Friday, April 30, 2010


No, not the arrival of Teddy! But rather, the completion of a Baby Surprise Jacket! I'm pretty sure Teddy has enough knitwear, but I couldn't resist making one of these anyway - just for the experience, if nothing else!
And I'm so glad I did!

Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman - the most clever little pattern in the world! About a page of pithy instructions and a few pictures and diagrams, and that's it!
Most amusingly supplemented by a 16 page BSJ wiki on Ravelry! Which, I must admit, is very helpful (even if the length of it does make me giggle). I'm sure I would have gone wrong at least once, if not a few more times, without the wiki. So yay and a big thanks to all the contributors!
Yarn: Handspun by my buddy Donni (Moggy and Me) - featured previously on the blog here - about 370m/100g, in what I estimate is a light sport weight. Lovely stuff - do love knitting with handspun, and it worked out fabulously with this pattern.
Sticks: 3.75mm KnitPicks Harmony options

Time: 13 April - 30 April 2010 (although I did finish all the knitting in a week, I took my time seaming the shoulder/arm seams). And thanks to my mum for sewing on the buttons (I HATE sewing on buttons!). I had these buttons in my stash and I think they match perfectly!
Modifications: I wouldn't call this a modification exactly (it's hardly rocket science or a new idea), but I added a crochet edge around the neck, because the garter stitch edge was quite uneven. I also tossed up about putting all 5 buttonholes in (as many people only do the top 3) but I figured I'd put them in, and if I don't want to do them all up, then I won't! But at least I have the option.
The neck looks a bit small to me too, but I figure I can leave the top button undone too!

I really really enjoyed knitting this clever garment. From all the attention it gets on blogs and ravelry (over 11,300 projects!), I know that many people consider it a "must knit" for all knitters. And I agree!
And that got me thinking about what other patterns might be considered a "must knit" - I'd also include Kate Gilbert's Clapotis, and a top down raglan jumper pattern (but which one?) and probably also EZ's pi shawl (and no doubt at least one more of her patterns), maybe the Lady Eleanor entrelac shawl, definitely at least one pair of socks (probably two - toe up and top down) and definitely something fair isle and something cabled - I just can't decide on which patterns would be considered to be "the definitive" fair isle or cable pattern!

What would be in your top ten?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Big blanky for me!

I bought this great yarn (Karabella Margrite, an 8ply/DK 80/20 merino/cashmere blend) when an Australian online yarn store closed down a few years ago - there were only 5 balls in the red, an awkward amount for a project - not enough for a garment but too much for most accessories - but I couldn't resist. Like all good knitters, I knew the yarn would tell me what it wanted to be eventually.

Then when I saw DrK's huge red Shetland Triangle (Ravlink), I knew that I had found the project for my yarn. Just not the time to cast on...

Until one day in December last year, I had the knitting blahs, so I decided it was time, time to start my own huge red Shetland Triangle.

Pattern: Shetland Triangle Lace Shawl by Evelyn A Clark, from Wrap Style. A lovely, easy, beautiful pattern, which uses the fir cone lace stitch pattern which I love! Looks like a blobby mess pre-blocking...but apply water and a some Soak wool wash and magic happens.
The pre-blocked size was 144cm/57" across the wingspan, and 65cm/25.5" deep.
Post-blocking, I achieved a wingspan of 190cm/75" and depth of 98cm/38.5". Fabulous!
Yarn: Karabella Margrite, 4.5 x 50g balls. This yarn is expensive, but has amazing yardage (154yd/141m per 50g ball)! I ended up doing 13 repeats of the body pattern and tossed up whether to do another, but really didn't want to end up short of yarn, and I'm glad I made the right choice, I wouldn't have had enough for that extra repeat.

Sticks: 5.5mm KP Harmony Options

Time: 9 December 2009 - 9 April 2010. While the beginnings of the shawl went quickly, I thought it was never going to end - those final rows were quite long! But I got there in the end!
And I'm so glad I did, I love it! It will be my lovely winter blanky shawl. If only it would actually get cold here - we're in mid-Autumn and still having daytime temperatures of 25C or higher (that's 77F for my US friends). Not that I'm really complaining. But this weather is not so good for the knitwear!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

SHOESday: itty bitty

Bells' post today (which you must check out if you haven't already!) gave me an idea. Even if I am no longer buying new shoes (much...) I have some other new shoes I can show off:
Are these not the coolest little boy shoes ever!! (For my American friends, Dunlop Volleys are Australian made tennis shoes - since 1939 - that are so daggy that they are cool again. Although not as cool as Converse All-Stars) (I'm not sure if there is a UK equivalent?)

These were a gift from my second baby shower (now I really really feel spoilt saying that - as if one shower wasn't enough, which it totally was!). Rather than bore you all with even more stuff, you can check out the rest of the loot here on flickr if you wish!

Although I will leave you with a picture of one other gift.
I don't know whether it's a good or bad thing that apparently this is an essential for new mothers!!!

I promise there will be actual knitting content coming up on this blog soon!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Some more goodgoodies

In addition to the gift spoilage reported last time, there was also a lot of Good Things to Eat - including these most excellent Teddy biscuits, made by the clever Bells:
And this most excellent Little Ted cake, made by the cake-maker extraordinaire, MissFee:
(I still have the head...I can't bring myself to eat Teddy head!)

I also wanted to show this gift, which was given to me by the ladies of my crochet meeting (part of the Knitters Guild). It was made by a member of the Guild, who I understand is quite elderly and whose eyesight is not what it used to be.
If I can still knit this well when I am older and more blind than I already am, I shall be a very happy knitter indeed. It really left me speechless, it is such a treasure!
A 2ply laceweight shetland style shawl which is almost big enough to cover the top of a queen size bed. It's just amazing! And with my favourite fircone lace in the centre.
Really, words can't do it justice. I am so very lucky.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

So thoroughly spoiled I am!

Partners-in-crime DrK and Bells organised the best baby shower for me, last Sunday. All knitters, all at my house, lots of food and drink and knitting and fun. And presents, for me! Knitters really are the best people!

I don't have photos from the shower itself (yet), but have lots of loot to share and people to thank, so bear with me for a photo heavy post (and no linkys to blogs, sorry, it's taken forever for the photos to load as it is! But you'll all know who I'm talking about I reckon!).

For muslin and flannel wraps, facewashers, and cot blanket, George, Jody and Bells!
For cute clothes (the outfit on the left is actually a very chic brownish/grey, all the way from Paris!), Lyn, Sue and MadMad (who sent it from the US to arrive in time for the shower!):
And George! (note the teddy theme...)
For books (lovely books!), DrK and Barbara:
For the coolest toys ever, Natasha, Lee, Margarita and George (Natasha also gave me a bottle of Moet - hurrah for grown up presents too!! Can't wait to crack that open!):
For handmade blankies, Kristie, Ailsa and Zeph:
For the coolest artwork, Kris:
For the handknits (what knitterly baby shower would be complete without them!), Donna, Kristie, MadMad, ProbablyJane (visiting with Lyn all the way from the UK) and Ailsa.
And I saved the best for last!
Jody and MissFee managed to completely surprise me by secretly organising a group effort! This fab blanket was made up of squares contributed by Rachel, Jody, Donna, Kris, Sue, Ailsa, George, DrK, Al, Zeph, Natasha, Helen B, Ceri, Donni, Margarita, Lyn, MissFee, Bells, Jess, Karen, Barbara and Lee!! I just wish the picture did it justice - I shall have to take some more tomorrow in better light, so you can see the red ones in particular.

Completely blown away, I was (and still am!) And very very spoiled! Thank you everyone, so so much. xx

Monday, April 05, 2010

Cook from a Book challenge #5

Or, more correctly for this post, Cook from Cindy2Paw's Blog!

Today I made these:
Red Velvet Cupcakes!

I decided I was going to give these a go as soon as I saw them on Cindy's blog, and since I was having visitors with a bunch of kids today, the perfect opportunity arose! Or at least, I thought it was perfect but on reflection, making cupcakes with red food colouring and a cream cheese icing - for kids - was perhaps not as perfect as I originally thought...oh well, some of the kids loved them, some had to scrape the icing off and some weren't that keen.
But I managed to polish off 3 of them in quick(ish) succession.
They were delicious! Although I couldn't get the icing as thick as I think it probably should be (and I only made half as much as the recipe specified, which was still plenty). I would definitely make these again! Red cupcakes! Red! Chocolate! Cream Cheese icing! What's not to love! Thanks Cindy for the inspiration and the recipe!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Keeping Track - March 2010

I know long time readers will hardly believe this (I can hardly believe it myself!) - but I went a whole month (a WHOLE MONTH!) without buying any yarn. No new yarn for March! I think that's a first for me in the whole time I've been keeping track.

And, combined with a visit from my mum and me giving her some 8ply/DK yarn for her charity square knitting, I have done really well on the out's too!

In: no yarn! (no yarn at all!!)
Out: 16.5 x 50g balls
YTD: +10.5 x 50g balls (or on a monthly average, 3.5 x 50g balls a month! I can hardly believe it!)

Now because a post without photos is generally unexciting and uninspiring, I wanted to share with you a lovely package I received in the mail this week (not yarn, no sir!):
What could be in it?
A gorgeous blanket for Teddy, and a Peter Rabbit with a bell inside (such a good size for little hands!) and two knitting magazines for me to read while sitting with my feet up! All courtesy of the lovely Linda - you can see a much better photo of the blanket on her blog. Thanks so much Linda, I love it all!!