When is a UFO a WIP?

The yay-ness factor of terminating the UFOs diminished slightly when I discovered that the sleeves for my Red Oak jacket were at least two sizes too small.

But I faltered only slightly before ripping them out and starting over.

I have finished all the turned up hems, finished the edges of the jacket and given thought to closures. I think I’ll go for hidden hook and eyes rather than the duffle coat look. All in all, not too bad.

It does make me wonder the tipping point between UFO and WIP. Looking through my projects on Ravelry I’m thinking it’s 85%. Before that you’re still likely to be working through sleeves and what not; after that I think you’re contemplating all the seaming which is where I can stop. It’s not intentional, it’s just one of those things where I wait until the weekend because seaming on public transport is not recommended.

So of dozen UFOs I uncovered, perhaps I can shift two or three to the WIP pile. It makes me feel a little better.


Terminating the UFOs

I started on a tidy up of my sewing/knitting/make anything room yesterday. I cleared possibly 1sqm of space and came up with no less than one dozen unfinished objects.

So I’ve decided that an absolutely necessary part of this clean up will be terminating the UFOs. I made a start last night on my Red Oak jacket – so close to finishing that all I had to do was find the remaining balls of wool, finish the collar and seam. Already up to the seaming!

As part of my return to regular blogging and a motivation to keep tidying up, I’ll post on my terminator progress.


Like everyone else, we’ve been shocked at the destruction first in Christchurch and now in Japan. We’re pretty strict on not letting the kids watch or hear too much of the news about these kinds of events – it’s too easy for them to be overwhelmed¬† or to think the event is repeating or will happen to them. We explain what’s happened, what’s being done to help and so forth. We’ll select a news video on YouTube for example, one we’ve already checked, and talk them through that.

There’s usually plenty of questions and we do our best to answer those. A Montessori curriculum helps here – they have an above average general science knowledge – so our discussions can be clear, factual and reassuring. Being on the most geologically stable continent on earth helps since our two our natural worriers.

But yesterday I saw something that I hadn’t seen before. The lass has a self-assemble doll house and she had that set up, full of furniture and her very small pets. A friend was over yesterday and I heard them chatting about the earthquake in Japan. The friends’ mother had been in Japan recently on a business trip and there was talk of ‘I’m glad it didn’t happen while she was there’. I recalled also that I had spoken of Christchurch – I visited during a conference some years ago – and how beautiful it was.

Sometime during the afternoon I realised the dollhouse was a ramshackle mess, missing walls etc. I asked later what had happened. ‘An earthquake’ the lass calmly explained.

I took a closer look later and realised all the inhabitants had been moved out before the earthquake.


A little bit of everything

I was flicking back through last summer’s photographs for something to brighten the place up. I think a bit of pink grevillea will do the trick.

It certainly makes me feel happier than listening to the Mad Monk, aka Tony Rabbit, aka the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. But since he and his party seem to be doing a rather nice job of slowly screwing up their chances with the independents, I’m not feeling as ranty as I could’ve been. Indeed, I’ve been rather pleased by the sudden appearance of European-style minimum winning coalitions and the shocking idea that federal politics and government may require cooperation. I suspect a Labor government supported by the independents since that would be the only way to ensure stable government when the Greens hold the balance of power in the Senate. At any rate, it’s going to be very interesting for a while to come.

My crafty projects continue at a pleasing rate: reworking the lad’s beanie so it fits – I’ll do a separate post on that because I’ve used some interesting construction techniques to fit his design; my plum jacket is reading for sewing up this weekend; I’ve cast on for Acorns in a lovely heathery foresty green; crocheting away on the flower rug with crescent mesh; and about to pounce on a couple of wristwarmers and berets for myself. The lass’ car rug fails to inspire me so I’m going to see if I can persuade her to change patterns. Stripy treble is not my favourite form of crochet. And sometime next week I will cast on for Red Oak in a chunky burnt orange. There’s another trip to the Netherlands lined up, this time for late October/early November, so I get the fun of more winter knitting.

The lad is having some occupational therapy assessment as part of our Asperger’s management plan. It means another two questionnaires for us and I decided to photocopy one so I could fill it in for myself. It’s all about sensory integration – how we receive and respond to information about our environment through our senses. Typically, aspies have a profile of sensory integration ‘deficits’, particular stimuli that trigger an exaggerated response. The professionals are beginning to understand that if you actually take this sensory profile as a means of understanding the person rather than just a guide to behaviour management (for example, moving away from ‘let’s avoid loud noises so he doesn’t have an aspie meltdown’ to ‘tactile experiences are a really positive way he can learn’) then maybe quite a few difficulties can be resolved.

The lad and I have a few things in common here. Auditory processing difficulties (loud noises, trouble understanding speech in some circumstances etc); high sensitivity to touch – which explains a tendency to wear the same clothes because they feel ‘just right’; strong preferences for certain smells or tastes, that sort of thing. The lad is quite happy to play with icky gel kind of stuff, playdough and what have you. I avoid it like the plague. I refused point blank to ever make playdough for the kids – I hated the smell and feel of it. It’s a good thing my mother stepped into the breach.

But there are other tactile experiences I love – yarn and fabric, clearly. I love the feel of different types of yarn running through my fingers, manipulating fabric for fold and drape. It’s heavenly. When I’m drawing I prefer to use charcoal or pastels, materials I can feel in my fingers, rather than pencils. Embroidery seems to me a fabulous way to draw, getting colour and texture and swirling them around.

Maybe I’ve figured out my sensory profile after all.

Colouring in

I’ve knitting and crocheting steadily over the last little while and I’ve finally had the time (home with the lurgy) and some sun to photograph it.

These are flowers I’m crocheting for the Irish Floral throw in Comfort Afghans and Throws. While I usually have a love/hate relationship with crochet, I’m enjoying these flowers and using wool remnants from projects long finished. I’m improvising the flowers quite a bit and I can highly recommend my picot as a source of well illustrated crochet stitches. If you look under ‘Flowers and volumetric’ stitches, you’ll find some gorgeous butterflies. I’m going to try one of those soon.

The lad has commissioned a beanie and wristwarmer set, according to his own design. This one’s being knit flat to accommodate the colour work.

As gorgeous as this silk shawl is, I’ll be ripping it out. The lace border just wasn’t the right choice for this yarn weight. I’ve decided to go for a crochet border with a knitted, shaped body for its next incarnation.

This was my travel knitting – a bamboo yarn for a short-sleeve, v-neck tee. I’ve changed my mind about the pattern for this yarn a couple of times but didn’t start until I was quite sure. This is being knit in the round and I’ve just got to the point of dividing it for the front and back.

I’m quite ambivalent about this one. I substituted yarn in this pattern and I don’t think mohair was the way to go. This style of asymmetrical jacket needs a little weight to help it drape and show off its angle but the mohair is simply too airy to do that. I’ll see what can be done with shawl pins and other arrangements.

Now to finish off three other projects on the needles.

Finishing day

I finished a few little things yesterday. The sorts of little things that lie over a chair and don’t really take very long to do. Which, paradoxically, seems to be why I procrastinate. Since they could be done anytime they always end up at the back of the line behind the stuff that needs doing right now.

This hooded vest now has the zip it’s needed for the last eight months.

This pinny had it’s facing tacked down and a few little stray bits tucked away:

I sewed a button on a pair of jeans and crocheted a bright pink flower from sari silk to pick up a stylish but a little too grey knit top for the lass. So it was perfectly okay to add to my array of knitting works-in-progress (currently only two). So I swatched for Adam’s Rib in a gorgeously deep plum: –

and cast on a poncho for the lass.

So now I have on the needles some car knitting, car knitting in waiting, in front of the tv knitting and evening knitting that needs a bit of concentration (which can double up as watching gymnastics for two hours knitting). There is no such thing as too much knitting.

The tea towel, she is done

I have finally, finally finished my tea towels. I’m glad I signed up – I learned new skills, received fabulous towels that show just how talented these crafty women are, and had fun. It just took a long time with all that other overwhelming stuff happening. This is a little peep of what’s been going on.

Over the next few days I’ll post photos of the amazing tea towels I received. It was exciting to unfold each one and find out just a little bit about the maker of each one. Huge thanks to sooz and Kate for their work in organising this.

In other completion news, I whipped up this cloche for my lass. I used Justine’s ‘Poppy’ pattern (Ravelled here) and fiddled with the size and went for a crocheted band and flower detail. To get the bulk for guage, I used two strands of 8ply. One is a purple Jo Sharp Aran and the other is a deep pink Phildar yarn I used to make a wrap cardi for the lass (more on that later). Since the lass has a short bob at the moment, it’s looking very 1920s lovely on her. Tres chic!

Summer knitting

Not one to forgo knitting simply because the weather will (eventually) climb above 40C, I’ve started on summer knitting. This little number is for the lass, a swing dress from Knitty.


It had to be upsized considerably for a very tall 7yo but I think it shall do well as a dress then as a top over shorts or leggings later in the season. I’m planning another for my neice, this time in lilac. I’m considering a skirt or t-shirt from the leftover yarn – stripey, undulating kind of thing.

I still have wool on the needles at this early part of spring. It helps keep my fingers warm while the car warms up. Mainly I am committed to finishing a top that I started nearly two years ago. It’s not like me to leave things that long but this particular yarn has been through no less than five rippings of half-finished garments. It’s such a lovely, soft yarn in a colour I love and a weight I enjoy working with. So the top has to be special, too.

The first two attempts at a crochet/knit top from Phildar were frustrating; the February Lady sweater got ripped twice; and the last attempt – a 1920s inspired jumper – has just been ripped. I’m going with Arisaig: the style and pattern are just me and it’s the kind of ‘transseasonal’ garment that is absolutely necessary in Melbourne all year round (except for the five weeks of winter).

Keep your fingers crossed for me on this one.

A shawl kick

Encouraged by peasoup’s adventures in this regard, I’ve made a little shawl recently and started on another. The first is inspired derived from a copy of peasoup’s shawl here and here:


Let’s think of it as homage, shall we, especially since the green is suse’s own hand dyed hobbit green.

This next is a beautiful merino lace from Peru, kettle-dyed, and luscious to work with.


The variegation works well with the brioche stitch (knit 1, knit 1 below, then knit the next row) because one stitch is slipped up every other row. It means that different shades can really pop out depending on foreground and background colours. It’s working really well as a solid stitch for a shawl because it’s a garter stitch pattern (very little thinking) while being very light and airy.


Now all I have to do is find the other two skeins and try to forget how I was a very naughty knitter and left a skein out to be nibbled at by insects.


My knitting’s been a bit all over the place recently. All over the house, over a whole lot of projects but not much in the way of actual results. Mostly it’s been *knit, knit, frog (repeat from * 5 times).

Spurred by the success I had with Reverie by Amy Swenson over at Knitty, I went full on with some hat making. The lass’s got frogged only once; the next one for me got frogged four times. I finally settled for an okay hat, if only to get it off the needles and my mind. Hats and I have a mixed straightforward history. They don’t suit me or I don’t suit them. So when Reverie did suit I got rather keen. It’s not the pattern – it really is me. I thought I could modify a little and it didn’t work. So, feeling chastened, I shall return to the pattern and think a little more closely about how I can make it without holes. Because 7.45am on a winter’s morning at a footy game is not a time for holes in your hat.

I’m also puzzling and frogging over winter jumpers or cardis or wraps for me. I’m making an effort to use stash yarns and that does up the degree of difficulty. I love the colours in my stash and I have plenty of patterns to swoon over, it’s just that stash yarn = limited quantities = difficult decisions. Another complicating factor is the new and fascinating information on colours and wardrobe sloshing around the family (thanks, Mum!). So while I now know why I opt for black as my neutral even though chocolate suits me and my preferred colours better, that doesn’t help turn black stash yarn into chocolate stash yarn. I may need to sit down with patterns, yarn, red wine and chocolate. Damn.

Not all is lost. I’m working on a pair of socks for the Bloke and they’re working out nicely without a frog in sight.

Blog giveaway

Cos I love youse all.*

Though really because I was given a subscription to Creative Knitting magazine from my former workplace and it’s not quite my thing. So rather than toss each edition or have it pile and gather dust, I thought somebody might make use of it. It’s an eighteen month subscription and it’s issued quarterly.¬† I have three issues already that I will send to you and I will arrange a change of address to anywhere in Australia, effective from the next issue. It seems to be targeted at beginner/intermediate knitters and had patterns mostly for women and kids, with a couple of men’s patterns thrown in the last issue.

If you would like it, please leave a comment by 9.00am AEST Saturday and I’ll do a random number draw (um, hopefully I will need to do a random number draw….)

*quote from Jeff Fenech, champion Australian boxer and noted raconteur.

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