So…. It’s now June.

And I have been a very slack blogger indeed.

Here are some things that i made while I was not blogging.

First Up, I mentioned knitting things for little people. well, little people get bigger and grow out of the little things I make for them, and a dear friend recently requested not one, but two new items for her daughters.

Evelyn was given an elephant intarsia vest* when she was a new person, and her little sister Lillian got owls* (because everyone is fond of owls). Of course they are both much bigger now, and mum requested a vest for Evelyn and one for Lillian too. we picked out a selection of cabled vests, and Evelyn picked hers and Lillian picked a different one (of course), we decided on colours, and then i came back to London and made it happen!

The Twisty River Vest for Evelyn

The Street Vest for Lillian

I used Cascade 220 for both since it’s hard wearing, warm and available in great colours. They were both quick and easy patterns and after sending them back to Aus, I got the best thank you I could – a photo with in a week of the vests being worn!

Ok! next up…

For christmas/my birthday, the lovely Mel at Recipe for a Yarn gave me some hand carded fibre. I spun the lovely duck egg blue up before i even left Aus and it became a lovely smooshy bulky 2 ply. It was screaming at me that it wanted to be a cowl, and so, a cowl it is! I wish i’d had a smidgeon more so it could be a little wider, but I love it and it’s very warm and snuggly!

just a simple moss stitch worked in the round til it could be worked no more.

Thank you Mel, I love it!

and, we continue on to…. another long story!

I took up swing dancing last year when i got to London. I absolutely love it, but it’s not exactly something I can do in my winter boots. So this winter I was faced with a problem… either I wear shoes I can dance in and my calves/legs get cold (jeans are also not condusive to dancing) or I wear my boots and have to lug a pair of shoes around, which is just annoying. Until I decided to finally knit myself a piece of nostalgia.

Spats*!

Don’t you just love the buttons? so steampunky!

I finished them in february and thanks to the cold spring, have worn them a few times. they are indeed perfect for wearing with little flats over tights or leggings with my swing dancey type dresses and they are surprisingly effective! I’m very pleased!

And I have apparently developed a thrifty side when it comes to yarn since living in London (which is pricey and has a very small stash available to me), as I used the left over dark grey to whip up a nice chunky tweedy, go with everything, keep me toasty, hat!

Jane*, by Jane Richmond, It shows the Brooklyn Tweed nicely and is really long – not a style I usually go for, but I seem to rock it!

That’s not the only yarn to do me double duty! Late last year I picked up two skeins of the omg-so-soft Juno Alice sock. It’s not really suitable for socks, but it is suitable for lovely shawls. Especially when you have put on said shawl in yarn store and not wanted to take it off, thus leading you to buy the exact same colours in the exact same yarn to do said shawl. Which is what happened.

stripes and lace – so satisfying!

And so I present Selena*. Pretty isn’t it. Sadly it did warm up just as I finished this, so i really haven’t worn it yet!

And the other project? well, I’ve only ever managed to lose one thing on the tube, and it was my beautiful ishbel beret that I made last year from the angora blend I picked up in Gothenburg. *sob* I was gutted. Not only was it a hand knit, but it was made from souvenir yarn that would be a bitch to replace. So when I realised I’d have enough of the contrast colour from this shawl to whip up a replacement, I figured it would fill some of the void my carelessness had left.

My second ishbel beret – a little tight in the band, but soft and delicate!

And one other thing to show you before i disappear off into internet silence again.

I picked up some jitterbug on sale (thanks Loop!) and not being able to decide which colour i prefered I got both Florentina and Velvet Olive, a perfect combo for stripes. At first I was talked into doing the Tempest cardigan, but i’ve never really been in love with it, despite seeing some amazing finished products (Sonia and Sharon come to mind) and I’ve certainly never really liked it with a strongly variegated yarn. So I found this pattern instead – Elfe* – a very simple, elegant tee, that works quite well with a semi-solid picking up a tone in the variegated yarn! It was bloody easy too and done in a month! this i HAVE worn a few times, perfect for London ‘summer’!

Such pretty colours! great with shorts or jeans.

It was also my first time doing the contiguous sleeve method, which i really liked and would totally do again. Top down seamless is the way to go!

Well, there’s my post that proves I have been productive in other ways, if not in the blogging sense. I’m currently working on the BFF cowl with Katie (more to come) and my first crocheted garment for me! exciting times.

*ravelry link

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2011 retrospective

I made lots of things some for me, some for other people, some big, some small.

according to rav i completed 11 pairs of socks (2 gifted), 3 adult jumpers/cardigans (all for me), 2 hats (both gifts), 3 scarves/shawls (two for me, one not shown), 13 various things for babies and children (all gifts) and a pair of mitts (not shown and gifted).

It always surprises me at the end of the year when i look at how much i’ve actually knit for other people.

1. wallflower, 2. elijah’s cardi, 3. fruiby’s vest, 4. blanket, 5. IMG_0081, 6. mini cons, 7. synesthesia, 8. thea, 9. fishies, 10. theo’s jumper, 11. stockport, 12. kalajoki, 13. kitty hat, 14. pixie hat, 15. skew, 16. noro scarf, 17. soaker, 18. livia, 19. fay, 20. shur’tugal, 21. baby ribs, 22. DSC_0315, 23. DSC_0326, 24. baby vest, 25. mochi socks, 26. brown bear, 27. swallowtail, 28. moonflower socks, 29. port adelaide socks, 30. jade’s tunic

I currently have 6 wips. (hey, not bad at all for me!) The most exciting of these is Sylvi which i hope to have finished and lined before i go to the UK

I got six lovely insallments of socks that rock

1. comfort and joy, 2. Drop Dead Sexy , 3. schwartzwald, 4. maia, 5. electric kool aid acid test, 6. pinky swear and augerbenius

In the spinning world i only finished 8 yarns, though i have a few on bobbins.

you can't tell what colours i like at all, can you?

1. nett’s bunny hop angorino, 2. katie’s merino/carbonized bamboo, 3. mel’s wensleydale, 4. berry superwash merino 3ply, 5. nett’s camel bunny silk , 6. wensleydale singles, 7. lush bunny, 8. merino rose fibre

my spinning is still not as even as i would like and i’m really really bad at getting my singles the same length for plying, but i still enjoy it and i am improving.

Not a bad effort for a year plagued with illness, restlessness and then extreme busy-ness!

but honestly? I’m glad to be done with it!

Happy New Year!

It’s 2012. but you knew that, because you are on the interwebs, which means you are looking at some kind of electronic equipment that knows the date and time. But i digress

Happy New Year my lovely crafterly friends, from near and far – WordPress tells me that i have readers all over the world, but particularly from the UK (see you there soon!) and US! so Hi! I also had 47 SF cable car’s worth of people traipse across my site. which is lovely! i also just realised that may well be the first time i have ever written or perhaps even read the word traipse. I had absolutely no idea how to spell it, but i guessed and I think i’m right, so yay!

My year of being a Notorious sock knitter with the Rockin’ Sock club has come to a close. My last installment for the year has been my favourite – which is good. It’s a bit of a pity, because i found the experience to be a little underwhelming. I didn’t LOVE any of the colourways this year, though i had a lot of respect for the dyeing, especially with aubergenius and pinky swear (Jan) which were such a perfect match. The patterns were a bit hit and miss for me. The ones i liked i felt I had seen similar things before and the ones i felt were really original didn’t grab me at all. And while the community were lovely and welcoming, i wasn’t as involved as i could have been. But still, I have done it and i can cross it off my knitting bucket list!

Comfort and Joy - the November (and final) instalment of RSC 2011

I finally finished my wallflower socks`, and before the end of the year too! They took up the last 3 months of my ‘sock a month’ year, so i ended up 1 pair behind (i finished an extra pair in january, though i started them in december ’10). I have the remaining two ‘parcels’ of yarn+pattern there, and one i will definitely take with me to the land of the engers when i head to the UK in late Feb.

I should also add that these were only my second stranded sock and my first time using wollmeise!

FINALLY! Wallflower, but Stephanie van der Linden, in Wollmeise (Stella Polaris) and an undyed merino cashmere from Wired for Fibre

Yes, I have my UK Visa and i’m heading off and it is STUPID the amount of time i spend planning what yarn is coming with me, what will go happily to storage and what will go to mum so she can post it to me along with mail, summer clothes and other goodies. With all the other planning i should be doing, this is taking up a disproportionate amount of my brain time^. I am going to be taking a lot/getting a lot sent because with my VAST stash (256 yarns stashed on rav and that’s not all, though take into account there are double ups due to multiple colours being grouped together for the one project) it seems stupid that precious money that will absolutely be needed for expensive London rent and food and WARM CLOTHES should get spend on yarn to replace what i already have. SO! my plan is to arrange for yarn that has maximum time to weight ratio attached to find its way to me in London. this means a lot of my sock yarn and laceweight. I have been using my rav queue to whittle down pattern to  yarn matches and have about 94756924569276924753* shawls and socks ready to be knitted. This is good too because it means some of my handspun and souvenir yarn will finally see the light of day as a FO.

amongst all this crafting and planning christmas and a bunch of birthdays happened. I didn’t really do the crafting presents for everyone that i’ve done the last few years. a couple of reasons for this but the big one was ALL THE BABIES! i spent the time i would normally be making xmas presents doing things for small people instead. (there are more baby knits on the way too!)

I did however get some gift spinning done and had a few presents already made for people – mum got some of my handdyed yarn and helen got a hat` i made for her back in march.

Here are the spins, in order, for nett, katie and mel:

Super Angorino from Ixchel (50% angora, 50% superfine merino), spun 2 ply, 130m, 50g, around a fingering weight.

Merino and Carbonized bamboo from Ewe Give Me the Knits, n-plied, 135m, 100g, around a DK weight.

Wensleydale from Ixchel, 2ply, 85m and 100g around a DK weight.

The wensleydale i’m particlarly proud of – i think it’s one of my most even and beautiful spins yet!

^TBH I think a lot of my brain power has gone on this plan because in the looming face of moving to a whole new country, this is a manageable problem

*figure may be an exaggeration.

` ravelry link

My Girls

I hate gender stereotyping, but for the sake of brevity, my Richmond girls are my girls.

And I love them.

I have to giggle whenever i tell my cool trendy co-workers (at my cool trendy clothing store workplace) that i’m going to my knit night. They frown and question me with a confused expression. “Your knitting night?” they say as if they might have heard wrong.

I smile, thinking “OH, if only you knew…”

My girls are definitely not what non-knitters would think of when i say knitting group. The richmond knitters are a true SnB, Debbie Stoller style. We range in age from around 25 to 65, with most of us 30 -45. Some of us have children, most of us don’t. Some of us work full time, some casually, some are professionals, some are artists, some are even unemployed (for the moment – career changes ftw!). We are so different, coming from many countries and backgrounds.

What we all are though is passionate, clever and FUCKING HILARIOUS. sorry for the expletives, but i need to express just how awesome my girls are. People who have this nana-ish image of knitters in their head have no idea about the kind of wonderful conversation we have and the trust and friendship we share.

Last night was a little end-of-year get together and there was great food, excellent cocktails and wonderful company to be had. Conversations ranged from family, to work, to things that are best not discussed in print.

And again i had to giggle, thinking, if only those doubters knew how wonderfully wicked and fun my girls are.

sorry if this post is repetitive, but it bears repeating. Also, i may or may not have had most of a bottle of red.

here is an obligatory knitting photo…

that is not of knitting, but of handspun yarn. just keeping it real.

obligatory FO photo

handspun superwash merino – 3 ply, but sadly not enough for socks. *fail*

Socks, Socks and More Socks *RSC spoilers*

no, RSC sadly does not stand for Royal Shakespeare company, but for Rockin Sock Club. I did indeed buy myself an early birthday present and the first installment HAS ARRIVED! huzzah, but more on that in a moment…

Firstly to my January Sock-a-month Sock – Esther in Blue Moonstone, affectionately named Moonflowers.

I cast off on the 31st (well it was still the 31st in some parts of the country) and blocked them today. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH! I decided to do the larger of the two sizes but could probably have done the smaller size as it turns out, but still nice to have a sock i don’t have to struggle to get over my heel. I was REALLY worried about running out of yarn as i finished the first sock but according to weight i have enough and i have about 8 grams left *phew*

Any one in Melbourne today will realise that there was no natural light available pretty much all day, so the colour isn’t quite true, but close

I freaking love this yarn too. It’s the second time i’ve knitted with the lightweight and have also worked with the heavyweight, but socks that rock, really do… ROCK!

Unfortunately the same can’t be said of Zauberball. I started a pair of socks with the teal and black just before christmas, so i would have a pair to wear to the footy this year (my team is teal, black and white) I did Sam by Cookie A which has a zig zagging travelling cable on it. Now, I don’t cable with a cable needle, especially when it’s lots of little two stitch cables. but this yarn was HORRID for cabling with. mostly because it was a single on 2.25mm, but bah, time again and i would not match this yarn with a cable pattern. In fact, i was so disappointed with the yarn i’m swapping one of my other sock-a-months which was going to be zauberball for something else. Look, the yarn isn’t terrible and i think i might want to do a shawl with the other colourway i have of it, but just have to think a bit more carefully about what i do in it, and not as nice as i thought it might be with all the hype. It has come up softer after a wash though!

One more FO to show off before we get to the juicy stuff.

the Richmond Knitters have monthly (optional) KALs and January was Swallowtail, a shawl i’d been wanting to do in this handspun for AGES…

Angorino plied with CamelBunny Silk from Ixchel

So i did. I’m afraid it’s really hard to photograph on ones own, though if it’s cold tomorrow i will wear it to my Melbourne birthday drinks and get someone to take a picture. but this is more or less what it looks like and i love it. I did a full repeat of the lily of the valley section for size. had to fudge the edge lace work a bit, but it looks good in the end!

 

but on to the real item… the first installment of the Rockin Sock Club. Now i assume that if you have read this far down the page you are happy to view the photos so i am not putting them behind cuts… You’ve been warned!

 

seriously.

 

 

I won’t take flack about showing off photos when it clearly says spoilers in the heading!

 

ok…

Here are the TWO, that’s right, TWO colours that make up the first installment. Aubergenius paired with Pinkie Swear designed to go together for beautiful colourwork!

Aubergenius is very hard to photograph. At first i thought it was brown, but it’s actually a very earthy purple. Just beautiful. Pinkie Swear is lovely given it has pretty much every colour i don’t like in it! I love the blue though, so maybe that makes it all better? Together they are beautifully autumnal and the two patterns make great use of them! I’m actually going to do one of the patterns in these, because i’ve never seen such beautifully twinned yarn! BUT who am i going to give these autumnal socks to? we’ll have to see (no seriously, I have no idea.)

The two patterns are both stranded knitting, one with a cute image of birdies and ‘BFF’ around the cuff, the other incorporating cabled circles into lovely squishy boot socks. The designers are Mary Scott Huff (Distelfink) and Lucy Neatby (Social Network) and they’ve both done an amazing job. I really like distelfink, but i think i want to do it at some point in two semisolids, as i feel the pattern gets a bit lost in the variegated yarn, so i plan to do Social Network in these two yarns at some point.

I very much enjoyed my first installment even if it was very un-jen! It’s really fun to feel a part of something!

And the inside of my ball band? Wallace and Gromit 😀

Ravelympics Round Up

So The Winter Olympics ended at around 2 or 3 in the afternoon on the 1st of March here in Aus, but just to keep things neat, I aimed to finish all my projects by the evening of the 28th, ready to cast on anew in March.

And I did!

I ended up creating four knitted projects, and despite toying with the idea, and even spinning for a few hours, I decided that spinning and weaving were not going to enter into the competition this year.

And so I present, my medal winning items…

Silver Swirls (previously mentioned)

The first of these i completed in a day, the second took me about three days (but i was knitting other things as well!)Knit in Carmen from Bremont, which I picked up in Austria. I have about half of each ball left, which leaves me with 1.5 balls or blue and .5 of silver… what to do with them? The pattern is from Knitting New Mittens and Gloves. Pretty no?

Events: Nordic Colourwork Combined and Mitten Moguls

Falling Berries Scarf (previously mentioned)

This is only the third project I have knit with handspun, and whilst it was the second thing cast on for Ravelympics 2010, it was the second to last thing finished. (you’ll see why in a moment). It was my ‘constant’ travelling project and took me from day 2 to day 17 of the olympics! Knitting with this handspun – cashmere, alpaca and silk – was the most luxurious and indulgent thing I’ve ever done. It was heaven from first stitch to last. and I cannot WAIT til it is cool enough to snuggle my face up in this! (I had to watch everyone at the knitters group on monday to make sure it wasn’t secretly stowed in a bag!)

Events: Scarf Super-G, Single Skein Speed Skate, Lace Luge

Knitting the Blues Origami Bolero

First let me apologise for a crappy (and from behind!) picture. Unfortunately i can’t check the focus on timed photos! Maybe I’ll get a better shot of this when i take it into work tomorrow? It is Jo Sharp’s Origami bolero, one of the most interesting pieces of knitting i’ve seen and also one of the most frustrating patterns to help people with as a LYS worker! Having now KNIT it, it will be much easier to help people decide on a size and on colours. I am REALLY REALLY happy with my colour combination 🙂 It took 7 days TOTAL knitting, including sewing up. I’m REALLY proud of that achievement, and it looks lovely. BOTH ways up! (I will honestly try to get more/better photos)

Events: Sweaterboard Cross and Nordic Colourwork Combined (a bit of a push, but for all that knitting it deserved 2 categories)

and last (and least, to be honest)

A trivet for a special swapper…

Having finished the scarf on Sunday afternoon, I took advantage of my need to make something for a swap i’m participating in to create something in the last few hours of the 28th. This adorable little pattern takes one ball of 10ply/aran/worsted and about 2 hours (if you don’t keep screwing up the last row like i did, in which case it takes 3). I’ve knit it twice now (see Marmie’s xmas present!) and it pretty much takes the same time as a feature film. convenient!

Events: Platter Lift, Single Skein Speed Skate (and if i’d had my head in the game I could have put it in Lace Luge too, but i can’t be bothered now)

So what now for our intrepid crafter?

well, I have a skein of sock yarn to finish spinning now that i’ve started it  – though to be honest, I might just finish the single i’m working on for now, so I can spin some of the delicious BATTS I’ve got from Ixchel and Corgi Hill Farms as part of the spin-along at Spinner Central.

I also want to do some more weaving – it’s been about 3 weeks now.

I have cast on a pair of socks (Leyburn in Socks That Rock Lightweight!) and a shrug/bolero (Gossamer from Kidsilk Dream in Kidsilk Spray.

And of course I have to MOVE IN TO MY NEW APARTMENT in just under three weeks! squeee.

I GET MY STASH BACK AT LAST!

*maniacal laughter*

Ravelympics 2010

For the first time i will be taking part in the ravelry phenomenon which is ravelympics 2010. The basic idea is that one casts on during the opening ceremony of the olympic games (which occurred at 12.30pm yesterday local time)  and keep on knitting (or crocheting, spinning or weaving) until the closing ceremony, which will occur on Feb 28th (March 1st here)

I had a few projects lined up and in order to cast on, I needed to clear some needles – so last week I finished off a couple of projects  – My unpronounceable but totally gorgeous Pomatomus socks and my Summer in Vienna wrap

These were knit in the very first Sock Club yarn i ever got – A beautiful squooshy merino from Jolly Jumbuck (called Hurcules) in a special colourway – Mermaid’s Lair. I had picked out this pattern for this yarn ages ago and ummed and ahhed about it, but I finally did it and i LOVE them!

The wrap was a souvenir knit – I picked up the pattern (aptly named Summer in Vienna) when I bought the yarn at Americo Original in Toronto. It’s a pretty easy knit – the biggest issue is the 9mm needles and keeping the rib right 🙂 and it’s a pretty effective result. The original was knit in a smooth pima cotton, but i chose to use the thick and thin for even more texture. It can scrunch up for a scarf or drape out to cover the shoulders as a wrap.

So, with those finished, I wound some yarn, did some swatching (ok I didn’t but lets pretend i did) ready to cast on the Tapisserie Mitts from Knitting New Mittens and Gloves, which are a fair isle gauntlet style, and the Falling Water scarf which I plan to knit in some of my most luxurious handspun ever.

At this rate I’ll finish the mitts by Tuesday at the latest. The scarf will be a good ongoing travelling project. I’m also planning on working on the Origami Bolero from Jo Sharp later in the month and I want to spin some Falkland (it’s one of the studies in the Spinner’s Study group on Rav for Feb) and maybe weave something too!