Sunday, December 30, 2012

More strange presents

Last Saturday Lu (who is my best friend Elise's older brothers girlfriend) was out with us when she asked if I could knit her a bikini. I logged her in to Ravelry and she searched through until she found this pattern.  I wasn't really planning to make it, but about ten minutes later she invited us for a New Year's Eve dinner party. So I dashed to Morris and Sons, bought some cotton and got knitting.

The main issue I had is that I went down a needle size, to make sure the fabric was tight, and in the end the bottoms were tiny, so I unpicked the seams and added a moss stitch panel. 

It's a bit difficult, knitting a cotton bikini for someone whose measurements I don't have, but Lu, while tall, is quite tiny. My other concern is that this is 100% cotton, and may well stretch when wet. I loved the pattern, and may even knit it again for myself, but if I do I will use a cotton/elastic yarn, to ensure it actually stays up.

The house we are going to tonight has a spa, so if I'm lucky, this will fit Lu, she will wear it, and she will allow me to take pictures. If all of that happens, I'll post them here immediately. Either way,  have a great evening and I'll catch you in the new year.






Saturday, December 29, 2012

Laika complete


I finished Laika on Christmas Day, sewed the buttons on, blocked it and wore it to the second day of the Boxing Day Test. It's one of the best cardigans I have made. it fits me exactly as I intended, it's warm, and comfortable and snuggly and perfect. The Pear Tree yarn, neither grew nor shrunk on blocking and I can see myself getting a lot of wear out of this, both casual and to work.



I made a couple of modifications. I don't like hooded tops, except for the most casual occasions, so I replaced the hood with a v-neck and shawl collar. I was a bit nervous about doing this, because some of the changes I made are in the set up rows, but the results cannot be judged until after the whole thing is finished. Still, it worked out well. I love the line of the shawl collar.




I really enjoyed knitting this. The lace is easy enough to knit under any conditions, but just interesting enough to keep the project fresh. A very satisfying project, with a very satisfactory, highly wearable result, which is why I have been wearing it at every opportunity.
.




Tuesday, December 25, 2012

We're going Bigger on the Inside

 I finished Laika yesterday and sewed the buttons on this morning. It's currently blocking, and I'll try to get some action photos tomorrow. Leon and I are going to the Boxing Day Test (cricket, for those of you not from around here). The first day is today, and it's crowded and huge and Leon always goes with his friends. Last year I went to day four and it was so much fun. Sunshine and beer and knitting, and some lovely lads playing cricket, which wasn't really the point for me so much. 
 
So, knowing I've got four full on knitting days ahead of me I cast on a sock for Leon. I'm using Ursula Dyed Yarn in Tardis Blue, and knitting Tardis socks - basically the Bigger on the Inside Tardis motive, placed into a basic 64 stitch sock pattern. So far I'm very happy with how is it knitting up. 
 


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bunnies!


For my birthday, Jen (link) gave me a teeny tiny project bag. Not only is it very pretty, but she pointed out that it is the perfect size for amigurumi  projects.
 
So, for her birthday I made her a trio of teeny tiny bunnies. So tiny, so much fun.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Look at their little white tails!
 
These were designed by Justyna Kacprzak, the person who designed the flamingo and Vlad. They are part of a collection of teeny tiny animals, and I think I'll be making them all. They are just so incredibly cute, and fun to make.
 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Nothing says thank you

like a small flamingo.

You may recall I made Leon a "from vlad to bat". Well, Leon took him to work and it lives on his desk. Apparently every night he turns it to the Vampire side, and every morning he turns it back to the bat side. His boss thought the whole thing was so hilarious he made me a certificate of recognition. Since I didn't want him to feel left out, I made him a flamingo.
Why you might ask, is he surrounded by rulers? Leon's boss "built a pen for him, so he can't fly away".

 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Cookie A December Package


The last Cookie A Sock Club delivery came this week. The patterns are both lovely lace, the yarn is a merino cashmere nylon in a lovely  shade of purple unlike anything I have in my stash.
 I've loved being part of the club this year, but part of me is glad its over. I've knit eight pairs of Cookie A Socks so far this year (and, to my surprise 6 pairs of other socks) and I'm ready to spend some time with other designers. Still it's been a wonderful club, with only one pair of socks that I disliked (Jedi Mind Trick socks, I'm looking at you).
The "Cookies" have been really fun and have rather reinvigorated my baking. I made the easy ones from this months package, lemon bars. They were easy and tasty.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Beginning

I have just started knitting  Laika, by Ysolda Teage. I did the right thing and knit a swatch, blocked it a measured it. I was particularly careful, because some of you might remember the yarn, originally used in this missized project.
So, this project is likely to take me a while, given that it's a lace cardigan. I'm quite happy to be digging in and enjoying the process, rather than rushing to the finish line, as I seem to dow hen knititng smaller projects.
I am making some modifications, the main one being that I'm not knitting the hood and I've made it a v neck, rather than the round neck in the pattern. This is making me a bit nervous, I'm not sure if I'll make the neckline a shawl collar, or just a straight edging. Luckily it will be weeks before I actually have to consider such things. Until then, I'll knit gently away on this, enjoying the rhythm of the lace and the drape of the fabric as it emerges from my needles.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Thanks work

I've been really busy at work this week. Flat out. I had to go to Morwell and Bendigo and all up there was a lot of time moving around the countryside. Which I choose to do by train. So, I got the second pair of Cookie A September socks done in pretty good time. 

These look good, and were reasonably fun to quite, although I found something annoying about them. Perhaps it was the fact that they are called Hamantashen socks, after the biscuits that Jewish people  eat at Purim, a festival that happens in March. More likely it's just doing two pairs of socks in two weeks. They fit me well and are very comfortable and I'm sure I'll get a great deal of wear out of them.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Talented Friends

 Recently my friend Melanie bought some combs and started combing and colour blending fibre. She makes a wonderful, light, smooth fibre blend, which spins up gloriously.

 
 I really haven't been doing any spinning at all, but I did sit down at the wheel to spin up a sample of this fibre, which she blended with me in mind. Such a perfect colour. Now I just need to find the spinning love again, so I can finish spinning this up before the end of the century. Still, if anything is going to give me back the joy, this blend will.

If you want your own Melanie blended fibre, here's her etsy shop.
And then Ursula discovered dying. And dyed more yarn than she knew what to do with. She brought some in to the Richmond Knitters last night and left with less than she came in with. I scored some BFL sock yarn in "Smaller on the Outside" a wonderful TARDIS blue. Leon has agreed to a pair of TARDIS socks in this colour, even though it is significantly brighter than he usually goes for. Ursula hasn't decided if she is going to set up an online shop, or just keep dying for fun. If she does, I'll only tell you about it after I have bought all that I may want!
I couldn't get the colour quite right. It more TARDIS blue than it looks here.
 So there you go. Two very talented ladies, whom I have the pleasure to call friend and the privilege to work with the things that they make.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Chaper 91, in which I am inspired by Sonia

 


One of my workmates is expecting and I wanted to make her a  baby jumper. She hasn't yet told us if it's a boy or a girl and when I went through the stash I had a surprising lack of appropriate yarn. I wanted to use eight or ten ply. I had 118 grams of come Bendigo Luxury ten ply left over that I thought would the job nicely, and I was just looking for the perfect pattern to match it with.   While I was thinking about this, Sonia started knitting Debbie Bliss Ribbed Baby Jacket. Cute! And perfect for using this yarn. And I want to knit everything Sonia knits, so this is perfect. 
 
I had to stripe the colour because I didn't have enough of the base colour. I n the end I had to find some of the same yarn in four ply to seam it, because I had used up every last bit of the yarn. At the moment I haven't put a closure on this, I'm not sure it really needs one.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sock club socks

 
Last night I finished Gyokuro, the Cookie A Sock Club August pattern and yarn. This yarn is en electric green, and I probably would never have bought it, but I love it. I knitted these socks because both Ursula and Louisa (Richmond Knitters and Cookie A Sock Club members) told me this was their favourite pattern from this years club. They were right and I loved knitting these socks. 

Tarragon really wanted to be in this photo
 They were incredibly addictive, and complex enough to be fun but simple enough to knit in public. Which I did a great deal of. I actually cast these on in a bar and woke up the next day to find the first chart finished, and not full of errors. much to my relief. These socks were so much fun that I  got them finished in a week, because I just couldn't stop knitting. I wore them today and they are really comfortable too, so  I've hit the trifecta of great yarn, fun pattern, and a beautiful, useful finished object.

Juniper thought she did, and then changed her mind

Monday, November 19, 2012

On the cusp of summer


 I finished the jumper just before the beautiful warm weather began. I'm really happy with the fit and the shaping. The only thing is, it has quite a wide boatneck, so I'm not sure what I'm going to wear it with. When I looked back at the pictures from Knitscene , after I finished this, I noticed the model has incredibly narrow shoulders, which she is holding in a hunched position.
I made a couple of mods, I actually knit in between two sizes to get it perfect. I lengthened the sleeves to full length because I always feel a bit weird and unfinished in three quarter length sleeves, and I finished it off in a corrugated rib, to match the collar.

 I also did the hem in the pink colour - no one else will be able to see that, but it amuses me. Hopefully I will find it as useful to wear as it was fun to knit.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Stocking stitch for the win


Since my last update I've been pretty busy. Last weekend we went to Marysville for the Marysville Marathon Festival . I only did the ten k event, but it was an  wonderful day with wonderful weather. I actually didn't log on to the internet from Wednesday night to Tuesday night! All the busy hasn't slowed down the knitting though. After two pairs of cabled socks in a row I thought it was time for some stocking stitch in the round. I chose the Seberg Sweater from  from Knitscene Spring 2012 which incidentally, half the Richmond Knitters seem to be knitting things from.
 I bought the yarn in Loop London on my yarn crawl with Jen, the yarn is called  Savannah and it's wonderful. 50% wool, 20% cotton, 15% linen + 15% soya which gives it the perfect feel for this transitional jumper. Knitting with hand and kettle dyed yarn has spoilt me for commercial dyed yarn. There is so much vibrancy in this fabric.
Juniper thought it was a photo shoot for her
 It has been a pleasure to knit and perfect for all the running around I did over the weekend. This might also be my last chance this year to (sensibly) knit a jumper in one piece. The weather should be warming up soon, and we will move into shawl, sock and baby knitting time. I might try to sneak in just one more jumper for Leon though.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

sOctober is over

Yesterday I finished my Kilvarock knee high socks. I basically enjoyed knitting these, although two and a half weeks of two my two rib with some cables thrown in became a bit wearing at the end. I think I'll get a lot of wear from these, they stay up better than any knee high I have made before, due to the design, which, instead of having a cuff, starts with a strip of cabled fabric knit sideways. It's an inspired idea, one I will make use of if I decide to design my own knee highs.

I did make some amendments to the pattern.
I added shaping down the back of the leg, otherwise I would have finished with an 82 stitch ankle, which really didn't seem like a good idea, I continued the pattern down the foot  as I'm most likely going to be wearing these around the house and not in shoes

and I did anatomically correct toes, since there is a definite right and left sock. 




Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween


Celebrating Halloween in Australia is a relatively new thing, and I have grave doubts about it. Partly because of concepts like  cultural imperialism, increasing corporatisation and international monoculture and resulting cultural homogeneity, but mainly because I'm a bit of a Grinch. If you are very, very (un)lucky, I'll have a couple of drinks at Christmas and do a post about how I feel about that particular holiday.

All that aside, when I saw Vlad-to-Bat  I had to make one immediately. It's so cute, and rather evil. It's a crotched, reversible bat/vampire doll I used 4ply scraps held double, because I didn't have much in the way of 8ply leftovers. I think he's particularly cute in his bat form, although I am fond of the scary vampire thing he's rocking here.
 
In both his forms he is clearly a vicious, bloodsucking attack creature.  Leon took him to work, where he is happily living on Leon's desk.


 


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Crafty, crafty shoes.

I'm rather obsessed with Camper shoes and when I saw these I had to buy them.
That's Ms Juniper photobombing.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

sOctober continues

After I finished Leon's socks I thought I should knit more socks, since it is sOctober. I decided to make myself a pair of cabled knee highs. I'm all about the cables at the moment. 

This is Kilvarock, another great Knitty pattern. I'm about to start the second one and I am rather dreading doing the top bit. It's a brilliant construction and stays up really well, but for some reason the first top was very, very slow.  I've tried cabling without a cable needle, but that didn't really work well for me at all.


And in (almost) sock related news I made the the Namaimo socks from the April Cookie A sock club package. That makes April the one month where I have made both the pairs of socks and both the recipes. Initially I was put off by the number of steps, but they turned out to be quite straight forward and delicious.
 
 I did manage to leave out the cream, because the instructions said "cream butter, cream vanilla custard powder, and powdered sugar". So I creamed the butter and then creamed the custard pwder with it. At the time I wondered how the custard powder had become "vanilla" custard powder.  Anyway, they are tasty. sort of like Hedgehog so it's all good. Also, did you know you can buy biscuit crumbs, already crumbed in a box?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cookie A sock club sOctober edition‏

I finished Cookie A's Sarsaparilla socks, for Leon. I didn't make any significant changes, although I did knit the leg to seven inches, because Leon like his socks longer. I thought long and hard about which size to make. Leon said he would rather have his socks tighter, rather than looser, so I knit the smallest size. It's quite firm on him, but he says it's comfortable, and it does look good, so I think we made the right decision.
The only hiccup I had was I knit the first sock four rounds too short. FOUR ROUNDS. I had to rip and reknit, because although he could get them on, it was obvious that he would wear through the toes. Even with having to reknit the toe, this was a very quick knit. The pattern is straightforward, but still really interesting and fun.
The yarn, from Skein, is lovely and soft, although I have concerns about the wear of a Merino / Cashmere, without nylon. Also, and this is no criticism of the dying, I'm over really dark yarn based on navy. I know Leon has a limited colour palette, but the next pair for him will be a black or grey, or even -shock - a dark green.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

sOctober with the Cookie A sock club

I was very excited to receive the October instalment of the Cookie A sock club. One of the patterns, Sarsaparilla, is a perfect manly cabled sock, which I cast on immediately, in a lovely man coloured Merino Cashmere from Skien for Leon. 

The other is pattern is lovely and I think, done in a man colour, might be acceptable for Leon, or I may just make it for myself in the club yarn, the interestingly green / gold coloured merino/tencel blend, which is so much prettier than I made it look in this photo.
  I'm pretty excited about these socks, and sOctober in general.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Blogging the unblocked

 Warning: the photos in this blog post are a little bit shit.

 
On Friday evening I finished the knitting on Warriston. On Saturday morning I sewed the ends in and put it on. I wore it until I went out on Saturday night. On  Sunday I got up and put it on again. Normally I block my finished items immediately, but I think I'll wait until the weather warms up again. I'm too busy wearing this to block it. Last night the house was 17 degrees. While I normally like the house at 20, wearing Warriston and handknit socks kept me toasty.
I do think it came out a little bit big, which was a shock to me, because my stitch gauge was smaller than the pattern called for. Gauge lies! The only modification I made was to change my rate of decreases, as my row gauge was also out.
It is incredibly comfortable and was such a fast and fun knit that I might make another, smaller one, some time in the future, perhaps with some waist shaping.
After I finished Warriston I wanted to cast on something quick, because the new Cookie A sock club patterns came out four days after, and I'd really like to get them on my needles. I chose the Jewelled cowl, a beaded pattern I got obsessed with the moment I say it. It was very simple, but after 4 days of knitting the same two row repeat I was ready to be finished! The beading was slow, because only about half the beads fit on my tiny 0.75 mm crotchet hook. Also, with tiny beads flying everywhere, this was not really suitable for public knitting, but I didn't let that stop me. I suspect I left a Hansel and Gretel like trail of beads behind me this week.
Why yes, I do wear a name tag at work.

I wore it to work today - also unblocked, and took self portraits, because right now all the people with whom I am friends enough to ask them to take photos are away. I also think it would look better over a black dress.
 
So there it is, two finished projects, neither of them blocked, both of them illustrated with lazy happy snaps.
 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Getting organised to sew

I generally knit in the living room. I spin on the balcony and spindle at the dining table. When I sew I take over our little dining room. This has always been fine, I've taken out the sewing machine, done the hem or made a box bag and packed it all away within a day or two. I've never longed for my own crafty space where I can set up and leave things. Patching has changed all that. I had fabric all over the dining room for nearly three weeks, I had the ironing board out and it all felt messy. Yesterday I got a tablet computer to replace my decrepit laptop. Without the laptop I can use my desk as sewing space. In the study I'm happy to leave the ironing board up all the time. Leon and I have started rearranging the study so that I can set up there, and leave everything out for as long as it takes.
Meanwhile I crocheted a pin cushion. I was using a magnetic one, but the cats like to pull the pins out and drop them in random placing in the house. Needles to say, our house is not child safe! I think it's super cute, and I'm very excited about starting my next patched cushion.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Racing the sun

I love summer. I love sunshine an unnatural amount. I think I'm solar powered. One of the happiest days of the year for me is the first day of spring, when it starts to heat up and the days get longer. This year I celebrated the first warm day by casting on Warriston, an Aran weight winter jumper by Kate Davies. Why cast on a winter jumper on the first warm day? Because this is Melbourne and we don't get proper warm weather. We go straight from hot to cold and back again. Today was definitely t-shirt weather, but Saturday is going to be cold again. I reckon I can get some decent wear out of this before it warms up for good.
I wanted a picture of the WIP but Ms Juniper looked so comfortable I didn't have the heart to move her.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Patched, quilted and finished

 I've been steadily working on by Bad Tie Patchwork cushion. It is undoubtedly, the most fun I have ever had with the sewing machine. I loved the paper template technique, it's really supportive of the fact that I struggle with seam allowances and can't usually cut or sew in a straight line. I have learnt so much doing this project, most of it probably glaringly obvious to everyone else. Learning highlights included: it's better not to hold the fabric in a death grip. That makes the threads in the back go funny. It's not a fault with the machine, but I guess I learnt a whole lot about it while investigating what I thought had to be  an issue with the machine, but turned out to be an issue with me. I also learnt to cut pieces bigger, something that will definitely improve the quality of future patched pillows. And on that note, I'm off to sort through the Bad Ties, I have the next two cushion designs chosen, printed and ready to go.
That's Tarragon sneaking through the shot.