Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Something pretty

I loved this Lace Bonnet (from Erika Knight's Baby Bloom), even though it is so old-fashioned - not what the babies of today wear any more!!! (yes, I am turning into my mother!). But I was bored with all the stocking stitch and garter stitch knitting I was doing and so wanted to make something with a pattern - and so the Lace Bonnet arrived. Still need to attach ribbon ties but have to find the right ribbon - sad to read a lovely ribbon and trim shop, Avamientos in Newtown, is closing down - must try to get there before it is too late.

Modelled rather graciously by my 11 year old nephew (who quite fortunately for the purposes of photo taking, has a relatively small head - otherwise my knee would have been the head model), here it is. Love love love the star/flower on the back.

So, details:
Pattern: Lace Bonnet, Erika Knight's Baby Bloom
Wool: Less than 1x50g of Rowan Wool Cotton, shade 911 (Rich) - a lovely soft burgundy colour (looks less pink than the picture shows) - a beautiful soft yarn to knit with and for babies.
Sticks: 4mm bamboo (sized up from recommended 3.75mm)
Time: Finished Friday 25 August - knitted over about a month, although would be easily a weekend project if you don't have 8 different projects on the go!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Mystery solved!

Remember this?

Does this give any clues? (hint: the yellow thing is not a beak, or a hole)

Ok, here is the finished product!

I know his arms look a little long but this one helps you see why (sorry about the blurriness, it looked ok on the camera screen!). I LOVE the curly tail!

I made monkey for KT, for her baby shower, which was yesterday (finished just in time on Saturday night). He's my third monkey, the perfect size for little baby hands to hold.


Wool: Magnum Panda 8ply (I know, acrylic, but I figure it is a bit more wash'n'wear for baby toys), small amount of yellow and about 25g of brown, plus scrap of black for eyes and nostrils

Hook: 4.00mm crochet hook

Pattern: Leisure Arts Noah's Ark Afghans and toys, bought from Spotlight. Made a few adjustments - lengthened body, arms and legs by a few rows as it didn't look right. Also sewed the eyes on rather than using beads as recommended, to make more child-friendly.

Time: Started him on Thursday, finished on Saturday - you could make him in a few hours - very easy double crochet and a few slip stitches and chains.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Mystery object

What is this?

All will be revealed on Sunday (or maybe Monday...)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Living in the present

I've been doing a 5 part introduction to meditation course at work (5 x 1.5 hour sessions), yesterday was part 4. I've been struggling with it to be honest, I find it very difficult to sit still and to focus my mind (which is partly why I'm doing it). The course is aimed at giving us "mental resilience" - I guess the ability to bounce back from setbacks as well as to manage our emotions and, in a work context, our stress. I almost didn't go yesterday because of the struggle I'm having ("am I doing it right, how do I know what it feels like when my feet sink into the floor, am I breathing right, I can't sit still for any longer...") but I didn't want to quit and I'm really glad actually. I think a lightbulb went off for me and I really did feel a lot better, calmer and more relaxed afterward.

The thing I mainly got out of it was the importance of living in the present - appreciating what you have in front of you or around you (eg walking in the park with your child, lying on the lounge with your partner etc) rather than worrying about things from the past (you can't change what happened) or worrying about what is going to happen in the future (you have power to control these things). I'm still getting it straight within myself, but I really like the general message.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Introducing Nelly (and some baby cardi progress)

A discussion about my knitting really isn't complete without mention of my Nelly, who is my (almost) constant companion at nights, particularly in winter but also in summer (when I really could do without a furry lump on my knees) (don't mind the pjs!) (and yes, my favourite colour really is red!!)

Last night was time for her regular flea/worm treatment (it is liquid that you apply on her back between her shoulders) - anyway, she doesn't like it too much and so she avoided me for the rest of the evening - sitting on the mat near the back door looking at me with a baleful or quite possibly malevolent look in her eyes - if looks could kill I wouldn't be writing this blog today!

I've made some progress on knitting the ribbon edge cardi - I decided to do both sleeves at once, which I've never done before. It is slower than I would like (I do like to feel like I'm finishing things) - but on the flip side, when I'm done, I've got two sleeves done - almost half way through! (well, that's what I tell myself anyway). And I don't have to worry about measuring the sleeves against each other as I'm going. Weeeeeeeeeeeee!

Monday, August 21, 2006


Husby remembered the knitting bag - what a good husby he is! A good weekend of knitting.

Was visiting my Mum for the weekend, mainly as it would have been my Dad's birthday on Saturday (he died in February). So went home and it was ok. We went out to visit Dad at the cemetary and had a drink and a piece of fruitcake with him. I guess from an outsider's perspective it sounds a bit morbid or strange but it felt right for us and it made Mum feel a lot better. His plaque has also been attached and that made me very sad. I'm probably sadder about Dad now than I was when he died. I think maybe it was so hard at the time, he had been so sick and in and out of hospital that I felt more that it was a relief, especially for him to not be in hospital any more (he hated it so much) but now I am really missing him so much. I remind myself of how much I still have and how lucky I am and that helps, and like Mum, I still talk to him a bit sometimes.

Friday, August 18, 2006


I had to go to Melbourne for work for two days (yesterday and today) - and notwithstanding that it appears that in the US you can take your knitting sticks on domestic flights, you can't do it in Australia - so to avoid the hassle of checking in my overnight bag, I've gone cold turkey on the knitting. And to potentially make it worse, I'm flying directly to my mother's in the country, for the weekend, and Husby is meeting me there - if he forgets the carefully packed knitting bag (ok, the knitting bag with about 5 different projects in it) his life will barely be worth living...

As a work colleague pointed out to me when I was lamenting the no-knit day, you can take a pen on a plane but not knitting sticks - even though a pen could do just as much damage. Hmph!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

E's red cardi

In the absence of any current FO's, here is another oldie - given to E for her 1st birthday, here she is still wearing it and now she is 2 -1/2 (I clearly overestimated the sizing a bit!). Oh well, doesn't hurt to be a bit big and now can also be handed down to her little sister, R.

So, details:
Wool: Patons Totem, 3 x 50g balls Red (I think it was 3) and a small amount of 1x 50g balls purple. I know purple and red is probably not everyone's cup of tea but I love it! A nice change from pink everything for little girls which is all you seem to be able to buy in the shops.
Sticks: Would have been either 4mm or 4.5mm, can't recall now
Pattern: Cleckheaton children's book, I think it was something like Easy Baby Knits - some good simple garter stitch patterns for beginners. Nice and quick to knit. The purple edging is crochet - very easy and neat way of finishing off and provides a nice contrast.
Time: Finished in late 2004 (in time for E's birthday in January).

One sock down, one to go

The first of husby's second pair of socks. I probably should have used a pattern with a bit of ankle shaping but he's not too fussy and will wear them with jeans anyway, so it's not like he needs a close-fitting sock. I also probably should have used the same type of wool for the red bits but I used what I had in the stash. I'm not too good with the colour changes - I've tried to do it the way various sock knitting guides say to but it's not quite there. Don't really care - the joy of a hand-knitted sock is enough to get over the minor points like colour change jogs!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I'm not a LOSER (am I??)

The biggest excitement of my day yesterday was receiving my ball winder (eBay rocks!) and then going home and using it - even though the wool I wound was already in balls - but not CENTRE PULL FLAT BOTTOM (NO ROLL) BALL WINDER BALLS! So I had to do two of them. I don't think that makes me a loser, does it?? Now I just have to get me one of those umbrella swift thingys...

And then my second excitement of the day - starting a new project - yippee! Here is the tension square for my ribbon edged cardi (Debbie Bliss Special Knits). I went up a stick size to 3.5mm and even then it was too tight so I thought I might give wet blocking a go, and lo and behold - the right tension - hurrah! I also using some Rowan True Botany rather than the DB baby cashmerino - got to get rid of some of my stash or husby will kill me!). As is for a boy, am not going to add the ribbon edge, but might sew a little gingham ribbon on the inside of the collar and front edge, to give the navy a bit of a lift. Hope my friend likes it!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Progress report - Jo Sharp Shawl Collar cardi

Here is the right and left front of the cardi as at noon yesterday (Sunday). After an inspired knitting effort (including the willpower to finish the right front piece last night rather than start a new project) I am now ready to block and sew together, and then start knitting the ribbed collar piece. Fingers crossed that when I block it I don't wreck it, and even more importantly, that it actually fits me when I sew it up.

I suspect I will succomb to the lure of a new project (a little cardi for a friend's baby due in November) tonight but will try and block/sew tomorrow...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Lazy Sunday

My new knitting spot - what more can you want - a sunny winter day (more like summer, I think it was about 21 or 22 degrees C)- just divine. Got my soft red cushions, my water, my iPod and Bose speaker, the phone and, most importantly, my knitting. Mmmmm my idea of bliss. And the deck is great - we oiled it last weekend and it now has a handrail, in fact it is pretty well done. We just need to get some good deck furniture and we'll be set!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

CWS II - 12 August 2006

CWS at KT's today - even Dandelion came. Have to say, not much knitting took place (except by me, I say very virtuously!!). Lots of eating, a bit of drinking - had to toast Dandelion's engagement - and then some more eating and drinking. Plus we rubbed KT's belly - which is a nice round soccer ball. Her doctor said he thinks her baby will be comparatively small (whew, we all breathed a sigh of relief for KT on that one!). One month for her to go - we think we'll be having the next few meetings at her house. KO starts her new job on Monday - we miss you from work KO but good luck!!! Looking forward to lunchtime expeditions to Tapestry Craft and various shoe/clothes shops as well!

Made some good progress on my Shawl Collar cardi, up to the waist shaping on the right front piece. Will take some pics and post tomorrow or Monday. Also started the second of husby's Peruvian alpaca socks - they are going along very well.

Friday, August 11, 2006

What I read

I've finally added my blog links - one day I might even sort them into knitting and non-knitting...or maybe not.

The Manolo was my first, and he introduced me to many others and it really went from there. I can't remember how I got onto the knitting blogs but I'm so glad I did. Yarn Harlot makes me laugh, Grumperina has me in awe (as does All Tangled Up - what a prolific and generous knitter!), Bluestocking has made me want to knit the Pearl Buck Swing Jacket (just need the wool, and, oh yeah, the time!), Little Jenny Wren reminds me there is more to life than commercialism (although having said that, I am still very materialistic) and everyone else inspires me in different ways.

But not to do intarsia or fair isle. One colour at a time, people!

T's ear flap beanie

Another previous FO - T is a work colleague who hates the thought of knitting but who is quite partial to the idea of a knitted beanie, and since she is going to the UK for a year or so later this year, of course she will need a nice warm beanie...

You can't see it too well, but it is an ear flap beanie - the flaps were a bit smaller than I expected a tended to sit "out" a bit but overall I was pretty happy with this.


Pattern: From a US/Canadian knitting calendar (with a different pattern each day)

Wool: Blue Sky Alpaca Bulky - very thick and warm

Sticks: 9mm circular, 40cm in length - I found it a bit of a challenge using such big sticks with such a short tube thingy, but after cursing my way through the first few rows it got easier. I probably should have used 10mm as the tension was a bit tight, but I wasn't going to rip it and start again, or buy bigger sticks, as I'm not sure I would use them again (I should have just bought them!!)

Time: This was completed in about March or April this year - a very quick knit - good for the UK winter I hope!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

JK's beanie

This is JK's beanie - JK moved back to New Zealand with her husband and kids and of course, being cold over there I thought a beanie would be a good going away present (she also scored Kanga for her kids). Nice simple pattern and quick to knit.

Pattern: Rib beanie from Patons accessories book - can't recall the name of the book but it has heaps of beanies, scarves, wraps and socks, plus some hideous headbandy things and *shudder* novelty yarn items. I shortened the length of the beanie to eliminate the turn-up and I also did kitchener graft to finish rather than drawing up into a loop, as I wanted a flat seam at the crown. Might try a 3 needle cast off if I make another one.
Sticks: 4.5mm (sized up from 4mm recommended)
Wool: Filatura di Crosa Zara, just less than 1 50g ball
Time: I think it took about a week, again in between other projects. Great easy 3x3 rib.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Crochet bag

Another past FO. I've made two of these now (this one for me and a red one for J) and my mum has put in an order for a purple one, so might save that up for Christmas - good summer project and so quick to make. Just have to convince husby to let me buy a sewing machine so I can make a lining not by hand!

Pattern: Bamboo Handle Purse, Candi Jensen Hooked on Crochet - didn't put the fringing on - was in two minds about whether to do so or not but the common view from everyone was no - it is enough without it.
Hook: 4mm hook (or possibly 4.5mm)
Cotton: Lana Gatto Jaipur (again - love this cotton!)
Time: Took about 2 weeks I think - love the crochet, it is so quick.

some wip photos (finally)

Here we go...the back of the Jo Sharp Shawl Collar cardi (took this a couple of days ago, so this piece is now finished, and am half way through the second sleeve), husby's second pair of socks - got more done on this yesterday so am now up to the toe shaping, lace bonnet - a couple of views to try and show the pattern a bit better - I cast this off yesterday but have to steam, sew and knit a bit along the bottom - then work out the ribbon tie thingy.

Stash sorting

There must have been something about this weekend - I too sorted through my stash yesterday - but mostly bagging (love the glad wrap zip lock bags - my tip - don't buy the Coles version, the "zip" broke on almost every single one) and re-organising - I'm pretty happy with the amount of wool I've managed to stash into a relatively small space. Have grand dreams of doing some type of excel spreadsheet to track it all, but that will probably stay a dream. Husby can't believe how much I have bought over the past few months (yes, since I discovered eBay...). Have made good progress on a couple of my UFOs - listing must be motivating - maybe should revisit that spreadsheet idea...

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Current UFO's

Haven't got photo access at the moment and also thought I should take stock of where I'm at - too many things on the sticks and not much getting finished...

1. Shawl collar cardigan from Jo Sharp Knits vol 1 - in Alpaca Kid Lustre (elderberry) - have done 1.5 sleeves, 1 front and the back - so, if you ignore sewing up (which I know I shouldn't as that is probably the hardest bit for me) I'm pretty much half done. Started this one in early June, after going to Melbourne to visit J - a visit which also resulted in J taking up the sticks again (hurrah, another convert!!)

2. Gentleman's Fancy Socks from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks - 1.5 socks (well almost) done - am suffering a bit with SSS and have to say am not overly enjoying knitting on 2.5mm sticks. Probably made a mistake getting bamboo dpns, will get metal ones for next pair.

3. Garter stitch rug from Erika Knight's Simple Knits for Little Cherubs - not that you really need a pattern for this one, it is just garter stitch strips (alternating plain and striped blocks) which you sew up. I've modified a bit to make it bigger (8 strips with 8 squares each) and have used 5 colours instead of 4. Have 6 and a bit strips done so might just get it finished before it gets too hot to need it this year (but doubt it!). Good project for knitting in the car, when really tired or when can't be bothered taking a pattern.

4. Plain socks for husby - used 5ply pattern from Jo Sharp Knits because it has no shaping - needed something I could do at a friend's house and didn't want to follow a pattern. Didn't do the picot edging (not very manly!) and so did a standard rib. Bought a couple of balls of Alpaca wool from Peru (not in Peru, in Mittagong!) - was on sale and a nice blue and black tweedy colourmix (not with nobbles though). Very quick to knit, on the foot of the first sock, and only started them last Saturday.

5. Rowan Denim Pinafore (my second one) from Erika Knight's Simple Knits for Little Cherubs (there's a theme here in my patterns at the moment) - slow going on this - have too much stocking stitch knitting going on right now. Probably about 10% done. Lucky I sized it up so should still fit intended recipient next year!

6. Lace Bonnet from Erika Knight's (her again!) Baby Bloom - wanted to do a bit of fancy knitting so started this last week - almost done! Have enjoyed it very much and am finally using some Rowan Wool Cotton (colour 911, Rich) which is great to knit with and so soft. Won't be putting the big fancy ribbon ties on it though, they don't seem very practical for a child. Not sure what I'll do - probably a less fancy ribbon tie I think.

7. Purple crochet bag, in 8py Heirloom wool - haven't touched this for a year (I think...)

8. Red rib shrug (or "hug-me-tight") - I started this when my dad was first in hospital - that was almost 2 years ago. Probably a mistake to make this, it was at the start of my knitting renaissance, but will keep going with it - am almost half done in a 3x2 rib with about 150 stitches - takes me half an hour to do a row - and it is 8ply wool too! (great red). Haven't done any for a while but must pick it up again every so often. Will try for once a week...

I think that's all (it's enough!!) but of course I have at least that many projects in mind to make (including the wool) - it is taking all my willpower to not start any more (well, any more big ones) until I finish something - preferably the Jo Sharp cardigan. We'll see. Will post some photos of these and others shortly.