Saturday, January 31, 2015

Apres Surf Hoodie, things I am hating about this project



No, I haven't lost the love, I'm just in a list making mood. So here it is, a list of my whines and whinges:


  1. The name (part 1) - who would wear a lace hoodie after surfing? And I don't surf
  2. The name (part 2) - I'm not knitting the hood, so really the name is null and void
  3. Row 5 - it's an intuitive 10 row repeat, but row five does my head in, every time
  4. I've only got a ball and a half of the (25 gram) balls of yarn left. I should make it without running out... probably


And that's all I could think of. Basically I'm loving this so much I never want it to end. I have had an extraordinary amount of knitting time over the last week or so, and I've finished the sleeves and am part way up the body. But I love this so much. And really that's all I have to complain about this so far, because it is fun, fun fun.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Yarn-along, the one with the red wine

Just a quick one, because of the aforementioned red wine. This week has been a good one. I'm knitting on the Apres Surf Hoodie, and still loving it. I'm reading John Scalzi, Old Man's War Book 1 and I'm listening to Wuthering Heights.


And that's my super brief yarnalong contribution. For what Ginny and the rest of the yarnalong people, who have not had the same experience with red wine as I have tonight, and therefore might make more sense, pop along to Ginny's Blog.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Thing I am loving about Apres Surf Hoodie Part 1 (A list)

I am hoping that this list is the first of a series, because I imagine this sweet little jumper will take the better part of a month. So here goes, the inaugural Things I am Loving about Knitting the Central Part Hoodie:


  1. The yarn is quite as lovely to knit with as I hoped
  2. It is knitting up into a stunning fabric, both in the lace and the stocking stitch portions 
  3. The lace pattern is interesting enough, but really easy to follow
  4. I changed this to knit in the round, so minimal purling
  5. It seems to be knitting up really really fast 
  6. It's a laceweight jumper so it fits perfectly in my beautiful new sock knitting project bag


I'm really feeling the love for this project right now.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Yarnalong - the one with a bonus cat

This has been a very satisfying week on the reading, knitting and listening fronts.

I'm listening to Lionel Shriver's A New Republic. It didn't get the best reviews, but I am really enjoying it. The narrator is perfect and I'm finding the story interesting and engaging, if a little tedious in odd moments.

I just finished The Abyss Beyond Dreams last night and loved it. It's the first half of a series and I can't wait until the second one comes out, in the unannounced future. Meanwhile I've started Everything that Remains a sort of memoir from a couple guys who did the minimalist thing and have a blog. Like I was talking about yesterday, I'm exploring my relationship with stuff, and this is a story about one guys changing relationship with his stuff. So far, it seems like a good read.

And I'm knitting Apres Surf Hoodie, and so far I'm enjoying that very much too. So a week from knitting, reading and listening to good things.
Pop over to Ginny's blog to see what she, and others are knitting and reading this week too.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Some thoughts about stuff

Since the beginning of the year I have been quite frustrated about the amount of stuff I have. What brought this to a head was that I had put a cat toy in the cupboard the day before and I went to take it out the next day and couldn't find it. I did find a pair of speakers that hadn't been used for three years, a bunch of old pillows and a whole lot of crap. Leon and I moved in here six years ago, and it's a large two bedroom flat. With built in cupboards, a garage and a storage room. So we've had plenty of room, but I've started to feel dragged down by my stuff. So, I've been very gently addressing the issue. My inspiration, from http://www.slowyourhome.com/ is to get rid of five things a day. Address one shelf or drawer or space and sort it out.

Now, I'm not becoming a minimalist, I just want to have a bit less crap cluttering up my life.
So what - you may well ask - has this got to do with yarn? Well, today I went to Australian Country Spinners in Wangaratta. I went ostensibly to take photos for Ramble and Make, but also to check out what they have on special. 

And I realised that's one of the reasons I have so much stuff, including yarn. My stash started with half price Rowan and was built from finding quality yarns on special. It's the same with my clothes - when I was younger, and poorer, I bought name brand suits from Op Shops when and if I found them, because who would say no to a $500 suit for $20. And I never got out of the habit. But now I don't need to hoard yarn because get it on special, and in the long run it will be more economical to buy what I need, when I need it, rather than having 24 kilometres of  beautiful yarn sitting around.

All of which is to say that I didn't buy any yarn today. I'm not on a yarn fast, or yarn diet, I just want to knit with the lovely yarn I already have first.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

An airy beggining

When I went to New Zealand in 2013 Kate took me to the Holland Road Yarn Company, where we spotted some Zealana Air. This is a lace weight yarn made of possum, cashmere and silk. They had a swatch knitted, and I just walked around the shop stoking it. The woman working in the yarn shop came over to talk to us and I told her I loved it. She said "you can make a pair of mitts out of a single ball". I wondered how many balls it would take to make a jumper. She said "or with two balls you could have a pair of mitts and a hat". I did the calculations and bought seven for a jumper. 

This is the most luxurious (and expensive) yarn I have ever touched, let alone knit with. It's been sitting in the stash percolating as I decide whether to knit something really plain, like  a featherweight cardigan, to really just showcase the beautiful, slightly haloed fabric it knits up into, or whether to go with my current knitting loves, which is something more complicated and ornate. This option won out and I'm just starting the Apres Surf Hoodie. Just touching this yarn makes my heart sing and I really hope I can do it justice in this project.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Orange Socks for Orange Shoes

I said previously that I had been wanting to knit orange socks since 2013. The odd thing is that what motivated me to make orange socks that I bought orange shoes. Now, matching orange with orange is a terrible fashion idea, as illustrated here:
 
It’s how I do food matching as well – oh a rich chocolate cake, lets put an oatmeal stout with that. Coffee mouse goes with Baileys, obviously. So, not a sophisticated approach to matching anything.
Even though I’m doubtful about wearing the orange socks with the orange shoes, I love them. The colour is so lovely and the pattern is really attractive. Well, they

 are when they areon. The socks have a weird shape when they are off, probably because of the massive amount of ribbing at the top.
 
Put them on though and the lace gets stretched out, the ribbing hugs my calves and they are perfection. Not only that, they were such a fun knit. Easy to memorise lace is my absolute favourite thing to knit at the moment. All in all, another winner from Rachel Coopey and the Discworld Sock Club.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Yarn-along - the one where everything is good

It's Wednesday again and that means that Ginny and all the yarn-along peeps will be talking about what we are knitting and reading. Pop along to her blog to see what everyone else is doing and read on to see what I have been up to this week.

This week I've been reading Peter F Hamilton's The Abyss Beyond Dreams. I'm enjoying it. Like the other books in the series it's a richly layered story with a number of characters running around different parts of the universe getting up to different things.

I'm knitting the Eskerina socks,  the fourth pair I've knitted from Rachel Coopey's Discworld sock club. Consistent with the other ones this pattern is well written, easy to follow and quite lovely. I've done the heel turn and have finished the gusset reduces, so now I'm just wizzing down the foot of the second sock. To go along with the discworld socks I'm listening to the next Terry Pratchett in the series, which happens to be Lords and Ladies. I am utterly loving this one. It has all my favourite characters -  the Witches, the Wizards and especially Greebo the cat, and is a rollicking good listen.

I hope you are having as much fun with your knitting and reading as I have this week. 

Eskerina (discworld socks IV)

Given that I just bought a new sock knitting bag, I decided it was time to knit some socks. The next pattern in the Discworld sock project was Eskerina and I have chosen some Mosely Park yarn. It’s a Bamboo Merino Nylon blend which doesn't even appear on their website right now. I bought it at Bendigo 2013I was looking for orange yarn, because I don’t have any orange socks.

 It has been pointed out to me that this is more of an apricot than an orange, but either way I love it. It has an amazing variation of colour for something that is essentially a solid colour and is knitting up into a dense, soft, wonderful fabric. It also shows off the lace pattern really well. I am a bit shocked that I wanted orange socks a year and a half ago, and it took me this long to get on to knitting them. Still, better late than never, and these are turning out to be magnificent socks.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Mimco knitting bag? Yes please!

My obsession with finding the perfect knitting bag is no secret: big ones and small ones and handsewn ones.
And my Mimco obsession has been well documented here  and here.
So, when I saw Mimco had a bag that is the perfect size for sock knitting, how could I say no?It's adorable:

And the perfect size to carry all the necessary sock knitting equipment. I guess it's time to knit another pair of socks! 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

What price can we put on love?

I finished wee Envelope and love it. It’s got an interesting construction and was an absolute pleasure to knit. I made the 3 – 6 month size, and I don’t know if my teddy bear is smaller than that, or if it’s big but it looks like a reasonable size. I think Teddy Bear might have shorter arms than a child.
  
The Bendigo Woollen Mills cotton made a beautiful fabric. After blocking it was so soft, but not limp. Today I mailed it off to Israel, and the customs declaration demands a value. It was interesting to think about the value of this jumper. The yarn in it cost about five dollars, but what’s the pattern worth? And my time?  And the love and good thoughts I put into this? I wanted to write somewhere between zero and a thousand dollars. Some things just can’t be quantified in monetary terms, and this little jumper is one of them.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Yarnalong - the one where I don't finish some books‏

The last Yarnalong post I wrote was two weeks ago, and I was reading and not enjoying To Rise again at a Decent HourI said I was going to finish it, as part of a mini-mision to read all the Mann-Booker shortlisted novels, but then I read some reviews, who hated it as much as I did, so I decided to cut my losses, deleted it from my Kindle and breathed a sigh of relief.
 
Just after this I was listening to Perfect on Paper  and two hours in I realised I HATED it. Hated it so much I couldn't stop talking about it. The main character made me want to punch her in the face. So, I abandoned that too.
 
It's not all doom and gloom and abandoning things. I'm now listening to Cat Daddy, by Jackson Galaxy. I'm loving it. I love personal stories read by the writer and this is no exception. Addiction and redemption and a passion for rescuing cats. This is a great listen.
 
I've just started reading Peter F Hamilton's The Abyss Beyond Dreams  I expect I'll like it, it's a prequel to a massive series that I read a couple of years ago. Hopefully I'll remember enough of the series to not get lost and confused here.
 
And I'm still knitting wee Envelope. I expect it will take me another day or two.
 
Don't forget to pop over to Ginny's blog Small Things to see what she and the rest of the yarn alongers are knitting and reading this week.
 

More baby knitting

On my birthday I got an email from an old friend, Rebecca. We were best friends growing up, but she moved to America and we have kind of slipped out of contact. So she sent a birthday email and I responded, "how are you, what's news?". Well, she and her family have moved to Israel, and she's 37 weeks pregnant! Very exciting. When Bec had triplets five years ago, I made her three Bay Surprise Jackets. Obviously I want to make her something nice for this baby. She hasn't found out the sex, and I didn't want to make a cardigan where the buttons might be on the wrong side - I personally don't care, but she might (she probably won't but you never know). So, it had to be a jumper. Also, I've just knit two traditional baby cardigans, so something a little different. I found Ysolda's Wee Envelope and decided that was perfect. I'm knitting it in Bendigo Woolen Mills cotton, because Israel never gets really cold. I went down a needle size from what I used for the Twins' cardigans, and I'm loving the fabric I'm making.
   
Ysolda designed and knit this in a single day's knitting and, while it does seem like quite a quick knit it's going to take me more than a day. I guess having to do other things, like going to work, is cutting into my knitting time!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Twice as cute

The other day I finished the second Little Coffee Bean Cardigan and yesterday I sewed buttons on both of them. Incidentally, I hate sewing on buttons. I'm not sure if I mentioned, they are for my friend Helen, who is having twin boys in February. While my initial intention was to knit two  completely different cardigans, I finished the first one at the cricket before lunch time, so I cast on a second with the colours reversed. I think they are adorable. I was going to make matching hats but, much to my surprise I have run out of the light blue cotton.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Summer Blooms, finished

I put Summer Blooms out to block yesterday at lunchtime, and, with the current weather, it was practically dry before I finished pinning it out. There seemed to be a few choices as to how to pin out the points - I chose the simplest, both because I liked the look and because I'm lazy. 
 I think this is my favourite photo of the shawl:



I don't really have much to say about this shawl that I haven't already said:it was a really fun knit. I loved knitting lace in laceweight, it gives a lovely, squishy, foamy result, and finally, I love the size, colour and shape of this shawl. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Years Eve 2014

Just like last year we went to NYE on the Hill music festival for New Years.  We has a ton of fun, listening to music, camping, drinking, not sleeping very much - I'm very, very tired right now. I took Summer Blooms with me, and it was perfect, mindless knitting: except the second last row, which was heavily beaded. Still nothing some sunshine, some music, an espresso martini and a whole lot of beer couldn't help me through. At lunch time today I cast off. I'm really happy with it, although you can see even from these photos that a heavy blocking is going to do it a world of good. Leon and I had camera battery issues, so my talented photographer Skip took these for me. 
All in all, a wonderful way to bring in the new year, and the perfect project to knit while I was out and about the last week. I will, of course, post photos after it's been blocked, but I'm too tired now to be pinning out points. I hope you had fun at New Years. Lets make 2015 the best yet.