Saturday, January 08, 2011

Wow! So many good suggestions.

I'm slightly in awe of the number and quality of the suggestions readers have for a new name for the little beaded ballet wrap ... Bear suggests as there are so many good ones, that I may have to resort to a ballot, he may be right. He often is. If you are like me and takes a while for ideas to ferment .. then you have until the end of January 2011 to leave a suggestion on the original post - I'm not rushing this at all.
I'm still on leave, but yet again the knitting has not been as frequent or as progressive as I would have expected. There is a new sock, inspired by a fellow blogger and knitter, and the cubs have been away since Tuesday (its now Sunday). They went to visit their Granddad for two days, but rang to say they wanted to travel with him to Christchurch to visit my brother, and wouldn't be back until Sunday. My little Brother smashed his ankle mountain biking in the North Island just after New Year .. and had emergency surgery, and airlift to a larger hospital, and plates and screws holding everything inside together and is now home. He will live, and as he has already had both knees rebuilt .. so I suspect this may slow him down but will not stop him. My Dad thought it would be nice to visit him with our cubs. Chris and I will get up to see him, taking the cubs back up with us, in a few weeks. In the meanwhile Bear and I have been busy, we had a few days out and about lunching and shopping ... in the hope of finding old pens ... but none came to light, instead Bear bought me an old-new-to-me present which is fun, and I've been knitting.

So socks, new socks, the first socks of the year. These are boy socks, either for eldest cub or Bear whomever they fit best. There is a tendency among some knitters to dismiss yarn that is 'self-patterning', and yes - once one can knit colour work the idea of knitting a single yarn that will 'magically' form a colour work like pattern seems a little bizarre. The fact that for the pattern to appear as the designer intended you need the exact gauge and stitch count that it was planned for ... which rarely occurs. This is Moda Vera Noir yarn I picked up on sale from Spotlight, a big box craft store, that regularly puts all their yarn on sale to make room for themed occasions, Easter, Valentines, Christmas, Ball season, it seems that the yarn is the first to go when they need an empty isle to display seasonal stock. The good news is that because they don't value knitting and yarn enough to stock it year round ... they also don't have any idea of its inherent or permanent value - so often one can buy sock yarn for $NZ4 a 100g. In any ones books that is a cheap pair of hand knit socks, spun in Turkey, with 25% nylon, and a feel that says 'durable'. What I find interesting is that I'm sort of apologetic amongst other knitters because yes I am knitting with self patterning yarn ... but Bear admired the yarn and said it was rather elegant, and usually I trust his taste. He appears to have good taste.

These socks are toe up, and knit as I always do with self patterning yarn, with a slip stitch to disrupt the pattern and give it a little bit of life. I've worked the slip stitches every 5th stitch on the instep, every second round for 10 rounds, then 10 rounds plain. For the leg I've worked the slip stitches every second round continuously. I think I prefer the leg section .. but will work the other as a match. The heel was inspired by Ricks-toe-up sock, as developed by Jocelyn. I've no idea if I've worked my as she worked hers .... but it seems sucessful. The slip stitch heel flap runs along the end of the sole, followed by a little heel cup extension, then stitches are picked up along the sides of the flap and gusset decreases work them away.

And this is the vintage writing slope Bear bought for me, closed it is corrugated blackened wood. Kind of a bizarre black mini coffin with a small peaked roof. I don't have a key for the lock - but I know a lock smith can make a key to fit very easily and economically, so I get that done that soon. Technically this is an anniversary present ... but I'm allowed to play with it already a few weeks early.

When the first flap is lifted it reveals storage for pens and pen things, and enough room to write a quick note or address an envelope. All the little lids and covers were there, and all the hinges are brass and working, I do need to make a wee tassel for one of the lids .. it has a ring that is crying out for a tassel.

When the second flap is folded down, a larger green felt slope is revealed, with is very comfortable for writing on. Bear pointed out that it looks surprisingly like a typewriter slope ... or the angle of a keyboard with supports.

The green felt sections then lift up to access storage for paper, and other flat things, there are even little secret drawers. I'm glad we were told about it in the shop .. I've no idea how long it would have taken me to find out about those drawers.

Under the lower section of the slope is another little storage area, with a lovely shaped and sprung brass clip.

With just enough room for envelopes and my Vintage Purls stickies. It seems ok to put something as special as that in something as special as this.

Up in the top section there is room for my un-inked fountain pens. I now have a small but growing collection and have heard that it is best to leave them nib up with the cap on, so this is for BP (Ball Points) and pencils and such. There are four little lidded sections. One pen length size, one I have put two vintage sharpeners in (a cute lead pointer for a 2mm lead holder and a vintage metal Stadleter), and in the next an eraser, because I make mistakes and I know and accept it, and the end section has a wee block of wax. I've learned that one can make an envelope address weather resistant by rubbing wax over it.

Its all rather lovely and for some one who has a real box fetish, who loves containers and boxes and storage stuff .. this is a weird kind of heavenly play thing.

While the cubs have been away Bear and I spring cleaned their room ... completely. Both rooms were emptied out and we swapped the beds over, and cleaned from ceiling to floor, windows and all. We put the furniture back in new arrangements which should give them more play space ... they have both had the same arrangement for 5 years ... and now they play differently and have different stuff. This is half of Smallest Cubs room, the head of her bed used to be where the dolls house is .....

And this is the other end of her room, complete with Curley Bear, Denise the ballet bear, ukulele, and the bed that her brother used to have in his room. It is oak, complete with the original oak frame, and was never shortened during the 'modern' 1950's ... so is still tall and Edwardian. the letter is from her school friend who has spent the past year in Edinburgh.

The older cub has the smallest room, and when we swapped over the beds we decided to try it with the bed along the short wall. This has given him much more usable play-space on the floor ... before he had a narrow corridor between the bed and the window.

Look! we are such good parents, we even set out the Lego on display! Of course I have probably mixed up up the Star Wars lego with the City lego, with the Atalantas and Space Police lego, and the remote controlled Technics lego, and the Bionicle lego. When I was a kid lego was lego - now it is all themed, and if their are any complaints I will remind him that I tidied his room ... next time he can do it.

So its been a busy week, we are both tired and happy. Bear goes back to work tomorrow, and I'll head off to collect the cubs.
Take care
hope the sun shines where you are, and the knitting goes well.
na Stella


Walden said...

Positive thoughts for your brother and his healing process.

Knitting Linguist said...

I am very impressed by the kids' rooms - you're welcome to come here and do that anytime! :)

The sock heel looks much like the ones I do for Rick's socks, and I do like that yarn - I'll be interested to hear how they fit and wear. The funny thing is that I was inspired by something you wrote ages ago in a blog post about putting slipped stitches under the heel for cushioning - I though I was copying you!

The box is amazing. I, too, adore boxes with drawers and nooks and crannies and places to put things, and that one is a true gem. What a perfect present for you! Happy anniversary, early.

Animalia said...

Your writing box is gorgeous, each picture revealed even more delightful features, so many little spaces to place all your precious things. I wonder if hobbies are contagious? I have a sudden urge to seek out pens and similar boxes online...

AdrieneJ said...

That writing box is a fantastic find! It looks like a true treasure chest, with nooks and crannies for anything under the sun. As for self-patterning yarn, I'm of the opinion that those that make them are true artists! How on Earth does one imagine that in their head? :)

I hope your brother heals up quickly and comfortably!

Nicky said...

Beautiful writing box !
Delightfully old fashioned and it makes me inspired to write letters by hand and post them with a stamp.

I remember the few blissful days without children in the holidays. Now my daughter is feeling the same. Time flies.

Beth said...

I love the antique letter box. For me, the older something is, the better. And, I'm looking forward to using your tutorials on continental stitching. Learning how to knit continental style is one of my goals for the year. It seems so much quicker.

Vanda Symon said...

I am soooo jealous of your writing slope! Where does he find these things?!!! He must spend way to much time on the internet.