Wednesday, 29 February 2012

New Website!

We're very proud to launch our new website, A Passionate Yarn. After deciding to start the business in December last year, the journey undertaken to get to this point has been a wonderful, totally new and thrilling adventure. It has been made possible by an amazing team of people, most important of all, my husband.

He believed in me and backed me 100% to take on this adventure. He has assisted every step of the way in setting up the website, providing ongoing moral support and providing invaluable advice. He is my rock and greatest love.

There are a lot of other people who have made this possible - while I can't name everyone who has provided their moral support (you know who you are!), I would like to particularly thank the following people:
  •  Kristen and my mum for the push that was needed for me to take the first step and have provided moral support along the way;
  • Anna-Birgitte (Photography by AnnaBirgitte) whose photography and motivational support have made such as difference;
  • Skye, Giselle, Neve and Jordi who graciously modeled and assisted with the photography;
  • Skot, Doug, Simone, Skye and Jayne who tested the website and provided a multitude of advice over the last few months;
  • Diana for being a test knitter and an enthusiastic supporter; and
  • Jamie and Jan for sharing their range and their ideas.
I hope you enjoy this knitting adventure with us!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

A Typical Day For Us

When I started the A Passionate Yarn adventure not too long ago, it was really for two reasons - one was to follow my passion and the other was to create a flexible working life that would work for my family and me. Now a few months on, I had to laugh as my husband and I today shared a wonderful, topsy-turvy working day with our kids.

As we got up and prepared for school, I took on the lunch preparation,  breakfast, and dressing up duties, while my husband worked at his computer. I took my big boy to his Pre-Primary class while my husband did the laundry and looked after our little guy. We sorted out some business matters together and then went with our youngest to the shops, doing the post office rounds at the same time. We had lunch all together - Japanese, my little guy's favourite. He was enthusiastically forking his Katsu Chicken and rice into his mouth and checking on my progress saying things like "Mum, make sure you taste the rice!"). He didn't mind so much we had done what he called "BORING" jobs (emphasis is all his style) with a lunch out.

In the afternoon, while my husband sorted out some technical issues and did his studies, our little guy and I played ice cream shop and egg hunt most enthusiastically. It was a very funny ice cream shop - it is the sort where you get whatever the shopkeeper wants you to get and this little shopkeeper was also determined that his clients shouldn't eat the ice cream until they were back at their homes....following them to make sure they did not eat anything!

We also baked banana, coconut and sultana bread (hmmm, took a while for my little boy to decide whether sultanas were a good idea or not) and a zucchini/bacon slice. Once we were done, time to pick up the big boy at school.

Once back from school, time for me to depart for my Board meeting while my husband took over bath and dinner duties. I came back to pick up the teeth-brushing, bed-time routine while he went off to his classes. And now,it's my time to work!

Tomorrow will be another combination of the above, with me working more out of the home but in the end, it will still contain all the things I family, my husband and knitting!

Here's a little snapshot of my progress on my big boy's 12 ply vest (Bendigo Rondo and Bendigo Luxury)...I quite like the colours together....

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Baby Ben and Sneak Preview

Lots of things happened over the last few days! I got to meet little baby Ben, the little boy who inspired  the Elephant Family Baby Blanket . He is such a cutie and so placid, even with visitors and loud noises. Didn't get to hold him this time but am itching to do so next time...I know this is a terrible cliche but I had forgotten how small a newborn is. It surprises me every single time...despite my own experiences! It was also so lovely to have time to catch up with his mummy and have a chance to talk without interruptions (ie. three gorgeous but noisy boys running around at the same time).

Knitting wise, I've finished the little vest for my youngest, just need to weave in the ends. I'm very happy with it and have started a size up for eldest in a mixture of Bendigo Rondo Ocean Spray (a lovely turquoise) and Bendigo Luxury 4ply Koala shade (brown). The Rondo yarn is not as soft as the Luxury but the mixture will make it very wearable. So far, the yarns have a beautiful stitch definition, which gives quite a different finish from the Patons Jet. Photos coming soon.

Also, we had another photoshoot of beautiful knitted products from the "Night Owl Knitter". Here's a little sneak peak of the wonderful necklaces coming to A Passionate Yarn website shortly. I'm itching to get a couple more for myself but hmmm, must restrain myself!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Aspirational Knitting

I was thinking today about what would be for me the height of my knitterly dreams other words, what project would make me go "wow, I never thought I could do this!" and give me the thrill of mastering something unique and inspiring.

It is a bit of hard call to be honest as up there in my top 5 would be a beautiful classic Aran sweater, a delicate lace evening shawl with exotic fine fibres (the Yarn Harlot mentioned once knitting a wrap out of metal!), a quilt cover (for sheer persistence) ...However, my vote at the moment would probably go to a long, 1 or 2 ply lace jacket. I've seen a couple on Ravelry and they are jaw-dropping in their complexity, the will-power of the knitter and the sheer beauty of the finished transparent fabric. Even a non-knitter would admire the finished product without the realisation of the months it would take to finish it.

Back to reality, my own 2 ply lace is coming on very slowly indeed. I started back in November a lace wrap made from a gorgeous Suri Alpaca yarn from Lawithick Alpacas in a flame pattern. And this is the state it's in...those who will have seen on Ravelry will notice it hasn't advanced at all in 3 months.

Copyright A Passionate Yarn

Unfortunately, a combination of Christmas knitting, design projects and general life has got in the way of me carrying on this project. I've recently moved it away from the shelf above my desk, to my stash......I've been telling myself it is to avoid dust settling on it, but really it is probably to avoid its reproachful presence at its state of neglect. Will get to it soon.......maybe next Christmas?

Sunday, 19 February 2012

A Satisfying Knit

Having started on my 12 ply vest late on Thursday....and only really got into it on Saturday, it was very exciting to have finished the front of the vest for my youngest son by the end of the evening! A size six too! While it is wonderful to see a beautiful piece of lace come alive through weeks of hard work and finally materialise at the blocking stage, it is also so satisfying to instantly  see your project evolve and progress under your very eyes. The colour looks really beautiful too....very Scottish seaside, which  my youngest should really like it...hopefully! There is also something really comforting and old world about knowing that you are preparing your family for the cold, even it is 35 degrees celsius outside (I know, these crazy Australian knitters!).

Photo Copyright A Passionate Yarn
Another exciting development this weekend was a delivery of beautiful knitted necklaces and wraps from "the Night Owl Knitter of Balingup", ready for the opening of the A Passionate Yarn website in a couple of weeks. I'm always fascinated by what she creates and how lovely they all feel next to your skin....long gone are those days of itchy wool! Her own story is really interesting but that is a tale for another day....

Thursday, 16 February 2012 wool, new projects!

We've weathered the whooping cough (fortunately turned out the boys didn't have it) and the house is sunny and bright again....So new projects, hooray!!!

I'm gearing up for two new wool vests for the boys in 12 ply so they should be satisfyingly quick knits. As it gets colder inside houses than outside most of the time in Perth (insulation is not that great) - a vest for after bathtime or early in the morning in autumn/winter is really perfect. Both boys have worn theirs to death and my youngest's unfortunately got shrunk (a very beautiful dark brown Bilby yarn).

Plus I have to admit to a bit of bargain shopping at Spotlight recently which resulted in acquiring a great yarn and colour for my youngest son's vest. I don't know about you but I can never turn down a wool bargain...especially a beautiful colour like this mixed blue Jet! I've only just cast on but am very excited about the prospect of spending time knitting something for the boys.

Photo Copyright A Passionate Yarn
My youngest this morning had pulled out of the cupboard a stash of finished objects and was busily parading around with each item. Of course, Mum had to join the fashion parade as well! In doing this, it reminded me so much of the joy it gives both boys to get something that is handmade that I had to get a move on as fast as possible! (I know this joy of the handmade will go very soon and perhaps they may come to appreciate it again when they themselves have's hoping!).

In other yarn acquisitions, I've bought two balls of Patons Emotion, which feels deliciously soft (it's part merino and part cashmere)....heavenly! I'm thinking of making a pair of fingerless lace mitts out of these for a birthday present. I think it will be a real thrill to knit with something so pleasing to the touch.

Photo Copyright A Passionate Yarn

Monday, 13 February 2012

Elephant Baby Blanket Released

The Elephant Baby Blanket has been released as a free download on Ravelry! It will also soon be available from the A Passionate Yarn website.

Elephant Family Blanket Copyright A Passionate Yarn

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Hmmm, did I say lots of time for knitting?

In last Thursday's post, I mentioned both my boys were at home as they may have contracted whooping cough. I thought perhaps given they were very tired, perhaps there might be a return of the afternoon sleeps and therefor a little bit of spare time available....sadly no. The reality was two very tired, cranky little boys that needed lots of attention, many different activities and much reading to. The wonderful news is that they are both feeling a lot better and while still tired and coughing, they seem to be returning to their usual selves.

On the knitting front, the not-so-good news is that I didn't get much knitting done at all. The result of the weekend's knitting lies before you......

Copyright 2012 A Passionate Yarn
However, there is nothing quite like doing lots of playdough with the boys to bring forth one's creative juices, so got a couple of ideas for future projects to play around with over the next few months!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Geographe Bay Scarf

Just letting you know that I've released a new pattern called Geographe Bay Scarf on Ravelry, and soon to be available on the A Passionate Yarn website. More details and photos about this scarf are available on the A Passionate Yarn Knitting Pattern site.

Geographe Bay Scarf copyright A Passionate Yarn, Photo copyright Photography by AnnaBirgitte

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Bumps in the Road

Sometimes when you think you're making headway in a particular area, an unexpected setback comes your way that turns your daily routine around for a little while. Well, in our particular case, after the big summer cold/flu and various other health niggles, and with school started again, we thought we were in the home straight. Unfortunately, one of my eldest son's little friends got diagnosed with whooping cough and given both my boys have symptoms, they're in the strange limbo land of quarantine and antibiotics for the next 4 days! There is quite a whooping cough epidemic at the moment and while for the boys it may not be too bad, it is awful for little unfortunately no seeing my friend's little baby for quite a while!

However, on the plus side, more time at home so perhaps an excuse for extra knitting?? Of course, this has to be really plain knitting given the level of tiredness. I've started little plain cotton garter stitch t-shirt done in one piece that is a slight modification of the Blue Box's Kwiknit Jumper pattern. Not sure yet which baby it will be for - my cousin's or my friend's. Here's a picture of it so far - it is knitted in Bendigo Cotton 8ply in Latte colour. The picture shows the back of the sweater with half of the sleeve done.

Copyright 2012 - A Passionate Yarn

What do you knit when you're feeling tired?

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Introducing the Claudine Beanie

This little design was inspired by memories of fields of wheat and flowers in summer with a little French twist. It is a quick, fun and feminine knit is provided in sizes 12 months, two to five years and adult (early teens could use the adult size). It has a soft, scalloped moss stitch brim.

Claudine Beanie copyright A Passionate Yarn, Photo copyright Photography by AnnaBirgitte
The beanie is made out of 8ply yarn and can be made in a cotton/lycra or a wool yarn (I've used Bendigo Luxury in Baby Blue (adult size) and Bendigo Spring Cotton in Spring Lily (12 months size) in the photos.

The Claudine Beanie is a straightforward lace pattern, which contains both charted and written instructions. The pattern is now available for sale on Ravelry and will soon be available on the A Passionate Yarn website.

Claudine Beanie copyright A Passionate Yarn, Photo copyright Photography by AnnaBirgitte

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Baking and Knitting...What More Could You Want?

Today was spent doing just the things I love. In the morning, I got to spend time finishing up a couple of new patterns for lace scarves....sneak preview shortly. One is for a simple skinny scarf and the other is a little feminine lace scarf for those days when you feel like a little French twist on a summer day. My lovely test knitter has also finished one of the Claudine Beanies so that will be up soon too. I can't wait to put these up on the A Passionate Yarn website when it's ready.

In the afternoon, it was time to bake for the first time in weeks! The temperature dropped for a couple of days and we were able to use our put it to good use...baked veggies, frittata, homemade meatballs and banana bread...hence, not so much time for blogging. The boys helped with making a banana bread each and covered in sticky dough...very funny! Tasted delicious though.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Yarn Bombing at Scarborough Beach

Oh my, what a great day....first day in ages that we've had cooler weather and it coincided with the installation of the knits done in late January on Scarborough Beach. It looks really wonderful. So warm, fun and friendly. Check it out if you get an opportunity! The installation is there as part of the Summerset Arts Festival from 3-11 February.

Flags and Flowers

Colour at the Amphitheatre

View of the Sea and Surf life Saving Tower

Band warming up

View from Scarborough Beach Playground
Boys Playing Hide and Seek

It was a beautiful end to the day. We went out listened to the band warming up, played on the playground and had fish and chips close to the beach, finishing off with ice cream... My idea of bliss - combining yarn and the simple pleasures of family life! Perfect.....