Monday, September 18, 2006

The bits that didn't quite fit into the other four entries

Look what Amanda brought us all back from Japan! It's a little plushy Totoro family, and there was one for each of us -- mine is the one on the right, and it came from the actual Studio Ghibli Museum shop too. I can hardly believe how adorable they all are. :)

In spite of the way things are probably looking from all the entries I've written today -- Nothing for over two and a half weeks, and then five entries all at once? Go figure! ;) -- I've actually been making some progress with my knitting, even if it's not quite as much as I would've liked.

My 'Pacific Ocean Stole' has grown quite a lot, and the second skein is disappearing at quite a reasonable rate...

That's more than six pattern repeats finished. We'll just ignore the fact that there are probably another fourteen repeats to go to make it the length I'd like it to be... ;)

A few months back, I posted about the lovely semi-solid dark blue hand-dyed Mollydale Mohair yarn Michael bought me at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. The scarf I've been knitting from it has been in my side bar for quite a while, but I realized the other day that I'd never actually written about it.

Maybe I've been overlooking it due to the problems I had getting it started. ;) For what should have been a simple moss stitch scarf, this project is my current record holder for the most times an individual project has been restarted before the knitted fabric finally looked right. If you didn't know better, you really could be forgiven for thinking I must have only started knitting last week, as only a real novice could have made so many errors of judgement. Maybe I was just having a really off day.

It really shouldn't have been this way, though, as there were similar moss stitch scarves available for sale on the Mollydale stall, and the two lovely ladies there assured me that they had all been knit on 10 mm needles, and that I would be able to reproduce the slightly tighter tension of the scarf I particularly liked (which had been knit by a particularly tight knitter apparently) by knitting mine on 9 mm needles. Well, the needle sizes quoted seemed a bit large to me, but I was prepared to believe that the Mollydale ladies knew their yarn better than I did -- mohair yarns can be quite deceptive, after all. Well, the 9 mm needles produced a fabric which was ludicrously lacy, and going down to 8 mm needles didn't help much either. My initial guess, before the ladies had corrected me, had been that the moss stitch scarves on the Mollydale stall had been knit with 6 mm needles, and the consensus of opinion around me the day I started knitting with the yarn was that the ladies on the Mollydale stall must have been tired by the time I spoke to them (it was very late in the day, and the second last day of the show after all), and they were probably quoting me the needle size for their bulky yarn. So I went with my original gut feeling and cast on using 6 mm needles, which amazingly enough produced a fabric quite similar to the ones I had seen in the scarves on the stall. As I still wanted a scarf more like the one I'd seen which had been knit a bit tighter, I went down to 5.5 mm needles, and finally to the 5.0 mm needles I'm now using. This wasn't the end though, as I still had to tweak the number of stitches to get the width of scarf I wanted, eventually settling on 37 stitches to get a width of 24 cm.

But this wasn't the end either, as when I finally had the tension right and the width right, another problem revealed itself. It soon became apparent that my scarf was going to look like I had taken Tigger...

... and given her an indigo bath. No kidding, it was most strongly resembling an indigo tiger's pelt. Eek!

So it was back to the start once again, this time alternating between the two skeins to break up the colour pools. Success at last, but sadly this is never going to be the take along project I had hoped it would be -- knitting it in public is pretty much out of the question as the yarn stains my fingers too badly for that to be a serious proposition. I'm now filling this gap with my 'Lost In Translation' scarf.

Some new magazines have also found their way to me.

The 'Yarn' magazine is the first issue of my brand new subscription, which arrived on schedule exactly as promised. Well done, once again, Barbara! The magazine is stunning. :) The latest issues of the US 'Creative Knitting' and UK 'Simply Knitting' magazines were an absolute nightmare to find, as none of my local newsagents were deemed worthy enough to carry them by the evil magazine distributors it seems. Even the large newsagents in major shopping centres hadn't received any copies, so I had to travel much further afield to find them. The jury is still out as to whether or not the effort was worth it, but I may be a bit more generously disposed towards them once I get over my annoyance at the trouble I had getting them.

I've also gone ahead and done something potentially reckless. Yes... In a moment of weakness, I signed up for Secret Pal 9. ;) This is the first time I've been brave enough to sign up for one of these, and hopefully I will be up to the challenge of coming up with the perfect gifts to send to my Secret Pal. When there are a few more buttons posted on the Secret Pal 9 blog, I'll add one to my sidebar.

I was also lucky enough to meet Meg at the last get-together at Rubi & Lana. Meg took advantage of the cooler weather that day to wear her green 'Lace Panel Sweater', which I can tell you looks even better in real life than it already does on her blog. :)

Phew! That's going to have to be all for now, and I think I may finally be all caught up on my blog entries. :)

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At 3:19 pm, October 07, 2006, Anonymous Your Secret Pal 9 Pal ^_^ said...

OMG! I love the Totoro Dolls!

At 8:17 pm, October 07, 2006, Blogger Pamela Lee said...

Aren't they fabulous! :)

My daughter, Katherine, is studying art and is really into Japanese anime. She does a lot of cosplay at the local anime conventions, and won second prize at one last weekend for her fabulous (not that I'm biased or anything ;) )Cat Bus costume. I'll ask her if it's OK to post a photo of it on my blog.


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