I don’t even ski…

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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.

Fractious Fair Isle Friday #1

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In the hope of getting some more regularity and structure into my posting, I’ve had the genius idea of coining this Friday, and every subsequent Friday until I goshdarn finish this goshdarn sweater, as ‘Fractious Fair Isle Friday’.

‘What sweater?’ you might ask.

‘This sweater!’ I will respond.

‘But why would you even subject yourself to making that?’ you might ask.

‘I don’t even know.’ I will respond.

Actually, it’s ’cause a friend at work and I are making “matching twinsy sweaters” using this pattern from the Debbie Bliss F/W 2011 magazine. There were many weeks of very important deliberation before I could begin; 4 ply or 8 ply? And which colours? And I can’t get any Rialto! Will I use Empire instead? Oh, the life-changing decisions! What ever will I do?! (You know, solving problems like that.) I finally decided on dark green in Empire 4ply for the body, defying DB’s whole theme of “ebony, ivory, and all notes in between”. Rebellious, I know.
Also, I mixed it up a little for the contrast colour. I’m using two colours instead of just white. The bulk of the contrast will be in “seascape twist”, which is a kind of soft grey with a single strand of baby blue spun in. The snowflakes across the bust will be in off-white, just to break up the really dense band of hearts above it.
I’m not sure if my colleague’s decided on her colours yet. It is a hard decision.

I completed my gauge swatch three days ago, with much difficulty. The first two balls of dark green I started to use were overspun and too thin. Fortunately I’d bought all the wool beforehand and the third ball I unraveled was the charm. So I did get the swatch done. My tension was spot on too, so things were looking up.

The next day I was hoping to exchange the faulty wool after work, but the first customer of the day bought every last ball. I nearly cried.
Fortunately she came back later in the day and returned it as she decided she’d prefer something else. I nearly cried again, only this time it was from sheer jubilation.

Here’s the progress I’ve made over the last two days.

I swear that DB has some weird sizing Juju going on. I’m making the smallest size, but the ribbing is about an inch and a half bigger than what I would expect for a small hip size. My tension is right, so I suppose it’s just how it’s meant to be. I can’t find a Ravelry page for it to double check so I’m hoping at all works out. I don’t really mind it being a little loose.

I won’t go into how many times I’ve had to rip back and fix mistakes. I keep reading the chart in the wrong direction. It’s so difficult to refrain from ragequitting.

Aside from that, isn’t this suitcase perfect for holding this project?! A little sleeve for my pattern, a perfect size for all the wool. It’s really light too, which means I can carry it around with me. I bought it today from a super nice couple I met through eBay. I bought two luggage trunks from them yesterday. I walked to their place to collect them, and not only did they drop both me and the trunks home, but they offered to come around to my place today and let me have first pick of all the new suitcases they’d acquired before they photographed and listed them. Result!

We laid them all out on the kerb, with the husband remarking how much it must’ve looked like we were doing some kind of dodgy deal, and I went through all of them. I ended up with 8 suitcases of various sizes. Some were old Globite school cases – exactly what I need for transporting and storing all my projects on the go. The others were more trunk-sized – perfect for storing my ever-expanding stash.

I’m really curious as to how other people store their stash. How do you go about it? If you’ve any photos, I’d love to see them.

Here’s the lining in my favourite case. It’s a big ol’ blue trunk with gorgeous plaid linen on the inside. Ahh, it makes my insides sing with happiness. It seems a shame to keep it closed!

Most of the others have the original name tags, novelty stickers and wrapping paper lining just as they had been when they were probably used as school cases decades ago. The light faded too soon afterwards for me to get any decent pictures of those. I’ll try and take a couple of photos in the coming weeks. There’s so much history in those little suitcases and I’d love to share it with you.

Until next time!

Blogger Awards: Installment #2

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Rainbow Junkie nominated me a little while ago for the Versatile Blogger Award. I’m really grateful. Even though I haven’t been blogging for all that long, it was really lovely to have someone come let me know they like what I’m doing. So thank you! I appreciate it.

People who are nominated are requested to do five things. They must:

  • Thank the person who gave them the award
  • Include a link to their blog – (which I have, here it is again!)
  • Tell seven things about themselves
  • Nominate 15 other blogs for the award (I couldn’t manage fifteen; I hope thirteen is okay.)
  • Tell them that they have been nominated

Now for seven ‘things’ about yours truly:

  1. I’m currently on a gap-year between high-school and university. I’ve taken the time off to work, be crafty, and later in the year, travel. It’s not turning out to be as relaxing as I had hoped, but I’m convinced that it was way better than jumping straight back into studying full-time. I’m enjoying myself.
  2. I know it’s becoming a ‘thing’ to be a tea drinker (and I kinda wanna say something along the lines of ‘I liked it before it was cool’, but I won’t…), but I can safely say that I doubt you know anyone who can pack away as much tea in a day as me. Actually, maybe not. I’ve noticed a lot of craft bloggers and suchlike are massive tea-fiends. Scratch all of that. I’m going to change this ‘thing’ to “I’m a massive tea-fiend” and leave it at that. I don’t want to start any arguments or tea-drinking competitions. Someone might get hurt.
  3. My most favourite part about working at the wool store is when we make little handwritten ‘With Compliments’ slips to send along with orders from our online store.
  4. Before knitting and crochet, for me, there was origami. My Nicky Epstein was Tomoko Fuse. My Elizabeth Zimmerman was Kunihiko Kasahara.
    My obsession started when I was about 9 when my friend Liam was making all these awesome modular shapes out of paper. I was so jealous of the way he could manipulate the 2D paper with his hands to create fantastic and intricate 3D models. That was it, I had to do it too.
    I haven’t made anything in ages, but here are some photos I found of things I made in early high-school.
  5. I have a very keen visual-spatial sense. It probably came about from doing all that origami. I can knit and crochet in my head. It’s kind of like I can create a 3D model that I can rotate in my mind. It’s great for problem solving issues with certain stitches, or for working out how to make stitch patterns or decreases perfectly symmetrical. My ability to problem solve only improves when I have the needles in my hands.
  6. I cry when I hear the theme to the ‘Babar’ TV show.
  7. Most of the time I’m wearing at least two pairs of socks. This is mainly because my feet are so narrow that very few pairs of shoes fit me properly. This has been the bane of my existence ever since I had to buy my very first pair of school shoes. Now, if I find a pair of shoes that fit comfortably, I buy a pair in two different colours because it’s such a rarity.

Okay, so those are my things about myself. Now for the less self-indulgent – and more fun – part of things. In no particular order, here are my rad and Versatile peeps!

Coffee and Lilacs

Not Your Average Crochet

SpiderWomanKnits

Obey Crochet

Say Yes to Hoboken

TECHknitting

Crochet made by Kate

knittingformentalhealth

Versatile Blogger Award

caroline d. h.

Knittybutton

Volkstricken Industries

Posie Gets Cozy

I can’t prove that I’ve gone and notified these people, but you can always check up on me to make sure.
But how?
I hear you ask.
By visiting their blog of course! ;)

Installment #1 can be found here.

Blogger Awards: Installment #1

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It occurred to me that I don’t follow nearly enough blogs. I mean, I follow a few. But when I was nominated for the Liebster and the Versatile Blogger Awards recently, I realised that I couldn’t possibly drum up the required list of blogs I wanted to nominate.
So I figured I could take the easy route and nominate the list for both awards at the same time. But the problem arose when I realised that I only follow a handful of blogs that I could nominate that have fewer than 200 followers (a requirement for the Liebster Award).

So began trawling the internet for blogs that caught my eye and went on a following spree. This was great because I’ve been really quite sick for the last week and haven’t been able to do very much at all. I’ve hardly even had the energy to knit or crochet, shock horror! So it was nice to go around and find some new and inspiring crafty people.

I’m going to split this into two posts. The first will be about the Liebster Award. The second one will be about the Versatile Award which will give me a bit more time to find 15 blogs and decide on the seven fun facts I want to disclose which might take me a little while to compose.

Dara from Coffee & Lilacs nominated me for the Liebster Blogger Award.
She’s rad. She’s reconstructed an old, well-loved Babar toy using the miraculous art of crochet. (That’s close to my heart; my eyes still well up with tears whenever I hear the Babar tv show theme.) She’s made the loveliest collection of crafty Easter goodies. And she leaves the nicest comments. Aaaagh! If only I could renominate her, but I suppose this little spiel is as close as I can get to that.

She explained in her post that I needed to post the award badge and some flowers. So, here’s the badge.

Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of flowers that are my own (except for some ridiculous ones of myself in a head-wreath at a Mexican Day of the Dead/Frida Kahlo themed party). Just imagine the flowers. Some really lovely, pretty scented flowers. Your favourite kind. Better than any other bouquet you’ve ever set eyes upon. Yes. That’s it.

My 3 lovely nominees are…

Emma from Gingerknitters! What a beautiful blog, my dear crafty friends. Selected highlights include these knitted mochimochi cascarones for Easter, those knitted herringbone fingerless gloves, and the envy I felt when reading this. Go, go, go! Read this blog.

‘Craftlyn’ from Craftaceous Period! She’s genuinely doing a granny a day. And these are some of the most visually delicious grannys I’ve ever visually feasted upon. Now I want to do a granny a day, but I’m fairly sure I don’t have the patience. Also because I get so easily distracted and have so many projects going on. I really, really admire her focus. Oh, and  her wit. She makes very honest and often very funny comments with each of her granny posts. Excuse me, friends. I’m gushing and I shall move on now.

Crochetlatte! So many gorgeous, delectable free patterns! So many gorgeous, delectable photos! So much gorgeousness and delectability all ’round. The blog’s subtitle states that the patterns are ‘quality’. I can verify this remark. (If you’re interested, Crochetlatte, I don’t mind doing some kind of endorsement.)

I’m not sure how many followers each of these blogs has and whether that makes them ineligible, but who cares! They all deserve a heap of praise and I hope you’ll take the time to check them out.