Overcommitted?

Maybe? When I sign up for things, I never think I won’t be able to stick to project deadlines, my thoughts are how E-X-C-I-T-I-N-G-! Which of course is not very realistic when it comes to meeting said timelines. But are timelines, really timelines when it’s all for fun? Well, some of it is anyway, and my undertaking of a Spinning Certificate at the Hand spinners and Weavers Guild of Victoria is a bit more serious than my other project goals, but still fun…

Let’s just put my current goals here, so that I might stop signing up for more things…

– Stay on top of my Spinning ‘homework’ for my certificate

I live in a house of fluff right now

– Knit Mum 5 pairs of socks this year

I cast on the third pair (haven’t finished the second pair yet) for some simple plane knitting on my last trip

– Knit the Magnolia Bloom Tunic for the Richmond Knitter’s Bendigo KAL

So far I’ve only knit on this at knit night. I just know if I only worked on this, it would be done in 2 weeks, it’s just sooo chunky!

– Participate in the Nimue CAL … yep this one might have been the straw that broke the camels back.

I’m clearly obsessed with this… and with just Clue 2 in, I’m already behind. But how much fun is crochet and learning new things?!

I still think all of these things are very achievable in somewhat the allotted time! Some of my timings are flexible and others really are not. Thank goodness for long weekends.

My Grandma

I wish I had met my grandma, I always knew we had a lot in common.

I missed meeting Stara Mama (my mum’s, mum) by about 4 months, she had to return home to Slovenia in January, in the year that I was born.

My grandma was creative and an avid crocheter and stitcher. In the year that she visited my parents here in Melbourne, she was prolific in her making.

Yesterday, my mum showed me the suitcase of things grandma made and left for us to treasure; this is only part of it, mum has already given me crochet makes that I’ve tucked away for safekeeping, as I’m sure my other siblings have also received.

Mum said that Grandma would stay up late crafting every night. And in the morning she’d be up before everyone else with her light on in her room crafting away. I loved hearing this from my mum, because I do that! Well, the staying up late part, not so much. But the getting up early to craft, most definitely. When Damian is away, I also get to do this in bed with a cup of tea.

Whilst seeing my mum, I had her try on her first sock, and it’s perfect. The second one is not far off being finished either. I’m so pleased to be able to give my mum something she will love and wear. My mum has cold feet, just like me.

Normality restored?

This past weekend, I did some travel knitting…

I hopped on my first plane since forever … Christmas 2018 (New York) I think…

I travelled to Queensland to visit Damian for the weekend. I was that excited to be on a plane again, anyone would have thought I was going to New York or Japan or far, far, away. I felt quite emotional and happy to be in the air again.

And Queensland is only 2 hours away.

I always go for the window seat, can you see my excited face beneath the N95 mask?

Of course flying again was just one highlight of the trip, the other was spending time with Damian.

Eating delicious food…

And knitting in airports and on the flight itself. I enjoy sock knitting most when I’m travelling, it is the perfect project! All that waiting, is not wasted time.

I’ve finished knitting my mum’s first sock, and I cast on for the second sock for my flight home. I’m hoping they’ll be a good fit for her, how suspenseful!

MAKE YOUR OWN FUN

2022 did not begin the way I intended or expected, but I’m going to do my best, to make sure the rest of the year doesn’t suck as much as January did. Here’s hoping.

When I was growing up, my mum had to deal with the proclamations of her children (me) “I’m bored”, I remember it vividly. To which her response was “read a book”, and then the wails got louder!

Fast forward to today, and I have to say, not a lot has changed. The world certainly has changed, but how I react to the obstacles hasn’t. I bought a new kindle at the start of the first lockdown in 2020, and I still haven’t lifted my reading game! But I digress. Back then I would sew, knit, stitch and colour; and this is where I also get some of my joy now.

So my plan is to be joyful.

Joyful in my making. I’ve decided to make my mum 5 pairs of socks this year and it is going to be fulfilling. I’ve made so many pairs for myself, I certainly don’t need anymore right now, there’s just no space in my sock drawer for one more pair! Visiting mum and having her show me the state of the socks I knit for her maybe 5 years ago, pretty much confirmed my mum needed more of my hand knit socks. The pair are very well-loved and very well-worn. I’ve thrown out my own socks with much less wear and fewer repairs!

This is the first pair in progress, I’m using a favourite pattern by Cookie A called Xeriscape. Gosh she is/was a great designer, I miss her patterns and her sock clubs. The yarn is by Stranded Dyeworks, it is a merino / cashmere / nylon yarn. It’s really lovely. The colour way is one of her old ones called Funfair.

Don’t worry, I’m still knitting for myself this year, but it just won’t be socks!

Shawls, circus tents and planning

My Stephen West Shawlography Shawl is finished (bar the blocking) and I’m very happy with it! I don’t think I’ve enjoyed knitting on anything more than I have enjoyed knitting this shawl. I only got the ‘hurry up and be done feels’ on the last quarter of the final border, so I think that’s pretty good going.

Of course it’s all about the process! If you had shown me the finished shawl at the beginning of the knit-along, I might have said ‘hell no, I don’t want to knit that!’ It doesn’t exactly fit into my everyday wear. BUT, there will come a time when I do go back to work in an office, and hopefully I’ll fit back into a LBD, and this shawl will be a conversation piece…

I thought the final border was really fun, fun looking anyway, like a circus tent. The final result also reminds me of a Christmas Tree skirt, and the Christmas Tree Skirt I haven’t crocheted yet… but I digress.

So I’m hoping to finish off my WIPs by the end of November, a jumper and 2 pairs of socks (1 pair was just cast-on). So that I’ll be free in December to knit Christmas Tree decorations and work on my cosy memories blanket. I have a few Advent calendars coming, and I really can’t wait for December and the new year. Next year WILL be better won’t it?

‘Freedom’ Visit & Shawlography MKAL Spoilers and updates

Yesterday, with our lockdown over and many restrictions being lifted in Melbourne, I went to visit my mum. It’s the first time I’ve seen her in many months.

I was finally able to give her the blanket I crocheted for her for her birthday in September. I loved making it for her, as I crocheted each stitch, hoping and wishing I would be able to see her for her birthday, as we all know that was not to be.

All is well now (apart from the pandemic not being over), because she has her blanket and she loves it. Melbourne’s weather is still cool, so the warm blanket feelings can still be enjoyed for the time being.

I made the blanket in secret, not saying too much about it on social media, in case she saw any commentary. Which meant I also had to keep it a secret from you!

The pattern is The Woodland Blanket by Lucy of Attic 24. It is made from a whopping 1.7 kilos of odd balls of stash wool.

I really enjoyed making this design and I would consider making another one from my stash of odd balls in different colours (it seems I’ve exhausted some of these colours and yet removing 1.7kgs from the stash bins didn’t make a dent!)

Onto my Stephen West MKAL, if you don’t want to see or know any spoilers turn away now…

Clue 3 has just dropped on Friday and I can’t believe the MKAL is nearly over, it’s been so much fun. Here’s some pictures of my shawl after clue 2 and finally a little photo of the beginning of clue 3.

With clue 3, Stephen West has popped my Brioche cherry! The technique I’ve been most afraid of doing for MANY years, and now I’ve finally done it! I’m so grateful for Stephen’s tutorials on YouTube for this mystery knit-along. They are very well produced and clear, he’s wonderful. I may have added a few more of his patterns to my queue…

SURPRISES and SPOILERS

Stephen West’s Mystery Knit-along or MKAL began last weekend! I have been looking forward to this cast-on oh so much. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE surprises and I hate spoilers.

Early last week, I made the rookie mistake and I signed up last minute to take an online class learning Colour work in Crochet for the weekend. The class ran on Saturday and Sunday morning at 8am for 2 hours each day.

Therefore, I wasn’t able to begin the Knit-along with the vigour I had hoped! The class was interesting and I learnt some new things… but there was a ton of ‘homework’ between the 2 classes. It took me at least a few hours (maybe 4 hours) to get what I needed to done and prepared for Sunday’s class. If I hadn’t done the homework there would have been no point showing up to class on Sunday. I felt that, that would have been a waste no matter how much I wanted to start the MKAL!

Here’s some samples from the class, using the techniques, intarsia and stranded colourwork, and sometimes they were used together. I was interested in learning these techniques for the creative potential, or for just making some really fun dishcloths!

Once Sunday’s class was finished I tossed my crochet aside and got down to the MKAL; all the while knowing I had to avoid social media for the accidental spoilers. So I’m social media ‘lite’ this week, whilst I catch up to everyone else.

SPOILER ALERT… this is where I got to on Sunday:

I’ve now completed section 2, the wedges section. I have to say, I was not a fan of this section, it was fiddly, took a long time and I don’t have much to show for it! I want to knit hard, and these little short rows are just not doing it! Not to worry, I know that from here on in as the sections get bigger because the shawl will get bigger, I’m hoping there’s less fussing and more knitting or knittin’ as Stephen would say.

I think I’ll be caught up in time for the next clue, and I won’t make the same ‘mistake’ this weekend. If you don’t hear from me, it’s because I’m knitting. And yes… I know it’s not a race, but I love surprises and not spoilers… so it is a race, don’t let anyone fool you.

Staying Busy

A couple of weekends ago, in the wee-hours of the morning… I spent a few hours with Jillian Moreno and a bunch of cool Spinners mainly from the US through ‘Stitches at Home’, an online fibre festival.

I’ve wanted to become a better Spinner, with a capital ‘S’ for sometime. I am actually enrolled to do the local Guild’s certificate of spinning, but due to delays it is now beginning in November. I can hardly wait.

Jillian was wonderful and the class(es) were very enjoyable, that’s right, there were 3 mornings of getting up before 5am to front class, yawn.

The best thing I learnt? Long-draw isn’t the only form of Woollen spinning. Long-draw SCARES ME! I learned that Woollen Spinning (I’m normally a Worsted Spinner) is a lot simpler than I first thought. There of course is still a lot of practise to be done, but I feel better for the acknowledge, that I can do both, and it’s not hard… it’s just going to take some practise!

I have also cast-on my Pink Velvet sweater by Andrea Mowry. The yarn is Oyster Yarns Eden’s Blend (from The Purl Box) and it is luscious. I normally don’t knit my sweaters in the same colours as the designer’s sample, but for some reason, I have this time. It is a bit different for me, I hope I haven’t made a mistake. Would you believe, I also didn’t knit a gauge swatch?! I was feeling confident and impatient to start… what could go wrong? I hope to be at the sleeve divide (and the end of the colour work) before the weekend, in time for Stephen West’s Mystery Knit-along to begin. I’ll also know by then, whether my (non-swatching) gamble has paid off… ::nervous laugh:: .

These are the yarns I’ll be using in the MKAL:

This was the result of a stash dive and much contemplation. I can’t wait for the fun of a Stephen West knit-along, we really need it in Melbourne right now. I also really need a hair-cut…

My Sock inventory

Recently I’ve taken stock of my collection of socks.

My current ‘wearing’ socks have actually moved into an actual sock drawer. It took some doing, I’m not sure who designed bedside drawers to just have 2 tiny drawers. With the reorganisation complete, here is my handknit sock drawer September 2021:

Now these are not all of them; there’s the five pairs that I’ve knit this year (so far) that I’m keeping separate until the end of this year (a left-over tradition of the ‘box o’ sox KAL). There’s some in the washing basket, a pair on my feet and then there’s this pile:

The repair pile, or the ‘close to threadbare’ pile, that if there’s not a bunch-of-duplicate-stitch-stitching done soon, I’ll be feeling my cold feet on the tiles. Duplicate stitch takes such a long time to do, hours per pair. But totally worth it, when I’m not ready to let go of the socks. A couple of these pairs are on their second mend. After this, they may go to sock heaven.

I’m totally chuffed with my latest pair of finished socks. They are the Picnic Blanket socks by Helen of Curious Handmade, which were part of her Sock Society this year, and the second pair of socks that I’ve knit in this club.

Quite ironic how life can reflect socks sometimes, or vice versa. For those not living in Melbourne, we are allowed to have (very small) picnics in parks. But the photo below is taken on the fake grass in my front garden!

The yarn is once again by Danni of Halfbaked Handdyed, the colour way name is Pee Wee. I think the pattern and yarn are a perfect combination. They remind me of the ‘bobby’ socks I used to wear in primary school.

I might have to start knitting more socks for other people soon…