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Showing posts from 2019

Colour (re)affection

My Colo(u)r affection was one of my favourite shawls. In 2012 It was the first big shawl I made: a glorious three coloured garter blanket of a shawl. I loved it, and wore it, and knit more glorious two and three colour shawls. I'm wearing it less and less. It's tired. It's got snags. The yarn itself had faded. So I decided to rip it out, skein it up in ten gram mini skeins, dye them and use them in my (now expanded) sock yarn blanket.

While I was making that plan, I was also looking at sock pattern, with the left overs from my tiffany blue sparkle cardigan in mind. I came across Rachel Coopey's Narcissa socks, which are in a pattern book I bought years ago and I haven't knit a single on of them. The pattern is knit in Sock that Rock Raven Clan, so I decided to try to dye the yarn (which is, by coincidence, Socks that Rock) in a similar colourway.

I'm quite happy with how that came out, and really looking forward to knitting them.
And the other mini skeins came…

Unravelled Wednesday - gods with a little g

This week I'm linking up for the first time with Kat and Unravelled Wednesday, where people talk about what they are reading and knitting. Although mainly I'm going to talk about what I've been reading - the knitting is taken care of by the dress, which is progressing well, I'll probably get the body finished by the weekend.

I finished a NetGalley review book gods with a little g, by Tupelo Hassman. Sometimes it's hard to categorise a book, which makes it hard to review it, and much harder to give it a score out of five. Sometimes I find the whole Netgalley / Goodreads scoring thing frustrating. Some books don't need a score, they are what they are. This book is sweet and sad and hopeful, and self contained and sure of itself. I initially found the short chapters offputting, but it works very well with the tone of the book. The ending was maybe a bit too sweet, but that could just be my cynical old heart talking, and the journey to get there was a lovely, happy …

Blanket growth

Famously, I have been working on my sock blanket since June 2009 -very close to it's ten year anniversary. I thought that it was nearly finished, but it's way too narrow. I cast it on when I was single, and it's not wide enough for a couple. I've been saying for a while that I thought it was finished, and Leon has been telling me it's not big enough. When I asked when it would be big enough he cheerily announced "never". So I decided to make it twice as wide. Sure, that means that the very edge squares have to be sewn in:
 I'm going to widen it by ten squares, so it will be trice as wide as it is now. I know it took me ten years to get this far, but I also know that if I worked on it for just one day between every project, I would have the right side caught up in a year. I'm not going to commit to a goal like that - I know that, for this project, anyway, I'm not focused on finishing.

Although it would be nice to get that new bottom row establis…

Finally - the dress

I spent an awful lot of time thinking about the neckline of Still Light, before I picked up the needles. As written it's quite a wide neckline, and I wanted it a tad higher. I was also worried about the ribbing flaring. There are various solutions to this, but the most obvious seemed to be a tubular cast on. There are different types of tubular cast on, and I chose a very simple one that makes a firm edge. I also choose to start with 8 stitches less. I increased up to the correct size before joining in the round. Hopefully this will narrow the neckline. I'm quite worried about the sizing, I've got an 86 cm bust, so I'm knitting the 90cm. I tried to try it on when I got to the 80cm size, but I don't think learnt anything. My gauge is perfect AFTER blocking, and slightly larger before blocking, so who really knows how it is going to come out.

There is a weird thing about how this pattern is written, which is that after the side markers are established the stitch co…

Once Upon A Sock - June

It was a good month for sock knitting - and a bad month for staying below my target of 12 pairs of socks in 2019. I started the month finishing Leon's Game of Thrones House Martell socks. They were there sort of pattern that is fun, but a bit annoying. I figured I wouldn't be knitting any more socks in May, and cast on a test knit jumper...which didn't take me as long as I expected, and I needed a good quick project to finish up Good Beer Week, so I cast on the Fork In the Road socks. How I love helical stripes. (I thought they were called helictical, and had to google for the right name. I like my version better.) 

 And finally I did a quick test knit of some 8ply house socks. So my sock count for the year is at 7, but I have no regrets, because it got very cold here, and I've barely taken these socks off. when I'm home, I'm wearing my red flannel pyjamas, my carbeth and these socks. Heaven for winter. I'm currently knitting a dress, so new socks should b…

Yarnalong - the one where I get around to things previously delayed

Welcome to Yarnalong for June. This month I am knitting and reading things that I've been meaning to get around to for ages. The best thing is both of them were worth the wait! 

I'm knitting the Still Light Tunic. I've been wanting to knit a dress since early this year. I bought the yarn in April, swatched and then just didn't cast on. I finally started it last week, and it's growing nicely. I'm enjoying it, and if it works out like I hope it wil;l be a useful addition to my wardrobe. I'm reading Station 11. Everyone was reading this is 2016, and I had it in my "to be read" list, but I was a bit burnt out on post-apocalyptic fiction. The only reason I actually started it was because it had been on my Kindle for ever, and I thought I should read or delete it. Despite my initial lack of enthusiasm this book had me by the second page. It's engaging, and interesting and character driven and I can't believe I have to go to work, when I could …

Channelling my grandmother

I had two grandmothers, one who knit (Granny-in-England) and one who sewed (Omama). When Omama went into a home I inherited her sewing box,

 which was custom made for her, and with it her button collection, which I have pillaged for years. 

What I realised when sorting out her buttons was that most of them came from and had been cut off worn out pieces of clothing. I imagine she then used the clothes as rags. This week I had to say goodbye to a favourite pair of pyjamas. They are probably 20 years old, and just dead: It turns out that, over 20 years, flannel gets washed from fluffy to hard, elastic goes to the elastic heaven and in the early noughties the rise was really short. I still love them though, having a great fondness for rubber ducks. As I was getting ready to throw them out, I stripped the buttons and added them to the collection.

Then I ripped the fabric for cleaning rags. I think they'll do as good as the microfibre cloths I usually use, and I feel very virtuous, thrif…

Impulse testing

A couple of months ago Sally put out a call for test knitters for the Treetops jumper and a pair of 8 ply socks. I decided against the socks, because I would only wear them around the house, I didn't have the yarn, I'm trying to limit my sock knitting, and they are toe up and I didn't have the needle size in DPNs and I keep saying I'm going to knit a dress. But on sick day number two I "accidentally" responded to a message asking if anyone else wanted to join the test knit.

I decided to use the few grams of HalfBaked HandDyed yarn left over from Treetops and the hat I made afterwards, and some matching really pretty Spotlight "cashmere" that Kris destashed last year. And then I knit the socks. I reversed the detailing on the toe of the second sock, because apparently I'm unwilling to follow directions, even for a test knit. I think it looks very pretty. 

It's very well written pattern, and, even though it's toe up, they have a heel flap…

A shortage of perfect hat

I consider myself a moderate minimalist, which means I don't want to have 21 hats for 21 outfits, but one perfect hat. Although as a moderate minimalist, two or three perfect hats would be fine. But going into this winter, I found I lacked that "perfect" hat. I love my  Bracken Beanie, both for the hat and for the memories, but it's unwieldy to shove into a bag. I like my Kate Davies Knitting Season hat, but, when worn with something complicated, it's a lot. I wear Bousta Beanie on my bike, and so it's been relegated to that use only. So with the leftovers from Treetops, I decided to make a Latu, a relatively plain, slouchy beanie, with just the perfect amount of cable detailing.

I was sick Tuesday and Wednesday this week - I felt like crap and I couldn't talk so I was home from work and feeling some self pity. Knitting this hat was a bright spot. So simple, so perfect.

I like the way it looks with the brim folded

I like how it looks when it's unfolded a…

Good Beer Week Sneaker Liners (again)

I finished the Treetops jumper on Wednesday, so I did what I always do when I need something to knit and have no time to plan: I cast on a pair of sneaker liners. I wanted to do helictical single row stripes, and was trying to work out a way to do an afterthought heel, but by casting on the heel provisionally and then knitting in, when I found the Fork in the Road sock pattern. It does exactly that, although it uses a hat heel. Since a normal afterthought heel doesn't suit me that well anyway, I decided to go for it.

I cast on in the first pub of the evening, and knit the ribbing. We left the first pub, partly because we were always going to, but also because they turned the lights down and it was kind of dark. We got to the second pub, and I tried to cast on the heel stitches using Judy's provisional cast on in two colours. I still think it's possible, but I was 4 beers down and struggling. The bar tender turned the lights down (why do they do that?) He saw me looking at h…

Wednesdays are for (review) books

I'm not sure why Kate Atkinson's Case Histories was on NetGalley, since this was first published in 2005, but I wasn't going to argue when it popped up. And I'm very glad it did, because I really enjoyed it. it is apparently  "literary detective fiction" whatever that means. It reminded me of Cormorant Strike and John Rebus, so our detective - who is ex-army, ex-police (sound familiar?) is in good company.

There is strong characterisation and some truly funny moments i this book - although some of the "mystery" is not played out in the plot at all, and just explained outright in the last 20 pages. I guess I read the occasional mystery more for the people than the plot. I've already bought the second one in the series - weirdly, NetGalley also game the the third one, so I've got that to look forward to as well.

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the e-Arc, and putting me on to this great series.

Treetops jumper

I mentioned I was excited to knit Treetops jumper, and that excitement never wore thin.Usually there is one place in a project where I am sure it is not going to fit, or I realise I should have striped the yarn, or used different yarn, or the instruction become opaque. Not with this jumper. 
 It was just a pleasure to knit from start to finish. The HalfBaked Handyed yarn is such a lovely wearable colour. After blocking, I would think that there was silk in it - it has a lovely sheen and drape. I pretty much followed the pattern - although I did the lace on the front and the back. 

The pattern calls for just the front, since this was a test knit I asked if I could do it on both and Sally Oakley, the very talented designer, said that would be fine. 

She is from Tasmania and when I mentioned it was Good Beer Week here, she told me to look out for her brother's beer - Ocho. I did, and had a great red ale and, at GABS where these photos were taken, a beer that tasted like black jelly bea…

Good Beer Week 2019 - wrap up

It's been a fabulous week with good beer, good food and good friends. In fact, it's been one of my favourite Good Beer Weeks yet. I finished the jumper on Wednesday, so it was blocked and worn to GABS, and we even managed to take a photo reminiscent of my favourite photo from last year. I am rather exhausted, both because I've been out every night drinking, and because I've caught the bug that's going around, so here is a collage of my good beer week.

I'll be back next week with a full post of about the beautiful Treetops jumper, and what I knit after I finished Treetops.

House Martell Socks

While I was waiting to cast on my Good Beer Week project I started a pair of socks for Leon - the House Martell socks, the second last in the Game of Thrones sock series I'm knitting my way through.

I really like the way they came out, but the knitting of them was actually quite annoying! The pattern was simple enough, but for some reason I could only do some of the cabling without a cable needle, and it was just fiddly. The yarn is Shibui, so a nice yarn, which I got when Suzanne was doing a big destash, but it bled all over my hands.
Ans weirdly made my pink shellac nails go purple. As an aside, those nails also lifted really quickly. This week I've switched to SNS and I'm really liking it.
The finished pattern looks quite nice, but if I had known it was going to stripe I might have overdyed it.

 When it was time to do the toe of the first sock I asked Leon to try it on and he could barely get it over his heel. He took it off and put it back on again and the second time it …

Welcome to good beer week

Good Beer Week is an annual even that happens in Melbourne in mid-May, and it starts tonight! Of course, it is not just a week - it includes the weekends either side, so it's more like "Good Beer ten days". And it's not just about beer - it's about beer and food and friends. This year we are booked to go to a beer and cheese tasting, and a vegan beer and food thing, and I think we'll be meeting friends on four days to explore "Pint of Origin" pubs. So, lots of lovely food, delicious beer and knitting time. In previous years I have knit garter shawls, socks, Boxy. This year I planned my GBW knitting months ago - I was going to make Quicksilver. For reasons that escape me now, maybe over enthusiasm? I knit that shawl a couple of months ago. Then I was going to knit the Still Light Tunic - I bought the yarn, swatched and everything. 

But then the opportunity to test knit the Treetops came up, and it's perfect. I've done the "complicated&qu…

Wednesdays are for (review) books - Crashing the A-List

I was intending to do these Netgalley review posts monthly, but at the moment they are almost every week - I've been reading a lot of review books, all of a sudden. Of course, I don't only read from Netgalley, and if you want to see all my reviews, follow me on Goodreads, where I am SharonDblk

During The Longest Weekend in History I wanted to read something breezy and light, so romance it was. I'm very picky about romance books, and this one ticked the boxes. The reasons for the main characters being kept apart did not feel  forced or fake. All the characters were flawed and likeable in equal measure. The plot moved at a decent pace. A very smooth, well written read. 
Another plus (for me) was that it was not porny. Contemporary romance should come with a porn rating, so readers can decide how gynaecological they want to get. 
It did contain one romance trope that annoys me - the main character has one best friend - who she speaks to multiple times a day - and no other frie…


I don't know what it is about test knitting and reading review books that makes me so happy. Yes, free stuff is good, but I'm in the fortunate position where I can buy books, and support designers by purchasing patterns. Still, I love test knitting. It makes me feel special. When Sallyravels put out a call for test knitters, I sprained by shoulder I put my hand up so fast. 

The jumper I'm going to be knitting is "treetops" which is a big, square, boxy jumper. I'm excited, because two of my favourite recent knits are Strathendrick and Boxy. I wanted to stick with my goal of knitting more Australian, so I asked Dani of Halfbaked Hand Dyed to dye me up a jumpers worth of her 8ply, in this sage colour: 

My favourite colour at the moment. I'm lucky enough that Danni is a member of the Richmond Knitters, and she dyed it up for me, we did a handover at a pub between her house and mine. Love at first sight. I dashed home, wound the yarn and swatched: 

 And I'm …

The sock report - April 2019

Edited - I thought Once Upon a Sock was finished, hence the name of my post being different, but I like it, so I'm keeping it.

This month I knit one and a half pairs of socks. While we were away in Marysville knit another pair of sneaker liners, this time the Diamond Lace Sockets.

Toes up with a short row heel - and a "mini gusset". I've never used a gusset on a short row heel, and I like it.

I changed a bit of the pattern - I started the lace earlier and I made each diamond bigger. I also started it on fewer stitches.

I think it's pretty, and they fit very well.

I also started some socks for Leon, but I'm only up to the heel (of the second sock), so I'm calling them my May socks. Now all I need to do is not cast on any new socks this month, and I'm on track to not go over my 12 pair maximum. We'll see how that goes.

As always, on the first Thursday of the month (even though it's Friday, like I said on Wednesday everything is suddenly really busy a…

Yarnalong - the one where I knit socks yet again

It suddenly got very busy in my life - I'm not sure with what. Maybe just going back to work, which is why this photo was taken on the street, when I had 5 minutes in between work and an appointment. I did also manage to sneak in a round or two of knitting, so there is that.

I am currently knitting a pair of House Martel socks for Leon. Named after one of the now extinct great houses of Westeros, it feels very fitting, since Game of Thrones is back and bigger than ever. I started the second sock on Tuesday while watching the third episode, so it might come out tighter than the first sock - it was a pretty tense episode. I've just started reading Kings of the Wyld which seems like a good read so far - it's a fantasy novel about a band of mercenaries who split up and got old, and now for reasons, they are putting the band back together. Seems like good fun with a bit of heart, but I've only just started it, so stay tuned for a full opinion later.

If you want to know about…

A mid week weekend

In the middle of our "longest weekend ever" we heading up to my favourite relaxing place in the world, Marysville. On the way we stopped and took photos of my just finished Stranachlachar.

It was a really fun knit. I changed nothing at all - except ignoring all the weird directions when Kate Davies says to "push the stitches around the needle" Makes no sense, so I skipped it.

I even knit it to the length specified in the pattern - very unusual for me, because I'm fairly short.

I also made a pair of little mitts a very clever pattern by Martina Behm, that took me one evening to make, and like the vest are a very clever construction. 

The outfit kept me warm and comfortable during a very relaxing weekend, which involved much sitting on the deck looking at this view:

Quite a lot of drinking tea form the ugliest tea pot in history, on said deck, 

And some trail running to the top and bottom of waterfalls. 

I love my urban life, with it's cars and business and neighbou…