FO part 2

Has life around here been exciting since the last time I wrote. Almost immediately after I published the last post our wireless modem crashed and it took 6 hours and completely rebuilding the network to get it up and running again. But then our Airport is almost 10 years old, and IT equipment isn’t meant to last that long.

But I promised more finished objects.

FO 4 and 5 – two cowls thumb_IMG_0888_1024

Sometimes when you are knitting a big project like the hap you need a project that is just a little smaller to carry around. And there is just so much storage space for yarn in the house.

The white cowl is made from baby yarn. None of the balls had a ball band, so I am guessing that it is acrylic, just from the feel and the way it washed up.

The turquoise cowl is made from leftover wool after I finished the top. I had it out and rather than pack the wool away I made a quick, short cowl. I love the stitch! Browsing around Ravelry I saw a knitted wrap with a similar stitch, and that may just go into a queue. Perhaps for a Christmas present.

Anyway, these two are destined for the next Grandmothers to Grandmothers craft stall.thumb_IMG_0886_1024

FO6 – Slouchy Beanie

Last year I made a family set of slouchy beanies for my niece and her family. One has already been loved to death, so I promised a replacement. Now I just have to catch up with her and deliver it.



FO7 – Readingisbn9780575104839

Originally I intended this blog to double as a place to review backlist books that I read. And I have a couple hundred backlist books in storage for ‘when I retire’. Anyway this morning I finished Brandon Sanderson’s The Reckoners trilogy. Last year I read book one and was totally blown away by the whole concept of supermen not necessarily superheroes. When humans are given super powers, how many of them are going to fight the forces of evil, and how many are going to use their power to dominate mere mortals. Book 1 was great, Book 2, like many fantasy trilogies, is basically an exploration of the various directions possible for the plot. I finished Book 3 this morning, and for the first time I am disappointed in Sanderson. I cannot claim to have read everything he has written, but Calamity just feels wrong. He not only disregarded the whole concept that I loved in the first book, but his climax was so contrived that it was almost silly. Sorry, but the emotional reunion with the long dead parent was unnecessary. Sad when this happens.

Current projects:

  1. The Hap is almost finished. About 8 more edge scallops and then tie off the ends.
  2. The first sock for Pete was finished last night. Light is just too poor to take a photo today, so hopefully tomorrow.
  3. After the disappointment with the fantasy novel, I am changing genre. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead arrived last week and it looks like a radical change from what I have been reading – roughly historical, but more literary fiction.

FO (It’s not what you think)

FO – knitting code for finished objects. And even though I haven’t been here for a while, I have been knitting madly.

FO1 – our European holiday guidebook

Every year in preparation for going on our trip, my job is to prepare a day by day guidebook with a summary of the day’s activities, suggestions for dining or other activities, photos and maps as may be helpful, etc. It helps us know ahead of time when we need a little extra cash, how to negotiate airport transfers and other little stresses that can happen when you are travelling in a strange country. The book started as a reference for family, but has become an important part of our preparation.

And this one was very important, because I discovered that the travel agent had made a slight error. We had a free day in Paris (!!) but no bed booked for the night we returned from the French tour. All fixed now, and much better than arrive back from the tour at 5pm to ‘I’m very sorry Monsieur, but we have nothing available this evening.’

So 36 pages and over 5000 words later we have a personal guidebook for our trip. And I can think about writing something else for a change.

FO2 – The turquoise top

After nearly 2km of wool knitted, I finally finished and tried it on. Not what I thought. Neckline too low and fit too close. It will be fine under a my linen jacket in spring and autumn, but for now it is packed into a drawer without even blocking.

FO3 – Baby Booties
While I was working on finishing the top, I got very thumb_IMG_0885_1024bored and whipped up a pair of booties for the Grandmothers to Grandmothers craft stall. It was fun to spend a couple hours and watch these little slippers appear.

There are three more FOs, but I will save them for another day.

Current projects:

Project 1: The Hansel Hap

I was reading Jean Miles blog about how much she was enjoying knitting a baby blanket for a new arrival in her family, when a call came through announcing that there will be a new member of the Sutton clan in December. I have had heaps of baby boy blue wool in storage for a special project, so I dragged it out and got started. The Hap was so much fun, it is nearly done! Only the scalloped border on the last edge and it can be washed and blocked. It has turned out much bigger than I expected, but that should increase it’s usefulness.

For thosthumb_IMG_0891_1024e like me who have never heard of a hap, it is a traditional Shetland island ‘blanket’ knitted either from the centre out or from the outside in. It is made for special occasions and like much traditional knitting, it is intended to be very flexible use. A hap can be a small blanket, or folded to be a triangular shawl, or a lap rug.


Project 2 – Socks for Pete

Pete requested at least one new lightweight pair of socks to take with us. With four weeks to go, I thought I had better get started. Sock 1 should be finished today so photo tomorrow.




Where does the time go?

Everyone says that retirement is the busiest time of your life, and at one stage that was hard to believe. Maybe organisation is a little more relaxed, maybe bigger projects are tackled, but somehow time just goes. Like it has been over a week since I wrote on this. Yes, I had lunch for 8 on Friday, and a few other activities that I would once handball to Pete, but still…


Project 1 – the scarf for Grandmothers to Grandmothers finished. It may be a little short because the wool didn’t relax like I thought it would, but the stitch pattern came up nicely. Photo was taken with my phone, so it isn’t very clear.

Project 2: I thought I was going to finish the main body last night, but the ball of wool ran out on the second last row of the lace pattern at the hem. Not a secure place to splice in a new ball, so I decided to double the lace section. Should finish the main body tonight.

Project 3: Sometime in the next week I have to get a birthday beanie knitted, washed and dried. So that has been cast on and a couple dozen rows finished.

While I was working through the long boring rows of Project 2, I started trying to count up all the items I have knitted in the first 6 months of this year.

  • 21 scarves and beanies for Grandmothers to Grandmothers
  • 12 items – a beanie, scarf and jumper for each of the 4 nephews/grandnephews
  • 3 pairs of socks for Pete
  • 3 items – mittens, scarf and beanie for one niece
  • 2 pairs of socks for myself
  • 1 Major project (1.6km of wool used) a blanket for another niece.
  • 1 Major project – smaller lap rug for myself (still over 1km of wool)
  • 1 pair of socks as a gift

I should finish both projects on needles before the 30th, so I think that will be 46 individual items done since January. The goal was to do something for Grandmothers to Grandmothers for every item made for myself or family, so I need to try to do a couple of little gifts for them to sell. I have had some baby wool given to me, so I might throw together a couple pairs of booties, just to balance the total.

Other stuff

The Gippsland Symphony goes back to rehearsal in a week. David sent through the program and I have printed it out. He must be happy with his flute section because half the program features flutes. After a few weeks off, I will need to get the lip back in shape. The last time I played the Chaminade, I was the soloist. This time I will be happy to match the tone and tempo while playing the accompaniment. Although, I might drag out the solo for fun.

Back again!

There is no way this is going to be daily. Some days retirement is just too busy to allow quiet thinking time. But hopefully there will eventually be more written days than not.


Looks a mess, but you can see the colour.

Project 2: A short sleeved summer top to take away when we travel to Europe in September.

Summer knit tops – seems a silly idea. But I was given some lovely pale turquoise yarn in the great wool donation and immediately knew I wanted to make a tunic top out of it. So, fine wool, skinny needles will mean a lot of stitches. And since I really want it lightweight, but not lacy, that means a lot of boring stocking stitch. There is a reason I am working on several projects at once. After every 50g ball I allow myself a change of project. 50g is about 200m of yarn at this ply, and I expect the top will take about 12 balls.

Right now I am knitting up the fourth ball of wool and it really looks like a strange beast with knitting needles sticking out everywhere. I have managed to hide the needles in the photo.


I did manage to finish a book last night and wrote the review this morning. It is a fairly recent publication, so the review is on the Buzz website. One down, hundreds to go.

At least now the two knitting projects are introduced. And I get to choose a new book to read. The next in the queue looks to be a SciFi by a well known author that I have never had time to read. Maybe more tomorrow.



Even before I retired I loved reading a couple of knitting blogs. Jean’s knitting is a wonderful read about knitting and life. A few weeks of following this and suddenly you know Jean’s family as well as her incredible knitting skill. I also follow the Yarn Harlot when I can. Her practical outlook on life and living as well as her travels (all involving knitting) are inspirational. I can’t write like the harlot, and my knitting skills are far more basic than Jean’s, but maybe somebody, somewhere will find my ramblings interesting.

So – yesterday’s knitting:

When I retired several friends, and their friends, took the opportunity to clean out their yarn stash. I inherited boxes of yarn, a lot of it in little bits. My storage space is limited, so the logical response is to knit it up and send it on. Last week I proudly delivered 20 beanies, cowls and scarfs to the Emerald Grandmothers to Grandmothers craft stall. All yarn is now stowed away, but I really want to reduce the fingering/sock yarn stash so that it all fits in the woodbox. So all knitting is with fine yarn.

Project 1:IMG_0051

Scarf. Made from Paton’s Bluebell (I think). It had been knitted up once and then frogged. So I had three tightly rolled balls of kinked yarn bits in all different lengths. I am knitting it up in a chevron garter stitch, once it is done, washed and blocked the stitching should loosen as the kinks fall out.

So far I have about 60cm knitted. Target length is about 130-140cm that should block to 150. Then pack it away for the next GtG craft stall.

Project 2: tomorrow


The other purpose of this blog is to review some of the books that I am reading. After 25 years as a school librarian I read almost exclusively children’s and YA literature. Now I am free to read for myself, or at least attack the backlog of review books that have collected over the years. Several of these are too old for reviewing on the Buzz site, but I since the books were given to me for review, I feel I should offer some comment. But this is getting a bit long, so I will start the reviews next time.

That’s enough for now.



Retirement Rambles

I have been thinking about starting a blog for a while now, like since retiring from 40 years of teaching. I used to maintain all kinds of blogs related to work, and I am beginning to miss the process. And it doesn’t hurt to be reading other peoples efforts, thinking ‘I have something to contribute, but need to get around to it’. Thanks to my niece Michelle Nicholson for the motivation to actually get started.