Istanbul socks

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I’m ashamed to admit to how long these took to knit according to my Ravelry page. They were a very enjoyable knit once I got down to it. They began well, then somehow I was side-tracked.

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I now have just 2 lots of yarn left from my year of knitting along with the Cookie A sock club in 2013. I think I would like to cast on for Arrow next and then Vamp. And then maybe (if I’m lucky enough to get a spot), I’ll be ready to start knitting along in next year’s club.

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Thanks to my dear husband for taking these great photos for me. There are no filters on these photos, they were shot on film. I’m a very lucky knitter and wife.

Yarn Along – Breaking the rut

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I would hate to think that I was in a rut. After all, ‘Rut’ is such a strong word. But last Tuesday evening when I was casually looking at Instagram, I saw that Jules from Wollenflower had posted about her upcoming Natural Dyeing class at the hand makers factory on Saturday, and naturally I jumped for it! It felt great to have ‘plan’-ned to do something different and spontaneous (it was short notice).

I love taking classes. I can’t remember the last ‘live’ class I took, Craftsy doesn’t count (even though they are awesome, but they’re classes that don’t involve leaving the house). Well I thoroughly enjoyed the class and would recommend it to anyone who has a passing interest in Natural Dyeing. Gosh there’s so much to it! In a way the whole science behind it makes it incredibly interesting and magical, and how much more satisfying is it extracting colour from nature? As expected Jules is a brilliant teacher and very generous with her knowledge. I would love to have a crack at doing some natural dyeing at home, perhaps the Christmas break will allow time for that?

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I’ve been working on my sister’s baby blanket with quiet abandon, all the squares are sewn together and all the ends have been sewn in. Only the 5 or 6 row treble stitch border remains. It’s amazing to see the transformation of the curled patches to squares, once the sides had been sewn together.

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I did end up going for the mixed up layout of patches, rather than the rainbow variation I had them laid out as last week. It wasn’t a true rainbow, so I think that’s why it wasn’t working visually?

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DSC_5304Last week I also plied up the singles that had been sitting on the bobbins for a couple of weeks. I’m pretty happy with the result despite beginning to really dislike the process of plying, I see an e-spinner in my future.

I’ve been listening to Outlander and getting into my ‘other’ book on my Kindle. I’m a little too embarrassed to admit what I’m reading now (read: it’s saucy and possibly the raunchiest novel I’ve ever read) so there you have it.

Go see what everyone else is knitting and reading this week as a part of Yarn Along on Ginny’s blog (bet it’s not as juicy as my novel: hint see last week’s entry).

Yarn Along – Not one but two FOs!

So last week I promised to present some Finished Objects this week, easier said than done when you have a mountain of newly casted-on projects.

But being a Knitter, is about being a planner, an organiser and a strategiser! Taking a look at my Ravelry projects page (oh what joy it gives me to look at my WIPs all day long and I’m not joking), I took stock of all my projects and what stage everything was at.

Due to my Use It or Lose It strategy I have a number of WIPs on my page that are in actual fact not started, they’re there to remind me of my obligations to my ‘deep’ stash. I removed a UILI single skein project, because what harm would ‘returning’ a single skein of hand painted yarn to stash theoretically do?  Not exactly an FO, but it was one less UFO.

Then, I cast-off my Honey Cowl and wore it for exactly one day before it got hot last week, and now I’m dreaming of a time when I can wear this for reals, please note I’m wearing a t-shirt in this picture. As expected my patience gave up before I ran out of yarn for this project, it was the never-ending cowl with a never-ending ball of alpaca yarn. I have exactly 50 grams left, I think it would be enough for mitts if I could be bothered.

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Then, I turned my attentions to Ysolda’s Bronntanas Hat, the first ‘Knitworthy’ project i cast on a couple of weeks ago. It’s another small project, and I wasn’t going to let some twisted stitches get in my way of delivering on my promise. After beginning with a cable needle to cross the stitches, I switched to twisting the stitches and turning them over on the needles as I went. Success! This hat flew off my needles. Except, rightly or wrongly, I went from knitting the largest sized hat to the smallest, so my once slouchy hat is now snug… I still think the hat is adorable, and I’m contemplating whether this Knitworthy project will indeed reside in my gift box for the appropriate recipient (someone with a smaller head than mine). If I made it again for myself, I think I’d knit the medium size and hope for the best.

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There it is, 2 FOs for you. All the while I’ve been working on my sisters crochet blanket, I think I’ve really outdone myself this time, it’s going to be hard to top with the next baby in the family. Oh the expectation, this is turning out just like Easters at home where my siblings and I decorated eggs, with improvements each year to design and techniques, who knows where this will end up? For the record I never got into egg craft/sculpting, that’s just crazy.

I’m still listening to Outlander (it’s the best) and reading ‘My Life in Stitches’ during some lunchtimes. I’m still to pick out my next serious kindle book to read, at this stage I’m considering Haruki Murakami’s new book. I think I’m ready.

You should go check out what everyone else is reading and crafting at Ginny’s blog this week.

 

 

Yarn Along – Slow progress

Welcome to another week of Yarn Along, you can see what everyone else is making and reading by heading over to Ginny’s blog here.

This week I wish my progress wasn’t so slow. Why am I not surprised?! That’s what happens when you’re working on more than one thing at a time.

I’m loving the Polka Dot rug that I’m making for my sister’s baby E.T.A. 7-10 weeks away, but probably just 7 weeks away. So far I’ve made a patch of each of the 13 coloured centres.

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I think if I aim for 35 squares in total (5 x 7 grid) that would be sensible. There’s so much to do and so little time.

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I’ve also been spinning, I have to keep up and perhaps try to get ahead of my fibre stash before my next Southern Cross Fibre club instalment arrives on my doorstep…

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Ooops too late.

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Well perhaps I can make some more spinning time this week… some how. I have to say David’s fibre is every bit delicious that his reputation suggests. I have not been disappointed with his colour choices for me.

I also popped along to Woolarium’s birthday celebration this weekend and picked up some Malabrigo for a future project. How could I resist?

I’m very passionate about the yarn stores we have in Melbourne, and I like to support them when I can. After all they run by people who are passionate about yarn and have taken the huge leap of faith that lovely knitters will patronise them. I love buying yarn, so I do what I can…

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Don’t be fooled by the one skein pictured, I have way more for a jumper.

I’m still listening to Outlander and avoiding watching the shows; I am loving it!

Hopefully I’ll have an FO next week, somehow.

 

Project Planning

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There is a new baby on it’s way in my family. Gosh no, not mine. It will be my sister’s second, a brother or sister for Marilyn. As Marilyn arrived 3 weeks early, I figure I’d better get into action in case the second arrives early too.

Originally my sister had said she would find out the sex of the second child, but now she has decided against that, so I can’t make a gender specific blanket. Oh yes of course, I should say we are talking about baby blankets here. Each of my siblings who have children, gets a blanket per baby. It’s a good system.

I happen to think my sister was quite keen on the blanket I made for Baby William, here:

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And for all intents and purposes, this would have been a great option to just make another one, maybe switch the frame colour a little, so it was a little different. I have half the yarn left-over from all the contrast colours and I would only need to purchase the border colour. It would also mean that I would be using stash that is waiting for another baby to arrive in the winter months…

But no, this next baby is arriving right before summer really begins. And because I’m a show off and I like seeing my baby blankets put to use, I’m opting for a cotton version, and something a little different.

Patons put out a great book last year(?) called Modern Crochet: Book 1316 and I bought it. I think I’ll make the ‘Polka Dot Rug’ (picture at the top), but modify the amount of squares so that it is pram size. If their cotton wasn’t a cotton ‘blend’, I would have also used their yarn. But alas I think it’s only 50% cotton. So a Bendigo purchase is on the horizon.

What are you planning to make?

 

Yarn Along: Looks can be deceiving

Hello there and welcome to another week of ‘Yarn Along’ with Ginny and friends.

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By looking at this photo you may be led to believe that my Hooray Cardigan is finished… I’m rather sorry to say that I still have the sleeves to go.

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As I was nearing the end of the wide band around the body of the cardigan, I thought it would be a good idea to pop in to Buttonmania. Kate did her usual marvellous job of finding the perfect buttons for my project. Do you know how some people are just born to do the job that they do? I was rather charmed by the addition of her business card with this purchase (sorry about the dodgy photo):

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I’ve added more buttons and buttonholes than what was prescribed in the pattern. I wanted the option to be able to button up the cardigan past my belly, but in all honesty after trying the cardigan on now, it probably wasn’t necessary.

I’m still listening to Game of Thrones and I’m finishing off reading Stephanie Pearl Mc-Phee’s latest book (hey, I don’t have a lot of time left to read!). Her chapter titled ‘Dirt and Swiss Cheese’, resonated with me particularly well. I’ve been hearing a lot about Rachel Herron’s novels, so I might give that a try next.

See you all next week after I travel through Sleeve-land.

 

Exciting new things

The last few weeks I’ve been checking out a few ‘new to me’ knitting video-casts; which are podcasts with pictures!

I can’t emphasise how much I’m enjoying this new development. When I thought listening to podcasts was pretty awesome, having actual footage of the podcaster presenting is even better. The funnest part is the ‘show and tell’. Whether it’s WIP’s of FO’s that are being discussed to ‘in the mail’ segments. Yes, even fabulous hand-dyers and designers get excited about woolly packages, just like me. Best of all, it’s wonderful to see, watch and understand how ‘down-to-earth’, generous, and ‘normal’ these knitting heroes are. I think when you record yourself on video, there is no where to hide!

You should give it a try!

Check out Skein Yarns and the Susan B Anderson video casts on iTunes. There’s a couple of others I’m still to try, if you have any recommendations please let me know.

Warning: Watching knitting video-casts could lead to more project queueing, etsy purchasing, book purchasing and project dreaming, you have been warned.

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My Honey Cowl is moving along, it’s my social knitting project so it’s not getting a lot of attention. It’s about halfway through and I’m loving how smooshy it feels. I’m still hoping to have it done for this cold weather.

Yarn Along: And the cables continue

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Welcome to another week of Yarn Along with Ginny! Go and take a look at what everyone else is knitting and reading this week over on her blog.

I’m reading Stephanie Pearl Mc-Phee’s latest book: ‘The Amazing Thing About the Way It Goes: Stories of Tidiness, Self-Esteem and Other Things I gave Up On’. I think that I’ve read all of her other books as well, but it’s been a little while between readings. I have to say I am enjoying it very much so far. Not a lot of knit talk yet, but I’m ok with that. The book feels warm and cozy and there’s that humour that I love about her. I’ve only read the first few chapters but it’s the kind of book you pick up and feel that you are supposed to be reading this book right now, it’s comforting and familiar and it somehow has a message for you.

I’ve progressed with my Hooray Cardigan, and I’m pretty certain now at this stage this ‘Use it or lose it’ project is a keeper. I’ve tried it on and it doesn’t feel as scratchy as it does to knit. I think I would like to make this cardigan again at some stage with a softer yarn as well.

I’ve also been listening to the first Game of Thrones book, which is going wonderfully well.

See you all next week.

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How shopping for Wollmeise got me to Stitches

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It’s time! It’s time I went back to San Francisco and complete what was not done (properly) the first time. I’m going to Stitches West next year!

It’s funny how my experience in ‘stalking’ Wollmeise (or insert any other online lustful yarn brand here) has been a skill that was transferrable when it came to booking for Stitches.

Firstly I booked my hotel. Rather than wait for the hotel blocks to be booked out and my dreams of visiting SF again flash before my very eyes, I learnt I could book a room a few days before at full rate (which was only slightly higher than the Stitches rate). Done.

To make my time more enjoyable I thought I’d take a class (it also gives me access to the market preview the evening before the market sessions officially opens to the public). I decided on Anna Zilboorg’s ‘Surprisingly special techniques’ as my number one choice. I also understood this might also be the number one choice of most people as she is the keynote speaker for the event itself.

12am on Monday evening, my Wollmeise shopping experience came into play. I was logged in to the XRX (the home of Stitches website). I had the class page up and when the clock ticked over to midnight, I refreshed my page, placed the class in my cart and I checked out. At this point the adrenaline kicked in. I submitted my payment details and then came my confirmation. Wow what a rush!

Speaking of Wollmeise now this is the ironic part, last Friday night after a tip-off on Twitter, thanks Martina Behm! I rushed over to the wm website to see a number of multicoloured skeins of 4 ply available. I have never seen this. Ever. I played, I popped 3 different skeins in my cart just to see what would happen(!). It seems the site now has a new shopping system, I had these skeins for 10 mins until I purchased them or I lost them.

The universe has a sense of humour that is just plain cruel. I removed the items from my cart and closed my window… because I’m going to STITCHES! I’m excited, can’t you tell?