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At the risk of jinxing myself, I am going great guns at the moment. The last few after-work evenings have been very productive. I’ve been out in the garden, weeding and sorting. The three cornered jacks are back, but in smaller numbers, and I reckon I’ll have them cleared out by the end of the week – it would have been earlier but I was waiting for them to be big enough to weed easily. I went to Bunnings the other day for miscellaneous supplies (why is it that I always remember something ELSE I needed, as soon as I’ve gotten home form a Bunnings trip…) and they had a whole bunch of sad-looking seedlings selling for $1 a punnet. I whacked up some dodgy temporary fences around extra garden beds, so that the chickens couldn’t maul them, and whacked them in. Now they’ve perked up and I’m sort of hoping some of them won’t make it. Because I have seeds I planted in pots coming in, and if all of the Bunnings seedlings I got thrive, I won’t have anywhere to put them!
Well, maybe I’ll get the front yard mulched and then I can put some out there. It is to laugh, I think I’ve been getting ready to mulch the front yard for about 6 months. I even got halfway through before I ran out of mulch and oomph. Still, I have something like 5 cubic metres sitting in my back yard, and if I do’t get a wriggle on, it’ll all turn to compost.
No photos of all this productivity, I’m afraid. I feel like a post is so boring without photos, but I haven’t cracked my camera out for ages. Might try to do that tonight. I had a peep at my rav projects, too, and decided that some of the photos are inadequate. Don’t you hate it when there are no good project pictures for something, despite 100 people having finished one? So I’ll have to have a photo shoot session, perhaps.
Speaking of knitting, also going great guns. I finished the FBS – barring one seam and the buttons. S was over on Saturday and feeling poorly, so we basically spent the whole day on the couch. I took the opportunity to power through, and I knit all of it from the sleeves down in one day. For some reason I felt like this project took forever, but I only started it on the 2nd, so it took me just under 2 weeks to knit, including time where I didn’t touch it because it was making me feel pouty. I think because the top bit with the yoke and the sleeves took so much mental energy to figure out, I felt like I was over halfway done. So when it PURPOSEFULLY CONTINUED not to be finished, I lost patience. I am feeling quite pleased with it, and it would already be seamed etc except after two hours of weeding an evening I somehow don’t feel like I can come at mattress stitching, even if it is only for an inch. But I think there will be more of these – at a family do on Sunday my grandma gave me some leftover Luxury in a lovely purple. It’s not enough to make an adult sized thing, and I don’t really wear purple, but it’s PERFECT for FBS or other baby things.
I am knitting Riding to Avalon like crazy, too. I’m almost done the increases, almost up to the shaping for the sleeves. Zooming along. I’m sure it will slow down when it’s too big to be bus knitting. I’m also making progress on Phyllo, but it’s a bit slower, because it’s knit back and forth and I am slower purling. Plus, I just don’t like it as much. Purling, that is. I did consider knitting this in the round, and I wish I had. But now I’m 9 inches in, I don’t feel like ripping it. Given that that 9 inches has happened in about 10 days of intermittent bus knitting (only when it has been too hot for wool), I think this will go fast enough that I don’t get too annoyed. But from now on, I think I’m going to knit in the round whenever it’s not too hard to convert. It’s just faster, and funner.
I am considering doing something like that 12 jumpers in a year challenge that some people did last year. I feel like I maybe said something like this last year (or maybe the year before?) and it never happened, (or was that sewing) but… I was thinking that baby stuff would count. Given that I already have one thing off the needles and another one halfway there, I don’t feel that it’s too over ambitious. I’d like to be more deliberate in enhancing my wardrobe, this year. I want to knit to the gaps in my wardrobe, and knit things that make me feel eager to wear them. Or perhaps I could make it a 12-wearable-things. I’m not making any solid resolutions because you know how these things go. But maybe an unofficial challenge to myself? I’d like to have enough FOs to make a lovely mosaic at the end of the year, at least!
So, I talked about my hopes for sewing. I want, in the immediate future, to sew a pair of pj pants for S, and cut out and sew this dress, the pattern for which I bought last year on impulse. I have some heavy black material that I sewed a skirt out of at a past craft camp, which gets alot of wear. I think I have enough left for this dress, and if it works I might try both kinds of skirt. I also want to use the same skirt pattern (which I traced out of one of Janet’s Ottobres) to make a bunch of simple skirts. I’ve given up on pants. Well, jeans can stay. But pants… they are not my friends. I have three pairs of work appropriate pants in my wardrobe, and I don’t think I’ve worn any of them for about a year. I put them on in the morning sometimes, and then I take them off again because they feel so uncomfortable, or fit funny.
Which brings me to my next sewing… goal? Goal sounds to firm really. I bought a pair of undershorts from Allihalla on etsy. They are so nice, but I noticed the other day that they are starting to go at the thigh seam. Well, no wonder, I’ve worn them pretty much every day since I bought them in October. Which, now that I think about it, is kind of gross. Anyway, I want ot make myself a bunch more – it shouldn’t be hard, theoretically. I am also tempted to make myself some underwear. I am really fucking sick of not being able to buy underwear that is either interesting (ie, not beige) and comfortable. I bought some new underwear under duress, over the holidays, and they all dig into my thighs in a most unnecessary way. I noticed that Spotlight had some not-boring jerseys in, so maybe I will buy a few half metres, and sew up a couple of prototypes, using an old comfortable pair as a pattern.
I don’t want to over anticipate myself with the sewing, otherwise I’ll get overwhelmed and not do anything. But those are my immediate plans, and we’ll see how we go. There are a lot of clothes in my wardrobe that I wear because I don’t have anything better, but that I don’t like much or don’t fit me. If I could get my butt into gear and get some momentum with the sewing thing, I could get rid of a bunch of that stuff. I think that would feel good, and I’d end up wearing clothes that feel like me, more often, instead of defaulting to jeans because it’s all too hard and nothing is good enough anyway.
So, that’s sewing. Here is a run down of what is on my knitting needles/to do list.
First up on my needles is Riding to Avalon. I cast this on as consolation for having to rip Cecchetti. Again. I was trying bust darts and they didn’t work out, and when I ripped them out I had a completely wrong number of stitches – significantly fewer than I ought. Which is good, because when I tried it on it had a LOT of negative ease, and that means that it was just because I did it wrong, not that the sizing or the pattern is wrong, or anything. But I just couldn’t work out where I’d gone wrong, so I ripped the whole damn thing. I’m not too fussed since the last time I knit it it only took me something like 2 weeks to finish the entire body. It’s perfect bus knitting and it knits up fast. But I just… can’t look at it right now. So I’m knitting Avalon, and I’m up to the decreased for the waist. I’m knitting it in Shiloh wool in a deep chocolate brown colour that I just realised is exactly the colour my school uniform jumper was. Uh oh. It’s an alpaca wool blend and it is so. Soft. I’m really enjoying it. I am knitting it like crazy because I really want to wear it and, more than that, I really want the satisfaction of an FO after the cecchetti frustration.
I’m also knitting the Phyllo Yoked Pullover. This one has been on my wish list FOREVER. I started knitting it once, in 2007, using bendigo cotton. It just didn’t work out. Norah Gaughan left a comment on my blog post about it, saying that since the original was knit in calmer, which has elastic in it, yarn subs are harder. So when Harmony came back to Bendigo Woolen Mills, I bought a bunch with this in mind. I cast it on in the holidays because it was too HOT for yarn, and I needed an incentive to tidy up the disaster that was my craft room. I decided that if I could uncover the drawers with my stash in, I could cast on. It’s just plain ss knitting at the moment, so no telling how this one is going, although I must say that the Harmony is surprisingly nice to knit. I’m knitting it in the sea mist colourway, and it’s nice and bright. The other colours are so blah, I was a bit worried that it would be insipid, knit up. But good things so far.
I’m also knitting the February Baby Sweater. I’ve been knitting some surprise baby garments, but I’m waiting for some more yarn to get here. So in between, I thought I’d knit some for a gift stash, because I think my peer group is heading into that phase of life. And while I like gifting knits, I dislike deadlines. It’s a bit slow going – I’m knitting it in Luxury which I have found plenty soft before but for some reason I’m finding it a bit… not scratchy, but… hard? I don’t know if it’s the gauge I’m knitting at, or whether the red dye process is harsher than the others, or what, but it’s not exactly slipping joyfully through my fingers. And also, EZ kind of makes me want to poke my eyes out with my needles. I acknowledge her greatness, but if ONE MORE PERSON tells me that her writing is ‘intuitive’ when they CLEARLY mean that the KNITTER has the be intuitive, because EZ leaves out things like button holes and doesn’t make it clear if it’s supposed to be 4″ of pattern and then 1″ garter, or 4″ total, with 3″ pattern and 1″ garter… *deep breath*
Anyway, let us say that this is not the most relaxing of knits. Although, I’m now past the arms and so it’s just knit knit knit for another 5″ – which shouldn’t take that long, given how small it is, but I am dragging my heels a bit.
I am also knitting secret baby stuff, as I mentioned. Hopefully it’ll be off to the recipient in the not-too-distant future (these babies and their time lines) so I can show off here.
This year, I would like to add to my jumper pile. I would like to decide the fate of some of my jumpers that I don’t wear now. For example, I love my Rogue, but the sleeves are just too short. And I love the yarn I used for my grey jumper, but it’s too boxy and short and I really should rip it and reknit it. And I still have a few random WIPS around the place, like a half finished hat, and my Henley Perfected that I last knit on in 2008 and clearly was not meant to be. I should rip it and use the yarn for something else. Parhaps a blanket? I love the alpaca yarn but it is just too slouchy drapey, and also so WARM.
I would also like to knit through my stash. It currently fits perfectly into the storage I have for it, and I would like to keep it that way. I want to buy some more Bennet and Gregor wool (I have some particular projects in mind) but I already have several jumper’s worth of yarn. So I would like to knit through that first. And then, maybe, I could splash out. I have been fixated on the Camilla pullover lately, and I think it’s because of the lovely yarn. (I can’t decide if the jumper would look ridiculous on my frame). But I think, if I knit up a significant amount of my current stash, I would feel ok about spending $70 on yarn for a jumper. Because I would have saved that in random yarn purchases that I never get around to knitting. And it looks so SOFT.
I am also having a bewildering urge to knit socks. I don’t understand it, but if it’s still around once i’ve finished one of the jumpers on my needles, I might just give in to it.
Gosh, I hope you skimmed all that. It’s a bit tedious, isn’t it? But talking about my craft hopes and dreams was why I started this blog in the first place. S listens nicely and, more impressively is actually interested, but I have to stop and explain things which is not the same. At least this is text so you don’t HAVE to listen to me rabbit on.
In short, I am burning to finish Avalon and Phyllo and Cecchetti,
Happy new year, my crafty peeps. I hope it’s a good one. Not that it’s off to a great start, on a national level, what with the flooding. The news and photos coming down from Qld are truly terrifying. It’s horrible that it takes something like that to make us (me?) more thankful for what and who we have in our lives, and for how safe we are most of the time. I feel crass saying this here, but it would be worse to ignore it and chat happily away (although I will do just that in a second). It’s times like this I wish I could pray, because I am under no illusions that my thoughts and well wishes will do any good to those people struggling with the reality of it.
Here comes the thoughtless chattering bit.
Thanks so much for all your lovely messages in reply to my last post, and over the holidays. They were so nice, and every one of them made me smile. I did start several replies to people, and then just… didn’t finish them. I figure that was all covered under my December free pass that I gave myself.
December was pretty good, really. I think mostly because I was geared for it to be rocky. So I just slobbed around and didn’t do too much and didn’t feel guilty. Celebrations were scattered and low key. On my last day of work before holidays S took me out for dinner to celebrate my birthday, since it clashes with solstice. It was lovely, and it would have been lovelier if I hadn’t been tired and in bed by 9. Am old lady. I spent Solstice with S and his kids, and had Christmas Eve dinner with my family, who were all remarkably well behaved. I had Grandma in the Kris Kringle and I bought her the fireman calendar and she LOVED it and made the cousins all pick out which one they liked the best. One of my cousins had me and got me a tshirt I have been eyeing off for… oh, 5 years now? Which totally makes up for the last two years where I got, respectively, a burnt CD of a computer game I already had, and a packet of bowl-cover things (plastic with elastic around the edge) ‘so that I didn’t have to buy gladwrap’. Christmas day I did NOTHING, and then we went to the beach in the evening. Bliss. NYE we went to the beach and then were in bed by 9:30 because I am an old lady and I am tired. And then we had another family meal on NY day, where my mother brought her boyfriend – gasp! Which is fine by me because I like John (more than I like my mother) and also she behaves around him. And also he gave me a spinning wheel for my birthday.
See how I slipped that in there? Here’s the story.
Early December, S and I went for lunch with my mother and John at my childhood home. Which was weird and also surprisingly good – seriously she behaves when John is around. There were a couple of super awkward moments, but all in all, a surprisingly good time. I left thinking ‘huh. Maybe we can make baby steps towards having a functional relationship’ Of course, I neglected to remember that my mother doesn’t understand boundaries, so she immediately thought that we were best buddies again, and called me every day for the next week, which meant I started having panic attacks every time she called, which I haven’t done for a year or so.
Gosh, I’m bitter, aren’t I? I’ve been emailing my sister about this, providing some moral support, and it’s made me feel… vulnerable, I guess. And mad. As much as I really am reconciled with not having a mother, as such, it still makes me so mad that I will never ever be able to trust her enough to have a real relationship with her. And sad. Very, very sad, if I let myself think about that. Most of the time it’s fine, but you know… sometimes you just want to be able to relax, to have the comforting and that familiar. Most of the time I feel pretty strong and independent but… sometimes it would be nice not to have to be. I have been remembering when it was fine, and I had access to that comfort and love. When the best thing when I was sick was a mum-hug. When I enjoyed the chance to tell her about my day. When I didn’t have to fight her off and I didn’t have panic attacks.
Hmm, I appear to have forgotten how to tell a narrative.
So, I was SAYING, we were at dinner and I said something about knitting and John said ‘oh! Do you want a fleece?’ And I was like… yes? He had one black lamb out of thousands of white ones this year, and so he couldn’t sell the fleece. I said, yes, please! I will have it! Now all I have to do is learn to spin it. And John said ‘Oh! Do you want a spinning wheel?’
…. Um, YES.
The catch was, it was his wife’s. She is in a nursing home with dementia. My mother stepped in and suggested that perhaps his girls wouldn’t want him giving their mother’s wheel away. He said they never showed any interest, and my mother said that perhaps he could loan it to me, and ask them later. His kids are apparently not ok with him having a new relationship, which I think is fair enough but also kind of… harsh. However, it’s not my family so I don’t get an opinion. I found that moment interesting, though. I was surprised by how mature and careful my mother was about it. Although, on reflection, in my whingey mood, it does show that she CAN respect boundaries and be aware of other’s potential feelings. Which makes the fact that she can’t seem to do that with me or my sister a tad more upsetting.
OH WELL, TOUGHEN UP, PRINCESS AND GET BACK TO THE STORY.
Story, right. So, they came down the next weekend to drop off the fleece and pick up my sister’s old mattress because I had nowhere to store it. And John sheepishly (ha!) said that he had looked for the wheel and couldn’t find it, and he thinks he gave/lent it to someone else only he can’t remember who. I said, oh that’s alright! I’ll get one eventually, it’s not like I know how to use it. And he said no, he promised me a wheel and he would get me one. I told him not to be silly.
The weekend after that was my birthday. My mother called me that week, my last week at work, saying she wanted to see me before my birthday and give me presents. I said, was pretty busy that weekend, because I had to finish work, do house stuff, finish off gifts, meet up with two people, and get ready to head to S’ for solstice. But I could commit to coffee on Sunday. She said, oh, well, you think about it and let me know what you have time for.
I have time for coffee. On Sunday.
Oh, well, I’ll call you on Saturday and you can tell me if you have time for lunch.
I won’t have time for lunch, I’m meeting someone else for lunch, let’s have coffee.
Well, let me know on Saturday, and then we can decide.
I’m deciding now. I want to have coffee.
Well, think about it.
This literally went on for five minutes. I timed it. It was frustrating. Then I realised that Sunday was the anniversary of my dad’s death, and I didn’t really want to see my mother on that day, thankyou very much. And I also didn’t want her to call me on Saturday (see earlier comment re: panic attacks. I don’t know if you’ve ever had one, but they are not fun). Anyway, I called her back and said actually, I will not have any time then. And it turned out that I didn’t, and I didn’t get all the stuff done that I needed to, anyway. (S got some material and a pattern instead of a wearable gift. And I still haven’t sewn it. Whoops).
I think she was pushing it so hard because she wanted to get the emotional reward when I got the spinning wheel. As it was, she ended up leaving them at my place while I was being taken out to dinner and spoiled by S. So I came home to a pile of things to unwrap, which was quite nice. Gosh, I sound heartless, don’t I? Anyway, obviously the wheel was the highlight. Apparently it was bought in some gift shop in Moonta. I have yet to play with it yet – the day after that an old friend asked for his cupboard back. He made it himself and I was borrowing it while he rented out his house, and it had all my fabric in it. Of course I said he could have it back, but it did make my craft room pretty unusable. The chaos is semi-contained now, and the wheel unburied, but I am… sort of afraid to touch it. I don’t know how to use a spinning wheel! I don’t even know if all the bits are there for heaven’s sake! However. I shall, and soon.
I also scored big at my grandma’s on New Year’s Day. She pulled me to one side and told me that she’d bought this cover stitch machine a few years ago, it was quite expensive, a couple thousand, but she’d never used it, and did I want it?
Um… YES PLEASE.
I did make sure she really didn’t want it. Her sister is really sick at the moment, she’s gone into hospital and I don’t think she’s coming out. So I think she’s sort of sorting stuff – she said she’s left me her babylock in her will. On the one hand, talking about mortality is fine, on the other hand, I will be devastated when grandma dies. I almost had trouble typing that. The thought of it is upsetting.
So I have that, too, and when I restored order to my craft room I set it up and I even read the manual, all the way through. But… I’m a bit scared to touch it, too. However! I have vowed that I shall! I am not one for resolutions, really (although I seem to dimly remember making some last year – too scared to check) but here are some things that I want to do in the next two months:
- At least look at my spinning wheel and see if I can work it out. Baby steps.
- Finish the pj pants I said I would make S for solstice. Use the cover stitch machine in the process.
- Cut out and sew a dress pattern I bought last year. Wear it to work once.
- Sew a few skirts. I am going in to Spotlight tonight to buy some of the fabric I saw on sale in the holidays. And some zips.
- Make an effort to go to see Grandma a couple of times for lunch or dinner or whatever.
That’s it. Not too hard, no? We shall see how we go. I really would like to get some clothes sewing going. I’ve been saying that for years now. But really, no one who doesn’t sew clothes has an excuse to have as much fabric as I do, besides having three different machines for sewing. It’s ridiculous.
I was going to end this off with photos of my FOsfrom the year, but there are embarrassingly few. Although, I suppose if I included walls painted and plants planted, it would go up. I knit one baby blanket, three mini shawls, a pair of gloves, some fingerless gloves and a scarf/hat for others. For myself, I finished two jumpers: cinnabar and emily. I wear cinnabar at least twice a week, I love it so much. Emily, not so much. It’s still too short, if I’m honest, and the line through the middle where I ‘fixed’ it is just annoying. Perhaps I will ‘fix’ it better, this year. Or maybe rip it. I think it might be the year of ripping. And sewing? Too optimistic? We’ll see…