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?

This week

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.

A Three Month Catch-up

As I write today, it’s Saturday and it’s pouring with rain. I’m so thankful I don’t need to go anywhere today, and it’s a good time to take stock.

Warning! This is going to be a photo heavy blog post!

I thought I might start here. These 2 photos represent all that I’ve been spinning for the last 11 months as part of the Spinning Certificate I’m undertaking at the Handweavers and Spinners Guild of Victoria. There is still some 3 classes of spinning to come, to add to this pile of yarn, then I’m somehow going to put it together into a folio of samples and notes. There’s also a major project to add to this body of work. Pretty impressive huh? Once I have all of this in a more presentable form, I’ll share with you some more of what is here. This is all handed in, in March 2023, so there may be a big update then.

In August, Damian and I went to Kyneton for about 10 days. It was a good opportunity to catch-up on some spinning (!) and to eat lots of delicious food, and to relax.

We also got down to Du Fermier in Trentham and shared a few laughs and good food with Annie Smithers.

In September, there was more spinning, making secret blanket squares for a friend’s wedding blanket, a visit to mum for her birthday (I visit her as often as I can now), I picked up my finished quilt from the long-arm quilter and I stayed in Hepburn for a long weekend with friends.

In October, I went to the Royal Melbourne Show (the first time in years!) with my sister and niece and nephew. I also went to Brisbane with Damian and had another lovely time there.

I begun the Stephen West Mystery KAL when I got home from Brisbane … and ‘I’m embracing my pace’. I think a lot of people are… not so many spoilers online this year, oh Stephen what have you done?!

Clue three has been released on Thursday night, and I’m still on the first clue, about half-way through… (more than what’s shown here)

Last weekend was a visit to mum’s and seeing her beautiful snowball blossoms, a trip to Murrumbeena for a friends’ quilt show. Our Weeping Cheals (Cherry) tree has begun to blossom this week.

This weekend I’ve got a catch-up at the guild tomorrow, I think we’re getting down to the business end of our course. So today will be spent working out what to take with me tomorrow, and hopefully knocking over more of clue one of this mystery shawl. And it continues to rain outside…

Sputnik Sweetheart

sputnik

I read a book! Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami is the first novel I’ve read on my new kindle. I really enjoyed it. In these times of introspection, it was the bit of escapism I needed. It had all the elements of a Murakami novel, without getting too weird (but of course it wasn’t, not weird!). I found it interesting to read similar themes which were explored in the much longer 1Q84 (I listened to this one, and also highly recommend doing that). Murakami novels always leave me wondering, in a good way.

img_0657

A couple of weeks ago I caved and began a new blanket, or new coasters, I haven’t decided yet. Boy, I hope it’s a blanket though, to justify the panic buying of additional yarn from Sunspun 🙂

I had lots of left-over Isager Tvinni from my Ursula cardigan, and I thought I could use it for the Arne and Carlos Quarantine KAL blanket squares, now affectionately called the Hug Me Later blanket. It wasn’t a knit-along I was going to join, after all I also began another blanket in April (another blanket, another blog entry) but I digress. I began seeing some amazing examples of how different Knitter’s squares were coming along, so rather than just having a few colours, I decided I needed more colours. Why not? More is more fun.

8e82e38f-a83a-4a76-b1f8-6dbd217862c4

Sunspun now has an online store (didn’t you know?!), and Virginia did an incredible service by sending out my parcel the same day I ordered it. It arrived the very next day (thank you Express Post). Oh, it was a rush! I do hope to continue making squares, there are some really special ones. I have enjoyed watching the Arne and Carlos quarantine vlogs, they’re great guys and if I do make a blanket (and not just coasters or a scarf) it will be a sentimental souvenir of this ‘weird’ time, I wonder what Murakami makes of it.

 

Japan Sleeves and a birthday in ISO

My long-wanted Japan Sleeves jumper was finished in April, I’d only cast-on in February but it’s been apart of my knitting dreams since Joji Locateli first released the pattern. 4278B34E-C109-4E60-8BFC-34767D88ADDE

I am enjoying the freedom of casting on a new jumper and a pair of socks each and every month.

Because whilst it’s unlikely for me to get these projects done within the month, at least I’m fulfilling part of my ambitious knitting fantasies. Casting on!

2F01F5C8-34C0-463D-A276-56B492BC0B9ALet’s not dwell on the reality that I was meant to be going to Japan once again this year, and making Japan Sleeves was just part of the excitement building for my return trip in September. I am safe, I am well, I am lucky.886EBA17-EED2-4F1E-BBCC-DF8837953935

I celebrated another birthday. Not the usual way and it wasn’t bad.

I got a kindle and I’m enjoying reading again, I’m making the time to read again.

img_0562

When I placed my leather cover on my new kindle it reminded me of my Kinder photo book. Whilst the cover of that album is vinyl (not leather!), the kindle is also brown and the same size.img_0563

Oh look, cute little Sonia. img_0630

I also received a few other lovely gifts from family and friends. But I didn’t feel like I needed any other ‘special’ gifts for myself.60923756210__a739b532-def7-4f87-adb7-541250713d5c

I mean who needs anything, getting cards like these are my favourite thing. Thanks niece M for reminding me how old I am on the front of the card. Very artistic!

I hope to be back soon to catch you up on all of my new projects, of which there are many 🙂

G is for German short rows

Last weekend when I cast-on my Birkin sweater, all was going well…img_0397

… until my yarn snapped under the pressure of picking up the wrap of a wrapped stitch. This is one of those devastating moments in knitting (that I had never managed to do before). I was shell-shocked.

Fast forward to Monday night knit night, where I told my tale of woe. Right away, Nat suggested I use German short-rows rather than the regular wrap and turn. Genius! I took my knitting back to the end of the ribbing and began my short rows once again.

img_0410

This is my progress so far. I am enjoying knitting colour work again. Gosh I hope it fits!

img_0403

I finally finished knitting the lace sleeve inserts of my Japan Sleeves sweater, and ‘lightly blocked it’ over the weekend.

img_0405

I knit 7 repeats of the lace per sleeve, which I think is the right length for me. After the gentle blocking, the length grew quite a bit, and I was glad I didn’t knit to the length I was supposed to.

img_0407

I also adjusted the rate the stitches were picked up. i.e. I needed to do this a second time to get closer to the stitch count the pattern was calling for. It was worth it.

img_0414

For the shoulder shaping, the pattern specified to do regular W&T short rows; but instead I used my new found confidence in German Short Rows, thanks to Nat (and Sharon)!

February WIPS and March cast ons!

Setting myself knitting goals for each month of the year, I’m certain is responsible for how quickly March has come around this year. I am catching my tail, to keep up with the pair of socks and a sweater per month scenario let me tell you.

This is what I’ve got on my February sweater so far.

img_0390

Whilst it doesn’t look like much. I’m loving knitting the lace panels of the sleeves of Japan Sleeves by Joji Locateli.

I had a late start on this project, due to changing my mind about yarn choice. The yarn I am using now is deep stash. It’s Patons Patonyle and I think it’s going to be wonderful.

img_0389

I also had a set back on my hand spun socks.

I had finished the first sock, and it was the worst shaping I’ve ever done on a sock. It was all due to my heel flap being too tall. Luckily I only had to rip out half a foot, and the yarn is super quick to knit up.

img_0383

I’m pretty happy with these February projects. February is a short month you know, even with a leap year.

My March sweater cast on is, The Birkin Sweater by Caitlyn Hunter. I’m knitting this as part of a knit-along with the Richmond Knitters to wear to the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show in July. Which is plenty of time away, because this is going to get finished in March along with my other WIPS… hahahaimg_0382

The yarn I’m using is Holst Yarn Supersoft. I’m looking forward to really getting into this project. I’ve done a couple of little gauge swatches to get stitch gauge. I’m going to wing the rest of it. No one in my knitting group can get row gauge anyway so there’s no point wasting precious knitting time fiddling with that!

And my March socks cast on, is a pair of plain ‘Pairfect’ socks by Arne and Carlos for Regia.img_0386

I think these will be super fun to knit up. The yarn has been sitting in my sock yarn box on my coffee table (yes there are other sock yarn boxes in the house), waiting to be knit for at least the last 12 months. It keeps getting past over because of newer yarn, but it really deserves it’s time on my needles.

img_0387

Speak soon