February FO

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After a flurry of many finished objects in January, I fear February is going to be a much quieter affair. At the beginning of the month I cast on and finished knitting my second Kate Davies Kokkeluri mitten. It flew off the needles within a couple of days.

And then I cast on many other things…

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I have been dreaming about this project ever since Nicole from Stash & Burn made her Aislinn cardigan a number of years ago in the colour yellow. She no longer wears hers, but I still desperately want one. The yarn was a Christmas purchase from 14 months ago, so relatively ‘fresh’ stash. It is Cleckheaton Superfine Merino in the mustard colour way.

And then I joined a couple of Knit-alongs…

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The ‘it’ pattern of the moment is a shawl called Waiting for Rain by Sylvia Bo Bilvia (yes that’s really her name). It caught the imagination of a few of the Richmond Knitters, so some of us cast-on! I was really enjoying knitting this shawl, it’s clever and fun and heck it’s going to be a great shawl to wear. But then… the yarn failed me. This beautiful yarn did not have it’s dye fixed properly and was coming off on my hands REALLY, REALLY, BADLY. Both skeins have been caked up prior to starting, so there’s no turning back, just sulking and knitting and purple hands, which gives the appearance of burnt hands, boy have they been burned.

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The second knit-along I began, involves Deb and just myself; last weekend was our one year anniversary of attending Stitches West in California together. To celebrate, reminisce, feel sad about not being there this year… we decided to cast-on the same project in the same yarn together (we did shop together you know, and there were several double-ups).

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We’re both knitting the Stitch Block Cowl by Purl Soho. These are my colours inspired by being in the same state as Stephen West!

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Gosh we had fun!

My cold sheep February update:
• No yarn purchased (woo hoo)
• My Kokkeluri mitts used 175 metres (baby steps), so I’m 175 metres down!

March is looking more promising for stashing down with so many WIPs on the needles, it does sound great in theory.

 

 

 

Sparkle, sparkle

Remember my Use It Or Lose It, Shingle project?

I finally have had the chance to get a couple of photos taken. I am very happy with how it’s turned out.
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The fit and shaping of this little cardigan,  Safire by Hilary Smith Callis is perfect to wear over dresses. Now I just need to find the perfect dress for this little number (something a lot plainer!)

(Here I am looking super hot on a 40 degree Melbourne day)

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It’s been a sparkly kind of month.

I wore a wrap my mum made for me eons ago, to the Richmond Knitters Christmas Dinner… wait for it…

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And I sparkled all night, becoming my own personal mirror ball. I enjoyed wearing it very much on the night.

Here are the Christmas decorations I’ve knit so far for our tree, (in addition to the ones I received for my birthday from a wonderful friend).

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The Swirl bauble ^

and I also knit this mini sweater!

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The gifts are wrapped, now all there is to do, is knit and wait to see the happy little faces of my nieces and nephews on Christmas Day.

Take care everyone x

 

Wednesday WIPs – with added projects

It’s been an interesting week, I’ve been casting on EVEN more things, so my ‘works in progress’ total is back to seven projects…

My first mitten is complete! I have the second one to go, but I’m getting distracted…

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I did enjoy making this, and I learnt how to catch floats! I feel much more confident about doing fair-isle knitting now.

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The next Seven Skeins club projects/s is/are a pair of fingerless mitts… which have not been cast-on despite my fearlessness last week. When it came to the crunch, I thought I might wait and see what the next project is and go from there.

This week I cast-on a much loved and anticipated project, my Watermelon socks. This yarn is hand-dyed by Abi Grosso and it’s just plain beautiful. It makes me so happy to knit with this yarn. This is also my only mindless project on the needles at the moment, so I’m savouring it a little. At the Richmond Knitters knit night this week, I got rather excited when I got around to my second repeat of ‘pips’ and the second round matched up with a couple of pips, oh the excitement! Abi is a genius!

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And because there is so much love for this yarn, there is two photos of virtually the same thing.

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I’ve decided to do the cuff, heel and toes in some left-over Wollmeise. Checking out the Rav projects with this yarn, I preferred the heel in particular being a solid colour rather than the pattern continuing through. By using an alternative yarn for the cuff, heel and toes this also means I could just about get 2 pairs out of this yummy yarn.

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And then, because it’s just ticked over to November, I’ve joined the Brioche-along with Louisa from the Richmond Knitters. I’d decided to knit the Askews Me Hat by Stephen West, in my handspun yarn. Which sounded great in theory…IMG_1850

But then after I got something that looked like a cowl instead of a hat, I chose a more lighter weight yarn and went down a needle size.

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As I was knitting it the second time, I was still getting odd stitches at the start and end of rows and around the decrease and increase sections. I couldn’t work out what I was doing wrong, and the pattern was not giving me any clues, it just recommends taking a Craftsy class with Nancy Marchant. When I’ve paid A$8.57 I kind of expect more from a stand alone hat pattern. I am a little disappointed and my project is now in the naughty corner. I don’t think I’ve ever had a project confined to this place before. Learning new things can be trying… I already have the Craftsy class mentioned, but I think it’s a little unfair to not provide clear instruction in the first place  or to provide a pattern that is free from errors (I’m not sure which it is yet), or to expect people to purchase further resources to understand your instructions after they’ve purchased your pattern. There I said it.

Maybe it will make sense tomorrow.

Just a little housekeeping:

Thanks for all the comments lately, it’s nice to be reminded someone is out there reading my blog.

Also the Louisa Harding Shingle is on it’s way to Noemie who was the first commenter on the blog about the Shingle going to a good home. I can’t wait to see what it becomes!

 

Seven Skeins Club Week 1: Baffies

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The first pattern of Kate Davies Seven Skeins Club was released on Friday evening here in Melbourne. They are called Baffies and they are the loveliest slippers. Sadly, I was unable to start until Saturday and only after I cleaned the house (I bargained with myself).

First thing was first, we were instructed by Kate to weigh our skeins before we began. She’s quite bossy about it, but it’s probably for our own good.

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I decided I didn’t want to do the prescribed colours, I wanted to choose my own. Kate has given us a nifty little yarn calculator, in order to give us the autonomy to do that.

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A lot of people in the ravelry group were getting cold feet (pardon the pun) about starting until seeing all the patterns. I think it’s quite sad that people can get paralysed by colour and choices. If anything I’m quite prepared to mix up my colour choices from week to week (even though I think I’ve mapped out the first 4 weeks on the aforementioned yarn calculator). If I get it wrong and I run out of colour, so what? I’ll just add in another colour.

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Kate has done an amazing job of nutting out all of the details to the club. It’s the best organised club I’ve ever been apart of. Not since ‘Owls’ have I knitted a Kate Davies pattern, but I have a couple of her designs ready to cast-on… they just got bumped up the queue. I’m amazed at how easy she made the Turkish cast-on seem. I’m sure I’ve followed other peoples directions to this technique and it’s not worked out half as well.

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As I write, I don’t know where Sharon is up to knitting her Baffies. She’s been absent from social media, or at least ‘not letting on’ where she’s up to. I suspect she’s knitting at her usual speed and posting a FO photo or a blog post any minute now. Or maybe she’s giving me a head-start, a handicap. This is a race, didn’t you know?! I expect I’ll have finished my Baffies by Tuesday or Wednesday… at the latest. I’m half-expecting Sharon to show up to knitting tomorrow night with her completed pair and a second pair in stash yarn cast-on, because how great is this project?

So comfy to wear, I’m even tempted to knit the alternative pattern (without the stranding) this week, a pair for Damian… yeah.

I’m looking forward to seeing week 2’s pattern, I have a strong suspicion it’s going to be a hat. It’s been hailed as a ‘signature’ Kate pattern. Thoughts?

Bendigo 2015

Wow! Just when I thought I had experienced everything that was to be experienced at the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show, this year had a different flavour.

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I attended the Women of Wool luncheon with a couple of friends and we had an excellent time. Everything was great about it. The speakers, the food, the company, the other people seated at our table, the competition prize drawings (even though we didn’t win anything), it was a lot of fun.

Then we got down to the serious part of the show. Nicknamed ‘Spendigo’ for good reason… I exceeded my own expectations, surprising only me. If you really want to see it all, check out my recent stash acquisitions (fibre and yarn) on Ravelry.

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White Gum Wool played a large part in my purchasing. Nan Bray the owner of ‘White Gum Wool’ spoke at the luncheon, but I was a fan before that, after seeing this segment on Landline. The pink yarn above is White Gum Wool Boucle, specially hand-dyed by Kathy’s Fibres.

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I was given the task of buying some fibre to spin for my husband. So that I wouldn’t run short on his next ‘winter set’ (this time), I bought 500gms of Kathys Fibres merino dyed in ‘manly’ browns, blue and black.

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We also spent a fair amount of time with the sheep, searching out the babies, because, how cute?

Thank you to my partners in crime for making it such a great weekend. I can’t wait to do it all again next year.

 

Thursday Catch-up

I thought I might catch-up in pictures. It’s been a few weeks and before the silence gets too long I just wanted to say ‘hi’ this is what I’ve been doing.

Secret Knitting business for a Richmond Knitter…

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It involved cake and cupcakes and Girl Guide cookies…

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I inspired my colleagues to make Pom Poms (as you do). Someone made the largest one, it’s the size of a rockmelon! I thought that was meant to be the pom pom maker size for a hat topper, I guess not…

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I helped Ursula on her stand at the Handknitters Guild Annual Yarn and Fibre Fair. It was fun being an enabler for once!

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I went away for yet another crafty weekend…

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I did some knitting and left the quilting to the quilters

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Then Jo showed up with goodies from the Red Beard Bakery.

A weekend progress shot of my Grace Cardigan. (I’m now up to the sleeves!)IMG_0585

Damian’s been making some outstanding food at home, and dessert…IMG_0602

I knit a chook sweater, but the chook didn’t want to wear it…IMG_0604

I attended a Crafternoon, my last one for a while with a very special Knitter.

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We presented her with a blanket the group had made. Ahh… such sadness, and happiness for the amazing friends made through knitting.

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Our best blanket yet I think…

Wednesday WIP – The Birthday Edition

I’ve had an interesting birthday. There was not as much fanfare this year (no really, stop laughing)… and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Even my colleagues were asking if I was feeling ok?!

And then, at work, I made the rhetorical statement, ‘I have nothing to live for… after Stitches!’ It was quite tongue in cheek, but all the same they are the words that came out of my mouth. I think it came from a place where I have to say I’m quite content and I didn’t need a birthday because I didn’t need anything…

But then I was wrong. I was remembered by friends and family (and surprised by my husband, he’s still good at that), that made my birthday great. Amongst the lovely gestures received, I was surprised, no shocked, to receive two handmade gifts. I felt extremely lucky. Yeah, I was floored to have received handmade gifts (handmade by the gifters themselves). That means time, and it probably means the ‘L’ word too, but I don’t want to get all soppy on here.

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My photographer was on the blink when I took these photos, but seriously, 8 mini stockings for my Christmas Tree… just adorable.

And then this:

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There was also a couple of cards in the mail, and I could hear the voices of the people who wrote them. I wish I sent cards more often, I feel like I’m an undeserving friend when I receive one.

For my birthday… I bought myself yarn… but somehow posting about it here doesn’t seem right. So I’ll leave it there for another day.

 

Stitches West – The Loot

I’ve had a few days to recover from my jet-lag and my disastrous trip home (long story short, it took 2 days to get home) so I think you’ve waited long enough, without further ado here’s the yarn I came home with!

You can read more about our experience at the show here on the Richmond Knitters blog. I’ll also be covering other aspects of the trip here, over the next week or so.

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All of it in one shot

At this point, I think that I should say that I am very happy with everything I got and clearly I didn’t leave anything I wanted, behind. That was my mistake 8 years ago, I think there’s a lesson in that…

My shopping experience was made better by having a partner, Deb did an awesome job of inspiring my purchases; I was lost without her when she was in her class on Friday morning. I did not/could not buy a single thing then, go figure.

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Table close-up 1/2
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Table close-up 2/2
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Yoth Yarns (Yarn On The House) was hot at the show

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Western Sky Knits (WSK) a personal fave. Came home with 9 skeins…
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Anzula, Lisa Souza, Miss Babs
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Miss Babs Cosmic
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Lisa Souza, Miss Babs
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Pepperberry Knits Cashmere (of course)
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Jill Draper Makes Stuff; love this colour!
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Koigu (yes more koigu), Canon Hand Dyes, Invictus Yarns (gradient), WSK
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Yoth Yarns
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A Verb for Keeping Warm / Romi Hill Mystery Knit Along
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From left: Miss Babs, Anzula, Lisa Souza

I’ll be popping all this up on Rav now in case you want the finer details and more eye-candy. On the blog this week I’ll cover off my trip to San Francisco, my class with Anna Zilboorg, and anything else I can think of. ‘Till then, enjoy!

Wednesday WIP – Still blooming

Despite my desperation about knitting at the moment, I was unable to finish the Bloom tunic/dress by the weekend for a visit with my family. It’s been a busy week! Nonetheless I’m very happy with how Bloom is shaping up and I’ve had some very kind comments about it from The Richmond Knitters. This ‘Use It or Lose It’ project is definitely a keeper.

Catching up with my sister reminded me of why I love knitting for her babies. Niece #2 was wearing niece #1 hand-me-down: Baby Yoda Sweater. Ahhhhhhh…

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At one point she even made the same wide yawn her sister had when Damian snapped this 2.5 years ago:

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Getting back to Bloom, I couldn’t resist popping in the ribbon early, it still needs it’s ends trimmed. Little girls and ribbon are so pretty… I suspect it will need to have a double-knot so she doesn’t pull it out.

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Have a great week!