Friday, September 24, 2010

Here We Go Again...

What to do when a very nice friend gives you a very nice skein of yarn for your birthday? Cast about for the perfect pattern, of course, and here we have the beginning of Anne Hanson's Fernfrost. It seems to me to be perfectly paired with the lovely yarn, which is Buffalo Gold's Lux, in colorway Dakota Dawn. The yarn is a wonderful blend of the winter undercoat of pure bison down, mixed with 20% cashmere, 20% silk and 15% Tencel...just incredibly soft, and no doubt quite warm for such an airy, laceweight yarn.

The pattern is a bit challenging, mostly because I always have trouble reading the wrong side rows and reversing the knits and purls, hence the red markings on the chart to remind me to purl where it looks like a knit...anyone else have to do this?
I can tell already that this is going to take awhile to complete, but WHAT a fun knit! Just need to keep my attention really focussed. Not fun to have to tink back laceweight on 3.25mm needles! I'll probably start adding lifelines every 15 or 20 rows soon.

And here's an FO I'm really pleased about -- my finished Highland Triangle Shawl from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls book (Ravelry link):
Very hard to photograph because it's so large (78" x 43") and I don't have a photographer on hand today (so glad Ross will be home soon!). But you can get the idea, spread out on this settee:

The yarn is Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool DK in a color that's hard to describe...kind of an earthy, greeny-brown. Not everyone's cup of tea, I suppose, but I'm loving it.
Spring is definitely trying to arrive in the Southern Highlands, and I'm enjoying the warmer temps. May be time to hit the garden soon!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Spring is Springing Here, But Autumn's Coming to Maine

Well, I'm on a roll with Meret...this is my second one, made for my sister, Sheri, who lives in Maine. I'm modeling it here, and DH will mail it to Sheri from California next week. Turned out pretty well, I think. Such a fun pattern... Hope it fits, and she likes it! I'm also starting a new project...another Clapotis, but in a scarf size, instead of a wrap, using Malabrigo Sock in Indiecita. No pics yet, but soon, I hope. This will be a gift for my niece, Erin. Hope to deliver it in October.

It's warm and sunny here today and I'm loving the sunshine. Shouldn't get too wedded to it, though...more cold weather will be arriving next week. We arrived back here from California 10 days ago to trees laden with blossoms, but within a day or two the huge winds kicked up and soon the blooms were scattered all over the ground...sigh!

Kitties, donkeys and horses were all well and happy to see us home again. I celebrated the big 70th birthday during this last trip...just unbelievable to think I'm THAT old...LOL!

Monday, May 03, 2010

A Sad Farewell to the Best Old Friend

And so the time has come to say farewell to our little friend, Alfonse le Soot. He would have been 13 years old right about now. Those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile may remember his dramatic disappearance in July of 2008. And his equally dramatic return just over a month later. No explanation was ever found for his disappearance, but we were so happy to have him home.

In late March of this year we made a trip to California, only to have the terrible news from our wonderful house-sitter, Judy, that Alfonse had collapsed and had to be rushed to the vet the day after we left. The vet tried mightily to save our little fellow, but he had experienced sudden heart failure resulting in a clot that paralyzed his hind legs. After three heart-rending days and a steadily worsening condition, the decision had to be made to let him go.

We returned to Australia two days ago and today, with heavy hearts, we picked up Alfonse’s ashes, brought him home and buried him in his final resting place. We chose the spot he loved to visit every morning…in the garden, next to the old bathtub in the horse paddock..where he always preferred to have his morning drink of water.

Alfonse was our sweetest cat, with the silkiest all-black fur ever seen, and lovely dark-toast-colored eyes, and the longest tail of any of our cats. When he found himself in the house and wanted out, he would stand by the door and give the most piercing, strong call…we called him Our Little Opera Singer.

When we adopted him from the animal shelter in Amador County in 1997, he was in a cage with his mother and siblings, all of them completely black. Mama Kitty was awake, but all the kittens except one were sound asleep. It was Alfonse, of course, rubbing against the cage and saying “Choose me…Choose me!” Ross’s heart melted instantly, and he quietly said, “I’d like this one.” As we were settling up with the shelter, the attendant said, “This cat’s name should be “Lucky” because all-black cats are really hard to place.”

He was such a funny-looking little thing, very scrawny and tiny, with two bald patches in front of his ears. We wondered whether he’d ever fill out and get a proper coat of fur, but within a few months he was handsome, sleek and gorgeous.

In October of 2006 Alfonse made the long trip to Australia, accompanied by the six other feline members of the family. He hated the month-long quarantine time near Sydney because he had to be in a cage all by himself. When I visited twice a week during the quarantine, he let me know in no uncertain terms that he didn't want to be there and expected me to spring him from his captivity. Once he and the other kitties were finally released, he was the happiest of cats, prowling around the house and garden, exploring his new environment. All his life he loved to climb -- trees, trellisses, anything that would give purchase to his claws. His lithe body stretched along a huge branch many feet above the earth gave me pause, many times, but he always made it safely down again.

Alfonse had suffered the indignity of having been Top Cat in the household for a couple of years, until The Grey Brothers, Cloudy and Patch, showed up to depose him. He suffered this setback with grace and patience, and never stopped being his lovely, loving self.

So today we farewelled our lovely little Alfonse. He will always live in our hearts and memories.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Don't Faint...An FO!

At last, I have finished Hugo's Wheels, it's quilted, bound, and in the washing machine as I write. Here's a detail that shows the borders and binding pretty well...
And another corner...

And ther label, too:

This was just so much fun, in spite of the tedium of paper-piecing. No doubt this is the last paper-pieced quilt I will do. I will mail this off to Hugo tomorrow and leave for California again on Thursday.
Our wonderful housesitter will have her work cut out for her...5 weeks away this time! No promises, but I MIGHT even post while I'm away...

Monday, February 01, 2010

A Finished Quilt Top...Hooray!

Wow! A finished quilt top! I'm loving how it's turning out, too...Here's the final top, with borders, even! Another view, just cause I'm in love!
I made the decision at some point to have the cars and trucks facing the same direction, but alternating direction on each row. Of course, I made a very nice pick-up (ute for my Aussie friends) that I really liked, and only realized I'd made it facing the wrong direction after I'd finished it...what else is new? So, making lemonade from spare lemons, I decided to use the "mistake" block as the quilt label. I think it turned out pretty well...what do YOU think?
So, when we return from our overseas trip, all I'll have left to do is put the layers together and actually quilt it. Hopefully then, when Hugo and his family arrive from London for a visit later in March, I can give the actual finished quilt to him and they can hand carry it back. Not that I don't trust the Post...
We had a great weekend, making a run up to the Sydney Festival final concert of the year, Opera in the Domain...what a great venue, and the opera (Candide) was just terrific. A zillion thanks to Chris and Adele for thinking of us, and for putting us up on Saturday night. Of course, I forgot my camera, so I didn't get to memorialize the evening...
Off to California in a week...can't wait!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Oh, My Stars & Garters...That Was CLOSE!!

Can you believe it? SKYP Sock #1 finished, with 2 grams of yarn left. I was sweating it, for sure. I guess it's optimistic to think you can be sure of making a pair of men's socks with two skeins of Koigu. Any feet larger than DH's (about size 10) haven't got a prayer. I was already auditioning scraps of other sock yarn for the toes, just in case. So glad that wasn't necessary. Now, on to Sock #2... Meanwhile, Print O' the Waves has come to a standstill, due to lack of yarn:
I got one short side border and most of one long side border knitted on before running out. Fortunately, I have one skein being sent to me in California by a kind Raveler. Can you imagine how annoyed I'd be to have to switch dyelots at this point?
Not such happy news on the quilt front, though. I took a cruise through local fabric shops for just the right sashing fabric for Hugo's Wheels, to no avail. So, I'll need to wait till the California trip in two weeks. I had hoped this top would be all stitched together before we left, but that's not to be.
Oh, and Happy Australia Day to Aussie blogger friends!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

To Canberra We Shall Go...

So we're doing a little road trip today, to Canberra where it's going to be hot, hot, hot...35 C. Not nice! However, we're hoping both venues where we're going will be air-conditioned. Not sure if this will be going from the Ridiculous to the Sublime or not: first up will be a matinee of Avatar in 3D. Then, for a little "high kulcha," doncha know: the Masterpieces of the Musee d'Orsay at the National Gallery. It's a members only event, so we're hoping the crowds will be a tiny bit less than if we just went on a regular day. Promises to be a fun day! Then the long drive back home, 90 minutes or so.

In other news, I've FINALLY finished the paper-pieced blocks for Hugo's Wheels, and am auditioning sashing, cornerstones and borders. Wanna see? I thought so! This gives you an idea of how it might finish up. The dark blue is too dark (looks much darker in person) and I'll look for something a bit lighter with a slightly more turquoise tone to the blue. The wavy turquoise print for the outer border will stay, and I think the red cornerstones and skinny border will be something close to this. All in all, I'm pleased with how it's looking. Hope to get the piecing finished before we leave in a couple of weeks.
And since it feels very funny not to have a pair of socks on the needles, I decided to use this gorgeous dark green variegated Koigu to make a pair of socks for Ross. The pattern is called Simple SKYP Socks, and it's very fun to knit...relaxing, easy to take along, only two rows to the pattern so you can always tell where you are. I can even talk or watch TV while working on these:
And it's been ages since I reported on this Print O' The Wave shawl/stole. It's my longest WIP, since I started it well over a year ago. A fun knit, but I need concentration and quiet so it often spends time in hibernation. I will, however, run out of yarn before I can finish the knitted-on border. Fortunately, Ravelry friends pointed me to a nice woman in California who is sending me one more skein of this KnitPicks Shadow laceweight yarn in the Sunset colorway, so I can finish this one. Hopefully in this lifetime!

So that's what's up with me at the moment. Summer in the Southern Highlands...a good time to knit. What else is new?!

Friday, January 08, 2010

I'm MELTING......

It is so hot today, and humid, and enervating. At least the hot winds of earlier today are moderating a bit. Have I mentioned that I don't do well in the heat? So what am I doing? Baking a Nectarine Cobbler. Must be mad! But the nectarines are really delicious this year, and we're going to some friends' house for dinner and I volunteered to bring the pudding (that's Aussie-speak for dessert, dontcha know?), so voila! One Nectarine Cobbler coming up.

No progress on Hugo's Wheels today. It's paper-pieced with blocks from EQ6, and I just don't have the patience for all those fiddly bits and the attendant mess today. Did a little work on my Print O' The Waves shawl...I finished the first short side of the knitted-on border. Fun, but slow going.

Here are the first blocks I've completed for Hugo's Wheels. Actually there's one more, but I haven't photographed it yet. Here's the Sports Car...

and the Fire Truck... and the Double-Decker Bus...
and a Blue Sedan...
and the Ambulance (I love the ambulance!)...

Only six more blocks to go. The one that's finished but not photographed is a big semi-truck.
It'll be great to get this one wrapped up and delivered!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Hello, World!

What happened to the last six months? I think Facebook and Twitter took up all my bandwidth and I've been neglecting my blog, but the time has come to make a new start.

As you see, summer has arrived in the Southern Highlands, and DH is back into his walking routine. However, given the number and perversity of the blowflies (and ordinary flies) around here, this is his new "look" when walking...quite a fashion statement, no? I told him he looks like he's the bride at a Goth veil and all! So what have I been knitting, you wonder? (Well, given my long silence, you may have long since given up wondering, and who could blame you?!) Here are Eli's Footlets. These were part of a Schoolhouse Press Knit-along, so I decided to use up bits and pieces of yarn I had around. These should be cozy when winter rolls around again.
And here is a progress shot of my Cookie A. socks, Clandestine, using Slackford Studio's wondrous Stalwart Sock yarn in the colorway True Blood. These socks are actually finished now, but I haven't got a good shot of the socks modeled yet. Can't recommend the pattern and the yarn highly enough...just gorgeous.

And finally, thanks to friends in Sydney who invited us to stay at their apartment on New Year's Eve. I got this shot of the red smoke and fire falling from the Sydney Harbour Bridge at the 9PM fireworks display for kids. This little girl really enjoyed the show.

In other news, I'm back into quilting mode and have made a good start on Hugo's Wheels...paper-pieced cars, busses, trucks, etc. Pics soon, I hope.
Hope you and yours had a great Holiday season, and that 2010 will be a better year for us all!