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?

It’s been a while…

… sorry about that! The longer it’s been, the longer it’s taken to come back.

Here’s a bit of a photo documentary of my last month:

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Craft Sessions happened and it was ace! The whole weekend was so beautifully organised by Felicia.

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I left more inspired than I have been in, in such a long time. It took a few days for it to get to a manageable level! I think it was largely due to the class I took with Anna Maltz (a.k.a. Sweaterspotter). It was a Top-Down Improvised Colourwork sweater class.

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She loves colour, like I love colour.

But generally speaking it was just crazy exciting to be there.

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I fan-girled a-lot!

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So excited, so much so, it was hard to calm down enough to get some sleep on my arrival home… luckily I had Monday off too. I spent the evening planning the rest of my yoked sweater… until the wee hours of the morning Zzzzzz…

The weekend after Craft Sessions, I took Anna Maltz’s ‘Marisle’ class in Melbourne. I love this technique. It’s a combination of Intarsia and Fairisle, and it’s super clever.

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I had spent the week feverishly knitting on my yoked sweater from The Craft Sessions, so I took it along to show Anna my progress that day.

Then this happened…

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Anna popped a photo of me with my yoke progress on her Instagram feed, and I became Instafamous! At last sight there were over 1,000 likes to this photo! Richmond knitters also got a bunch of new followers, which is wonderful!

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I continued my yoke at home… but I’m sad to say I’m taking a break for the moment. I feel like I may have increased my stitch count too far. I’m just taking a breather to gather up the courage to do what needs to be done, we all know what that is.

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Last month, I also went to see the ‘Yarn’ documentary organised by ‘What Jane Knits’, along with a few friends and a whole cinema of yarn-aholics.

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We celebrated my mum’s 70th birthday.

img_6740We celebrated a 1st birthday and a Christening.

And I’m back to knitting my Aislinn cardigan. Sweet, predictable, pattern cardigan, what can go wrong?

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The Rockhopper Shawl

Stash Dash is over and I managed to finish knitting the Rockhopper Shawl by Anna Maltz just in time (well I had about 12 hours to spare!). Yesterday, Damian took some FO pics for me.

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I’m very happy with the shawl; I love the look of it and I love the expanse of it, it’s so squishy. But most of all, I really enjoyed knitting it! The neat construction in the end made it a fairly mindless-kind-of-a-knit. But it doesn’t look that way. I feel super smart, so it’s a great pattern.

The yarn I used was from Stash! The yellow is Shilasdair Luxury DK with Camel (from Sunspun), The charcoal yarn is Madelinetosh Merino Light (from my trip to NY!), and the cream yarn is from deep-stash: Pear Tree 4ply Merino Alpaca. Whilst the yarn names would lead you to believe I’ve mixed weights of yarn, side-by-side, the yarn is about 4ply. Stash for the win!

I’m really digging yellow at the moment, stay tuned for more yellow things coming off the needles.

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So I finished it just in time for Stash Dash to count, but more importantly I finished it in time for Craft Sessions which is happening next weekend. Anna Maltz (a Londoner) will be here teaching a couple of classes, and I’m very excited to say I’ll be taking her Top-down Improvised Sweater knitting class. If you’re not going to Craft Sessions but you really want to take a class with Anna, Felicia of the Craft Sessions has organised some satellite workshops with her in the following weekends. I’m going to be taking her Marlisle Class in Brunswick the following weekend…

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Just call me an Anna Maltz junkie. I want to make Pinglewin Penguin next… but first, I have to finish the homework prep work.

If you want to keep up with the happenings of next weekend at Craft Sessions, I’ll be posting photos to the Richmond Knitters Instagram account. Speak soon.

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My favourite Knitting Video Podcasts

I have been threatening to tell you all about my favourite knitting video podcasts for some time now. It’s my favourite thing to watch whilst knitting, particularly when there’s nothing on TV.

BEWARE! It’s addictive.

Once you have a few favourites, you can have many hours of viewing you’ve inadvertently committed yourself to watching each week. If you’re in charge of cooking meals for family members, you’re already in trouble.

In no particular order, here are the ones I’m currently keeping up with… just…

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The KnitGirllls! The first video podcast I began watching religiously. They are two friends living across two US states (but soon to be reunited behind the camera together!). Watching these guys is like catching up with old friends. They are overall hilarious.

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Inside Number 23: Katie is awesome. She sews as well, between her and Kristin from Voolenvine/Yarngasm podcast, they make me want to be a sewer of dresses.

IMG_2997Here’s Kristin from Yarngasm. She lives in Brooklyn, NY and I envy her yarny, crafty life. Damian can we move to NY?!

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This is Amy from the Stranded podcast. She dyes yarn under her label Stranded Dyeworks. She lives in the UK and I love her. She is a lot of fun, I think she makes me laugh the most. She’s a great knitter and I love her taste. I have some of her yarn on it’s way to me…

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These are The Grocery Girls. It took me a while to warm up to them (as Deb will account for), but I’m a big fan now, I even have a project bag made by one of them. My advice to anyone finding a new podcast to listen to; is to listen to the most recent podcast to see if you like them. If they pass, trail back to the original podcasts slowly, you may not like what you see in the originals… or maybe you’ve just gotten used to them over time? hmmm…

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This is Eric from Sticks plus Twine. He’s lovely and has great projects.

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This is my friend Penelope on her new podcast, Stash and Notions. I think she’s a pro and she’s only 2 episodes in. I love seeing my friends on the inter webs.

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This is Mina from the Knitting Expat podcast. She is on my weekly watch list, lots of yarny show and tell and great projects and some funny cats.

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And finally this is Andy from the AndreSue Knits podcast. Love her! She’s super creative and super down-to-earth and lovely to listen to and watch.

So there you go, that’s nearly 10 podcasts for you to check out and subscribe to on YouTube. Let me know if you have any other favourites! I’m only about 6 hours behind on my viewing schedule…

Stash Dash Update

I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of watching knitting podcasts on YouTube. That’s partially why you haven’t heard from me in a while. The other reason is… Stash Dash…

Stash Dash, the knitting marathon hosted each year by my favourite podcasters The KnitGirllls, is drawing to a close and I’m nowhere near my goal of knitting/spinning 10k of yarn. But that was to be expected!

I am currently at 2,679 metres or 2.7km, a far cry from the 10k I had dreamed of. Surprisingly, Laura from the Knitgirllls admitted in the most recent podcast, it was the first time she was not going to meet her goal (of 15k), and I won’t lie, that made me feel just that little bit better about myself. I’m not competitive, no!

The final project I have on the needles for Stash Dash is my Rockhopper Shawl by Anna Maltz. I hoping to knit like the wind to have it finished by the close of Stash Dash which is about 3pm Melbourne time on Monday. It should deliver about 1k to my total!

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Here’s a snapshot of the other projects I completed during Stash Dash, (not including the small amount of spinning I also counted).

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Oh well, there’s always next year.

Winter set business

Hi there, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve touched base, so I thought I had better get a post in before it became too long again.

Stash Dash is going on and I’ve now almost completed this year’s ‘Winter set’ for my husband. Knitting Damian’s Winter set, is an annual tradition (I copied Sharon, because her husband gets a winter set each year, and my husband found out). Knitting for Damian is enjoyable, but it’s not always the easiest, particularly when one is ‘competing’ in Stash Dash and all you want to do is knit, knit, knit!! You see, Damian is a fuss-pot… so there’s lots of trial and error, and ripping out of knitting if the fit isn’t quite right; but I want him to be happy so that he’ll wear the Winter set for years to come, so I just take a breath and start again. I’ve only got 28 inches left on the scarf (beanie and mitts are completed), and then I’m off the hook for another year!

Here are some beanies I’ve knit for Damian in years past.

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They are very plain, that is always the brief.

Recently, Damian wore one of these beanies to work (whilst waiting for his 2016 beanie to be knitted) and a colleague of his made a very disparaging comment about his hat. She was told, in fact, the beanie was made by me, and knit from wool that was my hand spun, and when he wears it, he is reminded by how much his wife loves him. Boy was she sorry…

So I decided to change it up a little this year. Rather than the usual plain hobo winter set, I decided I was going to knit Damian a ‘Country Road’ type Winter set with macho cables.

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The scarf was also planned to be very cabled. But there was a change of direction, I’d like to say it was because I listened to Damian who said he didn’t want a thick heavy scarf. There is now a simple 2 x 2 rib scarf in the works, and it’s nearly done! The fibre is Kathy’s fibres: Fine Merino. She does lovely dyeing and her fibres are lovely to work with. It was 3-plied to make about an 8 -10 ply wool. It was purchased at last years Bendigo Show, which is coming up very soon this year again. I CANNOT WAIT! More on that soon.

I hope Damian loves this year’s Winter set, even if it wasn’t his usual plain set of winter accessories. The proof will be in the wearing.

Rainbow love

There’s something about a rainbow or a gradient that is pretty irresistible to knit. Rainbows in particular are probably the funnest thing you could knit for kids or adult socks.

I finally got around to knitting a rainbow ‘something’ for niece M.

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She’s getting older and bigger you know, so knitting for her now takes about a third to half the time it would take to knit for myself! I used a tried and tested pattern, the Tulips cardigan. I’ve made another one of these, when she was littler.

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Which is now currently being worn by her little sister.

I needed to make some slight adjustments to the pattern as it’s written for 10 ply, and I was using Bendigo Luxury 8ply. I kind of winged it… it’s really hard when the recipient of your hand knits are not at easy access for measuring and checking.

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I was really worried I had stuffed the sizing. But then I was relieved to see that I hadn’t, niece M really is that big, and I could have made everything longer.

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(Looking at this photo, now makes me feel guilty that niece C, didn’t get something made for her at the same time, look at that face! My knitting queue really doesn’t like me.)

Niece M loved the buttons by the way! The buttons are from my Tokyo visit. They’re only decorative in this project. I’m thrilled to have finally put to use a few of the very many gulp! novelty buttons that I purchased. I might have lost my head over the cuteness, with unconfirmed reports of spending $100 on plastic animal buttons in just one store.

I realise I haven’t shared any of these treasures with you yet. As I had to unwrap them from their custom made envelopes when deciding which ones to use for this project. There are many more animals in my button tin now, and I’ll try to remember to share them with you in the future.

460 metres completed for Stash Dash!

 

 

 

 

Pipe dream

I’ve just signed up for Stash Dash 2016. For the uninitiated, Stash Dash is hosted by The Knit Girllls podcast. This is it’s 5th year running. It’s a sort of knit-along of crazy pants proportions. As far as I can tell, there are no prizes of the monetary kind. It’s a challenge for yourself, to achieve the impossible.

The gist of it is, you sign yourself up to knitting/spinning/crafting a certain amount of kilometres for approx. 3 months. The goal posts are, you have a choice of: 3k, 5, 7, 10 or 15k.

The rules are pretty flexible in terms of being allowed to have several WIPs near completion before the start date, as many as you like ::cheating::cough::cheating::. So long as you knit a stitch or row, then cast-off after the challenge has begun you get to count all the meterage of that 1k shawl or jumper or what have you. There are many more guidelines that you can read about on the forum.

Experienced players, plan for this all year in order to achieve the highest possible yarn count. Me? I decided to do it last week on a whim after the event began.

So, I did a little bit of planning at that point. How many km/s did I think I could possible knit in 3 months? I only have a handful of WIPs, many only just started. I wrote these down and the estimated meterage of these FO’s. I then went through my well curated queue and I wrote a few of those things down, all the while calculating the completed metres. And then the dreaming began. I kept adding more and more to my list of possible FOs. And then when I got to 10k, I thought I’ll just add a couple of extras incase I overestimate the amount of finished metres to the FO’s.

I must say, I found this planning part super enjoyable. Whilst I’m only going for the 10k, I’m honestly aware I have no chance of meeting that goal… but it’s going to be fun trying! For one thing I have 13 new WIPs to cast on weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

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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!