Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Not Like I Wasn’t Warned

In fact the week prior to the Great Perle 8’s Basting Party, I believe Andi stood up and announced that we needed to prepare ourselves for the Nazi Pin Approach. A pin every two inches she said. I believe we beginner quilty types, (of which we are two), nodded earnestly and vowed to come fully equipped the following week.

It turns out the two hundred bendy pin suckers I brought along, barely half ‘cuts it’ for a largish cot/smallish single bed quilt (I’m bad at maths). We girls know how to party hard. THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY ONE, give or take, (too many to really, absolutely count and also bad at maths), still wasn’t enough for Andi who obviously likes to party pin into the wee hours.

Andi reminds me of my Year 9 science teacher. You can ask the daftest questions, of which I have an infinite supply, without feeling like a turkey. Wonder if Andi knows how to baste a turkey...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bee in the Bonnet

I’ve been up to the eyeballs in proposal writing for the Mr. Every time I sit at the computer I am overwhelmed by the need to nap, or the need to knit, or both. Suse is responsible for the knitted bee in the bonnet. We’ve been up to some swappery and her beautiful, bee-autiful, hand-dyed, handspun ‘Bruise’ yarn has been inflicting it’s own temptation torture since Wednesday.

Stolen proposal-writing moments were spent buzzing madly around Ravelry searching out pattern inspiration. With a proposal break scheduled for Friday night, things were getting silly: too many potentials, too little precious time and a definitive need to start NOW.

The Wurm is a pattern by Katushika that has been waiting in the wings (ever since Kirsten’s version) and even though I knew it was all wrong wrong wrong, there was no stopping the knit knit knit.

Friday night I doubtfully began and decisively frogged the Wurm twice.

Then began again when I realised a Saturday family birthday gathering would ensure a good few hours of knitty therapy.*

Post party, I’m knit therapised and there’s a completed hat. It didn’t work, just as I knew it wouldn’t. Of course the Wurm pattern requires a solid colour so that you can see the, well, wurmy bits created by the purl and knit rows. Of course the Wurm requires a lighter weight yarn for a bit of drape factor.

Neither Reluctant Hat Model (moi)...

...nor, Resident Hat Model...

...shall be laying claim. Cos, here’s what happened to the hat:

The beautiful ‘Bruise’ is now wound back into a ball, located slightly to my left, calling to me in a tiny voice. Which shall become something akin to deafening, the moment I get back to that damnation proposal.

* Excellently, the extended family do not seem to consider knitting-at-parties rude. Only weird, or eccentric. Which is also sort of expected.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Creative Space: Not All Japanese

Except it was all Japanese for a while there. The World of Gocco Printery has, until this week, steeped itself in mystery. And even though Christie kindly supplied an English translation of the Japanese instructions that came with her (and now - YAY! - my) excellent-condition Gocco, they may as well have been in Ikea Swedish.

In the end, I watched a YouTube how to or two and went for the ‘winging it’. Of course I’m probably doing it all wrong, but this stuff is really, really, obsessively, addictively, ooooh, maybe-just-one-more-then, FUN. Even with a small, non-napping child sitting on my head, I managed to create thirty cards, on lovely rich cottony Fabriano paper, for a bug-loving birthday kid. The bug-loving birthday kid needs but one. There is now a necessity to meet 29 other bug-loving birthdaying kids.

There’s a whole lot more inefficiency going on. Any internet connection is running sooooo slow chez Myrtle & Eunice, that it is quite possible for a piping hot cup of tea to become stone cold and then entirely evaporate before any interwebby anything has occurred within cooee of my computer. A good portion of the next week shall no doubt be spent listening to ‘hold’ music and hearing how important me and my call are to some internet service provider. You can see why I’d be doing heel digging in.

Not that I have been around blogland yet (the evaporating tea thing), but I bet my bottom dollar there’s a whole truckload of crafty (What? What Easter?) efficiency, via the My Creative Space Hostess with the Mostess...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Down an Alleyway...

...the other day, Eldest and Middle happened upon a wretched soul.

(small, faraway, tinny voice, shouting in capital letters)

So, Eldest and Middle carefully cradled Mr W Soul in soothing arms, took him to our home and placed him ever so gently in the recycling bin where he could therapise with the tomato and chickpea tins, commiserate with the squished milk containers and have a leisurely catch up over the newspapers. Don’t even bother not believing me.

‘Finding faces’ started here with the loveliest personalities here and here and even another lot here. They’re a bit of an ongoing obsession chez Myrtle & Eunice. And if you like voices with your inanimate object faces, the excellent Claire from Gugaw put me on to this little number.

PS. Curly Pops, this post is for you. This is almost (and certainly in the last six months) the shortest post I have written. I am chuffed to bits.

PPS. Except I’ve gone and ruined it with all the footnoting and postscripting about.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

No Natural Guerilla

I, with the help of the eldest, have been up to yarn mischief again. Plotting, conniving, giggling. Then came the belated realisation, as we set to tagging the school with yarny tree warmth, that I may not have what it takes to be a guerilla.

Mrs School Principal is a lovely woman who inspires impeccable behaviour. Kids think she’s excellent, but quake in their boots at the merest notion of inspiring her wrath. I quake in my boots at the merest notion my kids inspire her wrath. Never one to be much trouble at school, here I am, a great big thirty nine year old chicken wimp, plotting stealth school drop offs and pick ups to avoid potential Mrs School Principal confrontation: How could you, a parent, exhibit such irresponsible example-setting behaviour? I am beyond disappointed! She knows where I live. And it’s not like those tree cosies in my street are putting her off any track in any hurry.

On the up side, I am over the moon, throw the arms in the air, shout out loud chuffed! Did you notice the cable? CABLES ARE EASY PEASY LEMON SQUEEZY! Hear me, oh, cable-fearing peoples? If I can do ’em (with nary a swear word) so can your average ten year old. Knit away your demons, quick sticks! (Thank you for the swift kick to the rear, Ms Leonie).

While I’m confessing to the birch tree jumper, there’s also the school olive tree leg warmer...

The collaborative eucalypt cosy (which is why I hold hope that the eldest won’t dob me in because if she does, I fully intend to drag her down with me)...

And a new resident crocheted caterpillar...

As well as dollops more courage, my inner guerilla requires further refinement. For starters, it would help considerably, if I grew. It would help if prior to tagging, I did not go to the gym and row a seemingly very long way (without going anywhere), so that I am able to raise my arms. It would help if I remembered my scissors. Even so, I’d still love to do an entire tree. Especially when the weather briefly turned cold and blustery and I was half convinced the birch really was glad of a bit of warm.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Creative Space: Little

This week we’re big on little.

1. Little teapot
I received a CORKER of a giveaway win in the post yesterday. Jean Greenhowe’s Little Dumpling Dolls is one of Beck’s continually stunning op shop finds. I wasted no time. Within half an hour of postal receipt, the Myrtle & Eunice Household Kid Craft Drought broke with the presentation of a teeny knitty teapot. A magic teeny teapot. In the short term, it pours whole cups of pretend tea (including the cup bit). And fairy cakes. With pink icing and ‘spots on top’. Yet the big on imagination small kid is talking knitted accoutrements today...

2. Little owl
Claire knows how to write a step by step how-to. I will happily vouch that making a baby sock owl using one of her kits is ‘easy as’. With all the knitty business happening chez M&E, it was lovely to take a break from pattern repeats and indulge in meditative bird sewing.

3. Little quilt
Actually biggish single quilt given the recipient is still of an age counted in months (another moment of startling intelligence on my part, crafting a generous deadline).

I’m sure I have been (nicely) bullied into this. I ’fessed up to my beginner quilting ineptitudes and whaddayaknow, there’s a Perle 8’s basting party happening next week. DO THE GIRLS KNOW HOW TO PART-AY! All partying persons welcome, by the way.

First begun back in 1926 (basically), I have remarkably located the quilt top bit – minus one piece of edge. If anyone is exasperated with my ongoing ineptitude, then imagine how I feel. No, I haven’t the foggiest if I ever even had a quilty bottom bit.

4. Little horror
In the last week the small of the house declared ‘I growed up’ and promptly turned teenage. She’s flouncing about wearing inappropriate off-the-shoulder clothing (mine*), slamming doors, ending every second sentence with SHUDDUP!, and telling everyone she is sixteen with a conviction eerily believable. If the real sixteen is anything like the pretend sixteen, I’ll cut to the chase and draft the letter of resignation now. The ‘earthmother’ in me is taking a little holiday this week.

Buckets more ‘creative’ at and via Kirsty’s...

* Not generally because my clothes are an off-the-shoulder style, mind.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Perfect Autumny Scarf (So What if it’s Thirty Degrees)

Ah, the phenomenon that is ‘blocking’. Not that I have anything more than a passing knowledge of the process involving a somewhat scrunchy Lace Ribbon Scarf having a nice little lay back and relax in a tepid bath, followed by a slow stretched-into-shape dry, while extensively pinned to big towels. Anything I know about blocking involves hearsay and cobbled togetherness. Should I have used blocking wires or some such?

So lost was I in the joy of the knit (except for the times that involved the mumbled cursing tirades due to inexplicably disappeared stitches) that I overlooked that pre-blocked shot. Just think bunched-together-so-you-can-barely-see-the-pattern, not this sort of wafty-floaty, exactly-as-I-imagined, drapey loveliness. Er, if I don’t say so myself.

Knit using two balls of Eki Riva Supreme 4ply Alpaca, I’m declaring it the perfect autumny scarf (in our indian summer I was sweltering but not fainting nor heat exhausted and still theoretically capable of making dinner).

Something entirely unrelated. That bare bit of trellis behind me? There is an uninspired seven metres of that because some critter has a penchant for passionfruit leaves. I’ve drowned ear wigs in olive oil baths, talked nicely to the possums in the shed, pep-talked the passionfruit during spicy paprika application. All to no avail. Six denuded vines have karked over the last two years. I am a broken, non-green-thumbed soul peering out a window at desolation.

Wearing a wafty floaty scarf.

PS. Free wafty floaty scarf pattern here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Inner Guerilla

With Scarf Number Two currently being tortured into blocked submission and the clearest understanding that Scarf Number One isn’t leaping off any needles in any foreseeable, I have been eyeing the sewing machine.




Nup, because Andi gifted me her copy of Yarn Bombing. Blown away, I was. All I could do was stammer inept feeblings of gratitude. Once home, I forced the Mr to OOH! and AAH! over every page – the same for the kids over breakfast, then the Mums at school pick up. What with the fun involved in the collaborative guerilla knit dabble with the eldest kid and now this tome of inspiration, I’m obsessed with possibility and plotting.

I will draw the line at tank (I don’t know anyone with a tank).

Though crocheted bus looks a whole lot of fantastic.

Meanwhile, yesterday, an envelope arrived from the excellent Leonie containing a mystifying, Uri Geller-influenced stick thing...

It’s a snazzy cable knittery whatsit. The kind of jigger real knitter types know about.

This initially inspired paroxysms of fear akin to last year’s Fear of the Zip. Notably, Fear of the Zip proved a whole waste of angst in the end, because as it turns out, providing you remember which way is up, installing zips is darned easy.

As it also turns out, Leonie the Real Knitter Type has posted a step-by-step-get-to-know-your-cables tutorial. Deep breath, wing and prayer packed, I’m off to tackle that particular demon, locate a chilly tree...

...and explore my inner guerilla.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Another Convoluted Giveaway Draw (x2)

As the clock TICK TOCKED TWELVE o’clock, entries for the ‘T is for TOWEL’ Tea Towel Giveaway closed.

A TEAPOT was filled with TURQUOISE labelled TEA bags...

The name-beginning-with-‘T’, TUTU-clad TODDLER, wielded her TONGS.

(more wielding)

And the winner of the ‘T is for TOWEL’ Draw One is not TEA bag TWENTY TWO but number...

Congratulations CARMEN RIGBY!

Entries for the ‘T is for TOWEL’ Draw TWO* (I’d had enough of TEA bags by this point) were scrawled and randomly (upside down) arranged.

Cue resident TYRANNOSAURUS sporting Blu-TACK.

Drum roll...(alternatively, suspenseful TAMBOURINE shake)...

TA da!


TA da!

Beautiful guesswork MELANIE of Sugarlemon.

* With fifty four emailed entries, everyones’ name was thrown into the mix, the first name to be drawn with VERY correct answers was deemed the winner by the independant Mr Adjudicator (by this time the TUTU-ing TODDLER had swanned off to TRICYCLE over the dog’s TAIL. Poor dog should know to TUCK it in by now).

Finally, here are the very, very, very correct answers...

Trumpet, Toast, Toaster, Tap, Trophy, Teapot, Tart, Trunk, Trout, Tortoise, Tuning fork, Telephone, Telescope, Toucan, Tasmanian Devil, Teepee, Top, Typewriter, Turf, Trojan horse, Triplets, Treble clef, Toad, Tambourine, Tree, Termite, Twins, Teacup, Tea bag, Thumb/Thumbs up, Tutu, Tyrannosaurus Rex, (Mr) Tickle, Tomato, Toothbrush, Tick Tock/Time/Timepiece, Tricycle, Tracks, Tulip, Tail, Tongs, Tapir, Tyre, Train, Tiger, Trowel, Trick, Top hat.

Thanks for entering lovely peeps. While I now need a long lie down with a soothing brow cloth and a cup of that industrial strength tea, much enjoyment was had from seriously excellent (imaginative) responses!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Creative Space: Tree Cosy

Actually it’s just a whole great load of silly. The eldest kid and I had been talking collaborative knitting project. Then I was happening by blogland and saw this, which reminded me of this and also this. With a wild and woolly, declaration-of-Autumn, long weekend stretching before us, we embarked on a guerilla jumper for one of the maple trees on our street.

The purl rows were my remit and most of the knit rows were the responsibility of the kid, aka Speedy Gonzales. So knitty is she, her hands are but a blur:

Using chunkiest, pink-est stash wool, we had finished two sleeve-lets by the start of school Tuesday. The after-school installation involved the ladder-holding Mr (who refrained from eyelid batting throughout the entire process) and prompted neighbourly emails inquiring as to the rationale behind the ‘knitted jiggers in the tree’. Love it. Love silly. Love just-passing-by, walking-the-dog bemusement. The kid and I are plotting. This lady is one bad influence.

Make that second cuppa, mosey on over to Kirsty’s and see what all those creative, crafty types are playing at...

‘T is for Towel’ Tea Towel Giveaway
You still have a day up your sleeve to enter. Either leave a comment (go HERE) or get cracking with that list of 48 silhouettes for the second draw (details HERE).

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hold On To Your (But It’s Not a) Hat...

...I finished something. Quite some achievement given the recent knitty track record, which is all multiple castings-on and then only attention deficiency.

Now who’d have thunk a simple rib stitch Noro scarf could prove a rollercoaster? After Kate gifted two balls of gorgeousness, in my impatience to get started, I purchased extras in the most muted of the not very muted range currently available from Sunspun. As a consequence, there have been colour challenges.

Actually, there was a different challenge involving a kid swimming lesson, a wayward yarn ball, a toddler saving the day and a mother emitting an undignified, reverberating-in-bad-acoustics shriek, as she caught toddler (and yarn ball) at one fell (and tangled) swoop. But then that was all over, the swimmers resumed swimming, the toddler toddlering, the knitter knittering – until she struck the disarming and utterly random combination (that comes with using two balls of wool in a stripe effect) of grass green and lurid purple. There have been other such similarly challenging colour examples...

Similarly Challenging Colour Example One:

Similarly Challenging Colour Example Two:

But just when things were getting way too much, something lovely would happen.

Something Lovely Would Happen Example One:

Something Lovely Would Happen Example Two:

In the end I opted for faith in the big picture. I’m glad I did:

1. This scarf can co-ordinate with any colour.

2. Every kid who has seen it so far has said ‘Whoar!’ which I choose to assume is generally complimentary and not just because it’s an impressive mile long.

3. I can barrack for any (and simultaneously every) footy team deigning to play in a sporting fashion (the colours are in there somewhere) – or more likely, no footy team at all.

4. I shall be appropriately clad for future Doctor Who viewing as I channel Tom Baker (while mourning David Tennant’s spiffy sneakers and wondering what the new Doctor’s trademark shall be, if not a foppish hairdo).

Calling local embroiderers, sewers, crochet persons (‘crocheters’ sounds wrong, wrong, wrong(?)) and knitters...have you heard? The Stitches & Craft Show are in need of know-how for the Craft Bars. Should you wish to volunteer your help at the Sydney (14–18 April), Canberra (22-25 April) or Melbourne (05-09 May) shows, wing an email over to: enquiries@stitchesandcraft.com.au

All kindred crafty helper-outer-ers receive two free tickets, a lunch voucher and a Stitches Tote Bag...