Thursday, 24 December 2009

Look what I found on the Christmas Tree!

My efforts at stash reduction have not gone well this year. Not only have I not used up that much yarn over the past twelve months, but I've been seduced by new stuff on visits to Wibbling Wools in Bury St Edmunds. However, that involves a bit of travelling for me which means I'm not tempted that often. Even so, the stash has increased ever so slightly.
The first photo here is of Cleckheaton 8ply that I bought home from a craft shop in Cowes on Phillip Island, Australia. Recommended needle size is 4mm so I guess it's equivalent to UK double knit. Well, I had to bring home at least one souvenir, didn't I?

The two skeins of Artesano Hummingbird were bought at the recently opened Ely Wool Shop. This is what happens when a lovely new LYS opens barely 3 miles from home! I could be mistaken but this doesn't bode well for stash reduction. Even worse when you learn that another LYS is due to open in Ely in the new year! That's seriously good news, though. Ely looks set to be the yarn capital of Cambridgeshire and I can't wait to have these little oases on my doorstep, especially after Bobb-ins closed this autumn. I don't know yet what I'll make with any of these new aquisitions; I'm content for them to sit and look pretty for the time being.

And this is the progress made so far on Sissinghurst, from the current Rowan book. The colours are lovely, the yarn (pure wool 4ply) knits up a treat and is beautifully soft, and the pattern is easy. The slip stitch pattern means that only one colour is used at a time but the effect is of stranded colour work. If I have a minor bugbear it's the hundreds of ends that have to be sewn in, but as long as I do them as I go along, it's not too tedious.

So all that remains is to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy knitterly New Year.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Monkey Mia

Our first stop on the coach tour was at an amazing place called Monky Mia. If you look at a map of Western Australia, follow the coast north of Perth and you'll come to a double peninsula; Monkey Mia is on the inner peninsula. The first photo was taken at sunrise.
It's a very special place where, during the 1960's a lady started feeding bottlenosed dolphins. A wildlife spectacular was born and now the dolphins come into the beach several times a day .

From the several hundred animals that inhabit the Indian ocean in this area, Monkey Mia has 30 or so regular beach visitors, only females and sometimes their young (males are too aggressive so are actively discouraged) with up to a dozen arriving for each feeding session.

You can see how close in they come. The sea is about knee depth and they'll come right up to you looking for food. The whole affair is closely regulated by rangers as dozens of people line the beach to catch a glimpse.

If you're lucky enough - and this was my lucky day - you get picked from the crowd to feed a dolphin a fish! Words cannot describe the experience but I would've come home a happy woman if I didn't see another thing in the whole of the holiday.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

From Perth to Ningaloo - stage 1

The photos from our holiday in Australia will keep me in blog material for quite a while, so I'll just do a bit at a time and try not to bore you. We started off in Perth and this is a veiw of the city from Kings Park. A nice city and fairly laid back, easy to stroll
round; Kings Park is home to the botanical gardens - just look at those huge palm trees!

This is a red wattle bird. They seemed to be as common as our blackbirds but a whole lot cheekier. There were also yellow wattle birds which had (yes, you guessed it) yellow wattles! Many things out there are given names that exactly describe their appearance, and these were no exception!

After a couple of days in Perth recovering from the journey,
we went on a 5 day coach tour which took us some 600 miles north on one of the main highways. Roadhouses provide comfort breaks every so often and this beautiful parrot was spotted at the Cataby roadhouse. The further north you travel the emptier the road gets - you see another car or a road train every 5 minutes or so, a refreshing change from being stuck in traffic on the A10 into Cambridge every day! It also gets hotter, and this photo was taken at the Billabong roadhouse. Stepping out from the air-conditioned coach was like stepping into an oven. That red earth is so typical of how I'd imagined it, and it was so darned hot! Just 3 or 4 hours drive north of Perth and it was 40°C, and not even summer yet. That ice lolly that I'm holding was melting before I could eat it.
This is Port Denison, where we stopped for a picnic lunch. A quiet little seaside town but absolutely idyllic. It was the first of many beaches we saw where the sand was white and the ocean was crystal clear and turquoise blue. It reminded us of picture postcards you see and you think the colours have been enhanced in photoshop. Let me tell you, they haven't; it really does look that way.
This was the first day of an absolutely fabulous 5 days; we really were looking forward to this tour but it exceeded our expectations. We saw so many amazing things that I'll tell you about soon - Monkey Mia next time (where I fulfilled a life's ambition!).

Thursday, 10 December 2009

It's been a while!

In fact, it's been a very long time, hasn't it? I hope now that I can get back into some serious blogging without the long absences. Knitting's been a little slow this year - I joined a stash knit-down group on Ravelry, thinking it might give me some incentive to make in-roads into the yarn mountain. I've managed to use up a whopping 17 balls of yarn this year - not good, eh? When you take into account the 35 balls that have found their way into the stash during the past 12 months, it hasn't been much of a stash down either! I will be trying again in 2010, mainly because I think the idea is fundamentally a good one. There have been extenuating circumstances this year that have prevented me from doing too much with the sticks and string, so maybe the new year will give me a fresh knitting start.
However, I do have many photos to share, just not today. Mr Diviknitty and I haven't long returned from a fabulous three and a half weeks in Australia and Fiji. As soon as the photos have been sorted out I promise to pick out some choice moments to share with you .
Current project otn is Sissinghurst from the latest Rowan book. I haven't made anything Rowan for a while, but several garments in their winter offering caught my eye. It's a vest knit in pure wool 4ply in four shades; the slip stitch pattern is one of those wonderful ones that looks like fair isle but in fact you only knit one colour at a time. So far I'm very happy with it and I'll knit a bit more so that I've got something more worthwhile to show than a few rows of ribbing.