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Location: Mt Keira, New South Wales, Australia

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Secret Pal 5 Questionnaire

30 May 2005

Hello Secret Pal of mine who may be visiting here any day now...
If you don't feel like reading the whole questionnaire I shall let you off the hook by sharing a few little secrets with you. Did you know Knitpicks don't deliver to Australia? Isn't that a tragedy? And when I was in the US in my twenties I became addicted to carmex lip balm but they don't have that in Australia either. And we don't have kool-aid.

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?
I don't like this term (the snob part really bugs me as I am very egalitarian) but I guess if the truth be known I just am not that into acrylics. I don't know what Red Heart or Lion Brand yarns are like because they don't have them in Australia. I don't mind a bit of rayon for sheen and drape but I generally only buy natural fibres/blends.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?
I don't spin because I don't think I have time for another craft - but maybe one day. I do crochet and I do like it.

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)
No yarn-related allergies.

4. How long have you been knitting?
Maybe three years?

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
I have a knitpicks wish list, and I am working on a froogle wish list but I can't work out how to do it. I have trouble asking for things really, I didn't even make a gift list for my wedding.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
Sandalwood, lily of the valley, lilacs and herby scents - I like florals the most.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth?
No, I drink too much for a sweet tooth (naughty me!)- I am a cheese freak. That's not to say I don't appreciate a good truffle, but I just don't crave chocolate.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
Crochet, knitting and yarn pretty much fill all the craft gaps in my life.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
Love music, MP3 ok. I like clever/sad lyrics and guitars and pianos. REM, Tori Amos, Billy Bragg, Norah Jones, Ben Lee, Coldplay. And I love modern country music. I love a good sad song to sing along to in the car.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
I really can't stand orange or yellow. But I love cool reds, bluey greens, and greys. I think I tend not to like warm colours.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
Husband, two children (6 and 4) and no pets. I live on the East Coast of Australia.

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)
In my dream I am too rich and too thin, living in a French country farmhouse with alpacas and olives out the back. There is no poverty or starvation in the world and all politicians are working for the good of the country they serve.

In this dream I am the editor of a high-end homewares magazine and everyone sends me samples of beauty products and clothes and artisanal homewares and deli items and crates of champagne. I knit nothing but silk/merino or silk/alpaca blends and churn out Debbie Bliss and Rowan garments which I donate to charity.

There is no housework in this dream (for anyone). And I drink a lot of champagne.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?

I have recently fallen in love with the wool peddler's - andromeda - I would like to try knitpicks yarns but they don't ship to Australia. If it's smooth or laceweight or variegated I'll love it.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I can find a project for everything if I had to, but I don't like ribbon yarns (too twisty), ladder yarns (I stick my needles through the holes) or yarns that split (because they split).

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?
I am really into lacey shawls and shrugs and wrappy things at the present moment (it's winter here) - I would love to try any of the lace scarf patterns from heartstrings as I love lace knitting and challenge.

I welcome any suggestions for using leftover yarn, I have seen dishcloths a bit on the net but we don't really make them over here so I am a bit confused as to what exactly they would be used for. Do you wet them in the washing up? Or are they used for drying dishes?

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I don't like finishing off or seaming so I like socks and shawls.

17. What are you knitting right now?
Rare Yarns versatile wrap vest (I'm lagging in a knitalong), socks for everyone, a cardigan for my niece (I'm currectly knitting that only in my head though so it doesn't count)

18. What do you think about ponchos?
I can't wear them without feeling either cheap or like an out of date fashion victim. The jury's out on whether I like other people in them. Except maybe silk-chiffon ones worn over swimsuits on supermodels, but not for me. The caftan is a far superior garment, imho.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
Don't have a preference.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I'm not fussy.

21. Are you a sock knitter?
I knit my first sock about three months ago - it was a total disaster but I have since improved, and I like knitting socks now.

22. How did you learn to knit?
My grandmother taught me when I was about 7 or 8.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?
A crochet blanket that is coming on to 3 years old now.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?
Um, um , I like dogs. And butterflies. This question baffles me really.

25. What is your favorite holiday?
Christmas - all the food, the pressies, the merry making, and especially the office parties!

26. Is there anything that you collect?
Only yarn and ufo's.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
Interweave Knits.

28. Any books out there you are dying to get your hands on?
I don't own any modern knitting books at all! I am searching for one of those old fashioned knitting stitch guides that some lucky people pick up for $2 at markets.

Psst, wanna see a picture of me knitting?

28 May 2005

Have a looky here. That's me in the hat. The lady to my left made it, it is hanspun and lacey and beautiful and I bought it for a mere twelve bucks!

On my right is Donni standing up, Sharon in the stripey top and Kerry the spinning lady.

Banned topic 1 - politics

26 May 2005

Look out - I am about to swear which I don't do on this blog very often. I am quite fired up.

I am often getting told to shut up at parties. Most of my friends would rather give birth to a chair than have a good table thumping political debate. Oh how I wish I was one of them. Don't get me wrong, I can ramble on about this winter's new black, who Tom Cruise may be seeing right now, whether the poncho makes the arse look smaller or bigger (answer is bigger), whose got fake boobs etc etc etc. but sometimes I look at the news or read the paper and I just want to SCREAM!!! and ram my opinion down the throat of anyone within earshot.

Sometimes I just cannot contaim my opinion, no matter how inappropriate the setting may be. Predictably enough this trait has had in the past remarkable man-repelling effects. Lucky for you, the company here is mostly silent (if indeed it exists at all), enabling me to rant unhindered by people shifting uncomfortably in their seats, rolling their eyes or refilling my glass in the vain hope that I may move on to a more appropriate topic - the weather perchance, or even Big Brother evictees and their outfits.

So here goes:

Most of the time I love being an Australian. I like the egalitarian society, the laid back lifestyle, the free-flowing booze and the hot summer beach days, the barbeques and even the footy. I like the relatively safe communities, the anti-gun sentiment, the two tiered political system, the compulsory voting and so on.

But I hate hate hate hate hate with a passion this bullshit. More than 60 children in mandatory detention? Some of them unaccompanied? Three year old girls banging their heads on walls with depression? And all in the name of national security? Because they didn't apply through the appropriate channels? I mean how could they actually do that?

Like this?

Asylum Seeker: "Hi, Evil Dictator. I am a defiant member of an organisation that seeks the right to free speech and women's equality in your country. I understand the punishment for this sort of activity is torture of me and family members, possibly even death. Many people have disappeared without explanation for trying to fight for justice in this country, but perhaps I've said too much. Would you mind awfully if you issued me with a passport because I would like to apply to the Australian Embassy for Asylum - and when I get there I intend to expose you and your corrupt government through the international media. Oh, and by the way, could I also take my pregnant wife and my two other children with me?"

Evil Dictator: "Of course, my friend. Just let me check that your paperwork is in order. Fee? No, no, be my guest - and throw another shrimp on the barbie for me when you get there eh?".

No, I don't think so.

Immigration policy is one thing. Indefinite mandatory detention of unaccompanied children (or anyone for that matter) in conditions worse than our prisons is a national disgrace.

And if you don't agree with me you can piss off.

Secret Pal 4

25 May 2005

I am always late. Always.
Secret Pal 4 finished up last month. I was sending to a great lady named Emily. Co-incidentally, she was sending to my mate Donni, which is pretty spooky really. Emily, I hope you liked what I sent you, and I think some of the last order is still on it's way in dribs and drabs from knitpicks. I actually ordered it last month, but some of it was on backorder, so you should be getting a few little things over the course of the next week or so.

I think me and my SP sender must get the award for the two secret pals with the most distance between them. My secret pal was from Nova Scotia. Now that is a long long way away. I like looking at her blog to see what it's like to live somewhere so cold. I can hardly imagine it, to be honest.

Her name is Sheri. I love the name of her blog. I recieved my final parcel from her late last week, and all up this is what I received:

* some sock yarn (which I have already made into one pair of little socks for the little lady in the house) in a great colourway - I liked this because I don't really have much access to patterned sock yarn locally. And lots of sock patterns to go with it.

* a handmade sea-glass pendant - now this little item really fried my burger. Firstly, it came all the way from Nova Scotia - which is mind boggling in itself. Secondly, it looks just like the sea-glass we get on our beaches. Thirdly, it came from the sea - and I practically define myself in terms of how close I can be to the surf, the coast and the ocean. The beach - that's my thing. I get all disoriented when I travel to places that have no coastal boundary. So this little bit of blue glass is an enigma to me - I have hung it in my car and it when I look at it it makes me think of all sorts of bits and pieces from my life and stuff like that and I am really into it. So, thanks Sheri, because I love this little thing!

* a handmade calico bag with a picture of a lighthouse on it. The lighthouse thing I really like too, same reasons as above. Plus this bag is extremely practical for carrying knitting around.

* a pattern for a great felted buttonhole bag. Given my first distastrous attempt at felting, (I have since recovered, I so will not be dictated to by my knitting!) I am encouraged by this pattern. I am definitely going to make it.

* chocolate - everyone loves the chocolate!

* some undyed wool in a very natural state (I can't remember the name but I googled it at the time and found it to be a very educational thing) and some kool-aid which I put together to make a really great combination for a first timer. I see a felting experience coming on with this stuff but for now it sits dyed and delicious in the yarn cupboard. It's not lonely in there, don't worry.

So thank you Sheri, you were a great secret pal.

Desperate all right

17 May 2005

Desperate Housewives was on last night. I didn't see it, but let me guess:

Skeletal Susan finds herself hapless in a situation involving either losing her clothes, seeing something she shouldn't, or crashing into a tray containing food or drink, thus thwarting her attempt to woo handsome and mysterious plumber from across the road. She definitely does not have sex with handsome plumber.

Mysterious Mike gets visit from threatening past acquaintance, hinting at a murky past involving with criminal activity and underworld connections. He is once again reminded of his 'quest', for which the punishment for failure is certain death. Threatening acquaintance is fearful that Mike is only dicking around on Wisteria Lane, but Mike allays these fears by persuading him that it is imperative that he dick around a little more on Wisteria Lane in order to fulfil quest. At no stage does quest seem any closer to being complete.

Blonde estate agent once again adds weight to the dumb blonde theory by going out in public wearing belt as skirt. She postulates out loud how different her life would have been if it hadn't been for all those uncles her mum dragged home at the trailer park, although the daily tussle with the gators sure toned her bod good.

Controlling redhead performs perverse act such as having sex in graveyard with gormless fop of lesser social standing. She then goes home to tie carrot batons into bundles with chives so that her beloved family to whom she is eternally devoted can have an aesthetically pleasing and appropriately nutritious meal. Since they would rather a KFC meal deal, they snarl at her as she enters the dining room and places their plates on a table laden with the finest Wedgewood. Naturally enough they cannot stand the sight of her. This dichotomy of situations serves to notify the viewer (once more for the dummies) that her life is a paradox. You hear me? Her life is a paradox.

Harrassed and hopeless mother of four unruly boys is once again baffled at the increasingly worrying antics of her delinquent children. It is a complete mystery to her that she could have given birth to four tasmanian devils, and yet she does nothing whatsoever to guide or help them. Oh boy, but do we hear about how she feels about her loss of freedom, why she can't cope with this situation and how dreadful this is for her. She is convinced that she has played no significant part in how these boys are turning out. Oh well, off to yoga. She comes home to find extremely unattractive and short husband is back from seemingly endless business trip. Even though he barely participates in family life, he makes an unreasonable demand on her which compromises her self-esteem and dignity. She makes half-hearted attempt to argue but complies almost immediately. He's happy because she shags him senseless regardless. We're supposed to believe she was once a successful businesswoman (but that's not the most implausible thing on this show), and we have no idea what the husband does for a living, except that he is never home and extremely randy when he is there.

Rags to riches in reverse (aka ex model with no taste) finds herself in untenable situation which is beneath her dignity but in which she must remain for the sake of supporting her extravagant lifestyle. She grits her teeth and bears it, not without copious amounts of hurumphing and rudeness. It is beyond me why she hasn't resorted to the oldest profession, I have gathered from her life thus far it would be but a tiny step.

Not to worry, ageing southern belle in neighbouring but less socially asseptable (he he he) suburb is doing just that; her sole motive for doing so is to remain in the same social circles as controlling redhead, and sticking it too her good an proper by torturing her husband (don't worry, he loves it) behind her back. Yes, you got that right, she is a prostitute because she wants to be Bree. (Doesn't make sense to me either).

Widower of the narrator who suicided hacks another person to death in the backyard. This time they had the hide to ask him did he have the time Mack. They should have known better than to call him Mack. No-one suspects a thing, except his loony son who he has conveniently locked away in the attic and is feeding him a diet of psychotropic drugs and 7 up.

At no stage does any event develop any of the subplots.

All children (including teenagers) are either social misfits, completely barking mad, possessed by demons or otherwise being thorns in the sides of these amazing women. There is no teenage sex.

There is not a single likeable character on Wisteria Lane.

Even the annoying narrator quips a series of meaningless cliches with impeccable timing. Not only are they not that clever, they don't bear any relevance to the plot whatsoever. For @#$#%%"!!! 's sake woman, just tell us why you topped yourself.

I think I already know though, it is because this show REEKS!!!

Morning Quickie

15 May 2005

Touch fibre exhibition: 1
champagne quantity: sufficient
canape quality: reasonable
exhibit contents: varied, from the sublime to the ridiculous

I was gifted an amazing scarf - I have called it The Naked Scarf and may devote an entire post to it later in the week. After the opening night the stripey tiger from across the road and donni and I went to a yum restaurant for dinner. We really enjoyed ourselves and it is a credit to the both of them that they were able to get a word in edgeways. It was all good - and for a refreshing change I didn't have a mutilating hangover on Saturday like I usually do when I go out (which is thankfully quite rare).

The youngest urchin wore her Andromeda Haiku on Saturday to ballet. I took photos of her just before she left. She was her usual co-operative self.
haiku and blair Posted by Hello

haiku and blairs back Posted by Hello

donni's wall of scarves
the wall of scarves Posted by Hello

Surely Dominos Pizza could find an anglehere?

11 May 2005

Get a load of this.

The part I am fascinated by is this bit:

"Prison officer Ken Hannah, who was taken hostage, was released on Sunday night following the delivery of 15 pizzas. He was still resting and would return to work when he felt ready, Mr Hoult said."

Wadda we want? Pizza. When do we want it? Now.

Truth is stranger than fiction people.

The flotsam and jetsam of this week

10 May 2005

So I bought the andromeda yarn from the wool peddler. And I got great service, a free gift, and some haute couture yarn (she actually dyed the yarn to my specs so it is really couture darling). I thought it was going to be an itty bitty clapotis (my second one). But I looked and I looked at it and it didn't say 'clapotis' to me. No no no, it said something more poetic. Haiku.

I started the Haiku, and I ran out of yarn halfway through the second sleeve. So, I frogged it back to the box pattern on the two front sides, and knitted them back in a v-neck instead, freeing up some yarn for the final sleeve half. When I finished I had about 10cm of yarn left, a very close call. This cardigan looks terrific. You're going to have to take my word for it because my camera is still sulking.

But then there is that is a law of physics - for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. For every triumph there is a defeat. So, I should not have been suprised to find when I went to wind the undyed hank of andromeda into a ball (this yarn has a lustre so fine I don't want to dye it at all) that Blair had taken to it with her craft scissors and almost half the hank is in lengths of about five feet. I am devastated, and can probably only be consoled by ordering more.

I went to Kmart and bought some lovely casein size 4.5mm knitting needles. The barcode fell out of the plastic sleeve en-route to the checkout, causing the dreaded price check requirement. Extroadinarily young and attractive sales girl calls another almost identical young and attractive sales girl over to the register. "can you get me a price on, um, um, .... these things?" she asks. The one going to find the price says to me "are these down where the, um, um .... wool is?" I say to her (cheerily) "do you know what they are?" She laughs a bit embarrassed "Nuh." Guess what? She didn't care either. No stitch n bitch groovy young chicks with sticks revolution in her eyes. My pastime was neither interesting nor cool, these 'things' she had to check the price on were of little consequence. She flounced off, and brought back a pair with a barcode. I paid and away I went.

It wasn't until I got home and started casting on that I realised she brought back size 5.0mm. Drats.

Touch - Fibre Exhibition

Um, so there was this girl right? And she developed an addiction to knitting and crocheting. One day she was sitting in the office surfing the net for a good yarn/ free pattern (she had not yet discovered the knit blog) when she recieved an email. The email said, "there's a girl with a stall of goodies up at the farmer's markets in the mall today, I can't beleive such gorgeous yarns exist, you should go up there, you would like it". So, I go up there and buy a lentil curry for my lunch and have a squizz at the table of yarn. And that's how I met Donni. She told me about snb and then sp4 - and so in a way she is responsible for the existence of this blog.

So this Donni chick, she's having a fibre artist exhibition with some of her fibre artist friends. I would scan the invitation (they're pretty flash) but mine MUST HAVE GOT LOST IN THE POST!!! So I'll just copy from the flyer I handed out at snb last week.

6 fibre artists - one exhibition

Indulge your senses.
10% sales towards the Breast Cancer Callenge.

The OLD Court House
Cnr Cliff Road and Harbour Streets
Belmore Basin

Demonstrations all weekend. Saturday afternoon knit-in, BYO everything except coffee and tea provided.

I'll probably crash the opening night. I may take a few photos. I will definitely be critiqueing the quality of the canapes (hear that Donni?) and the quantity of the champagne on this blog the next day.

So I wish her luck. She is really quite talented. And she supplies my yarn habit so it is my interest to be nice to her.

Any of you thinking of a daytrip to Wollongong with a bit of a fibre fix included you are most warmly welcome.

This post contains cultural bias: ie Stall = table at a market, not a toilet cubicle.
Mall = an outdoor avenue/park/recreational facility that may or may not be fringed with retail outlets, not a giant shopping centre.

Reality TV - contains ranting

5 May 2005

Since I don't have much to comment on this week and I just know NONE OF YOU want to know what I had for dinner last night, I am going to discuss reality tv. Please be advised the following post contains character assassination based on no facts, only my humble opinion.

We may be a week or so behind the US, so please bear with me if this is old news. I am a survivor survivor. I don't know why but I LOVE survivor. But this series has tested my loyalty - why oh why do they make the same mistakes over and over? They should have kept Steph and booted Tom - and now she's gone and he looks like he's going to win. Disappointed.

More disappointed with Constantine going in Idol before that awful Scott. And not just because he chucked a mobile phone at his ex-girlfriend - because he is a terrible singer. But did you get a load of Constantine's horrible horrible overbearing mother??? Did you see the look of utter devastation on her face when he got the boot? I don't think she was in disbelief, I felt bad vibes from her face, like her disappointment was more to do with Constantine's failure than anything else. She couldn't even suck it up for the cameras and even try to look as though she loved and supported him anyway - I bet that poor boy was in BIG trouble when he got home. She reminded my of bunny in Sex & the City.

And then there's that supernanny show. I hate this show. I hate that nanny - I find her controlling and anti-children. What kid is going to go to the naughty mat when they're twelve?? What happens to her theories when the children get old enough to reason for themselves? And her rough accent really grates on my nerves. I rant at the TV - "there is no such word as asseptible!!" This show is designed to tell people what to think. The show wants me to think that the parents are weak and undisciplined and that supernanny sees all. As a parent I know that we can all be weak and undisciplined at times, and the extreme behaviours they show can be edited out of context so it looks worse than it really is. The show wants me to think the world is full of spoilt kids and bad parenting. Whether this is true or not I don't care, I just hate being told what to think. (There is the alternate theory that I hate this show because my own children are undisciplined and spoilt. I can't comment on this but I will put it out there.)

So there you go, an unsolicited TV review. Maybe I should have shared a recipe instead.

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