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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Interweave Crochet Fall 2011 review

Today my final copy of Interweave Crochet arrived; I'm letting my sub lapse simply because I've not really got into crochet yet and if I do I have enough patterns to keep me going for a while anyway.

There are 20 designs in this magazine and as usual there's a mix of really nice styles and things that I would never make!   The cover is attractive, a nice looking wrap in a greige colour which made me want to open the mag and take a look; so here goes.....

A Modern Jabot:
I'm sorry, but this looks like a jellyfish got caught around her neck; it's just not attractive at all.   Too many tendrils.

Purple Smoothie Vest:
I think this might be quite attractive, but being in such a dark colour it's hard to see details.  It's not overly practical being very open at the front, but appears to have nice shaping and might be a nice transitional piece.

Green Chai Cardi:
This is basically a short sleeved, cropped cardigan.  It's rather attractive, but I think it would look much better over a dress rather than with the top/trousers/boots ensemble they've chosen.  I can see it as a summer cover-up for evenings by the bbq.

Study Break:
This looks nice, it's a wide-necked t-shirt in tunisian crochet.  I do like the idea, but I think the neckline really needs to be raised; I'm not even wearing it and I want to pull the shoulders up so they don't feel like they're falling off!    Being a V-neck front and back does raise the very real possibility of shoulder slippage.

The Story of Clones Lace:
Ok, this isn't a pattern as such, but it is an interesting history on the Irish crocheted lace.  I have a book on this that was published by Dover and the lace is absolutely beautiful!   If anything will get me into crochet properly this would be it.  There is a small segment on crocheting your own small rose and wild Irish rose using the techniques.

Lace Canopy Cardi Wrap:
This is the wrap that was on the front cover, that made me want to look at the magazine.  It's one of those ever so versatile wrap/cardigan styles.  This one has short sleeves and a long front drape that can be worn n many ways, a little lacy but a lot practical and flattering.  I'm seriously considering popping this one into the queue.  It's done in fingering weight yarn and it's not like I don't have any of this to use. 

Leaf Scarffle:
This is a mitred square scarf designed to look like leaves; to be honest from a distance it reminds me of the new scarf craze made from that funny mesh yarn.   Might look better in a plain yarn, but I'm not intrigued enough to find out.  I'm not planning on trying out that new yarn stuff either.

Oak Wrap:
I like this from the back, but not from the front.  It's a wee cap sleeved  shrug style wrap and in the colour they're using looks like a repurposed hessian sack that was cut down and not fitted overly well.  How can they fit something so well on the back and totally stuff up the front?  I'm pretty sure the model looks so happy cos they've just said to her "you can take it off now".

Honeysuckle Hat:
It's basically a beanie with some travelling cables; I've seen better.

Atomic Hat:
See above, though this one is slightly nicer I prefer travelling cables on knitted items.   I do however like a nice plain beanie in DC.

Birch Bark Scarf:
This actually looks more like a lacy jabot than the first item in the magazine.  It's nice enough, but doesn't really turn on my crafting mojo.  Apparently you can wear it multiple ways, pity they didn't actually show more than one.

Friendship Scarf:
This is meant for children working together to create strips that are then braided together to make a friendship scarf instead of the traditional bracelet.  It's a neat idea, and has potential, but the colours on this one didn't work for me.   It also doesn't look braided enough to me, it is however an idea with heaps of potential; I wonder if I can teach the boys to crochet?    I'll need to practice first I think!

Turtle Tracks Blanket:
I'm not really a blanket person, but this would be a really cool one to make for a cot blanket.   It's a nice size and I think it's quite unisex with it's geometric cabling.  There's something wonderful about a nice wool blanket for a baby; polarfleece just doesn't come close.

Caramel Cardigan:
I really like this, it has shaping and they've managed to use granny-stitch without making it look like it belonged in granny's home.  It's a long sleeved cardigan with a jacket feel to it, even though I don't normally go for brown as a colour I'm still drawn to this colourway.   This will be queued, change that, it has been queued.

Blueberry Popover:
Very cute pullover for a youngster.   While modelled on a girl, this would work well for a boy too if you took the bell away from the sleeves.   A great cover-up with jeans or other casual trousers.   Ooh, just noticed, they've done a straight sleeve option for boys, yay!   And it goes up to size 12; genius!   Just going to pop over and queue this one too.   Pity it's sportweight, not much of that available here in NZ; might just have to spin something up.

Hank and Joe Vest:
This is a wonderful vest for a boy or a man and I'll just excuse myself for a moment while I queue this too; be right back.  Done, and it's DK as well, have a bit of that in the stash smile
I can see my boys in this and even my husband; it's plain enough that they won't be upset but also enough interest for me.

The Best Guy Hat Ever:
I think they might have the title on this one right, it resembles a ribbed beanie, but being crochet will propably be a bit warmer.  Might have to add this to the queue too; poor thing's getting longer and longer!   Ooh, and it's DK again, definitely queuing .

Trailblazing Tote:
I know Lily Chin is normally great at designing both knitwear and crochet, but I'm afraid I really don't like this.  It's clunky looking and while I'm sure it's eminently useable it's also really not me.   It does bring to mind Peruvian handcrafts, but not in a flattering way.  ICK.

Pacific Wave Scarf:
I don't really see waves in this, it looks more organic to me.  It's not my sort of thing, but would probably work for someone with a more eclectic style, it'd make me feel like I was trying too hard.   I think if made a lot wider though it'd make a fantastic curtain!

And that's the end of that!   No more Interweave Crochet reviews, I hope you've enjoyed the ones I've done.   I will still be reviewing Interweave Knits as I'm still getting those; well at least until I run out of space!

Onto other things.  I got some sewing done today, my 2 tunics are finished.   I did one in pink and the other in red.  Please excuse the self taken timer photo's; not overly flattering.   IRL the red crochet flower embellishment looks really nice
  The next photo is even less flattering, but I had to hold the tunic up so you could see the skirt.   This is also made my me in a grey wool blend twill fabric with some tape measure embellishment and a free-motion embroidery rose in black at the bottom
the lighter spot on the hip is not embellishment, it's flash reflection.
I've still got my corduroy trousers to sew up and a summer t-shirt and then I can get some stuff done for the boys.

In other news today Ian spent some time outside exploring our local weeds; he loves dandelion clocks

He was having a great time adding the seeds to our garden; it's not like we need more dandelions, but it was so cute I couldn't resist.    After Thomas got home we all then played tennis for a bit; I got the hiccups from laughing too much.

And just cos I can, gratuitous cat photo; Ray was enjoying the sun today

Monday, September 26, 2011

Life is too short for bad fibre

as a result of this I've just biffed 1kg of Merino carded fibre that was going to become a 3-ply yarn for the boys.   I wasn't enjoying it, it was full of neps and VM and was basically a pain to spin; every time I went into the sewing room it was glaring at me.
So, this afternoon I took the big bag out and emptied it into the bin, then the bump I had ready to spin and then finally removed all the singles from the bobbin I'd 3/4 filled.    I feel much lighter, now I can spin something nice!

I've not done this before, in the past I've persevered despite bad prep and the yarn has never been worth the effort.   Well, I sort of did before, but I did spin up a whole skein first so that doesn't count.

I don't mind stuff that I find hard to spin because I've not done it before, I've got that issue with cotton and also linen, but that's my fault and it will teach me something.   In fact I'm going to try a different prep of cotton next and see if that's any better.  If not I have some gorgeous BFL that I got in the latest fibre swap.   Now that the weather is warming up I can start prepping my own fibre too; no-one to blame but me if things go wrong with that

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What to knit next

Thomas' socks are on the needles and I'm almost up to the gusset increases, done some hexipuffs and sent them up to Knitsch but I'm feeling I need something else on the needles.   I could have gone to my queue on Ravelry, but have decided to try something different.   I have a few yarn boxes in the conservatory; this is not ideal yarn storage simply because of the light levels in there and the fact that Ian keeps taking my fabric covers off the yarn boxes exposing them to light.   My next project is therefore coming from those boxes.
I've got some Naturally Landscape which has been the stash for some time and really needs using.  It's not a colour which would suit me, but I think will look fine on the boys so it's going to be a jersey for next winter for one of them.
I'm using a pattern designed for another 10-ply yarn by Naturally and I hope it'll work well.   I may end up making some changes, the pattern has a pocket on the front, but I think it would work better with a kangaroo style pouch which would be easy enough to knit on the fly I think, and I can do it after the rest is done to ensure I have sufficient yarn.

I've done  a wee bit of sewing too, no photo's I'm afraid as I haven't got around to that, but the skirt is finished and has had several compliments.  I'm really pleased with it, not just because I finally have a skirt that is long and from wool, but also because it's different from anything anyone else has and looks really good!  I will take a photo, but probably won't be for a few days unless I can persuade one of the boys to take one tomorrow after school.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Down to 1 WIP - temporarily

Today, in fact about 5 minutes ago I finished my 3rd Time Lucky Socks, these are knit using the Anniversary Socks pattern by Nancy Bush.   This was the third pattern I tried for this yarn, I tried one with travelling stitches, one with cable and finally decided to try simple lace.   Simple lace was the perfect choice for this yarn.   It's a handspun Merino/Silk blend that I overspun and then plied tightly to make it wear well.
I love them!  For the moment it means the only thing left on my needles is the Central Park Hoodie.   In a few minutes though there'll be another pair of socks for Thomas in some Opal yarn I found.   It's the type that does the fake fair-isle but it should work well for him being fairly hard wearing.   Also once my needles arrive I'll get started on some hexi-puffs too to send off to Holland Yarn Company for their Beekeepers Quilt that they'll be auctioning off to support a local charity.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Unpopular Knitting Opinions

A few days ago I submitted my take on knitting with DPN's (double pointed needles) to the above site; it was published there and so far I have 21 responses or reblogs.
For those who don't want to go to the link, this is what I said
"Knitting with DPN's is like knitting with an angry hedgehog"; this is precisely how it feels to me so gosh only knows why I'm looking at knitting hexapuffs for the Beekeepers Quilt,  but I'm going to anyway.    I've ordered the DPN's I need today and will get started on my first few when they arrive.   The first ones aren't for me though, they're going to Holland Road Yarn Company to go into the quilt they're making to auction off for KidsCan, then I can do some for me with my angry hedgehogs.   I will most likely be working out a way to do them on circulars before long, much as I love hedgehogs they're best in the fields or the garden; not in my hands.
Another thing I'll be doing differently; I'll be sewing the hexapuffs together, having them tied just feels sloppy to me like you couldn't be bothered doing it properly.  Yes, it'll take ages, but it'll be worth it!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Design time

I've only got 3 pattern repeats and the toe before I finish my handspun Merino/Silk socks so I'm planning for the next couple of projects.   I already have a hoodie on the needles so I need a pair of simple socks, a colourwork project and maybe one other thing.

The socks will be plain ones for Thomas in some Opal sock yarn I found the other day, it was going to be something else, but these are already balled and ready to go.   I'll also be casting on a pair of fingerless mitts for myself in Wandering Cat Yarns Jungle Cat in the Vampire colourway; I'm using her pattern Dalhousie.  My colourwork is also my design work.   It's going to be Ian's mittens for next winter.  He wants squirrels so I need to chart it up, although I already own a squirrel pattern I want to do this from scratch just like I did George's skull and crossbones.  I'll be using the smaller size of the pattern I'm working on as a base, though with some mods since George's version as the thumbs on his were rather too long.

I am wondering though, should I cast on a shawl as well?    Or maybe a cowl?   I'll have 4 WIP's once the above are on the needles which is more than I usually want, but sometimes I want to do something else

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fabric stashing

I might be on a yarn diet, but today I did pick up some quilting fabric and a couple of other things while I was out with Mum today.
We went to The Joy of Sewing's sale first in Riccarton and I came out with 4 pieces of fabric.
from left to right we have a a nice blender in a dusty teal, a lovely Asian inspired print with gold on it,  another blender in a dark grey and a full A-Z flower fairies.   The Asian print and the flower fairies have company with other items in my quilting stash and of course the blenders are going to be useful with almost anything.

From there we went to a craft show which proved to be highly biased towards quilting.   There was however some other stalls to look at including the lacemakers guild and the embroiderers guild.  I ran into an old friend there, I used to work with her in Telecom (both of us have a dislike of phones from that), and she was in the Weavers and Spinners guild too until she got too busy.  Was lovely to catch up with her though.
Entered a couple of competitions (fingers crossed for the sewing machine and the Go Baby!   Would love either or even better, both, lol.
I picked up a Stitch Magazine from one stall, really like those mags, but dont' like the postage price that Interweave charge to send them to NZ.  I also got some wool felt from Stitch.  I don't like the acrylic version and although the wool one isn't traditional felt it'll do quite nicely to craft with the boys.  I also got some batik style quilting fabric too; one fat quarter and 2 charm packs for a small quilt most likely.
4 colours of felt here, lime green, burnt orange, deep red and black.   The Stitch mag (should I get a sub for this?) and the fabric.   Distressed Threads dye the fabric themselves and it's gorgeous!   Now I really do need to clear up the sewing room so I can get started with all of this.

Had a great day though, didn't overspend and I think Mum enjoyed herself too; we'll have to do it again.  We used to head into town from time to time, but that's not an option at the moment unfortunately.   We could take the boys to the Museum this holidays though, that's open again now.

Right, time to get Ian ready for bed.  George and Thomas are at Judo camp this weekend so it's just the two of us.  Hoping to get some gardening done, a little cleaning and tidying and possibly some work, my boss would like the last one.   Ian was asking to learn to knit earlier too, so I'll see if he's still keen; though I've promised him some computer time too if he helps me with the gardening.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

WIP no longer!

This seems to be a good week for finishing things.   Not only have I finished Jetty, but today I also finished my Bug Out Mittens!   This is a basic finger up mitten that I've designed especially for use with colourwork.  I can't lay claim to the colourwork pattern itself as that belongs to Morag of Vintage Purls, it came from last years winter sock club. 
When I write up the mitten pattern I will be putting it up on Ravelry for free, once I work out a range of sizes it will then change to a pay for pattern, but I'll probably still leave the base pattern as a freebie.  The bugs are available on Ravelry to purchase as a sock pattern if you want them; and I reckon you do!
I'm really pleased with the way the second one went; the first one was a slight fail on the thumb attaching to the mitten; the second was perfect.
the second one is the one on the right.   On the first one you can see a definite jog where the thumb was joined on; on the second only a slight colour change in the foreground colour which happens with hand-dyed yarn anyway so no biggie.   They're currently blocking on my new mitten blockers and looking lovely!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Finished project!

Jetty is finished, lightly steam blocked and being worn right now!  I love it, not so keen on my extra tummy in front, but hopefully exercise and healing my innards will help with that.
Really enjoyed knitting with the Cascade 220 and want to make the pattern again.  I'm thinking another couple of balls would turn it into a nice winter dress.
With no further ado, here is Jetty for Camp!

Monday, September 12, 2011

A New Path

Today I went to visit a herbalist I last saw when pregnant with George, he did what he could but had to stop at a certain point so as not to risk the baby.    Today I resumed my journey towards health with him
I suffer from what the doctors diagnosed as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome); it's one of those umbrella terms that is used when they don't really know what's wrong but they've tested for all they care to.
I've suffered with it for about 20 years now, mostly getting the runs, but of late there's been constipation as well.  It was time to go back to the one practitioner who'd made any difference; Richard Whelan.
I came out today with some hope that we'll get things sorted.   I also came out with an appointment in 2 weeks, a jar of psyllium husks and a bottle of a nasty herbal concoction.  I've already started taking them, and have to ensure I keep my water intake up too as well as increasing exercise.
Tomorrow I'm going to the doctors to try and get on the waiting list for a colonoscopy to check and make sure there's nothing more sinister going on, I don't think there is, but some of my symptoms could indicate that; so better safe than sorry.
One good thing, Richard doesnt' think I have IBS as I'm not tense enough and in his experience most people with IBS are very tense; I decided some time back that worrying and stress weren't worth the effort, being laid back is much easier and better for you.   It might take a while, but I now have hope to develop and maintain normal bowel function.  For those of you that have that already, take care of it, you have no idea how much it's worth!

In the meantime I'm getting back to my knitting, not far to go now to finish my Jetty.   I'm also going to go for a bike ride tomorrow, yes, even if it's raining.  Exercise is going to help with the rest too and I'm sure if I'm healthy I'll get more knitting done!   Thomas has an order in for a pair or two of socks since he loves the ones he has so much.   I have the yarn (Vintage Purls Max in grey) and have chosen a pattern too.   I will have to finish my socks first though; won't take long once Jetty's done, I'm decreasing the gusset stitches at the moment.

Friday, September 09, 2011


I think we can safely say it's spring now, some gorgeous things happening to our plants:
This is our plum tree; it's a triple graft and I think this one is Black Doris; it's also Billington and Elephant Heart.  Unfortunately the weakest graft is the Elephant Heart which is my favourite.   Spraying this each weekend at the moment with the seaweed spray to help it against the leaf curl.
This is the almond I planted down the driveway winter before last; the idea is that the fruit will be available to our neighbour as well.  I'm also spraying this each week.
The scented bulbs are out, narcissi down the driveway, the freesias are out by the front door; and they smell divine!

The kittens are feeling it too, much playing outside.   Here's Ray up in the silk tree, right at the limit of the branches
and Star looking for fun in the grass
I've cleared the main vege patch and will start on the secondary one this weekend; here's the main one
and the pile that will be dug into it this weekend
This is a mix of composts that will help boost the soil which is a little depleted going by last years performance; though some of that will be due to not being able to water the garden after the earthquakes.   We'll have that problem this summer too; already on notice that there will be water restrictions due to the damage to the water supplies in Christchurch.
I also picked up some Heuchera's to replace our Hosta's with.  Thomas isn't keen on the Hosta's as they're really messy over autumn and winter.  These guys are pretty and should fill in the space nicely, very little sun too so they'll be happy.
3 bronze and 2 purple ones.  I'll get more if I need them.

Onto the knitting, I've been working on my Jetty with no diversions to any other knitting.  I've got to the 4th ball of yarn which will get me to my 800 yards.  Today I finished the sleeves and I've tried it on and really like it.  Made some changes to the increases for the hip since I'm a size up in the hips than what I am in the bust.   I've changed to increasing every 5 rows instead of every 8 rows and will stop increasing at 220 stitches and then just continue knitting till I hit the end of the ball.  I have 6 days left to finish this, which is just as well as I also have some work to finish and it's taking me longer than I expected.
Ignore the lines on the sleeves, that was the stitch holder which I left in for just in case I didn't like the way I'd done the sleeves; those'll be coming out as I'm quite happy with it.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Time to start saving

I am now officially on a yarn diet; ordered some more 5mm nickel tips for my knitpicks set yesterday, but that's the last thing for a while.  Drooling is allowed, just no purchasing.   The reason for this diet?   I need to save for several things.

1.  New computer (please don't take offence current computer).   This runs XP and is getting a little tired I think.

2.  Proper camera.   I have a decent point and shoot, but it's not much good for the sort of photography I want to do like close up shots and yarn/project shots.   I need a DSLR, but I can't afford one.

3.  New cellphone (smartphone).  At the moment I have a CDMA phone with a really awful camera and no diary function; I'm also using a Sharp Diary Organiser thing that's probably over 12 years old.   I want something that can do both; currently considering the LG Optimus One P500.   It's got a decent looking camera, runs on Android and is significantly cheaper than the Iphone.

4.  New oven, this might not be necessary, EQC are going to get Fletchers to come out and look at it.   It'll either get fixed (though F&P said it's not worth fixing over the phone) or replaced.   Although it's old it was a good oven before the earthquakes; perfect pavlova oven.

5.  Steam cleaner for the floor.  This might also not be necessary, I have one, but the handle doesn't stay clicked in and it was like that when it arrived.   It's going back and they say they'll fix it.  If they can't then I'll get a refund and buy a more expensive one.

There is another reason for the yarn diet, my stash is running out of space; especially when you add the fibre in there.   I need to spin and knit up a whole lot of it before buying more.  I have enough for tonnes of socks, quite a few jerseys and other bits and bobs too.  I have over 45km's of yarn in my stash, I know it's over as there are some skeins in there that I don't know the meterage; that's including all that's left after projects I've finished.  That's a lot of yarn; stored in a lot of places and I suspect there may be the odd thing that's not in there.

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