Sunday, December 31, 2006

I Licked An Ant's Bum!

Day 8 - New Year's Eve

Went kayaking around the Cape today. Our guide was a real Aussie bloke called Stu. Everyone was to him either a brother, sister, mate, love, or possum. Gotta love that.

He's one of the most laid back people I've ever met. Whilst on Myall Beach he picked up half a dozen coconuts that'd fallen onto the beach. We carried them on our kayaks back to his 'office' which is basically an outdoor tent canopy and he hacked them open with a machete. We drank the juice and ate the flesh, which he also hacked off with a hunting knife.

Then Stu decided he fancied a walk in the 'garden' and gave us an impromptu bush tucker tour. He climbed a tree and found a jack fruit (tastes like bubble gum), then pointed out a cashew tree to us (cashews are actually a nut grown on the end of apples, see below), a lime tree (we could pick as many off as we wanted), a macademia tree (nuts still green) and then, he pointed out a fruit covered in green ants.

Stu tells us the ants have a lime flavour in their green butts so what does he do? Gives us each an ant to lick.

It really has a lime taste! Very potent too!

Anyway, pics to come when we have the technology.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Hot Hot Christmas Holidays

Day 1 (Xmas Eve) - Cairns

Got up at 5am for 7am flight. Arrived in Cairns around 9am.

Slept most of the day. However we did manage to go out for dinner. Had a seafood platter with prawns, mussels, bugs, oysters, calamari and fruit! Nice.

Here's a picture of the lagoon in the middle of the city. And here's a sign accompanying...

Read the bit about water tight swimmers? Gross.

Day 2 (Xmas Day) - Palm Cove

Drove to Palm Cove (20 mins from Cairns) where we'll be staying for the next 3 nights. This is Trinity Beach enroute to Palm Cove. Just one of about 7 beaches between Cairns and Palm.

And here is Palm Cove.

All the beaches are really nice but I still think beaches in Sydney and Byron are nicer. Sand on Palm Cove is pretty coarse but there's shade everywhere thanks to the abundance of palm trees.

Weather's been good. No rain so far and not extremely hot but still around 31 degrees each day and quite humid. Thank goodness for air-con!

Spent the rest of the day at the beach and just chilling out. Finished my book (The Innocent Man by John Grisham). Well worth a read.

Day 3 (Boxing Day) - Great Barrier Reef

The whole day was spent snorkelling at the GBR. Weather conditions were perfect. Needless to say it was FANTASTIC.

The tour was a full day one to the outer Reef. Took 1.5 hours on a boat to get there. Will post pics in a separate post, including some underwater ones! (ps. pics have now been posted on my flickr! Teaser below!)

We did 3 dives at sites called Ray Ban, can't remember the 2nd one and Turtle Bay.

Heaps of tropical fish (plenty of Nemos), different varieties of coral in an array of colours, and a turtle! Had so much fun and didn't get sunburnt (except on the top of my head and my left ear... ouch!)

Day 4 - Still at Palm Cove

Today was our laze around day. Went to the beach in the morning before it got too hot, then back to the resort for a swim in the pool.

We then decided to visit Mareeba and Kuranda in the Atherton Tablelands, west of Cairns. The drive took an hour up some pretty windy roads. When we got there, there was nothing but a coffee shop! About 90% of the coffee produced by Australia is grown in Mareeba - which is why we decided to visit since I am such an addict.

I was kind of hoping for a tour about the roasting process of the beans (above) or something. Instead there was just a shop and cafe. Pooh!

Here's a really ancient expresso machine.

Best thing about the drive was finding some really cheap mangoes and lychees. My 2 fave fruits! Look at Jerms fondling those juicy juicy mangoes...

What?! $3.50 a kg? Give me 2!

Another highlight was driving past a town called, wait for it... Speewah!

Yeah. Small things amuse small minds.

Don't worry folks, I haven't been neglecting my knitting - even in this heat! Here's the beginings of the Phylotaxis Scarf, my 2nd Knitting Nature project.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Completed Cloud

I'm coming out of hibernation.

Finished the Cloud Bolero a couple of nights ago but only got round to blocking it last night. I hovered the steam iron over it cos' I didn't want to flatten the scallop stitching, plus this yarn is really soft and fluffy.

Here are the project details:

Pattern: FREE from Yarn Forward magazine, by Ysolda Teague, in the M size
Yarn: 2 and a bit balls of Rowan Polar in Silver Lining
(This yarn is discontinued but I found some from Cucumberpatch in the UK. They have excellent service and shipping rates. Also fast shipping, even to a backwater like Australia!)
Needles: 8mm circulars
Notions: Button or ribbon as fastener - I haven't got a proper ribbon yet, the one in the photo is from some left over Christmas wrapping

Modifications: The pattern calls for 2 balls of Rowan Polar if making the XS, S or M size. However, it also has provisions for extending the cap sleeves by 1 pattern repeat (4 rows) , which I did, and therefore ran out of yarn just before the cast off row.
I also lengthened the bolero by 3 or 4 pattern repeats I think.

I LOVED the pattern, despite the strife I had with reading it at first. It was such an interesting knit and so well designed. It's knitted in one piece from the collar down with NO SEAMING (yay). The cap sleeves appear magically as you increase the number of stitches in each row. Also I loved the fact that you try it on as you go and make adjustments along the way so that it's a perfect fit.

The only thing I would change about the pattern is probably adding a button hole at the collar. This isn't written in the pattern and by the time I thought of it I had already gone too far down.

If I was making it again (very likely) I would also print out the pattern with spaces between each row's instruction. Nearly went blind reading it.

Monday, December 11, 2006


The new Knitty is up!

This would be quite tempting to add to my growing collection of handmade stuff toys....

On a more distressing note, I ran out of yarn for my Cloud Bolero on the weekend. I'm making the M size which requires 2 balls of Rowan Polar according to the pattern, but because I made the longer version of the cap sleeves (i.e. added the first 4 rows of section 1b before moving on to section 2), I only have about 30 cm left when I got to the bind off row. Plus I plan to make it a bit longer than required now that I'm going to need extra yarn anyway.

I've ordered another ball already so in the mean time it's back to the Jo Sharp bolero.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Cloud Disaster

I needed a break from the monotonous stockinette stitch of the Jo Sharp bolero last night (plus I was getting RSI from the small needles) and decided to start the Cloud Bolero using the Rowan Polar that arrived yesterday.

It started out being a really interesting knit as I couldn't tell from the pattern how it would turn out so it was a bit like secret knitting.

Unfortunately it also meant it was impossible to pick up any mistakes. It wasn't until row 20 that I realised something had gone terribly wrong....

The total number of stitches was correct but the numbers between stitch markers were out by 1 or 2. It didn't help that the instructions are written in this format with no stitch chart...
Row 20 (RS): k3, (yo, k1) 3 times, (k2tog) 6 times, (yo, k1) 3 times, yo, slm, k1, yo, k1, pmB, (yo, k1) 3 times, (k2tog) 6 times, (yo, k1) 3 times, k1, yo, slm, k1, yo, pmB (k1, yo) 3times, (k2tog) 6times, (yo, k1) 6 times, (k2tog) 6 times, (yo, k1) 3 times, yo, slm, k1, yo k1, pmB, (yo, k1) 3 times, (k2tog) 6 times, (yo, k1), 3 times, k1, yo, slm, k1, yo, pmB (k1, yo) 3 times, (k2tog) 6times, (yo, k1) 3 times, k3. 130 sts.
And that's just one row!

I counted and recounted and counted and recounted but couldn't find the mistake for a whole episode of Grey's Anatomy (will have to watch that one again). Eventually I found a mistake IN THE SECOND ROW!!!!!!

To be honest I don't think that was the only mistake but I was so fed up with counting by that stage that I just ripped the whole thing out. That was round about midnight....

One problem with being someone who is highly competitive when it comes to math-related challenges is that I can't rest until I've solved the problem. So there I was up til 2 in the morning redoing the whole thing until I got to row 20 and made sure that the pattern was actually right.

Needless to say I'm not my usual Little Miss Sunshine self today.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Super Geek Of the Year

Jerms sent me this link today with the note "well, it appears you may have married the wrong nerd..." Indeed!

Well if I can't maybe some of you ladies out there can.

On an even more knit related note, I have a progress pic...

I'm onto the 2nd sleeve now. I'm knitting the sleeves in the round using the brilliant 2 needle method up to the shoulder shaping, yes to avoid any unnecessary and dreaded seaming....

My stash is also returning to a healthy level after I flogged off a stack of stuff on eBay to make room in my stash drawers. Yesterday I received 2 packs of Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed - the Autumn colour one will be used to make the Phyllotaxis Scarf in Knitting Nature...

... and the lilac colour probably for a cardigan from Jo Sharp Knit 2, next winter.

And just as I'm posting this, the mail lady today came with a package - 2 balls of Rowan Polar in Silver Lining, which I'm using to make the Cloud Bolero by Ysolda Teague, a free pattern from the new Yarn Forward mag.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Where is She?

It's not like I've gone off blogging. I've just been too busy putting my leftover stash on eBay... including this ball of DB Cashmerino Aran for anyone who wants to knit a pair of Fetching.

I've already made mine!

There are some real bargains there as my main aim is to clear some drawer space for new stash. Including some Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed for my next Knitting Nature project.

At the moment I'm beavering away at the Jo Sharp Bolero. Am up to the 1st sleeve now. Progress pics to come.