Thursday, 29 March 2012

Target Met!

Easter Beanie Four is now complete and my Beanie has been officially met....ok, somewhat sneakily I must admit since there is a baby beanie in the mix but as I go by my own rules, it still counts! So, here are some pictures of the latest, a Claudine Beanie in scarlet for my niece aged almost two. I was very tempted to keep it but they'll look so much cuter in it!

I have to tell you that to take these pictures of my youngest modelling the beanie,  a hard bargain had to be struck first. As he quite rightly noted - "This beanie is not for me", followed by the equally compelling argument "I don't like pink beanies". The deal was as follows assistance in the fast clean up of Duplo by Mum followed by puzzle-making in return for taking these pictures.I think he modelled it very well!

There's still about another week to run on the Great Easter Beanie Challenge so I've got a bit of choice on what I will do next. I still have a beanie to do for my lovely husband and will be swatching a beautiful red handspun tonight to see what pattern I could use. However, I might sneak in a little beanie that I've been really itching to design.....maybe something with a snail theme. We shall see!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Scarlet O'Beanie

Easter Beanie number four is well underway, about a third of the way through I'd say. I'm making a Claudine Beanie in a scarlet colour (Bendigo Spring Cotton - Spring Rose). It is actually something I'm really enjoying knitting. The scarlet is such a beautiful colour and in combination with the wheatfield/flower pattern, it reminds me a bit of a 1920s-inspired hat. I haven't quite decided who's Easter present this will be. If it fits me, I'm very tempted to snaffle it myself!

Yesterday, I happened to mention to a colleague that I knit and that knitting is something that I do in some shape or form everyday even if it is only for a little bit. In return, I got a rather embarassed look - a mixture of utter pity and one of those - oh my god, she's a lunatic! I think this is quite a common experience for many knitters these days. Especially from people who only remember knitting as something grandmas do and something that was not a particularly welcome gift. Sometimes you get a follow up of -" Isn't knitting dead?" or "I just don't know where you get the time. I'm just too busy for that". However, occasionally you get someone's eyes light up and an enthusiastic response - either a knitter in the making , a lapsed knitter who s just waiting for an excuse to start up again or another diehard knitter. That response is always so rewarding and it always makes for a much brighter day. The rest of the responses - well, I just ignore them....after all, they probably wouldn't like me to comment on their golf, Wii or karaoke habits, would they?!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Baby Elephant Beanie and Pastries

Third Easter Beanie finished! It's for a little boy called Ben (another Ben!) who is turning one soon. The first picture is in Bendigo Luxury 4ply Koala colour.


 This little Baby Elephant beanie was created at the same time as the Elephant Family Baby Blanket and despite my good intentions, has been lurking on the to-be-completed-design pile. There are also a couple of other designs that are in that pile but should be seeing the light in the not-too-distant future. However, this challenge has given me the perfect opportunity to come back to it and it will soon be released! The two pictures below are in the same Bendigo Cotton 4ply as the original Elephant Family Baby Blanket.

 It is a very quick little beanie that you block over a bowl. Keep posted for its release in the near future!

On another matter, I also wanted to tell you about a great exhibition that is happening in Swanbourne, Western Australia. It combines two of my favourite things - pastries and photos of France! AnnaBirgitte who is the wonderful photographer behind a lot of A Passionate Yarn's photos, is having a photo exhibition at the Choux Cafe.


The photos show some of Emmanual's favourite places in Paris (he's the chef) and there is also a glimpse of AnnaBirgitte's new cards. I love the exhibition and the cards. I'll be definitely getting some of those cards...especially the pictures of the markets and pastries!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Easter Beanie 2 Finished!

The second Easter Challenge Beanie is finished a little ahead of time, which I'm delighted about given the severe shortage of knitting time this week! It's a slouch beanie in Bendigo Luxury 8ply in Oceanic and Baby Blue. My youngest agreed to model it today while doing his gardening chores - okay, playing hide and seek was also part of the negotiated deal! I'm really pleased with the quirky end result.

Here's an example of my little boy's sense of humour below. He's being Mr Beanie Man apparently - wearing all three of his current beanies!

So now on to planning the next beanie.  Hmmm, might pick a Claudine Beanie next while I decide what to do for my lovely husband.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Knitting Drought

I'm back from my interstate trip complete with jet lag, bag overflowing with paperwork - also additional bags under the eyes. A sense of strangeness also came home with me probably due to lack of sleep and lack of knitting  (only one hour of knitting time between Friday last week and today!).

However, after a few hours at home with hugs from my boys and husband, knitting needles in hand and joyous play happening around me.....I'm at peace with the world, happy and content.

My youngest showed me his makeshift rope and pulley system in the backyard which was very cool. I had to test it out several times for good measure!

My eldest had stories galore about the pirate boat he'd made at school - which he was so proud of as it floats!  It's amazing how little is needed to restore inner calm. Suddenly, everything else falls into perspective and what seemed so irritating and problematic before, now can be seen in its proper light.

Coming back to the  Easter Beanie Challenge, I've picked up the slouch beanie again and despite having lost so many days, I'm feeling optimistic that I'll get it done by the end of the week. Let's hope I can show you more in my next post!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Stripey Slouchy Beanie

It's been a very strange weekend with utterly no knitting involved due to my youngest and I being sick. I know, jaw dropping to say the least knowing me and not very good for the Easter Beanie Challenge. Compounding the knitting for an extra two days while I'm away interstate...yikes!

So....standstill for the Great Easter Beanie Challenge.

But the good news is that I think I've found the perfect beanie for my youngest son. It's the Stripey DoubleKnit Slouch by Madmonkey. He has a very strong fondness for slouchy beanie. This became very obvious to us last year when he loved passionately the worst beanie I have ever made. Not kidding! It was meant to be adult-sized made with curly, bobbly yarn and had a shape resembling the top of a tomato where the stem sits. It came out as an amorphous blob of a hat, which I could not bring myself to give to my brother-in-law, who was to be the original recipient for this hat. So this hat was first stuck in my eldest's room as a dress-up and then somehow was found by my youngest and it hasn't left him. Here he is wearing the beanie, hard at work drawing one morning (all males in this household wear beanies in the morning inside the house in winter!):

So hopefully this new beanie will be a suitable replacement in my son's eyes. It is going to be made from Bendigo Luxury 8ply in Oceanic as the main colour and Baby Blue for the stripes. See below.

Now to psych myself up for another two days of not knitting....

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Easter Beanie 1 Finished!

Just completed  beanie number 1in the Easter Beanie Challenge, which was a Sid Beanie by Georgie Hallam. My five year old son was thrilled with the end result and modelled it very willingly this morning! Wonderful to have a very happy customer!

That brings the tally of the Great Easter Beanie Challenge up to 1. Next challenge is to find a slouchy beanie for my 3 year-old. More on this love of slouchy, quirky styles later....

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Sid Beanie

What a week to pick for the start of the Great Easter Beanie Challenge! So hot and so much non-knitting work to do! Nevermind, finding those little opportunities to knit is always great fun.

Just a quick reiteration of the challenge:
  • I have to meet the target of at least four beanies by Easter Sunday.
  • Feel free to join me in the challenge - love to hear your goals and where you are up to.
  • If you register in the challenge,you get to a free Claudine Beanie pattern and the opportunity to have your beanies showcased on this blog! No pressure...and no promotional advertising. There may even be a little giveaway at the end ;-). Click here to register

My Sid Beanie is taking shape. Have advanced from the main body to the quicker part of the last part of the decrease. The picture shown below is from yesterday, when I was slightly less advanced. I'm finding it a great experience to ditch the DPNs and go for a small circular needle - it's the first time I've actually done that. Still love my straights though!

My eldest boy, who is now 5, has a fascination for colourful beanies and so I hope this one ticks his boxes. This is one of the beanies he asked me to make when he was 3. It had to be a multicoloured rainbow beanie with matching scarf. Here are some pictures of the then proud new owner!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Join the Great Easter Beanie Challenge!

For the last two years, I have set myself an Easter challenge, which is to make beanies as Easter presents for my boys, family and friends' children. It has become a bit of a tradition to give something woolly as well as chocolatey for Easter. My boys are still at the age where they are excited about the prospect of new beanies and these are eagerly anticipated and watched throughout the knitting process!

So here goes, the Great Easter Beanie Challenge, a knit-along where you can choose your own beanie patterns and your target number of beanies to finish before Easter Sunday. Keep us up to date on your progress and share the beautiful beanies you've created!

Every person who registers for the knit-along  and provides us with their target number of beanies gets a free Claudine Beanie knitting pattern and the chance to show your beanie creations. Click here to register. Looking forward to seeing the talented contributions!

This year, my personal target is to accomplish at least 4 beanies in the four weeks to Easter Sunday! Sounds doable but there is an interstate trip in between and some pretty busy times ahead....Never mind, I've dived into my stash and come up with the following potential candidates for the challenge (may change if I see better candidates!).
First beanie is underway...a Sid Beanie (by Georgie Hallam from Tikki Design) for my eldest boy. My apologies for the stunningly unattractive picture - at 40 degrees outside, not much time for a greatly thought out photo shoot!)

Every blog post I will update you on where I'm at with the challenge using this trusty beanie-o-meter. Happy knitting!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Runaway Balloon T-Shirt

Ok, so minimalist baby chic is not for me. I decided last night to try my hand with a crochet needle and embroider on some string, then knit up a little red balloon. I think it looks passable for a first totally improvised attempt! Hmmm, may think about learning to crochet in the next few months.

Also, stay tuned for my Easter Beanie challenge!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Minimalist Baby Chic?

We've just had the Labour Day long weekend in Western Australia, which was the perfect time to reconnect with friends and with all things knitting related.

The little cotton t-shirt I'm making for baby Ben got a good working out and is now near completion! It was the perfect type of knitting since counting stitches seemed a little too ambitious for my grey cells. I'm just doing the seams and need to add a slip stitch crochet border to the neck line (new experience!) and thinking of perhaps also embroidering or appliqueing something to the t-shirt as it is a very plain at this stage.....Or perhaps I should be thinking of it as minimalist, rugged country baby chic?

The other big event was the Perth Upmarket, where I enjoyed seeing all the beautiful Western Australian handmade items. It is so much fun seeing all kinds of crafts and what beautiful colours and textures people are putting together - a perfect way to spend a bit of 'me' time.  Jamie Sinclair was at the markets with her beautiful range of beanies and accessories for babies and children (cotton-based). It was so great to see her stall be constantly surrounded by people and fortunately she also had two other lovely family members come to help out. Her Owl Earflap Hat which is coming to our store soon also sold out - not surprising given it is a really cute design!

Apart from Jamie's stall there were a few crochet stalls and three stores that had some form of knitting in them. I can't wait until winter when hopefully the knitted arts come into their own! I have to admit buying woollen beanies or berets when the temperature is hitting 37 degrees and the sun is beating down requires true devotion to all things knitting...

Saturday, 3 March 2012

My Husband

It was our tenth wedding anniversary this week! We have been together for close to 16 years and although it feels like we know one another well, we are still learning so much about each other. In fact, it feels like only a very short period since we met! We've had two children, gone through a number of career changes/life challenges and more house moves than I care to think about.  And yet,  as we have aged love only gets better as we both get  more courageous about showing our true selves.

He is the most amazing man I know with a way of seeing the world that is totally different, without fear for trying new and eclectic things, ever patient and a total love for being a parent. He is a very special person and I am extremely privileged to have been able to spend these last ten years married to him.

Thank you so much.

P.S. He's even talking about learning to knit so that he knows what it feels like!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Garden of Flowers - French Style

I've just released a new scarf for sale on Ravelry called the Claudine Scarf. This scarf has been a while in the making and has a story attached to it.

In September last year, I decided to take a bit of a career break to decide what I really wanted to do for the rest of my working life. As part of this break, I was very lucky to be able to accompany my mum back to France to see my grandmother for her 96th birthday. It had been ten years since the last time I visited and so many things had changed both in my life (a husband, children!) and hers.

While my grandmother is doing well for a 96 year old, she is no longer able to stay at home in her village. She is now in a nursing home in a wheel chair, also suffering from dementia. This was a real shock given she had always been a very active, outdoorsy person. However, it was wonderful to be able to still spend time with her and be able to share her memories.

As she was always such an avid knitter (many socks, slippers, etc) and she always maintained such a beautiful flower garden, I wanted to include this in some way into a tribute scarf for her. (While the Claudine Beanie was released beforehand, this is the original design from which it was developed).