Sunday, October 17, 2010


It's Japanese for "sock mojo". okay maybe not, but finishing this pair of socks has actually gotten me a bit excited about making some more:

Details on Ravelry here

I have another skein of Wollmeise in Fliederbusch, a vivid deep purple. I've decided to make another Japanese inspired pattern, this time from this lovely book by Judy Sumner. But which one?

- Bonsai
- Origami
- Chouwa


Monday, October 11, 2010


I visited Melbourne a couple of weeks ago, and managed to get to the Tim Burton exhibition at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. Amongst many highlights, probably my favourite thing was seeing the sketches and notes for one of Burton's early short films entitled "Vincent", about a regular kid who wishes he could be Vincent Price, one of Burton's own childhood heroes (and one of mine!). Price himself narrates this film. The exhibition featured a note from Price to Burton wishing him the best of luck and commenting "I wish I was this Vincent".

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Edinburgh Part 2: Water of Leith

The Water of Leith Walkway runs through Edinburgh from Balerno to Leith, a total of 13 miles. I joined the path at Roseburn, the closest point to my hotel, which turned out to be about the halfway point. The Water of Leith is nicknamed Edinburgh's Secret River, and it's truly amazing to wander along this glorious path knowing that literally two blocks away are bustling main streets, buses, shops, pubs and train stations.

So equipped with camera, iPod, water and a bag of delicious Cadbury chocolate eclairs (99p!) I set off. At first it was all a bit Fellowship of the Ring:

I wandered along plotting various means by which I could somehow live in one of these apartments:

Then I encountered St Bernard's mineral water well, imbibed by the 18th century gentry for medicinal purposes, replete with a statue of Hygieia, the Greek goddess of health:

Further along, I stopped off to visit the Royal Botanic Gardens of Edinburgh, the highlight of which was the Victorian Temperate Palm House, built in 1858:

After about 4 hours and 7 or so miles of delightful walking, I ended up in the port town of Leith:

I found a pub serving delicious seafood, ate some haddock and chips and read The Scotsman. After exploring the Leith Docks some more, I hopped on a bus and headed back into town for some Edinburgh Fringe Festival mayhem.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

it will all end in tears

Oh no, I am running behind on Blogtober after such a good start!! Tres busy though, packing to move, going to the gym and doing ludicrous things like "Body Combat" class, and eating all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ. But I have completed knitting coming up - got to get some photos though. And Part 2 of Edinburgh - The River of Leith Walkway.

But I'm about to go and try a new Polish restaurant in Newtown shortly - New in Town

So I will leave you with a music recommendation. If you took the Smiths, threw in some Shangri-Las and a dash of The Cure, you end up with The Drums. Perfect summer listening (if only the weather would cooperate). I managed to see them at Splendour in the Grass in July:

This is their songwriting philosophy (taken from their bio)

"We only write about two feelings: one is the first day of summer when you and all of your friends are standing on the edge of a cliff watching the sun set and being overcome with all of your hopes and dreams at once. The other is when you're walking alone in the rain and realize you will be alone forever."

Seaside melodrama!!! Le sigh....

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

more victorian mayhem

So as part of my rather sudden obsession with comics/graphic novels (I blame reading Watchmen on a recent 10 hour train journey and just being OMG NEED MORE at the end of it), I am currently reading this:

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
WHY have I not read this before? It's almost as if while I was asleep Alan Moore crept into my brain, extracted everything I love, and then wrote a comic about it. It's got the lot: laudanum! Urchins! Shady dealings in Victorian London! Mina Murray and her red scarf! Mechanical squid ship! Home for Wayward Girls! The Rue Morgue!
And I'm not even halfway through volume 1 yet! Better get the smelling salts.....

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

audrey in unst

So I finally knitted a complete garment that (a) fits perfectly and (b) I will actually wear (in fact I've worn it to work twice already)!!
I got kind of disillusioned with garment knitting about a year ago and stuck to shawls, socks, and other general accessories. Admittedly it was mostly my fault, for either choosing the wrong colour, wrong pattern or failing to do a gauge swatch and assuming that size small would just automatically fit.

Then I made Audrey in Unst!!

And it turned out PERFECT!! I'd say this was due to a number of factors all coming together like some sort of divine knitting planetary alignment:

(1) I actually did a gauge swatch and took my measurements and worked out which size to knit
(2) The pattern is EXCELLENT. Gudrun Johnston is a brilliant designer. Small touches, such as the I-cord neckline and the short-row shaped set-in sleeves really make this garment look amazing
(3) The yarn is beautiful - Blue Sky Alpaca & Silk blend. yummmmm.
(4) The buttons cost me $1 from St Vinnies!
(5) Zero seaming meant that it didn't languish in my "finished but needs seams" pile which contains items stretching back approximately 5 years

My only regret is that I didn't actually finish it in time to wear it that much, as it is now spring in Sydney, I will be spending the summer living in the Blue Mountains, and then I may be moving to Darwin for 4 months. But I will definitely be wearing this at any available chilly opportunity!!

ALSO NOTE: IT'S NOT BLACK!! Yet I still love it!! Don't worry, normal black knitting will resume shortly.

Monday, October 04, 2010

boardwalk empire

To alleviate the seemingly interminable wait for True Blood Season 4, HBO has given me this:

Not since The Simpsons Beer Baron episode has there been a more appealing program about prohibition in 1920s America. So far I've only seen the first episode, but I'm hooked already! It's from the guy who wrote The Sopranos and has Martin Scorsese as executive producer and director of some of the episodes.

Anyway, check it out if you're into gangsters, corrupt politicians, the Charleston, and the ins and outs of black market boozing. Good times.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

dainty undies

While spring (debatable considering current weather) cleaning today I found this:

which contains patterns such as this:

Then I thought what if I knit this as my Easter Show entry for 2011? I wonder how the RAS judges would feel about dainty undies. Well, I think it's time to find out. That is if I can find some sort of 3ply gorgeous wool/silk blend to knit it with. And if I can battle my way through the *shock horror* uncharted lace pattern!

And what category do I put it in? I can imagine the RAS panel acting much like the Office of Film and Literature Classification, and smacking a "Refused Classification" on it! I'll be the Larry Clark of the knitting world!!!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Edinburgh, Part 1: Metropolis, Cramond and Bees in my Hair

One of my favourite things about Fritz Lang’s Metropolis is the clash between the gothic and the modern; the idea that deep, deep down everything modern has a dark ancient heart. The mad inventor Rotwang lives in a strange old house in an uber-futurist city, and in this strange old house he manages to create the hottest she-robot of the 1920s.

Edinburgh stirred up these thoughts in me. Within a couple of kilometres' radius I discovered: Topshop…cool French bistro…insane gothic monument…cutting edge Fringe theatre…Princes Street Gardens…LOOMING CASTLE OF DOOM…trendy pub…haunted cemetery…indie art gallery…waterwell dating back to Roman times! Love it.

As well as all this gothic/modern madness, Edinburgh also has my kind of seasides...bleak! I took a day trip out to the seaside village of Cramond, a pleasant 4 mile bus trip north west of Edinburgh CBD.

Cramond was a very popular holiday resort in Victorian and Edwardian times, although the town itself goes back way further. The Romans built a fort here between AD140 and AD142. They abandoned the fort in AD170, then came back in AD208 under Emperor Septimius Severus. By 600AD a chapel had been built on the site, which has since become the current Cramond Kirk, built in 1656 using a tower from the 1400s.

After wandering around the grounds of the church and the attached cemetery (more on that later), I walked down to the seafront and Cramond Island, a tidal island accessible from the mainland during low tide

As you can see, it was not low tide. Appealing image though it is, I was not bent over a desk at 3am frantically consulting tide charts like a 19th century explorer. Consequently I was not able to walk out to the island itself. But apparently a lot of people get stranded there and according to a couple of local firemen with whom I chatted and ate an ice cream, it’s mildly irritating having to constantly go rescue them. The locals know what they're doing though:

After gazing out at the Firth of Forth for about 45 minutes, I took a lovely walk along the River Almond:

Then came back to eat aforementioned ice cream while looking at boats:

and swans! swanning about, no doubt:

Then after a minor altercation with a bee who decided to take up residence in my hair, I jumped on the bus back to town for a whiskey fix and some haggis flavoured crisps.

Friday, October 01, 2010



I am back. The blog shall be resurrected! I plan to post something, anything, on each and every day of October.

Over the next 30 days prepare to be regaled with anecdotes and photos from my recent trip to the UK, lots of knitting related mayhem, plans for my upcoming spookily themed knitting podcast, and much blathering on about my current obsession - comic books!!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tokyo Rose

The last time I won something was at the Year 6 school disco - I won the door prize of a ghetto blaster with, OMG, two tape decks!! It was 1990.

Ten years later, Ailsa from Knitabulous Yarns dyed some yarn as part of her Black Japan club (which I desperately wanted to join, but had to save my pennies for impending Knit Camp), and put out a challenge for folks in Interwebs-ville to name it. It was a beautiful shade of pinkish red with a Japanese theme.

I went with Tokyo Rose:

AND I WON! Woooo. I won a skein of the beautiful yarn (50/50 merino silk) AND a Folca Box (possibly the coolest organisational tool ever!) Sadly my camera is on the blink so I can't provide any pictorial evidence of my awesome winnings.

Thanks Ailsa!

Now all I need to work out is what to knit with my Tokyo Rose. Suggestions?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mission: Accomplished!

I FINISHED THE RAVEN SHAWL!!!! I don't know how many hours went into this, or how many yarnovers and SSKs there ended up being (both things I probably should have kept track of for novelty statistical purposes), but this was certainly EPIC. Just blocking this thing took about 3 hours, and that was with the use of wires.

But overall, it was worth it. This is the largest and most complicated lace shawl I've ever made. The pattern was EXCELLENT, clear instructions, no confusion at any point. I took a risk by deciding not to use lifelines, but thankfully I didn't need them. I tried spit splicing for the first time when my yarn snapped - it worked! I tried lace grafting for the first time on the edging - it worked! The yarn (Centolovaggi) is quite lovely. With the cost of yarn (Rav destash), needles and pattern the total cost of materials comes in at around $AU40. But it looks and feels like a million bucks!

But the best thing about this shawl is that it's constructed so that it actually does resemble the wings of a raven when it's draped around one's shoulders. I remember getting a bit Antony & the Johnsons and exclaiming to my friend who was helping with the photoshoot, "I feel like a bird!"

So as of right now it's already been judged by the RAS people, and only fate and time will tell whether it's yielded me a ribbon of any description. In all honesty, despite my tendency to get a tad competitive, I actually don't think I'll be that devastated if I don't get anywhere with it. The fact that I entered it in the Show forced me to meet a deadline and knit something which one day will become a mad gothic heirloom.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Summer of Scarves

The following 2 months are going to be dedicated to working on the Raven Shawl for the Easter Show. I have officially entered and paid my registration fee etc, so there is no turning back now. I am also progressing fairly well with Irtfaa; I have completed chart 1 and am halfway through chart 2, which according to my Excel spreadsheet (NERD!!) is about where I should be in order to complete by March. I will however have to purchase a longer lace needle, as my 200 or so stitches are soon to become about 400 or so. eep!

Anyway, before I began seriously applying myself to the shawl (and in some moments requiring less focused knitting), I managed to complete a couple of WIPs from 2009. First up, the Peaks Island Hood by Ysolda:

I've always liked the idea of hooded scarves, particularly in colours which make me look like a gothic nun. But I wasn't sure if it would turn out to be one of those garments which takes about half an hour of assembly and fiddling to get it to even remotely resemble the photo in the pattern. I was pleasantly surprised that, even though I haven't even bought and attached the buttons yet, I had very little trouble getting this to look decent. Anyway, check out the Rav link for more details.

I also managed to finish a project I started in June 2009, a simple garter stitch scarf in Noro Kureyon sock yarn:

This was one of those projects which travelled with me to lots of places where I needed a portable and simple project; including trips to Byron Bay, Jervis Bay and the SCG. Originally I had planned to give the scarf away to someone who appreciates bright colours a bit more than I do, but now that the scarf is woven with all my 2009 travel and leisure memories, I'm thinking about keeping it. Rav link provides specs etc.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Personal Sock Mayhem 2010

Inspired by other bloggers I admire, I plan to embark on a Personal Sock Club for 2010, considering in 2009 it would appear I only knit one pair of socks. I am going to aim for 7 pairs of socks throughout the year, so one package every 6 weeks or so. Here are my chosen yarns:

From Left to Right: Shibui Sock in Seaweed, Hazel Knits Sock in Chocolatier, Numma Numma Toasty in Gooseberry Jam, Sundara Sock in Deadly Nightshade, Vesper Sock in Witchy Woman, and Yarntini Sock in Lime Twist. The caked yarn at the top is my first PSC yarn, Wollmeise 80/20 in Merlot. The pattern I have chosen for it is Cookie A's Kai-Mei (rav link).

And yes, I have started my epic Easter Show project, and am plugging along on the first set of charts for the shoulder shaping. I have calculated that if I continue at the current rate, it will be finished in time. Fingers crossed!