The gift box conundrum and why I feel like a terrible person

I’ve heard of knitters who gift knit all year round, not for anyone in particular, but for ‘the gift box’. The handy box which can be turned to in time of an emergency for a last-minute-gift.

I wrote about knitting a sweet little baby cardigan for ‘friends’ of ours. But sometime between casting-on the project and missing my deadline, did I realise that our friendship well, wasn’t. exactly. what. I. thought. It’s a bit embarrassing really, but it’s no big deal.

Since then I’ve debated with myself ‘to just send them the cardigan, you made it for them after all’. But then the practical side of me says, ‘hey, don’t be daft and give a special gift to people who are just going to feel awkward about receiving it’. And hey ‘what a great little gift for the gift box, keep it for a rainy day’. Be practical!

Clearly, I’ve been overthinking it.

So here’s one for the gift box, it also joins a couple of hats that I knit last year.

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Sweet Bunting by Laura Chau

The best laid plans

Damian and I celebrated our 15 year wedding anniversary this weekend by visiting Kyneton. It’s a lovely peaceful place with some wonderful foodie places to eat.

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It was my intention to hand-over the baby cardigan this weekend (that I began last Sunday). But that didn’t eventuate for a couple of reasons, mainly because the cardigan is not finished!

On Tuesday night, I went to see the Phantom Thread with my movie going girlfriends. I got to the cinema nice and early… but I didn’t have my knitting on me. A very rookie mistake.

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I’ve had a busy week otherwise, without a lot of time to knit. That’s when realisation struck. That even if I got the cardigan finished before the weekend, there would be no time to wash and block it. Now, I’m a stickler for handing over knitted things that have been washed, particularly when the recipient is a baby.

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So instead, when I packed for the weekend, I packed all of my projects bar the baby cardigan. I didn’t want to beat myself up about it, and after all the weekend was for relaxation.

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I did forgot to pack one very important thing though. At least one pair of hand-knit socks. I always wear my socks at home and whilst I am away. So sadly my feet were frozen! I don’t think I’ll ever forget them again.

It was a lovely weekend with plenty of delicious food. I even got a few rows in on my Ursula cardigan. I’m loving this.

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Setting myself up for quite the challenge!

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I don’t know how this has happened. I need to knit a baby cardigan in under a week…

I’ve known for at least a month that we’d be seeing friends of ours who are pregnant this coming weekend… and yet, I’ve only just cast-on? I’ve never been one for doing things last-minute, when you’re a knitter, naturally you’re a planner because nothing happens fast! Perhaps deep down, I thought that if I set my fingers to it, it could be done. But now that I’ve cast on, I’m not so sure.

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I’m making the second size (6-9months), because I wouldn’t want the baby to grow out of it in 2 weeks. This only adds a few hundred extra stitches.

I’m making ‘Sweet Bunting’ for a second time. If I’m doing baby knitting, it’s going to be cute and adorable. The first ‘Sweet Bunting’ I made, pictured below was for one of my niece’s two years ago.

Pretty cute huh?

I don’t know what flavour this baby is going to be, so I’ve gone for some neutrals.

Wish me luck!

Eventually, I get the hint

My dear friend Deb… is a bit of a stirrer, so she totally deserves some recognition on my blog.

As knitting friends we’ve exchanged many fibre gifts over the years of our friendship. Nothing makes me happier than buying knitty gifts for friends, even better if they’re as nuts about knitting as you are.

If I ever give you the impression that I have too much yarn and it is the last thing I would want as a gift because I have so much… you’d be wrong!

Over time, Deb has chipped away at some of the yarny gifts I’ve given her. But it has suddenly dawned on her, I have never knit with any of the yarn she has given to me. And she’d be right… because I have too much yarn.

So about two or more months ago, what started as subtle prodding to blatant announcements at knit night (she really is a friend!) about the state of affairs, that I have never knit with any of her gifts… I finally got the hint.

I’ve cast-on these Broken Seed Stitch socks in the Skein yarn: Top Drawer sock yarn. The yarn along with the project bag was a birthday gift in 2016. The yarn is delicious, the pattern is delightful. Debs has also knit this pattern about the time the yarn was given to me, so the project has always been set in my mind. I look very much forward to finishing these socks, I hope it will get me out of trouble for now!

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January stash acquisitions

Thank heavens Damian is home from his work trip. I did miss him and it’s been the longest time we’ve been apart for some time.

The thing is, whilst he’s been away, I had been buying yarn like there is no tomorrow… it’s been thrilling, oh what a rush!

The yarn buying began with a trip to Sunspun, then as the weeks went on with Damian away, I just happened to have gotten ‘lucky’ with a few hard-to-get online indy hand dyer updates. In the final weekend I purchased from 4 different online dyers!!! Anything to distract you from the fact that you are home alone, am-I-right? I figured if I could get some cherished colours into my cart and make it to the payment window, it was meant to be!

As I said at the start, thank goodness he’s home, I’m hoping my yarn buying habit will settle down for now, at least until the Bendigo Wool Show in July.

This is what has arrived so far…

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Some ‘Miss Click Clack,’ who is a talented and super-nice Melbourne-based dyer. I bought a jumpers worth of yarn in a delicious semi-solid, tonal grey. I thought I had picked out a cardigan to make with this yarn, but I’m now reconsidering my choice. This yarn is just so beautiful. The Pantone colour card came with the yarn, I love this.

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I also returned to the Stranded Dyeworks shop update to pick up some ‘anti-Valentine’ in her sparkle sock yarn, which I’d missed out on a fortnight ago… then whilst I was there I also got a new colour called Heliograph, because I’m already paying for the shipping!

I’m really happy with both these skeins.

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I’m gathering up quite a collection of Amy’s pinky colour ways, they are pretty similar, with subtle variations of hue. They could become a project altogether? Perhaps a fade jumper?

There’s a couple more packages to arrive in the post and I’ll fill you in on their details once they arrive.

p.s. I’m quite capable of buying yarn whilst Damian is around, he is my enabler after all.

Delayed gratification

Last year I participated in Yarngasm’s Box o’ Sox KAL. Which means, I set myself the task to knit 12 pairs of socks within the 12 months. Whilst I didn’t make it, I did complete five pairs of socks.

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One of the provisos of the KAL is that the socks are unworn for the duration of the KAL. So whilst I felt a little defeated about falling short of my goal… pulling out a pristine pair of socks every few days in January has been pretty awesome. Before you ask, yes I wear hand-knit socks all year round, I have cold feet most of the time!

I have enjoyed this experience so much, that I’m considering continuing the tradition of knitting a stash of socks (it may not be 12 pairs), and holding back their release into my sock drawer until January next year.

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I still have the unknit skeins of yarn in my wooden box, and rather than returning them to the stash or rehashing a whole new set of 12 skeins to knit this year. I’m going to continue on with these beauties, because my feelings towards them have not changed. I’ve added just one new skein, it’s HalfBaked Handdyed’s yarn in the Richmond Knitter’s exclusive colour way called ‘Audrey’. It was dyed especially for us last year and I want to get it on the needles this year.

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There’s eight skeins of yarn in my box. I get the feeling a couple more will be added soon, more on that in another post.

On Monday night at knit night, we were discussing sock drawers and how to let go of socks that have had their day. I do struggle with this concept, especially as I’ve repaired so many of my socks. I think of the hours spent knitting them and the memories of the time they were made or the province of the yarn itself. I guess I was just being silly.

So I pulled out the socks that had been in the ‘to-be-repaired’ pile, and did a stocktake of my sock drawer. I decided I can do without these socks. Some of the pairs that needed to be repaired were on their 2nd repair, I’m seriously never making socks again without any nylon. The two pairs I pulled out of my sock drawer, one was the ill-fitting ‘Skew’ socks that I never wear. The other is a pair that sadly felted from the very beginning and should never have been made into socks. I know better now.

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So if you’re keeping score, that’s 5 pairs in and 6 pairs out. I’m hoping not to lose so many next year in the sock stocktake, but I feel better for the ones that have gone, They were holding back my sock drawer!

Hello again

It’s a total cliché to revive this blog at the beginning of a year, to be fair I waited three weeks. If the truth be known, I do miss it. I’ve been spending my ‘social media time’ budget on Instagram, where I post as my knitting group Richmond Knitters. Don’t get me wrong, Instagram is a lot of fun and I love it, it’s just not a blog post.

2018 has begun cliché, cliché, cliché, how else do I begin a blog post when I’ve been on hiatus? and whilst I normally set some personal goals for the year ahead, I feel a bit perturbed that this year, I haven’t really. Apart from ‘knitting more’ or to be more accurate ‘knitting more metres than last year’ (because last year was a really low meterage year, I am aghast, just ask my knitting group), I haven’t set any other clear goals for myself. Maybe there are just a few little goals that I’m not prepared to admit.

Anyway I digress, it just feels good to be writing some words on a screen again. Sorry they don’t make any sense. This is a self-indulgent blog, didn’t you know?!

So let me talk knitting.

This is the only WIP I still have on the needles from last year (I’m pretty proud of that fact), it was cast on as my ‘Christmas eve cast-on’ no less. The pattern Vintage Fairy Lights socks is by Helen Stewart. The yarn is by Danni of Half-baked Handdyed, a Melbourne indy dyer who I’m fortunate to know in-real-life. I love this yarn, Danni does an amazing job of dyeing yarn, and these are becoming a fast favourite.

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Next up, I’ve finally gotten onto the band-wagon of beginning a crochet granny stripe blanket. I’m using the free pattern directions from Lucy’s Attic 24 website. I’m using all of the Vesper self-striping sock yarns I have on hand to crochet this. Reason being, I realised  that 100 percent merino socks don’t last on my feet, and I don’t like to waste my time knitting them if they’re not going to make the distance. On the upside, I have probably a blanket’s worth of it to make a gorgeous self-striping rainbow of a blanket. It’s a little planned out, rather than just using bits and pieces of minis and leftovers in a willy nilly fashion. So far I’m excited.

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The blanket will be about 150cm wide, I did a swatch and everything, like Lucy instructed. It is a good move.

The third and final knit/crochet project in progress is my Ursula cardigan by Kate Davies. I’ve been wanting to knit this ever since it was released, and I had purchased the yarn as a birthday gift (thank you Damian) oh, almost 3 years ago. When I finally cast-on a swatch at the beginning of January, I discovered one of the contrast colours was not going to work at all.

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So naturally I had to go and buy some alternative colour/s. Thankfully Sunspun still stocks the yarn, but I had to wait until they opened for the year. Oh knitting. I know there’s a lesson here, but I just can’t see it.

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The new year is also bringing in new yarn into my stash. Truly not intentionally, but how fun. It’s making me very happy.

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So let’s see how this goes.

 

My 2016 Knitting Review

It’s a whole new year! I do love to start things a fresh, so many possibilities. But before I can do that, as always I like to take stock of the past knitting/crochet year.

Overall I’m pretty happy with the things I made last year. And for once I finished the year with a clean slate!

I completed 25 projects in 2016, 24 if you don’t count the blanket square I made for Kate’s Farewell blanket.

Socks featured heavily last year (but I’m going to have to pull my socks up (!) if I want to participate in Voolenvine’s box’o sox KAL in 2017).

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The projects:
6 pairs of socks
2 adult garments (both for me, me, me)
4 baby things
7 accessories (hats, mitts, scarf)
3 shawls
A set of crochet coasters
1 cowl
1 blanket square

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-8-48-42-amThere are still some proper FO photos to come. Whose idea was it to finish an 8ply cardigan in Summer anyway?screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-8-58-53-pmIt’s been a bit of a multi-craftual year, or at least it’s ended that way, because I’ve started sewing…

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I’m looking forward to getting much better at this new craft. My husband enjoys watching me squirm at learning new things, a little too much.

Oh and I hope for loads more knitting in 2017.

 

 

 

Yellow Mellow

This week I’ve been working on my Aislinn cardigan by Amy Herzog. I’ve wanted this cardigan forever, and then I got cold feet after I cast it on. You see, the pattern doesn’t have a button band. I’ve made enough cardigans now to know I need a button band. So I’ve incorporated one into my knitting.

The pattern is also knit in pieces. I know (!) I could have put it together to make it seamless, but I was afraid I would need to think a little too much. And it’s not going to kill me to knit it in pieces. So I’ve persevered.

My interest in it has renewed and I’m confident it’s going to work out, hopeful even, that this cardigan will be one I reach for frequently. I’m up to the second front and then I’ve just got 2 x 3/4 sleeves to go.

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I’m looking forward to getting this off my needles so I can cast on another sweater for myself. There’s not been enough of that.

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This week I found out that I was unsuccessful in the Knit Girls lottery for a place in their Portland retreat in March 2017. Whilst I was disappointed to miss out, I’m relieved to finally put those plans behind me and to think of new ones for next year. Who knows?!

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I’m progressing on my Smooth Operator socks by Susan B Anderson. I’m knitting this in some Fab Funky Fibres yarn. It’s my ‘knit night’ project because it doesn’t need a lot of concentration. I’m remaining fairly monogamous with my projects at the moment, to finish them is an incentive to not feel guilty about starting new ones. And I really want to start something new!

What projects are you dreaming about starting?