Monday, July 27, 2009

Maillot Jaune

The end of another Tour de France. Life goes back to normal for another 49 weeks...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lovely sunday pancakes

Roller door up, table out on the street - real maple syrup from Canada and funny stories about a man who puts Christmas lights in his beard (and keeps the battery pack in there too!). A lovely Sunday morning!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A week of special stuff: Wednesday

oops, I missed Tuesday! Was too busy hanging out at Brown Owls and meeting lovely people like Mel and trying to make some progress on Bec's scarf. I'd love to show you a photo but I don't have one and now it's night-time and the light is no good (this happens to me all the time - it's getting rather frustrating!)

It's been a bit of a challenge working out what the special stuff is - to be honest there's not many things I'm particularly attached to...

There's the techy things that were expensive and are quite nice to have, like the ipod, my cute Yamaha stereo and the new (gulp) LCD tv, which has been getting a work out every night with the Tour de France (and the 6pm highlights, and the 9:30pm replay of the highlights). But I wouldn't say these are 'special'.

Then there's the market and thrifted things that were a bargain and that I'm quite proud of finding, like the paintings that are piling up in the garage for the day I get a house of my own and can put up as many hooks as I want. But I probably wouldn't miss these if they disappeared.

And then there are the things I've created, or restored, or are a work in progress that I've put my sweat into - and I guess when it comes down to it, these are the 'things' that matter the most out of everything.

Even though it's in the garage (no space inside), I'm quite attached to my pine dining table, and even though it's too big and therefore not that practical, I would find it difficult to let go of. I'm not sure why. Maybe because I bought it when I was at uni and living in a share house, and when I left the house I sold it to my housemate. Then a year or so later she was moving and she was getting rid of it, so I bought it back and it's been with me ever since. It kind of feels like it belongs with me. I always wanted a table with the legs painted in a cream enamel paint and a raw top, so about a year ago I did just that:

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A week of special stuff: Monday

Yikes! This is my very first time participating in a meme - Pip's "A week of...". The theme is 'Special Stuff around your house'. Immediately I thought of this...

This knee rug is one of my favourite things. My nan Audrey knitted the squares - they were amongst her things after she died. I'm not sure what she intended to use them for, but my guess is she was using up scraps of wool and perhaps wasn't yet sure herself.

I wanted to create something from them and so I laid them out and there were enough to make this small rug, so I crocheted them together. I'm not really into fancy edgings so the edge on this is a simple crab stitch (I did need a couple of tries though - the first time I didn't put enough stitches in the corners and it curled up too much, so I pulled it out and started again).

I like to see this rug as a connection between us. We were quite similar I think, and I still had so much to learn from her. She was an especially good knitter and an incredible gardener.

When we were younger Audrey lived in Torquay, one block from the beach. People would walk past her house every day with their dogs and many, many people would comment on her beautiful garden.

Here is a picture of us together (me in my deb ball dress, circa 1997!)

Beyond the granny...

(photos from "200 crochet blocks for blankets, throws and afghans", by Jan Eaton)

Current inspiration... what to do when there are just not enough hours in the day, and so many things to learn? I have a babette blanket in progress (see others on Flickr), but how easy is it to get distracted by other new, exciting projects?

For my babette I have been using Panda Magnum Soft, an 8 ply acrylic that is nice and soft but has a limited colour palette (I am still waiting for a navy blue and a yellow to be released). Also - I am not very organised and at one stage forgot which size hook I was using (it's a 5mm, recorded here now in case I forget again!). But it has been a nice project to pick up every now and then, even if it takes 5 years or more to finish.

Hmmm... that reminds me - I do have a history of not finishing things. When I was 11 my aunty was pregnant and I decided to make a cross-stitch tapestry for the new baby. Conor is now 16 and the cross stitch is about 2/3 of the way there!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Waste not, want not

I have been inspired by others' stories of yarn recycling and decided it was time to learn how to do it myself. A visit to the local Vinnies yielded a bulky maroon-coloured men's jumper ($7) - I had no idea whether this was the 'right' type of jumper to unravel, how the seams were sewn, or whether it was too old or felted, but I guess my philosophy is - jump in & have a go!

This tutorial by Lee Meredith was extremely helpful. I made a few mistakes trying to rip the seams, by accidently cutting through the main sections of yarn, but oh well - the result was that I ended up with about 8 various size balls of yarn rather than 4 or so larger balls.

After the unraveling I wound the balls around a couple of chairs to make skeins (must remember to take more photos!) and then soaked overnight. At the moment the skeins are outside drying - I think it would be better to have hung them over a rod, but sometimes you have to improvise!

(note the cans of chickpeas...)
I'm still not really sure how the yarn will turn out - the washing didn't seem to remove all of the kinks and it may actually be too felted to knit with (how to tell? - if I managed to unravel it does this mean it's ok?). And I'm actually not too fond of the colour(!), BUT, it has been an interesting process. A bit of work, but not really that hard, and so from now on I will certainly be keeping an eye out for good yarn I can salvage.

TwiceShearedSheep have obviously mastered the technique and have lots of recycled yarn for sale in their etsy shop... maybe one day I'll have my own etsy store(!)
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