Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Metro, mX and Me

Metro, mX and Me
Today I caught the train to work for the first time since, ooh, let me think now, late March.  So that would make it nearly 4 months ago.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind catching the train to and from work.  I could quite happily catch trains all over the world.  I enjoy trams too.  I do not like bus travel.
Due to a flood in the house we had to vacate for a few weeks whilst repairs and restorations were made.  Lucky for me, I’m with AAMI.  After a holiday in the caravan, they put us up in a fully furnished serviced apartment, initially for 3 weeks.  This turned out to be 3 months, but life goes on.  Lucky for me, the apartment was in the city, just a couple of blocks (or 2 tram stops) from work, so I didn’t have to catch any trains.
Over the weekend and the last couple of days we moved back in to the house, sort of.  The removalists lost the nuts and bolts to the beds and cupboards.  We finally got screws for the single beds and the cupboards on Tuesday afternoon, so the unpacking had a late start.  My bed is still missing some nuts and bolts and the bed frame (amongst other things) was broken.  So sort of living in the house, but the bedroom is in the caravan. 
All first world problems I know.
This morning I awoke 2 hours early, I think nervous that I would miss the alarm.  When you live so far from work, missing a train can throw your day right out of whack.  I arrived on the cold, wet and windy platform in plenty of time to catch the 5.46 am to Dandenong.  Would I recognise anyone, would anyone recognise me?  There was Bronwyn and she greeted me with a ‘Hello stranger’.
Boarding the train, I didn’t bother getting my knitting out, too busy gas bagging and it’s only 12 minutes to Dandenong.  Ha, ha, ha.  Just after Lynbrook the train stopped.  We waited, we waited and we waited some more.  Out with the knitting.  Having a Metro morning, 45 minutes (and quite a few new inches of scarf) after leaving Cranbourne we pulled in to Dandenong to change trains for the city. Once on the city bound train I scored an aisle seat and fell comfortably back in to my morning routine of knitting my way to work.  So long as I have room for one wing to fly, I can knit.
Just as well I had a busy day, as the scarf was getting close to completion.  Just enough wool left to finish off after tea tonight.  Or so I thought …
This afternoon, whilst in the middle of a confusing reconciliation, the woop woops start. ‘An incident has been detected, please be ready to evacuate, woop woop.  Standing in the corridor waiting, waiting, waiting for instruction, you guessed it, out with the knitting.  Like an Amex card, never leave home without it.  People laughed, but I say, “Keep calm and carry on knitting”. Another few rows before the all clear was given to return to our desks. Not a lot of wool left, I wonder if I will have enough to finish the pattern?
Leaving work and heading to the station, I was so looking forward to reading the mX on the way home.  That’s my routine, knit to work and mX my way home.
Not to be.  Looking where the mX is normally placed for commuters, vacant floor space greeted me.  Hmmm, maybe I’m a little bit early and they’re running a little bit late.  I just missed a train, so no worries, I’ll see if the papers are still stacked in the street. Nope.  Hmmm, something’s not right.  Finally, not wanting to miss another train for the sake of a paper, I asked a couple of Metro blokes at the gates.  Gasp!  No more paper mX!  Not for a couple of months now it seems.  Apparently we can still read it on an app.  I don’t want to read the paper on an app.  For a number of reasons.  I don’t like reading on a little tiny screen. I like to look at the page as a whole, not one little paragraph at a time.  My phone is with Telstra, so I have the best coverage, but the crappiest plan. Biro doesn’t work for the crossword on a screen.  Oh well, bring out the knitting.  I finished the scarf and had the ends sewn in by Caulfield.
 No wool, no mX = another first world problem on another Metro day.



Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Woop Woop Evacuate

TUESDAY, 26 MAY 2015

What an eventful day I've had.

I was awoken in the wee small hours of the morning to a familiar 'WOOP WOOP, EVACUATE THE BUILDING IMMEDIATELY.  'WOOP WOOP, EVACUATE THE BUILDING IMMEDIATELY.'  I say familiar because we hear the emergency signals being tested often at work, along with regular practice evacuations and the odd genuine evacuation.  One small problem, I was not at work and it was 3.40 am.  I know this because the bedside clock in the hotel http://www.sebeldocklands.com.au/accommodation/apartments.aspx has nice big clear numbers on it.

Never the less, the hotel wouldn't pull an unannounced drill at such a time, would it? So I pulled on some trackie daks and runners, grabbed my phone and handbag and walked out the door.  Looking for a fire warden or other people I was wondering to myself where the assembly point was.  Darn it, I couldn't remember.  Whilst I usually read the hotel blurb when I arrive, that seemed so long ago and there was so much of it and am I awake or is this all a dream?  Hmmm no, that alarm is too loud to be a dream.

Still surprisingly calm and seeking further direction myself, I pointed out the stair well to a few other people as I made my way to the stairs.  Never use the lifts in the event of an emergency they say.  So why were people still taking the lift?  Why were the lifts still fully operational? Where was the fire warden?  Should I bang on the doors of the rooms I pass on the way to the stairs?

It became clear that we were all responsible for ourselves. I caught a little whiff of smoke that was quite acrid to the taste, so I decided to take the stairs and look for the fire warden once outside.
As I made my way outside, the air clear and crisp, the fire truck sirens wailing and the 'WOOP WOOP, EVACUATE' still going, still there was no direction from anyone.  I asked a few people if they knew where the assembly point was, no one had any idea.  We waited, we waited.  Some people had a cigarette, some were on their smart phones, some did both. I myself did a quick post. Then I waited some more.

This is basically a knitting blog and, like the father in the movie 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' who could make any word a derivative of the Greek language, I too can have a go at turning anything round to knitting.  Tired of waiting, I sat and pulled out needles, a ball of wool and a pattern and started g a head band.  Thank goodness I was quasi organised the night before and had my bag packed for work the next morning.  (Tuesday is knitting group day at work).

A couple of rows in and the sirens finally stopped.  Was it safe to go back in? Can we take the lift now or should we still use the stairs? We waited.  Nothing.  We started drifting back inside.  The queues for the lift were long, but not as long as I thought they would be for a whole hotel of people, so I wonder how many didn't even leave their room?  I made my way to reception.  I asked the concierge where, what, etc. 'Oh nothing, everything's fine, the fire was in the adjoining building, you can go back to your rooms now'.  That's it. I asked where the fire wardens were.  They don't have any.  I said fair enough, I guess you do have limited staff on the front desk overnight, but surely an announcement over a PA system?  'No' I was told, no need.  I asked about the lack of advising where the assembly point was and was told that there is a sign on the back of the door to each room with the emergency evacuation routine.  I pointed out that possibly not too many people, myself included, look at that on a regular basis and remember all the detail in it.  Shrug of the shoulders was the response.  He said that because it wasn't an emergency, he thought it best if he just stay at reception to answer any questions people might have.

All in all, I was appalled at the lack of care, concern and direction by the hotel staff.  I was calm and collected throughout, but I think this may be in part to all the fire drill training we have at work. However, there were others that appeared to be a little frightened and confused, to these people I tried to assure as best I could that we were safe.

Tired and weary I made my way back to bed but had only just dozed back to sleep when the 6am alarm woke me for work.

I started this post saying what an eventful day.  It wasn't over yet. ...

This afternoon I left work early to go and donate blood at the Red Cross centre in Bourke St, a couple of doors up from the mall.  Usually I would go via Spencer St then turn right in to Bourke St. Today I decided to do the other 2 side of the square, along Collins St, left in to Elizabeth St and a short left in to Bourke.  I made it as far along Elizabeth St to Little Collins to Police tape blocking any further progress. Darn it, now I was going to be late, huffy, puffy and my blood pressure and pulse would go up, then I'd have to wait, blah, blah, blah.  All first world problems compared to what lay ahead.

Making my way through an arcade I came out midway along Elizabeth St, between Collins and Little Collins.  When I got to the corner of Elizabeth and Bourke, the corner was cordoned off to oncoming pedestrians and traffic.  I still didn't know why, but made my way around the corner, before crossing Bourke to the blood centre.  I wasn't allowed to cross and then turn the corner.  I gave blood (one of my quickest bleeds) and was enjoying an after cuppa rehydration when finally I could see what all the fuss was about.  A man was on the roof of the Optus awning on the opposite corner.  A number of police and firemen were up a ladder negotiating with him.  by that stage the streets were completely empty of people, cars and trams.  I was ready to go, so I made my way downstairs and out on to the street.  It was eerily quiet.  The silence was almost deafening. I thought to myself "What a good time to return my daughter's phone call, I'll be able to hear her" and sat down on the park bench.  Chatting away, I was oblivious to my surrounds when a Mr Plod sidled up to me and suggested I move back inside.  I asked if the man on the roof was dangerous, to which the policeman replied "Only to himself".  Don't know why I had to move then, but I took it as an opportunity to hide out in Lincraft.  Turns out I had the whole store to myself. Lucky me!

Once another customer came in some 20 minutes later, I knew it was okay to leave.  Emerging on to the street from the basement where Lincraft is, it was interesting to see the city come back to life, as if awakening from hibernation.  As I made my way to the tram stop, the cars started to drive by, a busker started playing his music and people appeared, from where I know not.  The noises increased, horns tooted, people shouted and then as trams started moving again, that familiar 'ding ding' as people criss crossed the mall.

Once safely back at the hotel, I watched and listened to the news on a few channels to find out more.  No mention of a middle of the night hotel evacuation, no mention of the man on the roof.  I just hope that if next time there is an evacuation there is some actual help and guidance for those not familiar with the sound of 'WOOP WOOP, EVACUATE'. As for the man on the roof, I hope he is okay and receives the help he needs, for whatever it is that caused him to bring the middle of the city to a stand still.

Like I said, an eventful day, but all my problems were first world.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Zig Zag Scarf Pattern







Oh my gosh, I think I've finally done it. 
Somebody please click on the link and let me know if it works.
If it does work, then an almighty thank you to Carly Findlay who got me started on the blog.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

My First Design

10 May 2014
YAY!  Finally I've done it.  Please view left to see MY FIRST DESIGN.
I'm calling it something really fancy (not), the Zig Zag Scarf.  Although a couple of people have said it looks like a snake winding it's way through the scarf

Thank you so much to my pattern testers, Debbie and Ellen.  It actually took Ellen a while, because once she got the first few lines of the chart, she either continued on auto pilot without the pattern, or as I had suspected, took liberties and did her own thing/variation. (That's okay, she is a talented knitter and sometimes that's what clever people do). Never mind, eventually she did the painstaking proof reading/knitting bit.

Just reading through the history of this post and I can see that it has taken some time hasn't it?  It was all so simple in my head ...

Never mind, I got there in the end and my next post when I work out how, will be to publish the pattern for the scarf.  Given that it was yarn from Spotlight that I used, I contacted Spotlight to see if they would be interested in using it for there next 'Feel the Yarn' issue.  They said to leave my details and if they were interested someone would contact me.  That was a few months ago, and I've heard nothing, so I guess the answer is NO.

As you can see, although not quite as clearly, I have also done a Zig Zag beanie to match. So far the pattern is only hand written.  I still have to computerise it.

Anyway, now I can move this post from 'On The Needles' and hit the 'Publish' button. 
Cheers

Gina
 04.03.2014   Hmmm, Things seem to have stalled a bit.  I'm happy with the outcome, I'm just waiting on the pattern testers now.  Given that they are doing me the favour, I can't really rush them can I?  Thankyou Debbie, she has found one small error in the abbreviations, which is not surprising, given the number I've times I've chopped and changed, tweaked and twerked (can I say twerk?) the pattern.

12.02.2014   Just about there ...

I think I've finally got it.  I spent the weekend trying the new version on some fresh yarn and all the roll problems have gone.  Like I said in my last post, not quite the visual I was after, but I guess that's the nature of the stitches combination.  I've still got the zig zag and the roll along one edge.  It's just the reverse stocking stitch has been replaced with garter stitch.

Two things left to go ...

I found a new written pattern tester and I'm just waiting for them to complete the testing and get back to me. (though I fear my chart tester may be taking liberties with her own creative side).

The other thing is the yarn I'm going to use.  spotlight have informed me that moda vera 'Bailey' is not returning this year and perhaps I should try 'Dianthe'.  Dear Spotlight, if you are reading this, feel free to send me some 'Dianthe' if you are interested at all in my pattern


01.02.2014  The saga continues.

Still going ... My chart tester and I were both having the problem of the right hand side rolling in. Between us we've tried an extra stitch when turning from zig to zag, an extra moss stitch on the inside edge, an extra moss stitch on the outside edge.  A lot better, but still not quite.  Oh, and I've gone up a needle size.  Now we're trying garter stitch in lieu of the reverse stocking stitch.  Not quite the visual I was after, but now there is no inward roll, just the roll outwards, which is good, because then the ridge up the edge is nicely rounded, like the zig zag.

The re knits are getting longer.  I've discovered that you need more than 1 zig and zag is required to get the full effect of any design change.

My written pattern tester has dropped out.  The large needles are too painful for the arthritis.  I'm glad she didn't get too far as the pattern has changed a few times and probably will a few more before we get the finished product.  All was not lost though, Coralie did suggest a couple of better ways to write the instructions.  I do want them to be easy to read, so I might just take up a couple of the suggestions.  I don't think it should be too hard to find someone else.  This is meant to be fun, perhaps a little frustrating, but definitely not physically painful.  Coralie, I do thank you for your efforts.


07.01.2014  Zig Zag Scarf

Finally a couple of photos and nearly there.






It's actually coming together now.  After numerous false starts and much cursing at the computer, not only am I moving forward with the knitting (I'm on to the second ball of yarn) but I also just about have the pattern written and charted.

I've found someone who is willing to test drive the charted pattern, now I just have to find a volunteer for the written pattern.


Dec 2013
No photos yet, but I'm trying to design, write and create my first scarf pattern.  To date it's one step forward and two steps back.  Trying to work out the right number of stitches, what size needles, when to zig, when to zag, ...
Trying to get the picture from my head to reality is not going quite as smoothly as I had desired, but hopefully my stubbornness will see me through.

Monday, 10 March 2014

My First Market Stall

For those of you who have already been to Knit and a Bit's Facebook page, you'll be aware that I was camping at Wedderburn for the Labour Day long weekend.  The Wedderburn tourist centre was putting on their annual detector jamboree, for all those that like to find all that glitters that is gold.  Okay, they were actually looking for tokens for the jamboree, but the winner of that competition won a brand new Minelab detector so they can find the real gold.
Some of us are not so in to that kind of stuff, so Wedderburn Tourism Inc also organises a town garage sale.  For a token donation the community information centre let me set up a stall under their verandah. 

My very first market stall!!!

Gina, Gina quite contrary, how did my market go?

Unfortunately, whilst I approached it with a little fear, excitement and nervousness, and with an attitude that this would be a learning curve, and that even if I didn't sell anything, hopefully I would meet lots of people and have a good chinwag, I must admit that I was a teensy bit disappointed.  I think so many people had such high hopes for me that I wonder if I let them down??? 

I actually didn't realise just how much stuff I had.  My daughter helped me with the pricing.  We tried to work out an average between a small trash and treasure market and a higher end craft market for pricing as I'm not going to rewrite price tags for every different type of market and location that I might do.  This market caper must after all, be enjoyable and not too much of a chore.  As we pulled things out of the bags to price, photograph and add to the Facebook page I was about to launch (see previous post) I started to think that just one table may not be enough.  Turns out I was right, but thankfully the ladies at the Wedderburn information centre left a table out for me to add to the fold up table I took with me.
Talk about location, location, location.  The town map of all the garage sales  was not released until 9 am from the info centre on Saturday morning, so EVERYONE had to walk past my stall to get a copy.  Turns out that didn't help with the sales tho'.
First of all, I think that most of the people there were actually there for a school reunion (1950 to 1961), so most of the ladies already knew how to knit whatever they might want or need.  In fact I hate to think of how many centuries of knitting experience was milling around.  Quite daunting to think about it! Did I mention the info centre is in the old former Wedderburn school?
Secondly, it was a stinking hot day, so who in there right mind would want to buy a beanie or scarf???  which would perhaps explain why my two sales for the day were a tea cosy and a dish cloth.

Day two of the jamboree was Sunday and I was just going to relax, do a bit of knitting and wander around Hard Hill, but Robyn the amazing organiser and powerhouse of energy for the jamboree suggested I set up a stall near the stage and see how I go.  Oh well I thought, why not.  Being a family day, there were quite a number of people milling around.  Another stinking hot day, but this beautiful little blond girl, I'm guessing about 10 year old, came up and fell in love with a chevron beanie and scarf set.  She tried on the beanie and without trying to sell it, I do have to admit that it looked like it was made just for her.  thankfully some other people around me thought and said the same thing, so her Dad bought the set for her.  Despite the heat, she ran around most of the day with the beanie on.  A while later one of the campers at Hard Hill came up and bought a scarf and some baby sandals.

So all in all, not a bad weekend.  Unfortunately the photos I took of my stall, my first buyer and the gorgeous little girl are away in the clouds, or somewhere other than on my camera or on this blog.

But perhaps the best bit of all ... I've been invited back in October to have a stall at the Wedderburn New Age / Farmers' / Craft market!  Stay tuned for more info or go to http://www.wedderburnch.org.au/general/naturally-new-age-market-day for more info on last year's New Age market day.

Facebook


Well, after my family gave me these items for Christmas 2013 I decided I had to get a bit of a move on and try and do something productive with Knit and A bit. Not sure if you can see in the photo, but the business cards have the blog address on them.  That's not a problem, because hey! I'm already here blogging away.  But the cards also have a face book address on them.  Oops, no face book page, so I can't give out any cards until I get the page going.  It took a bit of work and chopping and changing my mind on how to present it, but in the end I had to press the launch button (a bit like hitting the GO button for this blog).  May I proudly present to you https://www.facebook.com/KnitandAbit?ref=hl .  I hope this link will lead you to my little store on Facebook and that you will hit the 'Like' button and share me around.
Please feel free to give me feedback as I'm not really sure how it looks from the outside world. 
I think it looks and reads okay from a computer, but I'm not sure how to access the albums from a mobile.
Any hints and tips would be greatly appreciated.
Now, I just have to work out the balance between blogging and Facebooking, more of this, less of that, or the other way around.  Any ideas?  Please feel free to comment.













Sunday, 23 February 2014

Berwick Show 2014

WINNER!

So excited after umming and ahing about wether I could be bothered entering anything in the show this year, I'm so glad I did. 
It's been a really busy couple of weeks, with celebrating Mum turning a significant birthday number, family visiting and then going camping.  I didn't even get to the show until 2 o'clock this afternoon.  This left me barely 2 hours to have a look at all the other talented crafty people's work, have my Dagwood Dog (can NOT go to show and not have a dagwood) and enjoy watching the wood chopping.

The scarf is knitted from 'Chelsea' by Heirloom, a blend of 70% wool / 30% bamboo.  I do like the way it was displayed on the wall.  The beret is 30% possum / 70% merino.  The tea cosy is just that fluffy stuff you can get anywhere.





















The knitted tea cosy competition - 1st & 3rd place















Now I must concentrate on finishing the zig zag scarf that is currently 'On the Needles' as well as getting ready for my first stall in a couple of weeks and launching a facebook page.  Oh dear, where's a tech whiz when you need one ...