Month: November 2007 (page 1 of 7)

ABC News… Victoria?

A-ha! I wondered why the hell we were getting the ABC News Victoria feed tonight. I figured it was because the Sydney staff were all getting pissed at their Christmas party.

Life in Chippendale

I’ve just contributed my first post to Life in Chippendale.


Hooray! Little Inigo Nettle has finally been born. Congratulations to Lara and Mark. (Man, waiting for blog friends to have babies is quite stressful. I must’ve hit Lara and Tracey‘s sites about 100 times each in their last months…)

HTML Elements Quiz

How many HTML elements can you name in five minutes? There are 91 in total, and I managed to get 42. Of course, I totally cheated at the end. I probably only got 35 on my own.


We have Internet! And it’s all down to the Snook. When several ISPs all claimed that we weren’t able to get ADSL at the new house, he refused to believe them. He spent a week posting on forums and emailing technicians until he finally got someone to look into it. Lo and behold, that “no” turned into a “yes”! Now he’s busy fixing up our wireless network and bringing CouchCam back online. (Ooh, your first glimpse inside the house!) And lest I give you the idea that his handiness is all cerebral, he also broke out the powertools this week to mount my new IKEA mirror in the wardrobe. *sigh* I always did have a thing for Handy Smurf

Retro Rib Socks

Retro Rib SocksRetro Rib Socks
Despite everything else that happened this month, I still managed to meet my Southern Summer of Socks goal of one pair per month. This pattern is “Retro Rib Socks” from Interweave’s Favorite Socks. (More photos are on Flickr.) I’ve now made FOUR pairs from this book; I love it. What I didn’t love was the yarn: TOFUtsies. It’s a blend of wool, cotton, “soysilk,” and chitin. (Yes, ground up crustaceans.) Sounds interesting, right? I had a hell of a time getting it to behave.

My first problem was that I tried casting on from the center of the ball, thinking I’d do my usual “knit two at once” trick. Right away I ran into difficulty. This yarn is so loosely spun and apt to split that I just couldn’t make any headway with it. A single strand would always be pulled loose from the rest and I just couldn’t get it to sit properly. I tried about three different patterns before giving up and going to the outside of the ball. That worked a lot better. (Of course, it also meant I had to knit them one at a time, so I had to battle a little Second Sock Syndrome.) Also, as the yarn has very little stretch, I had to cast on over two needles to get it loose enough to go over my leg, even though I’d already gone up to my usual 2.75mm needles.

Okay, so that’s all the negatives. In the positive column, it certainly feels very nice to wear. I even made the Snook try them on to gauge the prickliness factor, and whether I could use the fiber for him. (He likes them better than pure wool but still finds them itchy. Weirdo.) The other nice thing is the meterage. I had heaps of this yarn left over, and I didn’t make them deliberately short or anything. You’d defiitely get a man’s pair out of a single 100g ball.

Next up: Jaywalkers! I’ve finally given in to the temptation, seeing as how everybody else in the known universe has knitted them.

Tiki Heads and Ape Librarians

Tiki Heads and Ape Librarians
A few months ago over Ravelry, I floated the idea of a “secret pal” exchange on the Australian Knitters group. Lots of folks were onboard, and we hammered out a plan for a “Tea Cosy Swap.” Everybody was to knit a tea or coffee cosy for their pal, along with $20 or so worth of related treats. My secret pal was Jen, who occasionally comments over here. I made her three crafty things, along with homemade brownies, chocolate-covered coffee beans, and a pack of Japanese cookies. She got her package today, and despite a near tragic dog-related incident, she really liked it!

Tiki Coffee Cosy   Magical Octarine Hotpad   The Librarian - Sock Orangutan

There are more photos over on Flickr. Read on for descriptions and pattern notes. (Man, this’ll be a lot easier when I can just link to ’em on Ravelry.)First up is the Tiki Head Coffee Plunger Cosy. On the questionnaire everyone filled out at the start of the swap, Jen had said that “I absolutely love kitsch, the sillier the better.” Folks, it was like waving a red flag at a bull. I brainstormed to come up with something suitably kitschy that fit the columnar shape of her plunger pot. Then it hit me – TIKI! After scouring Google for a while, I found some tiki faces that seemed suitable. I traced my favorite in Photoshop and turned it into a crude knitting chart. Jen described her 4-cup plunger pot as being 12 inches in diameter and 6 inches high. The following pattern is based on that, but you can easily adjust it to fit other sizes.

Cast on 75 stitches using 8ply wool and 4mm needles.

Knit K1P1 rib for a bit to keep it from rolling up at the bottom. I did 4 rows in total.

Switch to stockinette stitch, and knit 8-10 rows. Now you’re ready to start the chart.

Next row: Knit 10, place stitch marker, follow face chart (18 stitches), place stitch marker, knit 19, place stitch marker, follow face chart (18 stitches), place stitch marker, knit 10.

Continue following chart, knitting stockinette stitch throughout other sections. When chart is finished, knit another 12 or so rows in stockinette stitch. Cast off.

Use duplicate stitch to add teeth and eye highlights, and to embroider “TIKI” (or something else) in the center between motifs. Use backstitch (a thinner yarn helps) to add outlines to face and around letters. Sew top and bottom edges together for about one inch, leaving opening for handle. Add fringe to the sections over the faces.

Next up is the Magical Octarine Hotpad. Jen had mentioned that she could use a hotpad, and I knew from peeking at her Ravelry groups that she was a Terry Pratchett fan. And while I’ve read a couple of the Discworld novels myself, I didn’t know them nearly well enough to come up with any clever ideas. So I did some research and asked some questions.

Octarine (the colour of magic) is described as a “greenish-yellow purple.” I figured that the nearest non-wizard approximation was using one strand of greenish-yellow cotton and one of purple. I combined the two and used a slightly smaller needle than expected to make it a bit bulkier. Octagons also have special magical significance, so I decided to make my dishcloth/hot pad octagonal.

Cast on 80 stitches on a 6mm needle using two strands held together. Join for knitting in the round.

Round 1: * Knit 8, K2tog * repeat to end.
Round 2: Knit.
Round 3: * Knit 7, K2tog * repeat to end.
Round 4: Knit.

You get the idea. Just go til you get down to the last 8, and then draw the cotton through and pull tight. I also crocheted a loop on one side so it’s hangable.

The last item – “The Librarian” – was inspired by a suggestion on my Ask Metafilter question. Someone suggested I knit her an orangutan. (The librarian of Unseen University was transformed into an orangutan in the books.) While I do like to knit, knitting toys isn’t one of my strengths. However, making sock monkeys is!

The first step was to find some appropriate socks. This wasn’t easy. After checking three or four department stores’ hosiery departments and striking out, I stopped into Kmart on a whim and checked the men’s section. There they were! Bright orange Holeproof Explorer socks. (I think they’re meant for hunters.) And by turning them inside out, I even got a fluffy texture! I was sure I was onto a winner.

The actual construction was pretty easy, especially as I didn’t have a make a tail. (If you call the librarian a monkey, he’ll rip your arms off. Apes don’t have tails!) I modified my usual design a bit by shortening his legs and lengthening the arms. I also stuffed his belly a bit more to give him a paunch. I made more human-looking ears than usual too.

The last step was to knit him an “ook.” (That’s “book” to you and me.) This was knit out of scraps of 8ply wool on 4mm needles. I simply knitted 3 stockinette rectangles (two white, one black) and sewed them together to make a book. Then I used black stranded cotton to embroidery some mystical-looking runes inside. Then I just sewed it to his arm! (Which sounds cruel, but sock apes don’t have opposable thumbs, you know.)

Lack of blogging

Sorry for my lack of blogging mojo of late. We’re still waiting on Internet to be hooked up at the new house. (There was some confusion as to whether we could get ADSL2, despite the fact that we had it at the old house, which is 50 FEET AWAY. Telstra sucks.) And while we found a neighbour with a conveniently open wireless network, I feel guilty about using it too much. So for now, my only blogging time is at work… and we’re heading into a busy time. (SALE!) Hopefully things will get resolved soon.

Matt Corby’s Leggings

OH. MY. GOD. I was about to say that I don’t care whether Matt Corby or Natalie Gauci wins Idol tonight… until I saw what Matt was wearing. ARE THOSE LEGGINGS? I reached for the phone.

Me: It’s me. WHAT is he wearing on his legs?
Amy: AHHHHH! DON’T TELL ME! We’re timeshifting and we’re behind! AHHHHHHH!
Me: Goddammit! Catch up! You’re gonna get spoiled in 15 minutes anyway!

Five minutes later…

Amy: Okay, I’m caught up. Dude, those were velvet leggings.
Me: I know! I was thinking he looked okay from the waist up, and then they pulled back, and I VOMITED.
Amy: It’s back! Okay, call me when it’s over.


Holy crap! Not only did Labor win and the Liberals lose, but Howard lost his seat and Costello retired from the front bench. Looks like Malcolm Turnbull will be the leader of the Opposition. It’s been a crazy day…