Sunday, February 27, 2011

Broken - Not Beaten!

I'm sure that you will all know that Christchurch was devastated by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake at 12.51pm on Tuesday 22nd February. Although not as strong as the September earthquake, this time it was even closer to the city and, at only 5km deep, it apparently bounced off the volcanic basalt rock, upon which Christchurch is built, with disastrous consequences to the already fragile buildings. Five days later, already the death toll has risen to 146 confirmed deaths with many more people missing. A national state of emergency has been declared, mainly so that what needs to be done is able to be done quickly. Many countries have quickly come to the aid of New Zealand sending rescue workers, police and other forms of much needed aid.

Local people have also rallied to help those in need - an "army" of university students have formed and are helping to shift the estimated 100,000 tons of silt brought up from underground which now blocks streets and footpaths as well as surrounding homes. Bottles are being collected far and wide and filled with safe drinking water to be distributed to those who have no safe water. Food is being cooked and taken to suburbs who have been without electricity and water and sewerage for five days (and who are likely to not have these facilities for some time to come). Homes around the city, and indeed the whole country, have been opened for those who now have no home - or who have no faith in what they used to call home. Prayers are being prayed worldwide for the many who have need of them at this time.

All are in agreement that Christchurch will never be the same. But New Zealanders are a hardy, determined people. We come from pioneering stock and don't give up easily. Christchurch, like the phoenix, will rise again.

A couple of days ago my youngest son pointed out that Cher's song from Burlesque was very suitable for Christchurch at this time. I listened to the words and found that he was right. I don't have the knowledge, or the technology, to combine the music with the slideshow (the photos of which I shamelessly have stolen from countless places across the internet. Please forgive me! I don't live in Chch and I don't intend to go there at the moment and get in the way just to take photos - even if I was allowed.) but if you can, listen to the music while watching the photos. You certainly haven't seen the last of this great city!
(NB - the date on the video is the upload date, NOT the date of the earthquake!)
From Videos

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Something Old, Something New...

No, there's no wedding around here but I do have an (relatively) old project to show you as well as a new one started.

Which first?  Perhaps the old one...the CPH Sweater.  Progress, while not huge, is being made.  The fronts have been completed, the shoulders joined (three needle bind-off) and the sleeve is in progress from the top-down.  I put off the sleeve for a few days, as I do quite often.  I like to think things out, mull things over, rehearse in my mind, before actually doing.  Works for me!  Anyway, once I started I sat down with my knitting in front of the computer and turned to Paula Ward's YouTube clip on top-down sleeves.  I found this to be an excellent resource.  Very clear and easy to follow.  I made one change in that I wrapped every second stitch on my way around the sleeve, rather than every stitch.  I read on Ravelry, somewhere, that this makes for a better angle of the sleeve.

Once I finished picking up all the stitches and started working in the round, the sleeve looked really good; I was so pleased with myself!  Much better than struggling with trying to make a neat job of sewing a seam.  Time then to calculate the number and rate of decreases.  Then it hit me.  There was supposed to be a cable right down the centre of the sleeve!  Bother didn't quite hit the mark!  A decision needed to be made - did I really want a cable?  Yes.  Yes I did.  Ok, I had to bite the bullet.  (Fainthearted folk needn't worry, this part was not photographed!)   Ripping was involved but only the 18 stitches of the cable panel.  That was enough.  Right back to the pick up seam.  Sigh.  I then worked each row back in pattern until I had all 24 rows worked up complete with cables in their (hopefully) proper places.  time will only tell if my maths was correct on that one as well.  Cross my fingers that the cable ends in its proper place at the end of the sleeve!

All is well in the meantime, though.  I am now happily working my way down the sleeve cabling and decreasing when I should.  Stitch markers are in place to show when these were last done, in case my written records let me down.

Now for the new project!  Did you know that I could, barely, weave?  Did you even know that I owned a loom?  No?  Well, yes and yes!  You probably didn't know that, though, because weaving is not my most favourite pastime so doesn't feature highly in my life.  Now and then, though, it pops up and this is one of those times.

A couple of years ago I saw an advert for a small, 4 shaft collapsible table loom.  My table loom was larger and more awkward to take to spinning/weaving meetings and I had been looking for something which would be more suitable.  So I bought it.  This loom had belonged to Anne Field (a well-known fibre artist) who was trying to make room in her studio (even the professionals have that problem at times!).  She even sold it complete with a warp for a scarf on it.  However, once home, this poor little loom has sat around waiting for me to weave up the warp that was on it.  Finally, I have started on this scarf!

As the warp was a light yellow cotton, it seemed to me to be destined to be a summer scarf.  In my stash I found some multi-coloured cotton/linen boucle which I thought should look quite good with the yellow cotton warp.  I don't think it is too bad.  It is hard to see my beating in the photo - it looks a bit looser than it actually is.  I'm not sure what it really should be like for this type of yarn/project as I don't have a lot of experience with weaving but I think it is ok.  I know fibres like wool will full after they're off the loom but I don't think this fibre will.  Time will tell, but I'm having fun in the meantime and that is what it is all about. 

I hope that you're having fun today, too!

PS - Thank you for all your encouraging comments, last time, about knitting the cardigan!  The purchase of yarn is in hand and, provided the colour is suitable (hard to tell on the computer monitor) there may be yet another project underway chez RoseLea!

Monday, January 03, 2011

FO and decisions

Today I have a finished object (FO) to show you and an idea that I am mulling over.  Usually I like it when I'm thinking over something in advance, working out little details and dreaming of the finished article.  Not so much this time.  Why not?  Read on...

I promised you an image of the felted bag I made for one of the Grandgirls so here it is -

Not perfect by any means, but I was fairly pleased with the results even if the hastily taken photo doesn't do it justice.  The inside of this particular bag was a deep, but bright, blue which I also used in the strap.  The flap was purposely placed off centre.  The bag is totally seamless, made using a partial resist.  Not showing up in the image is the sparkly firestar (? - I don't think it is that but I can't think what it actually is) I put over the last layer before felting.  All little girls love a bit of glitter!

As for the idea I'm mulling over, I need a lightweight cardigan-type top to go over a long dress which I bought, and wore, for my son's wedding in 2009.  It is a long, silk dress in a rather unusual dark purpley colour with lighter, more french pink, floral panels front and back.  I wore a pale pink-purple top with it for the wedding but that is too formal for normal wear.  It is a dress I could get quite a bit of wear out of (although I'm not normally a dress-wearing gal) by dressing it down a bit.  I probably wouldn't find anything in the right colour down town to go with it, though.

My question is, do I bite the bullet and buy some laceweight yarn (I think I know of some fairly locally which may be the right colour) and knit myself a top?  I was thinking of Simplicity (Rav link) which, I believe, should work fine with the dress.  Any opinions?

I hope the dress still fits as I haven't tried it on lately.  I've lost weight since the wedding so I may need to look into altering it a little.  Shouldn't be a problem as I know someone who would probably do it if I feel it's too much for me.  Bother it, I'll also need shoes, too, as I wore boots to the wedding.  I don't think trainers would quite cut it, would they?  It would be nice to get some more wear out of the dress, though, as it wasn't exactly cheap to buy.  Either that or I'll need to think about selling it.

I didn't really intend to start buying any yarn quite this early in the year as I do have plenty to knit up.  That is why this type of decision, for me, is rather annoying.  But, when there is nothing in stash that is suitable what can you do?  Will I really get it knitted up, though?  That is the point.  Lots for me to think about.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Catching up on what I've been doing...

Surprise!  I'm back again!  Don't get too used to this but enjoy it while it lasts.  I thought that I had better get caught up on what I've been working on over the past while. 

I can't remember if I mentioned that I joined the Vintage Purls Knit-Along on Ravelry a few months ago (October?) but if I didn't, now you know.  I chose to knit the Geodesic Cardigan by Connie Chang Chinchio using VP lace in the Saag Alloo colourway.  As you  can see I have knit the whole body (it is knit all in one with false seams - seems to take ages but at least there isn't any sewing up at the end) complete with pleats up the front.

Next up are the sleeves.  These are started with a provisional cast on under the arm and knitted upwards to the top of the sleeve cap.  The sleeve cap is then sewn into the armscye, the stitches from the provisional cast on picked up and the sleeve knitted down from there.  Simple to say, however...  I have knitted the first sleeve cap but have stalled on sewing it into the armscye.  Sewing up has never been my forte and the laceweight, at this gauge is particularly challenging for me.  The cardigan has been in time out since the end of November.  I must finish it before the warm weather disappears!

While I was not thinking about Geodesic, I was wanting to knit on Something, Anything else.  Something that would suit what I had in stash.  Something that was not laceweight.  I searched Ravelry for days and came up with the Central Park Hoodie using the polwarth I had spun up a while back. 

While I liked the idea of a jacket, I felt that a jersey/sweater would be more useful to me and my lifestyle so I did a little more research and found two or three sweaters on Ravelry using this pattern.  A little sampling (yes, I do sample when the need arises and handspun definitely requires it) later and I was casting on for my sweater in the round.  Yes, no seams to sew up!

I was a little concerned that the cables wouldn't show up very well in the variegated colouring of the yarn, but I don't think it is too bad.  There aren't many cables and they are simple ones to boot.  I have knitted up to the armholes where I split the front main cable in two and worked the first side of the front in the flat.  The front is now up to the point where I need to decide on the neckline decreasing - something for me to concentrate on this evening.

The other craftwork I did recently, was to make three little felted shoulder bags for our little Grandgirls as last-minute Christmas presents.  Unfortunately, they were so last minute (I was hastily putting finishing touches to them on Christmas morning and they were still slightly damp even then!) that I only have a photo of one of them - which it looks as if you may have to wait until tomorrow to see as Blogger isn't letting me upload another photo!  So, until then...enjoy your day!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

New Day, New Year

Happy New Year!

It is a little late to round out the old year with a final posting so perhaps it's a good idea to start afresh this year.  Not that I have anything in particular to say.  I've just been on here giving things a little tweaking, bringing them up-to-date at last.  I'm not sure about adding images - you may, or may not, get any this time around.  If there aren't any you will know that I haven't ironed out the bugs of that one, yet!

Christmas, for us, was reasonably quiet.  For the first time since our children were tiny I didn't put up any decorations.  Not even a tree!  As we weren't going to have anyone here for any part of Christmas I didn't really see the point in putting in all that work (and let's face it, dragging out the decorations and putting up the tree is WORK!  Not to mention having to take it all down and put it all away again later) for just the three of us.  Scrooge's ba-humbug, indeed!  I must say that I did feel rather like that this Christmas, too, but that is another story and I would rather just forget about it, thank you, than re-live it all again.  So, no decorations apart from the Christmas cards that arrived.

This year we were to join our eldest son (T) and his wife and family for a Christmas bbq tea.  On the way we visited our youngest son, his new partner and his daughter as well as my sister and her partner, my father and my uncle.  A long list of rellies but in reality only two stops to make.  It all took time, though, and we were a little late getting up to T's.  No surprises there!  The kids were a bit hyper by that stage (as only 6 and 4 year olds should be - even the 9 month old was excited to see us) but that was to be expected.

The food was good, nothing particularly fancy but that is how we like it, and the company was pretty good, too.  The girls opened their little presents in between courses and seemed to like them.  If I can get the images to upload I'll try and find the photos on the camera of the bags I felted for them and show you next time I post.  I was quite pleased with how they turned out, considering I haven't done a lot of felting before.  I'm not sure that either of the girls (I didn't make one for the youngest) really appreciated them, though, nor did their parents.  If I did it again, I would wrap them differently, and separately, to try and show off their real worth, rather than to include them with the rest of the present.

After the evening was all wrapped up, and the girls dressed for bed, it was time for us to head for home.  I think it was about 10pm (late for the girls) when we finally left and never has that hour and a half drive home seemed so long!  I was glad that I wasn't the one driving.

Now, a week later, it is New Year's Day.  Last night we went to see the fireworks on Caroline Bay as we usually do every year.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to go this year, especially as it was a little showery but, as it was the Bay Carnival's 100th anniversary, I thought that it may be just a little bit special this year.  How special can fireworks get?  Yeah, they were pretty good.  They lasted about 20 minutes which isn't too bad.  Any longer and you can really start to get fidgety.  I'm sure they're not as loud as they used to be a few years back and that was what I really liked.  Those huge, big bangs that echoed off the surrounding cliffs!  The countdown?  What countdown?  That fell down even flatter than a pancake.  No singing of Auld Lang Syne and no tooting from any ships in the harbour, either.  Mind you, I didn't check to see if there were any in port last night.  So, some parts were good but the actual running of the whole show needs a real brush-up. 

After the fireworks were over it was a general melee to walk back across the Bay to get to the street entrance.  So many people wanting to go the same way.  Fortunately, most were well-behaved.  It really helps that there is a total alcohol ban on the Bay for the duration of the evening.  We were parked in a little side-street close by so across the main road we went (along with what seemed like another hundred or so other people) and back to the car.  Easy.  An easy road to go down to get back to the road home, too.  All this a far cry from years ago when we used to spend at least half an hour or more idling along in the car trying to get out of first the carpark, then to turn out of the side-road and onto the main road!  Diabolical.  Still a very late night for me so I'm tired again today.  So what's new.

(PS - the opening image, yes I got it to load, is an old one but I'm sure you will enjoy it better than nothing.  I preferred to watch last night, than take photos.)

I'll tell you a little about my latest knitting next time I post.  Until then, stay safe!