Another ending, another beginning

It’s the end of the year. How did that happen? Same as every year, in a flurry of frantic activity and good eating, spent with lovely friends (though not family this year!)

A strange thing has occurred. I have found myself at the end of the year with not a thing on the needles. Oh sure i’ve got some hibernating projects back in Aus, and I have a swatch of a cardi I’m about to start soon, but I finished up 3 projects this month and have not yet cast anything on!

Forgive the shocking photos, but I finished the most beautiful jumper that I’ve been wanting to knit for absolutely ages two days ago.

Emily by Kim Hargreaves, knit in the recommended Kid Classic

After this photo was taken I did actually lengthen it by 2 inches. I wore it with the dress and it was fine, but i knew it would feel too short with some skirts and all my trousers (not that I wear jeans very often any more!) so I popped in a knitting needle just above the texturing on the hem, snipped away and added in all the extra yarn i had in the stocking stitch section before reworking the hem. Worked very well thank you very much!

I also finished (having knit almost TWICE) my Stellaria shawl. I had to frog it when I was almost finished the first time as I was going to run out of yarn! I frogged it and reworked it with one less repeat and it is now complete and beautiful! Again forgive the crappy blocking photo, but there’s very little space and even less light here at the moment!

Stellaria in a beautiful hand dyed silk and wool from Edinburgh. The colour is actually pretty accurate, it’s a very very soft green

The other project was my one solitary knitted christmas gift, a pair of mitts for darling Kylie. I don’t have a photo as I finished them christmas eve and they went straight into wrapping paper, but I’ll ask her nicely and maybe she’ll oblige…

I will aim to get nicer photos of everything and do a collage early in the new year of 2013’s knits, but some nice things happened – I did a Mystery KAL, I got asked by Twist Collective if they could use my photo of my Mary Jane in their newsletter and I knit quite a few jumpers that I’ve been meaning to knit for a while. My crafting resolutions back in January were to take better photos (true during summer!) and to knit more around my friends. Well despite not really doing much of the latter, I’ve managed to get some pretty hefty projects done!

2013 Round up:

  • hats and headbands – 3 of each.
  • shawls, scarves and cowls – 6, including a half-swapsies cowl with Katie!
  • jumpers and tops – 5! one crocheted, and two short sleeved, but one lace weight!
  • mitts – 2 pairs, both gifts
  • small people things – just the 2 vests for Mat and Gemma’s daughters
  • socks – NONE! but I did knit a pair of spats – which i LOVE! And I made my first pair of felted slippers

So not my most productive year volume wise, but a lot of big projects in there! I also was pretty light on the yarn buying! excluding yarn for gifts and commissions, I bought 24 skeins of yarn (7 of which are felted tweed which was mostly covered by a gift card for my birthday) and swapped one for a skien of madtosh. I also received a beautiful hand dyed skein from Ursula for my birthday. I knit a hell of a lot more than that! (around 40?). So yay me!

I hope your crafting year was fun and productive, and may your new year be filled with yarn, thread, ribbons, pins, fabric and all other things that make you happy!

Summer is here!

At last, at last, the gloomy spring became a freaking awesome summer, which makes the fact that I’m coming up to 18 months here (thus 6 months to go) that much harder! I LOVE London in the summer. It just becomes a magical place!

The warm weather doesn’t carry the blazing heat of home (although it is humid at times, yuck) but in honour of the season I finished a little cotton project I started last year.

And it was my first crocheted garment for me! I was super worried about it, because despite doing a tension square, the tension was smaller than I expected and I had to do a WHOLE lot of extra pattern repeats to get it to a decent length (the fact I started it *last* summer might have contributed. oops). On the plus side, looks like my crochet  chains are finally getting away from the loosey goosey end of the spectrum!

A sweet summer top!

A sweet summer top!

The pattern is Petal* from Interweaves crotchet Spring 2011 and the yarn was Rowan cotton glace which i managed to get on sale at Liberty when Sharon visited me last year!

I’m really pleased with how it turned out, since the thing about crochet, is that I don’t have the experience to know how to alter shaping or anything like that. So the fact that the sleeves matched the armholes is a bit of a miracle! It’s a little tight under the arms and the neckline is a bit wonky, but i still love it!

IMG_0035 IMG_0036

This colour isn’t quite right, it’s a very soft blue

IMG_0037

The lovely shell stitch pattern 😀

I’m so super pleased with this, i feel like it’s an amazing accomplishment!

Looking through the remainder of things to work on, it looks like the rest of my time might be spent on heavier garments – jumpers and cardigans and shawls. I’m thinking i have to do another self-imposed sock club next year though! not a pair since i moved!!

Luckily winter is ALWAYS just around the corner here in the UK ,so I’m sure I’ll be luxuriating under piles of wool and mohair and alpaca soon!

2012 round up

lettuce jumper * meret * petit artichaut * original cowl * louise as dress * aeolian shawl * offset raglan * miss moreland’s neck warmer * waffle mitts * sylvi * poppy gloves * hydrangea cowl * veyla mitts *sherilyn shawl * original hat * anemoi mitts * original mask * chevalier * poppy hat

2012:

25 projects finished

  • 5 presents for new people
  • 3 presents for not-so-new people
  • 3 cowls
  • 3 adult jumpers/coats
  • 4 adult hats (one lost!!! *cry*)
  • 2 shawls (one handspun)
  • 5 sets mitts/mittens
  • one crochet mask

This year has been a bit of a selfish knitting year – or at least it would have been if all my friends didn’t keep reproducing! This year i got to knit for some little girls so I went a bit crazy on the pink, dresses and general femininity. Living in London, I also went a bit crazy on the WARM, which was fun. I’ve made two jumpers which i love, including the laceweight lettuce, which i love so much i’m knitting another. Given it took 6 months all up, that shows how much i love it, though i’m steaming ahead on my second one, thanks to 2 25+ hour flights to aus and back.

I feel like i wasn’t very productive this year, which i think comes down to a few things: fewer regular knitting nights  (I miss you richmond girls!), fewer knitting friends in general, more non-knitting conducive socialising and a few really long-term projects (lettuce and aeolian took up a good 2-3 months of almost bygamous knitting)

I’ve barely been spinning as it turns out i do love spinning on the wheel SO much more than the spindle. I did spin a little when i was back in Australia which reminded me how much fun it is to watch this fluff become this useful thing. I will try to spindle a bit more!

I’ve also discovered that I’m even worse at taking photos of FOs when it gets dark at 4pm! I finished 2 Rowan Lima projects – briar and kat – months ago and am yet to take a photo of either, even bad ones!

So, my 2013 crafting resolutions are to photograph my FOs properly, get my london friends more used to my knitting in public and knit (mostly) from the stash under my bed – i don’t want to have to take it back to Aus when they kick me out in 2014!

the best souvenir is yarn!

Growing up, my mum travelled a lot and brought me gifts from all over the world. As i got older and my friends travelled more, they brought me presents too (mostly fridge magnets, because it made my fridge far more interesting and useful). When I first started travelling a lot, I bought myself the usual, magnets, shot glasses (18!), jewellery… but then i got into knitting and souvenir shopping got a lot more fun!

I’ve talked about my various international yarny purchases from my Big Trip 09 and I’ve mentioned the yarny component of other travels as well. Since i’ve been in Europe I’ve had a few opportunities to travel and have continued my souvenir traditions – wanna see?

First off was the lovely Rooster lace weight from Bath mentioned in an earlier post.

Then in July I headed to sunny (sadly not) Copenhagen, Gothenburg and Malmo. You would think that Scandinavia would be the best place to get all sorts of super warm woollen yarns, what with it being the HOME OF WINTER… and you would be right! Not all of my purchases originate from the area…

like this delicious Shibui Knits Sock, destined to become a mini colour affection shawl/scarf

but a lot did…

like this lovely self striping single blended from shetland and merino lambswool… what a great combo! This is from Denmark, purchased in Copenhagen

And this Norwegian (ok so it’s next door) Angora blended with lambswool, beautifully naturally coloured. Picked this one up in Gothenburg! It’s became a pretty little Ishbel hat and i still have half the ball!

And another rustic wool, dyed in gorgeous selfstriping greys, from a little island in Sweden, also purchased in Gothenburg

What i found most interesting was the penchant for Linen! Despite the freezing cold temperatures of the area, Linen makes an appearance in all the stores, with most producing their own line (fibre pun!)

I couldn’t resist this colour – am thinking of crocheting a lacy thin scarf. pattern suggestions?

(yarns purchased at Sommerfuglen in Copenhagen and Strikk and Broderi & Garn in Gotheburg. I would recommend all 3)

As mentioned on my other blog I headed up to Edinburgh for the festival and thought it only fitting I picked up some Northern yarn. While knitting at the Purple Pig, (where I met Ysolda!) it was suggested to me that I try Rennie’s shetland yarn – apparently the meterage goes forever and it softens up beautifully upon washing (the suggestion was made complete with feelable samples). I was also told it made an appearance at a new store in the New Town, which i’d been planning on heading to, so when i went to Kathy’s Knits, the aim was to suss out the colours and maybe pick something up for some colourwork.

what do we think? I’m pretty happy!

I also knew I had to check out K1 Yarns – apart from it being Ysolda’s local, I also knew they stocked the Orkney angora that My darling Mel (who’s just started an etsy store for hand blended fibre – check it out!) turned into a deliciously soft and fluffy ishbel shawl. I couldn’t resist my own fluffy bundle!

I’m predictable I know…
The blend used to be 100% butI think it’s still pretty lovely!

Last week I went to Amsterdam, but sadly I ended up not visiting the yarn store literally one street away from our hostel because I was sick as a dog on our last day and buying the yarn, whilst definitely on my mind, was just too hard.

So here’s a picture perfect moment from Amsterdam instead…

more photos like this to come on my other blog…

winter prep…

I finished a little something this week that will help with the cold in London. I’ve heard the pro strat is a cowl under a scarf, so i finally broke out the beautiful Rabbit Ridge DK that i bought in San Francisco (that came from Alaska!) and used most of it to create the lovely hydrangea cowl* from Brave New Knits.

I blocked it – it dried in about 5 seconds- and even braved the heat to get this shot…

Hydrangea Cowl in Sitka Rose

The fact that it matched my dress was purely coincedental!

 

and now the moment you have all been waiting for. I present Sylvi

thanks so much to vintagenettles for the photos!

*rav link

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!

Just when you thought 2010 was over and done with…

you get a knitting retrospective!

These are just MOST of the knitted FOs from 2010, not, i’m afraid, all.

A year of knitting...

1. gregsmitts01, 2. noro mitts3, 3. fliptops for Kate, 4. papa’s socks3, 5. buttony mitts, 6. cotton hat2, 7. owls vest, 8. susie’s mitts, 9. summer in vienna, 10. avast hems, 11. jaywalkers finished, 12. bff socks, 13. mary jane wip cu, 14. hezda hat 1, 15. mermaid pomatomuses, 16. dad’s hat3, 17. quilted socks that rock, 18. handspun scarf of smoosh, 19. Hooded scarf, 20. swap trivet, 21. peacock top1, 22. clapotis, 23. mitts and binka, 24. Origami Bolero in blues, 25. bathroom set , 26. silver swirl tapisseries, 27. baby cardi for jackson, 28. silk scarf1, 29. inara and her teeny socks, 30. my meret beret

I’m really really happy with my knits this year – only two disappointments, and unfortunately they’re both quite big projects! dad’s jacket, as we’ve mentioned, turned out too big for him, but should fit my uncle and my mary jane is a smidge big for me. I still wear it, but my housemate says i’ve already lost a bit of weight since i finished it, so it won’t fit me for long at this rate (gym and other changes mean i should drop a bit more). I do love it so and i have a friend waiting and wanting to take it off my hands if worst comes to worst (and it REALLY suits her!!)

there were lots of socks in 2010, though there will be more in 2011 (!) and a lot of baby knits, and again, there will be more arrivals, and thus more tine adorable things, in 2011! Mitts featured heavily as always for me! Probably about 35 – 40% of my crafting was for other people, so i’m not actually as selfish a knitter as i think i am! I do tend to reserve long term projects for myself though.

And of course 2010 was the year i took up weaving…

Weaving 2010

1. first time weaving, 2. variegated blue weave, 3. woven bamboo scarf with knotted fringe, 4. noro weave, 5. Twin Tweed woven scarf, 6. houndstooth scarf, 7. marmie’s woven scarf, 8. Blood Plum Scarf, 9. Jet woven scarf, 10. mels scarf2, 11. angora weave scarf, 12. cotton scarf1

There’s one major woven scarf missing – the one i gave my cousin for christmas – and a few little trial projects like the woven coasters, and the scarf that got felted and turned into coasters! But mostly that’s 2010 in weaving – and no, it’s not the same scarf twice… well it is, but two different versions of the same warp/weft combination. i have one and a friend bought the other. I really enjoy weaving and i will definitely keep up with it. and yes, Katie, I will get to our piano runner very soon now chrissy presents are done!!

What was your favourite knit/project of 2010? what will you wear the most? would love to see links to photos or blogposts!

 

Also, thanks kindly to my lovely nett for some of the photos you see here 🙂

The Land of The Long White Cloud

Last week I took a quick jaunt to New Zealand with my father. When we got on the plane together in Melbourne (he’d flown over from Adelaide to connect at Melb airport) I realised it was the first time we’d been on a plane together in just over 10 years! odd!

We spent 2 nights in Bay of Plenty, just near Tauranga and Mata Mata (where Hobbiton is, but unfortunately it was too wet and i was too at the mercy of our hosts to do a tour) and 2 night staying with my cousin-once-removed and his wife in Nelson, at the top of the South Island. We were well away from Christchurch and felt no tremors or anything, but you could feel the emotional effects across the country. But regardless i had a lovely time, especially in Nelson, which is a gorgeous town (with gorgeous men!) and I would really love to go back again soon! I also get along very well with my cousins (their daughter lives here and has just had a baby boy) and would like to get to know/spend more time with that branch of the family tree.

But you all want to know about the yarns, right? well, unfortunately, being at the whim of two rather, shall we say, outdoorsy type women meant that a yarn store visit was not a top priority, and despite my research, and the find of a few places nearby (ie, within an hour’s drive), I was only offered a brief trip to the ‘best store, up at the mount’ on the recommendation of a knitterly friend of theirs. I, of course, took it. It was a tiny little shop and i can only say that this friend must be a bit of an ‘old school’ knitter, as this place really only stocked workhorse yarns, most of which i could get over here. But! I did find one yarn I hadn’t seen before, although i’m sure it’s available here now, and if not, soon. It’s a Naturally yarn, a brand i think is highly underrated, and it’s a sock yarn blend of wool, alpaca and possum! huzzah, a true NZ yarn as a souvenir. I got it in two rather pretty multicoloured colourways.

I also picked up two lonely skeins of Naturally Sensation, a lovely angora merino blend, in cream. It’s a discontinued yarn and i haven’t seen it around in a while, and i thought it would be lovely to hand dye and weave.

Nelson offered a little more excitement. For a start it was only drizzling, not pissing down with rain, which meant we could spend the morning at the market. Lots of lovely hand made items as well as local produce and things like possum and merino blend clothing. They had a bit of Touch yarns at one of the stalls, but i knew where i was heading later in the day, so i resisted. I looked at some of the possum blend clothes – something i was hoping to get for myself this trip – but none grabbed me. I did buy an adorable hand made hair clip. It’s got netting, beads, wire curls and a fabric flower. It’s made of win! On the way out I also checked out a clothing store which, if i remember correctly, is called Puss Puss (it’s off trafalgar street in a little mall if you’re ever in Nelson) that made AMAZING dresses, skirts and corsets. Seriously, it made me want to have a fiance, just so i could get a wedding dress made there!

Then, I went to the place i’d been saving up for – Fibre Spectrum. It’s a sort of handweavers and spinners group outlet (not sure it’s an actual guild) and whilst most of their stock is finished objects – clothes, accessories, homewares etc – they did have some handspun yarn available, including HUZZAH handspun merino and possum. I picked up 100g of black and 100g of a variegated berryish colour, as well as 50g of green for Katie. It’s all about 8ply

Sunday i seemed to spend entirely in airports or planes, but i did manage to snap up that possum merino garment i was wanting. I bought a lovely longline cardigan (with cables and pockets and a big collar) in a charcoaly colour and it is just so SOFT! I popped it on on Monday night and almost went into a fibre coma. If anyone takes a photo of me in it, i will share.

Meanwhile, here are some more generic holiday snaps of NZ

Bay of Plenty from the lookout

and again. so ridiculously green!

The pumphouse at the goldmine in Waihi

The breakwater in Nelson – the boatshed cafe on the left is where we had lunch

which included this little gem! very nomable

and one last photo for all my fibre (and wine) loving friends – Lawn Mowing, NZ style!

Belated Christmas Wrap Up

GET IT?? huh? huh? lol.

sorry. now that the obligatory terrible christmas joke is out of the way…

I didn’t do masses of christmas presents this year due to my aunt being a bossy britches and arranging a secret santa (a concept i loathe amongst family) but i did make a few for my immediate family, my SS recipient (my adorable 17 year old cousin) and some close friends – although some presents are still being worked on *whistles innocently*

You’ve seen the sewn bags for my cousins-once-removed (or the little girls as they will be known to me until they are 50) and the cabled fingerless gloves for my dad, so that left my mum, grandfather and grandmother, as well as my SS recipient, Helen.

Mum as I mentioned is undergoing chemo, so naturally i made her a hat – a young funky adorable hat that i love but would never wear, but she can TOTALLY pull off!

how awesome do her eye look in it!! (She totally stole my top to wear on christmas day, too! AND new years! *sigh*)

Marmie, my grandmother, always tells me off if i get her anything or spend a lot of time or effort on her, so i made her something small and simple, but also lovely. It’s just a trivet, or as jo sharp describes it, a tea-pot mat, but it’s made in luxury silk cotton (debbie bliss!) that i got half price at work and it took me about 2 hours to make. (she still managed to tell me off :P) Forgive the unblocked photo! The colour isn’t quite right either, it’s a real mushroom pink/gray/brown.

Of course, marmie then proceeded to tell me it was too good to use as a trivet and put things on, so i’m sure i will see it in the middle of a table being decorative. *sigh*

Papa, my grandfather, got something quite special. when i was in scotland, i bought him a pure cashmere scarf – as you do – in gorgeous creams and light browns with a hint of sage. He plays the piano and is always commenting on my fingerless mittens so I thought I would make him his own pair to sort of match his scarf – and try out stranded knitting for the first time. I used a pattern from the new rowan magazine and added a few stitches and rows to increase the size, used the delicious debbie bliss baby cashmerino. God that stuff is a dream to work with!

I found stranded knitting quite easy  (particularly on the knit side – i would work these in the round next time) and I used the one yarn per hand technique. good thing i’ve had a go at ‘picking’ or continental style a few times!

And the major work of the season was done in a week. yep. ONE WEEK. having definitely confirmed my cousin would be there on christmas day and that my recipient wouldn’t change at the last minute like last year (grr – still managed to get a hand made present done thanks to very accommodating yarn store workers) I decided on something cute, funky and green to go with Helen’s amazing red hair. I ended up choosing the shetland shorty pattern from knitty over kim hargreaves’ buttercup for a few reasons. Firstly i thought it would be a quicker knit (time was definitely a factor), secondly i thought it was slightly ‘cooler’ rather than ‘cute’ and thirdly i was a bit sick of working with cotton, having just finished the table runner of monotony… more on that later. It also meant i could pick the green i really wanted, rather than a ‘she might like it…’ colour. Whilst knitting, the yarn looked a slightly yellower green than it did in the ball, but, well, I think it suits her..

don’t you? The yarn is Jo Sharp’s alpaca silk georgette in Woodland and was nice to knit with and I already have it on good authority that it’s nice and warm 🙂

Other presents for the season have included a pair of Mrs Beetons for my adelaide bestie (although i don’t have a photo yet!) and a skein of handspun for another good adelaide friend. Melbourne peeps have had to wait a bit – I’m working on a handspun skein for a knitterly friend and have the yarn for something special for my melbourne bestie couple. That’s been put on the back burner a bit though since i really wanted to work on something for ME after christmas. I also knitted another beret for mum, this time in cream, since she practically begged!

here it is modelled by my beautiful cousin

There was one other present this ‘silly season’ but it wasn’t for christmas… It was a wedding present which i can now announce as the Table Runner of Monogamy, which quickly became the Table Runner of Monotony since it seemed to take FOREVER! That’s not quite true. It took about three weeks of pretty solid knitting and did actually grow quite quickly, but because it was worked length ways it felt like ages. The pattern is from Jo Sharp Knit 2 (same as the trivet) and is worked in woven basket stitch. I used Sirdar Luxury cotton DK to get some nice neutral earthy tones – perfect for the couple.

It’s a neat little stitch, no?

Unfortunately being a rather formal reception (well for our generation) and having to leave the present on the ‘gift table’ I was unable to gauge the reaction to it, and due to christmas and family celebrations (the couple usually reside interstate so I’m sure are being mobbed by family at the moment) I am yet to hear how it was received! I really want to know!! I’ve just been invited to another wedding and the reaction to this might help decide the present for the next couple!

anyway. As I said, one and a half more presents and then it’s all about me for a while… at least until Feb 14th!