Thursday, 30 May 2013

Little Boy Vest Completed

 Today is a very rare day indeed. I have a grand total of about five hours by myself to do as I please. There are a few must dos that need to be completed (some work, some shopping and exercise) but the rest is pretty much my own time and there were two things on my list - writing up a blog post and cracking into this little scarf design that I've been dreaming up. The wool I'm going to use - picked out with Little B's approval is a Morris and Co Empire Superwash Merino in 4ply. I can't wait to get started!
I have been quite busy on the knitting front this week. Both the little custom vest (Panda Magnum pattern) and my indulgence scarfette were finished. The vest is featured below after having spent the week drying out after its lovely soapy bath. The weather has turned very cold here all of a sudden (2 degrees over night) and things are taking ages to dry inside. The photos don't do it justice as the yarn (BWM Serenade Dutch Blue) is actually quite a deep speckled blue and it turned out really well.

I've also started on a little custom Camille cardigan (size 12-18 months) for a grand-daughter in a BWM Luxury 8ply in a very inspiring Sunflower yellow (it is actually a bit more vibrant than the yellow pictured below). I'm hoping to progress it further at Craft Night tonight.
Photos of the Indulgence Scarfette and the new vest for Jack in the making will also be featured in the next post.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Indulence Scarf 2: Almost Finished

The weekend has rushed by in the blink of an eye - a blurred mass of chocolate cake, miniature railways, trains of all sizes, climbing gyms, ironing on clothes labels for the boys, soup and craft group. I've not completed any of the crafty tasks I had in mind but "progress not perfection" is the key as a close work colleague of mine always says.

My scarfette (Paula's Scarfette by Georgie Hallam) is growing and I should be finishing it very soon. I love the colours and I think the yarn (10 ply handspun from Bilby Yarns in Willagee) will also relax a little after a soak in some soapy water. It feels very soft and luxurious on, which will come in handy very soon!
I also finally sewed on the button and finished the last weaving in of ends for my cotton A-Line cardigan. I wore it to the birthday party we went to at the miniature railways and it withstood the outing! The picking up of stitches around the neck is something I will need to work on in cotton where there is absolutely no room for error.

Lastly, I have to let you know that I am once again practicing my crochet with a bit more success this time! Polly at craft group very patiently showed a group of us how to do our basic stitches. I had already had this lesson a few times but it never seemed to sink in. This time, it felt more natural and I actually practiced some more last night. I was so impressed with myself for making two squares that actually resemble squares! I'm thinking of making myself a few cotton coaster squares in a multitude of colours. I've made one more since taking this photo in a pale green. Just need a red, a yellow and maybe a dark blue!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Indulgence Knit - Bilby Yarns Handspun Scarfette

I should preface today's post by saying that this is not the post that I thought I would be writing today. I had planned to write about the sweet little custom vest I am knitting for a friend of my mum's grandson and show great pictures of the finished result. However, mother nature intervened by striking both Little B and myself down with a nasty gastro virus.

Having said that, I now have a new barometer for telling how sick I'm feeling. Try this for size (this only works if you're a knitter):
  1. If you're lying in bed, groaning and can't even visualise knitting - stay in bed, you are very sick. (That was me on Day 1)
  2. If you are ok to do very basic stocking stitch but can't fathom anything more complicated and become unstuck with a minor complication - you are on the mend but not yet fully functioning.
  3. If you can actually concentrate enough to do normal everyday knitting (anything other than a garter stitch or rib scarf) - your brain has obviously recovered and you can go about your daily business.
So having now been a bit side-tracked, I can show you something entirely different. The first is my new system of organisation (I finally figured this out on the weekend). This has been brewing for a little while but is not yet fully implemented. It is a system of showing me visually my priority stash/projects.

On my desk I now have three boxes. The top one is for family and friend knits. In there at the moment is the beautiful  caramel yarn from Candy Apple Lane that is slated for a vest for a close friend's little boy and the two balls of Aquarium Luxury that will complement the variegated yarns for my boys' vests. In the bottom right corner are the yarns to be used for me projects. I'm thinking of another cardigan and possibly a lace wrap. The bottom left is for custom knits and design yarns. I haven't entirely filled this one yet - it has currently the yarn for a custom vest and a custom cardigan but I have a few ideas of what else I would like in there! The bag at the top is filled with projects that are finished and awaiting a good home or more sensitive knits in progress like my Suri Alpaca Lap Blanket that will not fare well in the rough and tumble of my normal knits in progress bag.

I can also show you what knitting I did do yesterday (as Day 1 was a total write off). By midday on Day 2 I could actually get my mind around doing a bit of basic stocking stitch and so I started back on the Suri Alpaca Lap Blanket...
...until I hit a snag. I had inadvertently dropped a stitch about 10 rows down and the effort of picking it up was excruciating. I also totally stuffed up the garter stitch part of the picked up stitch but given it was 3ply and fluffy....I just couldn't face undoing it. It is therefore put aside for the time being.

However, I wanted to perk myself up a little and couldn't fathom picking up the stitches around the collar and one of the sleeves for the custom vest so I started on the scarf I have been dying to knit for myself. It is a slightly modified version of Paula's Scarfette, which is a great free design by Georgie Hallam from tikki designs. I made this pattern recently for my mum's mothers day present as well. This time I am doing it in a beautiful 10-12ply dark blue handspun by Bilby Yarns.

You may remember this yarn from the August giveaway last year. I had bought about 300g worth of this beautiful yarn at the time. This is a mixture of merino and silk and feels absolutely gorgeous. I've been eyeing it off for almost a year and enough is enough. Why not start now?

Fortunately, this pattern is very simple and only requires a very little amount of cabling - no tricks here. It also goes really, really fast so that is absolutely wonderful from a self-gratification perspective! By late afternoon yesterday, I was well underway with this beauty and could safely say that I was going to be able to be back at work today.
 Having said that, I'm not quite sure I'm up to picking up stitches tonight yet so I may have another delightful evening with this scarf before going on to other projects!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Cotton Cardigan and Sunday Afternoons

After a very busy and somewhat topsy-turvy week, it was a real pleasure to have an easy-going Sunday at home with the boys. We somehow all managed to do exactly what we wanted to do - the boys playing lego, my lovely husband cleaning out our family car that is unfortunately going to the scrapyard (there's part of the topsy-turvy week!) and I was taking the opportunity to photograph the finished cotton cardigan.

This is the A-line cardigan by Debbie Bliss from her Amalfi book. I've modified it slightly to give it a different edging. The lace pattern is called Falling Snow from the Vogue Knitting Stitchionary 5.
You might be wondering what my lovely boys were doing while I was taking the photos. They were on my bed, playing with the globe right next to the photoshoot!

This photo is only included to show you the fit, which I am pretty happy with. I've only safety-pinned it together until I receive the beautiful buttons from Sheepish by Sarah. Apart from that, this photo illustrates some very important mistakes to avoid when having your photo taken -  a) actually check yourself in the mirror before asking to someone to take the photo - always remember to straighten your t-shirt and comb your hair, b) make sure you are not staring into full sun, c) don't ask your husband to take a photo when he is quite obviously in the middle of something.

Today was also all about being together and so along with some home cooking involving Big B (beetroot hummus dip), we went on a family walk through the nearby bushland. The boys were very keen and charging ahead...
We found a curious lorikeet on our travels...
 And also came across a beautiful banksia tree...
Here's a dried banksia up close...
All in all, it was a wonderful Sunday and a great way to let the stresses and tiredness of the week roll off! I'm rounding off the day by getting back to knitting a little vest for a friend of my mother's grandson. Looking forward to it!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Minibreak in Adelaide

It's Mother's Day here in Australia and it has been a really special day - whole weekend in fact. My lovely husband and I had the privilege of being able to take a few days away together without little boys, courtesy of my parents-in-law (to whom I am very, very grateful!).
We spend two wonderful days discovering Adelaide in all of its autumn beauty. We spent the vast majority of our time walking through amazing parts of the city. My husband worked out we walked about 15km the first day (not including things like shopping or finding somewhere to eat) and 9km the second day in the morning (plus additional in the afternoon). Let's just say, it was a perfect excuse to enjoy Adelaide's great restaurants and wine guilt-free!

Here are some of the highlights from the Botanical Gardens...the tropical world of the bicentennial glass house
 The giant waterlilies in the Amazon Waterlily Pavillion...
 The cactus garden in a beautiful glass house...
One our travels too, we went shopping and I visited a beautiful shop called Button Bar in the picturesque Adelaide Mall. I was just excited by the great range of buttons when my lovely husband told me: "I can't believe you haven't spotted the wool yet". In the back of the shop was a range of luxury yarns including a wide variety of Noro husband had to take a hike for a while as I settled in for a really enjoyable perusal of all the fabulous yarns (not that he minded I hasten to add!). Of course, I just had to get a ball of Kureyon sock yarn as a souvenir and a couple of buttons!

As you can see, I've been working on my cotton cardigan and hope to get it done this week! I've also started a custom vest in 8ply Serenade. I was going to proudly show you what two plane trips can enable but...I realised yet again that sleep deprivation and any sort of pattern following is fraught. I have now to undo about 3 hours worth of work....grrr. Nevermind, these gorgeous booklets made by Big B and Little B can only make me smile.
 Nothing says I love you like a lizard! I've got great new Mothers Day pictures also from the boys in my study so once I've reorganised by shelving I'll show you. I'm also proudly wearing my macaroni and bead bracelet.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Sparkly Pink Ballerina Dress 2

This week has been wonderfully productive in terms of knitting! It is with great delight that I can show you the completed Ballerina Dress (Design is Rainbow Dress by Georgie Hallam and yarn is DK sparkle from Candy Apple Lane) for my three year old niece. It is beautifully girly and although the camera doesn't quite pick it up, it also sparkles in the sun or under lights.
It has pretty picot edgings on the arms and at the hem and I think it looks adorable. It is just missing a little white ribbon where you see the line of holes under the bodice.
 While the dress is lying peacefully drying on top of my bed, I can tell you about the hairier moments of knitting it on the plane to and from Adelaide this week. On both flights I was sandwiched next to two blokes and the look of pure disgust was quite remarkable upon having a female knitting between them. Especially something that is very very pink and sparkles most eye-catchingly in the lights of the plane! I have to admit I was a little embarrassed at the prettiness of the knit but soldiered on regardless. After all, who in their right mind is going to turn down two and a half hours of child-free knitting time?

I've also started again my three-quarters finished cotton cardigan with the intent to have it almost done by the end of the week - I'm on a roll here! Only the right front side to go and of course the seeming and collar. With a bit of luck I'll get to wear it before it gets too cold!