amanda j

Archive for the ‘spinning’ Category

I received one of those forwarded email this week – “Things I have learned” or something along those lines. The title of my post comes from one of the items on the list. I think most of us understand that at times you can find yourself on the wrong side of that fine line. At least one of my feet has been over the line on a number of occasions lately. There are various factors influencing my balancing act:

  • My decision to make 9 pairs of socks by Christmas
  • Ravelry
  • KALs
  • My spinning wheel
  • Mother nature
  • The daily grind

I will address each factor in turn.

My decision to make 9 pairs of socks by Christmas

I am actually doing quite well with the socks. Well, at least with the first sock of each pair. Here is an update:

  1. Waving Lace
  2. Swirly Girl
  3. Anastasia
  4. Embossed Leaves
  5. Retro Ribs (one finished)
  6. Back to Basics (one finished, the other going well) 
  7. Vanilla (one finished, the other on the gusset)
  8. Vanilla
  9. Vanilla

So, about 9 socks and a couple to finish off. Not too bad really. There are 85 days left until Christmas, which means a sock each 9.44444 days. That is fine – I can manage that as long as I keep going at my current rate. I absolutely loved knitting the Back to Basics sock from Knitty, it was a lot of fun. I knitted it on two circular needles and the first one went very quickly. I made great progress on the second sock yesterday during the AFL Grand Final at my MIL’s house. Here is an action shot of the first one in progress:

Mmmm, Koigu


I won’t go on about Ravelry, except to say it is amazing, I love it and spend too much time trawling forums and thinking about what to knit next with what yarn. Time I should be spending doing other things, namely knitting socks.


At the present time, I am involved in three KALs, a Sock Challenge on Ravelry(!) and one fibre sharing group. I am not really being very vocal in any of them. Tomorrow is the start of the Southern Summer of Socks. As such, I am obligated to cast on a new pair. I think it will be Embossed Leaves, as this is for Christmas and I have done the pattern before and really enjoyed it. It will also qualify me for the Holiday KALCAL and the Favorite Socks KAL. The Back to Basics qualify me for the September Sockdown on Ravelry, which had to be either Grumperina designed, toe up of knitted from a mystery pattern posted in sections. This sock is toe up. Now, the fibre sharing . . .

My spinning wheel

I have taken some time lately to do some spinning. I took on my plying demon, and didn’t do too badly. Here is my yarn!

It is a bit too twisty, which I will need to address next time I spin, but I am really quite pleased with myself. This will become a scarf in the not too distant future. I wish I didn’t have occasion to wear scarves at this time of year, however it is still freezing at times despite being one month into calendar Spring! It was so wild and blustery on Friday night we lost power a number of times and I was forced to play Samorost in the dark!

My spinning wheel also possessed me to buy more fibre from Mandie at EGMTK and will have to post to the Ewe Give Me the Knits Fibre Gallery! Here’s what I got:

500g Amethyst Merino Cross Top and 200g Plum Wine Merino Top

I have resisted the temptation to begin spinning any of this yet. I am hoping to be able to spin enough yarn to make another cardigan for the Tiny Madam, and will also try to make enough yarn out of the Plum Wine top to make another scarf, or something. I don’t know. I just love purple.

Mother Nature

A friend of a friend of mine had a tiny, premature little baby yesterday. So today I knitted him a hat.

My own pattern – a copy is here. Feel free to use it. I am planning on making another one tonight.

The daily grind

Monday meant the end of the holidays. I have been back at work a whole week, and I must say it was a better week than I have had for a very long time. The two weeks off allowed me to get some perspective and control over my own destiny and I am feeling much more positive about work. However, it has cramped my knitting time.

Finally, my badge for this post:

The “I Will Impress You With My Math Prowess” Badge – The recipient is a whiz at substituting yarns and calculating gauge, can space increases and decreases evenly and is fully comfortable with the basic math encountered in all knitting projects.

I would not necessarily call myself a whiz, but I did make a tiny hat today with evenly spaced decreases and can make a sock with eyelets that spiral. I understand gauge even if it is sometimes a bit off and if I had to I could knit maths my way out of a paper bag.


Why you don’t mess with a Knitter

This dastardly villain is called Nora Clavicle. Apparently she stood for womens’ rights and was a friend of Commissioner Gordon’s wife. Read all about her here. I am not sure she did much for womens’ rights at all! Nor the reputation of knitters!! 

Yesterday, I had a dream come true. I bought the first seriess of Fraggle Rock. I absolutely loved this show as a kid (I am an enormous Jim Henson fan – Sesame Street references abound when you talk to me. In conversation, I will often say “Oh, that’s just like on Sesame Street, when blah blah blah”. The Muppets are also firm favourites!). Our kids were staying with their Grandma last night and we went unhindered into the city. While there I bought the DVDs. We then went back to Grandma’s to drop the DVDs off and initiate the kids into the fabulous world of Fraggles. When they came home this morning they were so excited to tell me that the Doozers were knitting! And they were singing a knitting song!! We promptly watched it and OH MY GOODNESS it was so cute! See here! 

Well, the holidays are coming to an end. That’s fine though – Term 3 goes quickly and there is lots to look forward to. Athletics, picnics, warmer weather, Graduation Dinner . . . all sorts of fun and games.

Don’t be alarmed! It’s still me. I just needed a change! Do you like it? I have been adding and subtracting on the side bar as well; updating some FOs and the like. Note the KAL I have joined – this might help me keep on track for Christmas socks!

My badge for this post: The Knitting Whilst Under the Influence Badge – “This applies to both actual knitting under the influence, as well as achieving moments of stunning intellectual clarity about ones knitting under the influence. Presumes talking about knitting whilst under the influence a given.”

Since I generally have a glass of wine (or two – anitoxidants people!) per night, this one was easy. There should also be something about buying yarn – alcohol can really make one  more likely to succumb to internet purchasing. Perhaps you have heard of beer goggles? I have Merlot glasses. At least the yarn is always pretty and I don’t feel too ashamed in the morning! I can also be found at times planning my takeover of the LYS and actually believing it could happen. *sigh*

Now, knitting updates. Of course, being the rebellious soul that I am, as soon as I decide that I will knit 9 pairs of socks for Christmas I start obsessing about doing other things. Yesterday I started working on the Kevat shawl again. I was really enjoying the knitting, but the triangle just kept getting bigger and I began to worry. Where the heck did I see myself in a triangular shawl? Nowhere. Certainly I would not wear it day to day. I do not go out at night and if I did I still wouldn’t wear a triangular shawl. So, I cast it off. It is the prettiest, smallest triangular shawl in the whole wide world!

Next time I will knit a rectangle. Perhaps this one

The decision to cast off left me with a whole heck of a lot of lace weight yarn! Lucky for me I have also been obsessing about knitting another Clapotis. RoseRed has been working on one with laceweight. Ever the follower, I cast on.

As well, I have been spinning and spinning. I was always planning on spinning during the holidays, but regular readers will remember I have a fear of plying. How fortuitous it was then, that in the new Knitty (which I thought was pretty good) there was an article about HOW TO PLY and the suggestion was made to add some tension to your bobbins on the lazy kate so they don’t get away from you and get tangled. I have had some tangles and some panicky sweaty moments in the past. I am hoping that the tension might in fact help me get somewhere. My singles are looking pretty good, even if I do say so myself.

I also made a hat for my littlest friend. However, he made an unexpected visit today and I didn’t take a photo of it. If his Mum sends me one I will share it with you. 

Of course, I have not been completely wicked. I have finished one stocking stitch sock and am on the foot of the Retro Rib. Ah, holidays!

We saw Ratatouille, I loved it a lot. It is one of the best animated films I have seen in a long while. Highly recommended! 

And finally, here is my updated list:

  1. Waving Lace
  2. Swirly Girl
  3. Anastasia
  4. Embossed Leaves
  5. Retro Ribs (in progress)
  6. Back to Basics (changed my mind on Vinnland) 
  7. Vanilla (in progress)
  8. Vanilla
  9. Vanilla

I absolutely loved Footrot Flats as a kid. It could be that although it was set in New Zealand, I related to the farming and the humour. He pretended to be so tough! I had a picture of the Dog surfing a huge wave shouting at the top of his lungs ‘STOP THE WORLD! I WANNA GET OFF!” I know how he felt. My goodness life has been so busy and hectic and stressful and I have had little no time for blogging. I have, however, managed quite a bit of knitting.

Mon vert ami et professeur socquette for 2Paw.

Did you all know that 2Paw was one of four colleague teachers I had when I was at University? Not just ‘a’ colleague teacher but the one that taught me the most! I am almost to the heel of the first sock as I type. I was going to be a bit secretive about this, but instead I will give you a far off picture! I noticed that like many other people 2Paw is participating in the Tour de France KAL, and therefore I have given the sock a French name. I doubt that I have the words around the right way, but it’s the thought that counts! I wonder if the intern I have starting next week will ever knit me a sock or two? I doubt it – he does not look the knitting type! I will just have to appreciate the time his presence will allow me – phew!

I knitted two little things for the new baby boy – a tiny jumper and a teeny hat. I am yet to give them to him because a) they weren’t finished when I saw him last and b) I have not seen him this week because most of us around here are sick with something or other. He remains very cute and is doing well.


Sirdar Snuggly (approx 50g total). Patterns from Panda ‘Adorable Baby Knits’ – started Thursday pm finished Saturday pm

I had to go to that big store that’s always in a mess that happens to sell yarn and has a blue and red logo on Sunday last week to buy some buttons. As I had no cash I had to bump up my purchase somewhat, and so bought two balls of Patons Shadow Tweed to make a scarf. I finished it last night. It is very long and I like it very much. In fact it has come in very handy today as it is cold and my neck really hurts with swollen glands. Once again I have a sore throat. I made the scarf in two pieces which I then grafted in the middle based on this pattern, which incidentally is very similar to the Monkey socks pattern from Cookie A. My scales now point to the middle from both ends. I have not added a fringe to this scarf. The yarn is very soft and I think I could spin something similar if I had time, which I think I have mentioned already today I do not. Here it is:

Patons Shadow Tweed Soft and Scaly Scarf (almost 100g) with 8mm needles – started Sunday pm finished Wednesday pm

I listened to David Reidy’s podcast Sticks and String this morning, and he was talking about buying a new spinning wheel and how much better it was than the old one he had, which of course got me thinking “Hey, perhaps I need a new spinning wheel!” One phonecall to a relatively local distributor changed my mind on that one – at the moment it is well out of my price range. *sigh*

I have also finished one sock for the Spunk using some Opal that I had in the stash, and am well on the way down the leg of the other.

We are still dancing . . . so far we have learnt the Karamar 3-step, Carousel, relearnt a progressive Barn Dance and a Jive, begun the Quickstep and a proper Waltz. It is a lot of fun and hard work. We may need to buy a bigger house to practice in! My toes are holding up okay, but it was touch and go this week. The Spunk was being a touch too enthusiastic with his quick-quicks in the Quickstep and kicked the end of my big toe around 4 kabiliion times. We have sorted the issue and should be fine for Tuesday!

Tomorrow is Friday again. Where do the days go?

I am now on holidays for two whole weeks and two days! Yay! In that time I will:

  • Relax and recover from a very busy school term
  • Knit at least four pairs of socks. I am counting the two pairs I am knitting – so these will be finished and so will two more pairs
  • Attempt to spend a good amount of time spinning
  • Begin a crochet blanket (which I actually started today but the skinny strip was claimed by a Tiny Madam who thought it would be much better as a snake!). I have only ever crocheted granny squares a la 1978 around and around, but this will be single crochet rows. I enjoyed the bit I did today, but I am using some scratchy Kmart acrylic, the whole time imagining how nice it would be to be using an expensive yarn. I will persist and make sure I can manage a whole big project before investing in more yarn. It can go to charity or in the car. Besides, if I use all this stuff up, I can fill the hole in the stash with something nicer!

As promised, here are some photos. I have been Baudelaire-ing. Ms 2paw and I had a Baudelairealong going months ago. I finished one sock and left it for ages, then cast on another and left that for ages. I picked it up last night and have managed to do quite a bit. I am looking forward to finishing these socks, because they are quite impressive looking and also quite sturdy. The pattern is really quite easy . . . so I am going to get this done quickly.

I have been working on the STR sock for Purl. Again I am doing an afterthought heel which I must say I really really like. Speaking of which, under the Purl socks are the SuperSpunks Holy Guacamole socks. He looks good in them, don’t you think?

I did my section of the Scarf Circle Scarf. I mentioned my gauge issues last post (psst is there anyone reading because I only got one comment and that scares me! Have you all been abducted??) but realised that the scarf already was inny outy before I got it because there is some rib and some feather and fan and some chevron, and that’s just the nature of the beast project.

We are budgie sitting! My Dad has gone to Queensland to see my little brother for his thirtieth birthday, and Daphne is staying with us. It is a bit strange with so much chirping noise in the house, but not unpleasant. At times Daphne can be heard saying things in my Dad’s voice through a budgie modulator. This is disconcerting to say the least. However, I could get used to the wolf whistles! She is cute:

A disclaimer before I go further. The camera situation has not been rectified. Today’s photos are even worse than some others we have had recently. However, I prefer to add pictures, so bear with me. I have used the Kodak software to add a spotlight, hoping this will add a little something to my photos. It does – black edges. It kind of reminds me of a very bad episode of Neighbours when Bouncer had a dream. That may have been the last episode I ever watched. I am hoping a new digital camera will drop out of the sky any day now.

The Tropicana sock is no more. I stretched the sock over my calf and there was a muddying of colours. I am now doing the Retro Rib from Favourite Socks:

So far so good. I have stretched it out as far as I can and it looks fine, so it is definitely the mixture of pattern and yarn. Such a shame because unstretched it looked fabulous! If it was intended for me I would have continued, but because at this point this is still the Sock apalooza I have to be a bit more discerning. What do you think?

The Mexican sock (so named by the Spunk himself) is coming along nicely. I have passed the row where you knit with a waste yarn and then keep on going – this is where the heel will be (you can see a darker line. So far this is the only knitting I have done with the fourteen balls of Zhivago I bought!). I am going to try a sewn cast off for this sock. I think. I will google stretchy cast offs, unless someone has some advice?


I received a letter from my Knitter Letter Swapper that I wrote to!


Thanks Vicky! Hi! I am writing back tomorrow!!

I did some spinning today. I really need to devote some time to this hobby, consistently. It is not easy. How do people make it look so easy? Tomorrow I am going to hit the books for some technical ideas and advice and spend a good amount of time practicing. I think I am sitting too low. Where do you spin if you spin? I might have to try all the chairs I have until I find the right height.

Tonight we went out for the third night in a row! I have never eaten out so often in my life. On Thursday we had a dinner at a nice Italian restaurant not far from home. I ate garlic prawns which were passable, the Spunk had veal. Last night we went to a bar and bistro type place which was lovely. I had chicken and shitake mushrooms, and the Spunk had a Caesar Salad. Tonight we ate with family and had Canneloni and a lovely dessert of lemon tart and blueberries. I feel full of too much food. Tomorrow might be toast and cereal all day. I love cereal. I could eat it day and night. I am supposed to be heading out for lunch, but I am not sure that the budget or the waistline can take it!

Two weeks until the holidays. I am going to make it, just! We have a busy couple of weeks coming up with three birthdays in six days in the family, drama competitions and youth theatre plays, end of term barbecues involving 450 sausages and 206 children, parent/teacher interviews with us in the parent chairs for a change and untold unforseen events that seem to pepper our lives at the moment. Thank goodness for the escape that knitting and the interknit allow!

Stay tuned – Little Purl has read the Friday Night Knitting Club, and since I am not going to get a chance before it is due back at the library after waiting months for it to arrive, she will be reviewing it for us! I will just have to wait until it is either released as an audio book or for Julia Roberts to lead me through the story.

I have been knitting like a woman possessed in the past couple of days, and have made some good progress on two separate socks. This was early last night:

And this is now. I have not started my evening’s knitting yet.

Here is the Spunk Sock last night:

And now:

I don’t have a whole lot of time to devote to my knitting at the moment, so I am pretty pleased with the progress. I have decided I am going to try an afterthought heel with the Spunk’s Socks – this appeals to me because I think the heel is my least favourite part of the sock knitting journey. It always seems to take so long. The concept I am using is in the Favourite Socks book. Rest assured, I will keep you posted.

Perhaps the most exciting news, however, is that my fibre arrived home:


This photo goes nowhere near doing this stuff justice. Please forgive my photos at the moment. Not only am I too busy during daylight hours to take photos, but I am also dealing with a particularly crap camera. If you want to see much better images, head over to Ewe Give Me the Knits. One is Pink Swirl, the other Green Agate, and most unbelievably these are available for only AUD5.50 per 100g. Mandie also included a little parcel of shiny stuff to include in the spinning. I have half decided to rip the raw fleecy stuff off the bobbins, throw that stuff in the bin and just get on with life. What do you reckon? It won’t take much to convince me!

In non-knitting news, the Super Spunk and I will soon be found on the dance floor. We have decided that if it’s good enough for the ‘Stars’ , it’s good enough for us. We are taking up ballroom dancing. Ahem. Watch this space.

Flickr Photos

i am knitting

  • Pinwheel Blanket
  • Sassymetrical
  • Socks x 3
  • Button Me Up V2.0
  • i will knit

  • Flower Basket Shawl
  • Seamless Hybrid Sweater
  • Rogue
  • i knitted 08

  • Central Park Hoodie
  • Back to Basics III
  • Smooth Monkeys
  • Retro Rib Socks
  • Fetching I
  • Fetching II
  • Fetching III
  • Shalom
  • Wicked
  • Wickeder
  • Woodland Shawlette
  • Jumper for ILC
  • Socks for ILC
  • Hat for ILC
  • Booga Bag I
  • Booga Bag II
  • Washcloths for Mother
  • Mini Socks
  • Spunk Socks again
  • Cuzmo
  • Cozmo
  • Rose
  • Olivia
  • Shalom
  • Asymmetrical Cabled Cardi
  • Juliet
  • Liesl
  • Arch Socks
  • Button Me Up V1.0
  • Boy Teacher Cardigan
  • Camp Cowl
  • Felicity Hat
  • Zippity Blanket
  • Grandmother's Favourite Washcloth x 5
  • Apple Dishcloth x 2
  • Patonyle Socks
  • i knitted 07

  • Mother In Law Socks 2
  • Fon Sox
  • Elspiral Socks
  • I Can't Say No socks
  • Pomatomus
  • MIL1 Tea Cosy
  • MIL2 Tea Cosy
  • Green and Purple! socks
  • RPM socks
  • SIL socks
  • Tiny Madam Cardigan
  • Country Silk Cardigan
  • Monkey
  • Silver Scarf/Belt
  • Skinny Inca Scarf
  • Pink Fizzy Scarf
  • Super Spunk Socks
  • Diagonal Cross Rib Socks
  • Baudelaires
  • Mexicana Socks for Spunk
  • Opal Socks for Spunk
  • Jumper and Hat for Teeny Guy
  • Embossed Leaves Sockapaloozas
  • Socks for Robyn
  • Montego Bay Scarf
  • Sparkly Hat
  • Tiny Madam Cardigan 2
  • Waving Lace Socks
  • Swirly Girl Socks
  • Tiny Kevat Shawl
  • Baby Beanie
  • Embossed Leaves for Xmas
  • Mother's Back to Basics
  • Friend Back to Basics
  • Socks for Barb
  • Socks for MIL2
  • Socks for No1Son
  • Tea Cosy Swap Cosy
  • Visitors

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