December

I really truly need to blog more often, December was busy!

Damian and I were in Brisbane again in late November, to early December. We ate delicious food, went for walks and worked, it was kind of a working holiday for me. It’s a shame the weather was not it’s typical Brisbane weather whilst I was there, when I touched down in Melbourne it was 37 degrees, gah…

When I got home, I had 4 days of advents to open!

This years Advent calendars were from My Creative Garage and also Little Woollie Makes, in 8 ply. I was very pleased with my choices, I’m also happy to not have started any advent projects immediately, (not that I have the time!) because I always seem to arrange them in a different order than is intended.

The following weekend, The Richmond Knitters had their annual Christmas (festivus) Dinner party. It was a very joyous occasion, and I would say it was our best yet.

Danni from Halfbaked Hand-dyed (and Damian) had one more surprise up their sleeve. As revealed on Christmas morning…

Damian asked Danni if she could choose 2 surprise skeins for me (as a surprise gift from Damian). It was probably a really tough ask… because I already have all of my favourite colour ways by Danni, and it’s quite a bit… I opened my gift and I couldn’t believe my eyes… 2 gobstopper balls of unreleased colour ways! And they are totally me. I really don’t know how to thank Danni enough.

Our family Christmases were spread over Christmas eve and Christmas day this year.

They were wonderful occasions and it was lovely to spread out the celebrations and eating over 2 days for once!

Wondering how my Spinning Folio is going? I’m on leave for a couple of weeks, and I’m making the most of it. I hope for some hotter days next week, so I can wash some fleece for my major project.

Christmas is coming

We put up the tree yesterday and I’m so glad we did. It’s one thing off the list before the silly season really begins. This year we did a combination of hand-made ornaments and colourful baubles. Normally I like to add a new hand-made ornament or two to the tree, but with the year that it’s been, there just hasn’t been time.

My Christmas ‘yarny’ preparations began months ago of course. The wrapped yarn on the left has been this way since July! It was the very last yarn Louley yarn offered before they suddenly announced they were winding up their dyeing business. I love surprises, so this package won’t be unwrapped until the 1st of December.

The 2 balls on the right were purchased during the Big Wool Show. Danni’s yarn is too irresistible to pass up, and it is the first yarn I purchased since the Bendigo Show (so yay for me!).

For this Christmas, I also ordered 2 yarn advent calendars from Little Woollie and My Creative Garage (I had 4 calendars last year, and that was a lot!). I opted for the 8ply versions this time, so I can make different scrappy projects with them. I’ll share more on those next time.

I’m finally getting down to putting my Spinning folio together. For each of the fibre samples we’ve spun, we need to put together a page with notes and samples. I think there’s approximately 50 samples altogether. There’s also the skeins we need to present separately which are 20-40 grams each, I was hoping to have these pages done before Christmas, so then I would ‘only’ have my major project to work on, but this seems like a pipe dream now. It’s good to have goals!

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.

Sputnik Sweetheart

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

10 good things about the Bendigo Sheep Show being cancelled in 2020

  1. I don’t need any more yarn, fibre, or cool gadgets

So we’re all taking a year off from Bendigo. Friends have done this in the past and by all reports they have survived. Good thing I have a stash of yarn and fibre as if the world was going to end… it’s not.

But it’s not all about me, the knitters, spinners and hoarders are only one part of the Sheep Show. I worry about the farmers and stallholders who rely on the show for their livelihood. I’m going to do my best by supporting them online. Bendigo has started in April this year…

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Speak soon

Stash Dash – aka Crazy Knitting Goals

Stash Dash has just kicked off and I’m going to participate this year. Stash Dash is a 3 month knitting event hosted by The Knit Girllls where participants knit/crochet/spin etc as much of their stash as they possibly can. The rules are pretty flexible; which is fine, because you’re only completing against yourself.

I’m going to set myself the goal of using 5k of my stash, which seems like a small goal in comparison to the 15k+ cateogory, but I’m being realistic. If I complete my epic crochet granny stripe blanket, I’ll have reached my goal and then some. I’ll have used up the self-striping sock yarn I couldn’t use in socks, and I’ll have finished this long term project, hooray!

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But I also have some other ‘crazy’ goals. I want to finish Wool & Honey before Bendigo

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and I’m also resurrecting this project… I’m hoping to have it finished in time to wear to Bendigo… just 2 months to go!

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This sweater began whilst taking an Improvised Sweater class with the fabulous Anna Maltz more than 3 years ago (!). It came to a halt when I didn’t like where the lace body was heading. I have a new plan now and I will rip back to the end of the yoke.

It is a sweater that has the right amount of ‘loud’ that you can only get away with at a sheep and wool show, but I’m also hoping to wear it amongst the muggles too.

 

 

 

 

My Mum’s Cardigan

You may recall, I gave my mum yarn for Christmas… so that I could knit her a cardigan.

My mum knits and crochets a lot for the grandkids, but I don’t remember the last time she knit anything for herself.

I had quite a bit of consultation with my mum, about the style and fit she was wanting in the cardigan. I then set about to find the perfect pattern to match her requirements. Georgetown by Hannah Fettig  ticked all the boxes. Surprisingly, it took me 6 weeks to knit (I thought I could knock it out in 4).

Once I blocked it, I knew I had nailed it. The ribbed shawl collar needed the wet blocking, as it was riding up at the bottom of the fronts. It’s amazing what a little bit of water can do.

Then after a sneaky little try on myself, I gave it to my mum last weekend. (It fit me very well too).

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She’s lucky the colour is not really me…

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Not that I would dare keep it, my mum deserves nice things.

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Needless to say, she loves it. Perhaps I’ll surprise her with another jumper’s worth of yarn next Christmas?

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Stash Count

It’s been ages since my last count of yarn stash meterage.

The last count was after my return from Stitches West in 2015, when my yarn count was a staggering:

296,937 METRES

Since it’s been about 3 and a half years since I took stock (I had no idea it was that long), I thought I should take a look at how much I have. It’s too hard to quantify when your stash lives in different spots in your house, so I downloaded the numbers from my Ravelry stash page. I summed the total of the column ‘Metres left’ and got:

265,310.9 metres or 265.3109 km

Yeah! Go me!

I attribute the reduction to one massive de-stash a while ago. And just a lot less purchasing. I’m trying to knit more than what comes in, but in reality I think I’m lucky to be breaking even. It was an almighty de-stash…

I don’t have any goals to get down to a certain level, but I think I would like less, so I can see it all in one part of my house. So I can appreciate and work from it. So that it doesn’t feel like a packet of Tim Tams that never runs out. My ‘stretch’ goal is to reduce the amount of stash to my cubed shelving unit. You know, because there’s probably some other things I could store underneath our bed.

I’m looking forward to the Australian Sheep and Wool Show (only 4.5 months to go!). Fondly known as ‘Bendigo’ or ‘Spendigo’, where all bets are off… mostly, (I’m showing a bit more restraint in the last couple of years). So I have something to work towards… here are some of my acquisitions from last year.

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I’ll come back to you before July to show you how much I’ve used!