Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ahh the Post Christmas Lull or "What's with all the Purple?"

I can always remember the joy of those few days after exams had finished. You went from being flat stick all day every day to nothing. If you were anything like me you left a fair amount of the studying to the last minute (or at least SWOT vac) and so you were either sitting an exam or studying for the next one. In my case, subjects like Psychology had 3 or so exams per unit so there were a lot of exams. As was the custom, once that last exam was finished it was straight to the pub for a few destressing ales. The next day, once the hangover was under control, was just bliss. There was NOTHING to do! No study, no exams, no nothing and I used to just sit around and luxuriate in the nothingness. Of course all to soon there was packing to do to move out for the holidays and other things (like Christmas) to occupy the days but there were always a brief period of nothing. Christmas is very much like this as well.

So I have been in the nothingness for the last two days. There has been little to do past basic chores and the spat of Christmasness has passed. There have been many BBQs here in the new garden and hash runs from here so really the Christmas ruch has only just finished.

So what have I done in the nothingness? Well there has been some coffee and a little shopping (not much though, I try to avoid the post Christmas retail meltdown) and finally some 'me' knitting.

Bevan bought me a lovely purple t-shirt top for Christmas. It is not necessarily the shade I would immediately jump to myself but it is quite lovely and seems to suit me, but I fear it has started a purple haze....

I spent a little time with my Ravelry stash page and was looking for a project to get me going. I decided on the Amaizing that has been sitting in my stash for sometime as a nice summer-weight yarn. It has been sitting, I confess, because when I bought it it had a very obvious and quite disturbing mothballs smell to it. I thought about returning it but didn't want to be a bother so it has been sitting in a container with bicarb hopefully desmelling. It isn't entirely desmelt although interestingly, the vast majority of the stink seems to be in the ball band and cardboard tube it is wrapped around. Once reballed and knit the smell is nearly gone. I am hoping like hell that a wash or two and it will be gone entirely.

Anyway, what colour is it? Purple! I am doing Leaf T-shirt by Melissa LaBarre which is coming along quite nicely. I have put the sleeve stitches onto scrap yarn rather than casting them off as I think I will do a rib cuff to them. I am not sure I want the roll that is in the original pattern. I think I will also do a ribbed waist.

Given that this was a larger project I figured I needed a pair of socks on the go for travel knitting (travel of course being a generic term that might mean to the shops or might mean to the moon). Again, back to the stash page and I chose the Happy Spider self-striping that has also been there awhile. What colours you might ask? yellow, pink and PURPLE!

Me thinks I have a purple problem. Even the dishcloth I did quickly the other night (owing to the next ball of Amaizing being under the bed that Jason was sleeping in) was mauve! Help me, I am in a purple haze and I think I like it!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sports Beer Guernsey


My apologies for getting this one out after Christmas because it really does make a good bloke gift. I made the Essendon one for Dad and the Golden Point Cricket Jumper for Jason. They thought they were cool. File the idea away for the next birthday.

Sports Beer Guernsey

Requirements:

35g (70 m) 8 ply yarn (see notes at bottom regarding customising)
4 stitch markers
4mm circular
4mm DPNs
Waste yarn
Stitch holder
Darning needle


Gauge: 22sts / 10cm

Finished Size: 20cm circumference and 15cm tall – BEER sized!

Glossary

pm – place marker

kfb – knit front and back

slm – slip marker

SSK – slip, slip, knit

Body

CO 18 stitches using the circular needle.

Row 1: kfb, pm, kfb, kfb, pm, kfb, k10, kfb, pm, kfb, kfb, pm, kfb

You have now created the right front, right sleeve, back, left sleeve and left front between the markers.

Row 2: purl across
Row 3: kfb, kfb, slm, kfb, k2, kfb, slm, kfb, k12, kfb, slm, kfb, k2, kfb, slm, kfb, kfb
Row 4: purl across
Row 5: kfb, knit to stitch before next marker, kfb, slm , kfb, knit to stitch before next marker, kfb, slm, , kfb, knit to stitch before next marker, kfb, slm, , kfb, knit to stitch before next marker, kfb, slm, kfb, knit to last stitch, kfb.
Row 6: purl across.

Continue repeating rows 5 and 6 until there are 24 stitches between the2nd and 3rd markers (across the back)

Create the sleeves: k to first marker, place the sleeve stitches onto waste yarn, knit back stitches, place the other sleeve stitches onto waste yarn, pm, knit to end

Join the neck: From here on the jumper is knit in the round so slip all stitches evenly onto the DPNs and join to knit in the round. Make the side (under the sleeve) the start of the round.

Knit until the work measures 8cm from the bottom of the neck vee.

Work 4 rows of 1x1 rib.

BO loosely.

Sleeves

Evenly space the sleeve stitches on 3 DPNs.

With the right side facing, locate the centre bottom of the sleeve opening. Pick up one stitch from the left of the opening and continue knitting the round, picking up one additional stitch onto needle 3

Knit 19 more rounds

Work 4 rows of 1x1 rib.

BO loosely

Neck Opening

Pick up stitches around the neck opening. The exact number is not particularly important but for the record, I pick up 12 across the back of the neck, 12 down either side and 1 in the centre of the neck.

You are working 1x1 rib except for the centre front stitch, this is always knit. Work 4 rounds by working rib to 2 sts before the centre stitch, knit this stitch, SSK the next two sts and continue in rib.

BO loosely.

Finishing

Weave in ends.

Customising for your team:

The Essendon (Black and Red) version was made entirely in black and then a separate biased sash was knit and sewn on. This requires a very small amount of yarn.

The Golden Point (Blue and Cream) version has the stripes knit in as I went.

If you require vertical stripes I would strand them as I went.

As for the little hats. The black and red one is in 2x2 rib and if I recall I cast on about 20 sts, knit about 4 rounds, then did 3 decrease rounds - the first k2, k2tog then k1, k2tog then k2tog. The blue one was much the same but I started with the peak by casting on 4 sts and then working 4 rows of garter increasing 1 st at each end each row. then I cast on to 20sts, joined in the round and did much the same as the other only in stockingette.



Friday, December 26, 2008

And a great Christmas was had by all...



A little note to trampoline buyer beginners - 12 foot doesn't sound that big on the box......

Merry Christmas to you all from me and my monkeys. I hope you all had a happy and peaceful day yesterday.

Christmas at Stitch n Bitch

Last Tuesday night saw Sam, Tania, Rach and I venture to our local "lake"side* restaurant for Stitch n Bitch - Christmas Style! Now excuse the quality of the dodgy phone camera photos but some silliness for your perusal...


My gorgeous socks from Sam. Socks For Veronik by Mona Schmidt knit in Yarn Cafe BFL sock, Golden Sun colourway. Aren't they beautiful? And check out my new shoes - it is a crime what you can get at Kmart for $30 these days.

Tania in her Pink Puzzle. I think she liked it, she wore it home!

Sam proudly displaying her Wollemeise scarf (I believe she shrieked when she realised she now owned Wollemeise) and the Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran she got from Tania. Look closely, it is in the shot....


And Tania modelling her socks from Sam and Fargyles (one made by Sam and one made by me). Check out that Panna Cotta. That stuff was choice!

Foolishly, I forgot to take a photo of the lovely handmade soap I got from Tan (and it is now in the shower and not fit for photography). I am not sure what the girl is saying about me but it was "Gin and Tonic" scent.... It is delicious with a hint of lime which I love.

Rachael is a new knitter and new to our little group but she loved the stitchmarkers that Sam made for her so she was not left out.

*I say this because our local lake has nought but a dribble of water in it. See here.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Progress at the Ponderosa

After a fairly slow start to all things I feel like the last few days have yielded some progress.


Christmas was all set to be a non-event here but I finally got around to doing some gift wrapping and there are now gifts under the tree. Okay, they will only be there for less than a week but better that than never! I also managed to get hold of Santa and he has started to organise the boys' gifts.


Yes people, that is a shed! A real live shed. And in front of the real live shed? Real live grass! I never saw us as the instant turf types but let me tell you, that stuff rocks. We chose instant turf because that particular variety drought tolerant to the point where a small amount of water once a fortnight (that is two weeks for the non-English speakers) keeps it green and lush. You can't buy it as seed and grow it yourself the old fashioned way. Between rain and the water tank we have installed, this lawn should always look like that.

It feels like things are happening. Now to start that pre-Christmas cleaning and organising.....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More Christmas Knitting.

Those that know me will already be aware that I haven't been well the last few weeks. The upside of this is that I have been highly productive. Knitting has been my saviour during this time (and the bane of Jason's existence). There is something about just having to do one little wee thing over and over again that eases the mind and occupies the body. Then all of a sudden, low and behold, all those little somethings has materialised into a big something. There is therapy in the accomplishment and calm in the process.

Some of the results of my convalesence....

Pattern: On the Sunny Side by Melanie Hoffman
Yarn: Bendigo 8ply cotton
Needles: 4mm
Comments: This pattern is written for a 10ply and hopefully the smaller yarn and needles have made it small enough for Mabel. Oh well at worst she will grow into it.


Pattern: Stuffies by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Mystique 16ply in Cocoa
Needles: 6mm
Comments: I knit the head and then picked up stitches to knit the body down. This seemed to work well and eliminated one seam. Bevan helped with the costuming and hopefully his little cousin will like it.


Pattern: Not Rocket Science Coffee Holder by Me
Yarn: Hand-dyed 8ply I picked up from the Bendigo Sheep and Wool show.
Needles: 4mm
Comments: This has an extra repeat in it to make it longer for manly hands.


Pattern: February Lady Sweater by Pamela Wynne (and some/much credit should go to Elizabeth Zimmerman
Yarn: Panda Purla
Needles: 5mm
Comments: This yarn really surprised me. It is light and fluffy and has a lovely feel to it. It is a touch splitty to knit but not horrifyingly so. Something funky happened with the stitch numbers on this but some quick maths and I managed to save the project.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Exciting news from my Knitopshere!


I made KNITTY! You might remember me talking a while back about mystery, emergency knitting. Well this is it!

Stupidly, I knit the socks, photographed the socks and then Sam wore the socks. Then Amy liked the design but not the photos and we had to hastily reknit the socks to have another photo shoot!

Monday, December 8, 2008

If I had something witty to say....

I would have said it by now. So in lieu of cleverness here are some finished objects for your viewing pleasure. Pssttt.... Mum, if Dad is looking send him to make coffee now....

Pattern: Grrlfriend Market Bag by Laura Spradlin
Yarn: Cotton Fleece in Prosperous Plum and Limelight
Mods: made two handles rather than one by casting off 15, knit 10 when it came time. Also did a three needle bind-off to attach the handles.

Pattern: Three Sisters Scarves # One by Monika Steinbauer
Yarn: Wool / Silk blend picked up from the local craft market at the kid's school
Mods: Only 44 sts wide to make the most of the yarn.
Word of Warning: I found the chart very confusing in the second half and I fiddled it a little to make it easier for me to read. If you would like a copy drop me a line.

Pattern: My own top-down seamless Beer Footy Jumper (will write it for you all when I can be bothered)
Yarn: Cleckheaton Country 8ply and Cleckheaton Machinewash 8ply


Patterns: Cute Cupcake from Knit Today and Donut pattern from Etsy
Yarn: A mixture of Jo Sharp DK tweed, Cleckheaton Country 8ply and Panda Starshine.
Mods: Second donut knit in the round and then mattress seamed. Much better result.

Remember people - A lazy post is better than no post at all......

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The great yard renovation!

We have sucked it up here and have hired landscapers to do the garden. For four years now we have been vowing that we would get around to it and finally we have had to admit defeat! The process started back on the 19th of October with the shed demolition and is STILL going, but as you can see from the slide show great progress has been made!

You have to be gentle and realise that as soon as we decided that we would hire someone to do the job we stopped anything that resembled gardening - hence the deplorable state of the before shots.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Smile!

The Universe is such a cool thing! I have no idea how wide spread this phenomena was last night but here you have the moon, Venus and Jupiter making the coolest smiley face in the sky.

It was lovely to get a celestial smile just when I needed one.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Blisters, Puzzles and a Good Idea

Blister is done! This has turned out so much better than I anticipated. It was shaping up nicely but after blocking it has just come into it's own. This is lace scarf number four and I am still amazed at the difference blocking makes. It is now so light and airy (check the photo with the light behind it).

Once again, for the record, the pattern is Monika Steinbauer's Three Sisters Scarves #3. It is knit in Araucania Ranco Solid in the Moss Colourway. The whole thing was done on 3.75mm needles.



I have moved onto the pink and white silk/wool blend that I bought at the market last week. My goodness this yarn is just divine! It is just so lovely in the hand and the colours are beautiful and finding a pattern for it has been a big fat PAIN in the behind! Now there's the Pink Puzzle.

I originally tried something from the Luxury One Skein Wonders book that (once I traced a ton of errata on the net) was just a little too busy with the variegation. I have always said "pattern or variegation". I then had a fiddle with designing something myself. It has come to my attention that I am not that great at designing lace.

Finally I went back to a person who has done me well before - Monika Steinbauer. I decided upon Monica's Three Sisters Scarves #1. It is simple enough to really work with the yarn and I think it is coming along swimmingly. I have done it two repeats narrower, mainly due to my concern that I might not have enough yarn at the original width.


Trust me, once it is blocked it will be magnificent!

And lastly the good idea. I can't really claim this as original, I am quite sure I saw something similar on Knitty Gritty at some stage. But here you go anyway. Get an old blank CD container, ram your centre pull ball onto the spool and put it on the floor to knit from. Not only does the yarn feed really nicely from the ball, it also doesn't roll everywhere and it stays nice and clean! Genuis I tells you.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Love the Local Market!

I am a sucker for markets and the kid's school runs a great little craft market once a month. Today was a treat, oh what a haul.


50 gram balls of 100% wool 8ply for $2 a ball. So bright and cheerful. I have no plans at all for these but they just scream "fun kid's stuff".


Nearly 100g of (I am guessing) 5ply wool/silk hand-dyed for $10. I see a scarf in it's future.


And a huge bag of buttons for $5. Believe me when I tell you....

There is every colour of the rainbow in there.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A sweet diversion.

Have I mentioned before that I love Ravelry?

A few weeks ago I grabbed a pile of older mags of a destash thread on Rav. I am one of these sickos that loves to be surrounded by books and magazines. So much inspiration, so many starting points, so many great ideas! Browsing them yesterday at Maccas with the girls I came across a cute little cupcake pin cushion pattern in Knit Today (a UK mag). Not having a real reason to make them, I reasoned that I would buy some nice pins and give them to some of the chics in my life for Christmas.

As kismet would have it, I was heading from Maccas to shopping with Ma and Pa. Yes, I am so tragic that I go shopping with my folks every week. If you must know, I really like it. Mum and I check out the yarn aisle, Dad and Rohan do the toys, we all do our groceries and then we have coffee.

Would you believe that Kmart are clearing out yarns? So here I was with the very cute cupcake pattern in my mind and cheap Cleckheaton Country and Panda Starshine at my dispossal. What is a girl to do? I quickly selected some suitably cupcakish colours and headed to the registers (with a Thomas engine that Rohan had chosen with Pa, a whole other story ::insert eye rolling here::).

Once the groceries had been collected and rehomed in the pantry I just had to start. Shortly there after kismet inetrevened again and my dear friend Antoinette popped over with my little handknit princess, Holly and the beautiful (and asleep) Wil. Anty saw the cupcake in creation and declared that it was perfect given that Holly is recieving a tea set for Christmas. This was quickly followed by a request to have some made should she purchase the yarn.

Well, I have been debating back and forth for weeks as to what to do about Holly's birthday on the 20th (yep, 5 days before Christmas, a very inconvenient birthing ;)). I really did want to make her something but was struggling for inspiration. So Anty was told that no yarn purchase would be required and Holly is getting cupcakes to go with her tea set and I now have a proper reason to make some of the adorably cute things.


I am now contemplating a knitted cake for Christmas.....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

All Done!

Falling Water is all done and at the risk of sounding immodest, it is magnificent! Everything that is said about the colours of Wollmeise is absolutely true. The colours are just so vibrant and they seem to just shimmer on the yarn. This scarf is luminescent in sunlight.

I am so pleased that I decided to make a scarf from this yarn rather than socks. It would have been completely wasted in a pair of shoes. I am also very grateful that I nabbed it quickly off destash on Ravelry. Gotta love Ravelry destash!

I think I have in mind the recipient for this one but you will just need to wait until Christmas to find out who the lucky person is.



For the record the colourway is Wilder Mohn, hence it's nickname of "Wilder Water".

On to the next task, I present "Blister" which is actually the Three Sister's Scarf #3. A love of Aussie rhyming slang leads me to have to call it blister. This is being knit up in Araucania Ranco Solid (Moss Colourway). I think this is ultimately a good choice given the somewhat mixed reviews I have read about the wear of this yarn as socks. It is a little hard to tell from the photo but it has quite a nice bronzy streak through it. In case I forget to mention it later, I am using 4mm needles rather than the 3.5mm suggested needle size. The yarn just seemed a little substantial for 3.5's.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Things that make you go "WOW!"

I am home from a lovely weekend away with my dear friend Beth. We headed to Warrnambool this time around and day tripped to the Twelve Apostles and Port Fairy.

Two nights away and several hours driving proved the ideal opportunity to get some knitting, magazine reading, DVD watching and relaxing done. Falling Water is finished and blocking. Without wishing to sound conceited, this made me gasp when I looked at it pinned out.


The Wollmeise is just stunning and the lace just sets it off beautifully. I am really chuffed.

And some random shots from the weekend....

Wow indeed!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mmmm Yarn....




Just arrived in the post....

Yarn Cafe Four Bags Full Merino in "Siren" and "Tiger Cub" as well as Wooltopia Organic DK Merino in "Limelight". Ahhh the joys of trophy yarn - yarn you buy because it is pretty with no real intentions of doing anything with it!

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Beautiful Gift


Okay a beautiful gift and a fairly crap photo. If the Yarn Harlot read my blog she would recognise that hair - that's exactly what we frizz-prone folk get when it is humid and rainy! Those dark circles? Well that would be a lack of sleep and a surfeit of red wine.

The Cloud Bolero that I am wearing is actually the object of interest. It is a late but gorgeous gift from the lovely Tania. Knit expertly in Jo Sharp Slikroad Aran in a teal colourway, it is absolutely lovely and I love it.

Thanks Tan. :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Little Things



Ahhh baby knitting, I am such a fan! A few wee little things for babies I know (or know of).

The Curly Purly Soaker is made from dirt cheap Kmart Clinker that I hand-dyed an age ago. I really like the colours but I know that they aren't everyone's cup of tea. My friend Josh and his partner Brit have just had a little girl and they are the kind of people who a) are using cloth nappies (go guys!) and b) love bright and cheerful things. The ruffles are just to girl it all up a bit!

The cabled bib is a Christmas gift so no clues yet who that is for but I can tell you that it is made in Cotton Fleece and slightly modified from the pattern in that it is 40 stitches wide and about 21cm long.

I have said it before and I will say it again - I LOVE BABY KNITTING! Not enough to have a nother one of my own though.