Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Celebrating Halloween in Australia is a relatively new thing, and I have grave doubts about it. Partly because of concepts like  cultural imperialism, increasing corporatisation and international monoculture and resulting cultural homogeneity, but mainly because I'm a bit of a Grinch. If you are very, very (un)lucky, I'll have a couple of drinks at Christmas and do a post about how I feel about that particular holiday.

All that aside, when I saw Vlad-to-Bat  I had to make one immediately. It's so cute, and rather evil. It's a crotched, reversible bat/vampire doll I used 4ply scraps held double, because I didn't have much in the way of 8ply leftovers. I think he's particularly cute in his bat form, although I am fond of the scary vampire thing he's rocking here.
In both his forms he is clearly a vicious, bloodsucking attack creature.  Leon took him to work, where he is happily living on Leon's desk.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Crafty, crafty shoes.

I'm rather obsessed with Camper shoes and when I saw these I had to buy them.
That's Ms Juniper photobombing.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

sOctober continues

After I finished Leon's socks I thought I should knit more socks, since it is sOctober. I decided to make myself a pair of cabled knee highs. I'm all about the cables at the moment. 

This is Kilvarock, another great Knitty pattern. I'm about to start the second one and I am rather dreading doing the top bit. It's a brilliant construction and stays up really well, but for some reason the first top was very, very slow.  I've tried cabling without a cable needle, but that didn't really work well for me at all.

And in (almost) sock related news I made the the Namaimo socks from the April Cookie A sock club package. That makes April the one month where I have made both the pairs of socks and both the recipes. Initially I was put off by the number of steps, but they turned out to be quite straight forward and delicious.
 I did manage to leave out the cream, because the instructions said "cream butter, cream vanilla custard powder, and powdered sugar". So I creamed the butter and then creamed the custard pwder with it. At the time I wondered how the custard powder had become "vanilla" custard powder.  Anyway, they are tasty. sort of like Hedgehog so it's all good. Also, did you know you can buy biscuit crumbs, already crumbed in a box?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cookie A sock club sOctober edition‏

I finished Cookie A's Sarsaparilla socks, for Leon. I didn't make any significant changes, although I did knit the leg to seven inches, because Leon like his socks longer. I thought long and hard about which size to make. Leon said he would rather have his socks tighter, rather than looser, so I knit the smallest size. It's quite firm on him, but he says it's comfortable, and it does look good, so I think we made the right decision.
The only hiccup I had was I knit the first sock four rounds too short. FOUR ROUNDS. I had to rip and reknit, because although he could get them on, it was obvious that he would wear through the toes. Even with having to reknit the toe, this was a very quick knit. The pattern is straightforward, but still really interesting and fun.
The yarn, from Skein, is lovely and soft, although I have concerns about the wear of a Merino / Cashmere, without nylon. Also, and this is no criticism of the dying, I'm over really dark yarn based on navy. I know Leon has a limited colour palette, but the next pair for him will be a black or grey, or even -shock - a dark green.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

sOctober with the Cookie A sock club

I was very excited to receive the October instalment of the Cookie A sock club. One of the patterns, Sarsaparilla, is a perfect manly cabled sock, which I cast on immediately, in a lovely man coloured Merino Cashmere from Skien for Leon. 

The other is pattern is lovely and I think, done in a man colour, might be acceptable for Leon, or I may just make it for myself in the club yarn, the interestingly green / gold coloured merino/tencel blend, which is so much prettier than I made it look in this photo.
  I'm pretty excited about these socks, and sOctober in general.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Blogging the unblocked

 Warning: the photos in this blog post are a little bit shit.

On Friday evening I finished the knitting on Warriston. On Saturday morning I sewed the ends in and put it on. I wore it until I went out on Saturday night. On  Sunday I got up and put it on again. Normally I block my finished items immediately, but I think I'll wait until the weather warms up again. I'm too busy wearing this to block it. Last night the house was 17 degrees. While I normally like the house at 20, wearing Warriston and handknit socks kept me toasty.
I do think it came out a little bit big, which was a shock to me, because my stitch gauge was smaller than the pattern called for. Gauge lies! The only modification I made was to change my rate of decreases, as my row gauge was also out.
It is incredibly comfortable and was such a fast and fun knit that I might make another, smaller one, some time in the future, perhaps with some waist shaping.
After I finished Warriston I wanted to cast on something quick, because the new Cookie A sock club patterns came out four days after, and I'd really like to get them on my needles. I chose the Jewelled cowl, a beaded pattern I got obsessed with the moment I say it. It was very simple, but after 4 days of knitting the same two row repeat I was ready to be finished! The beading was slow, because only about half the beads fit on my tiny 0.75 mm crotchet hook. Also, with tiny beads flying everywhere, this was not really suitable for public knitting, but I didn't let that stop me. I suspect I left a Hansel and Gretel like trail of beads behind me this week.
Why yes, I do wear a name tag at work.

I wore it to work today - also unblocked, and took self portraits, because right now all the people with whom I am friends enough to ask them to take photos are away. I also think it would look better over a black dress.
So there it is, two finished projects, neither of them blocked, both of them illustrated with lazy happy snaps.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Getting organised to sew

I generally knit in the living room. I spin on the balcony and spindle at the dining table. When I sew I take over our little dining room. This has always been fine, I've taken out the sewing machine, done the hem or made a box bag and packed it all away within a day or two. I've never longed for my own crafty space where I can set up and leave things. Patching has changed all that. I had fabric all over the dining room for nearly three weeks, I had the ironing board out and it all felt messy. Yesterday I got a tablet computer to replace my decrepit laptop. Without the laptop I can use my desk as sewing space. In the study I'm happy to leave the ironing board up all the time. Leon and I have started rearranging the study so that I can set up there, and leave everything out for as long as it takes.
Meanwhile I crocheted a pin cushion. I was using a magnetic one, but the cats like to pull the pins out and drop them in random placing in the house. Needles to say, our house is not child safe! I think it's super cute, and I'm very excited about starting my next patched cushion.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Racing the sun

I love summer. I love sunshine an unnatural amount. I think I'm solar powered. One of the happiest days of the year for me is the first day of spring, when it starts to heat up and the days get longer. This year I celebrated the first warm day by casting on Warriston, an Aran weight winter jumper by Kate Davies. Why cast on a winter jumper on the first warm day? Because this is Melbourne and we don't get proper warm weather. We go straight from hot to cold and back again. Today was definitely t-shirt weather, but Saturday is going to be cold again. I reckon I can get some decent wear out of this before it warms up for good.
I wanted a picture of the WIP but Ms Juniper looked so comfortable I didn't have the heart to move her.