Monthly Archives: October 2007

Cafe Knitting Again

Well, you all know by now I like to Knit In Public as much as I can.  As always I like to show everyone just where that was, provided it was interesting.  Saturday one of my WIPs and I were treated to a traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony.  I’d call that interesting 🙂  Seeing as I have recently joined the Southern Summer of Socks KAL (and I am afraid to take my embroidery out of doors these days), I thought I’d better take along my first SSoS project.  Meet sock one of Socks For Myself For Once…

She has a rectangular toe cast-on and has acquired the beginnings of a forethought afterthought heel.  SpinWeaveKnit suggested this heel option when I took this WIP to another cafe later the same day.  I had not heard of it before (the heel not the cafe), and I have not yet gotten around to looking it up, so I am not certain I am doing it correctly.  I am sure, however, that it will work and so I am ploughing on through.  The basic concept – as I understand it so far – is that you cast-on extra stitches; work a wedge toe type heel on these new stitches and half of the old ones; then pick up stitches along the cast-on edge and knit in the round again with the picked up and remaining original held stitches.  I think I made that seem more difficult than necessary, all the more reason to look it up I guess.  I’ll do that.

Oh yes, I mustn’t forget the cafe.  (skip ahead a paragraph or two if you don’t like food and want to get back to the knitting in a hurry – huh, yeah right!) Made In Africa, is a little place at the back of an arcade in Moorooka (a suburb in the south of Brisbane).  It is quite close to home for me and I had decided to explore the sudden burst of activity that seems to have occurred in this small retail precinct.  What I found hiding at the back of the arcade was a new cafe and gift shop run by a local man Tesfaye Tefera.  They have baskets and carvings for sale and a pool table at the other end of the room (not for sale though).  The menu is still a bit sparse at this stage, but the important stuff is covered.  You can get a good coffee (from the best of Ethiopian beans I was assured) and a slice of cake.  Chocolate mud cake, carrot cake and lamingtons were on offer when I was there and they were the cheapest I have seen anywhere in years.  They have salad and there was a few kiddie bits and pieces too.  What I ordered though was one of the three traditional Ethiopian dishes on the menu.  I don’t remember the name right off the top of my head but it was a beef dish with butter and rosemary.  I guess that makes it similar to sega wot (sp?) but perhaps a little more flash.  It was served on injera, of course.  Have a go if you haven’t tried it, it is an experience.  Lucky for me I had heard of these dishes before and I believe I was able to conduct myself without causing myself any real embarrassment.  Injera is a sour pancake like thing and this is what your dish is served on, it also serves as your utensils.  Yup, you tear a bit off and pick you food up with it.  I think I read somewhere that you are meant to make a roll of the torn bit of injera and scoop stew up with that.  It was not happening quite so elegantly for me.  I am very sure my host would have given me a fork if I had asked (he was most hospitable), but I am proud that I did not.  I can use chopsticks after all, so how much trouble could a bit of crepe be?  Hmmm, actually don’t answer that 😉

Just as I was getting ready to leave (ie. finishing a round on my sock), the traditional coffee ceremony was just beginning.  How cool is that?  Of course this meant I got to knit a lot more and I had to have another coffee, and it was probably all educational to boot.  Admittedly my arm is way too easily twisted when it comes to new food.  The ceremony is going to be performed every Saturday I was told, to show off the culture some.  There was incense, a traditional coffee pot and little traditional cups without handles.  The beans were roasted and ground right there in front of everyone, I am told that is part of it.  The resultant coffee was good AND strong (think Turkish) and it comes with popcorn.  Again I ask, how cool is that?  I guess it is safe to say I was pretty impressed with the whole experience.  The hospitality I encountered was very nice indeed and I learned that there is a possibility that they made be hosting some cooking classes in the future.  Count me in!!

By the time I left Made In Africa, almost half of what I had knitted on that sock had been done there.  I had cast on and worked half the toe increases the night before.  That morning I had finished the toe before I left the house on my culinary adventures.  This is the cast on…

It is the rectangular toe cast-on I mentioned earlier, I am uncertain which website I found it on (it was some time ago).  I think it was either Knitter’s Review or Sock Knitters, I’ll track it down if anyone wants to know.  Mostly I just wanted to show that it really does begin life as a rectangle, a tiny one at that.  I really like this cast-on, but I will use better increases next time.  If you squint at the first pic of this post you can see my toe is a little puckered.  That is because I have been pulling my M1 increases really tight to help close up the holes they are leaving.  I have determined that I am not doing them quite right.  I have been given a few tips and will be trying them all out soon, to see what will work for me.

If you have managed to read this far, wow, thanks.  As a meagre reward, I’ll leave you with an extra picture of my sock.  You know, to try and balance out all those words.  This is what she looks like this minute, look closely to see that heel I mentioned

   tootles 🙂

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Filed under General Happenings, Knitting, Works In Progress

Pumpkin Bom

Introducing my first ever handspun yarn, Pumpkin Bom.  She is a little uneven, but she is fabulous, as far as I am concerned. 

I plied it, well, because that seemed like it would be much easier than the spinning so I figured ‘why not?’.  I think I was right.  It did my very overspun singles a world of good.  I ended up with what appears to be a balanced yarn, albeit one with varying thickness.  Interestingly enough, the thicker bits are at either end, so maybe I can knit it up to make that less noticeable.  Now there is only 20 meters of this stuff, almost exactly.  Any suggestions as to what I ought to make with 20m worth of 2 ply lucid orange merino handspun?  It is kind of a heavy aran to bulky weight once you average it out some (that is at least 12 ply to you Nana).  I think I would prefer to knit this into something seasonless, a tiny purse perhaps? 

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Filed under Finished Objects, Spinning

Dye Fix

I have signed up for the spinning workshop at the local guild.  I went and visited them last Wednesday evening so I could hand in my cheque.  I was lucky enough to be invited in to their store while I was there.  it is just like a big old candy store, he he.  Well I must have stayed in there a bit too long, because I left feeling the need for a dye fix.  It was all I could to to resist the fibre urge whilst I was there (and I did it quite well I might add), but I couldn’t see any reason not to follow up on the dyeing.  Since then I have been quite productive.  I have dyed up 4 nylon sock yarns intended for lace, some of baby yarn, 3 hanks of wool/mohair blend and a bit of reclaimed silk.  I haven’t pics of those yet and some are still drying.  But here is a sneaky peek at the over-dying I did on an otherwise ho-hum ball of self patterning woollen sock yarn.

I am very happy with the result.  I find that a lot of the colours in self-patterning sock yarns really lack intensity.  This is not any problem, but is not to my taste.  The great thing about it though, is that the spots that had taken little dye previously, really sucked up my dye.  So my pink wash really made the blues quite pretty, even though I had figured I was only using enough to tint the white parts.  Where the blue portions had been a bit wishy-washy they are now richer and softly variegated.  Yeah!!  🙂

Oh yeah, nearly forgot the before shot.  Actually, it doesn’t look so bad in this pic.  Still isn’t ‘me’ though.  Yup, that is a ball of Hot Socks I was messing with, and it isn’t the first time either.  Mhwaa haa ha ha!!

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Filed under Dyeing, Knitting

WTF?!

Oh man, this is not cool.  Not cool at all.

Looks like a bit of a blank canvas doesn’t it?  Yeah, well it is not.   This pic was taken at 7am, but at 8am the morning before I had just finished tracing the design on to it.  They are supposed to fade over the course of a few days sure, but this was less than one.  All I was left with was a few faint pink splotches, nothing that resembled even so much as a short line.  😦

 (sorry about the grey spot in the middle there, it seems I need to clean my lens.  Ooops!).

This was a brand new transfer pen, I even splashed out on a flashy Clover one (it has an extra fine point and a very effective handy dandy eraser at the other end and cost me about double what I pay for the blue Sullivans ones).  The fabric was in a bag and did not get wet, so this excessive fading really is a bit inexplicable as far as I am concerned.  Geez, it really irks me to have to start again.  The transfer took me ages.  Arrrgh!!!  RANT, RANT, RANT.

 Okay, okay, I am getting over it, honest.  Seriously though, I really want this pen to work well for me, I can’t expect to be able to use the blue water-erasable ones for everything.  Oh and with that lovely fine tip and cool eraser it would be my new fave transfer pen, that is IF this incident turns out to be an isolated and freakish one.  I sincerely hope so, as there is just no way that I will be able to stitch all future projects such a short time-frame.

 Never fear though, these baby’s did come highly recommended to me, and by more than one person.  So I will be trying again and I have my fingers crossed.

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Filed under Embroidery, Swaps, Works In Progress

Where did you knit today? II

This is episode 2 of ‘Where did you knit today?’, which is in fact pretty much just me bragging about being a part of the KIP (Knit In Public) crowd.  Over the weekend I decided it would do me some good to walk up a mountain.  So I did, and I took some yarn with me too, of course.

As you can see, Mt Coot-tha will not be winning any world’s largest competition anytime soon.  Well, at least the walking track won’t, it doesn’t start at the bottom.  But hey, that is soooo not the point.  After all, I got outside with the bugs and plants and such, I got some exercise and took some yarn along.  I think I did well. 

Here are some of the pretties I snapped on the way up (1 above and 1 below).

It wasn’t awfully steep, but I have been steadily getting out of shape since I took up knitting.  😦  Boy was I glad to see this sign…

  Heh, heh.

I finally got to the top, just to prove it I took a pic of the view.  If you squint some you shuld be able to see Brisbane City CBD off in the distance.

Well, that was all well and good.  I figured I deserved a coffee, so I ordered one and somehow managed to resist cake and such.  Then I managed to finally sit down and get out my yarn, notions and a stitch pattern book.  That was when I discovered that the yarn I had plucked from the stash that morning was a skein, doh!  I would not be shy about rolling it into a ball in public, but there just wasn’t enough chairs to accomplish this.  😦  It seems I had picked a time to be there that is very popular with tourists, there may have been a tour group there, I’m not sure.  So anyhow, I don’t have any in progress stitchy type pictures to show off.  You’ll have to make do with the view from the cafe and another of some flora I snapped, this time on the way back down.

 

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Filed under General Happenings