Tuesday, August 31, 2010


The usual goings on have been going on for the last few weeks.

We've had one child down with an exhausting cold followed by his dad with a similar thing and then another very sad child with both ears infected. We've had thumbs squashed in cupboard doors, branches breaking off trees with the bouncing child coming down with them, run ins (literally) with the washing line pole and various other crashes and bangs. None of these, nope not a single one, have ended in major injury. Sure the thumb is bruised (cupboard door), the tongue was bitten (tree breaking) and the forehead sported a huge black and blue egg for a couple of days (washing line pole) but apart from a visit to the doctor for antibiotics for the sore ears, nothing else has needed medical attention.

We are indeed very fortunate.

Fortune has shone on me in particular these last few weeks. I have recovered from a torn stomach muscle and my shoulder is almost back to normal after a fall in July. Also despite being on the receiving end of numerous sneezes and aiding in the blowing of noses almost constantly, I have so far avoided coming down with any of the various viruses that have been flying around. For this I am very thankful.

I have also been on the receiving end of some prizes. When I attended the Australian Sheep and Wool Show at Bendigo in July I entered a couple of prize draws and a photo competition. I was successful in one of the prize draws and was fortunate to win this gorgeous skein of Blue Faced Leicester and Bunny Angora yarn in 4 ply from Charly at Ixchelbunny. Her yarn is so gorgeous, she has the most amazing colourways and I have had this yarn before and it knits up so beautifully.
My second and third successes were courtesy of Bendi Bingo. An initiative from a group of ladies over on Ravelry to help expose the various members of Ravelry and the Stallholders at the Bendigo Show to a wider audience. Last year we needed to get signatures from various people for their names or the wares or what they were wearing. This year was a photo competition and we were asked to get photographs of various people and/or their stock. A wonderful way of ensuring we travelled through every part of the sheds examining wares from all of the stallholders and also to meet people in person who we may only know via the internet.

This photo
has resulted in me winning one of these spindles from Petlyn. My friend Teresa is carefully trying not to laugh out loud at me as it has been one of her intentions for a while now to get me to start spinning and I have been very good about not being tempted. Until now. Who can resist with one of those spindles heading their way???

This photo
has resulted in me winning a cone of the yarn which is silk stainless steel from Dairing yarns. The most amazing yarns are found in their store. I have some very fine linen I bought from them a while ago now that I still haven't had the guts to wind into a ball yet. The fact that the skein has 1700 metres or so on it is the main reason I haven't done it yet! Stephen and Teresa generously gave prizes to 6 contenders, all of us are very happy!

Lots of lovely things have turned up or are on their way. I'm feeling very lucky. So after I get through the next few days, we have a trip to Lake Mountain to the snow with the kids and some friends tomorrow and then Hunter's birthday party on Sunday, I'll be back here with a giveaway. So stay tuned :-)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunglasses are a necessity...

When hanging out the load of WHITE washing on the beautiful sunny day in Melbourne.

It's either that or go permanently blind!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

It appears I am in finishing mode

After last weeks efforts at finishing off two pairs of socks and bringing the Works in Progress count down to 9, I declared that 10 is my maximum number, that anything more than that does my head in and that a line had to be drawn which cannot be crossed. I believe the number should be less than that, 5 would be good, but 10 will do for now. I seriously contemplated casting on a promised pair of socks for Jules, just to take it back up to 10. But I remembered that I had also promised to make a new cardigan for my rapidly growing niece and even have the yarn and pattern sitting at the ready. What was a girl to do? Husband or niece, husband or niece???

Enter option number three: Finish something so there are two gaps and both can be cast on. I know crazy town, but hey I'm the only female in a house of four boys/men, crazy comes with the territory.

Inspection of the WIP list over there on the right reveals that half the projects are actually from last year and therefore on the "Must be completed by the end of 2010" list, so must be dealt with in the next 3.5 months. Hmm that's a lot of knitting and all of a sudden not so much time. It's been a while since I've pulled out the box of WIP's and I honestly have no idea of how close to completion a couple of them are. Completely suspicious that there's an awful lot of work coming up in the next 3 months.

Opening the box lead to a few discoveries:

The tricot scarf - is sort of in Purgatory. I'm not convinced I like it. It feels too dense and hard and despite assurances that Silk Garden softens on washing I'm not convinced enough softening would occur. This one may in the end be frogged. I keep having visions of fat needles and blankets. Probably don't have enough yarn for a blanket but maybe a scarf knit on fat needles so it has more flexibility. I'll leave this one until the end to make a decision.

Field of Flowers blanket - didn't look at, figured there's more to do but I'm not in the mood to crochet at the moment so I might just ignore it for now and come back later. No idea of how many flowers are made or how many I intend to make either!

Pink Bolero - now here's a project I can do something about. The back, two fronts and two sleeves have been knit but I was at the point of needing to do seams and then face a picot type edging, something I'd not done before and something I was unsure about. To put it in perspective: Size Newborn. Not a lot of work to have a completed item and therefore one more knocked off the list.

Shrug/shawl - have been chipping away at this one. It's for me and is mostly *p2tog, yo* on every row with some short rows for shaping. So it requires keeping track of. I do feel that after completing my cardigan recently this one is just begging to be finished as I know how to keep track of my rows quite well now. This was going to be my next "evening knitting" project but I have been side tracked by Markets and Kinder functions and sick kids so it just hasn't surfaced yet.

Design cardy - Apparently have the back and two fronts done and now just need to look at the sleeves and then the seaming. It's a bit more complicated than that because I'm making this one up so I need to calculate stuff and have a play and see how different things look. Also haven't touched it in at least a year so I'm out of sync with it and it will take some extra brain space to deal with.

So, options for a quick finish appear to be the pink bolero or a frogging of the Noro scarf. Not prepared to frog just yet so the pink bolero has been fished out and last night I seamed the body pieces together and did the picot edged band. Oh my. After picking up the 188 sts from the provisional cast ons and the edges of the garment I had 5 rows of rib before tackling the picot cast off. I've never done a picot cast off before and if anyone else has, you absolutely have my sympathy. The instructions say: cast off 1st *sl st from right hand needle back onto left needle, cast on 2 sts, cast off 4 sts, rep from * to end. I didn't do the math before I started. By halfway through I'm glad I hadn't or I may have put this one aside again. By the time you have cast on two stitches and cast off 4, you have effectively doubled the number of stitches you are working with, that's 376 stitches on a bolero jacket for a newborn. Crazy town. Granted I'm working in 4 ply and it does in fact look brilliant but imagine doing it on a garment for a 5 year old or worse still on the edge of a blanket!!! I finished that bit of edging and am now at the point of sewing the sleeves in and then I have two picot cast off cuffs to do on the sleeves. I'm thankful that these each will start with only 33 sts, the picot edging takes it to 66. That I can manage. I think if I had done the sleeves first as the pattern requests I may never have done the rest of the jacket!
So another finished project is imminent and then I can get onto the two new projects I want to start.

I think I'm going to have to put my WIP box in my way though or I won't get it all done by the end of the year. The shrug for me is definitely going to have to be brought out to the lounge room at least so that it gets chipped away at a bit more. Oh the challenges of having too much knitting on the go!!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

2010 FO# 36, 37 and 38 - Kinder hats

Recently at Zac's kinder a mum donated a box full of yarn. Lots of odds and ends, some discontinued yarns, stuff that's probably been hanging around in her stash for years. A lot of ac(k)rylic. One of the teachers, who knows I knit, asked whether I thought there was enough of any of it to make a hat or two. She had an ulterior motive, with a week to go to the kinder Trivia night and Silent Auction, she thought people might bid on them for their kids. I fished out a few balls and said I'd see how we'd go. The only one with a recognisable label was a ball of Patons Camille now a discontinued yarn. In the end I made three hats.

The first yarn had a label saying "Knitting Yarn" and giving washing instructions but no idea of ply or composition, I guessed 8 ply and used 6 mm needles and came up with a hat to fit a 3-6 year old. The yarn was a multi coloured core thread covered in light tan fuzz, so the hat was light tan with hints of colour. Forgot to take a photo but should manage to get one tomorrow night at the event.

The second hat was made from the Patons Camille in a pale blue colour. I looked up the yarn on Ravelry and discovered it was a 10 ply so I used my 8mm needles for this one. The yarn is a 40% wool, 40% acrylic, 20% rayon mix and is quite fluffy and light. Again this one will fit a 3-6 year old sized head.

The third yarn had no label and looked thinner than the first two so I used it held double with the 8mm needles and it knit up quite nicely. The colours in this one were grey, cream and brown. I love the way the colour has swirled, somehow despite being held double! I finished it this morning at Playgroup while wandering around and chasing down my youngest who had an amazing need to perform disappearing tricks today. Must have been the wind. The kids were a little mad.

So three fuzzy hats knit from yarn donated to the kinder. They will be included in the silent auction to help raise money for the kinder to fund an extra assistant for next years kids.
Very happy that this good deed did not end the way my last good deed did.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

2010 FO# 35 - Christina's Samurai socks

Had a request from a knitting friend to help her work through some of her stash. She chose this pattern to go with her yarn. Please excuse the scribbles in the back ground, I needed a white back ground and this was all that was around. The colour is better in the bottom photo.

Yarn: Wendy Dennis hand dyed Polwarth, 4 or 5 ply.
Needles: 2.75mm Knit Pro circulars , 80cm.
Started: July 5th, 2010.
Finished: August 17th, 2010.
Ravelled here.
Comments: Not sure I like the pooling in the leg of the sock but the recipient doesn't mind it. Will be making these socks again in a different yarn, most likely a solid or semi solid.

2010 FO# 34 - Moseley Park Socks

Really creative name there, I know. Working on a real name and will put it all together once I write up the pattern. For now we'll stick with the name they had while I was making them :-)

Yarn: Moseley Park Bamboo (40%), Wool (40%), Nylon (20%) sock yarn, 4 ply.
Needles: 2.25mm Knit Pro circulars, 80cm.
Pattern: Made this one up out of my own head, will be writing the pattern up for it and will put the link here when I get to it.
Started: April 9th, 2010.
Finished: August 15th, 2010.
Ravelled here (the bare bones really)

2010 FO# 33 - Red Market hat

Made this hat while manning my stall at the Craft Hatch Market at Federation square. Started by winding the ball from the skein and ended by sewing in the ends. Productive day!

Yarn: Wooldancer, Hand dyed bulky (approx 12ply) merino yarn, Bush Hues, Waratah.
Needles: 8mm Knit Pro interchangables, 40cm.
Started: August 8th, 2010
Finished: August 8th, 2010
Ravelled here.
Comments: Started at the top, did my usual 6 increases and then continued on thinking I would get a reasonably sized kids hat, instead because the yarn was thicker than I thought it was it ended up being able to fit my head! A friend has acquired this one already.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A busy day

With a sick kid at home today I was lucky that Jules was able to step into the breach and keep him and his brothers happy so I was able to head off to knitting at the Botanical Gardens.

We had a wonderful day. Three of us completed projects. I finished a pair of socks that I have been working on for the last couple of months. A pattern that I have made up for myself. I have been asked to write the pattern up so I will get to that in due time. This picture will give you the idea without the details for now.

Hunter is still unwell, he appears to have a cold virus with a high temp and won't be going to school tomorrow. Keeping him amused and quiet will be my challenge for tomorrow. Luckily we don't have anything else on apart from taking Zac to and from Kinder.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A commission

A friend who has been very generous in her support for my knitting has commissioned a piece from Interweave Knits Summer 2010. It is the Teacup Pinafore by Carol Feller (Rav link).

She has chosen Naturally Loyal in a beautiful lilac colour. I have swatched on 3 different needles sizes to compare expected tension to actual and am happy with the results, so I will be casting on for the pinafore this evening.

A pact

We have been terribly remiss in making time for Hunter to read the reader sent home from school. We get to it here and there but we don't have a good habit. We were much better about it last year, not sure why it has been prioritised down this year. So in an effort to get some more regular reading practice in I promised that I would work on projects specifically for him when he was reading to me. The purpose of this was twofold, the first being me getting around to finishing his replacement soft toy from the beginning of last year who unfortunately got "loved" to death in the space of one day. And the second was for me to get started on a hooded cardigan for him from the wool I bought at the Bendigo backroom a couple of weeks ago.

The replacement toy is all stuck together now and just requires eyes and a mouth and I have measured and calculated and cast on and completed the band for the back of his hoody. So there's not much more to go for Fireysaurus Mark II, but it's going to take an awful lot more reading time to get his hoody done :-)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The market was...


Sunday's Market: Was held in the Atrium at the entrance to the Ian Potter Centre of the NGV at Federation Square. We had an inflated sculpture above us of a teddy bear with a train by Michael Doolan and heaps of people passing through on their way to see various exhibitions at the galleries and to meet friends at the cafe's. Heaps of exposure to passers by. I was right next to the delightful Morgan Wills who had an amazing array of hand made Babushka dolls of all sizes.

I had my table all ready to go and true to knitters form felt like it was a golden opportunity to get some child free knitting in. So I set up my swift and ball winder and caught the attention of every child present and passing by and a few older gentlemen as well who stopped to check out the swift going round and round. I ended up partially collapsing the swift and hanging some hats from it later in the day. Had brought my 8mm short circular with me so by closing up time I had finished this hat:
Made a couple of sales later in the day which was good and will be putting everything else up on my website in the next few days.

Future Markets: Have just been notified that the Northside Makers Market that I attended a couple of times earlier in the year won't be running as an independent market this Summer so will be looking around for other Melbourne Markets that might be good places to have a stall at. Love the atmosphere of the Markets even though they can be a bit fickle in terms of sales.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Market Preparations

Well and truly in the midst of Market preparations right now. Lots of little hats and socks and cardigans all getting laid out, checked, labelled and packed away ready for the Market on Sunday. Checking my lists, crossing off items as I get to them, hoping I don't forget anything important.

So come down and see me at the Craft Hatch bonanza at The Atrium in Federation Square this Sunday the 8th of August between 11 am and 4 pm.

Now I'm just going to go off and stitch some more labels into position.....

Monday, August 2, 2010

2010 FO# 30, 31, 32 - Amocean hats (4), (5) and (4) the second

Another set of hats from the same skein of yarn:

two have the same number of increases (4)

and (4 again)

and the other has one extra increase (5).

Yarn: Moseley Park Anti-Felt treated wool, 10 ply, colourway: Amocean
Needles: 8mm Knit Pro interchangables 40cm.
Sizing: (4) 31 cm, (5) 38 cm, (4 again) 32 cm. All unstretched circumference measurements.
Started/Finished: (4) 30th July, 2010 , (5) 1st August, 2010 , (4 again) 2nd August, 2010.
Ravelled: (4) here, (5) here, (4 again) here.

2010 FO# 29 - Fat pink socks

Using some more of the yarn I collected at Bendigo. Thought it was time for a pair of socks. These are 8 ply socks on 3.25 mm needles. They are lovely and thick and will be toasty and warm on someone's little person's toes! The pattern is a 2x2 rib so there is loads of stretch to cater for skinny ankles or not so skinny ones.

Yarn: Wendy Dennis "Tarndwarncoort" Polwarth wool, 8ply.
Needles: 3.25 mm Knit Pro fixed circulars.
Size: Foot length 11 cm, ankle circumference 12cm unstretched.
Started: 26th July, 2010.
Finished: 29th July, 2010.
Ravelled here.

2010 FO# 26, 27, 28 - Rising hats (6), (5) and (4)

These three hats were all made with the same skein of yarn (above) the only difference between them is the number of increase rows I completed for each one.

Rising (6) hat side one

Rising (6) hat side two

Rising hat (5)

Rising hat (4)

The first hat has (6) increase rows, the second (5) and the third only (4). Love how just having 8 stitches less each time really changes how the striping shows up.

Yarn: Moseley Park Anti-Felt treated wool, 10 ply, colourway: Rising
Needles: 8mm Knit Pro interchangables 40cm.
Sizing: (6) 40cm, (5) 38 cm, (4) 31 cm. All unstretched measurements.
Started/Finished: (6) 18th July, 2010 , (5) 19th-23rd July, 2010 , (4) 25th July, 2010.
Ravelled: (6) here, (5) here, (4) here.

2010 FO# 25 - Dark orange hat

This is the second of the orange hats, this one in the darker colourway.

Yarn: Naturally Colourworks, 100% NZ wool.
Needles: 8 mm Knit Pro 40cm interchangeable circulars.
Size: Hat circumference is 44 cm unstretched
Started: July 9th, 2010
Finished: July 15th, 2010
Ravelled here.

Prepare for a rash of hats made with fat yarn on fat needles, a hat done in about 2-3 hours = happy and productive TV watching!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Twist Collective Fall 2010 is out!

My picks from this Fall 2010 edition of Twist Collective are:
Gwendolyn a cabled hoodie
Promenade is tempting
Loving the irony of being drawn to Aliquot (those, like me, with a Chemistry background may understand).
Love the intricacy of Coventry but probably would never make it.
The ballet shoe type design of Manolo and the circles linked in circles of Tern (free download) are both interesting but I would probably not make either one.

Just love the fact that I can peruse this magazine, read the articles, pay for and download the patterns if I want them, all from the comfort of my lounge chair. Perfect.