That was a really fun quiz. Thanks for Pavlov's Cat for the link.
By the way, it's OK to start commenting again. I just wish I'd had a prize for everyone who commented.
Jo made the 2000th comment and TheAmputee made the 2005th. So if can you both email me (link in the sidebar) and let me know your snail mail addresses (and Jo, you'll need to let me know which of the two yarns you'd prefer) I can send you your parcels.
Thanks to all of your who made an extra effort to comment in the last couple of weeks. I have enjoyed watching my comments climb during this 'contest', and, like Celia, it made me conscious of how often I do (or don't) blog. I hope you all enjoyed reading the extra comments too.
This year Australia Day has landed on a Saturday, and Monday has been nominated as the public holiday. This means that a large proportion of the population were working today (all the shops and many services like hairdressers are open as usual on a Saturday). However, all the usual celebrations were also on today, with a lot of city streets closed for pedestrian access to the wonderful events on the harbour, even though the shops are open. People who are working today can't take part on the celebrations, and people who want to do some shopping can't easily drive round the city.
But I suppose it means that Monday will be a real holiday, with pretty much everything closed. Without a lot of other options, you won't be able to get near the beaches, so we went for a picnic and paddle today at Vaucluse, one of Sydney's most expensive harbourside suburbs. Astoundingly, after a couple of disappointments we found a little quiet beach. I'm not sure that we should tell you where - it seems like a secret spot that people haven't found yet. Oh, OK then: it's the 'beach paddock' of Vaucluse House. Grassy slopes with trees for shade, two secluded beaches with warm water and shallow draw. Left-over roast chicken and potato salad, salad, fruit. A good book each. Bliss. But we forgot to take any pictures.
Keep commenting; I think I'll be announcing the winners tomorrow.
Four years ago I scoffed at people who knitted socks. I had two drawers full of perfect shop-bought socks (it's true - someone once asked my partner if she lived with a centipede). I could buy lovely socks for a few dollars, wear them out and throw them away with good conscience. Why would I waste good knitting time on socks? And the only sock yarn I'd seen was Patonyle: boring grays, browns, navys.
Then I encountered self-patterning sock yarn. My interest was piqued. Some of the colour combinations were lovely. Hmmm. I bought a couple of balls. Then I was sent on the course from hell (looong-term readers will remember the horror of this two-week period. You can read about it as it happened starting here.) I knitted a sock to save the life of the course co-ordinator - and I fell for the addictiveness of the mindless round-and-round, that you can do without looking or needing to think much. I was a convert.
I don't use the self-patterning yarns so much now, but love the wonderful dip-dyed yarns, like Arucania, Lorna's Laces, or the various highly-skilled Indie dyers. My friend Kerry is a great yarn shop surfer and enabler. I always have a sock on the go, for waiting-room knitting, bus knitting, meeting knitting and really tired evening knitting.
So socks have always remained veggie knitting for me. I never need instructions or to think much. I have made forays into feather-and-fan style patterning, but didn't enjoy either the process or the product overly. I continue to work toe-up, following Wendy's classic shaping, but have refined my heel-and-toe method. (Thanks Mel, I have often referred people to this excellent tutorial.) Sometimes I rib the instep and the legs, especially on the less elastic yarns. I recently attempted a special top-down sock (scroll down to see it), but I didn't think of this as veggie knitting - I had to keep the patten next to me.
My socks have always fitted a variety of people well without any widening over the foot. Even people with high insteps (like my daughter) find them fine, and commercial socks aren't generally shaped over the foot. The thing I sometimes do shape is the leg - people whose calves widen very fast above the ankle find this more comfortable. But Sandra has bought a couple of sock books, most recently New Pathways, and now I am bemused by all that shaping. Am I missing something? Are my socks lacking something essential? Or is this like the current craze for lace knitting - the need people have, once they've mastered a technique, to push the level of difficulty higher and higher?
I've just read a thread on the moderators forum at Ravelry about yarn stores relentlessly promoting themselves on the forums. (This is does not include one-offs, where people respond to a question to say they have a particular yarn etc in stock. People appreciate that.) Apparently there are local forums where yarn-shop owners play 'duelling sales talk' and piss everyone off, even after a special sticky thread is created just for them to advertise their sales etc.. And I discovered that to advertise across a large number of forums costs an advertiser a whole $US5 a month, and there are no plans to raise that. The point was made that for some people self-promotion is so ingrained that they have difficult understanding how irritating some people find it. I guess their shops would be ones I'd avoid.
But it lead me to think about Ravelry, five or ten years down the track. Casey has it all running sweetly, it's open to the public with 100,000 members, and he and Jess are thinking about their next challenge in life. How much will it be worth? An awful lot of money, I would say. Jess and Casey would have earned every penny, of course, but there'd be no guarantees that new owners would leave the advertising costs at such a reasonable level. I think with forums like this it's easy to forget that Casey and Jess own the site and everything in it. This isn't a problem at present because they act like, and presumably are, mature responsible people. But we shouldn't take them for granted.
He did it again, an another corner. We're going to Sandra's tonight, and when we return I won't let him into that room. Thanks for the suggestion Country Mouse, but there's no point in putting a litter tray in the spare room because he doesn't use it properly anyway - just puts his front feet in and then pees over the floor. I can cope with cleaning the bathroom every day, but not the spare room as well. He's going back to the vet next week, so I'll ask him to check for a urine infection - thanks Mel.
But look over here - there is knitting. The lace for the bottom edges of the tank part of the Thorn and Thistle twinset in Chutney 4-ply silk from Artfibers. (Look here and scroll down for the garment pic if you're not in Ravelry). I've had to add two more pattern repeats to compensate for the yarn being much lighter than the pattern but I'm lovin' the yarn.
I've also made one of the pair of padded footlets (Interweave Knits, Summer 2005) for friend Margo. I tried these before, but I didn't have enough yarn for two socks from two balls of Koigu. I'm remaking them using a third ball with similar but slightly darker shadings for the extra yarn for the padded sole. This is a great little pattern (apart from two mistakes I've found) that is cleverly engineered and interesting to knit. But it does remind me how much I hate making top-down socks. Not enough brainspace to re-engineer them as toe-up, however.
And in news even more boring than Riley's toilet habits, the bug I had after Christmas has hung on and on, and settled in as a kind of laryngitis. I saw the doctor yesterday, I'm off sick today, on holiday tomorrow and it's the Australia Day weekend here. If I'm not better by Tuesday I'll slit my throat. This has got very old.
Please comment away - less than 20 to go.
There are changes, but it's hard to know what they mean. The new diet seems to have cut down on the weight loss and excessive eating and drinking, and thus excessive peeing. But he is very bad-tempered, and has retired to the spare room to the old futon, where he spends his days sleeping heavily. If you enter the room and disturb him he reads the riot act. At some point over the weekend he peed in there, under the furniture, as if he couldn't be bothered walking to the bathroom. This is unusual behaviour for him.
I've cleaned it up and moved the furniture so he can't get to that corner again. We'll see what happens next.
...been working on a joint paper with Sandra. I've been fiddling round with the references - I consider myself terribly organised with these but there are always odd things to do at the end, especially as this journal has an obscure style that isn't in Endnote and I had to edit an existing style and then fiddle with the details at the end. And if none of that made sense count yourself lucky and read on to see some knitting.
I reknitted Twisty from the armholes. It had the same shaping back and front, and I don't think that most women's shoulder blades are the same size and shape as their breasts. So I redid the shaping (which is terribly clever, apart from what I said in the last sentence). I made two smaller darts instead of the one large one that works on the front by starting them on the same row as before, but only decreasing every 4th row instead of every 2nd row. And it worked brilliantly.
And we had a little photoshoot one day last week when realised that we were both wearing cotton tops that hadn't been photographed. (Ignore my face; I had a cold at the time.) Sandra's was made from a Cleckheaton leaflet in Millefilli Fine and mine is a scrap-bag special that I made some years ago as a stash buster from left-over 8-ply allsorts. It's knitted in random stripes in a kind of dot-stitch.
Just reminder about the contest: the winning entries are less than 30 comments away now.