Thursday, July 31, 2008

Finally Phiaro!

Back in May I was complaining of RSI from knitting my Phiaro Scarf. After I did the cast off and drop stitches thang it sat on the back of a chair waiting for the fringe to be plaited and the ends to be sewn in. Eventually I got around to that and I even blocked it and then it sat on the ironing board waiting to be photographed.

Finally, two months later I would like to present the finished Phiaro!

Pattern: Phiaro Scarf by Katie Himmelberg from Knitscene Winter 2007/Spring 2008
Yarn: Oasis by Southwast Trading Company in Chocolate #53 100% Soysilk
Modifications: None

I'm quite happy with it but it has turned out to be very long, perhaps too long. I contemplated cutting off some of the length, but that would mean doing all those plaits again. Noooooo!

Now while this is a scarf, I think that this is a garment that I will actually get to use a lot here. The soysilk is cool on your skin while providing a small amount of additional warmth that is often required in an arctic air conditioning! Yay!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

SnB here we come!

I'm going to do it. I've been talking about it for a while, but I'm going to finally start the Abu Dhabi Stitch'n'Bitch! I've had a few comments from interested knitters over the last few weeks and that has given me the motivation to finally get organised.

I'm thinking that we should call it something else here though. Maybe something a bit more culturally sensitive for living in this part of the world. I'm open to suggestions on this.

September will be the first month. A lot of people leave Abu Dhabi during July and August, plus this gives me time to get the word out.

Date: Second Friday of the month so September's will be the 12th September 2008
Location: Caribou Coffee at Marina Mall (1st floor near the Snow Dome)
Time: 3pm

I've chosen this cafe because it is never very busy, it's kind of out of the way in case anyone feels a bit self conscious about knitting in public and they have nice comfy lounges to sit on and pretty good coffee. The day, date and time are completely open for discussion, so to all the interested knitters (crocheters, and other needle crafters are welcome of course) please let me know what you think. Would you prefer it to be on Saturdays? Is 3pm too late? Does the second Friday of the month clash with some other activity? Please let me know.

Are you excited? I'm excited!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

G-L-O-R-I-A! Gloria!

You know the Van Morrison song right?

Today is my grandmother's 85th birthday. Her name is Gloria. To me she's always been Nanny. I wanted to talk about her today because I think she is a really amazing woman!

Here we are together on my wedding day five years ago.

My Nanny has always been such a loving and fun influence on my life. When I was born my Mum was 18 and had not yet attended University. While Mum went to college to become a teacher Nanny looked after me every day for the first three years of my life. I have memories of picking flowers with her in the garden, bath time with Nanny singing "here we float, in a golden boat..." and walks in the neighbourhood. Years later when I moved from the Gold Coast to Wollongong to go to University, Nanny and Grandad would come and visit me, and there would always be a big ice cream container full of Nanny's home made Anzac biscuits and $20 in my hand when they were saying goodbye. I always loved those visits.

These days Nanny is still really active and lives in her own home. She is very involved in the community and with her family. Later this year she is planning to take a three week tour of Vietnam! I just think that is so amazing!

Nanny has always been very crafty. She has tried her hand at almost every needlecraft that I can think of. Knitting, crochet, cross-stitch, embroidery, tatting, black work. You name it, she's done it. Back in 2004, I got this idea in my head that I wanted to learn how to knit, so the first person I thought of to help me out was Nanny. A lunch was planned at my Aunt's house to celebrate Nanny's 81st birthday and I came prepared. Here's Nanny on the day.

I turned up with some plastic 5.5mm needles, a ball of cheap acrylic yarn and a plea; "Nanny, will you teach me to knit? Please?"

Here is the result.

The is a photo of my first ever swatch of knitting (apart from a disastrous attempt at knitting when I was about 10). See how proud I am. The rest, as they say, is history.

Happy Birthday Nanny! Thank you for everything you have taught me. I love you.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Eye Spy....

What's that? Don't tell me. Is it lace?

Why I do believe it is......

The pattern is Seascape from the latest Knitty. The yarn is Knit Picks shadow in Grape Jelly from my stash.

Okay, so the pattern is not that difficult, but it is lace and it was one of my goals for this year. My actual statement was "Knit some proper lace work (with lace weight yarn)". Do you think it qualifies? I think I will give this to my Aunt Didi. I think she will like it.

But o-oh! What's this?

I don't think it is supposed to look like that! Off to the frog pond we go.

Something that has been finished for a while but hasn't made an appearance here yet is the Tetris Blanket. You remember Tetris don't you, the computer game? Here it is in all its multicoloured glory!

Pattern: Tetris Blanket, free pattern here
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Worsted
Modifications: I ditched the "Mock Crochet" edging. It was a bit too frilly for the techno vibe in my opinion. I added a simple garter stitch border and finished off with Elizabeth Zimmerman's "Sideways Border" from the Knitter's Almanac to give it a nice stretchy edging.

The blanket if for Chi Wai's best friend Jason and his wife Shino who are expecting a baby boy in August. Chi Wai helped me choose the pattern. Can you tell? I hope they like it.

Just in case you were wondering, Ravelry is still blocked here. I just checked.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Things I miss.....

Every now and then, I get a bit homesick and start thinking about the things that I miss. You all know I am missing my family and friends like crazy, but this list is for some of the funny little things that I miss sometimes. The not so obvious things.

1. Freddo Frogs.

Yes of course I had to start with something made of chocolate! For readers who are not from Australia I should explain. Freddo Frogs are a small chocolate sold individually, that are shaped like a cartoon frog. I especially miss the strawberry and peppermint cream filled versions. They are just the right size when you need a little something sweet. I hear you saying "but what about Carmello Koalas?". Well funnily enough, I can actually get CK's here in Abu Dhabi. It's just one of the weird imports stocked by our local Spinneys Supermarket along with Bulla icecream and Bega cheese!

My special memory of Freddo Frogs is from when I was at University, my friend Alison and I would go to the Uni book shop during the lecture break and buy a strawberry Freddo and a small plain milk. After that we would be ready for another two hours of boring Engineering lectures.

I miss you too Al.

2. David Jones and Grace Bros.

They really don't know how to do a good department store here. In Dubai they have versions of US and UK departments stores such as SAKS on Fifth Avenue, Debenhams and Harvey Nichols, but they only a capsule collection rather than stocking a good selection of everything, and mostly they only stock clothes, accessories and cosmetics. You know I love these things as much as the next girl, but I miss being able to go to DJ's and GB's (yes I know its not called that anymore, but I just don't care!) and looking at all the homewares, books, electronics, linen or just whatever. I miss shopping there with my girlfriends.

3. My LYS

Okay, so maybe this is one of the more obvious things, but I had to put it on the list. Shopping for yarn online is fun, I love getting the parcels in the mail, but it's just not the same and holding the yarn in your hands, giving it a squeeze, seeing the colours with your own two eyes. When you buy something online there is always risk, unless it's something you have bought before. What will the colour be like in real life? How will it feel? Will it be scratchy? My LYS was called Daisy Designs in Fairy Meadow NSW. Apart from all the yarny goodness at DD, the best part was the owners (Kerry, Rae and Christine) were friends of mine and every second Tuesday we would gather there, a small group of knitters and drink cups of tea with some Lemon Crisps and have a drool over all of the new yarns that had come in. It was tops!

4. Triple J (Radio Station)

In Abu Dhabi there is a choice of two English speaking stations, one is a "classic hits" station the other is a "Top 40" station. Both of them are crap in my opinion, but we end up flipping between the two anyway. I worry about the effect it is having on me (LOL). I'm a Triple J girl, what can I say. I miss the non-commercialness of it and all the local music.

5. Australia

It's funny how patriotic you become when you are not living in your home country. I am always excited and proud to find Australian products in supermarkets and shops. Recently we went to Dubai to watch the Socceroos play in a World Cup qualifier against Iraq and I was passionate and loud! Chi Wai even went out and bought an "Australia" t-shirt for the occasion. Here's my brother Marc who was visiting from London (with the stripey t-shirt and camera around his neck), Chi Wai (with the kangaroo t-shirt, arms folded) and Brian our house mate ("Australia") supporting the Green and Gold!

We lost by the way. :-(

There are many more things that I miss, but I think I have gone on long enough! All that missing doesn't mean that we are not having a good time over here and that we are miserable. Not at all. I just get a bit homesick sometimes. Nothing that can't be fixed with a slice of Vegemite on toast and Caramello Koala chaser!