at the post office.

This gobbsmackingly gorgeous ‘Mixed Berries” machine washable BFL sock yarn was a prize donated by Marie [ aka selkieb of Meadowlake Arts ] in the recent Ravelry Tour De Fleece. It was a random number generated thing, so not a reflection on the quantity or quality of my spinning, but still … berry noice. My photo doesn’t come close to capturing the saturation level of this yarn

You should all go visit her Etsy Shop

Next, some goat snuzzling over at Pete-and-Brenda-formerly-from-next-door’s farm at Emu Creek, and a chance for Bear to hang out with his family.

Goat snuzzling is always a good thing

Hello. My name is Heidi. I’m an Australian Miniature Goat

Heidi and friend

There may have been a quick run through the Garden Centre on the way home

There might have been one or two modest plant-like purchases

There may have been a spot of weeding in preparation for tomorrow’s planned planting of the hypothetical purchases

and  to finish off ? a relaxing knit in front of the Olympic Swimming coverage … with a cuppa … four cats … one small dog … and a roaring fire

want vs need

Start out in any craft and there are basic pieces of kit that you need to acquire.

For something like knitting, you can start off with a pair of needles from the $2 Shop and a big ball of ACKrylic yarn from the local big box craft store. They possibly won’t be very good, but they’re enough to get you started for a modest outlay, and if you find that knitting [ or crochet, or spinning, sewing, embroidery ] is to your liking, well THEN you can start upgrading your tools and materials.

Yarn can be made from wool, alpaca, bamboo, bison, cotton, and a whole slew of manmade fibres [ of varying degrees of desirability ]. You can buy handyed. You can buy handspun. The only limit is what you are prepared to pay.

Same goes for the other pieces of kit.

I’m not sure that anyone really needs silversmith crafted knitting needles embellished with real baroque pearls, but if that is what you fancy, they are out there.

As it happens, my favourite needles these days, after a lifetime of swearing by the faux-tortoiseshell casein needles beloved by generations of Australian knitters, are these:

my KP circs

lightweight

sharp as the dickens

I bought a set of ‘Options’ nickle plated KPs back when the KP stood for KnitPicks

then I added to them with a set of the rainbow striped laminated wood KP Harmonies. At this stage KP was KnitPro.

More recently I bought Nadie a complete set for her significant birthday [ and also filled in a few gaps in my collection ] and now KP apparently stands for Knitter’s Pride.

it doesn’t particularly matter what they’re called, they are lovely to work with, and I tend to use the circs for almost all knitting because they are easier for me to manage since the onset of FMS limits how much weight my upper body can handle.

One disadvantage though, of the wooden needles, especially in the smaller gauges that are my preference, is that they are vulnerable to being dropped, dinged, sat on and in all other ways broken.

So I was a ready mark for the latest cleverness from the lovely Ron [ spinningwoodie on rav ] … he who took so much time and effort last year to teach The Girl how to spindle spin.

This is something I desperately needed and I didn’t even know it existed.

Behold [ drum roll please maestro ]

Ta Da!

Ron has invented a special case for protecting the points of your circular needles. But … I can hear you say … but my needles came in a protective little carry case anyway. Why do I need another?

Aha!

Because my dears, this needle protector is to protect the needles while they are actively in use

When you need to put your precious points down for the night, or into your bag to take to knitting group / the train / mother-in-law’s, the point and cable slips into the case with its little grooved lid and, there, you are, safe as houses.

Unfortunately Ron doesn’t have a retail presence, but if you are on Rav you can start a convo with him … otherwise you’ll have to wait until next year’s Wool & Sheep.

and this is what my Ravelympic knitting looks like after Day 1 of competition.

Zauberball in Charisma

KP 4mm needles and the Ishbell has morphed into another Holden Shawlette.

Yes.

I know I said to slap me upside the head if I ever again contemplated making anything with a mile of bloody neverending picot cast-off.

This will probably end in tears.

Let The Games Commence

If I was able to get decent free-to-air television reception I might actually have hauled my carcass out of bed at ‘Oh God’ o’clock to watch the Opening Ceremony for the Olympics from the very start, and to join in the mass Ravelry cast-on.

Instead I opted to get up and feed the goats at 6.30am and then attempted to catch a bit of the Ceremony.

What I mostly got was this

Still, in the spirit of the Games, I cast on for an Ishbel in the gorgeous Zauberball that was acquired at the Wool & Sheep Show last week.

There were a few brief moments where the picture cleared up

but it was pretty much unwatchable, so after the token cast-on, I switched back to the satellite [ which wasn’t carrying the Opening Ceremony ] and I’ll be watching my Games on Austar. Here in the Antipodes, thanks to the time difference, the Olympic action will take place between 6pm and 6am, and I’ve had to subscribe [ temporarily, believe me  ] to the … gasp … SPORTS package but I must have my diving and gymnastics.

Thanks to the idiocy last month of the US OC, the name of our beloved Ravelympics has been changed to the Ravellenic Games [ yes, Hellenic … Greek … Ravellenic … I get the reference ] even though the stupid beggars backed down and apologised for upsetting 2 million wielders of pointy sticks worldwide.

On this ‘ere blog they will still be referred to as the Ravelympics.

 

 

The cat hair is just added insulation

If you were being particularly vigilant last week you would have noticed the little mauve baby blanket that I made for new granddaughter. A simple crochet rectangle in vintage Patons Bluebell 5 ply/sport that has been in my stash since my mum passed away in 1994.

As it happens, I have already made a couple of blankets for Nadie & Chris’ little one-to-be, but she rather liked the one I’d made for Asher. Never let it be said that I had overlooked an opportunity to make something small, cute and snuggly. Especially as I needed something to work on at last Friday’s Ravelry Baa Dinner at the Shamrock Hotel in Bendi.

So, armed with a slightly deeper lilac BWM 4ply [ fingering ] and an F/3.75mm hook, I settled in at the table surrounded by lovely tiara-wearing fiberistas [ but that’s probably a story for another day ] and started chaining.

I quickly discovered that lilac yarn on a pale blue metallic hook and lowish light levels was not exactly a marriage made in heaven, and, although I persevered through the dinner, I pulled the whole lot out and started again once we got home. [ Fabulous dinner though ]

A 2 hour train ride to Melbourne and back on Sunday, and an hour to kill before ‘Marriage Of Figaro’ made up for the lack of forward momentum on Friday night, so it was just a matter of working away at it over the last couple of days when not otherwise occupied with goats, bonfires, and choir [ and a modicum of housework when it couldn’t be ignored any longer ]

Finished it and sewed in all the ends today, so now all I need to do is figure out what the heck I’m going to cast-on during the Opening Ceremony for the Olympics.

the best laid plans

… and I was being soooo organised.

Having seen the dreaded lurgy of last week out the door, I was all prepared to meet my newest grandchild tomorrow

The lovingly knitted annd crocheted bits and pieces were all boxed up this morning,

little pressies for my grandsons bought and wrapped this afternoon.

Oh, I tell you, I was positively glowing with  virtuous, organised grandmotherliness …

and then I remembered that one particular, very special little cardigan lacked a certain something … like being blocked … or having buttons … or even, come to think of it, actually being sewn together.

and you can’t rush the sewing up [ well, I can’t ] because as sure as I try to do a rush job, I botch it up.

So, after several deep cleansing breaths, I put the current knitting/spinning aside, settled in, and sewed it up. Followed by the fastest wet blocking in the history of the world.

Now you have to bear in mind that a central Victorian Winter’s late afternoon/evening is not generally conducive to a natural drying session outside, so cut to some careful force-drying on top of the wood heater [ much to MissC’s disgruntlement as that’s her favourite winter warm spot ]

and here it is:

The pattern is Presto Chango by Valerie Wallis, and is available free at Jimmy Beans Wool.

The really clever thing about this wee cardi is that the whole front panel unbuttons, making it easy to make extras [ which I haven’t yet ] for quick changes, and potentially cutting down on the number of times the whole garment needs laundering. Miss Asher may have her own ideas on that score.

The yarn is Bendigo Woollen Mills new machine washable 8ply/DK wool/bamboo in Merlot [ much deeper wine colour than my evening flash photography shows ] on 4.5mm KP needles. and, as the pattern is written for a heavier yarn, I used the stitch count for the middle size, while following the measurements for the smallest.

Here’s the rest of the package:

hats, mittens, a cotton ‘salsa’ dress/top for next summer, with sewn pull-on pants for underneath,  and, as specifically requested by DDIL who knows she’ll be inundated by a sea of pink, a mauve crochet blankie and everything else in red.

Okay, I’m going back to my TDF knitting now