Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Moving on up...

So it's my blogthday!

And to celebrate, I am moving my blog to a new home.

Hope you'll drop by and visit - in addition to moving my blog home, I've been doing some renovations in my actual home.  You can read about it here, with suitable before and after shots!

If you are reading via googlereader or some other blog reader, I don't think the link to my blog will update automatically - sorry about that!
One door (my newly painted front door!) closes and another door opens!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Stash Honesty - June 2012

(or, the BUMPER edition.  For reasons which will become obvious shortly...)

I think I said recently, in relation to my stash, that my motto was "in for a penny, in for a pound" (yes, I did, it was a mere 2 months ago!!!).  I really lived up to it this month.
First, there was the sale at Morris & Sons.  And I had a gift voucher so I had to go...So in addition to buying a bag of Noro Shirakaba, I also bought 8 balls of Morris Empire 4ply, which has formed the basis of my Tour de France project.
And then there was the annual Craft and Quilt Fair at Darling Harbour.  I was reasonably restrained, but did get myself a cone of this amazing shiny Dairing cotton/stainless steel, and 3 cones of linen for a tunic/dress. 
And I had to do an order from Blue Moon Fiber Arts to buy some additional yarn for a project, so if you are going to get yarn all the way from America you may as well get a few extra skeins, right?
So in addition to the 4 skeins of STR Heavyweight (in True Blood Red - what a GREAT colour!) I also got 2 skeins of STR Lightweight - another True Blood Red, which I will use for sexypuffs, and one in Manly but I like it, which I think will be socks for husby.
And finally, a friend who visits New York is too good an opportunity to pass up to try out some Brooklyn Tweed Loft - the exact colours used in the Aranami Shawl ...
So what's the final damage:

In:  32 x 50g balls (lucky that gift voucher yarn doesn't count!! but my, those STR Heavyweight skeins are 200g each!!)
Out:  4 x 50g balls - oof, not much - I did use more yarn, but that was to make the sample for my new crochet class, so doesn't count for stash (only for metres used!).
Metres used:  1,305m (YTD: 5,882m)
Stash neutral:  hahhahahahahahahahaha no.  +48.5 x 50g balls
I am seriously considering a destash.  If only I can make myself let go of some yarn...I so admire people who can do that!

Friday, June 29, 2012

To market, to market!

A few years ago, I bought some hemp yarn - it was on sale, and I was interested to try it. I finally made some time to do this earlier this year! A market bag seemed ideal - but which one!! There are so many patterns out there, and most of them free.

I am glad I settled on this one:
Pattern: Ilene Bag, by Hannah Ingalls. I really like this pattern for a few reasons - it has a solid (stocking stitch) base, it has an easy pattern, and a nice open weave without being too open - even when stretched. It has a ribbed edge on the top, which is stretchy but not too open, and it has a ribbed handle which doesn't stretch too much. Oh, and no seaming! And did I mention it is a free pattern?!

It's a tricky thing, with a market bag, to make it stretch but not too much - you don't want it dragging around your ankles when it is full of goodies. This one is, dare I say it, pretty much perfect - a nice size, but not too huge and cumbersome.
Yarn: Hemp for Knitting Allhemp6, about 1.75 skeins in colour 21, a lovely periwinkle sort of blue. I'll be honest, it is hard on the hands, and I could only knit a few rounds with it at a time when I was doing the mesh part of the bag, but it feels really nice once knit up, and I know it will wash well (I haven't washed it yet, given I haven't actually used it yet!)
Sticks: 3.5 and 4mm KnitPicks Harmony Options. The ribbing and handles is done on the smaller needles, which is a great idea.

Time: 25 January 2012 - 25 April 2012. It had a little rest while it was part of the Easter Show display this year (I tucked the unfinished handle inside, so no-one was any the wiser that it wasn't finished!
Modifications: None at all! I'm really quite pleased with this bag. I think I'm going to use it as my project bag for my TdF project, actually! And I'm very pleased to have used up some yarn from stash!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Forgive me...Stash Honesty May 2012

Forgive me, blog readers, for I have's been a MONTH since my last post!  Oh dear.

But the washing is on the line (yes, it is finally SUNNY after what seems like a month of rain as well, but is really only maybe a week and a half), the boys are at the park, I have a cup of tea and some milo slice, and I am blogging!
It's been a busy month - we've had our roof replaced, the exterior of the house painted, and a new bathroom installed (more on all of that in another post!). For the two week bathroom installation, we stayed at the MiL's, which was good, but no internet - thank goodness husby has 3G on his iPad, so I wasn't completely marooned!

Sadly, not so busy on the crafting front.  Connor has been sleeping less during the day, and since nap times are my main knitting/crochet time, I have been missing out a bit.  And I've even fallen behind for the first time with my sexypuffs - only 20 done in May! (June is going to be even worse...lucky I'm ahead of schedule a bit).
On the upside, I didn't buy any yarn in May (let's not talk about June just yet...) and even though the Craft Fair was on this week, I was reasonably restrained.
In: zero!  zip zilch nada nothing (I need to get it all out now, it might not happen again this year...)
Out: a measly 3.25 x 50g balls.  Gick!
Metres used:  Only 547m (YTD: 4,577.5m)
Stash neutral?  No...+16.5 x 50g balls

I have also been working on a sample for a new class I am going to be teaching at another yarn store (a sneak peek below) which is soaking as I type, to be blocked while the sun continues to shine (who knows how long it will stay sunny!). 
And I'm excited to be planning my Tour de France KAL project.  I've got two options:

This vest, in Noro Shirakaba - I have even swatched!  And OMG, this feels DIVINE.  It's a cotton/silk/nylon/wool blend and knits up just so nicely. 
The colours are nicer in real life (of course!).  Lovely deep blue and charcoal and silvery grey.  The project is worked in garter stitch and reverse stocking stitch, but I think I like the stocking stitch side better.

The other option is a crochet motif something something in this yarn:
(which is charcoal, silver grey, cream and of course sunshine yellow!)

I'm leaning towards the crochet, mostly because I know I can finish the project during the TdF, whereas I probably won't finish the vest.  Not that I really care about finishing, but it would be nice to actually get something done done DONE in that space of time.  What do you think?  And if you want to sign up for the KAL, it is not too late!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Little heads need little hats

So two of the mums in my mothers group have had new little people recently (and there are three more in progress!!  Yes, it's about that time, the 2 year itch, heh heh).

So I whipped up a little hat for each! All babies deserve a hand knit hat, right?
Patterns: For the pink flavour, I used Easy Peasy Newborn Sock hat, by Keri McKiernan.  I modified it a bit as I used sport weight/5ply yarn rather than fingering/4ply - I just decreased down to 81 stitches after about an inch.

For the blue, I used the Very Basic Baby Beanie by Janet D. Russell.  I also modified this by casting on 80 stitches rather than the pattern's 72 stitches, as I wanted it a little larger. It is a wee bit pointy at the top, I perhaps should have finished a row sooner, but I wanted to keep the stripes even.

Yarn:  I used Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino for both.  It's a nice soft machine washable yarn, perfect for what I wanted!  And since it was in the stash...I used 23g of the fuchsia, and about 30g in total of navy and two pale blues.
Sticks:  3mm KnitPicks Harmony Options for the pink, and the blue ribbing, and 3.5mm for the blue stripes.

Time:  18-20 March for the pink, 18-21 April for the blue.

I'd better get cracking on 3 more! 

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Stash Honesty - April 2012

My motto for this month:  In for a penny, in for a pound.

I suspect that says it all really!  Events and my lack of willpower conspired against me this month!

First off, Stash Swap at Lyn's.  I didn't take any stash but might have left with a few other people's...

Couldn't pass up the red Baby Cashmerino
Or the blue Superior at a ridiculously low price
And this grey/blue Fearless Fibres called to me (I think it is a Siren in yarny disguise).
And I also collected a bunch of leftovers for more sexypuffs!  Including a huge ball of possum yarn!  Thanks to Jody, Lyn and MissFee for these lovelies!
And then a long weekend away, involving a trip to the lovely Sew and Tell in Berry, and then for the day to KnitCamp in Wollongong. I was a good girl at Berry, a bit less so at KnitCamp...
Ugh, lets just get to the totals, shall we?

In:  35 x 50g (see, I said In for a penny, in for a pound, didn't I?!)
Out:  6 x 50g knitted and 4 x 50g destashed (thank goodness for that!)
Metres used: 961m (YTD: 4,030.5)
Stash neutral: Hell no!  Not any more...+19.75 x 50g balls

Oh, and did I mention the Sundara?
How could I not - the colour is Red Roses (and is SO MUCH NICER than this picture - deeper, darker and about 1000 times more beautiful than this shot!). 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Going around in circles

Remember a while ago I showed you this picture?
Well now is the time for the "big" reveal (it's probably not that exciting, heh!).

As you know, I have been teaching crochet.  I thought it only appropriate that I should wear something I made to each of the classes (there are 3 separate sessions).  I was good for the first and second sessions (boteh scarf to the first, and my super special birthday skirt to the second). But I needed a third, and I remembered this fabulous Japanese book I bought ages ago with thread crochet accessories. 
And so for lesson three, this was my crochet piece:
And the students loved it!  I showed a couple of them how to make it, and got all inspired by the shop's stock of Perle 8 cotton and picked out my new jewels!

So these three were born:
If you look closely, you'll see they are each slightly different.  The silver grey is the same as the red - so in accordance with the pattern.
The pewter grey alternates small and large circles:
While the sunshine yellow has a longer chain between the circles:
Details (just quickly!)
Pattern:  "p.86 Necklace" (no idea what the Japanese is, this is what it is called in Rav!), from the book which Rav tells me is called Thread Crochet Plants, by knot.  (ISBN978-4-07-257058-6) Modifications to some as noted above.
Yarn:  Red used size 20 crochet thread, the rest use Perle 8 mercerized cotton - about 3-4g of each colour. The pattern in the book I think uses size 60 thread (so much finer) but I think it works nicely in a slightly thicker cotton as well.
Hook: For the red, I used 1.25mm, for the rest I used a 1.5mm hook.
Time: A few hours for each.
This is a great demonstration of the versatility of crochet, I think. I love being able to take a pattern like this and give it a few tweaks.  And this book is so full of inspiration, there are a few more pieces I wanted to try out as well.  I still have the blue and orange/red "jewels" to play with, so expect to see more!