Sunday, June 28, 2009

Short and sweet

I visited with a couple of friends yesterday, both of whom recently had babies - as we all know, babies (who know knitters) must be swaddled in knitted items! But as I only got my act together earlier this week, I settled on a quick (and practical) project for each.
Cotton bibs! Lovely little items, very quick and easy to knit, and (if I may say so myself), so cute!

Pattern: Modern Cabled Baby Bib by Andrea Pomerantz - a free pattern available via Ravelry. The only modification I made was to cast on 36 stitches rather than 28, and this was only because I was using an 8ply/DK cotton, rather than worsted. This makes a smallish sized bib, what you might call a "dress bib", but you could easily make it bigger if you wanted.

Yarn: 20g for each bib, using Heirloom 8ply/DK cotton from the stash! One bib was done in colour 674, a pinky purple (which I have christened "pinkle"), and the other in colour 680, a pale blue. This is a really nice soft cotton to knit with, not hard on the hands like some cottons.

Sticks: 4mm KnitPicks Harmony Options

Time: 23-26 June 2009, for both bibs.
It's almost a shame to think they'll be used for catching food (and other!) spills, but as I always say about my knitted dishcloths, using the knitted goods makes a tedious job almost a pleasure!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Coming in second

Before knitting camp this year, Kylie, Bells and I decided we'd do our own little Cauchy KAL, all casting on these socks at camp.

Well, Kylie won the race, and I've come in second.

Pattern: Cauchy, from Sock Innovation by Cookie a. I wonder if there was a more highly anticipated sock book than this one? I think my sense of anticipation slightly ruined the final product. While the patterns are, on the whole, very good, for me they are not great. Not as superfantastic as many of her individually available (free or otherwise) patterns. Not that I'm complaining - I'm sure I'll be making more of the socks from this book in the future.
As we all were making the socks for the men in our lives, we modified the 60 stitch pattern by adding an extra stitch per repeat (for a total of 66 stitches). We decided to add it at the end of the repeat, so there would be an extra stocking stitch in the "gutter" - this meant we didn't have to add extra rows to the length of the pattern repeat (already a 28 row repeat, albeit an easy one to follow).
Yarn: Mountain Colors Bearfoot sock yarn in Moose Creek. I got this from a destash a few years ago, thinking it was a good "manly" colour. I love this yarn, particularly in this colour! Very nice to knit with, and the colours in the skein, and in the final knitted piece, are just gorgeous - ranging from browns to blues to greens to burgundy, no pooling at all. Just a lovely muted fabric. Of course, I cannot capture this adequately in photos, but it's a colour I'm so tempted to get for myself to make a jumper from, just gorgeous.
Although it's probably not the best yarn for the pattern. As the pattern's detail is in the texture, a smooth yarn, in a solid colour, would have worked best.
Sticks: 2.5mm KP Harmony dpns. Whilst I love my dpns, I have to admit I should have thought a bit more about knitting with multicolour wooden needles and dark yarn, especially at night! Much easier during the daylight hours!
Time: 25 April 2009 - 31 May 2009. I was keen to finish these so I could start something else. And I have to admit, I also didn't want to come last in the race!
Of course, in the end husby came first, since he got a great new pair of socks!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It's all about Me-me

MissyFee tagged me for a meme, and since it's been a while and this is a new one for me, I thought why not!

What is your current obsession? Stalking the Wollmeise. I have a nice little amount of it already. But I can't help myself. I am addicted to stalking the site, waiting for the next update. Can you blame me, when it is as nice as this:

What are you wearing today? Right now, I'm wearing trackies, a black top, a "cashmerino" zippy hoodie (bought, not knitted!) and my favourite slippers. And the cat on my lap.Later, I'll be changing to go into the city. I'm pretty sure my outfit will revolve around this piece:
It needs buttons. There's a button shop in the city. Hopefully I'll find the perfect ones.

What's for dinner? Not sure. Haven't decided. Probably leftover crumbed chicken from last night, and either salad (I know - salad - I do eat it sometimes!) or hot veges.

What did you eat for your last meal? It was breakfast. About 10 minutes ago. So weetbix with milk (oh ok, and sugar) and a coffee.

What's the last thing you bought? Cat food from the vet for my very spoiled cat!

What are you listening to right now? My iPod on shuffle mode - my favourite way of listening. It's like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get. Except of course an actual box of chocolates with a little guide to each chocolate. Clearly I only pick the ones I like. Not the ones with marzipan or kirsch (ugh!)

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go? I'd go to the Wollmeise's new shop and roll around in all the yarn. And also buy some. Ok, I'd buy LOTS. That'd take about half an hour, and for the other half hour, I'd go to the Manolo Blahnik store in New York.

Which language do you want to learn? French. But I guess if I really wanted to, I'd have done it already.

What do you love most about where you currently live? We bought this house as our "forever" house, so I pretty much love everything about it. In particular, the high ceilings, the old features and the quiet. I love this area of Sydney as it is so green and leafy, very suburban but also close to everything. And the climate is superb!

What is your favorite colour? I'm pretty sure you all know the answer to this one already. Although lately I have been acquiring a lot of orange...

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe? That is a VERY hard question to answer. I think at the moment it is a knee length straight demin skirt I bought recently. Very versatile piece.

What were you doing ten years ago? I was working as a lawyer, on a big matter involving the dismissal of a number of employees of our client. I was planning my wedding, and we were househunting, for our first home.
Describe your personal style? I'd like my personal style to be a bit eclectic, even avant garde-ish, definitely stylish and chic. But in reality, it's mostly relatively safe, although I do try to mix things up a bit with accesories or colours. I love simplicity which is done elegantly, but I can never achieve that.

If you had $300 now, what would you spend it on? That'd go VERY quickly at the Wollmeise shop. Or not very far at all at Manolo Blahnik. So maybe I'd just spend it on champagne. A few bottles of Veuve perhaps.

What are you going to do after this? Put the washing (sheets) in the dryer. It's pouring rain here right now. Although somewhat sunny. That never fails to freak me out!

What are your favorite films? Based on the ability to watch and rewatch, Dirty Dancing. The Breakfast Club. The Princess Bride. Why yes, I am a child of the 80s, how could you tell!! While these are not movies, I also love the Firth-Ehle Pride and Prejudice, the most recent adaptation of Jane Eyre, and of course the entire Buffy series.

What inspires you? Kindness, understanding, the ability to see different perspectives. The ability to let go. I wish I could do all of those things more.

Who's work/designs are you inspired by? This is interesting - I think all the versions of this meme I've read so far have reference Ysolda Teague. And she is tops, I love her designs and admire her ability to (apparently) make a living from her pattern designing. I think that's so fabulous. Cat Bordhi's construction methods. The Isagers (Marianne and Helga), for their elegant simplicity. Kaffe Fassett's use of colour. Norah Gaughan's shapes. The Yarn Harlot's humour and sheer knitting speed.
Your favourite books? Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Cloudstreet, To Kill a Mockingbird.
Do you collect anything? Well, you already know the answer to this too - yarn! and shoes. and knitting books and magazines. and all the other bits and pieces that go with my addiction!

What makes you follow a blog? I have different reasons for following different blogs (see the inspirations above). But things like good writing, good photos, and something that just grabs me about the person, are usually things that keep me reading.

What was the most enjoyable thing you did today? Lay in my warm bed for a few minutes before getting up. Mmmmm, flannelette sheets!
I shan't tag anyone, but if you'd like to share, feel free!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

SHOESday: I told you...

Last week, you'll remember I told you patience IS a virtue.

And one that will be rewarded!

Here's the second pair of shoes I bought on sale:

Yes, a size up from my regular size so that I could wear them with socks (handknit of course!)

They are SO COMFORTABLE and provide a much dressier shoe than the others I bought specifically to wear with socks.
And they remind me so much of my highland dancing shoes (you probably didn't know I did highland, or Scottish, dancing when I was a kid). I always love the dancing shoes with the cris-crossing elastic, and particularly always wanted a pair I could wear around like regular shoes.
Well now I have them. And I am most pleased! In fact, I'm seriously thinking of buying another pair for when these ones wear out!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Self-portrait in Yarn

Self-portrait in Yarn:
Taken after the Stitches and Craft Fair this week. I look pretty happy don't I?!

So here's the haul:
From very top left:
-Habu bamboo in slate grey and in red (from Dairing - hurrah, an Australian supplier of Habu - so nice to see it all in person!)
-Eki Riva baby Alpaca laceweight in charcoal grey (omg this is so soft!) (from the lovely Debbie at Mosman Needlecraft)
-Habu Tsumugi Silk in red (from Dairing)
-Alchemy Haiku in Koi Pond (from Prudence Mapstone)
-Colinette Jitterbug in Ginger Cinnabar (I am SO COPYING KGirl's fantastic orange Marlenes)
-Colinette Jitterbug in Purple Passion (much more purple than I could capture in this picure) (both from Sarah Durrant)
-Claudia's Handpainted Yarns Linen Lace (linen! laceweight! intriguing!) (from Prudence Mapstone)
I also picked up this book from Can-do Books:
This is a fabulous book! Some gorgeous gorgeous patterns arranged according to each month of the year, and which will be appearing in my (neverending) Ravelry queue very soon!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

SHOESday: Patience IS a virtue!

When I finished work a few months ago, I figured I'd buy myself a pair of shoes to celebrate. I had two pairs of shoes in mind, both flats (very practical for a non-working person!) but just couldn't decide between them. So I decided to wait. And hope that they'd go on sale.

Well, my patience was rewarded. Both pairs of shoes, on sale, half price! And in the correct sizes!

So here's pair #1.

These had their first outing today (yes, another knitting playdate!).

Today, with jeans, but think they'll also be great with a skirt.
The colour isn't quite right, they are a fabulous purple suede.
A bit girly, and a lot of fun!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Colour genius

I first came across Kaffe Fassett in a book of Rowan patterns (Vintage Knits) - to be honest, I didn't think much of them - too many colours, very boxy patterns (to be fair, they were mostly men's garments, which you expect to be a bit boxy).

Then I saw some of his quilts (I would buy all of his quilt books just to look at the gorgeous quilts, a riot of colour, which you wouldn't think works, but which do). The man is a colour genius.

And so when I had the opportunity to buy some of his sock yarn for Regia (at the time not available in Australia, although it is now!), I leapt at it! I'd just realised how addictive it is to knit self-striping socks, and this particular colour, having the most red, called to me.

When it came the time to knit another pair of socks for husby, I gave him a few different yarn options to choose from. To my utter surprise (and let's be honest, a little bit of dismay, as I'd picked this yarn for me!) he chose this one! Husby is quite the conservative dresser, so I never thought he'd go for this.

But of course he did, and I'm really very glad actually, it's fab to see him wearing something a little different, even if it is just socks! (although Lyn I'm sorry to say I haven't yet been able to convince him to wear them to work with his suit, although I do think that would look fabulous - very Paul Smith (well almost!))

Regia Design Line: Kaffe Fassett - Landscape Fire (col 4259) - 2 x 50g balls. Like all Regia yarns, this is not the softest yarn to work with, but it washes up beautifully, and I'm expecting it to wear really well. The colours are just amazing! I would never have thought to put them together the way they are (and I can assure you the camera just doesn't capture the depth of colour - for example, that bright blue wide stripe is actually only half bright blue, the other half is ocean green!)
Sticks: 2.25mm KP Options 80cm circular (magic loop)

Pattern: My own, using a number of sources. Since I wanted to use as much of the yarn as I could, I decided on toe up socks. So Judy's Magic Cast on was used (as always for me when it comes to toe-up socks). Husby has quite wide feet, and so with the smaller sticks, I increased to 76 stitches. I don't like the fit of short row heels much, so I thought I'd try something new and do a gusset heel.

I used Wendy's instructions, a free pattern from her site, and it worked really well. I had to fudge the numbers a bit, as her pattern had fewer stitches, but it worked out fine, and fits really well - I'm very happy with this gusset heel method (although it does take longer to knit than a short row heel - or at least it seems to! Next time I might try doing a slip stitch heel on the heel turn portion, to see if that makes a difference to wear.

Oh, and I did a sewn bind off for the cuff!

I didn't bother to try matching the stripes on both socks, I knew I wouldn't be able to get it just right, so I just went with the flow!

Time: Longer than I thought, actually, although I really did mainly use these socks as my go anywhere easy knitting, so I wasn't knitting on them "full time" so to speak. I cast on the first sock on 1 February 2009 and finished the second on 7 May 2009.

What I learnt: Well, apart from the gusset heel, you'll remember I learnt exactly how much knitting you can get done in a hospital emergency room on a Sunday afternoon! (Husby's arm almost healed now...thanks for all your well-wishes at the time!)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Keeping Track - May 2009

Well, you've already seen most of my May acquisitions, but there's a couple more I have to come clean about.
This is the new Morris & Sons 4ply/fingering yarn, Empire - bought in their sale (which is, by the way, still on!) and for a particular project. Not normally a colour I'd choose, but hopefully it will work beautifully for the project I have in mind (does that sound intriguing enough?!)
And this one, which was a gift from Bells - so I could experience the Canberra Celebration of Wool (or silk, in my case) vicariously! Yum!
So, here's the stats:
In: 36 x 50g balls
Out: 11 x 50g balls (not too bad, I must say!)
YTD: 67.5 x 50g balls
I know June won't be good for the "In" figures - the craft fair and all - but hopefully it'll be good on the "Out" as well ... as you might have noticed, I'm getting a lot finished at the moment, and am feeling very virtuous about this clearing of the wips!
Although I do have a new personal sock club project to start!
This is going to be Mona Schmidt's Embossed Leaves Socks - my favourite sock pattern - I loved my first pair so much, I'm making them again! In the same yarn and all!