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Showing posts from 2018

End of year thoughts

I normally do a post at the end / beginning of the new year, about the number of things I have knitted, the number of kilometers I have used and so on.Here is 20162017 and while these metrics do interest me, I have started to doubt they have any value at all. It started with Goodreads, sending me a report to say I'd read X number of books this year. Well, yes, but what does that mean? Where they good books? Did they teach me anything? Did I enjoy them? Did I take it slowly and absorb beautiful writing, or just bomb through them while paying very little attention? 

It's the same for my knitting. I'm trying to move away from my strong product focus, and enjoy the process. The question I want to be asking myself isn't "how many things did I make" but "how were the things I made in 2018?".

Well, thank you for asking. 2018 was a marvelous year, both in knitting and in life.
I made new friends, became closer with old ones, spent a month in Scotland and knit …

Gifts! Shopping! Stuff!

This has been quite the season of giving! Mostly to me, from me, but still, so much amazingness. And I really love a parcel.

The first thing that came were these medieval animals:

I Kickstarted them ages ago, and they are so cute, and such good quality and fun. 

One of them will probably go on my Fringe Town Bag, which arrived today.

I'll do a full review when I've used it for a bit, but right now I'll say it looks amazing. I'm very pleased with the colour, and the quality is what I expect from Fringe Supply Co. It came in just ten days, over the Christmas break, and was beautifully packed in a calico bag.

I was surprised that it wasn't bigger, but then realised I can easily put my beloved Field Bag inside it, so it's deceptive.I might make my next project (after the shawl and the pair of socks I'm going to knit for Leon) a big jumper, just so I can use this bag.

And finally, one of the managers at work decided to give everyone mystery Christmas presents. We got …

Conic complete

I finished Conic on Wednesday, and it was blocked and dry on Thursday night. I wore it to the pub, where we had dinner with Kat and Nick, who were in Melbourne for family and for work. So nice to catch up with far flung friends. Then I wore it to work on Friday. 
I think I'll wear it every day. Despite my earlier fears, I really like it. The Blacker yarn is half linen, half wool and it is crisp, but still has wonderful drape. Extending the sleeves worked too. They hit just below the elbow, which keeps be warm enough and also avoid the "problem" of ribbed cuffs on my considerable biceps.

 I love, love, love the cable down the back.

 I really like this shape, lose and batwingy an a giant circle. Leon doesn't so much he said "it looks good ...when your arms are by your sides", but I like all that fabric. Like my Strathendrick, it's a bit of a wearing blanket, although it is more summerweight than the jumper. I was planning to follow my sort of tradition of…

Here come the holidays

I love this time of year. The weather is usually lovely - this year is a little colder than usual, and we've had a lot of rain, but I'm sure the sun will come out eventually. Every one is in a good mood, I've got 11 days off over Christmas, and four or five of them are at the cricket, which is always a good time for knitting. In fact, this time of year has settled into a very predictable pattern - Sunday before Christmas is with Leon's family, then we hand out with Elise on Christmas day - it's not Christmas, just a chance to eat food and watch movies together. Boxing day is cricket and Leo's birthday, then more cricket. You can see why I always plan my knitting for this period carefully. This year I'm making Joji Locatteli's Cathedral Wrap.

It has 100 rows of fairly simple lace, followed by a great deal of plainsish knitting, which will be perfect for the cricket. I'm hoping to get the lace done between finishing work on Friday and Tuesday night. W…

A very knitterly weekend

On Friday night / Saturday morning I set my alarm for 1.55am, got up, purchased a Fringe Town Bag in the Cocoa colour and was back on bed by 2.05. I’m very excited for it to arrive. The on Saturday night was the Annual Richmond Knitters Christmas party. This is always a fun event, and it’s nice to get dressed up and spend some time with my knitters on a Saturday night, instead of my more usual Monday night post work mood. I made table decorations, and was really thrilled with the way they came out.

 As is turning into a tradition, Dani from HalfBakedHandDyed made us a Richmond Knitter’s Christmas colourway. Look how pretty it is. 

 On Sunday I went with some friends to Smith and Daughters, a vegan restaurant Northside, that I’ve been wanting to go to for ages, and then rolled even further north to celebrate Katie’s birthday. And all the time I was knit, knit, knitting away. I’ve got 8 more rounds to go on the front ribbing of Conic. Each row is 500+ stitches, but they are knitting up …

Conic panic

I get to a certain point with every big project I knit, where I am convinced its a failure. The last one was Leon's jumper, which was terrible - until I blocked it and it was great. I'm now well over half way through Conic, and I'm concerned it's going to be unwearable.

 I went up a size (and down a needle size) because the smaller size was ...smaller. Now I'm worried that there will be massive amounts of positive ease. I did the sleeve decreases slower, because I wanted it to hit below the elbows. 
Now I'm panicking that this will make for a weird batwing shape. I'm trying to stay calm, to remind myself that this is meant to be an odd, oversized shrug thing. That I panic every time. But mainly I'm trying to knit as fast as I can, so i can see if it's a winner, or if it's the a strange, batwinged bizaro thing that I fear I am knitting.

Progress and shopping

I've been working away on Conic. Because you pick up the "sleeve" stitches from almost the middle of the back, they are very long rows. Also, I paused on the first "sleeve" to start the second one - because I was out last Saturday, and I didn't want to risk finishing the first sleeve. Picking up those stitches is intense, so I did that,and then knit the first part of the sleeve. So, progress is slow and not interesting for others, but it is quite fun for me.

Other than knitting Conic I am obsessed with the new Fringe Town Bag, which is like the Field bag which I use for all my knitting except socks, but bigger.

Do I need one? No. Do I desperately want one, in the toffee (on the left) ? Yes. These are in very short supply. They do their updates at 9am Friday Central Time. For some reason I thought that would be 1am here in Melbourne. I Googled it, I didn't just magically decide. Last Friday night was very hot, and we were still up at 12.45, so I decided t…

Once-upon-a-sock - the sockvember edition

Well, Brent didn't manage to make sockvember a thing, and I couldn't get through a month without making a pair of socks.(Last months Once-Upon-a-Sock post, if none of that made any sense to you.)I had a few days between finishing Leon's jumper and starting my Conic, so I squeezed in a pair for my mother, which i will give her as a Chanukkah gift. The other fun sock thing that happened was that an ad for Nutella's Christmas glasses popped up in my instagram feed, and they had sock ones! I was super excited. I don't do Christmas, but I do believe in socks. I rushed straight down to the supermarket ... which didn't have any. two supermarkets later, and look: my very own sock glass.

December is going to have some sock highlights - Half-Baked-Hand-Dyed is dying the Richmond Knitters a Christmas colourway. We did this last year, and it was really fun, especially when we all knit it for socktober. I'm hoping to squeeze a pair of socks in for Leon between Conic and…

Yarnalong - the one where summer begins

I love summer, and we've finally had some some days where it is warm enough to sit outside with the reading and knitting. As I said earlier in the week, I'm making the most of the nice weather, and  knitting the summery Conic, by Cookie A. I'm up to the first sleeve, which is also the back, because it's a rather strange design. I am happy to be cruising into this busy period with some straightforward knitting in the round - straightforward now I have finished the cables, anyway. I have quite a few social events coming up - oddly enough mainly birthdays, rather than Christmas, so simple and in the round is definitly the best.

 I'm reading Fool's Quest the second last of Robin Hobb's Fitz and the Fool series. I'm half way through. Such an exciting book, and so many changes, and so much happening. If you are a fantasy fan, read this - but start all the way back at the beginning 15 books ago. What a journey!

And that's December's yarnalong. If you ne…

Welcome to summer

Saturday was the first day of summer, and Melbourne celebrated by having absolutely beautiful weather. It was also the first day in decades that Junction Oval - at the end of my street has hosted the cricket. The last couple of years have been spent renovating and reviving the ground, and it's lovely. So much smaller than the big stadiums,with grass to lounge on. And people giving away fairy wings. No idea why, but I enjoyed my day wearing them.

Needless to say, I got a lot of knitting done. I'm knitting the appropriately summery Conic, by Cookie A, out of a linen / wool mix. It was just so relaxing and pleasant, and  sign of things to come. Today the weather is much more ordinary, and I'm curled up at home, knitting and reading, but Saturday showed so much promise for the coming season - both in cricket, knitting and just relaxing in the sun. 
I'm also pretty excited about this shrug: it starts with the back panel, and then you pick up stitches for the sleeves and the f…

Socks. Yes, more socks

My mother asked me for socks, lace socks. I decided that the multi coloured sock yarn I got from Kris' destash would be perfect. Looking around Ravelry I found Embossed Leaves, from Interweave Favorite Socks, a book I bought sometime before 2011, which has survived my many and various culls. I really liked the way it looked in multi coloured yarn, and I really like the way it came out in the yarn I used. There are two odd things: It uses a different cast on, and I think I did it wrong, because in the Interweave pictures the cast on looks lovely, almost like a tubular cast-on. 

Mine looks fine, but not like that.I did the first and second differently - the second (on the right) is closer.
 And the toe shape is a bit interesting too.

It will be fine for my mother, she has very flat toes. partly because 25 years ago she had arthritis in her big toes and they removed the big toe joints. I've always joked that her fat little feet look like they have been hit on the ends by a hammer…

I finally ran out of blue LOSY

I knit this cute baby jumper out of left over sock yarn and FINALLY used up all my navy blue left overs. I'm pretty happy with it, I think it's really cute, and used 3 colours as well as the navy blue. It was quite a fun knit, although there were a lot of ends to sew in at the end. That's always the cost / benefit analysis when using LOSY. Now I've got two baby jumpers in the gift box, one grey and one blue. I think the next one will be a pink, purple and green one for girls.

sOcktober - the month that keeps on giving

Sonia, the hostess and founder of the Richmond Knitters decided to run a little competition during sOcktober. She donated a bunch of beautiful prizes, and made up a whole lot of catogories, including "most socks knit". Much to nobodies surprise, I won that category, with six pairs.

I chose this yarn as my prize, because it's really pretty. What I didn't realise until I saw it in real life (and you can't see in this photo) is that it has sparkles, and you all know how much I love sparkle yarn. The cat bag was also part of the prize, and it seems so appropriate for me and my cat based lifestyle. I think this yarn would be amazing as part of a two colour shawl - maybe paired with a dark green. Thanks to Sonia for organising, administrating and providing prizes, and all the Richmond Knitters for making it such a fun month. Now i presume this will be my last sOckober post until next year, but you really never know, do you?

Launch day - talented friends

What feels like a million years ago, Kate Jordan told me she was going to write a book, with patterns and a short istory of Wellington Train Station. She finished it and has published it as Onward Knits.  You can read what Kate has to say about it here, and see a preview of some of the patterns.

She  was kind enough to allow me to test knit, so before we went to Scotland, I knit Leon a pair of Sojourn gloves. I accidentally reversed the colours, without changing which side I held them on. Yet another lesson in colour dominance.

All the patterns in the book are lovely, and I'm going to use another of them for Leon's winter set 2019. She's having a launch party in Wellington, New Zealnad right now, and I wish I could be there. Instead I'm going to admire her designs, photography and stories, and plan what I should knit next.

You can see all the patterns, and buy the book here.

Blocked before blogging

As I promised, here is Leon's He-Oak jumper, finished and blocked:

I know last time I said I would block my next project before blogging it, because it's the right thing to do, but with this one I had to. Right until it dried, I was convinced that the neckline was a fail.
This happened for two reasons.
1) A rather "interesting" neckline construction
2) The pattern calls for positive ease, and Leon likes his jumpers with less ease, so I made it with less ease. Not a great plan, although it still looks pretty good:

There were NO projects on Ravelry for this. I knit it because I thought it would be great to support an Aussie designer. The thing is, most designers get people to test knit for them, and then the test knitters put their projects up. Apparently this didn't happen here.
There are details I really like, like the shoulders:
I don't love the way the short row sleeve caps start three rows in, I think it makes the turns more obvious than when they are flush again…

Yarnalong - the one with the paper book

I know that Yarnalong is now only  the first Wednesday of the month, but I took this photo on the weekend and had to post on this, the 3rd Wednesday:

It's the deck at my parents holiday house, and I spent quite a lot of time out there reading and knitting over the weekend. That is the first paper book I have read in four years - I always read on my beloved Kindle, but I realised in the car up there thst I had failed to bring it. Tragedy! Luckily they have a bookshelf there, with a lot of books I had no interest in and, Friday Nights by Joanna Trollope. It's a lovely light but not fluffy read about female friendships. 
And that's my He-oak jumper for Leon, knitting up remarkably quickly.

I'm joining in with Ginny and the monthly yarnalong. I recommend popping over to her blog to see what everyone else is knitting and reading this month.

If you want to find all my book reviews, I'm SharonDblk on Goodreads. On Ravelry I'm SharonDoubleknit, and I blog about my knitting…

A marathon weekend

This weekend, Leon and I did the full marathon in the Marysville marathon trail running festival. The run started the year after the entire town burnt down 10 years ago, and I've done it 7 times - mainly the 10 kilometer, once the half marathon, and this is the first time I've done the full 42.2 distance.
And it was hard. The first half was great - no wind, beautiful weather, nice people, stunning trails. I stacked at 26 kms, but escaped with bruises and grazes.

From 30kms it got really hard. There is a climb to a lookout that just went on forever, and coming down there was quite a stony path, and I kept kicking rocks. We had been looking forward to the final 4km - mainly down hill, and a very familiar trail, but the heat took a toll on Leon, and he was suffering from severe cramps. Still, this marathon has been my goal for a long time, and now I've done it. We might have to train differently and do it again stronger next year, or maybe not. I'll decide once the bruises …