Sunday, 30 March 2008

Hanks or Balls?

Following a fairly intense period during which many hanks made even more balls, I have come to the conclusion that a dedicated human helper or a yarn swift is required. It wasn't so much the hanks of silk, slippery though it is, that were the issue. And I really though that the mohair would be the deal-breaker - but even that paled into insignificance next to two hanks of Filatura di Crossa 's Centolavaggi.

This yarn was originally purchased at the Wool Baa in Albert Park, Victoria on one of my whistle-stop tours because it was such a glorious shade of red-orange I couldn't let it stay there (plus there were numerous options for its use for a project from Victorian Lace Today!) The problem is it is laceweight and long and in hanks.

It was the last of my yarn in hanks that I had a "hankering" (sorry about that) to wind up. It was late, heading towards midnight on Friday and I had to do it then didn't I. Knew it would end in tears but that didn't matter, it would be done. The first one - teased out over the knees went slowly and with a couple of hiccoughs but it wasn't until the last little bit that I ended up breaking the thread due to a particularly difficult knot. So the finished products are one large and one tiny ball from that hank.

Hank the second - screams could have issued from the room except that it was now closer to 1am and HMV was in bed asleep. I spoke to it (yes, it happens!). I cajoled but the knot wouldn't budge and I had to retire defeated - for now. I covered the remaining unwound yarn with a cloth so that stray cat claws wouldn't tangle the rest worse than I had.

Saturday - couldn't face the yarn issue. Went and had a relaxing pedicure - only for the foot massage you understand - and proceeded to knitting in the city @ Borders. Managed to secure some beautiful yarn for my Ravelry purple swap - yay! By the time I arrived home, Mum was there collecting her now neatly balled yarn and preparing for a night out on the tiles. I co-opted her assistance to complete the task - tame human, also a knitter who can appreciate the agony of the hank.

It was - how shall I put it - an interesting session to say the least. Once we had beaten the remainder of the hank into submission, Mum counted no fewer than 10 odd lengths that had been included with it. I initially thought I must have accidentally caught the yarn with my scissors when I removed the ties the night before (it was very late and I was very tired). Every time we thought we had just two ends - the one on the ball winder and the other end - another one or two or more appeared to tangle and confuse. I've never had this happen before and don't know of anyone else who has but I now have three balls and numerous ends ranging in length from 10cm up to 40cm or so. Curiouser and curiouser....:)

Friday, 28 March 2008

Bye, bye Dad!

We said our final goodbyes to my Dad yesterday as Mum, Perry and I placed his ashes in the ground of the Remembrance Garden at Fremantle Cemetery (map here). He is under the seat closest to the 'A' garden near the Gazebo and has a lovely view across the gardens to what we think will be more development later but is now semi-bushland. It was a lovely sunny day as you can see from the pictures taken, some of which are shown here.

Monday, 24 March 2008

New records set and new targets needed

Following a relaxed Easter weekend during which knitting, hot cross buns and coffee were combined Chez Harrow, your two-wheeled knitter extraordinaire has eclipsed her previous mammoth target for cycling. Easter Monday saw a dash to Bertram to ensure my Mum had recovered from her disgusting between seasons cold. When I say dash, it took over two hours to ride from Maylands (Chez Harrow) to Betram, a distance my Cateye tells me was some 44.45km.

After freshening up, we dined at a boardwalk cafe for lunch and had a celebratory ice cream desert as today was my brother's birthday. He wasn't there you understand - he was travelling from one place to another (in this case Kalgoorlie to Australind preparatory to travelling from Australind to Townsville tomorrow - whatever!)

The initial plan was to catch the wonderful Mandurah train back to civilisation however the adventuress in me took over. My total on the Cateye approached the magical 2,000km mark and I was sitting on 1979 (an interesting year however to close to the target to leave alone!) New plan - ride to Cockburn Central and catch train then ride from Perth Central to home thereby clicking over the ****2000**** mark. Anyone who has ridden this stretch of Perth's cycleways will tell you that boring does not cut it on the stretch down to Rockingham. The only break in the monotony is to count the change in the number of new roof tops.

We achieved Cockburn Central however the Cateye twinkled at me - less than 10km to go. Don't give up now. New plan - Bullcreek or boredom but which would come first. Neither it seems and I ended up in a sorry state nearly 48km later at Harrow Street again. Dinner and a shower didn't fix the issues and I am retiring - not yet defeated - but with 2028.9km on the Cateye.

The sad news in all this is that I was far too knackered to go to KnB @ Exomod this Easter Monday. I have however not abandoned the knitting boat this weekend entirely. I completed my assigned animal - the Boobook Owl - from the Australian book researched by Kita and I also sewed together and completed my Noro Cuthbert jacket. Both look pretty good I can tell you.

Unfortunately to balance these achievements, I have frogged Mum's jacket sleeves but reknitted them using bigger needles. I discovered by trawling around Ravelry a bit this weekend that the yarn I should have used was a 10 ply and the yarn I did use is an 8 ply. Gone up two needle sizes and the completed fabric is still fairly dense and most suitable but a little better in size than before - I was almost on guage before but not quite you see. This only became apparent as the length of sleeve grew but there you go. A 10 by 10cm tension swatch would have given me a similar result except that I would have had a tension swatch saying guage was right when in fact over distance, it was wrong! Thus my case for the sleeve as a swatch - QED!

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Knitting Bitches ride the freeway!

Today several now severely traumatised Cycling Bitches realised a dream and rode their bikes up to Joondalup from Belmont, a distance of 30 kilometres. Of the group consisting of Helen, Vicki, Jane and Sue, Helen and Vicki carried the leader torch for knitters of a certain calibre by coming in above their recognised group and finishing in a record (for them) of about 1 hour and 11 or so minutes.

Celebrations in the form of a lamb curry and ice cream brunch (don't knock it 'til you've tried it) went on for at least half an hour before the group, including trainer Perry, moved to the Italian restaurant renowned for the slowest coffee service on the planet. Unfortunately the riders were not aware of this. Helen did try to order at the counter - just three coffees - and was told that there was table service. Ten minutes later table service came and went and came again, this time with an order pad. Orders were placed. Orders did not appear and it seems now that perhaps we had ordered from a waitress who worked at another establishment as still no coffee appeared. Dejected, our intrepid riders returned home via TransPerth's most excellent train service followed by a quiet lie down and a cuppa.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

An update - the yarn stash in reality

Joining Ravelry has been a bit of an eye opener in that I'm starting to put more and more of those knitting related bits onto the site as I stumble on them and it's looking scary. Starting to wonder if I shouldn't be a LYS instead of visiting them so often. Then of course I look around at a few other profiles and realise I'm not as bad as some (still not good though).
I have discovered for instance that I used to have a love affair with really bad 80's patterns (in crochet!!) That one got an almost immediate frog treatment which just leaves me with a pile of 5ply acrylic with no home (read project).

Recently decided that the arthritis in my fingers had stopped aching for a bit so I should inflict pain by slamming my finger between a metal door handle and a tiled wall. Do you know that hurts an awful lot! I can't bend my finger because I've split the skin across the knuckle and it's just not healing well (middle finger, right hand - yes I'm right-handed!) On the good side - I can't do much in the way of washing dishes as I have to cover it. I've never done good dishes wearing rubber gloves. Bad side - showering with a plastic bag on your hand.
I can still knit as I don't seem to engage that finger so much. I only have to bend it slightly to knit and this is a good thing. Typing this is an issue as I can't use that finger. I never thought I did but now realise that I had actually learned to use more than just my index finger. Bugger!