Thursday, December 27, 2012

FO Friday: I Heart U Socks (2012 FO #18)

Today's FO is another old one that I just got around to photographing.  You might remember a few months ago I designed a pair of socks with a message on them for an anniversary present for Sam:

They look really fabulous here. However, I failed to account for the fact that the human calf is a round object rather than a flat one... the message ended up getting a bit lost.

Oh well. The heart looks pretty great so from now on I think I'll just use that and not bother about the letters.

The black yarn is Sirdar Town & Country and I did not enjoy working with it at all. After the smooth and durable Opal I'm used to it felt rough and inconsistent. This was emphasised when I worked with the grey Patonyle and the black yarn in the same row - there's a marked difference in consistency. However, it appears to be wearing well so I think it might be like Moda Vera Noir in that it's horrible to work with but still wears well. I hope!

Rocking the socks Old Man Style!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy holidays!

Happy Holidays! I hope you had a lovely day. I admit I do tend to think of Christmas as a list of things to do rather than an occasion of celebration, and it's only once the big events of the day have passed that I feel able to relax and enjoy myself (although I admit once I arrive at my destination I always seem to have a great time. It's just that there's always so many destinations!).   For me, relaxing  meant spending Christmas night drinking wine and playing Monopoly with Lucy and Sam. It was fantastic and lots of fun...

..although Lucy seemed to struggle with the rules and spent a lot of the game trying to win using the 'sitting-on-things-means-possessing-them-which-is-nine-tenths-of-the law' strategy. It was pretty funny.

Among all of the lovely and thoughtful gifts I received, 
there were some delightful woolly gifts. I was very spoilt :)

And, because it's my Christmas post and my ideal Christmas involves lots and lots of Lucy, 
this is what she was doing while I was photographing my wool.

As always, she was confused by my desire to photograph anything other than her but she knew if she just waited long enough, the focus would turn back on to her. What a clever kitty :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Friday Failday and 2012 FO#

Fail #1: Breakfast

At the start of December I sat down and mapped out a plan that would mean I could go to all of the Christmas events I was invited to, drink and eat what I wanted on those occasions yet not get fat and out of shape. This plan involved large amounts of regular exercise and eating very protein and fibre-dense meals when I wasn't eating out.

However...this was today's breakfast:

Pancakes for one (1/3 cup of flour, 1/3 cup of milk, 1 egg) topped with the blueberry maple syrup from Nigella Express.

An egg has lots of protein. Blueberries have got fibre, right? Right?!? Oh well. 

Fail #2: Birthday socks

Today I finally blocked and photographed the socks that I was meant to give to my mother for her birthday 16 days ago. Yes, I suck.

However, these socks do not - they are delightful! The yarn (Mountain Colors Barefoot) is soft and smooth - I could sit and pat it for hours, cat-style.

Like the Rainy Day Socks, I don't think these socks will wear well but they make divine house socks/slippers. I want to give neither of these pairs away but keep both of them for myself!

Contradictorily, the thing I like most about the socks is also the thing I like least. The pattern I used for these socks is Priscilla's Dream Socks from my dream sock book, Favorite Socks (the amount of 'u's I am leaving out in this post is making my internal editor crazy. Crazier, really, because the amount of time editors spend thinking and really really caring about apostrophes already implies a degree of madness). What makes these socks 'dreamy' is the method of turning the heel, which results in a very comfortable, good-looking heel. However, the way this yarn is dyed meant short rows disrupted the stripe pattern, resulting in a discordant colour striping.

I think Lucy has the right idea - stop sweating the small stuff, find a patch of shade and have a nap. You don't get better advice than that, so instead of focussing on my fails, I'm celebrating the wins of a gorgeous breakfast and a lovely pair of socks.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Taking time to smell the roses

There was a lot of drama happening at Chez HereIKnit last Saturday when Lucy brought in her present for me - a live mouse. While I appreciated her generous gift (and she was so proud of herself!) I didn't so much appreciate the two hours I spent chasing the damn mouse around while trying to prevent Lucy from eating it.

Mice aren't a big issue for me but even I had to object when it tried to use my bed to take a nap!

It was all a bit much.

This morning when I was planning my day I realised the feeling of 'it's all a bit much' summed up the last two weeks of my life. There's been nothing particularly stressful or tiring going on, it's just that there's been such a lot of stuff on that I haven't had any time to relax. I'd been operating at such a high level for such a long time that I hadn't realised that I was tense, tired and in need of a break.

So, this afternoon I gave myself permission to take an hour off and took my knitting outside. It was delightful and exactly what I needed.
I've been intrigued by an idea I saw on Christi's blog for doing the heel on toe-up socks. Basically, instead of turning the heel, you knit in a row of scrap yarn where you want the calf to go and knit another toe.

Then you pick out the scrap yarn (as you can see I very intelligently picked out scrap yarn that was in the same colour family as the yarn I was using, meaning that it took me 20 minutes to figure out which bit of the foot I was supposed to be picking out) ... 

.. leaving you with two very oddly gaping socks ...

.. which you then pick up and knit as normal. 

It's a bit fiddly so I can't see it becoming a favourite method for me, but it did mean I could continue striping all the way up the heel without trying to figure out how to keep the lines consistent with the short row.

Lucy is still so tired from her mouse-catching that she can't stay awake for more than a few hours. 
It's hard being a cat!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A sad postscript

In light of my last post, it was very tragic to read yesterday that the hospital nurse who was pranked by the 2Day FM DJs committed suicide. A stark reminder that one's actions can have widespread and real consequences.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

FO Friday: Koala Socks (2012 FO #16)

This one is an old one but following my this-year rules that I can't take a project off my list of WIPs until they are photographed and blogged so here you go:

I finished these in May and they have been worn regularly ever since. As always, Opal wears like a dream. This sock yarn is without doubt the best sock yarn I have ever used and it consistently produces excellent results.

That said, I'm not sure that the person who based this colourway on a koala has actually seen a koala but Sam loved the sock and the colours and that's all that's important.

Only 17 WIPs now... eek!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Argh! What is wrong with people!!

I don’t normally talk about the media and current affairs on this blog (it gets in the way of cat and knitting topics) but there are two articles I saw in today’s paper on which I have Opinions that I must share or I will explode.

What the fuck is wrong with people? Beyond the fact they shouldn’t have done it because the prank is in no way clever, funny or entertaining, it’s a hospital. Sick people are there. No-one in any hospital should have to deal with this type of crap because some moron on the other side of the world is trying to fill some air time. Everyone from the producers to the presenters should have to explain why they did this really stupid thing to the Australian Broadcasting Authority. Morons.

While I concur that Love in the Time of Cholera shouldn’t be on the VCE teaching list, it’s because I think it is mind-numbingly boring and we shouldn’t do that to our VCE students when VCE is hard enough. That said, this book is a hugely popular and highly regarded literary novel and is rich source for analysis and as such it is perfectly appropriate for study in an English class for 16 and 17 year olds.

Firstly, this teacher massively overvalues the impact that reading a long (and boring) novel will have on teenage students who have a million more interesting things to do. It perpetuates the myths that a: teenagers are children who, at the stroke of midnight when they turn 18, are magically able to deal with topics and concepts they couldn’t deal with the day before; b: that teenagers’ minds are empty and just waiting to be imprinted on because (obviously) they have absolutely no facility to process information independently and c: that as soon as anyone reads/sees/hears about a topic such as incest they will immediately do that thing, in this case head out and bonk their uncle/sister/cousin. Just like reading Tales of the City didn’t magically turn me gay, reading this book isn’t magically going to turn students into incestuous paedophiles. This is the Internet generation – they have seen and heard far worse things than one aspect of one complex involved novel that a whole bunch of them won’t even read the whole way through.

Secondly, if we are going to start deciding what can go onto the reading list based on its appropriateness, let’s have a look at some of the other titles. This is the list of books in 2013. Since Bantnick is so concerned about how this book will affect young girls (because clearly they will regard this book as a manual for life rather than a literary text to be studied, those silly girls. Sexism is alive and well and perfectly okay, clearly), should Wuthering Heights be on the list? I love Wuthering Heights and it’s one of my favourite books but the relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff that drives the novel is seriously fucked up and not a healthy model for anyone. The school that this man teaches at is religious and there are heaps of instances of rape, incest and misogyny in the Bible, as well as lots of sex (what 14-year-old at a religious school never giggled at Song of Songs?). Should teaching the Bible also be banned? 

Like it or not, incest and paedophilia do happen. One of the best places for these taboo topics to be discussed are in an environment like a classroom where they can be addressed and talked about. Avoiding studying texts because they contain difficult subjects is about as effective at making them go away as putting your fingers in your ears and singing 'La la la'. It's far better to provide these students the critical and analytical tools to deal with this information than continue to pretend that these issues don't exist until they are adults. The fact that we are reading about this ridiculously hysterical overreaction from an actual teacher who is currently working and in charge of shaping young minds gives me a massive sad. I just hope that he is not in charge of deciding the reading list at his school and that parents and his boss are intelligent enough to treat this article as it should be treated - by dismissing it immediately.