I disappeared to Australia for a month or so, as some of you guessed (didn't announce impending absence online so as not to invite burglars, though I did have a live-in housesitter).
While there, I could check text-only email a couple times a week, and twice during the month I had 'real' access for one hour. It's not usually that bad, but the phone line at my mother-in-law's house (she lives out in a rural area) has deteriorated to the point where our old AirPort couldn't keep a connection anymore. Next time I get one of those newfangled 3G modems or some such!
(I know, for an IT professional I am a really Luddite.)
I did a lot of knitting while in the land of Oz, though. We were driving back and forth from Perth most days, a two- to three-hour round trip. I actually ran out of knitting projects and had to go shopping!
As you probably suspect, I don't hate yarn shopping. But there's an interesting problem in Australia, though — a dearth of what they call 10ply (5spi) yarn. I can find plenty of 5.5spi and plenty of 4spi, but nothing in between — yarn store folks told me that they are being phased out in Australia. There also aren't too many good yarn stores in Perth, probably because of the climate and remoteness. After an hour of burrowing, I finally found some genuine Aussie yarn with which to make a simple vest from a pattern I'd brought. I'm nearly done with the back:
It's a greeny-brown, but a little warmer tone than I normally prefer. But there was very little choice, and I'll actually get some wear out of this. So that is okay.
I struggled all month with a hat I'm working on for my friend Paola. Several failures were dismissed. When I got home, I found the Cossack Hat pattern in Folk Hats and thought it might work well for Paola. I wanted to use the same great purple yarn that I used for Ronise's hat, but it had nowhere near the gauge (this is a superbulky pattern). I tried stranding it with some silver yarn I had; no dice. I tried adding a second strand of purple; still too small. Finally, in a stroke of inspiration I added a strand of Alyson's handspun blue that I used to trim my friend K's owl pullover. Success!
I'm using non-boucle yarn, so the effect I'm getting is more of a "tall pillbox" than a fur hat — which is exactly what I'd hoped. This is blurry, but shows the colors more accurately.
I knit a few other things this month — I'll show you more as the week goes on.