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Name: knitabulous
Location: Mt Keira, New South Wales, Australia

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Knitting Alone
Knitspot Morning Glory Wrap Frost Flowers and Leaves Pomatomus Socks One Day
Sarcelle A different Phildar swing jacket - No 23A Donyale Socks

26 Feb 2005

The Cleopatra I am using for the Clapotis. Posted by Hello

Clapotis - the beginning. See the cut-up drinking straws as stitch markers? My own idea which works really well. Posted by Hello

the daly dog chronicles part 1

Yesterday my husband and I talked about getting a dog. The conversation went like this:

Me: I think I would like a dog. The kids are old enough now to understand the responsibility and we're grown up enough to
have a family pet.

Him: A dog would be great.

Me: What sort of dog would
you like?

Him: A labrador.

Me: I think we need to be realistic - you work long hours and a labrador needs lots and lots of exercise - I'm not sure that a labrador would suit us. Plus there is the issue of the dog poo in the yard - I bet labrador poo is volumous. I was thinking more of a lap-dog type that doesn't drop hair and is
non-allergenic like a toy poodle or a maltese terrier. I would like to call it Matisse.

Him: They are not real dogs.
Labradors are proper dogs. Call it Kujo.

Me: What about a King Charles
Cavalier Spaniel, they're gorgeous dogs. Or the other day I saw a mixed breed called the spoodle which is a cross between a King Charles spaniel and a poodle. Are you saying you wouldn't walk a poodle?

Him: (Looks up from paper for
the first time at me like I'm an alien) I would so not love walking a poodle.

Me: What about a standard poodle not a toy poodle?

Him: What's wrong with a labrador?

Me: Nothing darling, but I think we should consider our lifestyles before we decide. We must give the dog the sort of life it deserves and I don't think we are the type of family to commit ourselves to such a high maintenance pet. A pet is a big responsibility and it needs to fit in with the way our family is, and not become a burden or a chore. A smaller dog would become part of the family and would fit in better with our lifestyle I think.

Him: How much do dogs cost?

At least I think we have decided to get a dog. Stay tuned for further chapters in daly dog chronicles.

In the land of the knitting obsessive-compulsive, I have cast on and begun climbing the clapotis mountain. A lot of people have written a lot of things about this pattern and I'm not sure I can add any value to the discussion by adding my comments here but there are three things that I am really noticing about this scarf.
1. It is really big. Really really big.
2. The mathematics behind the pattern design are fabulously simple but very clever and am very envious of the pattern-designers ability to go from idea to pattern to product.
3. I can't wait to wear it.

desperate email to secret pal

20 Feb 2005

Hello Secret Pal,

No-one understands me. Most of the women in my local S & B are retirees (lovely ladies but still........). My passion is a secret one, I am ashamed, like having an illness you can't tell anyone about. Whenever I confide in my friends about my obsession with yarn and it's uses - they laugh. "Come on granny' they say, looking fab in their store bought shrugs from portmans. I don't want to buy a wrap, I want to make one. They don't understand.

My home ADSL line has been down for three days, so no blogging. I love blogging. It allows me to speak freely about my illness, that which cannot be named in my personal social circles. I find guilty pleasure in blogging, it is like a dirty little secret hidden away from prying eyes.

I went to a stitch and craft fair today. My patient husband with two kids in tow drove almost two hours and when we got there there were only two stalls selling yarn.

It wasn't a total disappointment though. You see, I have begun a quest to find a yarn for my Clapotis. And I notice on the web that some people have made theirs in Noro silk garden. Well I saw this yarn for the first time today, and, IMO, it is just not that soft. For Clapotis you need drape and softness and to me, well Noro silk garden just isn't it. And, at $14.50 AUS a 50g hank, Lion & Lamb is cheaper anyway - even with the postage.

I bought six balls of Lana Gatto Cleopatra in a better colourway than wool-baa offers. This yarn looks nothing on the web. But up close it is a central thread of 3 ply thick and thin cotton. How do they get the thick and thin texture without affecting the overall thickness of the yarn I don't know but it is a real feat of yarn engineering. It is wrapped randomly with a lustrous floss of rainbow coloured thread which transforms the boring khaki/dark khaki coloured central thread to a rainbow of irridescent lusciousness. It wasn't until I got home that I realised that the $8.50 AUS I paid a ball was a real bargain. I shall definitely blog it as it is a really nice colour. I am fully cognisant of how sad it is to be able to go on and on about the construct of a ball of wool. It saddens me. How did I end up this way?

I know I am only a begginer. I know that I am behind and that all the others have already finished their clapotis. But our winter is a-coming and I hope to have at least my trial Clapotis completed on this yarn. I will photograph the progress as soon as I cast it on. My fingers are itching, but I must complete this post first.

I get home and presto, the line is back up. My super-gracious secret pal has written about me and my little handmade gift on her blog. She is so lovely. I read my own blog and realise that I come accross like a complete cow. What I meant to be wry humour looks like pretentious drivel. I am in serious blog doldrums.

Now I really am worried. I assume Secret Pal since this is your first SP that you are not a famous knitblogger? I wonder what would you do if your secret pal was the famous stitch and bitch designer whose blog proclaims 'my boyfriend is a bigger star than your boyfriend' - you should probably read her blog as this is NOT what it seems on the surface, it is actually quite a funny story. If only I remembered what her blogsite was. But my point is, what on earth would you buy a person who recieves packages stuffed with Debbie Bliss and Rowan yarn for free on a normal day? I for one would just XXX myself if I got her on SP4 and send her tons of plonk.

To be fair, the blogs I really love are written by what seem to be professional writers, not just suburban women juggling the roles of wife/mother/career woman/hobbyist like me. Maybe I have bitten off more than I can chew. Oh wave upon wave of self doubt.

This is all too much for me. I open a bottle of red. (Wyndam Estate Cabernet Merlot Bin 888 - quite drinkable if you ever come across it) At the same time I prepare a feast of low fat sausages, steamed brocolli, carrots and potatoes with gravy for the kids. I might have been driven to drink but I have not neglected my responsibilities.

And then at last, I select 'random' on the SP4 button on my blogsite. Who should come up but my own secret pal recipient!! (What are the chances of that happening?) Now I am convinced the stars are lined up against me, and that my own secret pal is going to find me out via the same method!

Who would have known joining this group would be fraught with such danger?

I send this to you as one of few who would understand any of the issues involved. Thank you for listening.

From your mentally tormented secret pal.


You must look at this!

17 Feb 2005

OMG. I think I have found crochet/knitting nirvana. Have a look at this gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous stuff. Can you believe such magic exists?

15 Feb 2005

Last night I couldn't face knitting 86 stitches side-to-side in garter stitch over and over so I crocheted a hat and a flower. Today my friend Wendy came over and I gave it to her. She really liked it and I think it looks good on her so we were both happy. Posted by Hello

Today the SP gift lamb was hi-jacked by the 4yr old, called 'BaaBaa' and taken outside to "watch me swimming in the pool".  Posted by Hello

My secret pal gift arrived - all the way from Canada! It took less than five days to get here and arrived bang on Valentine's Day. I felt very special and it was like a real secret valentine - I'd never had one of those before Posted by Hello

"Hate Purple"

14 Feb 2005

"Hate Purple" Posted by Hello
Eliza by Rowan is finished.

I have frogged and re-knitted the sleeves three times. I have unpicked and re-sewed the seams three times. I'm still not so happy with the seams and may unpick and re-sew them again.
But the most frustrating thing is that I have to wait until Spring issue of knitty to find out how to 'pick up and knit' along a curved edge. Until then, the neck remains crocheted.

What did the gorgeous model say when I asked her to put it on? "Hate Purple". Of course you do darling. After all, you chose the colour yourself. This mothering business is such a thankless task.

Mustn't grumble. Tomorrow I shall share my progress in the neverending Clapotis yarn search. I may just have to bite the bullet and order the Lion & Lamb from America.

In the meantime I am endlessly knitting side-to-side in garter stitch trying to make a long cross-fronted jackety thing out of snippets of a pattern, snippets of a picture and an idea of my own. I will let you know how it progresses, but until it looks a bit more presentable she stays under wraps.

Did someone say Valentines' Day?

Having a big whinge!

13 Feb 2005

On Friday I decided to start a Clapotis project to be ready in time for winter. Hopefully my friend Lisa's baby doesn't come early because I haven't even started the blanket. I feel a bit guilty because I hardly ever make anything for myself.

On Saturday I thought I'd have a look for an appropriate yarn deserving of such a gorgeous garment. Has to have some silk in it, has to be haindpainted or variegated, and must have red in it (because half of it is going to my secret pal and she loves red). LYS is a challenge of fun fur and feathers, so I went online.

I looked carefully at the Lion & Lamb by Lorna's laces and noticed it is 50/50 wool and silk. Yum yum, Bittersweet and Lorikeet, Flames, Baltic Sea, Aslan (not all red but I liked them anyway). Also had a look at Schaefer's Anne (60% woll, 25% mohair, 15% nylon) gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. Both American yarns, both are going to cost me a fortune factoring in our weak currency and the high cost of postage. That is if they're in stock. Some suppliers say 8-10 weeks for Lion & Lamb and Anne looks hard to come by too.

Now I live in Australia. I love Australia. WE 'INVENTED' THE MERINO SHEEP! Wool is one of our main natural exports. We were taught in history at school that Australia 'lived off the sheeps back'.

If that's the case then we should have the best merino hand knitting yarn in the world. But we don't. We get the dregs from the big yarn companies' last seasons crap (we are a season behind after all) and it gets stacked high and sold cheap. We export the lot so overseas companies can make the finest handknitted wool in the world from our sheep. Even our cottage industries are a little too 'cottagey' and lacking somewhat in vision. What is wrong with us??

Do you think that I can find a SINGLE outlet on the web selling 50/50 wool/silk blend coloured yarn? No. I can get some natural undyed stuff from ebay (which by the way looks gorgeous and I think I might have some) and I can get some 80/20 alpaca/silk in solid colours (it's nice too but the whole point of the Clapotis is in the pattern made by the variegated yarn).
The rare yarns company in Victoria have a gorgeous 'cocoon' yarn - a 70% merino (yay the Aussie merino - nice to see you at home for once!), 15% alpaca (I love alpacas too), 7.5% silk (I'm sorry silkworm), and 7.5% mohair (ooh mohair (put on Homer Simpson voice)). But it is solid colour - albeit about 360 to choose from - but still not variegated.

Even Virginia Farm Woolworks (a New Zealand company only five hours away on a plane) have only one outlet in Australia! Their artisan lace looks luscious (and I think I have to have some of that too) but that elusive silk which I know is going to give my Clapotis the great hand whilst making it and the lovely drape whilst wearing it is missing.
I realise that there aren't many people here, 18 million in a country the size of the USA is pretty sparse population. Proportionately there aren't that many people who knit or crochet or whatever. The market is not huge. And I know that over half the country never gets below 20 degrees C so not much of a need for a handknit Aran sweater. But I bet that if someone made some of that gorgeous 50/50 silk/merino blend and handpainted it like jewels that the knitters of Australia would buy it, and if they put it on the web then they might find some overseas supporters as well.

There is only one thing for it. I am either going to have to start dyeing yarn (and we don't have koolaid over here - I was going to use what we call 'cordial' until I realised the koolaid used for dye is the 'no sugar' stuff - does that mean it is the diet variety?) or I am going to start petitioning the cottage yarn industry over here to pull it's socks up. Oh look I made a knitting joke. Socks. Heh heh heh.

Now I really am determined to make Clapotis.

Phew. Glad I got that off my chest. It has been bugging me since forever. Now I have put it in words and I feel a little better. I love a good rant.

But right right now dear diary, I need to hit the beach with my kids. There are some serious rays to catch. Smellya later dude.


10 Feb 2005


Okay so I'm a bit behind. But that's okay because it's mid-summer here and I have no need for Clapotis as yet. But I have decided to make Clapotis for myself this winter. I google searched the work 'Clapotis' and realised there were so many beautiful Clapotis' out there that I was transfixed.

I wonder why it is called Clapotis?

The birth of my knitting blog has led to the death of my knitting. Go figure.

8 Feb 2005

Our new house Posted by Hello

The obligatory kangaroo shot (not actually 'shot' I mean photographed) Posted by Hello

Blair's first Ballet Lesson (the horse went too). Posted by Hello

Louis on his first day of Yr 1 Posted by Hello

My secret Pal found me!

7 Feb 2005

My secret pal just sent me a vv cute e-card. It is really funny and I got quite a kick out of it.
Secret Pals 4 is making my day!
I wonder who she is??? Hello secret pal if you're reading this - loved the card. (Actually going back to play with it again right now)..........

If you revisit this blog periodically maybe I'll post a picture of myself on it. Did get some pics of the kids and the new house up there though.

I found my Secret Pal

I am so excited about Secret Pal 4. I have been up all night learning how to blog so I could set this up and get going.
I looked up my Secret Pal 4 recipient's blog after recieving some gorgeous emails from her. She said hello to me on her blog! Me! I was chuffed. She is a beautiful knitter and has only been at it for six months!
Also she apparently doesn't know I'm from Australia so I hope she gets a suprise when she sees the postmark on her first package.
Now - what to buy?

Secret Pal 4 questionnaire

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer high end/natural fibres)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?Well I think that this term is a bit of a misnomer actually. There is no class hierarchy in the knitting field in my book. Knitting is something which we hope is being passed down from generation to generation and should be admired for its simplicity and longevity as an art. Creating something with your own hands and gifting it with love and sincerity is more important than this BS about considering oneself somehow ‘above’ fun fur and ponchos. I’m sure everyone prefers natural fibres and high-end yarns. But not everyone can afford them all of the time. I would never never never call myself a snob. I don’t think being any sort of snob (yarn or otherwise) is something to be proud of.
However, ‘champagne socialist’ ranting aside, my preference is for natural fibres. I don’t buy acrylic yarn. I am not a fan of the fun fur or feathers and mostly like my yarn to have a ‘halo’ provided by the fibre itself and not some man-made bits sticking out.
But then again, I did see a groovy tiny stole in a Rowan R2 leaflet which looked like it had icy white feathers wafting down over the shoulders – it must have been made with one of those novelty yarns I don’t usually like, but this particular pattern was ubercool. I am fascinated by the deconstruction of knitting that R2 has ventured into (R2 is Rowan’s groovy young cousin – check out her webpage)INSERT URL
I think the simple answer to this question for me is: it depends on what the project is, for whom, and what the budget is. I can usually find something to do with almost any yarn really. I never say never.
Would you call me a yarn snob?
2. Do you spin? Crochet?
I do crochet. I don’t spin but would love to. We did it at school when I was younger and I loved it so I would like to take it up. I have the perfect room in my new house. I actually like crocheting. I am in the search for the ultimate perfect crochet butterfly. I would like to appliqué this to my successful range of pullovers and cardigans. Should prob work on the range and successfullnes first. (note to self - get successful knitting business off the ground in 2005)

crochet silk shawl Posted by Hello
3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibres, perfume, etc.)No.4. How long have you been knitting?I have been knitting for about 3 years, but only gotten really addicted this year. Oops I mean last year.
5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Absolutely not. No way. I didn't even want to do a wedding list when I got married.
6. What’s your favourite scent?
I love the girly floral fragrances: neroli, gardenia, magnolia, rose and the herbs basil, mint, lemongrass, coriander.
7. Do you have a sweet tooth?
Not really. I’m a wine fan so I prefer a good stinky gooey blue brie as an after dinner treat. I do love a sticky wine to go with it though and they’re pretty sweet. I can appreciate Belgian truffles though.
8. What other crafts or DIY things do you like to do?I only have time for fibre creations and the search for the perfect yarn, the perfect pattern and the perfect result. But I am jealous of the perfect scrapbooker and the fabulous mosaic maker and furniture restorer.
PS: And after my appalling attempt at photographing my knitting I wish I was a better photographer.
9. What kind of music do you like?I have looked at some other knitting blogs answer to this question and decided they are all cooler than me. I like suprises, and I like listening to all sorts of music.
10. What is your favourite colour?I am going through a must be either teal/turquoise/peacock green combination or a dusty rose/pale aubergine/soft green combination.
11. What is your domestic situation?
I am married and have two gorgeous urchins, my daughter Blair (4) and my son Louis (6).
12. What are your life dreams?
In my dream life the world is at peace. I am content with what I have and enjoy rich and meaningful relationships with my family, friends and soulmate partner.
In this life I am also six inches taller, too rich, too thin, have a rambling country farmhouse with a vineyard out the back, a live-in chef and housekeeper, a neverending supply of carded silk and alpaca tops, yarn dye and inspirational patterns. I am the editor of a high-end homewares and design magazine and everybody whose anybody delivers their artisanal homewares, furniture, artwork, delicatessen items and fine wine to my door for me to sample. My husband and children are unbelievably good-looking but are so well-bred they are oblivious to it and everyone thinks I am fabulous and gorgeous. I am blissfully unaware of this because I am probably drunk.
13. What are your favourite yarns to knit with?I love silk and wool blends: merino, alpaca or mohair. I don’t like tape yarns. I don’t have much experience with cotton yarns (I found the lack of stretch a bit yuk). I am on an endless quest for the perfect yarn and when I find it I shall stash it secretly away in every nook and cranny of my rambling country farmhouse (see above answer).
14. What fibres do you absolutely not like?See q1 and q13. I try to have an open mind.
15. What is/are your current knitting obsessions?
I love lace knitting at the moment. I like lace knitting in stoles and shrugs and shawls. I love every single Rowan Kidsilk Haze pattern and have an ambition to make all of them.
I am also having a hat thing. Funny looking ones with long braids at the sides and squared off tops. In delicious gelato colour combinations.

16. What is/are your favourite items to knit?
I am very fickle and the answer to this question may be different tomorrow than today. But I still like a lace stole, a good pullover and a groovy hat.
I am too scared to approach a sock or a mitten. Where I come from the mitten is redundant anyway. I have never owned a pair of mittens.
17. What are you knitting right now?
Rowan Eliza – girls pullover. Purple. Gorgeous daughter (who chose colour in first place) says ..“Hate purple”
Karabella shaped shawl – Karabella Lace Mohair. Like a spider web but is a very very slow grower.
Creative Knitting magazine lace stole – need another ball of the turquoise/green mohair to finish it..........

Teal/Turquoise lace stole Posted by Hello Deliberately sized small so you can't see the mistakes in it.

This is what the stole is supposed to look like (Creative Knitting Magazine Annual 2004) Posted by Hello

18. What do you think about ponchos?
I think they look fantastic teamed with sombreros on Mexican men laying against patina walls having siesta.
I saw one on Jennifer Aniston and she looked great in it.
They look awful on me and they look awful on Jessica Simpson.
The return of the fashionable poncho revolution has been hijacked by the mass-production of very cheap and nasty looking ones. As a result of this, I can’t wear one at all for fear of looking cheap and nasty. Even though they are comfortable to wear.
The do not hide a fat bottom. And if you have big breasts to go with it then they only make you look bigger.
Some chiffon ones look nice over swimsuits. The one I have pictured transcends all prejudice and is in fact a breathtaking garment. The good poncho - sirdar knit pattern photo Posted by Hello

The caftan is far superior a garment in both style and wearability.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
No preference, sometimes you need a circular and sometimes straight is the only way to go.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Bamboo and plastic. I found aluminium too cold and the yarn I was using ‘stuck’. But I'll knit with anything really, even giving chopsticks a go.

21. Are you a sock knitter?
I have never knitted a sock. Way too scared. Is it worth it? Do two socks ever come out the same size?

22. How did you learn to knit?
My grandmother taught me to knit and is still alive and delighted that I have taken it up again.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?

About three years. It is a crochet blanket which at this rate will be just ready in time to be folded at the end of my nursing home bed. I do love it but it takes about 20 minutes to do one row! the unfinished project Posted by Hello

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?This question baffles me.

25. What is your favorite holiday?.
I started to answer this question and then realised you mean ‘holiday’ like seasonal event, not ‘holiday’ like vacation. I like Christmas, but baby it’s hot here at that time of year.

26. Is there anything that you collect?I don’t collect anything except memories and emotional baggage. Oh hang on, there is that ever-growing yarn stash that I am in denial about - and those unfinished objects.

4 Feb 2005

cobweb karabella lace mohair scarf Posted by Hello

broomstick crochet scarf - rowan linen drape Posted by Hello

sari silk knit scarf Posted by Hello

feather and fan knit scarf Posted by Hello

crochet silk shawl motif closeup Posted by Hello

crochet silk shawl Posted by Hello

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