Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Pony Club Time!

Back in Sydney, in time for New Year's. I left London on Boxing Day (a cold winter's morning), and after spending about 36 hours in a flying machine, I arrived to a sweltering summer's day. I guess going halfway around the world does have it's rewards sometimes.
The ponies were there to pick me up from the airport. It's pretty much been holiday-time since I've been back. All we've been doing is swimming, waking up late, cycling around the water, watching movies.
In the three days that I've been back, I've probably cycled more than I have in a year in London. I stacked it on the first night, and I've been a little bit more cautious since. I was going downhill, and couldn't find the slopey bit at the end so ended up just flying over the kerb. Flying's great, it's just the landing that's not so fun. I knew I couldn't do anything to stop it though, so I just tried to enjoy the ride. My hands and knees are a little bit grazed up, but nothing too life threatening. I'm just a lot more cautious on the downhill bits since.
I wish I could tell you about the spectacular items I've been knitting with all my free time, but the truth is, I haven't done anything.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Candy Colours

The stripey Dr. Who/ Tom Baker scarf has been completed! I finished it off on Monday night, much sooner than I thought it would take. I'd originally intended to make it as cumbersomely long as the scarf Tom Baker wears in the series, but S obviously wasn't too keen on tripping himself up everytime he took a step, so I eventually ended the scarf when it was about 1.5 metres long.
The colours aren't that similar to the original, but really, who would notice unless they were the ultimate Dr. Who uber-geek?
It was also a good way of using up most of my stash before going back home to Sydney for the summer. I'm sure I'll build up another stash over there pretty damn quickly anyway. Plus, now S can keep himself warm while watching old episodes of the Doctor till his eyeballs bleed.

Those two packets of Koolaid (sent by a lovely friend from Arizona) have been used to cook up something delicious.

It looks mighty fine, but it's definitely not edible.
It's a batch of freshly dyed, handspun yarn! The lovely, intense, orange colour was acheived by dyeing it twice. I was over-ambitious and tried to dye it before my first cup of coffee in the morning, and it ended up being a bit of a shitfuck. The colour came out nicely but not as intense, and I'd forgotten to tie the yarn up properly so it'd all gotten tangled up.
After I spent about 2 hours untangling it, I re-dyed it again, finally getting this awesome candy shade.

I've also been working on a secret project that will be unveiled soon. Keep your eyes peeled.

But now, it's Christmas Eve, and I have guests in the living room waiting for the party to start!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Berry Ruff

The bell and berry stitch beanie is finished. It looks a bit warped, probably because of the trouble I had with some of the stitches, and slightly too small, but I'm guessing it'll stretch out with a bit of wear, as most of my other beanies have done.
The instructions tell you to purl 5 together, which sounds easy in principle but is actually a bitch to achieve. The stitches insisted on not cooperating with my hands, so in the other, after a bit of yelling and stomping, I discovered another method of purling 5 together. Basically, you slip 2 stitches onto the right needle, then purl 3 together, which is much easier to achieve, then slip the first 2 stitches over the 3 stitches that have already been purled. Much, much easier, and no histrionics involved.

Anyway, for those interested, here are the instructions for bell and berry stitch, as supplied by Patons'.
1st row - k1, *k1, p1, k1, p1, k1 all into the next stitch, p5tog* repeat * to last stitch, k1 on last stitch
2nd row - k1, p to last stitch, k1
3rd row - k1, *p5tog, k1, p1, k1, p1,k1 all into next stitch, repeat * to last stitch, k1
4th row - k1, p to last stitch, k1
5th row - *k1, (yrn) twice, repeat * to last stitch, k1
6th row - *k1, drop next 2 stitches off left needle, repeat * to last stitch, k1

Note: (yrn) stands for 'yarn round needle' which just means to wind your yarn around the right needle, thus creating a new stitch without actually knitting.

Once you get into the hang of things, it's easy enough to follow the pattern and adapt it as you wish.

This is a horrible photograph of my neon orange neck ruff. I'd been hankering after a Jacobean ruff for ages as a homage to Vince Noir, and finally decided to knit one about a month ago. It's incredibly easy and can be finished while watching one or two episodes of The Mighty Boosh. The ruff is based on the principle of hyperbolic knitting, about which you can read more of in this article.
Basically, to make the ruff, all you need is a set of needles long enough (circular needles work well) and enough yarn in any colour you want. Cast on enough stitches to go around your neck, then knit the first row. In the second row, start increasing by one in every stitch, so that you end up with twice the number of stitches you started out with. Keep increasing in this method and you'll eventually end up with a ruffle. As long as your needles are long enough, you'll be able to make the ruff as big as you want.
If you feel like it, get a nice button and sew it on, so you can button the ruff when you have it on.
I'm starving now, time to feed.

Thursday, 18 December 2008


This guy we know, Wes, is turning 50 next week, and we got him a suitably apt present to celebrate 50 years of him being a hard-livin', hard-drinkin' rock-n-roll muthafucker.
Ever seen those Westerns/ Prohibition-era movies where the guy opens a book and finds a gun or hip flask in it? Well, that's what we're doing for Wes. Bottle of whisky though, not a gun.

If you've ever wondered how to make a movie-style hollowed-out book, read on for step-by-step instructions:

1) Select a book that's thick enough for your bottle of alcohol/gun. (We used an edition of Miller's Antiques Price Guides from 2000 - as a joke on Wes' age.)
Have your cutting instrument ready, and measure the size of the bottle you're putting into the book.

2) Leave the first few pages intact so you have something to cover the bottle with, then draw the outline of the bottle on the first page you're cutting on.
Make the sides pretty snug so the bottle doesn't fall out of the book.

3) Start cutting - remember, you've only got several hundred pages to go!

4) Remember to take regular breaks and hydrate yourself. After all, it's hard work!

5) Back to work.

6) The aftermath

Et voila!
Hollowed-out book hiding a drink!

Charlotte was supposed to arrive last night, but her flight got delayed so I'm off to pick her up from Liverpool Street Station soon!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008


I woke up super-excited this morning. It was beautifully clear and sunny. And best of all - my Curlypoppet will be arriving in London tonight and we'll get to have international Bike Gang and Pony Club times for the next few days!

Despite all my good intentions though, apathy soon set in during breakfast. I blame it all on last night's dinner.
All that food that you see there was just for the two of us. What you don't see, is the other plate of ten huge dumplings that we'd already wolfed down. Really, who needs 20 dumplings, a huge bowl of noodles with soup, and another huge plate of noodles?
Tasty though. But it did make me want to throw up a little on the way home just so I didn't feel so completely filled up. Throwing up would probably have been an excellent idea though. I'm ashamed to say I couldn't finish my plate of Xinjiang noodles with soup so I had to take the rest of it home. But at least I got to relive the tastiness all over again.
I've been to that restaurant (which I'm pretty sure is just called 'Xinjiang Chinese Restaurant') twice now, and both times, I can't believe how they're just not completely packed out. It's one of the tastiest (and cheapest) places I've found so far, and the food's pretty damnned authentic, except for not being totally covered in a thick layer of grease like in most Central Asian truck-stops. Maybe that's a good thing - it means I'll always be guranteed a spot straightaway without having to wait or share a table.

Sorry about the lack of knitting postage today. I'm just too apathetic. I'm just going to lie down in my pink leopard-print dressing gown now...

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Time Lords and Berries

Weather like this means it's beanie time!
Watch out for a newie coming soon, done up in a bell and berry stitch.

I found a Paton's Woolcraft booklet in the op-shop a couple months ago, and have been dipping in every now and then for new stitches. A girl on the Tube the other day had on a beanie with this stitch, and it looked nice and fluffy, which made me decide to try it out. That, and the fact that I like giggling at the typo - "Bell and Berry Stit". Not very mature, but I get my laughs wherever I can.

I know I said scarves bore me in my last posting, but I've secretly been working on a long stripey scarf based on Tom Baker's scarf during his incarnation as the Time Lord.
It's done in an idiot proof garter stitch and means I can knit it without looking at it while watching old episodes of...Dr. Who. It's progressed a fair amount in a couple of hours.

And in my defence, the scarf will end up a present for a massive Dr. Who fanboy.

Monday, 15 December 2008


The Moebius scarf finally came off my needles last night. I started it months ago, using yarn scraps, knitting it during the spare times at work (guess it's lucky that I had a lot of spare time when I was supposed to be working).
Seeing as it was my last day at the hostel yesterday, I thought it fitting that the scarf should be finished around the same time too. A stripey, woolly reminder of those many, many dead hours spent waiting for smelly touros to check-in. So I did a couple more rows then cast off just before bedtime.

It'd been cast off right before this photo was taken, hence the unruly bits at the bottom.

The Moebius scarf is, of course, based on the Moebius strip (named after August Ferdinand Moebius). A simple model can be made by giving a strip of paper a half-twist, then taping the ends together. The simplest way to make a Moebius scarf would therefore be to knit a straight scarf, then giving the scarf a half-twist before knitting the ends together. Voila! Moebius scarf!
But I get bored easily when knitting scarves, so I looked for other methods. I wanted to knit using circular needles, and found these instructions for knitting a Moebius scarf in the round.
It actually took me a couple of tries to get the first few steps right, but then, I'm not the best at following instructions. Finally got it though, and it's just like normal circular knitting. Except with twisted needles.

Finished product, ends tucked in. Success!