Monday, May 22, 2017

Good beer week wrap up

This years Good Beer Week was a bit hectic for me, coming back almost half way through it. We always like to do at least one beer / food matched dinner, this year we drank beer from Oregon, matched with yummy American food on Monday, and then various pubs and various beers for the rest of the week. 


Leon, Bee, Cazza and Amy
On Saturday afternoon we went to GABS, which is always a good time, but this year was even more fun than usual. 


Sheep logo!
As I finished by Baffies on Friday, I cast on for a pair of sneaker liners. I'm not really sure how they went, and I'm a little afraid to look now!

Yep, those are knitted sausages
I was going to go to the Annual Handknitters Guild market in Coburg on Sunday, but after the busy, busy week, and the beery, beery Saturday I didn't have it in me to trek across town. It would have been about two hours round trip, and then only thing I want to buy is some yarn for a cowl for Elise. Instead I sat on my couch and finally had some much needed home time, which of course, included knitting on the border of my Village Sweater wrap.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Good beer week baffies

While we were away Anna mentioned she would like some house socks. I made her some twinkletoes years ago, and she is definitely knitworthy.
I came back on the Monday of Good Beer Week. I decided that the lace edging of my Village Sweater Wrap  really would not be suitable for a week of drinking, beer and dubious lighting, so this was the perfect time to knit something simple:
 
I made Anna a pair of Kate Davies’ Baffies, from last year’s Seven Skeins Club. That club really is the gift that keeps on giving.
 
These were quick and simple, but not without drama. The first problem is they were coming out too large. A normal knitter would have gone down a needle size, but I’m drinking knitter, and I only had 3.5mm needles with me, so I ripped the foot and increased by 4 less stitches. Then, after I finished the first one, the iCord was way too tight. I couldn’t get it over my heel at all. So I ripped it, and re-iCorded, picking up more stitches.
And here they are:
 
Took a day longer than I expected, due to the drama, but still a quick, effective and easy gift. And such a dream to knit in all circumstances.
  You'll have to excuse the photos, we took them at the pub after I finished these, as the end of the night, if you you what I mean.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Thailand wrap up post

So our trip to Thailand was fun. I've never had a resort holiday before, but we left the resort every day to do something. We did the normal kind of touristy things one does on Phuket. A boat trip to the islands;

sitting by the pool;

hanging out on the beach;

Babysitting my friend's 4 month old while she did a cooking class;

And all the while knitting, knitting, knitting.

The Village Sweater wrap was perfect knitting - light enough to work on even in the beautiful humid heat, and I got the entire garter stitch section finished, which was good, because that could have become boring in other circumstances.

Thailand doesn't have a knitting tradition, and, although I did see some crocheted toys at the market, there was no yarn shops, so I managed not to increase the stash on this holiday There was a sheep themed hotel, but it was called "Sleep with me" so who knows what's going on there.









My other main observation is that most of the cats had weird stumpy tails:

Basically I had fun, and it was great to hang out with my girlfriends, get warm and relax before I become a home-owner next week. 






Sunday, May 14, 2017

Finished while in Thailand

(I wrote this post while I was in Thailand, but I couldn't get the photos to upload. I'm back home now, I'll post a full wrap up of my holiday in the next day or so)

I brought the socks I was knitting for Elise with me to Thailand. Cookie A's Vilai socks are by far the most complex socks I've knit for a while, and I didn't want to loose momentum on them. Despite how much I bitched and moaned while knitting them, in the end they are worth it:

Jayne who is on holidays with me has the same shoe size as Elise. She was kind enough to model these for me. Then she asked me for a pair of her own,and how could I say no, really. 


Monday, May 8, 2017

Thailand holiday post 1

I'm not sure that i am actually going to blog much, i forgot how much i hate typing on a tablet, but i am sitting on my balcony, knitting on Elise's sock, and soaking in the sun and this view
And appreaciating the good things in life.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

All my bags are packed, my knitting's cast on

And now I'm in that bit where I hang about, waiting to leave and worrying. In this case about packing. I piled up everything I wanted to take with me, and discovered that it all fit in my old Country Road kit bag. Which is funny, because I didn't pack light. As well as enough clothes for nine days, and two pairs of bathers, I have a set of power rings, a skipping rope, 200 grams of laceweight yarn and the three quarter finished socks for Elise.

I've had this bag since I was 19, and it's been on countless road trips with the girls (women now, I guess) that I am going to Thailand with.

The Village Sweater wrap starts with a 299 stitch provisional cast on, so I've done that, and I'll start the actual knitting in the taxi to the airport. For my friends, carrying suitcases is t heir sign they are grown ups. For me, it's saying "stuff this bus timetable, I'm catching a cab"!

I'll try to do some blogging while I'm away, even if it's mainly photos of swimming pools and cocktails. Or an update on what I could have packed, but didn't. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Preparing to holiday

I’m going to Thailand on Friday with my old school friends. A couple of years ago we started talking about what we were going to do for our 40ths, and decided that, instead of a bunch of parties and presents and all that, we’d go on holidays together. I didn’t think it would actually happen, but happening it is. Five of us are going to stay in a resort in Phuket, leaving this Friday.
 
Now, one of the most important questions I have to ask before any holiday is: what should I knit? I’ve decided on Romi Hill’s Village Sweater Wrap. It’s an odd garment – part giant shawl, part cardigan, but I’ve noticed that my taste is moving towards longer, looser, less structured garments. This should be great holiday knitting – the middle is just endless garter stitch, and there is no possibility that over ten days I will finish it. This also has the bonus that I have somewhat suitable yarn in stash:
 
I swatched this weekend. Sometimes I can be cavalier about swatching, casting on a sleeve or just making an educated guess, but I want to make sure this fabric is nice, and with over 300 stitches, this was not a good time to just cast on and hope it looks good:
 
The main drama with the swatching was my stitch gauge was too big, so I went down a needle size. Then I counted my row gauge, and it was really, really too big. So I went down another needle size. My stitch gauge was close, but even with blocking it small, instead of stretched, my row gauge was coming in at 24 rows for 10 cm, not the 40 called for. Then I went to bed, stressing about what I was going to knit on this trip. When I got up this morning, I went to see if the row gauge had magically changed overnight. And I looked at it and realised I wasn’t counting rows, I was counting ridges. Now I’m going to reblock it for length, and it should be good to go!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Socks for Elise

Elise asked me for a pair of socks. I've only made her one pair, and that was a really long time ago, so i decided to make her some nice, complicated socks. I'm using my last skein of Little Dipper yarns, and chose Cookie A's Vilai pattern.

I love the way it looks, but I am questioning whether knitting such complicated socks makes any sense. It's so slow, and there are so many lovely socks out there with an easy to remember repeat.

And yet these really are special, and I think I'll give them to Elise for her 40th birthday, so I guess I'm leaning gently towards the concept that they are worth the effort.

I also have it in my head that I would really like to knit all the patterns from Sock Innovation. Cookie A has disappeared, so there won't be any new patterns from her, and it seems fitting to knit all her back catalogue, before I get sad about there being no new patterns.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Leon's winter set 2017 - finished just in time

I finished Leon’s winter set and Skip took photos on Saturday, in a brewery, because that’s the way we roll. The set was started a little late, because I wanted to wait until the end of the Inspired by Islay club, and I was quite concerned that winter would come before Leon had a winter set for 2017. 

But the weather held through April, unseasonably warm and pleasant. It was so lovely having the Melbourne comedy festival with nice weather – like normally happens in Adelaide. The comedy festival finished last weekend, and  until this morning it was still warm. And then today winter came! I’m not the biggest fan of winter, but at least I know Leon will be wrapped up in an enormous amount of yarn, warm and cosy and so pretty.
 
The details of the hat: I took the chart from Singing Sands scarf, and put it into the pattern for Shore Street hat. I had to adjust the numbers by two for the increases, but after that it worked like a charm. It’s important to me that a set is matchy, matchy, matchy.
 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Emergency repairs

I went to my parents place on F

riday night with my repair kit - somehow the grafting on the shoulders of my mother's ASJ had failed, so I knew I had to repair that. While I was there, my father produced  a pair of socks, which he wears at Marysville, and said they were getting thin in the heels. 

Which is not surprising, since I made them in 2011 and he wears them directly on carpet.  I was very excited, because I has some green sparkle yarn woth me. I explained about visible mwndsing - I'm not sure he was entirely convinced, but I did it, and I love it. I was really happy he brought them to me before they were completely worn through -it makes the repair so much easier.

What I cannot explain is why it looks like there is straw in the yarn.Still, they are repaired, and I've put making a pair of thick indoor socks on the list of things to kniy for him.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Singing Sands Scarf complete (Leon's winter set 2017)

The second half of Leon's scarf went much faster than the first half - it turns out when I spend more time knitting, more knitting gets done - SURPRISE.

anyway, after I steeked it, I did the edging, which took a while, but was not as tedious as I feared, even over 800 stitches of i-Cord cast off. And now it's done. 

I left off the last half repeat (1 set of "beans") and I'm glad I did, because this scarf is both very wide and very long. It's lucky it looks good on both side, because it really likes to show the "wrong" side, or at least it did while we were taking these photos.

I'm just relieved that Melbourne's weather has been unseasonably warm - I was quite concerned, given that I started this winter set so late, he would end up cold, but the weather right now is balmy. And I'm only a day from finishing the hat, and then winter can bring its worst.





Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Remember the Tomten?

I think I have blogged more about this little baby jumper than any other project I've made! I got the yarn back on March 22nd - the same day I bought our new home. At some point I finished the sleeves and ordered a zip. I was a bit scared about putting in the zip, but it was actually quite painless and I love the way it looks:

If (when) I make this again, I am going to do the entire sleeves in the contrast colour, rather than starting from where I did, but I am very satisfied with how this came out. It's a very cute pattern, and one that will hopefully not take me 3 months next time!


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Untwisting!

As I suspected when I cast it on, my Singing Sands scarf was twisted. In fact I think it might have been twisted twice:

On a project this long, it actually didn't matter much while I was knitting it, the twist was always somewhere on the other end of the needles. Still, it was quite exciting to get the to bit when I could steek it:
Add caption
And now, it's no longer twisted, but I still can't see how long it is, because the needles are significantly shorter than the scarf.


I've excited to see how it will look spread out. Once I've finished the border, which is over 800 stitches, and ends with an I-Cord cast off. Luckily Elise has invited us over for a movie afternoon / evening, which will make those rows go flying by. Well, that's what I'm hoping, anyway. I'll see you on the other side of that border.



Thursday, April 13, 2017

An actual Altoids tin

As part of the great destash of 2017, I'm going through my knitting notions. For years I have used the tins by The Sexy Knitter, swapping out the contents until I have my perfect tin.


 I actually kept the last one (with the alpaca face) but have been using this sheep one for a while. Quite a while. Long enough for the hinges to have gone a bit wonky, and the photo on the front to actually fade.

These tins are the perfect size, and very cute. Over a year ago, I saw a tin of actual Altoids in the shop where I buy my tea and coffee. 

I've had them in my work desk draw and have been slowly eating my way through the tin. And now, they are finished. I took the magnet from the top of the old tin, and here it is, nice and new and shiny.




Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Wednesday - the one where there is no yarnalong

It has surprised me how often I'm knitting somewhere pretty, and I think "oh, I should take a photo for yarnalong", or I'm quietly writing comments in my head about whatever book I'm reading. The yarnalong gave a certain structure to my blog too. 
Today's post is not very structured at all! I've had the last two days off work, and have gotten rid of so much stuff. We're taking a minimalist approach to moving, partly because I want less stuff and less clutter in my life, partly because we're moving into a smaller place, and also because the less stuff I own, the less I have to pack!

I destashed about 20 Addi fixed needles last week. They are such lovely needles, but I'm obsessed with my interchangeables. As a thank you Katie gave me two lovely skeins of sock yarn:

This one is Oyster Yarns, which is The Purl Box indie dye label,

And this is a Zauberball:

I haven't had a Zauberball for ages, so I'm very excited. I know it's a little ironic to brag "I'm getting rid of everything I own and look at my pretty new stash", but my yarn is one of the things I am happy with the amount I have. It's all useful and I will use all of it, eventually. The mission of my radical house declutter is to get rid of things I don't use - and I'm quite shocked about how much of that I have. Also, how addictive it is once you start letting it all go.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Join, being careful not to twist

That's the instruction we've all read a thousand times, right?
The Singing Sands scarf is knit across, as in - the full length of the scarf is cast on, knit in the round and steeked at the end.

So, I cast 400 odd stitches on, and thought "how can I avoid twisting?" and then I thought "who cares?" Obviously I'll do my best, but if they twist, I'm cutting it apart in the end anyway.


Because of the widthways construction, the whole scarf is only 49 rows. 49 very, very long, rather twisted rows, but still, only 49 rows. I'm off to knit a row right now... I'll be done in an hour or two.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Leon's winter set 2017 - it begins

I’m making Leon’s Winter Set (2017) from Kate Davies’ Singing Sands pattern. I adapted last years Pawkies mitts by slotting in the Singing  Sands colourwork pattern. Luckily both pattern are knitted over 14 stitches, so that was very simple.





I used a tubular cast on and cast off. I love the way it looks, but it’s a pain to work and really isn’t very stretchy, despite what the internet says. I had to redo the first one, because it lacked stretch and looked funny:
I’m really happy with how they look. I was surprised when Leon choose these colours, because the blue/green colour is very pretty.
Now onwards, to the scarf. Winter is coming and I started this later than I usually make Leon’s Winter Set.