Aldous Sweater

I’m surrounded by sweater knitters in my knitting group, and to be honest I’m getting a little jealous by how quickly they can ‘bang out a sweater’ to term a phrase.

There were not many sweaters to speak of last year so this year I decided to change it up, the goal is to cast-on one new sweater per month for me.

On 1 January, I cast-on for Aldous by Isabell Kraemer DSC_9481crop

And on February 9, I cast off!

I even surprised myself. Look at that smugness.

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I enjoyed the construction of this sweater. The yoke is shaped by using a modified version of the contiguous set-in sleeves method developed by Susie Myers.

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I opted for the split hem version, and to also wear the sweater with the stockinette as the right side.

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The yarn is ‘Field of Dreams’ a collaboration by The Purl Box and Great Ocean Road Mill. It was a lovely yarn to work with. It’s going to work nicely over a pair of jeans. The blend of polwarth, linen and suri alpaca is deceptively warm. Probably perfect for the Bendigo Sheep Show which is where this yarn was purchased last year.

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The only alteration I made to the pattern, was to knit a double collar. This was to correct my own mistake. I originally knit the collar with the same size needles as the body (because I’m lazy). By the time I was halfway through the yoke, I realised the collar was never going to sit right without some intervention. It was folding over to the front. So I picked up the stitches around the base of the collar on the right side using smaller needles. Once I reached the height of the original collar, I knit the cast on edge stitches together with the next row of stitches, then in the following row I cast-off once more. Phew! I’m really happy with the collar now.

I look forward to knitting another Isabell Kraemer sweater later this year (if I stay on track!)

 

 

January Socks

It’s about that time of year, when I start blogging for a few months and I wonder why I ever stopped.

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This is fair warning dear reader. I’m not consistent, but I have good intentions.

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Like my intention to knit a pair of socks and a sweater for every month in 2020. Stop laughing. I know this is probably (most likely) not going to happen.

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Let’s be honest, this is a rough goal. Like these socks before you. They were cast-on in December as my ‘Christmas cast-on’. But I’m calling them my January socks done.

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The yarn is by Danni of Half-baked Hand-dyed. It’s a special Christmas colour way that she dyed for our knitting group, The Richmond Knitters. How lucky are we to have a resident hand-dyer of yarns and a lovely person/knitter/spinner all round as part of our group.

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So, I know what you’re thinking, we’re already into February, where’s your January Sweater Sonia? It’s only a blog post away!

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Damn it, I just went to hyperlink Danni above and saw this in her store:

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You should totally go get it, so I don’t…

February socks and sweater have been cast-on. This is the only way I can fool myself I’m totally on top of my goals. More on that soon.

Stash Dash – aka Crazy Knitting Goals

Stash Dash has just kicked off and I’m going to participate this year. Stash Dash is a 3 month knitting event hosted by The Knit Girllls where participants knit/crochet/spin etc as much of their stash as they possibly can. The rules are pretty flexible; which is fine, because you’re only completing against yourself.

I’m going to set myself the goal of using 5k of my stash, which seems like a small goal in comparison to the 15k+ cateogory, but I’m being realistic. If I complete my epic crochet granny stripe blanket, I’ll have reached my goal and then some. I’ll have used up the self-striping sock yarn I couldn’t use in socks, and I’ll have finished this long term project, hooray!

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But I also have some other ‘crazy’ goals. I want to finish Wool & Honey before Bendigo

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and I’m also resurrecting this project… I’m hoping to have it finished in time to wear to Bendigo… just 2 months to go!

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This sweater began whilst taking an Improvised Sweater class with the fabulous Anna Maltz more than 3 years ago (!). It came to a halt when I didn’t like where the lace body was heading. I have a new plan now and I will rip back to the end of the yoke.

It is a sweater that has the right amount of ‘loud’ that you can only get away with at a sheep and wool show, but I’m also hoping to wear it amongst the muggles too.

 

 

 

 

Birthday Month

Wow, it’s been a month, my birthday month in fact. Yes, despite my advancing years, I still celebrate my birthdays for as long as I can get away with.

img_9178As part of Birthday month, I went to see the Harry Potter Cursed Child play. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I hope to see it again in another year or so, it was truly spectacular.

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I got treated to dinner by my loving husband.

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I got to celebrate my birthday with some of my adorable nephews and nieces. Can you spot the allergy free cake? Not as good as my usual Burch & Purchese birthday cake, but at least all the kids could partake in this creation by Tidbit Cakes.

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Quite a bit of ‘alternative’ crafting happened this month.

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I’m still working on the layout of my pinwheel quilt.

Have I even told you about this project? After a crafting weekend away with my quilting friends in March, the quilting bug finally bit.

I haven’t absolutely decided whether or not to put sashing between the blocks (which I would make a pale blue). I don’t think I could possibly make more than the 121 pinwheel blocks already in the works…

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Last weekend I took a Polymer Clay class with The Polly Collective. It was a super fun day. Sheree is a great teacher.

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This is my first ‘slab’ piece. Looks kind of like a pizza.

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Before squishing…

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This is the slab after squishing…

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And these are all my cut-outs. The fronts of future pairs of stud earrings. So much fun.

This ‘cane’ slab was my next sample. The pieces are cut from a ‘candy cane’ made up of different colours then laid over the top of a thin slab of clay.

This is the slab pre-squishing

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Sheree described how her design process is like riding a train, and how you just have to stay on board even if you’re hating how it’s going (to the bitter end). i.e. a train wreck… but then there’s always foil and that makes anything look better. I kind of felt like that when I was making this ‘caned’ piece. I felt like I had taken my cane too far (the details got too small), but then I mixed it up with some of the original cane off-cuts and then it didn’t look quite as shite. I even got compliments!

The slab after squishing.

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There were a few other techniques demonstrated in the afternoon, that I’m going to try at home. I got a few supplies and tools to take-away to have a play.

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Oh ooo – a new craft…

My Mum’s Cardigan

You may recall, I gave my mum yarn for Christmas… so that I could knit her a cardigan.

My mum knits and crochets a lot for the grandkids, but I don’t remember the last time she knit anything for herself.

I had quite a bit of consultation with my mum, about the style and fit she was wanting in the cardigan. I then set about to find the perfect pattern to match her requirements. Georgetown by Hannah Fettig  ticked all the boxes. Surprisingly, it took me 6 weeks to knit (I thought I could knock it out in 4).

Once I blocked it, I knew I had nailed it. The ribbed shawl collar needed the wet blocking, as it was riding up at the bottom of the fronts. It’s amazing what a little bit of water can do.

Then after a sneaky little try on myself, I gave it to my mum last weekend. (It fit me very well too).

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She’s lucky the colour is not really me…

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Not that I would dare keep it, my mum deserves nice things.

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Needless to say, she loves it. Perhaps I’ll surprise her with another jumper’s worth of yarn next Christmas?

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Chicken Liver Parfait

The first time I saw Chicken Liver Parfait on a menu in a restaurant was about five years ago, and I could not believe my eyes. For the record, that was at Union Dining (sadly now closed), and I still rate it as my favourite Chicken Liver Parfait.

Growing up in a Slovenian family, chicken liver paté was a staple sandwich filling in my home (and school, I don’t know how I never got food poisoning from it). Whilst I would gag at the thought of eating Chicken Livers in their actual meat form, paté on the other hand is delicious…

At home, my mum called it ‘Spa–tet–o’, but I can’t find the correct Slovenian spelling for this, so you’ll have to trust me on that one.

In my search for the correct spelling, I found that according to google, Chicken liverwurst  is a good source of Protein, Riboflavin and Iron, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B12 and Selenium. And the bad: This food is high in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. BOO!

So why am I telling you about this?

Because in the space of a couple of weeks (and quite randomly), I have eaten Chicken (or in the case of Kyneton, Duck) Liver Parfait at no less than 4 restaurants… It was on the menu, and I ordered it… how could I resist?

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Collins Quarter, Melbourne

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Our local pub had it as a special…

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In Kyneton… Duck Liver Parfait, so good…

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Saint Urban, Richmond

I’m really glad my husband will not eat paté, he despises ‘offal’ of any kind. I never have to share my ‘starter’ with him, and that’s how I like it.

My preferred condiments with the parfait are of the fruity, sweet variety. Each rendition of my favourite dish was wonderful, I scoffed them all… apart from the work lunch, I had to be a bit more contained in my enthusiasm.

 

 

Stash Count

It’s been ages since my last count of yarn stash meterage.

The last count was after my return from Stitches West in 2015, when my yarn count was a staggering:

296,937 METRES

Since it’s been about 3 and a half years since I took stock (I had no idea it was that long), I thought I should take a look at how much I have. It’s too hard to quantify when your stash lives in different spots in your house, so I downloaded the numbers from my Ravelry stash page. I summed the total of the column ‘Metres left’ and got:

265,310.9 metres or 265.3109 km

Yeah! Go me!

I attribute the reduction to one massive de-stash a while ago. And just a lot less purchasing. I’m trying to knit more than what comes in, but in reality I think I’m lucky to be breaking even. It was an almighty de-stash…

I don’t have any goals to get down to a certain level, but I think I would like less, so I can see it all in one part of my house. So I can appreciate and work from it. So that it doesn’t feel like a packet of Tim Tams that never runs out. My ‘stretch’ goal is to reduce the amount of stash to my cubed shelving unit. You know, because there’s probably some other things I could store underneath our bed.

I’m looking forward to the Australian Sheep and Wool Show (only 4.5 months to go!). Fondly known as ‘Bendigo’ or ‘Spendigo’, where all bets are off… mostly, (I’m showing a bit more restraint in the last couple of years). So I have something to work towards… here are some of my acquisitions from last year.

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I’ll come back to you before July to show you how much I’ve used!

 

Box o’ sox 2018

Last year was the second year I participated in the Box o’ Sox KAL which is a yearly Knit along, run by Kristen from the Voolenvine podcast. It’s where you aim to cast on and knit 12 pairs of socks for the duration of the year and then take a photo of them presented in a box of your choice at the end of the year.

In 2017 I knit 5 pairs of socks (out of the possible 12 ha!).

Still… beginning the year with 5 pristine (and unworn) pairs of hand knitted socks is a real luxury for someone who loves to wear socks all the time.

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In 2018 I thought I could do better, but I only managed 3 pairs. It wasn’t a big sock knitting year, for a couple of reasons. I abandoned a pair of socks I absolutely hated knitting (and they were turning out rubbish). And then at the end of the year I cast on and didn’t finish the knee-high socks in time to be counted. Did I mention I also knit close to 20 hats in Winter?

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2018 Socks From left to right: 1. Yarn is by Half-baked Hand-dyed in the Richmond Knitter’s colour way of 2017 ‘Audrey’. 2. Opal sock mini skeins from an Advent Calendar 3. Also by Danni from Half-baked Hand-dyed!

And yet I’m still left with this beautiful box of inspiration for the 2019 Box o’ Sox. A couple of new skeins found their way into the box during last year admittedly.

img_8856You may ask yourself, why do I set myself up for failure?

 

I may never knit 12 pairs of socks in a single year, but nothing compares to a new set of socks to start the year off right. New socks are like freshly ironed sheets, of which I’m also a massive fan of! So here’s to 2019 of being betterer.

 

Happy Birthday Dad

My dad celebrated his 82nd birthday last week!

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It was a particularly happy occasion.

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It’s the best I’ve seen my dad in ages, coupled by the fact that he smiled and he seemed pretty happy. He doesn’t say a lot these days, but I could tell he was happy to be the centre of attention.

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I decided to knit him a hat for his birthday. After knitting a million hats last year for family and friends, I realised I hadn’t knit one for my dad. The pattern I used is by Woolly Wormhead and is called Dylan’s Hat. It’s a great pattern! I used a super wash yarn so there’s less chance of the hat being ruined accidentally in the Nursing Home wash.

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He was thrilled! He willingly modelled the hat, despite the 40 plus degree temperature outside. It fit him really well too. The only modification I made was to increase the crown stitches to make a bigger hat.

Now back to my mum’s cardigan…