Camping time!!! Good for the mind, not so good for the body

It was a long weekend last weekend so we took off to the south all set for a camping weekend. 

It was glorious. Sure there were idiots with their generator on til 2am, dogs not on leashes running amuck, loud music and general disruptive behaviour but we were away from the city in the great outdoors and it wasn’t going to spoil those 3 night we planned at Logue Brook Dam (about 2 hours drive from home).
We didn’t stay in the Tourist Park area (too touristy!), but instead drove to the other side of the lake and camped in the National Park. It was more our style of camping.

   
    

It’s not quite ‘glamping’ but we do make camping less stressful by having good equipment . We have a pop-up tent and a gazebo for shade, stretcher beds and self inflating mattresses for sleeping, and a solid set of camping chairs and table. The new addition this holiday was a hammock which was lovely and relaxing until the wind started to howl. 

   
   

 

I spent my time wisely and finished 3 books and started a 4th. 

I finished The Book Thief and tried not to cry. It was gorgeously written, very poignant but ultimately tears were shed. 

Wedding Night was on my iPad so it got read while I was working on my knitting. I’d read it before and it was a good bit of fluff to follow a WW2 novel. 

I also finished Rilla of Ingleside for the upteenth time. I found new covers for the series on Book Depository which I had to buy. 

And I started Shadow Scale (sequel to Seraphina which I raced through and loved!) but I only got about a third of the way through

(This brings my total read books for this year up to 24 meaning I’m likely to meet my challenge of 30 new books. The 24 doesn’t include any books I re-read.)

  
 The Nightvale-esque eye bag is my new knitting project bag.  It was purchased in a Cotton On sale where everything I bought (new work shoes, a floppy hat, some more shoes, cat socks, more shoes) was $5.

I googled ‘camping knitting’ before I left. I didn’t really have anything on the needles that I could knit without thinking. I needed the type of knitting that takes your mind off carsickness, can still be done around a campfire, in between scrabble moves, and which isn’t going to result in frogging the next morning. 

Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Pi shawl has all the stockinette a camper could ask for.  The chapter of the Knitters Almanac with the Pi Shawl recipe has an entire section on camping knitting which put me right in the mood. I have since bought a hard copy of the book, but I found the pattern in an online preview which I print screened and took along with me.

  
  

I also finished off a pair of slippers that I needed the foot model to try on. They went to a very happy grandma. 

 
Unfortunately no fish were caught (although not for lack of trying.)
But the early morning trips to the dam weren’t entirely wasted with my brother-in-law doing a spectacular slip into the water. I didn’t see it but apparently it rivalled my less than graceful entry into the hammock the day before. 

   
   
   

Ultimately it was a fantastic 4 days, after which I felt relaxed, inspired, and like I’d had a week’s peace and quiet. It has been followed up by a week of Physio appointments and a bucket load of pain killers for my back, but sometimes getting away from it all it totally worth it. 

  

Ahh the serenity….

  
 
  
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We may be able to work it out, but just in case we can’t I wouldn’t get your hopes up

It started off so well.

– The colour is beautiful (why thank you I dyed it myself),
– The cat photobombing is freakin adorable
– The mindless garter is perfect watching all of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt in one night,

and then came the lace……. (use your most ominous tone. I suggest the voice of Cecil Baldwin)

The pattern is Nurmilintu by Heidi Alandar and it’s lovely. The pattern is well set out, the finished pictures look great, and even the finished items from other people look great.

So why oh why am I having so much trouble with this?

There’s only one answer I can come up with.
I can’t count.

Maybe my pre-primary teacher felt sorry for me and passed me instead of holding me back.

Perhaps by the time I was in high school doing calculus my parents had written letters to my teachers warning them to not shatter my illusions of being able to count.

Is this like my colour vision and I’m just suddenly realising that actually there is no such number as the number 7 and it’s all a figment of my imagination?

I honestly believed I could count, but for some bizarre unknown reason whenever I do any kind of counting in this pattern it doesn’t add up. (Pun well and truly intended.)

I counted 3 times (if there even is a number three) that I had the correct number of stitches before starting the first lace part.

Even after the first row I had the right number of stitches left and followed the chart exactly.
But the lace section just does not look right. It’s nothing like the pictures and I can’t work out how.

Then (and this is some seriously wack shit…. ) I counted the number of stitches I had AFTER completely the lace section and I had LESS than what the pattern said I should have had BEFORE I started the lace section?? But I still have increased the pattern????? (All my twitter followers have just had a collective moment of ‘OHHH!!! That’s what Bek was yelling about last night!”)

I just don’t know. I really don’t. I’m flummoxed.

It’s definitely not getting frogged. In spite of my inability to count I’m still in love with it already.
I shall call it a design feature and flaunt it.

Here’s hoping that we can work it out for the second repeat!

  

So much yarn so little time

I feel like I’m trying to knit everything all at once!!!

I have my Sunshine Shawl making good progress after watching Australia beat England and India beat Pakistan over the weekend.

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Then I am so close to finishing my crickety cricket scarf it’s just beckoning for me to finish it, even if that means staying up all night (which I am vehemently resisting but a girl is only so strong!)
I’m definitely on the home stretch.

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Then there are my spirally socks. I’ve just turned the heel which means that these are also nearly finished. I’ve already planned the next project for my sock needles.

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Then this shawl has gone missing and I’m systematically turning the house upside down looking for it.

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And then there’s also this yarn that I dyed and just can’t stop petting.

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More about that later…. When I have time!!!!

There’s still Dragon Age 2 that I’m trying to finish, and Mass Effect 3 which I’m really starting to get hooked on, plus the desire to play Dragon Age Inquisition which I have played until the final quest but there is still so much I need to do!
And so many feelings!!!!

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Plus you know a full time job, plotting for birthday presents & surprise mail, and some big ideas for my blog.

I need a nap just thinking about it.

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Finish it or frog it!

I have some decisions to make.

There are 15 unfinished projects on my needles and hooks (that I’ve found so far – I’m not ruling out finding more lieing around.)

Of those just one has a legitimate reason for being unfinished. I ran out of yarn and am waiting for some more to arrive. That’s my wibbly wobbly shawl.

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All the rest? Either I’ve gotten bored, haven’t felt like it, didn’t really like the way it was knitting up, or simply forgot about them when something newer and shinier came around.
Which is why I’m making some decisions. Frog or finish.
By the end of the year there will only be 5 unfinished objects on my needles. And hopefully not ones that are currently unfinished which will have the added bonus of making my area of the couch a little more tiny!

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Oh and I’ve just spotted a blanket which still needs ends weaving in :S

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There’s 3 hats, only one of which where I think the pattern suits the yarn.

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3 pairs of socks. One I love, one I don’t remember what the pattern is, and one I stole the needles for another pattern and don’t remember what size they were.

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I don’t know what I was thinking when I cast on a lace scarf in cotton. It hurts my hands, I can’t seem to memorise the pattern, and don’t have the inclination to look at a pattern every row for however long this scarf should be.

Drunk Bek got her hands on the slipped stitch shawl and didn’t do a good job! I also don’t think any pattern will be good enough for this yarn. It’s so pretty and vibrant maybe I’ll just keep it on the shelf and pet it occasionally.

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I do love Olivia.
I just haven’t knit any rows on it for a while and I don’t know why. The yarn is lovely and the pattern is well written. It’s just been forgotten and left to languish.

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Then there are the blankets. I’m waiting for winter to come around again. A blanket on your legs is quite uncomfortable in 40degree heat.
Not pictured is the granny square blanket. I really dislike the way the squares are joined so it’s in the naughty basket until I can make a decision about it.

Also not pictured is my 5th doctor shawl which is in my bag all the way over there. I have no problems with finishing that one. It gets pulled out at the cricket, and the doctors, and whenever I’m waiting for the train.

So that’s going to be my focus.
No casting on anything new until I’m down to 5 UFOs.
Let’s see how I go!

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It’s amazing the lengths I’ll go to…

To not knit a sleeve.

I just don’t want to do it. DPNs are awkward and fiddly and I need to concentrate on the cables.
As I’m currently waiting to find out if the offer we put in on my dream house was accepted or not, I’m easily distracted.

A cabled jumper sleeve is not the answer.

So I’ve been embroidering and the simple motion of putting the needle into fabric and pulling it out again is calming and relaxing.

I’m not a complicated embroiderer.
I trace things I find (I have a tumblr dedicated to thingstoembroideroncushions) using paper and pencil onto a fabric flat. Sometimes I even trace directly from my laptop.
I then put the fabric in a hoop and back stitch around what I’ve traced. Occasionally I’ll dot the I’s with a French knot but I’m not too good at those yet. Although wild olive has the best instructions I’ve found.
But that’s enough to do what I want to do.

Which is embroider quotes. And this week I’ve been obsessed with black books quotes.

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These are destined to be made into cushions.

I think I need to go over the second one with another colour. It’s not quite visible, but it says “feng shui is 9/10th of the law”.

I’ve also started my most difficult embroidery to date.
But when I found the perfect image on tumblr I just couldn’t resist. Oksoamy drew an awesome illustration for the children’s book that Manny and Bernard write one episode. And so I’ve traced it. (I actually had muscle soreness after doing 5 tracings in one night. Who says crafting isn’t exercise) and am now working my way through all the panels.

(There’s an A3 piece of paper under the fabric if you’re thinking I’m drawing it. I most definitely am not. I also use a pencil because it’s usually all I can find. )

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a little progress

Apart from the blip that was embroidery, I’ve only knitted on the items which I disclosed last Tuesday.
I had every intention of setting them up next to a ruler to show the progress and taking nice photos of them all.
But we got home later than usual last night, and I found myself at 7:30 unable to keep my eyes open let alone deal with the terrible light in our apartment.

I have found out that a cabled jumper is not the best thing to be knitting during a close game of football, but it was quite good to knit during Little Dorrit. My mum leant me the DVDs so long ago that when I returned them on Sunday she had forgotten she had given them to me. If you haven’t watched it I thoroughly recommend it. It’s a mini-series based on the Charles Dickens novel of the same name (which honestly I had never heard of before I watched it, now I’m reading it – its free on ibooks.) It has a huge cast and at one point I was playing a game of ‘ooh they’re from doctor who’, ‘she’s from hotel babylon’, or ‘he’s from vicar of dibley’.
Parcel is now at the point where I need to figure out how many stitches I have. Because I didn’t follow the pattern (because I didn’t read the instructions properly) I now need to decrease sharply, or do some maths.
I haven’t decided yet.

I’ve turned the heel on my vanilla latte socks. I have a few more rows of the pattern and then I’ll start the ribbing. I really hate the heel on them. I’ll chalk it up to experience and delete the sockcalc app from my ipad.

I’ve been aiming for 2 – 3 rows on mini-mania every night and except for last night I achieved that.
So here’s how long that looks now, using my hand as a guide.
Pretty soon I will have to compare it to a few existing scarfs so I now exactly where I’m aiming for. Otherwise I will get impatient and cast off and then always regret it.

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Full disclosure

I was actually pleasantly surprised when I started cataloging all my unfinished objects.
It wasn’t as bad as I expected.

I only have 4 projects unfinished on the needles that I don’t intend to frog.

I have Parcel which has no more excuses because it now has pretty stitch markers.

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I also have two more rounds to go on my waves blanket.

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I have a pair of vanilla latte socks which I’ve turned the heel on one to discover that it’s too big for it’s intended recipient my dear ol dad. But fortunately it fits the big boofer size 12 feet of HeWhoFishes.
So he’s going to get a pair of socks and I’ll have to make another pair for dad.

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And then there’s mini mania.
I love the effect of the slip stitch so much that I keep stopping to stare at it. I just can’t get into a rhythm with the yarn forward, slip, yarn back stitch.
So it’s frustrating and in the naughty corner.

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But it’s so pretty!!

So they’re the four projects which I want to finish.
And already I’m thinking about casting on something quick and gratifying for those moments which will probably happen really soon.
But I will be strong!!!!

(I’m fairly sure that this are the only UFOs around. I’m not counting the meerkat I need to seam up because that’s a lost cause. I also have only checked the back of the couch and my yarn storage containers. I haven’t checked handbags or my bed side table or any other random places I could have left an UFO)

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Everything is almost right with the world

I have now completely my first ever provisional cast on.

I’m not sure it should have taken me 45 minutes and involved scissors, swearing, and cider.

So I have the toe of the sock completed and I’ve learnt something.
If you’re going to try a new technique don’t start with fingering weight.

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So I’ve now starting on the foot part of the sock and immediately I feel calmer.
Like there was a something missing before.
This sock was chosen as my Team Bee mascot project. I am loving the pattern. It has one tricky row, and the rest is straight forward, I’ve finished one repeat and have got it down pat.

I am loving this yarn. It’s from yarn vs zombies and it is a dream to work with. It’s flying quickly through my fingers and I have to stop myself from pressing it against my face.

I’m no sure I’m loving the two together though.
I think the pattern is getting lost in the colours.
So I’m not sure what to do.
Do I start again with another yarn?
Do I give the provisional cast on another try?
Do I keep going and wait and see if I fall in love with the complete sock?

So everything is right with the world because I have socks on my needle, but I can’t shake this feeling that it’s not quite the right socks.

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Surrounded by UFOs

All around me is unfinished objects.
Currently on the needles I have
– hitchhiker shawl #3 for me
– 10 stitch blanket
– mini mania scarf
– parcel jumper
– ripple crocheted afghan
– blue cabled hat (in no mans land)

So what did I do this week? Cast on 3 more projects.

I’d like to introduce my team bee socks

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A zigzag hat

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And a cabled scarf

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I think I need to buckle down and maybe finish what I start.
Or I could search ravelry for more pretty patterns!!!!

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#4KCBWDAY5 – and now for something completely different

Day 5 4KCBWDAY5
And now for something completely different….

This was so much fun. I didn’t think it was going to be, but thank you Knitting And Crochet Blog Week (I still have difficulty saying that) for getting me out of my comfort zone and in front of a camera. This was actually quite scary, not to make, but uploading it for all of you to see (although I do take comfort that it probably won’t be found by anyone but other knitters who are mostly non-judgemental).

So say hi to me and my couch!!
My first ever vlog, where I find out just how often I say ‘pretty!’, that the train noise is actually pretty loud (I’m so used to it), and I really do have a short attention span.

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