Knittin’ with my kitten

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And by kitten, I mean fully-grown cat.

First thing in the morning I hang out with Timmy, my knitting and a cup of tea in our garden…

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Unless it’s bucketing down with rain as it is today. Then we sit on the couch instead.
At least it’s still conducive to knitting.

During the day I often find myself doing this:

Knittin' with kitten
And then I seize the opportunity to do things like this…

Ghetto-fabulous Afro:

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Marge Simpson/Marie Antoinette:

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A cloud:

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One couldn’t ask for a better knitting-companion.

Catching up

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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

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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

On blogging and other things

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I’ve realised, having read over my past posts, that I write very politely. (And I’m definitely not as nice and bubbly as I think this blog reflects.) I guess because when I started I was younger and not wanting to offend anyone. Knowing that I was blogging about work sometimes (and my manager read my blog) I watered down and happied-up a lot of what I put out there. I so wanted to reach into my screen and out of yours and scream “My life isn’t this impossibly lovely! I’m a real person and bad things happen to me too!”

So to make up for my previously mild-mannered posts: tits, poo, arse, willy, shit.

I stopped posting when my life turned downhill. I avoided posting things that reflected a lack of success or beauty. Not exactly the most realistic way to go about it!

So I think this time around I’m going to try and be a bit more genuine, rather than an obnoxiously happy crafting robot. Because it’s impossible to be as successful and overjoyed by absolutely everything as I made out the first time around. I’ve definitely grown away from my naive awmagawsh-everything-must-be-rainbows self, but I still want to keep a spark of that joy. I just want to feel like this blog is written by a real, living human too.

Life is far from perfect, but the thing I’m just learning is that it’s still worth blogging about.

And now that’s off my chest, I can get back to the knitting posts!

Lastly, here’s a photo of my cat, just cause I damn-well feel like it! (<= REFRESHING HONESTY)

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I’m back!

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Well, that was quite a break! There’s so much crafting to catch you up on. The fractious fair-isle jumper is complete. The hexipuff quilt is taking shape. I’ve made mittens, socks, hats, scarves and blankets. So, there’s probably going to be quite a bit of show and tell over the next few posts.

Here’s where the quilt is at:

I tried laying out the puffs with all the colours mottled together…

Matching puffs and feet!

Which looked gorgeous! But I found it hard to disperse colours evenly.

So I tried putting them into little clusters of like colours like this…

Hexiflowers

And this…

Hexiflowers 2

It makes them easier to put together and means I can join them as I go. This way I don’t have to wait until the very last puff to see how much I have of each colour and disperse them evenly throughout the quilt
It’s safe to say the quilt is going well. Slowly though, as I only just broke the 200 puff mark earlier this week. (Summer here is brutal and not ideal for hexipuffing!)
Here’s the Ravelry page for it all.

And just for a wee bit more eye-candy, here are some of the yarns…

Green yarns for quilt

Next time I can catch you up on my winter knits from last year. I made a bunch of things for my chilly travels to Europe which I’m pretty proud of :’) I also bought some lovely Shetland wool from the undeniably lovely Kathy’s Knits in Edinburgh and used it to make a traditional fair-isle tam on the teensiest needles imaginable.

Yes.
Next time.
You must hold me to that promise so I don’t neglect this blog for so long again!

Much appreciation to those of you who used to follow this blog, and I hope I continue to post things that interest you again.

timmy and puffs

Over and out.

(Temporary) Abdication Statement

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Dear reader,

I just want to profusely apologise for not doing a Fractious Fair Isle Friday post this week – not even on Saturday as is often the case when I forget. I’m giving the blog a rest for a little while. (I’m aware I’ll unwittingly make this post seem like an abdication speech or something hugely more important than the little explanation of my whereabouts it’s supposed to be. Watch out for that.)

Life gets in the way. I’m afraid that not only do I have less time to take photos and write, but I’m finding myself with less and less time to actually make things worth showing you. I’ll still be crafting. I’m sure that by now many of you have made note of my obsessive and prolific qualities and know that nothing could truly get in the way of that. And this may culminate in the rarest of posts.
But for now, I must say a temporary farewell to the world of craft blogging. I know, with absolute certainty, that when I return I will have numerous things to show you, but for now I just can’t commit to sharing them with such regularity.

I’ll admit, another part of this excuse is that I’m going to be participating in the Ravellenic games, which will require full devotion to an entirely new project that isn’t my Fair Isle sweater. I’m going with this cardigan by Amy Christoffers. (Finally some stash busting will take place when I put to use that rust-red Country 8ply!) That said, I’m skeptical about even finishing such a task with such limited time despite all that obsessive drive on my side. Feel free to stalk my progress on Ravelry.
In fact, if you have Ravelry, let me know. I’d love to have a sticky-beak at everyone’s projects, queues and favourites.

You know, I thought it would be cruel if I didn’t keep you sated with a few photos of my hexipuffs so far. So, here you go! I’ve made a few more since taking these, but the light has gone now.

You have all been really welcoming, encouraging, inspiring, and just generally wonderful. I’ve loved rifling through your blogs, and having you do the same to mine. Numerous thanks to you for commenting on, liking, and even just reading the self-indulgent ravings that plaster the pages of my blog.

Stay wonderful. Keep making stuff. May your stash prosper.
So on and so forth and farewell.
For now.

Darcy x

Fractious Fair Isle Friday #6

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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

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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…