Sunday, November 30, 2014

Like a Finnish river... (2014 FO# 17)

Happy Monday, everyone. I had one of those weekends where a lot got done but not much of it was interesting to read about...unless anyone wants to hear about my marathon weeding session? I don't think so.

I did take a quick break on Saturday afternoon to go to a wine tasting competition at my local Dan Murphy's. It involved tasting wine without seeing the bottle and then being asked a series of questions about its type and origin, with only the winners going through to the next round. I was really terrible at it! Which honestly is a surprise given the amount of wine that I drink. I think if it had been a competition on Australian reds that cost less than $20 a bottle, I would have won it hands down.

The parade of finished socks continues. The pattern is Kalajoki, and it is named after the Kalajoki river that "winds its way through Finland and empties into the Baltic sea" (from the pattern). It's a simple stockinette sock with a twisted rib pattern which does, to my romantic eyes, look a bit like a Finnish river. 

I made a couple of mods. I used Wollmeise twin from my stash to make these, so adapted the pattern for a 64-stitch sock. I also changed the cuff ribbing to a standard 1x1 except for the three knit stitches that were twisted all through the sock. I find that twisted rib is super right and totally cuts off the circulation to my foot, so I avoid it where possible.

I also used a short-row heel because I find they fit my foot better. I purposely made it just a tiny bit too small because I find that my other Wollmeise socks (Waving Lace) stretch out after they've been worn. I did not do the anatomical toes because I couldn't figure out how to adapt them to my stitch count. Plus, my normal toe fits fine for me.

I finished these about two days before leaving for the UK. I had this fantasy that I would be able to take FO photo shoots in picturesque locations and that my blog would temporarily look like it was Kate Gilbert's. However, there was no bloody way I was going to take my shoes off outside at any time in that very cold and very wet country, so the photo shoot had to wait.

That said, these socks have experienced serious wear - like literally weeks of walking around in sneakers in damp conditions - and they still look like they've just been pulled off the needles. I don't like knitting with Wollmeise very much but I cannot deny that it makes beautiful, beautiful things.

I am very happy with my not-so-new socks :)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

FO Friday: Lotsa socks! (2014 FOs 13-16)

I have not been blogging very much recently. This is not because I haven't been knitting or doing things; rather, it's because I am completely infatuated with Instagram. It's fantastic - it's made up of beautifully composed snapshots of people's lives. I know one of the biggest criticisms of Instagram is that by presenting only beautiful, happy things it is creating an unrealistic idea of how great other people's lives are. I can see why that would be a problem, and Instagram certainly isn't for everyone, but I know that no-one's life is perfect. However, if I wanted to hear people bitching about their boss or car or real estate agent, then I'd sign up for Facebook, that amazing medium of self-involvement and tedium. I read the newspaper, I follow current affairs and I know how shitty stuff can be. Yesterday's awful heartbreaking news about Phillip Hughes illustrated how random and tragic life can be. That's why I love Instagram so much - the representations of happy, fun and pretty things temper the harsh reality of everyday life.

Instagram love session over, here is the picture I posted on Instagram yesterday that I figured I should blog for my FO Friday. These are all of the socks I have knitted for Christmas presents so for. It's a Christmas miracle that they are all ready one month early! From left to right, they are Bendigo Woollen Mills wool-nylon sock yarn in Burgundy; spiralled Patonyle (shades blue and 4303), Opal Rainforest in 1613 and Cleckheato Merino Bambino in 2202. All stocking stitch with a flap and gusset heel and all individually shaped for their recipient. I hope the giftees like wearing these socks as much as I liked making them.

I have a ton more finished projects to share before the end of the year, so I will definitely be hanging out on the blog a bit more over the next month.

Until then, anon :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

WIP Wednesday: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Today's WIP Wednesday is brought to you by the spirit of Christmas. Buy being the operative word, because this year I have decided that every time someone I know behaves obnoxiously because of Christmas, I am buying myself a Christmas present.

My first gift was a set of fancy schmancy KnitPro Karbonz needles that were purchased when I was accused of hiding a big secret because the present I wanted to buy a certain person was so nice that I must be feeling guilty about something. *sigh* The packet says they are made out of high-tech carbon fibre, "one of the most versatile material used in manufacture of the new generation aircrafts, spaceships, racing cars etc.!!" I am excited about knitting with the same material that spaceships are made of; I am also thinking about applying to Knit Pro as a proofreader.

My second gift was a ball of Regia Design Line Hand-dye Effect by Kaffee Fassett. This was purchased after the Christmas dinner that has been organised since July was moved to Christmas lunch, meaning that instead of having lunch at one place and dinner at another, I now have to choose between two lunches. I just cannot, really.

I have no excuse for giving myself the third gift except for that I really wanted it: an hour outside in the sun hanging with Lucy playing with my new needles and wool. 

Despite my bitching and moaning, all is right with the world. I am a very lucky person :)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Leftovers and (finally) a finished object (2014 FO #2014)

I've been back from overseas for a little over two weeks. My body clock has reset and I am well and truly back into the every grind. I accept that my holiday is over; nevertheless, I still occasionally open iPhoto and flick through some of my favourite shots.

A green passageway at Chatsworth House.

A Halloween soap cake at an apothecary in the Bronë village.

Having a glass of wine in front of the fire at a 500-year old inn.

Watching the soccer at a lovely local pub while eating chips covered with cheese (why, I'm not sure. They were delicious though!)

Finally, here are the socks I knitted during the World Cup, ready to be given to my dad for Christmas.

As always, the Opal yarn was a delight to knit with and the socks are fab.

I need to go on another holiday!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A woeful WIP Wednesday

On Monday I did the first part of my annual health check-up. This involves going to the hospital and being prodded, poked, X-rayed and scanned by assorted health professionals.

Like I do every year, I took enough reading material and work to occupy me for at least a week but, like every other year, I ended up knitting on a sock and wondering why hospitals always have such ugly flooring. These are my sister's Christmas socks, which are almost done with six weeks to spare (it's a Christmas miracle! Plus she has very small feet.)

I was very brave when being stuck with needles and I didn't complain at all (except for on Instragram and in this blog post and to every non-hospital person I spoke to that day) so I treated myself to a choc-malt milkshake and a potato cake. Next time I'm getting two potato cakes - days at the hospital really suck (and they're really very delicious).

Day tripping - the Mornington Peninsula

One of the great things about working at a university is all of the wonderful, interesting people you meet. Recently a lovely German student with interesting stories and an intriguing accent arrived to do some fieldwork in Melbourne, so Sam and I decided to play host for the city and take her to one of my favourite places, Mornington.

The day dawned bright, beautiful and very hot - my favourite conditions for a wine tour! Our first destination was one my my favourites: Eldridge Estate. The tasting room is quite small but they have a lovely deck with a spectacular view:

If I ever need to give a small but spectacular party, I'm hosting it on that decking.

Our second stop off was T'Gallant. I've been wanting to go there for years but every time I've tried it's been too busy. This time we were lucky enough to nab a table straightaway and we sat down to have lunch.

The food was...okay. It's reasonably priced for Mornington but we probably would have been better just going to T'Gallant for a glass of wine and stopping off at a providore for some bread and cheese and having a picnic instead.

The winery, however, was gorgeous!

It would have been a great place to spend the afternoon, drinking rose and relaxing.

The final winery we visited was Ten Minutes by Tractor. They do sell wine here but it seemed to me like more of a restaurant than a winery. The tasting area was right next to the restaurant, so although the wine was nice, it was overpowered by the strong smell of meat smoking. The view and setting (as I've come to expect from all Mornington wineries) was, however, completely fantastic.

We drove home via the Arthurs Seat State Park. I had actually never been there before (probably because there's nowhere to buy or drink wine on the summit...) but I was glad to have finally made it - the view was gorgeous! You could see right from one side of the peninsula to the other.

As you can see in this picture, the blue sky had vanished and the temperature dropped about 10 degrees in half an hour. It felt very appropriate that part of my Melbourne experience also included a very Melbourne weather change!

It was a lovely day. I am already planning my next day trip away...