Saturday, July 25, 2009


Welcome to my first blog entry. It is hard to know where to begin.

Firstly, I plan this to be a blog about what goes on inside my head, stream of concsiousness stuff, but not necessarily all of the time. Sometimes I will have things written in my head before they get to the keypad, other times I will be typing fresh, such as now.

There are a few things I have in mind for the first entry, but as I still hope to have something to say in the future, not all of it might get said.

A little about me - I bake (& cook), sew, knit, read, and work (to pay for all that came before). Some of this blog will talk about these things, especially baking and knitting, which is my current obsession.

It started off a couple of months ago. I finished knitting the sleeves to the aran jumper I had been knitting since 1996 for my now ex-husband (good for me, I get to keep it, and if I ever actually do the finishing bits, it will be gorgeous) (I have read elsewhere that knitting a jumper for your boyfriend is almost like the kiss of death, well, it worked on my husband too...). Time to cast about for a new project, and really wanted to do aran again, but a proper, traditional style one, with traditional patterns. Now, this is when I started the wool (aka yarn) hunt. I live in Australia - do you think I could find a local yarn of 12ply in a natural shade? I spent days scouring the net and came up blank (BTW have since found some but have totally moved on)(and get used to the parentheses - I use them, dashes and ellipses a lot... though you have probably noticed this by now).

I ended up deciding upon a cable sweater by Erika Knight which I decided to do in Rowan Romance. It was a chicken and egg thing - I fell in love with the yarn around the same time I found the book, but took me a while to put the two together in my head.

It was while I was casting about for a pattern for the Romance when I purchased the first copy of the British magazine 'The Knitter'. There was a jumper in there that had some cable, and I planned to do a mish mash of this with an existing pattern I had (I should mention here, just because I took a while to finish my previous project [and I should also mention that I am one of life's great unfinishers - I have an embarressing quantity of patchwork and cross stitch UFOs] that I did in fact have an existing pattern. This had been for a cable jumper that I knitted during immediately prior to the abovementioned aran, and it took me about 2 weeks to knit [much to the astonishment of my family that I actually finished something]) but then again, it was 12 ply (and a very thick one at that) and the cable was really easy (unlike its successor).

So, back to 'The Knitter'. This was all very serendipitous, cos around the same time I had found some Kidsilk Spray in Tea Rose on ebay at a good price (much better than the prices in Australia, even with international postage. Same goes for patchwork fabric - I would love to buy local, and I do when I can, but honestly, by the time you buy it and pay for postage within Australia [or petrol and tolls if you are driving, not that I know of anywhere within driving distance that stocks it, and I live in Sydney, so if you were going to get it anywhere, you would think here would be the place], it can be almost double the cost.) One of the patterns in 'The Knitter' was for (another) Erika Knight - a lacy top in Kidsilk Haze (funnily enough, this too came from Glamour Knits, which is the book from which the Romance pattern was sourced). So I started knitting the lace sweater.

And frogged.
And knitted.
And frogged.
And knitted.
And frogged.
And knitted.

As you can tell, I got off to more than 1 false start. It had been a very long time since I had done anything like a lace pattern in knitting, so the 'yo' versus 'yf' took a bit of getting used to. Anyone who has knitted with Kidsilk Haze or Spray may commiserate on how difficult it is to frog (I know tink everything [even with lifelines I don't frog - I find it too annoying], and for this item I put in lifelines every 6 rows and obsessively check the pattern about 2-3 times per row, just in case). The biggest challenge was going from 14ply on 12mm needles to 2ply on 3.00mm (well, 3.25mm, but more on this in a later blog, possibly). That was funny - I couldn't hold the needles and the yarn in my hands at the same time and actually produce anything.

In addition to learning to knit with smaller yarn and needles, there was a whole vernacular that I had never encountered before - tink? frog? lifeline? the abovementioned yo? - which I discovered when tootling on the net trying to find bits and pieces.

One of these was the website of missalicefaye (and apologies for no links. I am a bit of a novice at the whole web etiquette thing, so not sure if I should link within a blog [and I can say from previous blog reading that etiquette does seem to mutate according to the community {for want of a better word} it engenders ] I am also only just in the infancy stages, as you can tell, so I think for now plain text will do, and I can work on fancy stuff as I go along). Now, I fell in love with her beautifully knitted shawls from minute one (it was actually longer than that - my first recollection of her site, and I don't know how I ended up there, was a picture of the Unst Stole before it was blocked, then relentlessly hunted the site until I worked out what it was - so in fact I actually fell in love with a small mound of white knitted lace).

So, back to the serendipity thing. Everthing kind of formed a confluence, pointing me in the direction of lace knitting. I have become obsessed. I love yarn, I love colour, I love fiddly things I can do with my hands while watching television, I love being able to go online and spend days looking at yarn and deciding what to buy, or what patterns there are out there. I should put in here a hero-worshipping genuflect in the direction of Ravelry (once again, no URL - sorry). You guys totally ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is not only a brilliant resource for knitters (and I do mean brilliant. One of my friends is a prodigious developer, and from him [and my own knowledge of building databases] I have had a small peek into the window of what it takes to build a site such as yours and OMG you have done such fantastic job). In the space of about 3 months I have gone from, well, basically nothing (the aran took so blinking long I don't feel I am qualified to refer to myself as a *knitter*, although I have been able to knit for almost forever, and I did potter around with fancy patterns as a child) to obsessive lace knitter. My stash is impressive (and growing, like my visa bill...) and I have already decided what to do next (today anyway - decision will probably be different tomorrow when I discover a new yarn or pattern...).

Present project is BadCatDesigns 'Summer Sampler Study' in Claudia Silk Lace, Pistachio, for those who are interested. This yarn was originally purchased to make a shawl for my mother, but had a few incidents when transforming from skein to ball ie about 30 hours of unknotting (purchased swift immediatley upon completion of ball, so I never have to go through that again!), so decided to knit this for myself instead with the yarn that is now just a little the worse for all that untangling... (and purchased 2 additional skeins for shawl for mother - I think I got the last 2 in captivity).

Well, this should mark the end of my first blog - I feel I have blathered on for quite long enough. As I predicted, I didn't actually achieve what I set out to talk about, and got seriously side-tracked - I didn't even get to mention my equal obsession with silk, especially silk yarn, and baking, or other things like my cats (yes, another knitter with cats - who'd have thought), books... (more on these in the future, I hope).

Bon Chance


  1. Great to be the first person to leave a comment on your blog. Welcome to the Knitternet.

  2. Hi! I found you blog from the Lawre's Laine ravelry group. Welcome to blog land, I look forward to following you! Jane

  3. Hi there. I'm a lace knitter in Sydney, so I'm glad to make your acquaintance (I saw your comment on the sock summit group).
    I hope you continue to post to your blog. It is always interesting to see what other people are up to, and I would like to hear about your cooking as well as your knitting. Cooking and I lost creative contact some time ago. Comes of being married to someone who isn't interested in food at all. It's just as well he has other redeeming features!