Morphing the blue

Gritted my teeth, girded my loins, took the plunge, and ..

That’s the left front – with slit for pocket – of this cardi:

I decided not to proceed with the original pattern, as that model is far, far removed from my body shape (which is changing, anyway). There are certain practicalities that do not hit me between the eyes, and that was one of ’em.

Every WIP is giving me the pip!

I have a battery of photos to post, because unless I do you will not understand how very blameworthy I am. And as a particularly horrible former brother-in-law was wont to say (frequently), “Blame must be allocated !”.

I have just today reached an impasse with my third project: I’ve run out of yarn for it, and for the second time ! Having written that, I shall start from now and work backwards ..

But first, an image of all three FAR from complete WIPs:

And this should give you the beginnings of comprehension of my guilt !

Right. The project I had to stop crocheting today is this one:

The image is not that supplied by the designer, but by an enthusiastic maker of her pattern. I like it because it was her very first crocheted garment !

And here’s where I had to leave mine:

No collar, no sleeves and no cuffs. Well, OF COURSE there aren’t any cuffs on account of there being no sleeves !!    [sighh ..]   I’ve ordered more yarn, and have zero idea of what Australia Post is doing with mail.

The middle project was another pattern by the same designer, although (and you’ll simply have to take my word for this) I had no idea when I abandoned this and took up the one above that such was the case ! She’s a clever woman, alright.

Here’s the pattern:

Yesyes, I’ve never been as large as that, but I figured it ought to give me enough around the arse. Unhappily, I was working to measurements I took of meself before I went on myWW; and now my (_|_) is some inches less around. As I cast on for the biggest size, it’s a turtle waste of time continuing; for it will turn into one of those huge heavy things that does nothing so much as weigh me down. So I’m going to have to frog everything I’ve crocheted so far, and the thought is extremely painful, to put it mildly ..

 And now to the oldest one – which is by far the silliest thing I’ve done in a long time.

I used this shrug’s pattern in the most basic way – simply casting on the number of stitches and starting to make a rectangle, in a stitch I’ve been dying to use ..

NOT this one, and not in this colourway !


I omitted to note that her measurement of the vertical was with the rectangle folded over !!! Which is to say, it should be twice as wide.

So I simply can’t decide which of no.s 2 or 3 I should frog first.

Or maybe I’ll just open a vein ..

I cannot resist sharing my 1-pot stove-top vegetarian recipes using eggplant !

I know there are them wot can’t eat or even don’t like eggplant, but it’s now not only my favourite vegetable when made into eggplant parmigiana or eggplant schnitzels by my very dear friend M but also my f.v. when the base in meals as described above.

La melanzana is a wow of a vegetable !

— Guido Borelli

Of course there are lots more types of eggplant; but I never find them and so I just go on cooking and eating the ones in that painting (yes, that’s what it is: Italians are as fond of le melanzane as I am). The first recipe I’m posting actually means me to use one of those or two of the long thin ones, I think: but as I can’t find any of the latter I just use two of the former.   :)

And I’m also a fan of BEENZ ! – any kind including borlotti, kidney, cannellini, butter, black and chickpeas. I’d always considered that last-named pulse to by my favourite; but these recipes have shown me that I love ’em all !

I shall attempt to simply attach each recipe, rather than go through the whole boring thing of re-typing them. You may start praying now ..

Spicy Bean Stew. The simplest, but the vegies should be cut up pretty damn small.

BAKED EGGPLANT & BEAN STEW. Hang on a tick — I can’t remember if that’s the correct name for this one .. But it don’t matter much, eh ? And btw, it ain’t baked – it doesn’t need to be.

Creamy Eggplant & Bean Casserole. Tahini creates the ‘creaminess’: personally I would prefer it be described by some other adjective. Simple and quick(ish).

If you’re allowed eggplant and beans, these three dishes will make meals for whole families or for one grumpy old lady with some fridge space. In my frightfully humble opinion, each of these recipes is DELICIOUS, to put it mildly !!




An FO to celebrate

I have finished another crocheted cardigan, and it fits me.

Yeahyeah, I know: I shouldn’t be carrying on about it .. But the trouble I’ve had making garments to fit myself would fill a book on its own !

What a miserable face – such narrow lips ! :(

This isn’t the yarn I originally used for the cardi – in fact it’s nothing like it. Believe it or not, I made this cardigan twice before: once in this same yarn and again in the yarn it was designed in. I completely frogged both ! – and was absolutely exhausted thereafter. The version in this yarn was far too big; whereas the version in the original yarn was so fucking heavy that I knew I’d never wear it. Ergo frogging.

Then I crocheted it all over again in this Mandala Ombre – an acrylic that’s a joy to work with (even if DMN doesn’t believe in acrylic yarns ! [grin] ) – but I dunno where that droop on the right snuck into the photo because I can’t see it now. Sighh ..

As for the Ice Yarns Ambiente (the pattern original), I’m currently making a poncho out of some of it, but I don’t like it’s total lack of ‘give’: it’s a shiny yarn that doesn’t stretch at all, so I think the poncho won’t be  big enough and this yarn will not be able to  be frogged again. Hey ho, another bit of rissoling.    :\

I did warn you ..

So I’m somewhere around 98kg. Dunno exactly where owing to my not having gone to the last meeting and not having scales in which I have turtle confidence.

That’s it. What I haven’t got in my scales.

Thus, uncertain of the precise degree of my success, I present meself for loud congratulatory pæans of congrats ..

(Just in case ..)

I’ve always been told and accepted that the best rate of weight loss is  ½kg a week, or 2kg per month. Though I’ve bettered that, there really isn’t a “better”: I will most certainly not progress at a continued rate of 6kg a month (unfortunately) ! As an example, in one week I lost only 200g ..

The four pillars stuff is beyond me. I don’t exercise, owing to a dicky lower back, and I sure ain’t gonna start now. Besides, I’m all too aware that exercise actually has zero effect on weight loss: it merely keeps one fit, and ready to rock’n’roll with losing weight via other means.

And I’m  a lost cause with the mindfulness or whatever it is pillar: my habits (most of ’em vile) are so ingrained that to even contemplate change regarding any one of them causes more wrinkles to pop out all over .. Well, I suppose that might be the ancient skin giving up when all that blubber starts to drip slowly away .. But more seriously, I don’t know that any of my habits – which are not numerous – warrant attention. Other than the one that encompasses sitting in my recliner chair crocheting, that is ..

But with the sleep one and the eating one I’m good.

I emailed one of the group’s two overladies to point all this out (using different terminology) and to ask whether I should go on attending as I’m a bit of a cheat; but she didn’t reply. Hmmm. Possibly they would both be happier without my rather raucous presence ..

Oh gawd – here I go again ..

Can you believe it ? – I’ve become a WW member !   :)

I decided it’s never too late to lose weight. I also decided to confess this latest .. ehrmm .. occupation to anyone out there reading this so as to put myself in a potentially embarrassing position should I weaken. Meaning, you must scoff at me the moment I start (if I do) to indicate weakening !

No-one is allowed to call it WeightWatchers now: it’s myWW – much as Kentucky Fried Chicken became KFC ! [grin]

It’s good. Really ! They’ve made it a sort of semi-holistic approach, now: four pillars, they describe it as – food, activity, sleep, mindset. Not too sure about the heading for the final one, because that word really covers everything .. but it’s better than ‘mindfulness’ – a word I detest. As it’s the only pillar that needs any kind of explanation, I can tell you that meditation definitely is part of it, but it’s largely to do with thinking through what one’s doing, why, and how well or badly one is doing it.

I went to the opening night of my group workshop on Monday night, and enjoyed it. I removed as much of my clothes as I could without becoming embarrassing, and was weighed in at 102.1kg. Chuffed, I was; had  been 104kg fairly recently. My type of membership is what they call ‘digital & workshop’; the other choices are digital alone, or personal 1-on-1 handling !!! I’d do that willingly, but it costs too much. I was able to sign up for 6 months because they had a 60% offer going for that commitment; and I pray to every god mankind has dreamed up that I don’t fail.

More of this boring shit another time. You’ve been warned ..



Crochet pattern translating

Remember my wailing about wonderful Spanish patterns that I can’t read ? And how I almost immediately came across someone offering a translation service for crochet patterns ?


I did have to wait a bit, because Carmin had received a lot of orders. But was it worth it ? – the work is .. it is FANTASTIC !

Carmin has turned out a beautiful and absolutely comrehensible pattern – better than any I’ve seen, not to exaggerate.

Just look at the work that’s been added ! – remembering that all this has come from a video that has nothing but the spoken word for help.

I’m almost speechless with admiration !

Any crocheter who has found a liked pattern in a foreign language take note of the email address contained in Carmin’s thank-you note –

Back to Damascus

And again I leap up waving my fists in the air and cry “I HAVE IT !”

Totally different topic from that in which I uttered a similar cry some posts back: this time I’ve formed a theory about — ugh ! — weight loss.

For reasons I cannot recall, I found myself watching on the laptop a series of UK television programmes called “Supersize vs Superskinny”, fronted by a bloke of whose  qualifications I am entirely ignorant but who obviously lifts weights in his spare moments. He also wears form-fitting rather loud shirts outside his trousers, and I shall utter not another syllable about that.

‘Dr Christian’ has a formulaic show that must work as it’s into its 6th or 7th (or maybe more ?) series; and we all know that no TV network screens that many episodes of a show unless it’s pulling in the figures. Unintended pun there ..

Its central idea is putting one of each kind into his ‘feeding house’ after establishing, via daily eating diaries of who knows how many weeks, what their entrenched diets are. Then at all three meals the serving each has produced (or has been produced for them, I can’t make that bit out) is swapped over to the other. This provides entertainment along the lines of watching a skeletonic woman looking down in despair at the third gigantic meal of the day sent across the table by her opposite, a huge woman in more despair than she is because of having two Mars bars on a plate in front of her.

But before that viewers are treated to looking over eight huge and eight skeletonic people standing around a weighing machine.

And it’s at this early point that I have been infuriated: not a single superisze woman has a shape like mine ! See that ? – she has ANKLES ! She could walk into a shoe shop and buy shoes – or into Kmart and buy socks ! I started out having inherited my mother’s somewhat shapeless ankles; but mine grew grossly disgusting as I grew fatter. Now I have to admit to not having worn a skirt for approximmately 45 years, just to keep mine from the public gaze.

That is a woman who, we are told, weighs something like 24 stone (152.5 kg) because this is a British programme – featuring lots of Poms, Welsh and Scots, but no Irish .. Rather odd, that ..

Anyway. We see what she eats. It’s appalling – almost incredible – and she’s by no means the worst ! And this really gets to me; because her daily intake would be around .. oh, three or four times the size of mine, at least. No shit ! Mind you, I don’t weigh 152.5 kg (103.1); but our body shapes are not all that different except for the ankles ..

For her, too much takeaway. (In fact I believe I can say that every supersize we see in all the programmes has the same problem, and revolting takeaway food — have you SMELLED a Subway shop lately ? — is proliferating.) For me, ‘portions’ that are far too big. Really good food, though almost vegetarian, that’s delicious. I eat too much of it. I also drink far too much milk coffee: shot pulled from my espresso machine and the mug filled with HOT HOT lactose-free milk.

The pair spends a couple of days in this double torture and then gets lectured and given a diet plan for the next two or three months. We next see their returns: the skinnies have managed to add a pound or two, but the fatties have gone down stones ! I am filled with jealous rage ..

So. My St Paul moment – time to reveal it.

Any fat person who is given a diet plan and who can look forward to reporting in on it on a regular basis will lose weight and continue to do so.

It’s fundamental. If I knew I had an authorititive supervisor who kept on seeing me at intervals, I would be motivated to perform. Indefinitely.

The problem is that when one has no-one to talk with about a regimen, let alone report in on it, it’s a waste of time even trying. I need someone up there (meaning up the hierarchical chain) to listen to me waffling on about my terror of being hungry. I did briefly try a psychologist a few years ago, but all he did was tell me how wonderful I am; and that is not only psychological porkies, but intolerable.

I shall get back onto my donkey and clip-clop away ..


Oh, those posts in Spanish ..

I had NO IDEA there were so many clever crocheting women whose language is Spanish and who post enviable patterns to their YouTube channels. It started with that gorgeous pattern I last posted; and then Google started feeding me Spanish posts until I was bloody overwhelmed !

I commenced to become distressed by it all – so many glorious patterns, no way of accessing them (the English ‘translations’ are garbage thrown from the Tower of Babel).

Then, just TODAY !, I found this link. You may pray for me, all you believers; for I do not myself indulge in such activity.  [grin]

This’d be fine in a decent colour.

Now HERE’s a claret-coloured bolero ! :)

Don’t think I’d go to Machu Picchu ..

I’ve asked if s/he will translate this one. I’d give my wisdom teeth to have a usable pattern.

Does anyone know this ..?

Take a quick gink at the opening of the YouTube video here, and you’ll possibly realize that the pattern would appeal madly to moi !   :D

You’ll also comprehend without doubt that it brings with it a problem I’m unable to solve; and it occurred to me that there just might be someone out there who knows of a potential solution – because I know some of you are geeks !

How to get a translation – subtitles would be fine, of course – in English from this amazingly talented Mexican lady’s YouTube video ?

There are closed captions there, but they’re in Spanish, presumably for deaf people. Unlike some sites, the captions are offered only in the language of the channel.   :(

Not only is this delightful A-shaped cardi pattern in her gallery, but a number of other patterns that would give me pleasure to make. So I’m desperate to find some kind of solution ..

P.S. My wonderful, clever friend the Goanna has the answer that requires no effort at all from me ! (Sue also has the geek answer, below; but it means I must pull the ancient finger out and WORK !)

I go to the video, turn captions ON and go to settings, then to Subtitles/CC;

then to Spanish (auto-generated) and THEN to Auto-translate. At which point practically every world language drops down and I have only to select English !

Of course it’s “translated” English; but that is defintely sufficient for my porpoises !

A big fat THANK-YOU to both ladies. I’m perfectly sure Sue’s solution works; but I can mess up anything ..

New to me

I’ve gone back to knitting ! For a long time my arthritic little and ring fingers on the left hand wouldn’t enable that – not without a lot of angry screaming in pain, anyway. I managed to (sort of) train those fingers straight rather than curled while holding the object being knitted: a modern miracle !

What’s actually new is that I’m knitting a top-down cardigan ! Top down ? – this is something I have eschewed my whole knitting life. No, I don’t recall what ingrained that habit; but ingrained it was and many a top-down object was scornfully passed over. My US friend Michele LOVES top-down – in fact, I think it might be all she knits – and she is so superb a knitter that I eventually decided there must be sumpn’ in that top-down stuff. (My other genius knitter is a Pom; and Phil does the most astounding fair isle/stranded knitting you’ve ever seen !)

This first effort is a test for me: it already contains split yarn (half-knitted-through) in some stitches, and M1Ls where M1Rs ought be. But I don’t care ! – if I can finish it, it will be A Major Achievement !

The body – which after a few plain rows I shall be embarking on – contains “lace”. It’s not really lace, just some patterned YOs, but it will relieve my far-from-expert stocking stitch.

It’s almost exciting !

P.S. Thought I’d better add the pattern photo to prevent anyone else’s thinking my project is a bolero ! PLEASE NOTE: I am NOT the same shape/size of this young lady. I’m taller and not much smaller around the bum; but as I said, she’s apple-shaped and I’m pear-shaped. This means she has big tits and I don’t. Alas.

Not a lot of business sense

MS Outlook is pretty good at finding spam: not a single email bearing an African name gets through [grin].

I rather like the ones that have Subjects like “Hello dear”, or “Wells Frago grant” – spam that can make me laugh is pretty good, I sometimes think.

But one from today takes the cake:

Hmmm .. shall I open it ? – might it have a genuine offer inside ?

Oh, blogging ..

I’ve been here, I’ve been there.

Tried dabbling in my own deep interests (e.g., US politics up to Joe’s much sought-after and totally vindicating election; or vegetarian recipes).

I’ve tried theming my blog.

Of recent times I’ve so done away with theming that I don’t even have categories or tags.

Some masochists might recall that this time ’round I opened it up in crochet and knitting mode.

Sighh ..

Somewhere I lost my way.

It’s possible that I’ve grown anxious about providing stuff that interests everyone who  visits my blog. (I left out the ‘l’ in that last word; and the resultant sentence caused me to fall about laughing. Possibly my problem is simple-mindedness ?)


There is a porpoise to all this whingeing. And yes, I believe FIRMLY that the word must include an ‘e’; whinging simply doesn’t look right. But .. I shouldn’t need BOTH an ‘e’ and an ‘i’ to soften the ‘g’ .. So perhaps I’ll bit the bullet from now on.

There’s a purpose to my whinging (eeeek !): I’ve decided to revert to some topics, but not many.

    • Knitting and Crochet (the activity I spend most time on)
    • Aging (the various signs of  which are creeping on)
    • My environment (nicely non-specific, covers a shitload)

One thing you will see very little of is gardening, as in days of yore –

because my balcony has proved itself to be a furnace. Last week we had days of around 30-32 degrees from Tuesday to Saturday inclusive: as my balcony is never less than about 12-15 degrees hotter than the BoM says is happening, all the little plants in my standing planter-box were cooked. I watered them when the sun wasn’t around, but it didn’t/couldn’t save them.

I do have – Something ! in mind, though ..


No: CALs are not for me

  1. I decided some time ago that motif crochet has lost its appeal. Why didn’t I stick to this ?!
  2. Not having done so and started on the CAL, I  find I prefer JAYG (join as you go) anyway – which can’t apply to making something whereof the rest of the parts are unknown.
  3. Tunisian crochet doesn’t seem to like to be made into ‘squares’ (quote marks because they’re rarely equal all ’round). Well .. perhaps that’s a stupid thing to say: if you’re a tunisian professional you might well be able to start at the bottom and crochet up and it looks great.
  4. I have no need of a blanket; and I don’t have the space to display it (were I able to complete it well enough).
  5. A blogging friend, the professional Dora Does, has written of her gradual separation from an overwhelming need for ‘perfection’ – this I comprehend well as a drive to not make ONE SINGLE MISTAKE, and to frog fiercely (and with rage) when one is found. I am still struggling with overcoming this; and an entire blanket’s creation is not going to help.
  6. It is very expensive in terms of the necessary yarn. Possibly this is, in truth, my main rationale ..    :\

So much for the old man’s underpants. But thanks to the talented Rachel Henri, I now know at least one way of making a square in the round in Tunisian crochet.

Here’s a thing to do

I’m on my A-line shape thing again.

To enable the effectiveness of crochet patterns for jumpers and cardis for women with big (_|_)s, the first step could be said to be—


That’s a chart for a really nice (existing pattern) cardi. Had it a third column, of hip measurements, it would show clearly that my top part is in the range of one of those sizes but my lower part within the next one.    :(

Here’s a sketch from a pattern I once bought:

“April Sweater” – Originally Lovely pattern

Amazingly helpful info., except for the missing hip or bum measurement.

ANYWAY .. The extraordinarily productive and helpful Dora Does has put out an eBook called “How to Crochet Clothes that Fit (and you actually Want to Wear)”, a very appealing title ! The key to the whole thing is, as I have already realized, GAUGE. And here is where my insuperable problem raises its horrid head ..

I have never in my crocheting or knitting life been able to achieve gauge, and it’s always for the same reason: my ROWS get there without trouble, but my number of STITCHES is always, always too many. If the gauge is meant to be 7 rows by 6 stitches (within a 2″ square), I will never do better than 7 rows (√) and 8 stitches .. 14 rows and 16½ stitches and all I can come up with is 14 rows (√) and 19 stitches. I am cursed !!! Of course if I make my stitches wider, they always become, as well, higher.   [sob !]

So that although Dora’s eBook has some wonderful calculations meant to allow you to work out how to alter the size in various different parts of a garment, the calc.s won’t work for me because my gauge is out of whack.

Thus I’ve had to give up that idea, and simply do my own increasing. I’m currently on a sweater the pattern wants me to fsc 88ch for, which will end up with that same number at the top; I’ve started with 98fsc and am decreasing by 2 sts every 5 rows, starting with the 15th. I shall hold it up against me when I’m down to 88 and then continue to that “measured” distance.

But I am full of angst ..

ADDITIONAL – next day

The wonderful Dora has adjured me to forget the rows and concentrate on the stitches part of the gauge. Makes sense: especially for patterns wherein the measurement of the pieces’ height is not critical.

And then, as well, the amazing PDX Knitterati repeated exactly the same instruction (it applies to knitting as well as to crochet).

So: once I have achieved the relevant horizontal gauge, I should be hot to trot with Dora’s calculations ..