Winter set business

Hi there, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve touched base, so I thought I had better get a post in before it became too long again.

Stash Dash is going on and I’ve now almost completed this year’s ‘Winter set’ for my husband. Knitting Damian’s Winter set, is an annual tradition (I copied Sharon, because her husband gets a winter set each year, and my husband found out). Knitting for Damian is enjoyable, but it’s not always the easiest, particularly when one is ‘competing’ in Stash Dash and all you want to do is knit, knit, knit!! You see, Damian is a fuss-pot… so there’s lots of trial and error, and ripping out of knitting if the fit isn’t quite right; but I want him to be happy so that he’ll wear the Winter set for years to come, so I just take a breath and start again. I’ve only got 28 inches left on the scarf (beanie and mitts are completed), and then I’m off the hook for another year!

Here are some beanies I’ve knit for Damian in years past.

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They are very plain, that is always the brief.

Recently, Damian wore one of these beanies to work (whilst waiting for his 2016 beanie to be knitted) and a colleague of his made a very disparaging comment about his hat. She was told, in fact, the beanie was made by me, and knit from wool that was my hand spun, and when he wears it, he is reminded by how much his wife loves him. Boy was she sorry…

So I decided to change it up a little this year. Rather than the usual plain hobo winter set, I decided I was going to knit Damian a ‘Country Road’ type Winter set with macho cables.

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The scarf was also planned to be very cabled. But there was a change of direction, I’d like to say it was because I listened to Damian who said he didn’t want a thick heavy scarf. There is now a simple 2 x 2 rib scarf in the works, and it’s nearly done! The fibre is Kathy’s fibres: Fine Merino. She does lovely dyeing and her fibres are lovely to work with. It was 3-plied to make about an 8 -10 ply wool. It was purchased at last years Bendigo Show, which is coming up very soon this year again. I CANNOT WAIT! More on that soon.

I hope Damian loves this year’s Winter set, even if it wasn’t his usual plain set of winter accessories. The proof will be in the wearing.

Rainbow love

There’s something about a rainbow or a gradient that is pretty irresistible to knit. Rainbows in particular are probably the funnest thing you could knit for kids or adult socks.

I finally got around to knitting a rainbow ‘something’ for niece M.

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She’s getting older and bigger you know, so knitting for her now takes about a third to half the time it would take to knit for myself! I used a tried and tested pattern, the Tulips cardigan. I’ve made another one of these, when she was littler.

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Which is now currently being worn by her little sister.

I needed to make some slight adjustments to the pattern as it’s written for 10 ply, and I was using Bendigo Luxury 8ply. I kind of winged it… it’s really hard when the recipient of your hand knits are not at easy access for measuring and checking.

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I was really worried I had stuffed the sizing. But then I was relieved to see that I hadn’t, niece M really is that big, and I could have made everything longer.

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(Looking at this photo, now makes me feel guilty that niece C, didn’t get something made for her at the same time, look at that face! My knitting queue really doesn’t like me.)

Niece M loved the buttons by the way! The buttons are from my Tokyo visit. They’re only decorative in this project. I’m thrilled to have finally put to use a few of the very many gulp! novelty buttons that I purchased. I might have lost my head over the cuteness, with unconfirmed reports of spending $100 on plastic animal buttons in just one store.

I realise I haven’t shared any of these treasures with you yet. As I had to unwrap them from their custom made envelopes when deciding which ones to use for this project. There are many more animals in my button tin now, and I’ll try to remember to share them with you in the future.

460 metres completed for Stash Dash!

 

 

 

 

Pipe dream

I’ve just signed up for Stash Dash 2016. For the uninitiated, Stash Dash is hosted by The Knit Girllls podcast. This is it’s 5th year running. It’s a sort of knit-along of crazy pants proportions. As far as I can tell, there are no prizes of the monetary kind. It’s a challenge for yourself, to achieve the impossible.

The gist of it is, you sign yourself up to knitting/spinning/crafting a certain amount of kilometres for approx. 3 months. The goal posts are, you have a choice of: 3k, 5, 7, 10 or 15k.

The rules are pretty flexible in terms of being allowed to have several WIPs near completion before the start date, as many as you like ::cheating::cough::cheating::. So long as you knit a stitch or row, then cast-off after the challenge has begun you get to count all the meterage of that 1k shawl or jumper or what have you. There are many more guidelines that you can read about on the forum.

Experienced players, plan for this all year in order to achieve the highest possible yarn count. Me? I decided to do it last week on a whim after the event began.

So, I did a little bit of planning at that point. How many km/s did I think I could possible knit in 3 months? I only have a handful of WIPs, many only just started. I wrote these down and the estimated meterage of these FO’s. I then went through my well curated queue and I wrote a few of those things down, all the while calculating the completed metres. And then the dreaming began. I kept adding more and more to my list of possible FOs. And then when I got to 10k, I thought I’ll just add a couple of extras incase I overestimate the amount of finished metres to the FO’s.

I must say, I found this planning part super enjoyable. Whilst I’m only going for the 10k, I’m honestly aware I have no chance of meeting that goal… but it’s going to be fun trying! For one thing I have 13 new WIPs to cast on weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

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Majacraft Fusion drum carder Unboxing!

My ‘special’ birthday present has arrived! It is in indeed a Majacraft Fusion Engine drum carder!

Here is the unboxing 🙂

Wow it is impressive! It’s big and it’s beautifully made.

I had a dry run and made a batt right after the unboxing…

Big hugs to my husband for a great birthday gift, I don’t know why I waited so long to get a drum carder. This is going to be fun!

Thanks to Chantelle from Fiberific for her excellent and friendly customer service.

 

Me Made May Envy

I’m here to tell you, I once again have not participated in MMM. Every year since it’s inception I’ve been envious and this year is no different. But next year, definitely next year, I’m in. Can someone please remind me in April?

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At the end of April I went away with some crafty girls for a weekend in Hepburn Springs. I took several projects (as I always do) and I worked on all of them except 1 (the rooster tapestry pictured above).

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The weather was terribly gloomy that weekend, and we had one very large thunderstorm during Saturday night. It was ace! Rubbish weather makes for a great craft weekend, because no one feels guilty about staying inside.

I was multi-craftual (it is so a word), finally! I made a button from a kit I bought in Tokyo. The instructions were in Japanese, but mostly I could tell what to do by the charts and illustrations, the rest I used Google Translate for (which is amazing if you’ve never tried it).

I was inspired by everyone else’s projects. I should have brought my hexagon patchwork too, this one is Bek’s.

I finished my ‘Christmas Socks’ and began crocheting some coasters from another Tokyo souvenir from Avril yarn, this is a photo of the coasters since the weekend.

I feel like I’ve been a little multi-craftual now, and I enjoyed it. I still have much to do. I have many projects from my days as a stitcher to complete and some to start. I kept all the good stuff and I still love my choices, so it just goes to show stashing can work sometimes.

IMG_2476This little cherub was presented with her ‘Sweet Bunting’ cardigan yesterday. She is a very excitable bub, so it was hard to get a shot of her not moving and clapping! I’ll have to get some better photos when my photographer sees her next time.

Lastly my birthday present has (finally) arrived, stay tuned for the unboxing!

Birthday Month

April is always my favourite month of the year! Unfortunately this year for at least 2 weeks of it, I’ve had a terrible cold. I don’t do sick very well. I didn’t take any sick days, because I wasn’t sick enough, but I also didn’t get any better either.

Things are looking up today though, less snot, less coughing. Tomorrow could be a mucus free day!

Now whilst my birthday has come and gone, one very special birthday present is still on it’s way to me (my fault, I put my order in with DH late). I can’t wait to show you when it turns up!

I got many lovely gifts from family and friends (lucky me!), but I was particularly touched by this one:

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It’s a miniature ornamental spinning wheel that’s been in my family for as long as I can remember, before I even knew what a spinning wheel was. Perhaps one day I’ll have a full sized version of it in my stable of Spinning Wheels (there are 3 now!)

Other fun things this month: I won a yarn prize from The Knitgirllls podcast! It was quite surreal hearing my name being called out on the show. It was a lovely surprise, and the irony of winning yarn when I’m on a yarn diet is just hilarious, universe.

I’m afraid the fibre is beginning to become an issue too…

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Nuff said!

I’ve been niece knitting, I don’t have a proper FO photo yet. This is Sweet Bunting by Laura Chau:

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It’s a sweet little yoked cardigan, knit bottom-up (not my favourite). It has a string of bunting right around the yoke area. I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out.

And I’m planning another Tulips cardigan for Niece M:

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But everything has my attention.

  • I need to spin Damian’s winter set yarn, then knit actual winter set
  • Finish some languishing socks
  • Make some progress on a cardigan for me
  • Knit and finish the ‘Waiting for Winter’ Shawl… a Mother’s Day gift perhaps?

Send help!

March Madness

Once you fall out of the habit of blogging, it’s really hard to come back!

I didn’t finish my Stitch Block Cowl (Stitches West Anniversary Cowl) in March as planned. A couple of silly (but very easy to make) errors meant that progress was not made for days. It was cast off on April 3rd instead. I do love it, but this is what 6 weeks of knitting looks like…

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I’m going to make sure I wear it a lot this winter, for all the time it took I could have possibly knit a cardigan!

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It didn’t take a thousand metres either, in fact nearly half the yarn is still left. It is delicious yarn though so I won’t be de-stashing it anytime soon, I’m only sad I didn’t use more of it because of my Stash Reduction goals.

Whilst I love knitting for myself; I actually love knitting for my nephew and nieces even more. I hope to knit up a few things in the coming weeks, for these cuties in my life.

Here’s the Barley Hat by Tin Can Knits with Nephew W modelling it. My fear was confirmed when he tried it on. It was a little firm on the head, so I’ve knit him another in a larger size and this one will be for his sister.

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Upon knitting the second hat, I realised I decreased the top of the first hat too slowly, so it’s a bit of a pixie hat. The yarn I used (is Stash Yarn of course) Little Dipper Yarns in DK. I love this yarn and it’s superwash, perfect for kids knits and their parents.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

January FO Parade

I have finished things! DSC_8057I have finished knitting my Use It Or Lose It Dragonflies sweater by Joji Locatelli.

It was pretty smooth sailing apart from the beginning where I had to concentrate on the short row shaping and the lace at the neckline at the same time. The yarn (Shiloh dk with silk) was a pleasure to knit with. The combination of the lace, the yarn and the knit picks harmony circular needle, made for a thoroughly enjoyable knit.

I also completed my Stitches West 2015 Mystery knit-along Moon Shadows Shawl by Romi Hill! I’m pretty pleased that I got it finished before this years show in February, not that I’m going again this year…

Interestingly, I also found this enjoyable knit after a long hiatus.

DSC_8035DSC_8029DSC_8050The ends have been sewn in, I just need to block it. I hope it grows a bit as I like to wear shawls either as scarves or wraps, not semi-circles…

I love the colours, it’s a lovely souvenir from the most exciting yarn show ever!

The 2 FO’s have used 1,474 metres of yarn, which have come straight of ‘stash’.

Alas, sadly last week I made a discovery…

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This beautiful skein of yarn is in fact, yarn I salvaged from a cardigan I knit, but I didn’t love. Mostly, I normally give away projects that I fall out of love with. But the Zara Plus was/is great yarn. So quite some time ago I painstakingly ripped it out, skeined it up, washed it, and then I popped it back in the stash. Last week I realised I hadn’t added it back into my stash totals… all 800 metres of it…

I’m trying to see the irony in this and I hope there aren’t too many other ‘surprises’ in my stash.