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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

Birthday Month

Wow, it’s been a month, my birthday month in fact. Yes, despite my advancing years, I still celebrate my birthdays for as long as I can get away with.

img_9178As part of Birthday month, I went to see the Harry Potter Cursed Child play. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I hope to see it again in another year or so, it was truly spectacular.

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I got treated to dinner by my loving husband.

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I got to celebrate my birthday with some of my adorable nephews and nieces. Can you spot the allergy free cake? Not as good as my usual Burch & Purchese birthday cake, but at least all the kids could partake in this creation by Tidbit Cakes.

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Quite a bit of ‘alternative’ crafting happened this month.

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I’m still working on the layout of my pinwheel quilt.

Have I even told you about this project? After a crafting weekend away with my quilting friends in March, the quilting bug finally bit.

I haven’t absolutely decided whether or not to put sashing between the blocks (which I would make a pale blue). I don’t think I could possibly make more than the 121 pinwheel blocks already in the works…

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Last weekend I took a Polymer Clay class with The Polly Collective. It was a super fun day. Sheree is a great teacher.

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This is my first ‘slab’ piece. Looks kind of like a pizza.

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Before squishing…

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This is the slab after squishing…

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And these are all my cut-outs. The fronts of future pairs of stud earrings. So much fun.

This ‘cane’ slab was my next sample. The pieces are cut from a ‘candy cane’ made up of different colours then laid over the top of a thin slab of clay.

This is the slab pre-squishing

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Sheree described how her design process is like riding a train, and how you just have to stay on board even if you’re hating how it’s going (to the bitter end). i.e. a train wreck… but then there’s always foil and that makes anything look better. I kind of felt like that when I was making this ‘caned’ piece. I felt like I had taken my cane too far (the details got too small), but then I mixed it up with some of the original cane off-cuts and then it didn’t look quite as shite. I even got compliments!

The slab after squishing.

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There were a few other techniques demonstrated in the afternoon, that I’m going to try at home. I got a few supplies and tools to take-away to have a play.

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Oh ooo – a new craft…

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My uncle passed away last week. It was unexpected despite his health concerns and his age. It’s been a difficult week.

I don’t have a lot of relatives, he was the only uncle I’ve ever met. He was an important figure in my childhood, creating many lasting memories, from pulling out my wonky teeth (with no pain whatsoever) to taking me to the rubbish tip with my dad. Where I got to watch them unloading the trailer from the safety of the back seat of his white ford falcon. I remember being surrounded by a wasteland of rubbish, the seagulls and that smell. Such an adventure.

He was very cool and fun. He was my only relative who danced at our wedding. Our wedding was unlike our usual family weddings, in that we had ‘Australian’ music, not a loud Slovenian band. We chose to do things our own way, turns out that’s how he liked to live too. He had a very happy life and I’ll never forget him.

So I’m going to keep knitting this (second) sleeve and think of him.

The best laid plans

Damian and I celebrated our 15 year wedding anniversary this weekend by visiting Kyneton. It’s a lovely peaceful place with some wonderful foodie places to eat.

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It was my intention to hand-over the baby cardigan this weekend (that I began last Sunday). But that didn’t eventuate for a couple of reasons, mainly because the cardigan is not finished!

On Tuesday night, I went to see the Phantom Thread with my movie going girlfriends. I got to the cinema nice and early… but I didn’t have my knitting on me. A very rookie mistake.

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I’ve had a busy week otherwise, without a lot of time to knit. That’s when realisation struck. That even if I got the cardigan finished before the weekend, there would be no time to wash and block it. Now, I’m a stickler for handing over knitted things that have been washed, particularly when the recipient is a baby.

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So instead, when I packed for the weekend, I packed all of my projects bar the baby cardigan. I didn’t want to beat myself up about it, and after all the weekend was for relaxation.

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I did forgot to pack one very important thing though. At least one pair of hand-knit socks. I always wear my socks at home and whilst I am away. So sadly my feet were frozen! I don’t think I’ll ever forget them again.

It was a lovely weekend with plenty of delicious food. I even got a few rows in on my Ursula cardigan. I’m loving this.

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Setting myself up for quite the challenge!

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I don’t know how this has happened. I need to knit a baby cardigan in under a week…

I’ve known for at least a month that we’d be seeing friends of ours who are pregnant this coming weekend… and yet, I’ve only just cast-on? I’ve never been one for doing things last-minute, when you’re a knitter, naturally you’re a planner because nothing happens fast! Perhaps deep down, I thought that if I set my fingers to it, it could be done. But now that I’ve cast on, I’m not so sure.

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I’m making the second size (6-9months), because I wouldn’t want the baby to grow out of it in 2 weeks. This only adds a few hundred extra stitches.

I’m making ‘Sweet Bunting’ for a second time. If I’m doing baby knitting, it’s going to be cute and adorable. The first ‘Sweet Bunting’ I made, pictured below was for one of my niece’s two years ago.

Pretty cute huh?

I don’t know what flavour this baby is going to be, so I’ve gone for some neutrals.

Wish me luck!

Hello again

It’s a total cliché to revive this blog at the beginning of a year, to be fair I waited three weeks. If the truth be known, I do miss it. I’ve been spending my ‘social media time’ budget on Instagram, where I post as my knitting group Richmond Knitters. Don’t get me wrong, Instagram is a lot of fun and I love it, it’s just not a blog post.

2018 has begun cliché, cliché, cliché, how else do I begin a blog post when I’ve been on hiatus? and whilst I normally set some personal goals for the year ahead, I feel a bit perturbed that this year, I haven’t really. Apart from ‘knitting more’ or to be more accurate ‘knitting more metres than last year’ (because last year was a really low meterage year, I am aghast, just ask my knitting group), I haven’t set any other clear goals for myself. Maybe there are just a few little goals that I’m not prepared to admit.

Anyway I digress, it just feels good to be writing some words on a screen again. Sorry they don’t make any sense. This is a self-indulgent blog, didn’t you know?!

So let me talk knitting.

This is the only WIP I still have on the needles from last year (I’m pretty proud of that fact), it was cast on as my ‘Christmas eve cast-on’ no less. The pattern Vintage Fairy Lights socks is by Helen Stewart. The yarn is by Danni of Half-baked Handdyed, a Melbourne indy dyer who I’m fortunate to know in-real-life. I love this yarn, Danni does an amazing job of dyeing yarn, and these are becoming a fast favourite.

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Next up, I’ve finally gotten onto the band-wagon of beginning a crochet granny stripe blanket. I’m using the free pattern directions from Lucy’s Attic 24 website. I’m using all of the Vesper self-striping sock yarns I have on hand to crochet this. Reason being, I realised  that 100 percent merino socks don’t last on my feet, and I don’t like to waste my time knitting them if they’re not going to make the distance. On the upside, I have probably a blanket’s worth of it to make a gorgeous self-striping rainbow of a blanket. It’s a little planned out, rather than just using bits and pieces of minis and leftovers in a willy nilly fashion. So far I’m excited.

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The blanket will be about 150cm wide, I did a swatch and everything, like Lucy instructed. It is a good move.

The third and final knit/crochet project in progress is my Ursula cardigan by Kate Davies. I’ve been wanting to knit this ever since it was released, and I had purchased the yarn as a birthday gift (thank you Damian) oh, almost 3 years ago. When I finally cast-on a swatch at the beginning of January, I discovered one of the contrast colours was not going to work at all.

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So naturally I had to go and buy some alternative colour/s. Thankfully Sunspun still stocks the yarn, but I had to wait until they opened for the year. Oh knitting. I know there’s a lesson here, but I just can’t see it.

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The new year is also bringing in new yarn into my stash. Truly not intentionally, but how fun. It’s making me very happy.

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So let’s see how this goes.

 

Yellow Mellow

This week I’ve been working on my Aislinn cardigan by Amy Herzog. I’ve wanted this cardigan forever, and then I got cold feet after I cast it on. You see, the pattern doesn’t have a button band. I’ve made enough cardigans now to know I need a button band. So I’ve incorporated one into my knitting.

The pattern is also knit in pieces. I know (!) I could have put it together to make it seamless, but I was afraid I would need to think a little too much. And it’s not going to kill me to knit it in pieces. So I’ve persevered.

My interest in it has renewed and I’m confident it’s going to work out, hopeful even, that this cardigan will be one I reach for frequently. I’m up to the second front and then I’ve just got 2 x 3/4 sleeves to go.

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I’m looking forward to getting this off my needles so I can cast on another sweater for myself. There’s not been enough of that.

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This week I found out that I was unsuccessful in the Knit Girls lottery for a place in their Portland retreat in March 2017. Whilst I was disappointed to miss out, I’m relieved to finally put those plans behind me and to think of new ones for next year. Who knows?!

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I’m progressing on my Smooth Operator socks by Susan B Anderson. I’m knitting this in some Fab Funky Fibres yarn. It’s my ‘knit night’ project because it doesn’t need a lot of concentration. I’m remaining fairly monogamous with my projects at the moment, to finish them is an incentive to not feel guilty about starting new ones. And I really want to start something new!

What projects are you dreaming about starting?