Saturday, May 31, 2014

Some pictures of finished shawls

this turned into a big weekend for taking pictures of finished shawls. On Friday night, I saw Rachey, for whom I knit a shawl on the way home from my recent holiday. I gave it to her and she wrapped it around her neck and left it there for the rest of the evening, so I think she liked it. It certainly suits her.

She was not very well on Friday, and not wearing any makeup. I told her I would crop her face out of the picture, but when I went to do that, I saw that she looked more than fine, so I've left it in. 


On Saturday Leon and I went to the park to take pictures of my finished Slankie.

 I've been wearing it a bit, and I think it will keep me very, very warm this winter. It's quite fun to wear, wrapped up in various ways.

Then, on Saturday night I was out with Elise, and she was wearing the shawl that I made for her on the way out to the holiday.  She was pulling funny modelling poses, and this is the best shot I got.  It's always fun to see my knitwear in the wild!
It feeling good to finally get all the photos done, all the gifts given and to know I am keeping my friends warm and cosy as winter starts to kick in.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Useful, Useless or simply fun

I finished  the Slankie a couple of days earlier than expected,  and then decided to knit Brenda Dayne's Mrs Beaton. I've been wanting to knit these forever and Stephen West had  given me a taste for seeing how holding different colours play together when knit together. So off I went, threading beads and casting on.

 I really enjoyed knitting these. Of course, I'm not entirely sure what they are for. Not gloves, not mitts, not sleeves, just cuffs. Still I've worn them and they are very cute, and really very warm. This is one of the few times that I was more excited about the process than using the finished product, but I may actually find these a useful item. Even if I don't I had so much fun making these, with the double layers and the beading and the marling two yarns together, that they were definitely worth making.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Yarn-a-long, the I'm just starting edition

This week's yarn along is a bit weird for me, because I have NOTHING on the needles. As soon as I finish writing 
this post I'm going to cast on Brenda Dayne's Pentre Ifan socks out of Naturally Waikiwi, which has merino, alpaca and possum in it.. I'm very excited to knit with this yarn , and excited to knit this toe up sock, which is a rather different construction from my usual top down heel-flap-and-gussett, and also has awesome cables: but only on the back. An interesting development in sock design.

I've just started reading Dead Reckoning, which is the eleventh Sookie Stackhouse novel. I've only just read the first chapter, but over the last year I've read and enjoyed the previous ten, so I've sure this one will be good too. They are a bit formulaic and disposable, but the main character is fairly endearing and I enjoy them.

And, as promised, I'm still listening to, and I hasten to add, still enjoying The Winds of War . Far from getting sick of the characters, or the narrator, as I feared I might, I'm loving seeing the developments slowly unfold.

And that's it for me this week, about to start new things. Join Ginny and the rest of the yarnalong crew over at her blog.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Slankie, a rather abrupt finish

I knit on Slankie all day Saturday. We did a "PoO" pub crawl, hitting four venues (including the particularly craft friendly Two Row Bar)  By the end of the evening, my colour E - the pink yarn, was hopelessly tangled. I spent the tram ride home trying to untangle it, but realised it would make more sense to try it in the morning, before the beers, rather than after them.
 
In the morning I untangled it and made a tiny pink ball of yarn. Very tiny. There was no way it was going to stretch to the next short row wedge, but I decided I could sub in some purple lace weight. And then I picked up my knitting project bag, and it seemed oddly light. I reached in and utterly failed to pull out the final colour that I needed to complete the shawl. So, I finished the bit I was on and cast off. It's probably the same size as it was intended to be: I actually used a third more of the pink yarn than the pattern called for, and I did knit it on 4mm needles, rather than the recommended 3.75. Either way, when it came off the needles I was surprised how it looked, in a very pleasant way. I'm looking forward to seeing how big it is after it is finished blocking.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Good Beer Week Slankie

Leon has decided that my shlankie, is actually called a slankie, a cross between a slinky and a hanky. I guess because you can try to make it go downstrairs, and when it doesn't you can use it to dry your tears? I don't know. I blame Good Beer Week. Which finishes today. My good Beer Week slankie is not quite finished, but should be by the time I've recovered from this week. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Look what came in time!

I started my shlankie last Friday, on a set of 60cm Addi Lace Turbos.  and I quickly realised I was going to need a needle with a longer cable, because this pattern grows by 100 stitches every repeat. I have a 100cm needle in the right size which I have been knitting on, but it's a normal Addi, and I like my needles sharper than that. When I bought the new one, I sort of thought they wold get here the day I finished the shlankie.   But no, they arrived today, just as I embark on the longest rows of the project. yay

!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Yarnalong - The Good Beer Week edition

This week is Good Beer Week   which basically means we are out a lot, drinking beer and eating good food and generally having a good time. And not sleeping enough.
Despite all this carousing I'm still knitting, reading and listening to audio books.
 
I'm knitting Steven West's Saran Shawl  (or shlankie, as he calls it) It's perfect Good Beer Week knitting, since it's miles, and miles and miles of garter stitch, interrupted by some short row wedges. Easy to knit, even in poor lighting, or under the influence of significant volumes of stout . Ask me know I know…
 
I'm reading The Perfect Location, by Kate Forster  and really enjoying it. It's light without being super trashy, and the characters have a little depth to them. I've only just started it, but so far it's an enjoyable read. The eagle eyed among you might notice that instead of being pink, my Kindle is now leopard print. I thought it needed a bit of a lift, so I bought a new case for it, and I really like it, although the cat face in the corner of it was rather an unexpected surprise.
 
I'm still listening to The Winds of War and still enjoying it. It's about four times longer than the "average" audio book, so I expect that for the next month I will be writing similar comments about it here. Still listening, still loving it.
 
 
As always, I'm playing along with Ginny over at her blog. Pop over there to see what she, and the rest of the Yarn-Along Crew are knitting. 
 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Ways to stay warm

I finished my Hottie Tottie and as per the instructions, I steamed blocked it. I've never steam blocked anything before, being a big fan of the wet blocking, but it worked well. Another thing that was different about this project was that I didn't have a chance to print it out, so I had the instructions on my tablet. While I quite liked doing that, carrying around a ten inch tablet is heavier and more cumbersome that I want, so I'll leave that as an emergency option.
I'm super happy with this project, it's just so cute and perfect, and most of all warm for winter. I followed the directions pretty much exactly, just extending the neck a little bit and skipping the pompoms, because I thought they might be annoying on the finished project, although they certainly are cute. 
I love this so much that I actually ordered another mini hot water bottle, so that I can make a second one. I'm going to have one at home and one at work and keep myself warm all winter.

Breaking the fast

After not buying yarn for nine months I went to the Handknitters fair and really, really bought yarn! As planned, I visited Little Dipper Yarns and bought some sock yarn for Leon. I know that Ursula dyes amazing "boy colours", so I thought I was being conservative "only" buying five skiens for him. A lovely aqua for me also snuck into my purchases.

I also found Dyed by Hand yarns. Julie, who was running the stall is such a nice person. She is my second favorite dyer and I initially bought one skein of lovely blue/green from her. The, I noticed a khaki / green / yellow skein,  which she says knits up a bit like cammo. Since I am obsessed with camouflage prints right now, that came home with me too. 

I also ordered 300 grams of sock weight yarn to pick up in Bendigo for the Apres Surf Hoodie
, which I have been planning to make for what feels like an age.

So, I bought eight skeins of yarn, totaling 3074 meters of yarn. My entire stash is now at 26352 meters - I'd really like to see it back below 24 kilometers prior to Bendigo, where I plan to shop lightly, although we all know how those plans can go.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Hi my name is Sharon...

And I'm a yarn addict. It's been nine months since I last purchased yarn, and tomorrow that all ends. Like an alcoholic heading for to a brewery I'm going to the Handknitters Guild Yarn and Craft Market  tomorrow where, amongst other things, Ursula will be selling her amazing Little Dipper Yarns.

So, I thought this would be a good time to touch base with my stash.  Last time I checked I had 23,725 meters of yarn . I expected the this time number to be significantly lower than that. I have not bought yarn for NINE MONTHS. I've knit 32 things. But, without buying yarn I have acquired some through the generous destashing of Richmond knitters, and not everything I've knit was on the original yarn tally, like the yarn I bought from New Zealand, and a thousand odds and ends. So, my new number is a rather disappointing 23,095  Going on the basis of what dieters say, it's not what you weigh, it's how your clothes fit, so I'm going to say I'm doing okay. There is room in my box, and I don't have to sit on it to close it. So clearly I've made some advances. And nothing like a mere number on a spreadsheet is going to limit the amount of Little Dipper Yarns I'm going to get my mitts on tomorrow!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A goldilocks bag?

Last June I bought what I thought was the perfect handbag.  While I still love the big blue blag I actually find it a bit too big. The other handbag I carry (a pink one, also from mimco) is the perfect size - as long as I am carrying knitting that is no bigger than a sock. Since my next project requires carrying 5 balls of lace weight around with me, that wouldn't do. I walked past Mimco yesterday and saw this:

Hopefully this is my Goldilocks bag - not too big, or too small, but just right. In any case, it's certainly bright enough!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Yarn-along - the return to routine edition

This week has been about getting back into the normal swing of things and catching up on things. Getting the house clean, going to CrossFit, visiting Richmond Knitters and of course telling you what I've been knitting, reading and listening to.
 
Knitting: I knew even before I left for my holiday  that when I got back I would make Hottie Tottie, by Kate Davies   I've been working on it since Friday, and I just have to cast off the neck and do the iCord for the ties.
 
Reading: I'm picking through Are You Dave Gorman?  I bought it to read on the plane, hoping it would be, as one of the reviews on Amazon says "brainless and entertaining". I'm finding it vaguely annoying, but not quite annoying enough to give up on. It's a cheerful enough read, I just get into the spirit of the book.
 
Listening: The Wind of War, by Herman Wouk.  A work friend recommended this and I remember trying to read the paperback - and I've only read book on Kindle for the last two and a half years, so it must have been a while ago. I really struggled with the book, but the audio version is great. The characters are interesting, the reader is perfect for the book and I just wish I had more time to listen.

As usual I'm doing Yarn-along with Ginny. Pop over to her blog to check out what she, and the other yarn along peeps are knitting and reading this week.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Inspired and assisted by Kate

A while ago, at knit night,  Kate talked about making Samen by Stephen West. It’s a large shawl made out of lace weight held double. Afterwards, she sent a tweet with a picture of her yarn, saying she might swap out one of the colours with some blue. “Oh”, I thought, “. I have some blue lace weight. I can help”. So I pulled out all my laceweight leftovers, took a photo and tweeted them to Kate. By the time she replied that she had plenty and wasn't actually asking for help, I was looking at this pile of leftovers, which was considerably more than I thought I had, wondering if I too, could make this shawl. So I sat down with my trusty kitchen scales, Ravelry and my leftover yarn to work out if I have the yardage. I found I had nearly enough yarn, although the yarn colour that was short was also the one I was least happy with, in terms of colour and the other yarns. I never mentioned this to Kate, but yesterday she showed up at knit night with some Misti Alpaca, and asked if I wanted it.
 The colour that goes much better with the way I hope this is going to look and there was plenty of yardage. I think Kate has already cast hers on, and I'll be casting mine on as soon as I finish my current project, so thanks Kate, for both the idea and the means to implement it.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Part four - coming home

By this stage our trip was nearly done.We spent our last day in breweries (no surprise there) I did accidentally stumble across a yarn shop near Carmel Market. it was narrow and crowded and much of the yarn was acrylic, but there was some beautiful cottons, which I did not purchase, because I didn't have anything in mind to knit with cotton.

 There was only one major thing left - the actual physical trip home. this was a 12 hour flight, followed by a 10 hour stop in Bangkok airport and then an eight hour flight. I have to say, I'm not good at sleeping on planes. So, I cast on another Martina Behm pattern - this time Miss Winkle, for Rachey in the most wonderful Hello Kitty Pink.This pattern was quite simple, and I was glad, because I got very little sleep, but I did knit, knit knit, and got it cast off before landing back in Melbourne. Obviously, it still needs a good blocking.

So there it is, my holiday. I knit two shawls and two pairs of socks, I learn a lot of history, I drank some great beer (Israel has a surprisingly strong craft beer scene happening) and had a whole lot of fun with my friends and my husband. And now life goes back to the everyday, and I might knit some things that are neither socks nor shawls. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Part Three - More socks

In the two hour taxi ride to the Jordanian border I cast on Business Casual out of the amazing Little Dipper Bootes sock yarn. I though the pattern would be simple enough so i could enjoy the scenery, which it was, although my hands got sore if I cabled without a cable needle. A shame, but not a big deal. I knit these at the Dead Sea - or more specifically on the bus to the Dead Sea and on to Jerusalem, where we spent a couple of days. After that our trip got a bit less planned and a whole lot more random. We spent a day on the "beach" at Tiberias, and headed up to the Golan Heights to go to a brewery and do more hiking. Then we headed west to Akkor and Haifa. After that we caught the train back to Tel-Aviv, where I finished the socks.




We returned to Tel Aviv during Yom Ha-atsmaut - Israel's independence day.  The hotel we were staying at was right on the beach and I tried to take a photo of Leon's socks, the beach and the flags that were flying everywhere in honour of the country's 66th birthday. I'm not sure I succeeded, and I certainly failed to capture the amazing weather, or how nice Tel-Aviv beach actually is.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Holiday Part Two - Milo

I didn't knit for Monday and Tuesday, I alternately iced and heated my wrist and prayed to get better . On Wednesday all ten of us took a sherrut (like a taxi, but also like a bus) to Jerusalem and I tentatively cast on a pair of socks of Leon - Cookie A's Milo. My hand pulled up perfectly and the (possible) tendinitis did not reoccur. I was worried these socks would be too complex while running around the middle east, but the pattern is actually easier than it looks.

After a week we all went our separate ways, and Leon and I headed for Jordan, where we spent a couple of days in Dana Village before hiking - with our packs, something I haven't done before, to Feynan Eco lodge. This might be the most wondrous place I have stayed. During the day we hiked or did activities. My personal favorite  activity was called "a day with a Bedouin shepherd" and it was exactly that - they sent us out with a genuine goatherd and we scrambled into the highest hills and took the goats to pasture. It was amazing. They spin the goat hair into a fairly course, rough yarn which is then woven and used in tents. 


The only "problem" with the place was that we were out doing stuff during the day and the lodge (aside from the bathrooms) was entirely lit by candles. So romantic and lovely, but not great for knitting.

One hilarious thing was that we got a lift onto our next destination a Bedouin truck. Our packs were in the back of the ute and we stopped at a random flock of sheep and goats. The Bedouins moving the flock put our packs in the car and a sheep in the back! We couldn't work out why, and a few kilometers down the road we dropped the sheep off and kept driving.  


So i was still working on Milo when we got to Petra, and I finished the second sock in the taxi we took back to the border - Jordan being a rather strange country were there were no buses in the afternoon to where we wanted to go, but the taxis were affordable, even for cross country trips.


After a night in Eilat we headed to the Dead Sea, where I took these photos.   

My holiday, part one

Hi!

We flew back in this afternoon and after 30 hours of travel I'm exhausted. But I want to blog about the trip now, while it's fresh in my mind. I'm going to break the trip into a few posts, based on the knitting I was doing at each stage of the trip.

On the way to the airport I cast on Brickless by Martina Behm for Elise, since we were going on holiday with her I thought it would be fun to knit for her. I was the perfect knit for the long flight, interesting enough to keep me excited, but not too hard to do when  tired. 
We spent the first week of the trip in Tel-Aviv. We rented an apartment with Elise, Nadia, Shoni (Elise's oldest brother) his girlfriend, her brother... it was so much fun. Raph and Rachey were staying with Elise's dad just up the road and we did Pesach with the extended family.

Unfortunately, four days after I cast this on I woke up with searing pain in my right wrist. The unmedical diagnoses was that it sounded like tendinitis. I have learnt some lessons and decided not to knit until it felt better... well, first I cast off Brickless. Actually, I had to cast it off twice, because I ran out of yarn.

This is the only photo I have of Elise wearing it. It's a bit different from the colours I usually knit for her, and I hope she gets a ton of wear from it.