Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Airport knitting

My lovely parents have just come home from a ten week trip to the other side of the world, aka England, to see my brother and his family.  While they were there, my nearly-70 & 74 year old parents walked 250 km through hilly terrain in France.  They are awe inspiring people - I hope that I m dong the same at their age!  I love the fact that they just get on and do it.  Mum realised after they started the walk that when they hope to finish the whole walk (it's 750 km in total, they have broken it up into three parts) Dad will be 78.  How's that for an active retirement?

I volunteered to go and pick them up from the airport, at 1230 am.  Nutty decision given how tired I am but I knew I couldn't sleep thinking about them trying to find a taxi and get themselves settled at home in the middle of the night.  Weird that I think they are quite capable of walking through countries on their own where they don't speak the language but I don't think they are up to getting a taxi from familiar airport rammed with cab drivers.  Of course, I was there far too early and settled in to do some people watching and knitting.  I was working hard on the jumper for Princess I mentioned here.
I got loads done - there's really not much to see at Perth airport in the middle of the night except inappropriately dressed people who have just landed from Bali and  not realised that it was going to be 4 degrees.

I've now finished the jumper and will post some pictures if I can actually get Princess to put it on.  Again, I can thoroughly recommend the pattern if you want a jumper/dress/top that will knit up quickly and mindlessly - a good in front-of-the-telly knit.  I suggest not doing stripes (I changed every 8 rows, there were sooooo many ends to weave in) or either doing much smaller ones (say every 2-3 rows) so you can carry the yarn up the inside or even really big stripes.  Anything to avoid all those ends.  Given that this was just supposed to be an everyday wear type garment, as opposed to something special, I probably could have picked up the spare yarns in a stitch every couple of rows - a few bumps up the side would not have mattered.  Next time!

I am now onto long overdue baby gifts.  The gifts are overdue, not the babies.  I have to talk myself into sitting down and finishing them, preferably before the baby in question turns 1!  Tiny things in tiny yarn, sigh...


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

When gabions come before knitting... (DIY gabions tutorial)

A quick trip to the hospital and a week of bed rest followed by a weekend of hauling rocks in the front yard have combined to keep me away from the computer.

Look at the beautiful DIY gabions The Dude and I made in the front yard!  I thinking I carried about 500 kg of limestone from the courtyard to the front yard.  It was my job to put the stone in against the mesh so that it looked nice (The Dude is more of a chuck it in any old way kind of guy).  Basically it was the same as doing six jigsaws with no picture and more pieces than necessary.  But the effect is lovely.

Now I just need to get the garden planted, which means cashing in the housewarming present from my lovely brother and sister-in-law, who offered to do a bit of the garden for us.  Aren't they lovely!  If you are like the gabions and would like to do make some yourselves, they are quite easy, though a bit of work.

DIY Gabion Tutorial
First, cut out some welded grid mesh (ours was 100mm x 100mm) to the size that you need (a reason for The Dude to buy an angle grinder, any excuse to buy a power tool!),  wire the grids together to make boxes (obviously leaving the lids off), put in some wire cross bracing to stop bowing (we put ours near the bottom, nearer the top would have been better to make it easier to fit the lid), put your rock in and then put the lid on.  If you are going to use the gabions as a retaining wall then you should wrap the sides that are going to be in contact with soil (back and bottom in our case) with geofabric to stop weeds coming through and stopping salts leaching up while letting water drain through .  We got our gabions as kits from here but the shipping to Perth from Sydney was a bit of a killer so we will make any more that we might need (I'm thinking of a very smart letterbox) from scratch.

The rock is very local limestone, as it was the rock that was dug up and saved when we were building the house (our house is literally built onto stone).  That saved us a few dollars and made me feel warm and fuzzy for not wasting resources!

I have been plowing through the knitting in the evenings.  I finished the retro throw for my friend Wendy who has moved into her new home.  Being invited to a housewarming afternoon tea sure helps get the knitting needles flying!
And Princess doesn't have enough jumpers for this winter, so instead of buying one I am knitting one up super quick.   I'm using a top-down, raglan pattern that's all in the round, which makes things really easy - no seaming.  The pattern is this one and the yard is Moda Vera Pure Wool from Spotlight in (unsurprisingly) pink, another pink and a soft lime green. I've added an additional 10 stitches at cast on just to make the pattern a bit bigger and I'm judging how far to knit down before I split the sleeves from the body by trying the jumper on Princess as opposed to achieving a certain number of stitches but it's basically this pattern.  There is a nice eyelet detail made by doing yarn over increases and I think this pattern could easily be adapted for larger sizes, just change the cast on number of stitches and the number of rounds before splitting the body and sleeves.

I'll post some pics when it's done.

Have a lovely week every way - enjoy the Jubilee celebrations if you are in the Old Country! x