Thursday, May 23, 2013

Neglected blog and the Genteman's Socks

Good evening to my sadly neglected blog. With the demise of my trusty (not so trusty) technology tool and the busyness of the last two weeks, I have had little time and not much opportunity to post. But in between the stuff of life I have still managed to squeeze in a few stitches here and there. Last week I rummaged out a small hand-quilting project that needs be finished, and work has slowly continued on the railway stitch soldier socks.

I'm not sure mine are going to turn out *quite* as nicely as these ones, knitted by Grumperina (another lovely knitting blog to add to the basket). She does make hers look so neat and tidy, although now that I have progressed beyond the calf decrease I suspect mine will start to look more like they should.
Grumperina's Gentleman's Sock in Railway Stitch, from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks

Detail of the calf decrease - not sure mine looks quite so neat ...

Grumperina has knitted her socks using The Gentleman's Sock in Railway Stitch pattern from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. I have been battling on using the pattern that I found in The Sydney Morning Herald in 1914. It is not at all user-friendly, and so far, I have resisted re-writing it in order to gain insight into the [now very respected] skill and acuity of the knitters of a century ago.

I was captive in the car for a couple of hours this afternoon, and was glad that I had grabbed my knitting bag for for the journey. I managed to complete 18 rounds of passenger-knitting on the way there and back; I always love it when I can make something of otherwise unusable time! The soldier socks are dark brownish and I have some navy contrast put aside for the stripey heel when I get there. I'm so glad I found Grumperina's socks, because now I know what mine are *supposed* to look like!! It's too late in the evening to try and take photos of dark brown socks, but maybe in a couple of days I'll post up a progress picture for comparison.

I fear my prototype sock will be somewhat dodgy. There is no way that I will be frogging it though. I shall approach it a manner becoming the Persian carpet-maker, and see it's faults as the imperfection of humanity. It will still be a thing of beauty to me.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Batting Birdie

Batting birdieBatting birdie in progressimage

I am attempting a blog post using the iPad (shouldn't be that hard, should it?) ... Le laptop has developed senile dementia and I am feeling brought low over my alternate technology skills. However, I press on.

After a day of stopping/starting quilting and half a dozen rounds on the dastardly soldier socks I was just in the mood for a bit of playtime this evening. A little birdie has been flying around in my head for a day or two, and tonight she has emerged as pretty as I had hoped. I am extra specially pleased because she is fashioned from wadding off cuts, and therefore ticks the reuse/recycle box that is so very ingrained in my psyche.

I think I will stitch a brooch pin on the back and maybe she will do to fasten up a woolly winter scarf (it's finally starting to chill down here and the wisp of Winter is in the air).

As soon as new improved model laptop arrives on my doorstep I'll publish the pattern here on my blog as a freebie (I love freebies).

Fly little birdie, fly!


Evie xxx

Monday, May 6, 2013

Watson picks a winner - the broochy giveaway

I thought it would kind of be a novel idea for Waston, my black miniature poodle puppy to pick out the winner for my first little Stitchitybits giveaway, and I certainly wasn't disappointed! I know I am unashamedly biased, but I think he was an absolute star ... [I hope the video works]

And the winner of the pretty brooch is ...
Rebecca Fantini! I announced this on facebook yesterday because I am having intermittent laptoppy issues and getting pics onto blogger using the iPad was somehow not do-able. We have already been in touch and I can't wait to get her little pressie on it's way. :)

This was a bit of a fun thing to do, and thank you to everyone who participated. I'm still a bit of a newbie at all this, and hopefully I'll have more of a clue about what I'm doing next time around.

x x x x x 

After my day spent in time management training last Friday I have had a huge think about all the "stuff" that I do, and all the "stuff" that I want to do, and all the "stuff" that I manage and have yet to manage around my house (that's a LOT of "stuff").  The diary is now hitting the "to do" list, and the "project list" has become so heavily populated that I fully understand why I have been feeling so very overcrowded. This proverbial horse is now aiming to be in front of the cart instead of the other way around.

I have been able to block out at least six extra hours in the week for creative time, and all the boring household stuff has been neatly scheduled into the gaps of time that often get wasted. I've even allocated time for project development and research tasks. My diary has morphed into a folder with divider tabs and stationery pockets. I have space for envelopes and stamps and somewhere to keep my tax receipts. Kind of like a Filofax (but of the home-made budget variety).

So far it's working out really well and I am feeling more hopeful about making my work and creative time more effective.

x x x x x

Now for an update on the soldier socks: The pattern called for No. 15 needles, but bearing in mind that it was written in 1915 I have had trouble finding a conversation chart anywhere that listed that needle size. However, somewhere I came across a reference to this size equating to 2mm needles, so that is what I chose to use. After knitting a few inches of ribbing I was getting worried that they might be too small for a grown man. So I frogged them today while Watson was getting his way overdue makeover at the groomers, and now I am working them up on 3mm pins. There are 81 stitches in the round, and with 4-ply yarn I think it will be just about right.
Poor Watson is feeling somewhat more naked that when he left the house this morning. He is snuggled on the sofa and has effectively buried himself under the cushions. I am aware of his accusative glances concerning my role in his being wrangled out of the bath (which he loves) and onto the drying and cutting table (which he hates). But he does look much more like the beautiful poodle that he is (and he smells delicious also).

Lots of puppy cuddles in store this evening, with the fervent hope of forgiveness and absolution. I certainly hope so.

Evie xxx

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Sewing like a mad woman and the broochy GIVEAWAY!!

So I'm really getting into this baby quilt now. After weeks [maybe months] of procrastinating I think I've finally hit my stride. I have planned to do 35 blocks (5 x 7 rows), but now I'm wondering whether that will make the finished quilt a bit too big. If I was a planner (which I'm not), I would have worked all of this out already, but I mostly avoid numbers if I can. Not that I can't do numbers, but it's just not how I tend to work. Anyway, I'm never terribly good at making decisions, so I'm just going to keep stitching up a storm and see how it's looking when I get to the 25-blocks mark. And I'm sorry about the rubbish photos. I *lost* my camera somewhere last year, and have temporarily replaced it with a $69.00 point-and-click 14mega-pixel digital, which clearly isn't doing the job as well as I'd like. But perhaps it's me and not the camera. Another thing I should read up on ...
Anyhoo, I have decided to make this a quilt-as-you-go job [note: I made a decision about something]. My days of tacking up big quilt tops and then trying to wrangle them under the machine are pretty much over. I am finding sitting at the machine, even for these easy blocks, is playing havoc with my dodgy back and my other failing body parts. I really do infinitely prefer the gentle rhythm of hand-work, but time is pressing, and so I am pretending that the machine is my best friend at the moment. I have been working on setting goals (thank you for your advice and encouragement JE), and now I am feeling on top of the quilt, instead of feeling as though the quilt were on top of me!!

x x x x x

And as well as all that, I have lately been reflecting on the whole *time* thing [as have numbers of people in my sphere]. I wonder whether women in generations past felt the pressures of life in the same ways that we do? Perhaps when roles were more defined, and social mores were unvaryingly prescriptive; when there was limited (or no) choice, the strictures of daily life meant that routines were adhered to and the boundaries made safe. Monday was wash day, Tuesday was ironing day, Wednesday was sewing day, and so it went on. There was no expectation that you could pack more into your hours than was considered appropriate for the day. Well, that's my thinking anyway [I have been known to be wrong before].

But since I left full-time *paid* employment a number of years ago, and my small kidlets have grown into big ones, I think I have let go the rhythms and routines that keep one on the straight and narrow. And in having more time, I now realise that I have not been using it all that well. Tomorrow I am doing a one-day seminar on "Tools for Personal Productivity", or something like that. It's at "work" (I am still a part-timer 'cos it helps to pay the bills), but I can see this as being very "timely" for my home life/sewing/knitting/everything else life as well! I have always been a bit of a listmaker, but it feels like I'm ready for a change of focus in how I approach the use of my time. Will keep you posted on this one. Maybe you could share your tips as well? It's always good to hear how other people manage to try and juggle all the balls at once and gives food for thought and contemplation!

Now my other reason for posting is that I want to remind you about my little brooch GIVEAWAY!!!
I'm out here in Stitchitybits-land because I need somewhere to share what I'm doing and what I'm making and what I'm thinking, and I'd really welcome some feedback about what it's like for you as well. So please, if you could leave a comment here on the blog, or head over to facebook and like my page, I'll add your name to my little list and on Sunday afternoon Watson and I will draw a winner for this pretty brooch by the talented Alexandra Callow.

In the meantime, I'm really hoping the ye-olde-laptop doesn't completely pack it in. It's been getting the jitters a bit in the last few weeks, and yesterday it had a complete meltdown. I think the interwebs gods must have taken pity on me, because it's back on deck today, good as gold. Otherwise, I will have to resort to le-iPad, and that just isn't the same for this 'ol gal.

If you leave me a comment, I will always reply.

Love love,

Evie xxx