Monday, October 27, 2008

Cherry Ripe

Yes I know you are all positively dying to know how Zena and I are going on a Cherries! Well no one has asked actually, but we are going to tell you anyway!

I have finished the back now and I've also blocked it to size. I think my guage is a little bit off (too tight), but this yarn is so stretchy, once it was wet I had no trouble getting it to co-operate. Here's a photo after blocking. It's not a very good photo, but this is what you get when you get home in the dark and have use the flash, yucky photos!

I have used short rows to shape the shoulders and have left the stitches live so that I can use the three needle bind off (or grafting if I'm really feeling energetic!) later on. Here's a photo earlier on which shows off the stitch pattern a bit better. I also think this is a closer representation of the colour.

So it was going pretty well up to this point.

Zena has this to say about her Cherry progress.....

Here is a photo of my Cherry to date.

Progress was going great until I looked at it and decided I didn't like the bits where I had omited a birdie because I couldn't fit a whole one in- and if I don't like it now, I'm really not going to like it when its finished, which means I won't wear it. Rippit, rippit, rippit!

Note the needle threaded through the middle? That is where I have frogged to. There are no post-frog photo's, its too sad.
I am actually more surprised at my surprise about all this, I don't think I've ever knitted anything for myself that hasn't involved a LOT of knitting and frogging and re-knitting- good thing I like knitting eh?!

Apart from the frogging, I'm really happy with this so far. The RYC Cashcotton DK is lovely, a weird mix of cotton, angora, cashmere, viscose and a bit of plastic (polyamide). Incredibly soft although I do miss the spring that comes with knitting wool and I think this going to need some serious blocking. I'm a bit worried about the arms though, these fuhduhbuhdahs might need a few extra stitches for a comfortable fit!
Zena isn't the only one worried about her fuhduhbuhdahs (flabby arms for those who have not seen "Kath & Kim"). After finishing the back of my Cherry I went straight on to the first sleeve. The ribbing is done on smaller needles (3.25mm) and after my first attempt, there was no way the sleeve was going to fit around my meaty upper arm! I am thinking it must be a gauge issue. According to the pattern the finished size of the sleeve in the size I am making is 33cm, which is fine for my arm (I checked!), but on my first attempt I was only getting about 23cm! I frogged it back and re-knitted it on the larger needles (4.0mm). This time, it will be big enough, but only if I block the bejeezers out of it, so I'm not sure what I should do. Do I block it and see what it looks like, or should I add more stitches and then hope that I can fit the sleeve cap into the arm? The third option would be to work out my guage issues and end up with the right sized sleeve, but that just sounds way too difficult. Any suggestions anyone?

That's all for now on the Cherry saga. Until the next Cherry update, ciao from Zena and me!

PS. I am typing this, stirring the risotto with one hand, glass of wine in the other! Am I multi-skilled or what! Or perhaps the risotto is burning, my blog post is full of spellos and the only thing that is being done properly is the consumption of wine! Heh heh heh!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Knit One, Sip One

Yesterday we had a bit of an impromptu SnB because well, sometimes once a month is just not enough!

We got together in the morning this time and on a Saturday for a change of pace, but at our usual location, the Caribou Cafe in Marina Mall. We even had new ladies!

What was most exciting was we had a visit from a lady named Jennifer who lives in Dubai and is going to start her very own yarn shop! Our very own lys, well almost local, Dubai is about an hour and a half away, but still very do-able!

Here's Jennifer (right) with Eva (left) eyeing off the yarn catalogue. Hmmm.......

And here are the other girls playing with the yarn that Jennifer brought with her!

From right to left we have Lindsay, Sydney, Lulu and Sharon, with all the lovely yarn on the table in the foreground.

Quite a few of us were tempted. Of course I came home with more yarn, which I need like a hole in the head, but this time I actually got to see and feel the the yarn before making my choice. What a luxury! This is earmarked for a particular project but I will talk more about that later.

Mission Falls 1824 cotton! I have always been curious to see what this was like in the flesh and now I have some of my very own. It's mine I tells ya, a-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha (evil laugh)!

You may remember last time I talked about our new SnB group, I mentioned Sydney (named after our fair city no less!) who is a non-knitter. Well, check this out! Lulu was a very patient instructor and Sydney managed a whole swatch of knitting and purling. We were all very impressed and I think Sydney was quite excited with her effort! I knew we would manage to convert her!

This is what I managed to knit in the few hours we were there (this photo really does not do it justice, ugh!).

I was inspired by Hala who was working on this the last time we met. Is called the Petite Pochette (meaning little bag!). It's a progressive knit-a-long with new instructions each week and Hala is kindly translating the instructions for me from the original French. The pattern is really easy but is a good mindless diversion from Cherry and I think the finished result will be a really cute clutch purse. I've had the yarn for a while and it was just begging to be turned into an evening purse of some kind. It's Tilli Thomas Disco Lights in Ruby Wine. Lush!

I am really loving having some knitting friends in the same country as me, again!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cherry Baby

A while ago my best friend Zena and I realised we had "queued" the same project on Ravelry. This really isn't very surprising for us, we have very similar taste. Whenever we go shopping together we are constantly reaching for the same item. When we were at university we would return from the summer break having been shopping with our mums, only to have purchased near identical clothing and then turn up to uni wearing the same thing!

So this time when we found that we liked the same pattern, rather than fighting the coincidence, we decided that we would both knit it, together, at the same time. We'd have ourselves our own little knit-a-long. Just the two of us.

The pattern we have chosen is called Cherry by Anna Bell. I am going to report on our progress here, so stay tuned!

With the help of Zena I have chosen Sublime's Cashmere, Silk, Merino blend in "Tease" which is a nice deep rosy pink. This yarn is soooo lush. I can't believe that I have not discovered before.

Zena has chosen Cashcotton by RYC in "Pool". Her Cherry is going to be so pretty! She has knitted a lovely swatch to show you all.

It will be interesting to see how the two cardigans turn out, with me using a bouncy merino based yarn and Zena with her not so bouncy cotton based yarn.

I have cast on for the back and have got as far as the 1x1 ribbing done. There has been some discussion between us about the virtues of straight 1x1 rib versus a twisted rib (knitting in the back loop). As it turns out I find my normal 1x1 rib to look much neater than my twisted rib, where as Zena prefers the look of her twisted rib. Isn't it fun how we all do things differently?

This is going to be fun. Let the knit-a-long begin!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Haaave you met Phonky!

Inspired by Donna's daily Twinkie updates and talk yesterday of Lindsay's cat Princess, I would like to present, Phonky (pronounced with an 'F' sound).

Phonky came to us from Feline Friends which is an organisation that does what it can to look after all the stray and street cats here in Abu Dhabi. They have an "Adopt a Cat" program which was how we got Phonky. He had lived in a few homes when he came to live with us, and had had a few names as well. When we got him, his name was Phonkin and in true Aussie style we shortened it to Phonky. Don't ask me what it means, or where it comes from. Other aliases include Phonk, Phonkmeister, The Phonkster and Sir Phonk-a-lot.

Phonky has actually been living with us for a few months now. He was Chi Wai's birthday present back in July. It's taken him a while to warm up to us (he was 18 months old when we got him) but he's now part of the family and even Brian is quite attached.

He loves to play with random objects on the tiled floor. Just this morning he managed to carry a wine stopper from the kitchen sink in his mouth down to the floor and then proceed to fling it all about the place! He's also managed to get into my yarn on a few occasions and make a bit of a mess of things. Cheeky Phonky!

It's so nice to have little warm furry cuddly thing in the house again (Chi Wai is warm and cuddly too, but not furry!).


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Indian Escape

Chi Wai and I have just returned from four days spent staying on a coffee plantation in a place called Wayanad in the state of Kerala in the south of India. We stayed on a coffee plantation called the Tranquil Resort.

We stayed in a tree house!

We even had a tree going right though our room!

The tree house had a fantastic veranda surrounded by trees.

There was a small creek running under the tree house making very soothing sounds. That, with the sound of bird song, monkeys running around underneath and the divine weather made the veranda the perfect place sit for hours alternating between my book and my crochet hook.

We saw lots of monkeys on the plantation, but they were a bit shy for the cameras. Here's one cheeky little guy we did manage to catch.

When we weren't enjoying the veranda, we were walking through the coffee fields,

taking in the lovely gardens around the main house,

and lazing by the pool.

The other major pastime was eating. The resort is a home-stay style resort where all meals were eaten in a communal outdoor dining area with the other guests and family members of our hosts Victor and Rangini. We were mostly served Indian food with a few Western dishes thrown in here and there. The food was delicious! Here's Chi Wai and I about to enjoy a traditional Kerala style meal served on a banana leaf.

We had such a fantastic relaxing holiday and it was made all the better by the hospitality shown by our hosts Vicktor and Rangini, their daughter Nisha and her husband Ajay. They really made us feel so welcome and looked after.

I didn't want to come home!