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.

 

Me Made May Envy

I’m here to tell you, I once again have not participated in MMM. Every year since it’s inception I’ve been envious and this year is no different. But next year, definitely next year, I’m in. Can someone please remind me in April?

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At the end of April I went away with some crafty girls for a weekend in Hepburn Springs. I took several projects (as I always do) and I worked on all of them except 1 (the rooster tapestry pictured above).

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The weather was terribly gloomy that weekend, and we had one very large thunderstorm during Saturday night. It was ace! Rubbish weather makes for a great craft weekend, because no one feels guilty about staying inside.

I was multi-craftual (it is so a word), finally! I made a button from a kit I bought in Tokyo. The instructions were in Japanese, but mostly I could tell what to do by the charts and illustrations, the rest I used Google Translate for (which is amazing if you’ve never tried it).

I was inspired by everyone else’s projects. I should have brought my hexagon patchwork too, this one is Bek’s.

I finished my ‘Christmas Socks’ and began crocheting some coasters from another Tokyo souvenir from Avril yarn, this is a photo of the coasters since the weekend.

I feel like I’ve been a little multi-craftual now, and I enjoyed it. I still have much to do. I have many projects from my days as a stitcher to complete and some to start. I kept all the good stuff and I still love my choices, so it just goes to show stashing can work sometimes.

IMG_2476This little cherub was presented with her ‘Sweet Bunting’ cardigan yesterday. She is a very excitable bub, so it was hard to get a shot of her not moving and clapping! I’ll have to get some better photos when my photographer sees her next time.

Lastly my birthday present has (finally) arrived, stay tuned for the unboxing!

2015 Knitting review

Happy New Year all!

Each year I like to do a wrap-up of all the things I’ve knit to see how I’ve fared over the year.

I’ve knit 22 things in 2015! That’s 3 projects up from last year!

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I didn’t knit as much for little ones this year, niece M is now 3 and takes a lot longer to knit for!

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22 projects, that’s almost like finishing something every other week, but not.

There were:

  • 7 pairs of socks (including the Baffies)
  • 1 Chook Vest
  • A group blanket project
  • A huge crochet blanket
  • A baby blanket
  • only 3 Kids/baby sweaters
  • 3 scarves/cowls
  • 3 tops for me (2 of which were use it or lose it)
  • Christmas ornaments
  • 1 Winter set for Damian

Of these 22 things, 8 projects were for other people.

I’ve carried over 6 WIPs into the new year, but there was no way the Noro blanket was coming for the ride. I finished sewing in the ends on the last day of the year.

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2016 is going to be a ‘Cold Sheep’ year. There will be no yarn purchasing except maybe for the Sheep and Wool Show in July. And … only if I travel overseas to a yarn haven. But there might be some de-stashing to accommodate that…

In 2015 I was lucky enough to visit Stitches West in California in February and then Tokyo in November. It’s been a fun year! There was ‘a bit’ of yarn tourism involved in visiting those places, and I hope to relive those fun memories as I knit with my souvenir yarn.

My stash count as of today is:

277,180 metres

It is a little less than the last count, but I suspect the last count was inaccurate (the wrong column was added together).

Here’s to 2016 the year of knitting more and stashing down!

Around and Around

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Around and around I go, is the theme for today’s blog post! Here I am spinning around in Alice’s Teacups ride at Disneyland Tokyo.

And here I am in the first few border rows of the crochet blanket.IMG_1892

I’ve filled in all the gaps, thanks to some great directions I found on Dover & Madden’s blog. She’s a Melbournite as well, and I love checking out her blog, everything is beautiful.

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I have 3 balls remaining of the Noro and at this stage I think I’m going to keep going until I run out. It might be 4 treble rows or so.

I’ve also picked up my Use it or Lose it project this week, it is the Dragonflies jumper by Joji Locatelli. I’ve really gotten into the swing of this. I’m certain this is not going to be a ‘lose it’ project.

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I’m so close to the end of listening to ‘The Girl on the Train’, I have really enjoyed the voice actors and the story, but I hope it doesn’t go on for to much longer, I need to know the ending!

 

Wednesday WIPs – A race to the finish

The tree is up!

Full disclosure, it is a small tree, requiring only a few decorations. I was hoping for a larger tree this year, but then I remembered all the presents I still need to buy…

A small tree has enabled the sock decorations knitted for me by a friend, to absolutely sing. I love it.

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I’ve been slogging away on my crochet blanket this week, with just a few seams left to sew. Then the border; and then no more blankets for a while…

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I’ve been listening to The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and loving it.

It’s going to be a race to the end of the year to see how many projects I can finish, but I also want to start new things. Oh the dilemmas of a crafter.

Tokyo – Wow

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Why hello there!

I’ve arrived home from Tokyo and I really don’t know where to begin about my mind-blowing experience there. Here are some of my insights…

Japanese people are SO nice. Not that I thought that they would not be nice. But they are above and beyond NICE, friendly and helpful. On one occasion when we were trying to navigate, we had not one, but 2 people approach us one after the other just to make sure we knew where we were going. And they spoke perfect English.

Fancy toilets… I didn’t take pictures because that’s just gross. All of their toilets were fancy, consisting of buttons which did different things, from making flushing or nature sounds for discreetness, to Bidet and shower settings, to seat heating and deodorising. One of the restrooms I walked into had the toilet lid open as I entered the cubicle and a blue light lit up the bowl, I nearly crapped my pants! 

But enough about the toilets (but really they are amazing)…

This was the view from our hotel room, with my Watermelon sock/s in progress. Everything in Tokyo is so damn cute, so I though this would be the perfect project to take.

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The crafting culture is huge, obviously, you all knew that. Knitting plays a part, but only a part. Sewing is HUGE. The craft stores also boasted needle-felting, crochet, loom beading, weaving, stitching, tatting, jewellery making, polymer model making, paper crafts… it goes on. We saw a few ‘handmade’ gift-type stores which carried beautiful simple items made from clever crafts which met design. And I was inspired to become a little ‘multi-craftual’. I used to do more crafts, but now it’s just knitting/crochet and spinning. But I can do more! I’m not about to go out and buy a sewing machine, but I did pick up a few little kits just to put my toes into the water.

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I also bought a little bit of Washi tape, heaven knows what I’m going to use it for? But how cool?

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And I bought some yarn, I tried to make sure it was all Japanese yarn. A lot of the stores import European yarns, which are beautiful, but not ‘special’ to me kind of souvenirs.

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Here I am outside Avril!

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I also hope to have a crack at knitting this Japanese pattern:

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We did Karaoke. Twice. For 3 or 4 hours, each time.

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How cute are the rooms? Just like singing at home in your bedroom!

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We went to Disneyland! I totally had a moment whilst walking through the Entrance Hall otherwise known as the World Bazaar, it was just like watching Disney at 6:30pm on Saturday evenings as a youngster. I don’t know what overcame me. I didn’t know that I wanted to go to Disneyland that badly. Luckily Damian had not noticed the tears streaming down cheeks. How embarrassing. But what’s not embarrassing is wearing Minnie ears all day and all the way home back to the hotel through reception. It felt like the most natural thing ever.

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I ate a lot of sushi, and some other interesting ummm things.
IMG_1307 IMG_1389To finish, here’s just a small view from the very top of Tokyo Tower, all 250 metres above sea level. This town is huge.

There really is too much to say about this place, I hope you enjoyed my snippet.

Wednesday WIPs – Putting it together

I started laying out my patches of hexagons on my living room floor on the weekend, I just wanted to have a ‘play’ I hadn’t put them all out in a while. Mind you I still had 4 balls of patches left to make….

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Or did I?

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As I was laying it out, I wondered whether my first plan was the correct one. That is 4 x 5 rosette patches rather than 5 x 5 rosette patches. My reassessment had nothing to do with the fact that there was still 4 balls of Noro staring me in the face. But the blanket was fairly square at 4 x 5, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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I continued laying out all the patches with the single and half hexagons which filled in the gaps.

Sewing it up has been strenuous work, a real ‘work-out’ in my living room. Oh how I wished I had the foresight of inviting a few Richmond Knitters over to give me a hand! I was sewing all day long, until my body just said no more. There’s still plenty more seams to sew before I can get it off the floor.

I’m going to use the 4 remaining balls for the border… and huzzah! I won’t need to buy anymore yarn!

I’ve begun listening to Haruki Murakami’s ‘What I talk about when I talk about running’, I’m really liking it. I’m taking a little break from Anne Tyler’s ‘A spool of blue thread’, even though I’ve listened to most of it. I’m sure I’ll get back to it, but for the moment I’m finding the underlying theme of getting old and dying a little depressing.

 

Wednesday WIPs – A weekend gathering

This weeks post is brought to you by a social knitting gathering at a friend’s home, where there were several WIPs in progress other than my blanket.

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There was a baby blanket…

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Another long-term blanket of squares, there was crochet bowls and crochet washcloths (not pictured)

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Of course there was food…IMG_1074

And my hexagons.

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Only 5 more balls to go, or (just!) 50 hexagons to make before I start the arranging and then sewing.

I’m still listening to Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread, it’s not a favourite, I even thought about pulling the plug on it. But I’m hanging in there for a little while longer.

Wednesday WIPs – Now the Slog

It’s great to have a goal, a long-wished for colourful blanket for our bed, hexagons no less.

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But ‘the getting down to it’ is the hard part. No veering off and doing something else. I have to stay focussed. Blankets take a long time, even the chunky ones.

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8 more balls to go, not including the border yarn…

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I finished listening to The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt last week. 32 hours, it was a slog, but well worth it, every minute of it. It was such an engrossing book, so well written, so well read.

I’ve begun listening to A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler. She is one of my favourite authors, but so far I must say this book is not really grabbing me. It’s the first Anne Tyler I’ve ‘listened’ to, so I don’t know whether it’s the reader or the narrative that’s making me wonder, did Anne Tyler really write this? I get that it’s a totally different book to The Goldfinch, so perhaps the reader is just not doing it for me? I’ll let you know next week.