Thursday, December 29, 2016

#mostworn

Over a month ago Kate raised this question:
  • the vast majority of knits we see on Instagram and Ravelry are new creations, fresh off the needles. What do those lovely knits look like after they’ve been worn for a while? Did the garter stitch section droop? Did that merino yarn pill? Did that dye fade? More so, I thought it was about time we cherished clothes that are looking a little worn in. With all this in mind, I’m introducing: the #mostworn blogalong.

It's taken me all this time to narrow it down to two projects, and I expect that I'll do a series of posts answering the question. To start with:

Pattern: Manyuk Cardigan
Yarn: Pear Tree 8 ply
Age:4 years

This cardigan didn't quite work. It was too casual -and warm -for work, and not something I would wear on the weekends. BUT it has made a fantastic house cardigan. I throw it over pyjamas (or house onsies, most often) on days that are cool, but not cold. The yarn has pilled a lot, but the cardigan has held its shape well.
Pattern: Tiptoe Thought the Tulips
Yarn: Various, mainly Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine 
Age: 6 years 
This is the pattern that launched the Sneaker Liner project, and they have worn awfully well. I know the intarsia on the right heel doesn't look great, but It could have been better to begin with. I've had lots a few sneaker liners shrink - even superwash ones - but these have worn and worn.

In the spirit of Kate's  original blog post, I nominate Rachel of Rewarding Memories, and Sonia of Sonia Knits to blog about thier #mostworn. 
If you would like to join in, please post about it on your blog or just put up an instagram pic, tagged #mostworn

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Yarnalong -the one with the cricket

This is a great time of year for my knitting. Despite it starting to warm up, there is Christmas, the Boxing Day Test and then music festival knitting for new years eve. I wanted something simple but fun, so I cast on for Martina Behm's Shore Hap, he second pattern I've knit from the Book of Haps. It's really easy, but the stripes and shaping keep it interesting. I've finished the first half in four days - like I said, lots of knitting time.

I'm reading Penelope Lively's How It All Began, which seems quite good, but I've been so busy knitting, socialising and hanging out at the cricket that I haven't made much progress with it.

As always on a Wednesday, I'm joining Ginny for the Yarnalong. Pop over to her blog to see what she, and everyone else, is up to this week.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

More baby jumpers and update photos

After I sent off the last baby jumpers, I had no more knitted and waiting in the wings. I know I have at least one expectant friend, and anyway, a couple of baby jumpers in the gift is always a good insurance policy. This time I used the Linnie pattern, which was quick, easy and a great way to use up some left over sock yarn.  
I also received a photo of the last baby jumper I sent out in action. Now, this one had been sitting in the gift box since 2009, since I HATED the way the yarn pooled, but it was all I had left. I think the baby didn't appreciate the pooling much either:





Thursday, December 22, 2016

Spiral versus Blenders

The last pair of socks I made for my father did not fit quite as well as I would have liked – I think because the Fish Lips Kiss heel isn’t the best for him, so I decided to make him another pair, using Stephanie Purl-McPhee's basic sock template. Since he likes his socks loud, I choose 4 colours from the Left Over Sock Yarn pile, a navy for the ribbing heels and toes, and I was good to go:
 
I did the first one using the Stashbuster Spirals method, which is a way of doing one row jogless stripes. Mainly by changing yarn colours every needle when knitting on four doublepoint needles.
While I like the results, changing yarn that often was somewhat annoying and the tension at each needle change was just slightly off.
 
I knit the second using the same colours, but the Blender technique.  I really like this – no worries about jogs, although quite a lot of ends to sew in.
 
So, in Blender versus Spirals I think Blender wins. Next time I’m going to make two Blenders, but using a different stripe sequence, because for my father not matchy is always better, and it is certainly fun to knit wild, bright, crazy socks for him.
 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Yarnalong -the one with the new Kindle

For my birthday my parents gave me a Kindle Voyage, and Leon gave me the beautiful brown leather origami case I’ve been obsessing about since Leon got his Voyage a year ago.  I was hesitating to upgrade my Paperwhite, because I liked it, and I bought a Pad & Quill case for it a year ago, which I have loved, although it is quite bulky. I generally avoid upgrading technology just because there is something  newer or prettier out there, but this is just glorious. The screen feels beautiful, but I don’t have to touch it because: haptic buttons! No raised bezel, and the front light auto adjusts. And as for the case, I’m almost lost for words. It actually smells like leather, and it feels lovely. It’s small and light, but so elegant. Needless to say, I’m loving the whole package.
 
I decided that the first book I read on the new Kindle should be something easy, something that I would help ease me in  to the new interface, so I’m reading Bowie, the last book in  Adrienne Bell's Sinner Saints series. It is as I expected it to be, and it’s book five of the series, so no real surprises here. Light, lovely, somewhat disposable.
 
I’m knitting Linnie, a baby jumper I’ve had in my queue for ever. Because I got the main colour from my big box of left over sock yarn, it is quite a serious little grey garment..
 
And that’s another week of what I am knitting and reading (and what I’m reading it on). Click over to Ginny’s blog to see what she, and the rest of the Yarnalong are doing this week.

Monday, December 19, 2016

New Years with Beeeeee

For New Years Eve we are going to a music festival with Skip and Bee. We've done this a couple of times before and its always fun. For this event its BYO everything, but no glass. Last time Bee bought a goon bag that was in a box that looked like a handbag. This time, Leon has brewed some ginger beer. I said i was going to make a holder for the bottle, so she could carry it around, and so I did:

I really like how this came out. I haven't crotcheted for ages, and it was really fun to pick up the hook again. It eats yarn though. I thought I'd have plenty of the pink, but it all got used up in about an hour of hooking. I used this pattern,  and all up this used 25 grams of cotton yarn. Hopefully I will get some pictures of it being used over the New Years weekend. Until then, thanks to Leon for modelling. 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Breathing Space

I first saw Veera Valimaki's Breathing Space jumper mention by Rachael,  probably on instragram, and I knew immediately that I wanted to knit it. I already had the perfect yarn in stash, some Dyed by Hand yarns that I bought to at this year's Bendigo show to make to make a shawl out of, but decided I would much rather make this jumper.

I loved the process of knitting it. It was kept interesting my the stripes and the short rows, which still basically being stocking stitch in the round.

I love the asymmetry, and the way it is really easy to wear.

I particularity love that the first time I wore it I got three unsolicited compliments, one from someone who didn't realise I had knit the jumper.

All it all a deeply satisfying jumper to knit and to wear.

I have just enough yarn left over - 60 grams, that I should be able to make myself  a matching pair of socks, and you know how I love everything to me matchy matchy to the max.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Whisky and wool

This time last year I was participating in Kate Davies’ 7 skeins Buchaille club. It was so well run and so much fun. When Kate announced that she was releasing a book of patterns designed for Buachaille by subscription, I was very excited to sign up. The Inspired by Islay club works with two emails a week, one featuring a Kate Davies designed pattern on Wednesdays, and one with information  about what inspired it, and matching whisky recommendations. It’s very exciting! We received the first pattern yesterday,  Finlaggan  and it’s already on my list of things to knit.
 
I have given myself permission to buy the yarn for as many projects as I want, at the end of the pattern subscription. Buachaille is such a lovely yarn, and I do so love Kate Davies’ design philosophy. I’m hoping that one of the patterns will suit, or can be converted for Leon’s winter set (like I did last year, using a hat and mitts from 7 Skeins club), and that maybe one of them will work for a jumper for Leon in the Woobu I bought this year. Other than that, I’m just looking forward to seeing the patterns each week, and maybe buying the matching whisky too.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Yarnalong -the one with the new job

I started a new role at work this week and it's been interesting. It's very nice to do something challenging, to learn new things and to make my way through a work day without being bored out of my brain. BUT, to deal with the boredom of my old role I listened to audiobooks and podcasts while working. No more. I knitted and listened and read books while travelling around Victoria. No more. So, while I think this was the right move to make, for my career and my sanity, it is definitly impacting on my knitting, reading and listening.
That's Fern (my parents cat) on the floor, Tarragon on the couch and Princess Daisy on the right. I'm not sure where Juniper was.

I am reading Saving the World by Julia Alvarez. It's quite good, but not amazing. it feels like something you could discuss earnestly at a book club.

As promised I'm knitting Left Over Sock Yarn socks for my father. I'm on the second one, using the Blender technique. It's rather enthusiastically coloured, but I know he likes that sort of things. 

And that's another week gone by, one full of exciting challenges. Pop over to Ginny's blog Small Things, to see what she, and the rest of the Yarnalong are up to this week.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Lerderderg!

Leon and I went hiking and camping this weekend, the first time since July. Allegedly it is summer here, but I still found myself wearing my Goats beanie. It's colder than it should be for December!

No photos of me in the beanie, so I give you this instead
The weekend was amazing. It was free camping, and the second night when we hiked it there was no one around at all. Just us, and a herd of goats that wandered by. Most of the camping I've done in Australia has been "no fires" but Lerderderg State Park  allows them. there was tons of wood lying around, so we had a fire, which was a real treat, although we were slightly edgy, because we know how easily bushfires start. 

As promised I started some left over sock yarn socks for my father, which was perfect, because stripped stocking stitch socks are simple enough to knit by the light of a fire. In the car to and from I finished Breathing Space, which is currently having a bath and I'll post pictures once its blocked. 

The hiking was magnificent. It felt very isolated, and we saw no-one, and the whole park is an hour and a half from our house -one the other side of Melbourne. It's so beautiful and quiet and close. So all in all a great weekend, and hopefully the beginning of some summer camping and hiking shenanigans. 




Thursday, December 8, 2016

The lie in my stash

I hang out on a Ravelry group called "Monstersocks" who talk about things you can do with sock yarn scraps. One of their threads is called "flash your scraps", and tonight I pulled out (most of) my sock yarn scraps to take a photo to add to the thread.


While I was there I weighed them, and I rather wish I hadn't. This pile weighs 1.5 kilograms. That's enough for 20 pairs of socks, and neither Leon nor I wear multi coloured / striped socks. It's enough for me to finish my neglected sock yarn blanket three times. It's enough for rather a large number of baby items. It's approximately four and a half kilometres of yarn, not reflected in my obsessive stash counting.  I don't really know how the sock scrap stash got so out of control, although I think the fact that it only takes 60 grams of yarn to knit a pair of socks for me, and 70 for Leon, may have something to do with it. Anyway, I'm going to calm down and cast on a pair of socks for my father, who does like stripes, the louder the better. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Yarnalong -the one with more reading ups and downs

You may recall that last week I was reading the Dusty Springfield biography. I was ranting to Leon about how badly written it was and how the author seemed to be guessing about what Dusty was thinking when Leon said "you cold stop reading it". Oh yeah, hating a book, don't have to finish it. So I abandoned it, and started Uprooted by Naomi Novak. And I loved it. The first half was brilliant, and I was so relieved to be reading something that I just wanted to sit and read and it was great. Unfortunately the second half is decidedly more average, but it's still not bad. 

I'm still knitting Breathing Space. It feels like I haven't been knitting much, but I started it two weeks ago and I'm on the second sleeve, so that's not too bad. I am loving the way its looking.

And that's another week flown by. Pop over to Ginny's blog to see what she, and the rest of the yarnalong, are up to this week.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The unbreakable BSJ

At the end of October ago I was casting off a Baby Surprise Jacket, and loving it. Great colours, great yarn, just perfect. Until I got to one of the edges, and realised I'd put one of my increase markers in the wrong spot. I thought about ripping it out, but it would have taken me back half the jumper. I generally presume that my baby knitting gets oohed and ahhed over, but I'm not really convinced they get actually worn so much. Anyway, I decided to block it and see if it would forgive the mistake. And it does:

So why the long wait for photos? I really struggled with what closure to use. I had put in buttonholes, but only to the top of the white stripe. And because of the increases being in a weird spot, buttons were not going to work. After leaving it in time out for most of November, I realised I had to finish it, because another of Leon's friends had a baby. So I put hooks on one side of it. i tried to sew on the eyes, but they were visible, so i just hooked them in to the iCord edging.
And speaking of Leon's friends, we sent another of the BSJs to a friend in England, and look what she sent us this week: 

Now that's what I call a satisfying conclusion. 
There were more baby jumpers sent out this week, including this one which has been sitting in the gift box for six years. Now I had better get knitting, because I'm sure there will be more babies on the way, and it's always good to have a supply of baby jumpers on hand.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Yarnalong - the one with the low after the high

The problem with reading (or in this case listening to) a book that has a large emotional impact is that the next book is always going to be a bit flat. So, after finishing A Little Life on Monday - and I cried for the entire last 15 minutes of the book - I was at a bit of a loss. I has also finished The Color of Water, although that made no impact at all. Now I'm reading Dancing with Demons, The authorised biography of Dusty Springfield. We saw the musical Dusty last week, which was inspired by the book. It's ok, but it feels more like a long magazine article than an actual book.

I'm still knitting Breathing Space. I love knitting stocking stitch in the round and the stripes make this so much fun. It's growing nicely, I've nearly finished the stripes on the body.

As always on a Wednesday, I'm joining the yarnalong. Click over to Ginny's blog to see what she, and the yest of the yarnalong, are up to this week. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Rip, rip, recycle

Since I knit my new Warriston to replace my old tired, worn out Warriston I decided to rip the old one, figuring the yarn will be good for a bathmat some time in the future (Long time followers of this blog will know that bathmats happen on a regular basis!) I was surprised when ripping it how broken up the yarn was. Despite throwing out a lot of smaller bits, I have ended up with 509 grams, over an alarming number of skeins.

While I was ripping things, I decided to rip out my montebretia shawl. it was unwearable and ungiftable, and there was sparkle yarn trapped in there. I love sparkle yarn.

I feel better having finalised that shawl, rather than having it kicking around the house, reminding me of a failed project.

The yarn all came out very kinked and sproingy, but, after a wash, it was as good as new and returned to the stashbox.



After which I indulged in counting my stash, which is currently steady at 18026 meters. It's not surprising it hasn't budged, since I've recycled all this yarn, and got an accurate count on the opshop laceweight.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Yarnalong -the last one with the work travel (for the moment)

I've been to Wangaratta twice in the last week and didn't make it to the mill once! This is the last work travel I'm going to be doing until the end of January, and I'll miss my train knitting time.

This is how it looked at the start of the day
I cast on Breathing Space by Veera Valimaki at the beginning of my day yesterday. I  spent most of the day listening to  A Little Life. Remember last week when I chose a long audio book because of the amount of travel I had this week? Well, this book is exceptional. I just want to sit around and listen to it. Its sad and happy and upsetting and gripping

This is how it looked by the end of the day - top down yoke complete
Because of how in love with this audio book I am, I've barely done any reading this week and am only halfway through The Color of Water, which is actually quite a short book. I'm enjoying it I guess, although I don't feel very connected with it, perhaps because I'd rather find out what happens next in A Little Life.

And that's another week in my life flown by. Pop over to Ginny's blog Small Things to see what she, and the rest of the yarnalong, are up to this week.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Finally, Blender

I've had the Blender socks in my queue for a while now, but I kept putting them off. Something about the technique made me nervous. I decided to gather together all my left over sparkle yarns and see how it went.

I'm not unhappy with them. Because I knit top down the heel came when I was twelve

rounds in, and I couldn't wrap my mind around blending the colours there. I'm still not sure how that would work, since there are single rows of colour, but if I do this again I will make the effort to work it out. I would also reverse where the start of round is on the second sock, so that the jogs and ends are more hidden on the inside of the foot on both socks.

I love the way the blended colours look and the beginning and the end, although I'm not as fond of how the pink and white in the middle look. All in all another function pair of sneaker liners completed,and knitting with sparkle yarn is always one of my favourite things. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Warriston the second


I finished Warriston on Friday, blocked it and here she is. I'm so happy with this. The yarn knitted up so softly, and light but still dense and so warm.
 
I only made three mods - I added an extra pattern repeat to the cowl, I put two stitches between the raglan decreases to reduce gappiness and I made the body loner. In fact, I made the body the exact same length as the Warriston this one is replacing.

Here's a comparison of their sizes:

The same length (win!) shorter sleeves (as planned) and about two a centimetre narrower one each side. And its funny, but that four centimeters around takes this from a sack, to a well fitting jumper, with positive ease. Or as Leon put it "this one you could even wear out of the house". 





Friday, November 18, 2016

No longer cobweb

Previously on 'What I made by Sharon"

I bought an unknown amount of laceweight yarn on a cone from an op-shop.

I plied it up on a weekend away.

Now to continue the story:
 
When we got back I finished plying it, counted it and washed it. It comes to 2118 meters of heavy laceweight. more than enough to make a long version of the cardigan I want to make from it. 


This picture does not truly capture the beautiful colour this yarn is, a delicate sea green. All in all this was a very satisfying experience, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it knits up.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

yarnalong - the one with sunshine!

I'm sitting outside on my balcony in the dappled sunshine between getting home from work and starting dinner. It's such a luxury and one of my favourite parts of the day.

I'm knitting Kate Davies' Warriston jumper. I explained here why I'm knitting it again. I'm up to the raglan decreases, and it's all going to plan so far.

I've just started reading the Color of water by James McBride. It's the story of his mother - a jewish woman who marries a black man. I've only just started, but it seems like an interesting read.

I had to choose a new audio book yesterday, and as I've got a couple of work trip on the next week, so I wanted something long. I popped in to the Ravely audiobook forum, where a couple of people recommended A little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I'm about an hour into this 32 hour book, and so far I'm loving it. hopefully it will stay as compelling, because I've got at least 14 hours on trains and trams next week.

And that's another week, flown by. I highly recommend popping over to Ginny's blog to see what she, and the rest of the yarnalong, have been up to this week.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

A well worn smock

In 2012 I knit the Kate Davies pattern Warriston. She describes it as an outdoors smock. I don't remember how I thought I was going to wear it, but when I finished it it was larger, looser and well smockier than I expected. This is the picture from when i finished it:


I didn't think I'd get a lot of wear out of it, but it turned into my everyday evening winter house jumper. Leon and I heat the house less and less, and this warm, cosy comfortable sack  smock, has done a brilliant job of keeping me cosy.

But now it's pretty dead. The yarn was never very soft, but it has pilled like crazy:

The sleeve decreases were done without leaving stitches in between, so they are gappy, and there are holes under the arms.
And in the back, as well. It's like I cut the ends too short when I sewed them in or something. Which may well be what I did.
The collar doesn't sit right anymore, partly because the I-cord cast off is a bit tight, partly because the shoulders have sagged over four winters of constant wear. Also, I want a softer collar, because it's right in my face.
So that's why I've cast on another one of these, in a rather more luxurious yarn. I'm hoping to make a smock almost identical to this one, because I love it so, so much.