Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Fresh Off the Needles...

Hooray! Today I finished the Pi Shawl! Here it is, in all its unblocked glory: 56" across, which will likely grow to 66" or more after blocking. And here's a detail of the Gull Wing lace pattern just before the final garter stitch border.
This shawl was "unvented" by Elizabeth Zimmerman, and I made it pretty much as she suggests in the Knitter's Almanac: follow the pattern till you are out to 576 stitches (!!), then do as many rows as you can stand (I did 37 rows), then add a few repeats of the Gull Stitch pattern (I did 3 repeats), then a final cute sideways garterstitch border of 8 stitches, where you knit the final stitch of the border together with a stitch of the shawl, neatly avoiding ANY seaming.

Details: 5.0 mm needles, starting with dpns, then to 16" circular, then 24" and ending with 40". I used about 3.5 "plates" of Unspun Icelandic wool in Blacksheep. This thing is warm, warm, warm, and so light you can't believe it...like wearing a cloud.

And last Friday, the guys formed up the 110,000 litre water storage tank, and poured the concrete for it, too:
And Saturday they came back and poured the lid:
So, in spite of a humongous 45 minute thunderstorm last evening that dumped 2.5 inches of rain and 1" hailstones everywhere, all is well in Exeter. Actually, the new garage flooded bigtime in this storm, leaving water and half an inch of mud throughout, including the fancy new kitty quarters. This was caused, we think, by the above-seen concrete truck driving over the junction of the storm water pipes, crushing them and causing the drainage system to back up. After hours of cleanup, and pipe repair, we hope THAT problem will not present itself again!

The kitties spent a peaceful night on warm, dry bedding, but using the "facilities" required some damp tiptoeing until today's sun and breezes dried things out.

Fireplace goes in next week, and probably kitchen cabinets, too. And they built the window seat in my new quilting room! I'll post a pic once the painter has done his finest...

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Actually, I've made even more progress since this pic. I've added another set of 20 rows or so, and have started a lace pattern...the last section before I add the sideways garter stitch border. It's slow going at this point, with 576 stitches on the needle, and it's murder on my hands and arms! Each round takes me about 20 minutes or so, so this will take awhile. Still, it's fun to see the progress. Can't wait to get it off the needles and see what it looks like blocked. And there's big progress at the farm, too. They finished digging the huge hole this morning for the 110,000 litre in-ground water storage tank. We are on town water here, but given how dry many areas of Australia are, we thought it would be prudent to collect all the rainwater from our roofs and channel it into this tank. We can use the water for the house, the garden, and for topping up the dam that's closest to our house. Here's the last scoop of dirt before the guys started forming up the tank:
And here comes the first huge piece of formwork for the tank:
And then they started putting these pieces together, so the concrete can be poured...hopefully tomorrow!
And at the front of the house, the renderer is busily covering the bricks with plaster...can't wait to see all those bricks disappear...not a fan of brick! Notice Alfonse le Soot, hanging around to watch the action...
Inside the house, the wallboard is all on, ditto the cornices. The tile guy will be tiling the bathroom floors, showers and the verandah you see in the pic above next week. Carcasses of kitchen cabinets have been delivered to the garage, the doors are being painted, and hopefully the cabinets will be installed in the actual kitchen by the end of this month. Then it will be time for painting...still choosing colors.

So all in all, we're creeping up on the hoped-for move date of mid-April. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Mother of Invention...

So, this is what the socks looked like when the airline inspectors were finished snipping off the ends: (Sorry about the color...the yarn is actually a pale sage green.) (Also sorry I forgot to take a pic of the other pair...a variegated red pair of Nutkins, just started, that I put on new needles when I reached Oakland, forgetting to photograph the carnage.)

So then, on the way back, I needed to try my hand at an end run around the inspectors, didn't I? And here is my triumph: bright red tweed neckwarmer, invented on the spot, comprised of simple K2P2 ribbing worked lengthwise, only I decided to add a ruffle at one end. Turned out kind of cute, no?It's a little loosely knit, though, because here's what I used to do the knitting...
There's more than ONE way to skin a cat!!

And here's what I've been working on since we got back to Oz. It's my first attempt at a Pi Shawl, from Elizabeth Zimmerman's fertile mind, knitted in Unspun Icelandic Wool...like knitting with a cloud. It's quite scratchy, though...not something to wear around your neck, but I think it will be very elegant when it's finished.
I haven't posted any house pics yet, because things are really rolling there this week and I want to wait till tomorrow when a lot of the gyprock will be up on the walls and you'll be able to see much better how it will look. More soon...

Friday, February 01, 2008

Whew! What Happened to January?

So, here we are in California, after three weeks of visiting, eating, shopping, and tomorrow it's time to head homeward. What else did I do while I was here? Well, I made this little sweater for Tess, who is likely being born even as I write! This was lovely pale, dusky violetty-lavender, a blend of cotton and bamboo. Lovely to knit, washable, soft -- what's not to like? And then I decided to make a little hat, 'cause it was COLD, COLD, COLD here! The hat turned out well, don't you think?Except when Thomas, the eldest grandson, saw it, he decided it was A-OK, so guess who got the hat?! And then, nothing else would do but that I should make a hat for William:
And another for James:
They were duly delivered last evening, and were well received. Granny can return to Oz, knowing the grandsons will have warm heads and cozy ears!

I did a bit of damage to my credit card this trip: yarn from Schoolhouse Press for a sweater and a large shawl, yarn from KnitPicks for two sweaters and a shawl, needles in various sizes. Why more needles, you ask? WELL....Had a funny time at Sydney airport this time...they hassled me about the knitting I was taking on board, claiming my 2.25mm bamboo knitting needles (which had a half finished sock on each of them!) were dangerous. Took them away, cut the bamboo needle tips off, taped up the ends with the socks still on, and returned them to me...grrrrr. Then I confessed to having an envelope of other needles with me, including some stainless steel ones. Consternation! They took the whole lot away to confer with a manager, then came back and told me they were all fine to take on board...including a few sets of bamboos that were identical to those they'd just beheaded before! Go figure! I've carried these onboard before, and last time I even called ahead to be sure it was OK. This time, a different story. Gotta watch those dangerous Terrorist Knitters!

The three weeks here has flown by. We had a lovely long weekend in Amador County, visiting friends and enjoying the snow and cold weather. Then back to Oakland where it was cold and grey, mostly, with a nice rainstorm yesterday to remind us of home! We hear it's raining there for the next week, but not too cold.

Lots of progress on the house remodel...I'll save posting about that till next time, with pics!

Glad to be back, all...