Saturday, 29 June 2013

California Scarf

This week has seen me work on a really intriguing scarf (a custom request) from the Cleckheaton California patterns. Worked in series of short rows using the beautiful variegated Cleckheaton California 8ply yarn (shown in Ocean), this ends up being a simple but very effective knit. Totally addictive as well!
After a rather hectic week at work, I decided on Friday to have a crafting day and spent a whole four hours devoted to knitting and catching up on my favourite TV shows. It was total bliss! This scarf was a perfect match for my mood and I just kept cracking along. I even managed to break my bamboo knitting needle - first time ever and had to go buy a replacement (the fact I did not have a replacement at the ready tells me that my needle collection is not yet as comprehensive as it should be!). This last shot is probably the truest in colour.

 Lastly, I finally got around to washing and blocking the little beanie for my one year old nephew MJ. I took a quick snapshot of it yesterday as it was drying in the sun (ready to be gifted today). I'm hoping it will fit him as yours truly was rather scatterbrained in making it (managing to forget not only not to change to the larger needle size but also managing to do the wrong sort of cast-on when I already knew I shouldn't be doing that one). My sister-in-law has been forewarned so if it doesn't fit, a replacement will be made.
One more party to go this afternoon! I hope you all have had a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Achievements

A few months ago, I posted about trying to change to a more healthy lifestyle that included exercise, healthy eating and balanced mind. Well, I had set myself four goals to be achieved by 30 June and happened to stumble on them on Sunday. I am surprised and delighted to say that I have achieved two of the four and one I haven't yet checked. The first was getting my blood pressure down to normal levels and I can give that a big tick - yay! Second, was to get back into my most special dress,  a little black number in a very slender size 12 and yes, it fits very well now. I'm ready to go out on the town! The third was to reduce my cholesterol level and I haven't had that test redone yet but I think it is a pretty safe bet that it has been reduced. The last I couldn't remember even writing down, which was to run continuously for half an hour - I haven't done (probably has something to do with not remembering it!). However, all in all, I'm very happy with the result.

The unexpected side-effect of the exercise and the better health has been the wonderful way it has impacted my brain and mood. It's so nice to be able to have a more positive view of life and just feel more energy and resilience to deal with times of challenge. Now, I don't exercise for the weight loss - I do it for what it does to my head!

On a knitting note, I can leave you with a picture of a scarf I am designing which is destined for Little B. It is knit in Morris and Sons Empire 4ply. I'm really enjoying it and can't wait to get back to it hopefully on Friday.
More pictures and projects hopefully later in the week...the rain has curtailed my picture taking opportunities!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Scrambled Egg Sock 2: The First Sock is Finished

Aha, I feel the sock is going to be vanquished! I have finished my first Scrambled Egg Sock (Nice Ribbed Sock design by Glenna C) and it is looking pretty good even if I say so myself. It fits and it feels gorgeous on....I am starting to see the attraction of socks! I'm in love with the Nasturtium colour (from Jodulbug Creations).


I think these are going to be perfect weekend socks. The second sock has been cast on, the cuff has been done and I'm now on the leg part. I'm hoping this will stand me in good stead not to succumb to second sock syndrome...where no second sock eventuates. Unfortunately I am going to have neglect this project a bit as I have a beanie for my nephew MJ to finish and a custom scarf but never fear, its yellow yolk colour will keep calling me whenever I need a bit of a pick me up.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Scrambled Egg Socks

Sometimes when you are feeling a little flat, all it takes to brighten your day is a beautiful bright yarn and a project that is just for you - with no deadlines, no expectations - just you and the yarn. For me, I find it especially important in winter as the cold and the dark makes everything a bit more of a chore.

My "ray of sunshine" project at the moment is my Scrambled Egg Socks - a name given to the project by my lovely husband which will suit the socks very well. The design is a very simple, straightforward free pattern called "Nice Ribbed Sock" by Glenna C aka The Crazy Knitting Lady - who writes a really informative knitting blog. The yarn is Jodulbug Creations - 4ply merino in Nasturtium.

I have knitted a bit more since these pictures were taken and am now decreasing to shape the toes. I know this is a bit early to cry victory but I think it is looking promising. I tried it on the other day and it actually fits - not too tightly and not baggy. For those of you that don't know it...getting a sock that fits has haunted me for a while and now is the time to conquer this personal challenge.

I am hoping it all works out as I have already found about a dozen other socks I would like to knit!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Finishing Projects

There is something very empowering about finishing projects and packaging them up. I had the joy of doing that for a couple of projects this weekend. 

The first is the Camille Cardigan in a size one. I've used the beautiful variegated blue Empire Yarn from Morris and Sons to make the butterflies. I really like this version of it - girly but different, using the gorgeous button from Sheepish by Sarah as well.

The second is of course the Milo Vest I was working on for Jack's birthday (The yarn is Choc-Caramel by Candy Apple Lane). I am so pleased with the result and I'll be making this knit again very soon. I've got 130 grams of this yarn left and so I think it will be enough to make a small version for MJ for his first birthday!
I also gave Ben his vest. This is one that is a modified Lorix. I was going to change the collar back to a Lorix collar but ran out of determination to undo the whole collar. However, it fits and is already in use! In real life it looks a bit better than the one laid out below. What more can you ask for!
Of course, once you've finished a few projects, that opens the door for more projects! As you can guess, my needles have not been idle. The Scrambled Egg Socks are well on their way and I'm feeling positive about finally getting something sock-shaped! However, that is a story for another day....

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Crochet Creations

It has been a few weeks now since I've mentioned crochet. For those of you who don't know it, I am an absolute beginner in crochet and have found my several attempts to learn this other yarny past-time quite challenging. For one, it uses your left hand in a way that is absolutely not involved in the knitting I do. Two, none of the skills that I have learned in knitting that you might think apply (like tensioning your yarn) works in the way. Lastly, the whole concept of being really bad at something again and that all your attempts are really quite woeful is a little hard to endure when you are time poor and can do very well in the knitting sphere. The joys of embracing adult learning as some would say!
My first crochet project was to make some coasters as we are chronically short of coasters at home and I keep using a terrible gauge swatch as my coaster for my desk. Not particularly inspirational or beautiful!
 So these four different squares are an attempt to master my tensioning of the yarn and to make something approximately uniform. In case you're wondering, the purple square has an extra border on it - no, I'm not quite that bad!
However, this was an introductions to my bigger project which is actually a crochet cushion cover in Bendigo Woollen Mills Cotton (better for our Western Australian summers). It has progressed a little more since this picture was taken. The aim here is to have an interesting blank canvas for the cushion on which I can embellish with knitted or if I'm game enough, crochet motifs. This will remain a project between projects when I don't want to pick up my needles or when time only permits me to do small bits at a time.

Anyway, although it is not perfect, I can see small bits of progress and that is enough for me at this point in time. What are you learning at the moment?

Sunday, 9 June 2013

My Little Sock Fling

As I was telling you in my previous post, my enforced monogamy to my Milo Vest in progress and the slight issues I was having with it (entirely my fault) was causing me to shy away from it. A constant stream of new projects to cast on beckoned me and finally, I felt it was better for us to have a short break from each other in order to find ourselves once again.

Once the decision made, I was torn by the possibilities and finally settled on making Glenna C's Nice Ribbed Sock design (free!) out of Jodulbug Creations' beautiful Nasturtium 4ply. As you may already know, I've never had any luck with socks yet but third time's the charm I'm sure.... It was perfect for watching "Ice Age 3" - especially with two boys at various points in time clinging to one or other arm!
However, last night I settled back down with the Milo Vest and got really motoring along watching "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince". I don't think I've seen this one yet. It came out post-kids so I haven't quite caught up on my movie watching in the intervening years.
Having had the benefit of a bit of distance from the knit, I've figured out that my problem was that I wasn't keeping track of my cabling rows and therefore getting confused. I should have been using the same technique I use for lace - having a ruler constantly marking the row I'm on. I'm hoping this will help my cover more knitting miles and finish in time for me to give it a wash and dry before Saturday.

It is wet and windy tonight, I'm off to give the soup pot another stir. Have a great week!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Milo Vest Adventures

This week I have been totally monogamous in my knitting....a rather unusual and unnatural occurrence forced by a sense of urgency in getting this knit completed for Jack's birthday party. I have to say that the vest was developing beautifully and I was enjoying the ease with which we were progressing, the interesting variations in colour and the beauty of the braided cabling sneaking down the front.
However, last night a certain strain developed between the vest and I  - this could be entirely explained by the fact that I have been knitting it every possible moment for the last five days (already having to undo about 1.5 hours of work due to my negligence - not due to the pattern I hasten to add) but I think this was also accelerated by the fact that last night I ripped back and redo about 8 rows of knitting because I got the cabling wrong and realised that I would have to rip back again today.
Given the "froideur" that is developing between the vest and I, we will be taking a small break from each other tonight to see other knits. I'm sure we will both feel refreshed and in a better frame of mind to take up the race again.

In the meantime, perhaps it will be the butterflies for the Camille Cardigan or casting on something new tonight, say mittens or socks....why is it I'm feeling slightly guilty about this?

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Mid-Week Ramble

It's the middle of the week but doesn't quite feel that way in the funny way that long weekends tend to warp your time-space continuum. It feels like it should be the end of the week already!

As I knew this week was going to be really tough from a work perspective, I shored myself up with woolly inspiration. This meant settling down with a cup of tea at the ready and planning out my next projects...including organising my shelves into what to do next for friends/family, design/sale and for myself.
I picked out a few precious skeins that I would be working on next and had the enjoyable task of turning them into balls of yarn ready to use. The boys were very eager to help, although Big B decided that 4ply yarn is really a bit tough going when you have to so much more yarn to wind!
You're probably wondering what some of these will be turned into....well, the choc caramel is well underway into being turned into a Milo Vest for Jack.
As for the beautiful yellow 4ply Nasturtium (Jodulbug Creations), I am tossing up between a pair of mittens or socks for myself. It's getting pretty cold now and I hate getting cold hands so the mittens may win. I've seen a beautiful set of mittens in the new Botanical Knits book by Alana Dakos that I'm very tempted to try out. However, I've developed a sudden urge to try sock knitting again and can't quite get it out of my head.

Lastly, the brightly coloured 10ply variegated is called Forest in Spring (by Candy Apple Lane) which will be used to make a vest for Big B.

On a final note to ensure the week started off on a bright note, I got these little beauties at a swap mart on Sunday for $1 a piece! They are sure to provide a little spot of sunshine in the cold and rain to come. Have a great week!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Indulgence Scarfette Completed!

We've just had a very relaxing lunch outside in our back yard (despite the cold), eating roast potatoes, bratwurst and sauerkraut, all washed down by German beer to celebrate my lovely husband's birthday. This is in fact the first of such events as his birthday is not really until next week but as he has to be a bouncer at the school disco on the day of his birthday, it seemed appropriate to celebrate it early. He has just taken our boys out to work off the excess sugar and I have a moment to savour a cup of tea and sit down at my computer.

I promised you pictures of the finished Indulgence Scarfette in Bilby Yarns Handspun (Design is Paula's Scarfette by Georgie Hallam - a free Ravelry download!). These pictures were taken pre-blocking as the scarf is still drying out. The pre-blocking pictures show the scarfette as a bit narrower and denser than it is now, having had its soapy bath and been eased out on to the drying board. Altogether, I'm really happy with how it turned out.
I am very keen to wear this around at the moment - it is absolutely freezing! I'm half toying with the idea of making a little headband out of the leftover yarn to keep my ears warm as I walk around the neighbourhood before dinner.

 As I love blue and black, I think this will go with the majority of my wardrobe.


The only post blocking picture I have is shown below.
I'm about to cast on a new project, having completed the Camille Cardigan for a 15 month old grand-daughter last night. It is going to be a Milo vest (another Georgie Hallam design) for Jack, who turned six yesterday. Happy Birthday Jack! The beautiful Choc-Caramel hand-dyed yarn is from Candy Apple Lane. I'm so looking forward to knitting this up....