Lamb-tastic!

Standard

Finished the liddle lamby! What a quick knit! Thinking of calling her Woolhemina or something equally punny. Baa-bara?

image

She was a bit naked, not that she seemed to mind. But I made her a top anyway.

image

image

It’s a bit wonky as I kind of just knitted/crocheted/fumbled around on the fly, but I don’t think anyone’ll notice.
Hopefully.
Keen to make her some more clothes some time.

I’ve been really wanting to properly get into embroidery. Every time I do a little bit of stitching like this I mourn that I never learnt to do more of it…

Tell me, what sort of things are you making for Christmas?

Catching up

Standard

Over the last year, as you can imagine, I’ve done a hell of a lot of knitting. And for once, the things I was making felt practical and necessary.
I effectively had three winters in a row, leaving for Europe in November last year. Though it was only for five weeks, I knew the cold would be like nothing I’d ever experienced:

I owned but one (short-sleeved) thermal undershirt.
I hadn’t seen snow.
I’d never felt a winter cooler than 5 degrees Celsius.

So I got knitting.

When I first saw the Dimorphous Mittens pattern, months before we left, I knew that I had to make them. And because the mitten flaps are seperable from the inner gloves, I meant that I could still use them during Sydney’s comparatively mild winters.

image

image

I originally chose little adorable cow buttons, but they were too pointy and tricky to get in and out of the button loops using mitten-clad fingers. You can find the Ravelry page here.

I also made two scarves. The crocheted Noro one I didn’t end up taking. The orange one I made to a different pattern, didn’t finish, took it overseas, hated it, frogged it, came back to Australia, and made the one here instead.

image

image

image

Obligatory Ravelry page links: here and here!

Here’s an awkward photo of this actually quite lovely beanie I made. It is almost impossible to get a good photo of one’s own hat-adorned head!

image

Here’s the Ravelry page for the pattern and my project, sans pom-pom.

While I was in Edinburgh, I knew I wanted to visit as many wool shops as possible and get some Shetland wool while I was at it. By far my favourite one was Kathy’s Knits. Kathy was so lovely and helpful, letting me take my own sweet time browsing through her shelves and helping me with anything I needed. I settled on this book and making this lovely tam.

image

Apologies for the shocking photography. As aforementioned, it’s is immensely difficult to take a decent photo of such things.

image

Through making this tam I learnt a neat little bind-off that is invisible. The tam is worked top-down (first time experience for me, as the holey centre indicates!) and you cast off at the ribbing invisibly using a strange sort of slip-stitch set up and kitchener stitch finish. Tricky at first, but way cool. Definitely using it for my next pair of toe-up socks. I’ll attempt a tutorial one of these days; it’s just that perfect.

I lucked out with this project. Not that I finished it overseas, but I did manage to get it onto my flight from Edinburgh to Amsterdam and knit quite a few rows. Having started it on 2mm dpns I bought from Kathy, I somehow managed to have the matching circs in my luggage and when it got bigger I was able to magic loop it and then work in a full round. Usually with something this fiddly and fair-isle-y I would suffer endlessly, but this tam was surprisingly easygoing. Obligatory Ravelry page link!

Yadda yadda. I’m sure I’ve inundated and overwhelmed you by now.

Until next time! x

Fractious Fair Isle Friday #6

Standard

Wowzers, we’re up to 6 weeks already! And I feel as if I really haven’t done quite as much as I should have. I am a little miffed by the fact that winter is almost over. It’s been sunny, and dare I say even humid here the last two days. Somewhat pleasant. But life’s also been very kerazy. I feel the misspelling of ‘crazy’ is necessary to convey just how crazy it has been this last week.

I know today is Saturday, not Friday, but if you could have witness the saga I experienced yesterday then you would most certainly understand why this post is belated. I won’t bore you with the finer details, but the general tale involved almost 6 hours of walking, a presumed pickpocketed wallet, accidentally joining a birthday party at an exclusive underground cocktail bar, and ice cream for dinner. At the time when I would have been sitting quietly at my desk at night, typing away to you dear reader, I was waiting for a train with my lovely friend who accompanied me on this wild adventure, overlooking the Sydney Harbour Bridge in all its brightly-lit glory. I’m not big on the whole touristy, iconic building thing, but it was quite a spectacle to behold. I tried my best to get a photo, but all I had on me was my phone and my laptop, neither of which did a satisfactory job.
And now this post has been more about why it’s not about what it should be about rather than about what it should have.

So anyway, in lieu of a post demonstrating any progress on the fair isle sweater (of which there is quite little) here is a photo of a couple of the hexipuffs made from all those lovely yarns I showed you last time, and also one of my finished cashmere cowl.

So what if my Fractious Fair Isle Friday posts aren’t actually always about the sweater? It’s just nice to have something compelling me to post more regularly!

Self-administered Knitting Therapy

Standard

Enough wallowing, dear reader. Time for me to stop dwelling on my varied and frequent fair isle mistakes and take part in some quick and simple, super gratifying knitting. Time for another self-indulgent post, only this time the message is infinitely more positive!

Yesterday I visited Mosman Needlecraft for the first time. It was 15 minutes to closing time, so I didn’t get to have as good a look at everything as I would have hoped, but it was super fun. And it has provided me with much to show you, and vicariously provided a resurrection of the ‘visual feast’ search tag.

Have I ever told you what my favourite colour is? Here’s a clue…

L to R: Madelinetosh Tosh Sock, Koigu Painter’s Palette Premium Merino, Shibui, and KPPPM again.

(To anyone colourblind, I apologise that I gave a visual clue. The answer was green.)

I realised that the most gratifying project I could undertake was lurking right on my Ravelry queue: The Beekeeper’s Quilt by Tiny Owl Knits (or as it is often quaintly and endearingly typeset, the beekeeper’s quilt by tiny owl knits). You just have to read Stephanie from TOK’s motivational little blurb about how individual hexipuffs are like a satisfying little project in themselves, and that just squishing them makes you feel happy and lovely and wonderful and all things good and nice and… ah.

I started making hexipuffs a few days ago, but I wasn’t that happy with them. I’d seen a few quilts go wrong with poor colour-planning, and I realised that the hexis I’d made didn’t relate in colour, nor through the duplicate stitch embroidery I’d done on them. I’ll take a photo some time and show you what I mean. Individually, the hexis were adorable, but I just didn’t feel that in the end it was going to look very cohesive. Or attractive. At all.

My genius idea was to make the quilt in the loveliest sock yarns I could find in shades of green. Then I would balance that out with other hexis made from my 4-ply stash in shades of brown, cream and green, with maybe a pop of blue. I had a lovely stash-rummaging session and this is what I found to match…

Okay, so not as much green in the stash as I would have liked, but it did give me a use for the stray ball of wrong-dyelot Beluga I introduced you all to last Friday. At work this week we got a new colour in Empire called ‘Absinthe’ that I’ve been searching for an excuse to buy. I think it will tone beautifully with the Tosh Sock. Which, by the way, is called ‘Malachite’. Gah. Malachite. Gorgeous. The photo does not do it any justice.

I then had a glorious time playing around with some colour combinations so that I would have an idea of what my layout will be.

I decided I needed some further knitting gratification. Something I could churn out before embarking on my quilt. A knitting pick-me-up. Something super simple, super easy, super fast, and that made me feel super good about the fact that it was simple, easy and fast. So I bought some cashmere (just casually, for a ridiculous amount of money) and I made a cowl.

I knitted it in the round, doing 5 rows of k1, p1 on 4mm, changing to 6mm and working in what I call “oatmeat stitch” (sort of an extended seed stitch). I weighed it after doing the rib so I knew how many grams to leave for finishing with another 5 rows of rib and for binding off.

My gosh, this cashmere deserves its 5 star rating on Ravelry, for sure. It was worth every single dollar. This was hands down the loveliest, most resilient and compliant yarn I’ve ever had the pleasure to knit. It’s an aran weight by Jade Sapphire in the colourway ‘Rockaway Beach’.

I have finished the cowl, but I took these photos not anticipating I would finish it today. But it did. Like I said, super simple and super fast. Have you got any go-to project you know you can churn out quickly and feel awesome about it?

I read this fabulous post by feelgoodknitting. And you should too. It helped me get out of my knitting-funk, and I reckon it will be open in my browser’s tabs for a good long time yet. So, new yarns acquired, self-confidence boosted, enthusiasm at an all time high.

All is well. Goal achieved. Gold star.

As soon as I hit the publish button, I’m going straight to my needles and yarn to start. I’m having so much trouble focusing to write this because of the anticipation. Unbearably obsessive, I realise, but I hope you can understand that when you’ve got a freshly-balled skein of Tosh Sock in Malachite in your peripheral vision it is very hard to concentrate on anything else.

Here’s some oatmeal stitch to tide you over until tomorrow’s fair isle update…

I don’t even ski…

Standard

This is just a brief post just to show you my attempt at what is one of the most awesome free patterns around the craft-blogosphere. I present to you, dear reader, Volkstricken Industries’ Neon Ski Bonnet:

After another bout of colour-choice indecision from which I so frequently suffer, I decided on this lovely blue Cashmerino Aran from the wonderful Debbie Bliss.
The first step was to make this cabled tube, which took me ages, simply because I misread the chart due to post-work exhaustion. I can’t work out which was more painful – ripping back 30 rows of incorrect cabling, or re-knitting them.

Lacey Volk, the designer of this super hat, was really helpful when I shot her an email regarding how to go about picking up the stitches for the main part of the bonnet. (You can and will visit her superb blog here!)
It was then that I went about working the decorative wraps for the main part of the hat. Many bad puns about being a ‘hardcore wrapper’ ensued. To anyone that had to actually witness that, I publicly apologise.

The bonnet went through an uncomfortable stage of looking uncannily like a large blue breast. I wasn’t going to say it, but it only feels right to share the truth…

After completing the final garter edging, the bonnet looked significantly better…

… but even more so once I added the oh-so necessary pompom and tassels…

… but even, even more so once it was being worn. Alas, I have no photo of this. You’ll just have to trust me!

This was my first time using decorative wraps, and believe it or not, my first time picking up and knitting an edging of any kind. It was also a refreshing change from the numerous grey hats, gloves and scarves I’ve made for myself. The only downside is that the Cashmerino Aran is pilling already.

No matter. This pattern is ace, and I’m certainly making another one of these soon. Like, really soon.

Practically perfect in every way!

Standard

But not really. I did fudge this project a little, but these newly made alpaca gloves are perfect in a practical sense.

I’ve had two balls of Eki Riva Casual alpaca 8ply lurking in my stash for… oh, quite a while now. Let’s make it… five months? Yeah, so I forgot about making myself some gloves. We had an unusually cold summer this year. And by unusually cold summer, I mean it’s just about been autumn since January. At least that’s how it feels to me. I get cold so easily!

Obviously five months ago my need for gloves wasn’t imperative because I put the project off for so long. But now as I can barely feel my fingers as I type, despite having the gas heater on and periodically warming my hands using the steaming mug of tea before me, my need for gloves has become oh-so-great. Which is useful, because I’ve made the gloves now. And I have the option of going to find them and put them on. An option which I wouldn’t’ve had if I hadn’t made them last week. So there you go.

Behold, a glove!

Here’s why they are so practical:
They are ribbed the whole way over the fingers and left open, cast off with Jeny’s suprisingly stretchy bind-off.
Which is rad, because then you can do this:

Hello! I spy me some fingers ready to type, knit, or just generally demonstrate their dexterity! Perfect! Actually, again, not really. In this photo I just did a loose knitted bind off, but I changed it afterwards. And feeling a little defeated, I couldn’t be bothered to take another photo. Sorry for letting you believe until now that I had boundless enthusiasm for my craft!

The reason I say I fudged these is because the thumb gusset on the second glove is a little (read: very) skewy. And it’s my fault entirely.
Settle into your chair, dear reader, for I will tell you why.

I went to see ‘The Woman in Black’, and I, thinking that I’m some kind of knitting deity, decided it would be a good, even great, idea to knit in the darkness of the cinema. Hollllllly moly! Boy, was constructing that thumb gusset hard! Not just hard: stupid. There was one really startling jump (it was a film of the horror/thriller variety) where I dropped a stitch. Not just any stitch, but one that originated from a m1 about five rows earlier. I guess it was a good thing because that meant it didn’t unravel past the point of the stitch’s creation. The infuriating thing about it was that even though I knew exactly how to re-m1 and fix the stitch, I couldn’t. Because it was almost pitch black. Damn.

My main issue with the film was that it was archetypical of the Gothic genre. Not because I dislike the Gothic genre, but because almost every scene was dingy or grey, or raining, or night time, or in a swampy marsh, or anywhere that its inhabitants don’t receive their proper daily dose of Vitamin D. I waited impatiently for scenes where the characters finally ventured into daylight where the brief glow of the cinema screen would aid me in picking up my dropped stitch. But to no avail. And I had to just stop, put the glove down very carefully, and relax.

I managed to fix it on the train on the way home, in proper light, in less than a minute.

Like I said, it was my own silly fault. I’ll probably do it again anyway.

In other news, I started my first square for Emily Wessel’s POP Blanket today. I was off work and sick in bed and wanted something exciting to do. I had heaps of Noro Kureyon left over from the Mothers’ Day tea cosy and wanted to use it up. Unfortunately, just as I got up to making the white border around my circle, I realised that the white Cascade 220 I’d planned to use wasn’t there. I’d moved it to my studio space for storage in anticipation of the fact I wouldn’t start a POP blanket for another few weeks. (I’d been trying to retrain myself from startingyet another blanket.) It did give me time to properly think about the border though, and now I’m considering using Morris Norway 10ply in white instead because it’s super cost effective and works well for homewares. So now all I’ve got is a derpy kind of circle waiting for a border until I’m well enough to go out and buy wool. I didn’t take a photo because it really does look a little bit pathetic on its lonesome.

As soon as I can, I will venture out, buy the wool, finish the border, and show you a photo.

Subjectively Necessary Yarn-Accumulation Procedure

Standard

There’s a segment on Andrew Denton’s new show ‘Randling’ called ‘Double Speak’. Contestants have to come up with euphemisms for unfortunate occurrences. For example, a more innocuous term for bombing would be ‘high-altitude aerial persuasion’ or ‘gravity-assisted terrain reshaping device’.

Inspired by this display of witty wordplay, I’ve begun referring to my stash as my subjectively necessary yarn-accumulation procedure. And by those means of justification, here is my haul from my work’s winter sale.

These balls of Country 8ply will probably go towards making a seamless top-down jumper. I’ve been wanting to try that out for a while now. Something like this, but maybe with a bit more shaping.

I also bought some Totem DK to make crochet blankets for 107.

The blankets will just be a single colour. I’ve decided that for the green blanket I will make one square per ball, in total 20 squares to make a 4X5 square blanket. Obviously with all of the projects I already have going, and then the ones in my queue, I won’t get around to making those for a while. I did let myself do some experimenting though.
This is the kind of square I’m thinking of using. Its dimensions are roughly 25X25cm.

I got the pattern for this lovely square from the Japanese crochet book I bought from Kinokuniya a few weeks ago. I absolutely love this pattern.

I decided to work on it while catching the train home from work last week. The train was packed and everyone was off in their own little world. But as soon as I put hook to yarn, the woman next to me started asking me all these great questions about crochet and knitting. Once we started talking, all the other people around us joined in. It really made my day. They were all such nice people. None of them were crafters, but it was really awesome that they were interested in what I was doing.
This sort of thing keeps happening to me actually. For example, a woman on the train yesterday was watching me knit using the magic loop method and wanted to know how it worked. She was sick of not being able to knit socks on public transport for fear of someone bumping her and dislodging a DPN from her work. The conversation was cut short because I was only on for one more stop, but she was a genuinely lovely person and I only wish we could have chatted for longer…

I mentioned last time that I bought some cashmere-merino blend to dye naturally. Here it is in all its undyed, soft and abundant glory! Isn’t it grand?

Oh, the effort exerted by carrying all of these on the peak-hour bus home! Mind you, for every sale pack of wool, I received a free pattern book. Eight free pattern books! I felt like one of those insane Boxing Day Sale shoppers who carries home their own weight in post-Christmas bargains. And in my own very special way, I suppose I was.

In other news, I finished the contrast socks! Woo hoo! They were so much fun to make. I’m decidedly a toe-up convert. I’ll definitely be stocking up on Greystone before the sale is over so I can keep making these little beauties.

Today, I’ll leave you with this: While I was snapping away with my camera, Timmy became entranced by the carry bags I’d used to get the wool home. I managed to quickly catch a couple of blurry, but still adorable, photos of him investigating before he decided they weren’t as entertaining as first anticipated.

Until next time.