A different April
April is normally quite a joyous month for me, because it is my birthday month! But this year Damian and I both got Covid before Easter. It’s taken us 3 years before catching it this first time (and hopefully our last) so we’ve done pretty well to dodge it so far. Our plans for Easter needed to change, including my very kind brother who collected these final Burch & Purchese cakes and delivered them safely around Melbourne to family members. It took Covid for us to realise how bad an idea it is for us to live so far apart…
I am hopeful Burch & Purchese will come back because it is/was my go-to place for special cakes. In fact, they are doing a pop-up for the King’s Coronation, if you’re the patriotic sort like Darren.
Whilst I was unwell, not a lot of knitting was going on… I felt like playing/planning with my stash, but after sorting out 3 or 4 pairs of scrappy socks I was exhausted! And, after doing an hour of knitting on the couch, I napped for an hour!
But I have cast-on some new things now, whilst my Stephen West MKAL shawl is still going on…
I’ve cast-on my Richmond Knitters ‘Bendigo’ project, which is going to be cowl. The motif (imagined by Brent) was created using Carla Meijsen’s Magic Motifs. I’ve also cast-on some socks from the yarn Danni dyed specially for the Richmond Knitters last Christmas. I’m still working on my Mystery Shawl, but it just seems to be taking forever, hopefully I’ll have a finished object photo for you next time. Can I say now, I don’t think I’ll participate in the Westknits MKAL this year, it’s just too slow knitting and not a lot of instant gratification. Can someone please remind me come October.
Last weekend was very busy, catching up with ALL the things, belated Easter and birthday celebrations (Lux cakes, did a great job in filling in the B&P gap), visiting my sisters new house, my Spinning certificate presentation and going to a Footy match!
During our illness, I didn’t leave the house for 10 days, just because… and it didn’t seem all that strange. We are homebodies, and especially since the lockdowns we’ve had in Melbourne, I think we are changed forever.
A lonely knit-along
I’ve been finishing up some old WIPs from last year, now that all of my Spinning ‘work’ is done. I haven’t cast-on anything new, even though I really want to…
A couple of weeks back I completed the Tulip socks for mum.
I love the yarn (Fibreworks from deep-stash) and the pattern (by Cookie A). I’m looking forward to giving these to my mum for Mother’s Day along with another pair I finished in February; but it’s cold enough now, so perhaps I should just surprise her with an Easter gift?
I’m now focussing on my Stephen West shawl from his MKAL of last year, Twists & Turns. I still want the thing, but it’s kind of sad to feel like I’m knitting on my own without the pressure of a deadline! Having a deadline is so motivating, well it is to me anyway.
I’m still just on Clue 2 (of 4). I abandoned this project at the beginning of Clue 2 whilst the actual knit-along was still going on to concentrate to my spinning work. I really appreciate all the work Stephen puts into the step-by-step videos on his YouTube channel for his mystery knit-alongs; and it kind of makes it feel like I’m still part of the knit-along, if that makes sense.
I think I might cast-on something new once this shawl is finished. I deserve it! I’ve got a couple of other WIPs: a patchwork quilt and a crochet blanket, but as they’re different disciplines I think a new knitting project or 2 are in order.
Yesterday was hand-in-my-folio-day for my Spinning certificate at the Handweavers and Spinners Guild of Victoria.
Officially the course began back in November of 2021, by then our start was already delayed by a few months due to Melbourne lock-downs. At the time, the course was a good distraction from what was happening around us; but also, I’d heard about this course for a little while now, and I decided to jump in and commit. Did anyone else get ‘why not?’ vibes from the pandemic.
Here it is in all it’s glory! There’s a few more samples in there since I showed you last. These photos were taken yesterday morning. I officially stopped adding to my folio on Thursday evening. There was a couple of things I still could have spun, but I didn’t want to rush or burn the midnight oil, when I’ve already met the requirements of my folio… and theoretically, I didn’t have time to spin the singles, ply them, wash them, then dry them in time to put them in the folio.
So this weekend, I’m taking it slowly. It’s super nice that it is the long-weekend, giving me time to tidy away the spinning paraphernalia that has taken up my living room space for the past 16 months. I’m doing some knitting, and dreaming of casting on a new project or 2 (even though I have some works in progress). And I’m thinking about what’s next?
I officially completed all of the necessary work for my spinning certificate last weekend. It is truly hard to believe. So instead of celebrating with a new cast-on or just plain old knitting, I’m looking for more things to add to my folio. There’s still 2 weeks before I am able to hand it in, and I’m in that weird space. I can stop right now… or I can spin more samples of fibres that I didn’t need to do as part of my folio requirements.
This week, I’ve spun boucle, a new sample of spiral yarn, I’ve spun Himalayan nettles, ramie, hemp and yak! That’s a lot for a week (for me), but D has been away for work, so there’s been few distractions. And I still have 2 weeks to go… in the spinning stash of fibres acquired during the course, there’s still about 6-8 different samples of fleeces, milk protein fibre, mint fibre, several different kinds of silk, that I can still add… so I think I’m going to keep going, because if I don’t spin it now, when will I?
I really am looking forward to handing it all in, because then it really will be over. I will obviously be sad about it. The course has consumed me, it’s been wonderful and joyous to be doing this fun thing with these great women once a month for the past 16 + months. I’m going to miss it.
In all of this, I’ve been plugging away at my mum’s socks, I need to take something to knit night! Now that this pair is done, I’ve got one more pair on the needles, I’m planning to give her both pairs for Mother’s Day.
See you on the flip side
The tree has come down
I’m in the final hours of my ‘holiday’ break from work. Whilst it hasn’t felt like a real holiday, due to my Spinning folio commitments, I do feel as though I’ve achieved a lot. It’s been intense! I reflected on this, this past week, and I can’t remember working this hard for my final year folio for my design degree! No kidding. As I’ve knit up my samples and put together my folio pages, I can see just how much I’ve learnt, wow. And also, I’ll never spin Flax again, haha.
I am pleased (and relieved) to say, my Spinning folio work is now complete, (aside from labelling my folders (4 large binders) and (3) skein boxes with some fanciness). I have just one more task to complete before I can be properly finished, and that is to do my Major Project. I have a little over 2 months left to do that, and I think I can do it. My crafting freedom cannot commence until this is done. Sweet, sweet FREE CRAFTING time, I can’t wait.
For my project, I’ve decided to spin and knit for a pair of socks. One of my teachers gave me the heads-up on obtaining some Shropshire. Try saying that 3 times fast, it’s really fun! Shropshire is a Downs Sheep, and the fibre is well recognised as a good choice for socks, due to it’s bounciness and resilience to felting.
The pattern I’ve chosen to knit is Ottoline by Rachel Coopey
I was able to get some light grey Shropshire, as well as some darker Shropshire. I’m going to spin it as a 3 ply crepe yarn, to give it extra strength. I plan to do some Natural Dyeing to get another colour in for these colourwork socks, and I think I might overdye the darker Shropshire, so it will be a more intense contrast.
But first, I’ve got a lot of spinning to do.
Consistency is Key
It’s funny how when you sort out your priorities, things get done, or get closer to being done.
Whilst walking this week, I needed a shorter book to follow last week’s epic 16 hour listen (not done in one week!). I chose to listen to After Dark by my favourite Japanese author Haruki Murakami. It’s a five hour listen, which is pretty short for Murakami.
It delves into the sub-culture of Tokyo city After Dark, the time when the trains stop running, and before they begin again in the morning. Having been to Tokyo and being kind of familiar with the area spoken about, I found it interesting and a bit of an eye-opener. It is of course, a work of fiction, but the events could all be very real. As with all of Murakami’s stories, there’s always 2 or more stories going on and the dialogue is wonderful. The second story was weird, in Murakami fashion but tied in (at the end) with the main tale. I’m not sure I would recommend this book unless you are a Murakami fan, or are interested in the night life of seedy Tokyo.
Sticking with Murakami, I finally listened to Murakami T: The T-Shirts I Love.
Yes, Murakami is massive into T-Shirts (and vinyl albums), and has quite a collection to write about. I really enjoyed listening to his first written in the 1st person book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. I also enjoyed listening to his take on his T-Shirt collection, he has a great sense of humour. Surprisingly, Australia (and Melbourne specifically) was mentioned on couple of occasions, which was fun; imagine running into Murakami here! He had good things to say about our second-hand record stores. The duration is less than 2 hours and it was a fun listen. Coincidently on some of my walks, I’ve been breaking out my ‘Murakami’ T-Shirts purchased from Uniqlo a couple of years ago… he would totally avoid me if he saw me. He likes to keep a low profile.
Murakami’s latest 1st person story book, Novelist as a Vocation, has just been released, but I’m going to save that one for a little while at least.
I’ve been knitting on my mum’s socks this week. Amazingly, there is progress:
The patterned sock is an older design by Cookie A, called Tulip Socks. I think I’ve knit these once before. A great pattern by Cookie, as always, the easy lace stitches makes it look fancy, when it’s really not difficult to knit.
This week, I’ve started the process of setting out my Spinning Folio, I have quite a bit of work ahead of me, but I’ve got a plan or at least the process in place. Who know’s how I’m going to get it all done?
I finished listening to Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton. It was pretty damn good, probably one of my favourite reads/listens. I would highly recommend it. It took me a while to get through the 16 plus hour listen, but with a new walking/listening regime in place I polished off the book in no time.
This week, I also worked on my ‘Colour’ spinning homework. This was a class I missed because I was in Brisbane with Damian. Luckily, I know a thing or two about colour. The homework is still a drag though, despite how pretty it is.
And I’ve reprioritised my projects once again. With Christmas just around the corner, I want to make sure I do actually finish my mum’s 2 pairs of socks in time. Of which, I’m only on the 1st sock of each.
My Stephen West MKAL shawl has taken a back-seat, along with my Nimue crochet blanket. I love all of these projects and I look forward to getting back to them early next year.
EmBRACING MY PACE
‘Embracing my Pace’, the catchcry of Stephen West’s Mystery Knit-along this year, is something I’m most certainly working by. I mean, I’m not knitting slowly… but the first clue (of four) is a killer. At times I found myself wondering how cruel it was to set this as the very first clue. Some kind of twisted test of resilience set by Stephen. I think it will be interesting to see how many FO’s will be completed with this MKAL compared to his other recent years of the KAL.
Just as the fourth and final clue dropped on Thursday night, I was still finishing up my very first clue. Here is is pre-braiding:
Here it is after the weaving:
I’ve watched and seen all of the spoilers for the remaining clues as they’ve dropped. And I’m excited to do each bit from now on in. But now that I’m soooo far behind, it’s not really a knit-along for me anymore, it’s a WIP.
With Christmas coming along, I’m hoping to get at least the 2 pairs of socks I have on the needles for mum, finished in time. My knitting dance card is full for the remainder of the year.
The beautiful blooms on our tree, have been a joy to watch as they grow each day. Will it ever stop raining?
This morning on my walk (yes, a new routine I’m trying out), was a real treat. I left home at 7 in the morning (unheard of) and came across a bit of activity at my local park.
Pretty cool huh. Mind you, I don’t think they’re cool when they’re sailing past my house dangerously close.
It’s the long weekend, and I’m here for it. A bit of catching up on my spinning homework (as always), spending time with family, and maybe even a bit of knitting on clue two.