Don’t look for holidays…

I’ve done something extraordinarily spontaneous this week. I’ve booked to go to Vogue Knitting Live San Francisco!

I only became aware of the event about a week ago. And even then, I hadn’t considered going because I thought it would be held outside of SF, like a long way out as Stitches West is.

Then on Thursday morning, that all changed when I discovered it was being held downtown in SF. By Thursday evening I had booked in. Crazy!

It’s my first time to a Vogue Knitting Live event. I’m thrilled with my itinerary of classes with Isabell Kraemer, Mary Jane Mucklestone, Romi Hill and Nathan Taylor of the Sockmatician podcast. I’ll also be attending lectures by Clara Parkes, Ambah O’Brien and Cecelia Campochiaro. There’s a Gala dinner with Kaffe Fassett on the Saturday evening. So many exciting things to look forward to.

I didn’t think I would be traveling for a knitting event for a little while, but having one in a city that I love, was pretty hard to say no to.

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My uncle passed away last week. It was unexpected despite his health concerns and his age. It’s been a difficult week.

I don’t have a lot of relatives, he was the only uncle I’ve ever met. He was an important figure in my childhood, creating many lasting memories, from pulling out my wonky teeth (with no pain whatsoever) to taking me to the rubbish tip with my dad. Where I got to watch them unloading the trailer from the safety of the back seat of his white ford falcon. I remember being surrounded by a wasteland of rubbish, the seagulls and that smell. Such an adventure.

He was very cool and fun. He was my only relative who danced at our wedding. Our wedding was unlike our usual family weddings, in that we had ‘Australian’ music, not a loud Slovenian band. We chose to do things our own way, turns out that’s how he liked to live too. He had a very happy life and I’ll never forget him.

So I’m going to keep knitting this (second) sleeve and think of him.

Stash appreciation and LYS day

Over Easter I had a stash appreciation day with my ‘living room yarn stash’. Whilst it’s always a good idea to stop and smell the roses, or take stock of how much bloody yarn you have, I’m afraid stash appreciation day was born out of a sore hand. I didn’t want to risk hurting my hand any further, so what is a knitter to do if they can’t knit?!

Playing with yarn, is almost as good as knitting with it. I could give it a try for at least one day anyway. So I pulled out all of my ikea boxes and spread out the stash across the coffee table.IMG_7287IMG_7288My hand-dyed sock yarn takes pride of place in my ‘collection’, I’m powerless against a beautiful skein of delicious yarn.

I quite like pink…IMG_7290… sprinkled with greenIMG_7291IMG_7293… think of the amazing sock yarn blanket I would be able to make with the left-overs of these skeins?  Only if they were left-overs and not complete skeins…

So I reorganised my boxes and tried to place the skeins in more logical places, for the record I remember purchasing each of the yarns I ‘found’. There weren’t any surprises, just lots of love for the yarn I have collected; and ideas, I’m looking forward to starting some new projects once things return to normal.

If you don’t have a LYS (local yarn store) at home (like me!), it’s LYS appreciation day next Saturday. I know that Sunspun in Melbourne is participating and offering a generous discount on that day. You should go, you might see me there!

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My Sophie Cardigan

I have a sister named Sophie, unfortunately for her this cardigan is all mine! It’s the Sophie Cardigan by Jennifer Wood. It was finished last year, but it’s only just got it’s photoshoot now.DSC_9034 (1)The yarn was a Stitches West purchase from a couple of years ago. It’s Miss Babs Kaweah. I love the colour. DSC_9037A couple of my SF friends did a knit-along with me. Monica finished first, she’s so speedy. I finished about a month or two later… and last I heard it was sitting in the naughty corner for Sarah. The pattern whilst it is ingenious, it’s not without it’s clarity problems.DSC_9060DSC_9061And after being published for 4 or more years, I got an errata notification for it this week! It’s still a great pattern, and I say go for it if you’re thinking about it.ORG_DSC07953One of the reasons it hadn’t been photographed up to this point, is the cropped nature of it… I wish I had of lengthened it, as it would fit into the wardrobe I have now a lot better. ORG_DSC07960ORG_DSC07966ORG_DSC07973But I still love it.

My Ursula cardigan is progressing really well. I wonder what ‘girl’ named sweater I’ll knit next?

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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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!