Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

For New Year's eve Leon and I, along with our wonderful friends Skip and B went to New Years Eve on the Hill, a music festival outside Loch, in Gippsland. It was in an amazing spot, with breathtaking views.

The farm that hosted the event is a working cattle farm - we could see the cows on the next hill over. While there were no sheep on the farm itself, there was a petting zoo, and I had an awesome time visiting with the lambs and goats.











The evenings were chilly, and I finally had an opportunity to take some pictures of Leon wearing Knockamore.

I really like the way it looks on him, and the stunning way the Bennet and Gregor yarn knit up. It's even and dense, but not rigid. 

This picture is of the side detailing, which, prior to knitting it, I had not realised was part of the pattern. For those of you who recall how heavily I hated on this jumper while knitting it, these panels are why. Twisted stitches on every second row, in a pattern that should be inituative, but I really struggled to memorise.

Anyway, all's well that ends well, and I really love the look and fit of the finished jumper.


















It was basically a perfect couple of days out of the city. Great people, good music and surprisingly, loads of time for knitting on my Ashes cardigan., which is coming along nicely.


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Finished

The Ashes finished today, after only three and a half days. And Australia won, which was gratifying. What was also gratifying was how great the atmosphere was and how much knitting I got done. After finishing the Elm sock for Leon during day two I cast on Celestine, by Cecily Glowik MacDonald. Just like the Aussie Cricket Team, I made surprisingly good progress, and before stumps today I had divided for the sleeves. 


I had to make it stripy as I'm determined to use up some of my stash, and I didn't have enough of any one colour. I'm happy with the way it is looking, just a touch nautical.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Elm and Ashes

As we have both last year and the year before, Leon and I are attending the Boxing day test. I, of course, take my knitting. This year its the Ashes, which is doubly exciting.  During day one and day two I worked on, and finished, the Elm socks I mentioned last week.  I took photos at the match, in the beautiful sunshine today. I think this captures the fun of knitting and the cricket:



But these probably illustrate the  actual socks better:
 




I still need to get pictures of Knockamore, which I finished and blocked last week. I want to take them at the MCG as well because, well, it's the G but tomorrow is meant to be 38 degrees, so Leon cannot be convinced to bring his brand new, super warm jumper.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Timely

Merry Christmas

I knit these at Elise's on Christmas day. Not sure she wanted knitted decorations, but then another friend of ours used the leftovers to fingerknit garlands for the tree. Excellent.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Instructions?

So, when did I stop knowing how to read a basic instruction? I'm knitting Elm, a Cookie A sock, and it's got a 12 stitch repeat. I happily knit the leg, which came out a good width. I couldn't work out why so many people on Ravelry say its a very skinny sock. ... Until I got to the heel and realised I was knitting over 72 stitches, rather than the 60 called for in the pattern. It's fine, and will still fit Leon perfectly, but that's the third project in a very short length of time where I've managed to not follow the pattern, completely accidentally.
 
At least the yarn is perfect, a Blue Faced Leicester / Nylon sock blend, dyed by the talented Ursula.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Four of six and a little Romi Hill

I've been spinning away on bobbin four for Leon's winter set, and I finished it today. This is no great achievement, since as you can see, this bobbin is less than half full. Also, I'm on leave for two weeks, and my intention is to spin every day, even if it's only for a few minutes.
 

Yesterday Romi Hill released her latest Oddments patterns, which are a headband/earwarmer and some mitts. I think they will work very well with this handspun for Leon's winter set. my intention is to add a top to the earwarmer, to make it into a beanie, use the stitch pattern to make a scarf and knit the mitts, at least, as written.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Travelling with Miss Babs, we're going...


To Paris.
It was my birthday on Tuesday, and I picked up the final Miss Babs package from the post office. As always, it was exquisitely presented, and a whole lot of fun. This instalment contained two matching sets of yarn, one set for a colourwork cowl, and one for the matching mittens. The yarn is stunning ,and the pattern is great, but I'm maybe a little less excited than I otherwise would be, because mittens aren't really a big thing around here! The package also contained an Eiffel tower shaped biscuit cutter and some lavender. And some chocolate, of course. This club really has been extremely fun, although I can't guarantee I'm every going to actually knit this shipment. Summer is finally here in Melbourne, and winter is never that dramatic.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Clubbing

As you know, this year I did the Armchair Travelling Club with Miss Babs, which I loved. Last year I did the Cookie A Sock Club, which was also a wonderful,  fun experience. Now we are coming up to the time of year when club memberships open, for both these and a host of other clubs. I've decided not to join any yarn clubs for 2013. I'm intent on knitting the stash down, on ending 2014 with a half empty box. I was a little bit sad about not being part of the fun that is yarn clubs, knitting along with others, but then I realised I have joined not one, but two Romi Hill pattern subscriptions, so I'll still get that fun, particularly because Romi Hill's Ravelry group is incredibly active and enthusiastic.

Today



 
Today it was forty degrees. Today I finished Leon's knitted-all-in-one-piece jumper. Today Leon decided it was too hot to try it on, so I can only hope it fits. Obviously, I still have to sew in the ends, and kitchener the underarms. As a bonus, here's a photo of Tarragon having a snooze with a ball of yarn I dropped.





Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Three of six

I've been putting a bit of time into spinning over the last couple of weeks, because the more I spin, the more I want to spin. And getting readdicted to audiobooks makes me really value the sitting and spinning time. 

The next two bobbins for Leon's winter set are Tandwarncoort Polwarth Wool and Mulberry Silk. It's beautiful, but very slick. Initially I was trying to use the same long draw technique as I used for the Merino Possum of the previous bobbins, but the singles was too soft and kept breaking. I've switched to taking bits off the top and folding it over my thumb to spin it, which is working out much better. I'm starting to really look forward to seeing how all these are going to ply up, once I get all six bobbins spun.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas

Last night Elise invited us over to her place to "help" her put up her Christmas tree. A slightly odd occasion, since Elise and I became friends 30 years ago by meeting at a Jewish school. Anyway, she put up the tree, and I "helped" by knitting a decoration for it. 


The main thing I learnt was green is not the best colour for ornaments that are going to sit it a green tree. The bell was so easy to make that I might do some more on Christmas day - which we  generally pass very pleasantly at Elise's, eating lots of food and drinking wine.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Yarn graphitti

Just down the road from where I do CrossFit I came across this:


It's in a random area to find yarn bombing, outside a bike shop and a Telstra exchange. I looks pretty and leafy in that photo, but actually that's the only green aroung.

When I see random yarn bombing I wonder what motivated the person to do it, and how people not involved in the knitting community interpret trees sprouting knitting or crotchet.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Yarn along

I've been following Ginny's blog, over at Small Things  for… well, a long time. Long enough for her to have had two more babies!  I'm a bit obsessed with her- her life is the opposite of mine. She's a rural dwelling, American, homeschooling Catholic who takes wonderful photos. Every Wednesday, she does a yarn-a-long post. This is how she describes it:
~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! ~
Since I've been stalking Ginny's and her readers' blogs for ideas about what to read, I thought it was time I joined in.
My photos will probably all look something like this:
As I do all my reading on my trusty Kindle, and all my listening to audiobooks on my "iPork".
This week I am still knitting away on the body of Leon's jumper. It's going quite well, around and around and around right now.
I'm reading Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, by Tom Robbins. It's enjoyable, but kind of hard work. Still, worth persevering with,as he has quite a wonderful way with words, and I'm hoping the second half flows better than the first half, which felt like it was going around and around in circles.
Listening to: I rejoined Audible last week, because I've noticed I'm listening to lots of books, particularly while I spin. I've decided to listen to the Discworld series  I've read many of the older ones in dead tree version, but I thought I would enjoy having them read to me. I started, as one does, with the first book of the series, the Colour of Magic, and I'm enjoying the story a lot. The narrator reads quite fast, and has a wonderful voice, so it's an enjoyable listen.
Pop along to Ginny's blog to see what everyone else is up to!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Knitting in the dark

On Saturday night I went to the Richmond knitters Christmas dinner, where a good time was had by all. For me, the only issue was that I was rather struggling with the patterned part of the body of Knockamore, which I had cast on Saturday morning.

It should be simple, but it just wasn't going into my head. Tonight, Leon and I went to the Local to watch Tropfest, and they had the lights out during the actual showing of the short films. I did get more knitting done than I expected, even in the dark.Taking away the ability to see every stitch and stare and the pattern charts seems to have embedded the pattern into my head, so now I can see the logic of what I'm doing, which is rather a relief.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Oops I did it again



I cast on a jumper for Leon. Shouldn't be weather appropriate, since we are going into summer, but I felt like knitting something both big and simple and Knockamore, by Carol Feller, seemed fit the bill. And the weather is really cold and rainy and horrible. I'm using some beautiful natural wool coloured Bennet and Gregor yarn, which I bought at this year's Bendigo, and which comes in huge single skeins, weighing 500grams each.


 I cast on the first sleeve (at the pub, but with my first drink, so that wasn't the problem ) I really struggled to get the pattern established, but eventually, after a lot of counting, I got it established.
 
Then I knit the first sleeve, without any major drama, until I cast on the second sleeve and realised I had, once again, misread the instructions. Basically there is meant to be a lattice pattern at the cuff, for which I have accidentally substituted the slant pattern. All of which is fine, I'll just have to replicate it on the left sleeve. I also have to decide whether I want to substitute the lattice on the bottom of the body for plain ribbing or include it as the pattern is written. While the error was clearly in my reading of the pattern, it would have been helpful if the pattern book had included some photos of the bottom of the sleeves and the jumper. Anyway, onwards with the second sleeve.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

two of six

I finished the second bobbin of merino / possum for Leon's winter set.


Right, now  off to spin the third bobbin, which is polworth and mulberry silk.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

"Favorite" socks


After finishing Spice Road I couldn't quite work out what I wanted to knit next. It might have been my mood in general, because I had a really hard time choosing a novel to read. Anyway, I decided to knit something small and delightful, which for me usually means a pair of footlets, for the slowly progressing sneaker liner project. I chose a pair I've had my eye on for ages, padded footlets, from Interweave's Favorite Socks. I've only changed two things, I've made them one colour and I haven't included the padding, I like my sports socks as thin as possible. I'm using the leftovers from the Miss Babs October shipment, and I love how they have come out. They are the best fitting footlets I've made yet, partly because lace and ribbing is wonderful and pulling a sock close to the foot, but also because this pattern uses short rows to make the back of the heel slightly higher than the front, so it won't disappear into shoes. It also has a patterned heel flap and wonderful, wonderful detailing. Pretty and practical. Such a joy.


 And for those of you following on at home I decided to read A Queer and Pleasant Danger, by Kate Bornstein and I am enjoying that too. It's the memoir of a Jewish, ex Scientologist lesbian transsexual. It's an interesting, satisfying and sometimes deeply funny, sometimes heartbreakingly sad read.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

28th November 2013

I can't believe that it is woollen hat wearing weather, at the end of November.


Leon and I went out for dinner last night to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary. I got to wear my new Romi Hill hat. I have mixed feelings about that. My feelings about my husband are quite clear.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Interim photos

So, last Monday (that's ten days ago) I finished the knitting on Spice Road. I washed it and it just needed sewing up. It took me until the weekend to have a chance to sit down and sew it and then I discovered I had done the shoulder shaping backwards. Although reviewing the pattern I still feel like I followed the instructions. Maybe the pattern is wrong. Maybe its me, whatever. Then I had to get photos. We took these yesterday and I can't say I love them. In the ones that show the jumper well I look really miserable, and the ones that show my face well, the cardigan looks a bit weird. 


Anyway, I really like the way it turned out. It fits, and its very comfortable to wear. I love that this cardigan looks great both open and closed.  Despite my accidental deviation form the pattern, and the drama I had with the shoulders this was a very satisfying, satisfactory knit.

I am going to try to get some more flattering photos though.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Romi Hill does it again


A week or so ago, Romi Hill announced that she was launching another ebook subscription, The Great Oddments Knitdown. Since I am both trying to reduce my stash, and I'm in love with pretty much everything Romi designs, I was in. The first pattern was released in Saturday, and I had absolutely nothing on the needles. (I actually haven't seamed Spice Road, but that's because I've discovered I've stuffed up the shoulders, and a small amount of reknitting is required.) Saturday was not my happiest day. I ruined a suit by cutting one trouser leg too short when hemming - such a rookie error. Roadworks were happening on the street directly outside my house, and I dropped a dozen eggs - some of them survived, but it was pretty symptomatic of my day. So, when the pattern was released, I cast on immediately. The first pattern is a beanie, with a giant pompom. this makes me very happy, because I currently do not have a single hat with a pompom. On Saturday I got through the first two charts, and today I finished it.
While I was learning the sewn cast off. Leon made the pompom. This is the first hat I have made, as an adult and as a knitter, with a pompom. Love it. Now, hopefully Melbourne's weather will finally warm up for summer, but if it doesn't I know what hat I'll be wearing.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sweater Surgery 1



Last year I made Leon Stra Boy, from Contemporary Irish Knits. While I really like it, it was too long from the very beginning   and it hasn't become magically shorter over time. Leon mainly wears it around the house, because it looks a bit like a dress. So I decided to shorten it. Since it is knit top down, I knew I was going to have to cut it, but for some reason I thought I could just hack off the bottom and magically the stitches I needed would be free, I'd put them on the needle and then I could knit on down. I tried that, and it didn’t work. I couldn't find the stitches. It all just sort of sat there...
 
 
 Luckily, because this is 100 percent Blue Faced Leicester, the stitches were going nowhere. I discovered that I needed to snip just one thread and then unravel it. It was rather time consuming, sort of like kitchenering in reverse, but I eventually I had all the stitches on the needle, and I reknitted the seed stitch border.Now it fits him like a jumper should and hopefully he'll get a lot more wear out of it.
 
I'm really glad I made the effort to get this jumper 100 percent right,and now I'm looking at some other jumpers and things, trying to see how I can make them better. the first thing i am going to do is hem a pair of suit trousers that have been waiting for a cuple of weeks, and then we'll see what else can be fixed.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Idle hands are the devils work


While I was cruising around the countryside I listened to audiobooks, something that I've been enjoying over the last couple of years. I was listened to Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stow.  I was happily knitting away and listening to this tragic tale of slavery and freedom, when I was much surprised to come across a character, knitting. In fact, a couple of the characters knit. Gratifyingly, knitting is associated with rest, and calmness. One of the characters, Ruth is described as "calmly going on with her knitting" during a difficult situation. Another, Ophelia, knits "stockings which she kept as a specific against what Dr. Watts asserts to be a personal habit of Satan when people have idle hands". She is described as "knitting energetically", and pulls out her knitting when she is having an unpleasant conversation. She knits while she muses, and she is described as laying down her "ever ready knitting work." Another character, Aunt Dorcas, is described as knitting peacefully. Rather gratifyingly, all the characters who knit are positive and good people within the context of the book. They use their knitting just as I do, as something to do with their hands, as a way of being productive and to calm themselves down.
And, here's a picture of the pieces of my Spice Road. I've washed it, but haven't had a chance to sew it up yet. As intended, the gauge definitely changed in the wash! Now, rather than being scared it's too big I'm worried it might be too small.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Oops

In my very last post  I excitedly claimed that I was going to knit Spice Road, exactly as written, except 20 percent longer to compensate for the Rowan Denim gauge shrinkage. Remember? And I (really, thought I) did. I knit the sleeves first, mainly in Melbourne and Morwell. Then I knit the back, in a very long day were I went to Warrnambool. And then, in Marysville on the weekend (for a fun run, not for work) I started the right front. As I started it, I realised there had to be buttonholes somewhere, so I checked the instructions. Nothing in the pattern. Odd. Then I checked the making up instructions which suggest you sew on the buttons, opposite the existing eyelets. What eyelets? My pattern doesn't have eyelets. I had no internet in Marysville, and I has selected the "print only one picture" option from Knitty, but I squinted at that one picture and realised that, when the pattern said "work 3 rows of eyelet rib... continuing in set rib" It meant that all the rib was meant to be eyelet rib. Here's an illustration of the eyelet rib:


I actually couldn't understand, when I first started knitting it, why there was so little of it, but now I know. I misread the pattern. Anyway, I decided to leave it as it is. I think it looks nice, just not what the pattern intended. I finished the left front on the train back from Wangarrata today, and here it is, all ready to be shrunk in the washing machine and sewn up.

I'm a bit nervous about the whole process, I have no idea if it is going to fit in any way shape or form, but I just now threw it in a 60 degree wash, so all shall be revealed, quite, quite soon.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Trust the process

When I swatched  for Spice Road  I didn't know when I was going to knit it. Then I finished the bathmatt and realised it was the perfect time to do Spice Road. Also, that I really wanted to. This week I am travelling all over the state: Morwell and Warrnambool and Marysville and Wangaratta, so I needed something portable, but I really don't feel like knitting socks right now. Shocking I know, but I think I've overdosed a little. So I decided to knit Spice Road, since it's quite small, and in pieces. And I am knitting it in pieces, like the pattern says. I am knitting this exactly as the pattern is written. Except for one thing: My row gauge is 28 stitches per 10cm prior to washing. After washing it is the required gauge of 32 stitches per ten cm. So every time the pattern calls for "knit until it is 10 inches" I have to add 12 rows, or two inches. I think. Hopefully that maths will work for me. There will be no trying on as I go, no second guessing. I'm just going to trust the process, travel around our fair State of Victoria and at the end of it, wash the pieces, sew it together and hopefully have a lovely, well fitting jumper.
 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Specificity

One of the interesting things about making things for myself is that it requires me to consider exactly what I like and want. When I buy a sports sock from a shop, the leg is the length they made it, and I'd never thought much about details like that, before I started making my own. Since I started making my own, I have spent a great deal of time considering excactly what my requirements are, and developing the perfect solutions, not just what i happen to be able to  buy. This is true, not just for socks, but for the width of Leon's jumpers, the length of my sleeves, basically everything that I make. 


The last bathmatt I made, in July 2011, I simply crocheted until I ran out of yarn. I figured that, on a cold marble bathroom floor, bigger is better. When I was knitting my current one, I wanted it big enough that we can both stand on it, but not so big that it takes u- the whole floor. So, having thought about it, I stopped my ten stitch bathmatt when it was just a bit smaller than the old one, and it sits [perfectly in front of the sink.
I guess it won't surprise any of you that what I am saying is that, when you make it yourself you can (try at least) to make things exactly the way you want them.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

One of six

I finished the first bobbin for Leon's winter set 2014. It's a possum merino mix, and was surprisingly, an absolute joy to spin. The fibre looked a bit smooshed and compacted, but spun up in a sort of modified long draw, that meant I could largely spin one handed. It was actually a very quick spin, when I was working on it, but making the time to sit and spin has been a bit of an issue. But I realise I had better do so, since I have five more bobbins to fill and it must be done in time for me to knit Leon's winter set, so probably around March. Still, if I enjoy the other two fibres as much as I enjoyed spinning this one, that will be no hard ship at all.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Steady progress

I'm chugging away at my bathmat. Having five days off work  - from Friday to Wednesday - was glorious, and I spent quite a lot of time knitting. I saw the osteo on the Friday, and he did something to my left arm and now it hurts even less. In fact, despite the lack of moderation in my knitting, I'm in less pain that I have been since this whole thing started. 
 
There's not that much that can be said about the bathmat, except that twice TWICE I've turned the corner prior to the spot where the corner is, and only noticed when I finished it, and have had to rip out. Since the short row corners are the only fiddly part of this project, this has been a bit annoying. Other than that its smooth, sailing, or at least as smooth as this gloriously textured handspun will ever be.
 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Work in progress, with photos


On Monday night I cast on for the ten stitch blanket, which I am going to use as a bathmatt. I'm using handspun (that's two projects in a row!) and 6mm needles, which rather feel like stakes. Because the needles are so big, and this yarn is so thick, this project is growing fast. For the fun of it, I took a photo every day, of this blanket and its super fast growth.

On Monday I cast on. I used 14 ridges rather than 9, in order to make a rectangular blanket, rather than a square one.

On Tuesday I turned the first corners

On Wednesday I pulled out most of what I had done, because the corner wasn't right, and the joins were messing and the whole thing was wonky. 


The I went to pub and did it again, but right, although I actually think I am doing the joins differently from the pattern, but I like the way it looks, so I'm fine with that.

On Thursday I took the day off knitting (yes, my arms are still hurting a little bit. I can live with it. Don't judge me).


On Friday I had the day off, and watched some television, went to the osteo, and hosted my parents for dinner, and did a fair amount of knitting


On Saturday I ran errands and watched TV, and took a lot of public transport. This project has not got to the point were each day it doesn't double in size, so the photos aren't really very dramatic.

Now it's Sunday afternoon and I haven't knit at all today yet. I'd better go remedy that immediately.