Archive for April, 2007


What Are Friends For?

30 April 2007

I no sooner say that I’m looking for a ‘new’ baby to fit some very old UFOs than Lara produces this.

Good friend, eh?


Crossing The Finishing Line

29 April 2007

I don’t think I’m alone in being a knitter who hates sewing up.  I happily knit away all year round and end up with loads of items that could be worn if only I’d sew them together.  Things aren’t too  bad at the moment – I have one cardigan totally sewn up but without buttons, one jacket looking for about 3 hours of sewing, a baby jacket that has been sitting around for over a year (will have to find a new baby for it) and a baby jumper (ditto).

And that’s another reason that all these new knitters should be heartily encouraged.  My generation learnt to knit from our mothers and grandmothers.  We learnt their ways and methods and they’ve stood us in good stead.  But there is a new generation of knitters out there who have learnt a bit from books, from friends, from the internet, and a lot from just playing around with yarn and ideas.

Cardigans no longer consist of a back, two fronts, two sleeves, and button bands, all of which have to be sewn together.  Why didn’t we think of knitting the back and both fronts in one piece as far as the armholes?  I now do that most of the time and have done away with side seams.  I generally now knit the back and the fronts together instead of casting them off – more sewing disposed of.  If the style suits it, I knit the sleeves directly onto the garment – more sewing gone.  I’m not sure why but I haven’t yet tried knitting the sleeves on circular needles, getting rid of the seams, but I’ll give that a go soon.

Garments are knit in the round from the top down (much better for adjusting sizes), and some brave souls even manage steeking, which I’ve never tried as I rather baulk at the idea of taking a pair of scissors to my knitting.  One day, perhaps. 

It’s wonderful what fresh eyes and minds have achieved.


More Bitching Than Stitching

27 April 2007

I said that knitters are really nice people.  And generally I believe that they are.  But not all of them,  not all of the time.

We have a blogger in Sydney who thinks nothing of uplifting posts from other blogs, books or whatever else she takes a fancy to.  And sees absolutely nothing wrong with it.

And there are the online knitting groups.  I belong to four and they really seem to bring out the worst in some people.  Although a number of the same names appear in each group, the groups have totally different characters.  Post a question that is deemed “easy” to one group, and you’re likely to have a load of rather snide comments.  To another group and you’ll get very patient and genuinely helpful advice.

Friends of mine have had offers from American knitters to act as post boxes for orders from Knitpicks (they won’t deliver outside the USA) and forward the orders to Australia.  I admired a pattern that a woman in America had knit and the next thing I knew she’d sent it in the mail to me.  Isn’t that really kind?

And then we have the LIVE knitting groups.  Real people, sitting around, knitting and chatting.  I’ve had some great experiences with the ones I’ve been to and made such good friends but I’ve heard a few horror stories.  I think we probably all worry that the other knitters in the group will be budding Kaffe Fassets or Elizabeth Zimmermanns and that our knitting won’t come up to scratch, but one of my knitting friends was made to feel particularly uncomfortable at a group she attended because she was working on something more complicated than their projects – they probably thought she was (to use that wonderful Aussie expression) “up herself”.   I know the converse of this experience is true; new knitters who’ve been treated with slight disdain because they’re not knitting a wedding ring shawl.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a knitter.  You enjoy it.  You appreciate the value of knitting.  Don’t you think we should all be encouraging people, not making them disheartened and unwelcome, whether online or off?


In The Olden Days, When I Was Young . . . Part 2

22 April 2007

100_0605.jpgI was very touched by the comments I received after I told the story of my first attempt at knitting – a scarf for my father when I was 5. 

By request, here is a photograph.  I could say that the quality of the photo isn’t very good (and it isn’t; I’m a new blogger and haven’t quite got the hang of it all yet) but I don’t think David Bailey would be able to turn this into a masterpiece. 

I treasure it because my father treasured it. 


I’m Not Very Fond Of . . . Part 2

18 April 2007

‘Values’ is another word that is starting to make the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. 

I believe John Howard is considered by some to be a Great Australian.  To me, he’s a complete twerp – totally devoid of ethics and with the charisma of an amoeba.  However, he’s not only my Prime Minister but also my Federal Member of Parliament so I have to live with him (well, metaphorically speaking . . . literally, it wouldn’t bear thinking about).

As it looks as though he may have a fight on his hands for his Bennelong seat at the next election, he’s already started campaigning in this electorate.  Last week, I received a glossy brochure extolling his achievements and those of his party.

One page is headed “Strong Direction. Mainstream Values”.  What on earth is that supposed to mean?  The text of the leaflet sheds no light.

We get members of the media brigade constantly warning us of the dire consequences that immigration will have/is having on Australian Values.  Right-wing Christian politicians banging on about Family Values.  And we now have Mainstream Values. 

But despite this abundance of values available to us, not one of them bears any resemblance to mine.

And for that I’m extremely grateful.  


I’m Not Very Fond Of ….. Part 1

16 April 2007

As children, my sister and I were not allowed to complain about food or say that we didn’t like it.  So despite the fact that the thought of eating tripe made my stomach churn, I dutifully said that I wasn’t very fond of it, not that I hated it, which was much nearer the truth. 

I no longer have to eat food that “I’m not very fond of” so I’ve acquired new aversions – and they’re mainly words.

Words that don’t seem to mean anything: words created by marketing agencies, the media and politicians. 

And the first of these is “lifestyle”.  When did we stop having a life and acquire a lifestyle? 

I heard a company advertising “lifestyle packages” on the radio the other day. These turned out to be retirement homes.

I’ve seen ads. for Lifestyle Management Services, Lifestyle Barbecues, Outdoor Lifestyle Fashions.  I thought the wooden furniture outside my front door was just a garden table and chairs, but it would appear to be an Outdoor Lifestyle Setting. 

Is this a worldwide phenomenon or just a Sydney one?


Mea Culpa

12 April 2007

I’ve said on my header that these are ‘Confessions’, so I’ve decided to make one.  I know my secret will come out one day as too many people know the truth, so I think the best thing is to come clean.

…………..deep breath.

Last year, I knitted a DISHCLOTH!

Until I discovered knitting on the internet, I didn’t realise that people did such things.  I remember my grandmother knitting her own dishcloths over 40 years ago – thick cotton/string, large needles and garter stitch – presumably because they were the only kind available.

Then I saw whole sites on the Net devoted to the ‘art’ of dishcloth knitting.  Apparently people carefully choose coloured cotton yarn, scour (pun – sorry!) the internet for suitable designs, painstakingly knit the thing then rub it all over their greasy pans. 

We’d discussed this at the knitting group I go to and decided that, each to her/his own, but not for us.  Then Celia, one of our group, got married and I was stuck for an idea for a present.  What do you give the knitter who has everything?  Of course, a dishcloth. Yellow cotton to a pattern on one of the American dishcloth sites. I hope she’s treasuring it as it’s a Sally’s Knitting Kitchen one-off! 


I’m glad I’ve got that off my chest and I promise it will never happen again.


Stitching ‘N Bitching

10 April 2007

I always thought knitting was a solitary occupation until I came to Sydney.  When I arrived here, I didn’t know anyone (except David and Chloe, of course) so took to my knitting again, with gusto. 

Then I discovered knitting on the internet – patterns, tips, magazines, chat groups, wonderful yarns – a whole host of goodies.   Next came the knitting blogs.  And that lead to meeting REAL PEOPLE.  I went along to a couple of knitting groups and was so surprised by the mix of knitters – all ages and skills.  I was totally inspired by the range of work they were creating, drooled over the yarns, some of which I’d only seen on the internet, and looked at all the wonderful books and magazines that people brought along.  

I made friends.  Knitters are really nice people, aren’t they?


In the Olden Days, When I was Young…..

4 April 2007

I started knitting when I was 5, making a scarf for my father – yellow with a brown fringe.  Yes, it looked as delightful as it sounds.  It had about 6 stitches – garter, stocking, rib, moss stitch, a bit of everything really – with an 8 row cable in the middle, because I thought that looked like an ‘S’ for Sally.  And my father wore it, fastened with a pin because it wasn’t long enough to tie.

I’m very attached to that scarf and show it to anyone who’s polite enough to feign an interest .  And it’s not because I’m showing off and want everyone to think how clever I was – I wasn’t a child prodigy, just a small child with a patient grandmother and an interest in learning this new skill.   

But my father died over 40 years after I knitted his yellow scarf and we found it beautifully wrapped in tissue paper in his sock drawer.  I think you’ll understand that it brought (and can still bring) a tear to my eye. 

Lovely man, my father.  


So Why PomPom?

2 April 2007

I’m English.  I live in Australia. 

For those of you who are English or Australian, no further explanation is necessary. 

But for the rest of you I’d better explain that ‘Pom’  is the term used (sometimes with affection, sometimes not!) by Aussies to describe an English person.  Nobody really knows why.  There are many ideas and myths surrounding the word but it’s now been declared non-racist.

And of course PomPom is also a woollen bobble, generally stuck on top of a knitted hat.  My knowledge of cheerleading is extremely limited but apparently PomPom is what they call the stick they wave about with the fluffy ball on top (looking quite a lot like the Sydney Harbour fireworks at the top of this page). 

And why have I started a blog?  I suppose because I’m feeling left out.  There’s a whole community out there that I don’t belong to.  I just read other people’s blogs and wonder how they find the time to work, shop, cook, clean and knit.  And write about it.  I’m now going to find out.  Shopping and cooking I don’t really do – I have a husband who creates gourmet dinners nearly every night of the week – but I have to fit in a least a little cleaning between working and knitting. 

And I’d like somewhere to have a rant occasionally.  A bit like a “Dear Diary” but you can all read it.  And argue with me, if you feel like it.

I admire the blogs of many of my friends and really look forward to reading them.  I’ll do my best to produce something that they’ll all enjoy too but it will probably take me some time to find my feet.   I don’t expect to show the beautiful yarn and knitting that Pamela does. Or the yarn and pattern reviews Meg produces so well. Or the songs of Mary-Helen.  I’ll never be able to rant as well as Lara!    And unlike Kate, I don’t work in a world icon.   But I’ll try to find something interesting to say.

On the knitting front, very little to report and no pictures to show. 

So I’ll leave you with a picture of Chloe.  I promise lots of knitting stuff in the next few days.I’ve 3 items on the needles at the moment and will post photos and info. when I’ve more to show (and I’ve got the hang of this blogging lark).