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November has not been a good month for me. I headed down to Sydney on the 9th for surgery on the 11th, hoping I’d only be in hospital a night or two, but planning to stay in Sydney a few extra days afterwards, so I took some knitting with me. Unfortunately, the surgery (attempting to insert a stent inside the existing stents in my cerebral aneurysm) did not go well, and despite the best efforts of my wonderful doctors, I ended up with multiple complications – a small brain hemorrhage, some damage to the retina in my right eye, an abdominal bleed, and a tear in my femoral artery which gave me a large bruise/haematoma on almost my entire upper right leg. So, as a result, I was eight days in hospital, and had to have further surgery to repair the femoral artery.

Boy, was I glad I had my knitting! I did try some lace knitting on an Ishbel in the first couple of days, but my brain/eye coordination wasn’t that great, and I had difficulty relating the knitting to the chart, which is something I usually find easy. My lovely sister fixed up the row I stuffed up, but I put Ishbel aside for a day or two and instead worked on some socks, which were much easier. Many of the doctors, nurses, cleaning staff, fellow patients and their families expressed interest and asked me about my knitting. One of the young doctors mentioned several times that he’d love a pair of handknit socks ๐Ÿ™‚ After I finished the socks, I picked up Ishbel again, and my brain and eyes were working much better so it went more smoothly – except a number of times I was one stitch short at the end of a pattern row. I fudged those bits, adding a stitch reasonably seamlessly in the pattern – and so the scarf, in a peppermint green wool/silk, got renamed the Peppermint Fudge Ishbel.

I finished her a day or so after I got out of hospital, but as I stayed on in Sydney for a few days as a precaution, I didn’t get to block her until today. Here she is, all pinned out:
Peppermint Fudge Ishbel

The pattern is, of course, the popular Ishbel by Ysolda Teague, and the yarn is a merino/silk fingering weight yarn from Lush Yarns. I used size 4mm needles, and made the small size in the stocking stitch section, and the large size for the lace section, working charts ABABACDE.

The socks are the Harris Tweed pattern, knitted in Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 4ply. The pattern was nice and easy to knit, so I could knit while writing – the knitting keeping my fingers from being distracted and clicking all over the internet, but easy to drop the moment any words came to mind. I suspect I’ll be casting on another pair soon, because I love these ones, but I’m giving them away as a Christmas gift. Sorry that the photo isn’t that great – taken in a hotel room, rather than my usual photography space at home!
Pattern: Harris Tweed. Yarn: Bendigo Luxury 4ply

Now I’m home, I’m working on my two Aeolian shawls. The blackberry one is getting closer to finished – I’ve only got about 10 rows to go, but as they’re looonnngg rows and beaded, there’s still a few hours’ work in it. I’ll post pictures when it’s done. The sea green/blue one is still only in the yucca section, so it has a lot more to go yet. But I’m thankful that, despite the medical problems, I can see, and knit, and I figure there can’t be too much brain damage if I can knit lace! It could have been so much worse, so I’m grateful that it wasn’t. I have to take things easy for a bit, and will go back to Sydney in mid-December to see the neurosurgeon and the vascular surgeon. There is likely to be more surgery on my aneurysm in the future, since this lot wasn’t successful. I’m not looking forward to that, as it’s always risky, but I’m determined to pull through it okay. After all, I’ve got a lot of stash waiting to be knitted up into beautiful things!

Iย  finished this Shetland Triangle yesterday:

Pattern: Shetland Triangle Yarn: Bendigo Colonial 5 ply

Pattern: Shetland Triangle Yarn: Bendigo Colonial 5 ply

I used yarn that’s been in my stash for ages – a cone of Bendigo Woollen Mills 5ply Colonial that was left over from a weaving workshop a few years back. Some of the cone had been used, and as I didn’t have an empty plastic cone, I couldn’t determine the exact weight of what was left, although I guessed it was around 150 grams. As it turned out, it wasn’t quite enough –ย  I got as far as the end of row 13 of the 15-row edging, and had to cast off there – which I achieved, with only 2 metres of yarn to spare!

I beaded the last three pattern repeats, and the edging, with size 5.0 silver-lined beads:

Shetland Triangle - bead detail

Shetland Triangle - bead detail

I’m quite happy with the finished result, although the yarn is not quite as soft as I’d hoped after washing. This may be a Christmas gift.

As for other wips, I’m currently working on two pairs of socks – one is daylight-only knitting, the other I can knit at night. The daylight socks are the ones I’ve been working on for a while – just a very basic pair of stocking stitch socks in a dark blue-green Zitron Trekking yarn. I’m turning the heel on the second sock, so they won’t take too much longer to finish.

The other pair I started last night – a pair of Harris Tweed socks, in Bendigo Luxury 4ply in their ‘cork brown’ colour. The yarn s lovely to knit with, and the pattern suitable for knitting-while-writing – ie, relatively mindless, and easy to put down the moment the words strike! I bought three balls of the Luxury 4ply a few months back, and since each ball will make two pairs of socks, I’ll be knitting more socks frm this yarn!

Pattern: Harris Tweed. Yarn: Bendigo Luxury 4ply

Pattern: Harris Tweed. Yarn: Bendigo Luxury 4ply

I confess – I’ve also bought some yarn recently. Knitpicks was having a sale of lace yarn, and a few skeins found their way to me. Okay, quite a few skeins. Enough for seven shawls. Because I needed more stash to add to the stash I already have. Really.

Knitpicks Shimmer in Shallows

Knitpicks Shimmer in Shallows

Knitpicks Shimmer - Galaxy

Knitpicks Shimmer - Galaxy

And talking about stash, I also bought some weaving yarns from Webs. Even with the postage from the US (gulp – it was higher than the website quote), it still worked out to be a reasonable deal, compared to what the same amount of yarn would cost me to buy here – assuming I could find it amongst the few weaving yarn suppliers. So, I have some mercerised 10/2 cottons, some unmercerised 8/2 cottons, and some tencel to play with.

And yes – amazing though it may seem – I have actually been weaving. The black warp that has been on the loom for ages has finally progressed. After being totally indecisive for ages about what I was going to do with it, I made up my Libran mind. The first couple of metres are just plain black plain weave – trim for a jacket that I will make form some other handwoven fabric. The last couple of metres will be a scarf. I haven’t definitely decided which colour and yarn what I will put across the black warp, but it’s threaded in an advancing twill pattern and I will weave it in an overshot style. No photos yet, but there will be some soon.

…is a pattern repeat shorter than the other. But at least it doesn’t have a different-coloured toe.

Pattern: Conwy by Nancy Bush. Yarn: The Knittery Chubby Merino

Pattern: Conwy by Nancy Bush. Yarn: The Knittery Chubby Merino

That small bundle of yarn in the middle is all that’s left of the skein. The yarn is denser than most, so the yardage is less – and the cable pattern is quite dense, too, therefore using more yarn. I wasn’t sure, as I worked my way down the foot, whether there’d be enough. However, despite sock 2 being a centimetre shorter than sock 1, it does fit, so I’m not going to unpick the toe to see if I can get the extra pattern repeat in – I’m not prepared to take the risk. (Or I’m lazy. Or both.) And I seriously doubt that anyone’s going to be examining my toes closely to police the sock length.

All that aside – love the yarn, love the pattern, love these socks. I might wear them tomorrow ๐Ÿ™‚

And on a totally different topic, I’m giving away three prize packs including my romantic suspense book, As Darkness Falls, over on my writing blog. The knitting connection? Socks were knitted in the writing of the book ๐Ÿ™‚ (Although I’m afraid there’s no knitting in the book – the characters were a bit busy solving crime.)

Knitting progress is still slow, but some has been made. I finished the first Conwy sock for me a couple of days ago – and I love it! The yarn, The Knittery’s Chubby Merino sock yarn is gorgeous, nice and smooshy, and the sock feels great on. I’ve knitted Conwy twice before, and love the pattern, but both pairs were given away, so these socks will be mine, mine, mine!

Pattern: Conwy by Nancy Bush Yarn: The Knittery Merino Chubby

Pattern: Conwy by Nancy Bush Yarn: The Knittery Merino Chubby

I’m also slowly making progress on a shawl-collar jacket I’ve been knitting for a few months. The back is done, and I’ve almost finished the fronts. Then it will just be the sleeves, and sewing it up…. of course, I’ve still got a jumper in pieces that I haven’t sewn up, by there hasn’t been much impetus to do it during summer. Now we’re in autumn, and the weather is starting to cool, I’ll take it out of hibernation and finish it sometime soon!

My major finished object lately is nothing to do with yarn – but I finished the revisions on my second novel, and sent them into my publisher this week. It won’t be published until September, but we have the cover design almost finalised – and it’s beautiful! Since I haven’t had much knitting/weaving to show off lately because I’ve been working so hard on writing, here’s a sneak look at the book:

Book cover - Dark Country

Book cover - Dark Country

And my reward to myselfย  for finishing the book – some yarn ๐Ÿ™‚ย  The Knittery, suppliers of yarns that I love, is sadly shutting up shop, so I’ve ordered some undyed yarns from the stock clearance- some more of the Merino Chubby sock yarn, and some skeins of the Merino/Cashmere sock yarn. Hopefully they’ll arrive at my PO box by Friday, when I’m next in town.

And now that the book is done, I’m going to spend tomorrow at my long-neglected loom!

There has not been much knitting lately, unfortunately. The wrist is getting better – slowly – but my non-knitting is due more to being flat out with work for the past few weeks.

However, I have now turned the heel on some Conwy socks for me, and almost finished the decreasing for the foot. The yarn is the gorgeous Chubby merino sock yarn from The Knittery, in the shade denim. This is where the first sock was at a couple of weeks ago:

Pattern: Conwy by Nancy Bush Yarn: The Knittery Chubby merino

Pattern: Conwy by Nancy Bush. Yarn: The Knittery Chubby merino

There’s some light at the end of the work tunnel, so I may get some more knitting done over the next few weeks. I may even – but don’t hold your breath! – get to sit at the loom again. Sometime this century.

I’m back home again after almost two weeks in Sydney. Another medical procedure down there, which went well, and this time only involved one night in hospital. I stayed down there longer, though, on GPs advice – because if complications arose afterwards, they’d likely be serious and quick, and we’re just too far from specialist medical services here. Sydney is large and busy and noisy, and the combination of noise and post-operative tiredness meant that I didn’t sleep well at nights, and had to take a nap most afternoons.

I’m on a deadline for a book, so knitting is taking second place, but some is still happening while I stare at the screen. Just before the end of November, I started two socks for the Ravelry Sock Knitters Anonymous November challenge:

Slip-stitch socks

Slip-stitch socks

I love the colours of this yarn, but in the first sock I started knitting with it, the colours pooled into definite stripes. I needed a pattern therefore that broke up the pooling to give a more mottled effect. One of the SKA challenges for November is slip-stitch, so I’ve used an improvised slip-stitch pattern – 1st round: *slip 1, k3; 2nd& 4th rounds: knit; 3rd round: k2, *slip 1, k3 (thus offsetting the slip sticth from the previous pattern round). I’m quite happy with how this pattern is muting the colour changes, and also with the lightly textured feel of the fabric produced. This was also my first ever toe-up cast on.

Peace socks

Peace socks

Another of the challenges for the SKA group is to knit a design by Wendy Johnson, of Wendy Knits. I’ve had the beautiful ‘Earth’ colourway of Cherry Tree Hills Supersock Potluck in my stash for a couple of months – it seemed appropriate, in the lead-up to Christmas, to knit a design called ‘Peace‘ with the gorgeous ‘Earth’ colours. This was my second ever toe-up cast on – which I had to do from memory, as I hadn’t taken the instructions to Sydney with me!

Crimson lace mitten

Crimson lace mitten

I knitted my niece lacy fingerless mittens earlier this year, but unfortunately stuffed up and they ended up slightly different lengths. I’d promised her another pair, and when she was in Sydney with me in June, she chose this gorgeous crimson yarn for them. I’ve now knitted the first mitten – one more to go before Christmas! The colour is actually a little richer than it shows in the photo.

In the meantime, I’m still working on the Three Sister’s Scarf, and I’ve almost finished the back of a shawl collar cardigan. Yes, I have too many wips on the go. However, I did finish my Komet socks:

Nundle Retro 4ply

Pattern: Komet socks, by Stephanie van der Linden. Yarn: Nundle Retro 4ply

I’ve been suffering a little from some carpel tunnel or similar problem in my left wrist, so I’m alternating between different projects to give my wrist some variety, and also knitting slowly and gently – and sometimes not at all. I don’t think its the knitting that’s causing it, but I’m still not going to overdo things and make it worse – because I still have a book to finish writing in the next few weeks!

I know there’s a few people who visit here who entered in my contest on my writing blog last month. The good news is that my wonderful publisher has arranged another giveaway, this time in conjunction with the Romance Writers of Australia. If you’d like to enter to win one of five copies of my romantic suspense, As Darkness Falls, head over to the RWA’s giveaway page and send in your email entry, before the end of November.

The giveaway contest is open to everyone, not just RWAustralia members, and all you’ll need to do to enter is send an email to the address given on the web page. (RWAustralia has a strict no spam policy, so your email address won’t be used for any purpose other than the contest.)

And to give this post a bit of yarn content, while I’m working on book 2 to meet my deadline, I’m knitting very simple socks – the basic plain stockinette pattern I’ve knitted a lot of times before, that needs no concentration. They’ll probably be for my Dad for Christmas. I’ve actually finished sock 1 and am on to sock 2 now, but here’s a pic of #1 in progress:

Basic socks in Moda Vera self=patterning yarn

Basic socks in Moda Vera self=patterning yarn

I’ve been part of the Ravelry Sock Knitters Anonymous monthly challenges the past couple of months. Each month, there is a technique and a designer nominated; you must cast on in that month, and finish by the end of the next month. The September Challenge included Cookie A designs, so my Hedera and Monkey socks were entered in it. The October challenge includes Stephanie van der Linden’s designs, and holiday stockings. My Komet socks are a Steffi design, and I’ve now also knitted my first ever Christmas stocking. I wasn’t really planning to knit one – they’re not so much part of our culture or my family traditions here, as Christmas is mid-summer. But an idea nagged at me, and then when I was in Sydney the other weekend at the Morris & Sons/Tapestry Craft sale, some inexpensive red and green yarn talked me into buying it.

This afternoon I finished my Christmas Elf Stockings:

Christmas Elf Stocking

Pattern: My own improvisation. Yarn: Cleckheaton Country 8ply

I’ve also finished my first Komet sock a couple of days ago:

Nundle Retro 4ply

Pattern: Komet by Stephanie van der Linden. Yarn: Nundle Retro 4ply

And I’m working on and enjoying my second attempt at the Three Sisters Scarf – this time with a finer solid colour yarn that works better for the pattern:

The Knittery silk/merino 2ply

Pattern: three Sisters Scarf #2 Yarn: The Knittery silk/merino 2ply

I’ve finished the No Purl Monkey socks, and also knitted up another quick Tudora.

No Purl Monkey socks

No Purl Monkey socks


Pattern: No Purl Monkeys – and adaptation by CraftyPancakes of Cookie A’s Monkey socks, from Knitty.com . Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock potluck, in Jewels colourway.

Tudora neckwarmer

Tudora neckwarmer


Pattern: Tudora, from Knitty.com Yarn: Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed.
This will probably be a gift for a friend – it’s the third Tudora I’ve made in the past couple of months, and I’ve given two away already – they make great gifts!

The only craft work that’s happened in the past 10 days or so is this Hedera sock:
20080910HederaSock

Pattern: Hedera by Cookie A, from Knitty.com Spring 2006. Yarn: Heirloom Argyle 4ply.

I finished the first sock last night, and cast on for the second this morning. It’s a nice easy pattern, so I can knit while I’m writing and in the few hours a week that I watch season 3 Battlestar Galactica DVDs with the DH – other than Wire in the Blood on Fridays, that’s the extent of my TV watching at present.

Oh, and I sent the red Tudora to a friend for an early birthday present, and she loves it. She’s off to Bhutan in a couple of weeks, so it will go travelling with her. Lucky Tudora!

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