Sunday, February 21, 2016

Shopping the wardrobe

Would it be weird to wear a ten-year-old pair of perfectly nice black maternity trousers, even though that's how long's been since I was last pregnant?

It's the big stretchy panel at the top that gives it away.

FYI I did wear them a few times as yoga pants, but I could definitely have passed as "expecting" (it would be the non-flat belly that did it).

Stories that make you go "hmm..."

When I'm in the library looking for something to read that isn't knitting or sewing related, I find browsing the Librarian's Choice shelf is often quite successful.

The most recent good find is a book of short stories called Fortune Smiles, by Adam Johnson. The author apparently won a Pulitzer Prize of an earlier novel (The Orphan Master's Son).

It's just great. The stories are sad but not poignant. There were no chuckles whatsoever to relieve the tragedy. But the people in them haunted me and made me realise how much I just don't know about people.

Like, there's one about a former warden of an East German political prison who can't accept that anything really bad ever happened in there (and anyway they deserved it). And the one about the survivor of child sex abuse who struggles to do something positive with his life. Serious themes, but don't run away from them - it's worth it.

Soaking in the sun

Even in the summer, it's unusual here for overnight temperatures to go so high as to make it hard to fall asleep - for it to be so hot at night that (gasp) the only option is to cover yourself with just a duvet cover.

No cover at all would be another option, except every time I have tried to sleep uncovered I have woken up with the sound of a mozzie buzzing in my face. TLM already has a couple of big, hive-y bites on her arm and so does the boy.

Last weekend TLM was in the Chinese New Year Parade (and I was there as a parade marshall), along with a number of other dancers who trained intensively over the school holidays specifically for this day.

I was worried they'd all get sunstroke as they had no shade whatsoever, but after the late-starting parade, getting ready to go onstage and finally the performance, they seemed thankfully okay.  (and TLM perked up heaps once she ate the curry and rice I bought her from the food hall - after realising I'd forgotten to pack her afternoon snack).

Maybe it's just us oldies who are at risk on hot and sunny days.

We went to the city beach today for one of our walk-and-eat-ice cream outings, and it was pretty full. Mostly full of tanned back-packers, that is..but as long as they litter or do anything appropriate I guess it's okay with me.

Monday, February 01, 2016

An attempt at making a cropped cardigan work for me

 I have been thinking about making a shrug but liked the look of some of those cropped cardigans that keep...uh...cropping up all over the web.

I make this out of black merino dk from Touch Yarns and made an elongated edging out of two different multicoloured yarns: a thick and thin merino from Touch Yarns (discontinued, even if I could remember what it was called) and a wool/mohair blend from Anna Gratton. 

The idea was to elongate the silhouette with the extra-long edging as I was worried a cropped shape wouldn't be flattering on my un-model-like shape. 

It kinda works, visually. But practically, it doesn't really. DK merino is far too warm for cool summer mornings/evenings. Plus the sleeve length doesn't work over a t-shirt. So I will probably try wearing this again in autumn, over something like a longer sleeved tunic or dress.

The knitting pattern is Butterscotch Bolero from West Yorkshire Spinners.

Me-made sunhat

When I accidentally dropped my favourite sunhat somewhere in the Countdown supermarket, I initially thought it would be an excuse to go shopping for a new one.  But I could not really justify the off-budget spending because I do have other sunhats.

Then I got the idea to make one myself. I found a tutorial on Youtube (called Weekly Sewing Bee), watched half of it, then go to work.

The materials I used were bits of old jeans and leftover fabric from my grey denim jacket. They really were just bits, because I'd previously cannibalised the same jeans to make a pair of long shorts for TLM (more about them when they have been laundered and I can get a photo). 

A quick sew job, I tried to follow the tutorial instructions and tweaked it as I went. I made flat fell seams at all of the vertical joins, but not on the horizontal seams. I used leftover bias binding (from the grey denim jacket) to tidy up the brim, and took in the crown a bit to improve the fit. Obviously this hat is not going to win any hat-making prizes, however I am quite pleased with how it turned out.

I need a sunhat for my house-painting tasks this week (just touching up around the windows, where it's flaking like a really good pastry) and this would be the obvious choice. But I'm reluctant to get it covered in paint.

A leafy blue beret

I knitted this out of Zealana Heron, using the Press Leaves beret pattern in Alana Dakos' book Botanical Knits. I had the idea of making this for a present for a friend who really likes beret, and wanted to use up the single ball of Zealand Heron in my stash. Of course this was not enough so I had to break my yarn diet to buy a second ball in order to finish it.

Lemons as big as oranges!

Our trusty lemon tree has been very generous this spring and summer. Twice now we have harvested enough to make a dozen lemon juice ice cubes plus a weeks' worth of lemon syrup (for homemade lemonade).

Being a tall and wide tree, I often looked wistfully at the really big lemons that I just could not reach (without chopping most of the branches off and using these to construct a climbing frame to the top).

But occasionally we got a windfall of extra-large fruit that we just have to record for posterity.

There was no-one around to help me hold the measuring tape against it, but you can see its size relative to a standard glass tumbler.

TLM was available for this one, which measured out at 10.5cm long.

Alas, both lemons are no longer as they have long since been consumed...