Wednesday, 28 April 2010

The Web Scarf

A few years ago, when I was really broke. I made ALL my Christmas presents. As you can imagine some of these gifts were better received than others (we all learn which of our family and friends 'deserve' handmade!) but overall I think most people liked what they got.

For my work colleagues and friends (I was working three part time jobs at this time so there were a few of them) I made versions of the web scarf. I made individual versions for each person, based on their personality and what colours and textures I thought they would like. It's a bit risky making scarves for Christmas when Christmas here is generally 30 degrees Celsius plus, but I could barely pay the mortgage at that time, let alone spend money on gifts. I used every kind of yarn under the sun, from mohair to ribbons, wool to cotton (a lot of them from stash) and they all came out great. Sometimes I made the flower motifs from a contrast yarn, which also worked well.

I kinda regretted at the time not making myself one, but by the time I finished all the gift versions, I was a bit over it. But when it came time for my latest scarf project I revisited the web scarf...

The yarn is Sirdar Peru. I am a sucker for novelty yarns and quite often buy a couple of balls when I see them, usually they end up as scarves, which explains why I have more scarves than anyone living in a temperate climate should have. The colour is one thread of teal twisted with a light/bright/dark blue strand that results in a subtle variegation (fyi it's shade 555 'pico').

I almost made this into the Cold Shoulders, the capelet from the Stitch n Bitch Happy Hooker book but one row from finishing I came to my senses and unravelled the whole thing. Don't get me wrong, the pattern is lovely but I have to come to terms with the fact that vintage is starting to look a bit silly on me. When you are in your 20's a crochet capelet says 'cute, fun, individual' but when you are in your 40's it's more likely to say 'I want to be home for dinner at 4.30 and in bed by 8'.

Anyhoo, in fear of stepping into nanna territory, I decided to go the safe route and make yet another scarf. I rescued this project from the flood and it's all I've had to work on for the last little while. I should have been able to whip this up in a few evenings but due to tiredness and overwhelmedness (with the house) it took ages. I left off the flowers for the time being but may add them later - I just couldn't be bothered.

Here is a close up of the stitch pattern. It's super-easy, a fairly new crocheter could do it.
So, no more scarves for me. Except maybe one other. Have you seen the Summit Shawl over at knitty? I reckon it'd make an awesome scarf! As you can tell I am very much a 'process-oriented' knitter.

On house news. We got the cheque for the furniture on Friday and went to our favourite Swedish mega-store first thing on Saturday morning to replace our bookcases, only to find that the colour and style we want has been recalled globally because of some quality issue. Some very bad words were said at that point since there will be no news on what is happening until at least June - aaargh! I have since asked the insurance company to cancel the cheque and give us cash instead so we can try and find a suitable alternative elsewhere. So now we are just waiting for that to happen.

Also we are still waiting to hear what will happen with our cars. My insurer alone is handling 13,000 (yes that is thirteen thousand!) write-offs from the storm and presumably the other insurance companies are all simlarly inundated. At least we have transport while we wait though.

In the meantime the need to do ironing and hem pants for my fella to wear to his new job meant that we had to clear a path into the sewing room. Joy! Okay, so it is still mostly filled with cr*p and we now have boxes around the edges of the living room as well but at least I can get in there. Not a moment too soon, I was starting to go a bit funny. Ooooh, what to sew first?

Monday, 19 April 2010

Help! I've gone crafty-crazy!

Things are slowly getting back to normal...the floors have now been replaced with lovely laminate boards and the cheque is in the mail for replacement furniture. I still can't access my sewing room, except for my crochet hooks which I can reach through the door, so I am going a bit stir-crazy but at least we are not living in a building site any more.

I got through my conference without any new clothes and even managed to deliver my presentation to a pretty big audience without falling off the podium or throwing up (even though I felt like doing both)! Just fyi I wore my lucky dress (McCalls 5746 - now out of print, which is a shame) for the presentation.

My fella has finally found a full time job which is the best news! It has been hard for him but finally his persistence has paid off. He is now the head technician in the theatre department of a very posh school not too far from home (your brother school Claire!). He was supposed to start on Friday, the day of my presentation so we both had a sleepless night and were sick with nerves in the morning - and were unable to comfort each other. Unfortunately not long after he got there his new boss rang in to say his car broke down and had to be towed so he wouldn't be coming in. My fella spent some time filling out his paperwork and then came home. So we had to go through the nerves all over again today!

All in all, everything is pretty good right now, although my stir-craziness has morphed rather alarmingly into craft-craziness. As I mentioned the only supplies I can reach are my crochet hooks. I have been making another crochet scarf (although it's been slow going with being so busy moving the house around pre- and post-flooring) but my fella had the audacity to question how many scarves I actually need (one more obviously!) so I have been looking for other outlets. The new floorboards are dark and show dust like crazy, and we will have to sweep every day so I got the idea in my head to make re-useable swiffer covers. A quick search on ravelry revealed a number of free patterns but i chose this loopy version.

A few balls of nasty $2.50 acrylic yarn (best for static apparently) later and I ended up with this carnival of colour:
I have actually made four but one has already been put through its paces. A 100g ball of yarn will probably make at least three covers and they take as much time to make as it does to watch an episode each of Make it or Break it, Addicted to Beauty and Gossip Girl, stopping to fast forward the ads. I am a bit bored of this pattern now so I might make some different ones to see how they go but this design is working pretty well so far.
In fact, it's working in unexpected ways. Apparently men really are attracted to brightly coloured things. My fella actually volunteers to sweep with these, leaving me more time for my craft-craziness!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

After the Flood

the clean up continues....

As suspected my car has been written off. Since it is only panel damage (albeit A LOT of panel damage) I have been able to drive around for the past two weeks but now I have to hand it in by Saturday. I don't know when my replacement car will turn up. I hope it won't be too long. We don't know what will happen with my fella's car. It is pretty badly damaged too but we are not even dealing with it until we know what is happening with mine. If you've ever been to Perth you'll know how hard it is to get about without a car.

The house is still a disaster area. We have two holes in the roof and it is a constant battle with my strata manager to get anything done about it. Everyone else in the complex got their skylights fixed yesterday but, since we had the worst damage of anyone, we are on a special priority work order - which we have heard nothing about yet! I suspect we are not being told the truth but there is nothing we can do. Strange how you can own a property but still have no rights over what happens with the building (and pay exorbitant fees every quarter nonetheless). Every day we pray that the wind doesn't pick up and there is no more rain.

Thankfully most of our furniture survived so we have chairs to sit on and a table to eat at. We did lose all of our bookcases, but our contents insurance should cover that. We had to pull up all of the carpet and have now been quoted for replacement flooring. On the bright side, the hideous carpet turned out to be quite expensive so we should be able to replace it with a nice laminate which will be a lot easier to care for - as long as there isn't a flood ;).

However, we can't replace the flooring or furniture until the roof is sorted. I am just so exhausted from constantly being on hold with insurance companies, not to mention the pressure it is putting on my workload. This was already a busy time for me and now it's even busier due to the time I have had to take off. Never have I needed my creative escape more, but I can't get into the room to iron clothes for work let alone do any sewing but, as they say, this too shall pass.

Usually the Easter long weekend is a massive sew-fest for me and I was really looking forward to it this year, having prepared something like 18 metres of fabric for cutting the day before the flood. Autumn/winter is coming, my favourite part of the sewing year, I hope I don't miss it entirely. This year my fella and I spent the entire long weekend painting the lounge/dining/kitchen areas of the house - hard work but it looks great now and it has helped us to start to put it all behind us. We just pretend we are camping - except the kind of camping that I would like, indoors and with proper bathroom facilities!

Sorry readers, please bear with me. I will be sewing again as soon as humanly possible...