Instant Gratification

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Keys are sharp little things and mine were digging into my leg when I carried them in my pocket. They probably weren’t doing the linings of my handbags much good either. The quick fix solution? A simple tube sock with an i-cord to keep the keys and sock together.

  Key Sock 2       Key Sock 1

I used Cat Bordhi’s version of Judy Becker’s Stretchy Cast-On. I use this for toe-up socks but here I cast on the total number of stitches straightaway. The start is a little fiddly on DPNs but nothing too tricky.  The tube is a good half-inch longer than my keys and the stretchy two-by-two ribbing pulls the top in over the keys.

Stripes – the love affair continues

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I’ve commented before on the fact that I’m pretty taken with stripes. Well, A, one of my very good friends in Cologne, gave me two lovely balls of striping sock yarn and some patterns “for the plane”. I cast on the first toe on the train between Cologne and Frankfurt.

Strrripes1

By the time I boarded my second flight in Bangkok the foot was well underway.

Strrripes2

Since I’ve also been working on a cardigan, the socks were taken out and about in my bag but not worked on much at home. But now they are finished. This is Strrripes, my toe-up version of Regina Satta’s  Jeck design. There are columns of slipped stitches which stand out more when the socks are on feet:

Strrripes4I adore stripes but self-striping sock yarn can be worrisome. Do I make the socks match exactly? Do I simply start the second sock where the first one ends? Do I…?

Look closely and you’ll see that the orange stripes across the feet are aligned. This is perfect for  T-bar style, Mary Jane, shoes. Look more closely and you’ll see (if it hasn’t jumped out at you already) that the other stripes stop and start roughly in the same places but the colours don’t match. In my indecision over whether to go for perfectly identical socks or not, I chose the other option and knitted one sock from each end of the ball!Strrripes3

 

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It’s not just a walk in the park

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This is a photo-laden post with no knitting so if you’re here for some pretties, they are of the scenic and not the woolly kind!

Since moving to Sydney I’ve continued with my regular morning walk. Six kilometres along the Rhine have been replaced with a good five around part of the harbour, the Opera House and through the Botanic Gardens. The photos here were taken over several days.

I begin parallel to Finger Wharf. This is the longest timbered-piled wharf in the world and started out as a wool-shipping wharf! MW-1The old buildings have been renovated and turned into flats and restaurants.

This is one of a collection of seashell sculptures that are reverberation chambers. They are sometimes submerged so that natural sounds mix with the pre-recorded historical information. MW-2The pathway climbs a little allowing a view of the Andrew “Boy” Charlton swimming pool. Charlton was an Australian swimmer who won five Olympic medals during the 1920s but there’s been some kind of swimming here since the first Europeans settled in Sydney. Woolloomooloo Bay was a working harbour and you can see the naval dockyard (still in operation) in the background.MW-3

Further along Mrs Macquarie’s Trail, we get to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. This is a popular tourist spot but bereft of people early in the morning. MW-4Macquarie was the Governor of New South Wales from 1810-1821 and he had this seat carved (by convicts) out of the rock for his wife to enjoy the view.MW-5

Walk round Mrs Macquarie’s Point and you’re confronted with The View – Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. MW-6Again, come early for people-free photos! Then it’s a walk around Farm Cove. On my right the Opera House in front of Sydney Harbour Bridge MW-7and on my left this lovely Jacaranda tree. MW-8Look closely and you’ll spot that lovely Jacaranda tree again once I’ve walked 1.4 km round the cove MW-9and am nearing the Opera House. Almost there!MW-10

Then I then walk right round the outside of the Opera House to get a good view of the bridge. MW-12Straight across, you have The Rocks and Mr Soknitsome works in one of the office buildings here on the left.MW-13

Back into the Botanic Gardens near Government House, the residence of the Governor of NSW (this photo was taken from further inside the gardens).MW-14 I then meander my way home. I have little or no sense of direction and so I end up taking various paths but always at a fast pace. Past this herb garden, MW-15or these giant trees (the statue is almost life-size so you get an idea of how large some of these old trees are). MW-16Mr Soknitsome first showed me this Elephant Foot Tree but I have since found it myself.MW-17

When I pass this fountainMW-18

I know I’ve reached the Woolloomooloo Gate. MW-19Then I walk past the Art Gallery of New South Wales and I’m almost home.MW-20

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The Knitters’ Guild – serious knitting!

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Yesterday morning I attended the monthly meeting of the Inner City Group of the Knitters’ Guild of New South Wales.

Here’s some information from the Guild’s website:

The Knitters’ Guild NSW Inc. was established to promote and encourage the disciplines of handknitting and crochet. It also encourages the maintenance of high standards in design and technique, provides the opportunity for the exchange and provision of information and education in the craft and encourages the exhibition of member’s work…

And

The Guild regularly arranges workshops and demonstrations in many disciplines including Aran Knitting, fine lace and Shetland lace knitting, Fair Isle, Crochet etc…

And

The Standards Committee has developed a series of Achievement Certificate Syllabuses in both knitting and crochet for those members who wish to improve or extend their skills and knowledge of techniques.

Sounds serious, doesn’t it? And it was. But ‘serious’ in a variety of ways. As soon as the tables and chairs were set up, it was down to the serious business of knitting! First up were official matters – electing committee members for the coming year. Important and serious but undertaken in a very relaxed, albeit proper manner with many members up for re-election.

Then there was morning tea (Australian for Britain’s elevenses or Germany’s second breakfast), a chance to look at books in the library boxes, and general mingling before Lyn gave a lovely talk about a knitting cruise she’d been on that took her from Copenhagen to New York by way of Norway, the Faroe Islands and many more places. She shared anecdotes, talked about the lovely yarn she’d acquired en route and showed items made during the various classes that had taken place on board. At the end she distributed fact sheets including places of interest and details of the various shops. You can see some super pictures and find out more over several posts here on her lovely blog Shades of Grey.

The serious business of knitting? Well, from where I was sitting, it appeared as if everyone continued working despite listening attentively to Lyn’s talk. Afterwards, there was a chance to take a closer look at her lovely acquisitions whilst others exchanged notes and compared patterns and yarn and… knitted. It was lovely to be surrounded by so many knowledgeable knitters. I know that M, my co-leader from the AIWCC Stitch ‘n’ Bitch would’ve enjoyed it immensely, too.

My serious knitting was this: Same Same but Different by Ankestrick (aka Fallmasche), a lightweight cardigan knitted top-down.Same Same

I was asked by more than one person if I was going for lunch. It turned out that people go off in small groups so I lunched with some I’d said yes to and not others – I guess I’ll just have to go back!

Knitting in Sydney

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Today was a wonderful knitterly day.

First of all, I knitted and had lunch with some of the North Sydney Knitters. There were four of us and we had lunch and knitted outdoors and spent a lovely hour together (lunch break for most people so time is precious).

Later on, I went along to the group that meets in York Street every Thursday. I have to admit to feeling a bit nervous beforehand. I’d met a couple of the North Sydney Knitters on my short visit in August but this group was totally new. I’d enquired about their meeting on Ravelry (the website for knitters and crocheters and other wool crafters. If you don’t now about it, you should!) so I knew I’d find some friendly crafters but I was slightly taken aback to discover I’d been checked out in the meantime. I suppose it’s a bit like mothers eyeing up other mothers at the school gates in an attempt to assess the suitability of their offspring being playmates.

Having said that, I had a wonderful time. I was made to feel most welcome and everyone took pains to fill me in on current events. I was encouraged to join the next Knitters Guild monthly meeting, which takes place this Saturday morning. I was told that the Inner City group (yes, there are several groups in Sydney and the surrounding area) is quite eclectic, hip and cool.

Now I just have to think about what I take along for show and tell!

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Socktober 2014

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Did I spend a lot of October knitting socks?

I started late this year as I had a handful of Flings to finish first but then I just knitted socks. 

Did I reach the end of October with more than one pair knit?

Yes! I finished both of these pairs and sent them to their new home before the end of the month.

Did I enjoy thinking of October as a month-long celebration of socks?

Due to deadlines this year, I was more focussed on finishing the socks in good time than on the actual sock-knitting experience. However, I really enjoyed making Sublimation. The changing row numbers of each stripe were very addictive and I would love to make a pair for me with the colours reversed on the second sock.Socktober-14

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One final marvellous Monday

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Today was the last one of those Mondays that I particularly like: when members of the American International Women’s Club of Cologne get together for Stitch ‘n’ Bitch. I have to admit to having been a bit anxious beforehand, knowing I would be saying goodbye (for now) to many lovely people.

We knitted and cross-stitched and chatted. I only knitted a bit but helped a friend with a nifty trick for making a three-needle bind-off easier and chatted lots. I was very touched that one member came especially to have a coffee with us and say goodbye. I also got to unpack some lovely stripey sock wool and several sock patterns – perfect aeroplane knitting –  from a friend who knows how much I like to knit socks! Another friend flew into Germany from the US this morning, made a short stop at home, and came along to catch the tail-end of Stitch ‘n’ Bitch before we went to lunch.

My co-leader, M, and I had decided to have a bit of fun and so we both turned up in our Ravello jumpers. Mine is a roomy, winter version. M has knitted a fitted, all-season jumper in gorgeous colours of Holst Garn. It was quite amusing to see people’s reactions when they realised that, yes, we were wearing the same jumpers! We have even both done the Odd Sleeve Thing.*Ravellos

One of our cross-stitchers knew about the perfect place for lunch and after suitable refuelling (crafting is hungry work) and much laughter, I was very touched to be given an extremely generous gift voucher for the wool shop in Sydney, Morris and Sons. I already have a couple of ideas but will wait and see how things really are weather-wise. I’d like to make a garment and think of all my lovely friends in Cologne while I’m knitting it and every time I wear it.

Being part of an expatriate or itinerant community, means you’re saying goodbye to people on a fairly regular basis. It never gets any easier, regardless of whether you’re leaving or watching others go. In my unassuming way, I’m always slightly taken aback that my sorrow at leaving is matched by those I leave behind. Despite some tears, today ended on a bright note: one friend reminded me that exciting opportunities lie ahead and that she and others will still be in Cologne when we return. Watch this space! :)

*Ravelry is the perfect resource for ‘variations on a theme’ both for Ravello and other  delectable stripey garments!

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Be Inspired – Edinburgh delights

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I recently spent a lovely week at my parents’ in Edinburgh prior to The Big Move. It was great to be there but time passed very quickly. Last time I went, Mum and I visited the Great Tapestry of Scotland, on exhibition at the Scottish Parliament. This time we were all set for a trip to Stirling to see the Stirling Castle Quilters 20th Anniversary Exhibition at the Stirling Smith Museum and Art Gallery (scroll!) My mother is a quilter and we have these beautiful quilts that she made for us!

Quilt1         Quilt2

Unfortunately, there were howling gales with major road bridges being closed to high-sided vehicles and threats of trees down everywhere. We stayed home and Dad and I went to the Scottish National Gallery instead. It was so calm in town you’d have never thought there were 60 mile-an hour-winds blowing just over a mile away. This is the Scott Monument taken from the gallery’s café.

Edinburgh

There was a fair bit of woolliness during the week. I made great progress on the second Man Sock (more soon) and I paid a visit to Mei at Be Inspired Fibres. It’s probably just as well I don’t live in Edinburgh as Mei’s shop is just a ten-minute walk from my parents’, filled with lovely things and offers super service. I went in, not really needing anything but with an open mind (and an idea of how much yarn I ‘would need’, should I see something interesting), as well as an open purse. I fondled various lovelies while Mei served another customer and then we chatted. I was very interested to know more about the Holst Garn range as I’d seen it last time I was there and my very good friend and Stitch ‘n’ Bitch co-leader, M, has just been knitting a Ravello in fantastic colours from one of their yarns.

Once again, Mei shared her expertise and told me a bit about the different yarns. Then she ran downstairs to her classroom for her knitting. Either I’m super-lucky that Mei is knitting with what I fancy when I go there, or she has one-of-everything started (I didn’t like to ask)! Funnily enough, once again, there was a big box on the floor full of huge cones and it wasn’t all winter colours either! I went home for a cup of tea and came back to a generous amount of wound yarn (Mei had added a not-so-little ball to my order so I don’t even have to rip out my tension squares). This is Coast, a blend of cotton and wool, perfect for spring and summer in Sydney. The colour is Nimbus. The  range of colours in the Holst palette is so delectable – like jars of sweeties in an old-fashioned shop – that I also picked up a ball of Supersoft 100% uld (wool) in Sugarsnap.

 Holst LM2          Holst LM1

 If you’re in Edinburgh, and it’s a city well-worth a visit, call in to Be Inspired Fibres. You can find shop details on Ravelry, on Facebook and Mei’s online shop is here. You can also follow Mei’s Be Inspired Fibres blog here on WordPress.

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS NOT A PAID ENDORSEMENT BUT A PERSONAL RECOMMENDATION.
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Five Little Flings…

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…hanging in a row.

Since I have a bit of a reputation for being a knitter, this seemed like the ideal way  of giving some of my close friends in Cologne a little leaving present that was ‘the same but different’ without worrying about size or fibre preferences. I made one earlier this year for an old (longstanding) friend down south. It’s perfect for sunglasses, keys and purse but it can always just be used for keeping things tidy in a cupboard.Flings

This pattern is Summer Fling by espace tricot and you can find it on espace tricot’s wonderful website here and on Ravelry here.

I was pleased to finally add a bit to my knitting mileage for this year (1.376m = 0.855 miles!), since once you put Knitmeter on your blog, you feel a bit silly if the numbers don’t change! Needless to say, this simple pleasure is dampened by the fact that I’d much rather not have had any reason for knitting farewell gifts!

Socktober – it’s here again!

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In the world of all things knitterly, Socktober is basically a month-long celebration of socks. People knit more of them, offer special sales on sock yarn and sock patterns and there’s even a group on Ravelry for fans. If you live in the northern hemisphere, it certainly doesn’t seem like a bad idea to devote October to sock-knitting.

Here’s how the stripes progress on the Sublimation Socks. You can probably guess how they’ll finish…Socktober14

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