Fractious Fair Isle Friday #1

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In the hope of getting some more regularity and structure into my posting, I’ve had the genius idea of coining this Friday, and every subsequent Friday until I goshdarn finish this goshdarn sweater, as ‘Fractious Fair Isle Friday’.

‘What sweater?’ you might ask.

‘This sweater!’ I will respond.

‘But why would you even subject yourself to making that?’ you might ask.

‘I don’t even know.’ I will respond.

Actually, it’s ’cause a friend at work and I are making “matching twinsy sweaters” using this pattern from the Debbie Bliss F/W 2011 magazine. There were many weeks of very important deliberation before I could begin; 4 ply or 8 ply? And which colours? And I can’t get any Rialto! Will I use Empire instead? Oh, the life-changing decisions! What ever will I do?! (You know, solving problems like that.) I finally decided on dark green in Empire 4ply for the body, defying DB’s whole theme of “ebony, ivory, and all notes in between”. Rebellious, I know.
Also, I mixed it up a little for the contrast colour. I’m using two colours instead of just white. The bulk of the contrast will be in “seascape twist”, which is a kind of soft grey with a single strand of baby blue spun in. The snowflakes across the bust will be in off-white, just to break up the really dense band of hearts above it.
I’m not sure if my colleague’s decided on her colours yet. It is a hard decision.

I completed my gauge swatch three days ago, with much difficulty. The first two balls of dark green I started to use were overspun and too thin. Fortunately I’d bought all the wool beforehand and the third ball I unraveled was the charm. So I did get the swatch done. My tension was spot on too, so things were looking up.

The next day I was hoping to exchange the faulty wool after work, but the first customer of the day bought every last ball. I nearly cried.
Fortunately she came back later in the day and returned it as she decided she’d prefer something else. I nearly cried again, only this time it was from sheer jubilation.

Here’s the progress I’ve made over the last two days.

I swear that DB has some weird sizing Juju going on. I’m making the smallest size, but the ribbing is about an inch and a half bigger than what I would expect for a small hip size. My tension is right, so I suppose it’s just how it’s meant to be. I can’t find a Ravelry page for it to double check so I’m hoping at all works out. I don’t really mind it being a little loose.

I won’t go into how many times I’ve had to rip back and fix mistakes. I keep reading the chart in the wrong direction. It’s so difficult to refrain from ragequitting.

Aside from that, isn’t this suitcase perfect for holding this project?! A little sleeve for my pattern, a perfect size for all the wool. It’s really light too, which means I can carry it around with me. I bought it today from a super nice couple I met through eBay. I bought two luggage trunks from them yesterday. I walked to their place to collect them, and not only did they drop both me and the trunks home, but they offered to come around to my place today and let me have first pick of all the new suitcases they’d acquired before they photographed and listed them. Result!

We laid them all out on the kerb, with the husband remarking how much it must’ve looked like we were doing some kind of dodgy deal, and I went through all of them. I ended up with 8 suitcases of various sizes. Some were old Globite school cases – exactly what I need for transporting and storing all my projects on the go. The others were more trunk-sized – perfect for storing my ever-expanding stash.

I’m really curious as to how other people store their stash. How do you go about it? If you’ve any photos, I’d love to see them.

Here’s the lining in my favourite case. It’s a big ol’ blue trunk with gorgeous plaid linen on the inside. Ahh, it makes my insides sing with happiness. It seems a shame to keep it closed!

Most of the others have the original name tags, novelty stickers and wrapping paper lining just as they had been when they were probably used as school cases decades ago. The light faded too soon afterwards for me to get any decent pictures of those. I’ll try and take a couple of photos in the coming weeks. There’s so much history in those little suitcases and I’d love to share it with you.

Until next time!

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Three excuses

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So, I’ve been absent for a bit, but ne’er fear, because today is a Public Holiday so I’m obliged not to do anything related to work, or outside the house in general.

Here are my reasons for being absent, accompanied by some pictures for added interest.

The first is, as I mentioned previously, I went on a road trip to the city of Armidale. It was my cousin’s wedding, which was glorious. It was outside, underneath an enormous old tree, and the autumn leaves were falling during the ceremony. The chevron cardigan was a great success; the orange and pink matched the colour scheme of the flowers, bridesmaids’ dresses, macaroons at the afternoon tea, the strawberry punch, and the sunset that evening too. And I had no idea that that was going to happen when I chose the colour. It was like the universe was saying, ‘Yeah! Go cardigan, go! Excellent choice of Noro. I approve entirely.’ Or maybe not.

The second is that when we got back I isolated myself from the world to do a three day stash tidy.
The bulk of it is in this large wooden chest that my father restored many, many years ago. It houses all my 8 ply, separated into bags of same type, or similar texture/purpose/project usability.

Oh wow! I only just realised that the cat I painted onto my window actually looks as if it is sitting on top of my sewing box!

Anyway, the suitcases hold my other yarns, organised by ply. The big grey-blue one on the left is just sock yarn. Looking at it now, it’s not as bad as I thought, although maybe that’s just me trying to justify buying more… Mind you, I did return some wool to work after I went through all of it, as I couldn’t fit all the 8ply into the chest. Is it bad that I’m hoping that says less about me and more about the size of the chest?

The two sewing boxes house my accessories. There’s a whole story behind the smaller one…

I saw it at work and told my boss that I would love to have it, but he told me that it was on hold for another lady. Apparently we didn’t know that we even had one to sell – we haven’t stocked them for ages – but when he visited our store in Melbourne it was just sitting there. So he brought it back and this customer snapped it right up. Well, almost. She never actually came to collect it, and so because I had dibs on it I assumed it was going to be mine.
One day I came into work and it wasn’t in the hold area. One of the other ladies at work had moved it aside and laid claim to it after seeing that it had been on hold for longer than it should have. We were working on the same floor for most of the day, and spent a bit of time trying to, albeit affectionately, psych each other out of buying it.

I don’t remember how or why, but I got to buy it. I do remember jumping up and down and making vaguely animalistic noises when I put my credit card PIN in the machine.

The larger sewing box was, and still technically is my mother’s. But she never uses it. It’s home to all my knitting needles and crochet hooks.

Here are most of my crochet hooks; the inactive ones not working on projects. Most of these belonged to my father’s mother and her mother. I’ll never really need most of these, but it’s good having them all organised in one place so I can see what I do have and will use.

One of my favourite hooks is this Tunisian crochet hook my mother’s mother made for me last Christmas. I love the gumnut stopper at the end.

That’s not all of the organisation. I found that I needed some extra shelf space to house the last few little bits of yarn, my brooch-making things, and my knitting and crochet books and magazines.

In the blue set of drawers are all my smallest scraps of yarn and crochet cotton organised by colour. My favourite is the blue/green drawer. I’m considering making a mix-and-match sort of lacy shawl for 107 with its contents.

Please note that in none of the other pictures have I shown you any of my actual stash. Why? Because I have appallingly too much yarn. Three days, folks. It took three whole days of my life. And nor have I shown, nor ever will I show you a before picture.

The third excuse is not all that exciting. Actually, it is. It really is. It’s the greatest ever.

This is Timshel. He turned up at the my work’s smaller store. He wasn’t microchipped and even after much searching we couldn’t find his owner.  So, I took him in. He likes windowsills, woollen jumpers and standing in the way. He still treats me a bit as if I’m out to steal his food or attack him, kind of like one of those distrusting, angsty street kids that gets adopted in feel-good Hollywood movies. But he’s relaxed a lot, as this photo kind of indicates…

So that’s where I’ve been.

Just before I finish up, I wanted to mention that Dara of Coffee and Lilacs nominated me for the Liebster Blog award and I can’t thank her enough. I was going to do my post and nominations today, but I wanted to think about who I was going to nominate a little more thoroughly than I have already. In the meantime, thank you Dara. I really appreciate your lovely comments.

Over and out.