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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day Four: 31st March. Where are they now?

2Whatever happened to your __________?
Write about the fate of a past knitting project. Whether it be something that you crocheted or knitted for yourself or to give to another person. An item that lives with you or something which you sent off to charity.
There are a lot of different aspects to look at when looking back at a knitting project and it can make for interesting blogging, as much of the time we blog about items recently completed, new and freshly completed. It is not so often that we look back at what has happened to these items after they have been around for a while.
How has one of your past knits lived up to wear.
 This is the jersey I knit back when I still lived at my parents, before I met my husband or had children or bought a house.  It's a Thorobred Scheepswool pattern and I think I used the recommended yarn in a different colour (theirs is pink with an embroidered flower on it).
I still have this jersey and still wear it from time to time though it's no longer my favourite.   I love the deep waistband and sleeve ribbings, but it's not really quite long enough.  When I made it it was a fashionable length and shaping wasn't something that was around in knits; shoulder pads were though.    I'm glad I passed on that concept for this!
It does have a slightly capped sleeve which is nice and I still like that.  It's not pilled, shrunk (I have grown though) or stretched.  If the yarn was still available I'd seriously consider stocking up.  I still like the colour too, but nowadays I also like pink; which previously I hated.   Funny how things change as you get older.

For non-knitting related stuff:
I'm in the process of getting quotes for replacement washing machine and range; both have issues which started after the earthquake.  Main problem I have is working out how old the range is, it was here when we moved in 10 years ago; it doesn't have a model number on it so I'm waiting for something from Fisher and Paykel to give me an idea of age.  Washing machine isn't such a problem, I know how old that is as I bought it and still have the receipts.  A few other wee things need replacing too, my shoulder bag which was in a repair shop in town, they've told me to claim, 3 plates, a couple of glasses and a horse ornament which got separated from its base.  Can send it all off once I've got the quotes.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Organisation or something along those lines

Day Three: 30th March. Tidy mind, tidy stitches.
How do you keep your yarn wrangling organised? It seems like an easy to answer question at first, but in fact organisation exists on many levels. Maybe you are truly not organised at all, in which case I am personally daring you to try and photograph your stash in whatever locations you can find the individual skeins. However, if you are organised, blog about an aspect of that organisation process, whether that be a particularly neat and tidy knitting bag, a decorative display of your crochet hooks, your organised stash or your project and stash pages on Ravelry.

This one is interesting to me.   I have a lot of my stash in plastic rolly boxes and all that yarn is on Ravelry along with its location (aside from one that I know isn't where it says it is, but can't remember where it is).  There is some that is in my sewing room that has not yet made it onto Ravelry including at least one fair-isle kit and a bunch of cones sitting in the cocktail cabinet that is also not on Rav.  I really should get those photographed and added to Rav, but not sure if I will just yet.
So, that's my yarn.  Mostly in boxes, some not.   Those boxes however are all over the house.   There's some in the conservatory with a fabric coat to keep the light out, some in with fabric in the glory box out there, some in the main hall cupboard and some in our wardrobe.   As well as this there's a lot of fibre that isn't yet catalogued and it's also scattered around the house; considering it will eventually become yarn it does need to go into the stash on Rav.

Next is my needles.   My straights are all nicely in their needle roll; easy to find and pretty.   My circulars are in one of three places.
1. My DMC bag which I bought for my Knitpicks set of interchangeables, most of this is nicely filed but there is at least one needle set that I need to take apart and file again.
2. In a drawer in my desk, this is mostly my addi's and hiya-hiya's plus a couple of unknown rubbish ones, my DPN's and knitting accessories.  My crochet hooks also languish in here; really should try crochet again, something a little more challenging than dishcloths.
3. In project bags along with knitting, usually with the knitting firmly attached (I hope)

Then there's my spinning stuff; aside from fibre this is all in my sewing room.  Wheel, trolley, waterproof bag (which I made), art-flyer, Lazy Kate, Niddy Noddys (4 I think), oil etc is all to be found in that room. It's the only craft I practice where it's all in one place; oh, aside from the library.  That's in the lounge along with the knitting and crochet library.   My sewing library is however in the sewing room.

Really, what I need is a big room with lots of storage to put all this stuff in, then we can have the house back for other stuff and the boys can have a room each when they want to.  At the moment you can barely fit a standing person in the sewing room, let alone a horizontal child with a bed!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Skill Up

Day Two: 29th March. Skill + 1UP
Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. Have you learned any new skills or forms of knitting/crochet (can you crochet cable stitches now where you didn’t even know such things existed last year? Have you recently put a foot in the tiled world of entrelac? Had you even picked up a pair of needles or crochet hook this time last year?
This is what I get to talk about today.  I've definitely made great strides in the last year.   I've done my first adult sized jersey for a while
 This was my Ingenue, from my own handspun and it's lovely and warm.   I'm still really happy with it and will be wearing it this winter.
I've also made 2 shawlettes, more lace which I'm getting better at with practice; one Shetland Triangle for me and a Swallowtail for my mother.  The Shetland was in my handspun once again, the Swallowtail was in a commercial laceweight singles yarn.   I've learned that I love doing lace and will be doing a lot more.

I've taught myself design, admittedly it's small, but I couldn't find the pattern I wanted so I made my own, knit up several of them, got it test knit and released it.   I think I've sold about 4 copies, but that's ok, it's the beginning of something and I'm currently working on another design.
These are my Lace Chain Baby Socks,  they come in a couple of sizes and fit really well; I've been told they don't fall down which is important in socks for babies.
I'm currently working on a finger up mitten pattern as a base for colourwork; once test knit in the original size it will be available free until I've managed to work out other sizings, including childrens sizes.  Once the full size range is sorted then it will be a pay pattern.   I'm really enjoying this learning to design thing, it's been great fun and now I can call myself a "designer"!

The last thing I've learned this year was stranded colourwork.   I joined the Vintage Purls sock club for winter 2010 and the second release was a pattern called Bug Out Socks.   I started on it almost immediately and this was the end result
My tension isn't perfect, but for my first ever colourwork I'm happy.  I'm also planning more, the mittens mentioned above are using Morag's charts and I have the kit to make a vest, the Knit Camp Vest.  This is but a stopover on the ultimate plan of knitting Henry VIII by Alice Starmore, I also have the kit for that, not sure if it'll be this year though.

I've already finished 3 jerseys/vests this year and am working on another vest at the moment.  Once that's finished then I have a fitted jersey to knit from a silk/cashmere blend and a shawl most likely for a test knit; both those have time limits on them.   I'm also working on a hoodie, a pair of socks, the mittens and a shawl and I have a queue.   Hoping to finish at least one of these items in the next week, probably the vest, then back to the mittens until I have to cast on for the others; there will be a swatch too for the sweater.  I've learned that swatches are a good thing, my swatch for the yarn I'm doing the vest in determined that it wouldn't work for the original pattern I had in mind.  That saved me a lot of knitting.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Tale of Two Yarns.

I'm taking part in Knitting and Crochet Blog Week and the first post is on 2 very different yarns.  I'm to choose one I really like and one I don't like and capture what it is I do or don't like about them.

My first yarn is probably one commonly chosen to be a loved yarn; Wollmeise.  I'm lucky enough to have one skein of this in my stash in sock weight.
It is incredibly smoothly spun, 100% Merino superwash and the colour is beautiful.  I had been lusting after some of this for ages, and when the opportunity arose I had to get it.  

On the other end of the scale is something I bought sight unseen, Yarn Traders Nettle Yarn.
Same colour as the Wollmeise, but a huge difference in what you've got.  This is a single while the Wollmeise is multi-plied.  The singles are in many places overspun which makes this a very rough feeling yarn, not the sort of thing you want next to your skin; I'm really hoping that this will make good bags, cos if it doesn't I think it may end up on the compost heap.

Tomorrow I get to talk about what I've learned in the way of new skills over the last year.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Knitting update

I've finished my One Sided Vest, forgive the photo of me in my PJ's, it looks much better over real clothes
I'm wearing it at the moment as the temperature has dropped today and it's lovely and warm, it's also a great fit.    That's my 3rd garment for the year that counts for Intswemodo2011 and I've cast on for my fourth.  No photo's yet, but it's Diotima Shell.  I'm knitting it up in Noro Silk Mountain yarn in turquoise; another layering piece.   It might have to go on hold yet as I'll be joining a competition on the Colourmart Ravelry group.
I'll be knitting Amory in a lilac DK silk and cashmere yarn by Colourmart.  

Still working on a pair of socks, the mitten pattern I'm designing and my Citron shawl in handspun.   Also my Central Park Hoodie really needs some attention too.  I also have some yarn that was gifted to me by Justine of which I really want to get started on; that's going to be a cowl, a hat and a neckwarmer.   I really need more knitting time, which should be accomplished by less computer time, which somehow was easier to accomplish pre-earthquake.

I have managed some spinning though, no pictures yet but I've finished 100gm of pure bamboo in shades of cinnamon and peach and 100gm of Perendale in denim shades.  Next to spin is probably either the scrappy yarn or else the Suri Alpaca, problem with the Suri is that despite being processed out at Burnham it's still filthy, I'm suspecting he didn't pick it before washing, and just washed it in its dreadlocked form.   It's full of seeds and vegetable matter as well, but being alpaca that's understandable.   Need to spin it outside so that's not happening today.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A few wee things.

Thought you might like to see the bike that we went to so much effort to retrieve, this is Thomas' baby.  It's a Honda VT 750 cruiser styled bike and is definitely a nice bike.
It's lost a wing-mirror  but aside from that is still in good nick, a bit of paint damage but that was mostly pre-quake; only way to keep that perfect would be to never use it which isn't an option.   It's Thomas' main transport to work which means I have the car.

I've been working on my quilt, this is how it's looking with the blocks done so far laid out:
Worked out today I still need to make 90 blocks!   I had to order another jelly roll to be able to do that, will start cutting out the 2nd roll this week; may take a while to finish though as I have winter clothes to start on soon.  George has approved the material for his pyjamas (navy blue with lighter blue maple leaves), also have material for some trousers, tops and stuff for me too as I'm getting low on winter clothes.  Also need to make a couple of skirts for me too, so there's no way this quilt will be ready before this winter.

I have finished one knitting project though, my One-Sided Vest is finished as of tonight.  It still needs blocking, but fits well and feels firm over my pyjamas (that was what I was wearing when I tried it on).  Over my usual winter tops which are fitting it will be perfect.

So excuse the pj's.  You can't see the cable well in the picture, but it looks good and should show better after blocking.  The pattern had 2 errors that I found, one in the cable directions (T3F and T3B were the wrong way around) and the wording in the decreases for the neckline was written in such a way as to make you decrease every 8th row, when it should be every 4th row.  I've noted my project page though so anyone looking at the pattern can find it.  Don't see any point in letting the designer know as she ignored my initial question about the cable issue; not going to waste my time again.
The yarn though I love!   It's a yarn with body, not overly soft and with a nice fleck through it made from polyester.  The main component is wool though and I'd say it's something like a Romney.  The yarn is Naturally Tussock 14 ply and it feels like it will wear well.   I love soft yarns as much as the next person, but for something like a vest I want something that will last and look good for a good amount of time and I think this fits the bill nicely.   The yarn also comes in Worsted and DK weights from memory.

I will probably cast on something new as I'd quite like a bolero style and I have some lovely Noro Silk Mountain looking for a project, this would also allow a little stash busting.

Went to a spinning day yesterday, was concentrating on my knitting, but I won in a lottery 2 beautiful lots of fibre:
The first one I won is the one on the right, it's Vintage Purls Perendale and it turns out to blend beautifully with 100gm of Romney I have from another dyer, I'm going to ply the two together.  Both fibres are slightly stronger so should work well together, the Romney has more sheen so it should be quite special.
The second which I only won as everyone else had already won something is some Merino dyed by a lady in Oxford (I've spun her fibre before, yummy), it came with some bunny angora dyed to tone with the Merino.  I still have my current bamboo to finish before I can start on anything else, but this has bumped a few other things down the queue.

Earlier that day I got an email to say I'd won a blog competition for a book "Knitting it Old School" as well as sufficient yarn to make a mens jacket from the book as well.   I have no idea what the yarn is or what colour, but the example shown on the website is green.  Thomas took one look at it and informed me he'd never wear it, that's ok, wasn't planning on knitting that pattern for him anyway; I'm sure there'll be something suitable in the book that I can use the yarn for that I can wear.  Unfortunately my wee run of luck didn't extend to Lotto, but I can still dream.

Earthquake wise, our area is getting back to normalish.  Still boiling the water, still can't go to town as it's blocked of and tbh I doubt there's much of it left anyway.  Probably going to be 9 months or more before our house is properly assessed; I guess that gives me time to find more damage, like the dent in the boys bedroom door which I suspect is earthquake related; though I could be wrong.   A lot of people left town this weekend due to Ken Ring's prediction of another big quake; which he's since withdrawn.  His predictions have caused a lot of fear in a community that already has more than enough to deal with.  I'm taking a flower essence quake remedy which I suspect is helping.

Did a 50 minute bike ride on Thursday, felt great during it, but must have pulled something as I spent the next few days in agony with a really painful ribcage on one side.   It's much better now, but I'm still tired due to a lack of sleep for 3 nights in a row.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Just been into zone 1 to drop Dh off so he could meet the army officer who's offered to rescue his motorbike from the red zone. Although I didn't see much (busy driving) it just felt so wrong! I didn't feel like I should be there despite being on a legitimate reason. I didn't see a lot of damage, but you couldn't miss the poor Provincial buildings, just a pile of rubble. A few new empty lots in the residential bits too. There's still a dust haze from about halfway between Brougham and Moorhouse over all of zone 1.
I drove at 30 most of the time, occasionally under that and I also stopped and let official vehicles through several times. Amazing how some other people were driving though, one guy doing at least 50; not giving way to the official vehicles. I'm really hoping Dh's motorbike runs ok and he can get it home, I really don't want to have to go back there. Once town is cleared and open properly I will want to go in then, to see what survived though, not to see what was lost. There are some businesses that I used to visit a lot and I'm really hoping they're still in one piece. 

I know some aren't; Global Fabrics store is gone but they are planning on reopening. Hoping Fabric Vision is ok, the Honda Motorcycle shop, Bennetts Shoe Service and there are others too.  They're the places you map your life by.  Fabric Vision has always been my choice for fabric shopping, Thomas bought his motorbike from the aforementioned motorbike shop, Bennetts is the best place to get leather bags or shoes repaired.   
There's the Rangiora Bakery who made our wedding cake, a lovely chocolate mud cake with none of that nasty aftertaste so many bought cakes have.  Ballantynes of course, our iconic department store and so many others.   I know Ballantynes is still in one piece, but of course being in the red zone it can't reopen.  And of course the store I consider my local yarn store (LYS); Knitworld.  There are other yarn stores including the one in the Art Centre that is run by members of our Weavers and Spinners Guild, but I can't see that opening for some time, possibly years depending on damage there.

Thomas took a while to get back, the AO was on duty when he got there and then they had to go into the cordon and although T was accompanied by AO apparently there was a police officer who was not impressed.   Luckily impressed or not, he didn't stop them and T now has his baby back in the garage
It's lost one wing mirror, but that's snapped off at the base so isn't a hazard and one of the cables is really tight, but if his Dad can help him fix that it might not be worth claiming on insurance.  Fingers crossed, not sure what the excess is on the bike, but there's going to be enough excess to pay on the house and contents as it is.

An Important Day

School started back today, we knew Ian was keen as he's already run off twice to go there.   Luckily Thomas found him each time, but it's scary when he does that.   He knows he's not to leave the property, but he's effectively been stuck here for the last 3 weeks and he's bored.  Hopefully now that school's back it'll be better.  George was keen to get back too which was nice.  Thomas working from home should be easier now; it's really hard with 2 bored boys at home as well, especially when Ian doesn't really understand what's going on with Daddy working from home.
Another piece of good news, yesterday I rang the police comms line and gave them the details of Thomas' bike and where it was etc (in the red zone), last night he got a call from and Army Officer who'd spotted it and offered to bring it out for him.   I'm dropping him in town this afternoon before picking the boys up from school so that he can bring his baby home.  I have to say it'll be nice to be a 2 vehicle family again; though of course the amount of exercise he's getting will drop.
Yesterday we had our chimney flue checked by Heating Solutions and it's fine so that's good to know for winter, the guy's coming back tomorrow morning to do the chimney clean for $40, at least this time it's someone who understands the brand of fire we've got and will be able to clean it without stuffing it up, unlike last time.   Once that's done we're pretty much ready for winter which will be good.  Got plenty of wood.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

A winner and a magazine review.

The winner of the auction for Taimi was JacBer who bid $24.  I've sent you a message via Ravelry to organise donation and postage of the skein of loveliness.  Thank-you to those who bid, those of us in Christchurch appreciate your generosity.

For those interested we're doing ok.  We have power and water back and although the water reeks of chlorine at least we don't have to boil it for most things anymore.  Still have to boil for teeth and drinking, but can use the dishwasher again now and shower too both of which are things we really appreciate.  We got hit by another aftershock this morning, only about 4.1 or thereabouts though, but pretty close and it took the power out.  
All our family now has power back, though my brother and his wife are still unable to use their water as the drains over there are backed up.  Hoping that gets sorted for them soon, especially as there's no portaloo in their street yet.

I'm also having problems loading some websites including the councils earthquake site and any blogs on Wordpress. They're all giving me a 118 time out error.  Can't find any useful information on the net about how to fix it.  I've tried rebooting, clearing cache, cookies etc and even resetting my IP address; all with no luck.  It's not just one browser either, tried Chrome, Rockmelt, Firefox and the awful Internet Explorer all with the same result.   I'm beginning to suspect it's due to the windows update that happened yesterday.

Right, time to stop the depressing stuff, the boring stuff etc and get onto my quarterly Interweave Knits review.  It actually arrived a few days ago and my initial impression after the yippee for getting mail was that it is actually quite a nice magazine this time.   Quite a bit of stuff I'd happily knit if I had time.

Echo Reversible drop-stitch mobius
I think calling this a mobius is stretching the truth a little as it appears to button shut so can be worn as a mobius, but is more of a short scarf.   It's quite a bulky yarn that's used for the pattern; but it's a nice practical wrap.  It's an excerpt from Kristin Omdal's new book A Knitting Wrapsody: Innovative Designs to Wrap, Drape, and Tie

En Pointe Pullover
is knit in a laceweight linen yarn; it has a twisted front for an unusual look and while it's not something I'd feel comfortable wearing, it is an attractive piece on the right person.  I suspect it probably would not look its best on someone with a D cup or greater as the twist would likely accentuate this and it wouldn't drape as it's meant to.

V-Yoke Cardigan
This is a nice wee cardigan, also knit in linen.  It is also drapy with a nice shape at the back where the yoke comes to a V shape and the hem is curved.  The front is a nice clean look; this would be a wonderful summer coverup over a sundress.   If I can find a suitable yarn here in NZ I will probably knit this eventually; I say eventually as there is such a long list of cardigans I want!

Gathered Front Tank
This is one I don't really like; no real waist shaping.  Somehow it looks like a top for a five year old that's been graded up to adult sizing.   It would look really cute on that 5 year old though!

Heliotropic Pullover
I'm not sure about this one,  I like the idea; but it does need a little more shaping in the waist and also the neckline is too wide; I'm feeling urges to pull up the shoulder towards my neck and I'm not even wearing it!

Swirl Crop Jacket
Another one I'm not sure about, I want to like it; but I can't really think of any body type that will look fantastic in it; aside from maybe the 5 year old mentioned earlier.  Maybe with longer sleeves?  As it is the sleeve just doesn't look right with the rest of it to me.

Fearless Fair Isle Knitting
This isn't a pattern, but it's got some good pointers on stranded knitting; I will be referring back to this as I have discovered I love doing stranded knitting and am working my way towards an Alice Starmore jersey.

The Garden Plot Dress
Not having a wee girl to knit for makes me sad, this is a lovely wee pinafore styled dress with some lace inset into it.   If I had a girl, I'd definitely be knitting this dress; it's very cute.

Cranberry Island Throw
I'm not really a throw kind of gal, but if I was going to make one I'd consider this; it's graphic and pretty at the same time.  I do have to say though I kind of feel there should be some X's in there instead of all circles.

Hourglass Pillows
Sorry, not a pillow gal either though they are kind of cute.   We have one cushion in the lounge atm and we're never sure what to do with it; it's always in the way.

Rain on the Prairie Scarf
A nice simple lace scarf; I could see this on a man if slightly longer and in a grey or deep brown.  Would have to be a bloke wearing a suit though or a wool coat.  Can't see it on a farming bloke, he would need heavy cables.

The Leaf and Picot Cardigan
This is pretty, be wonderful in an office where the aircon is perhaps a little on the cooler side.  Or on those evenings in autumn where things just need  a wee warmer.  I'd lengthen the sleeves, but aside from that she's perfect.

Rose Lace Stole
I'm not a stole person, for some reason I prefer shawls, but this is a nice one, the middle would be fairly quick to do and the ends have enough interest.  You could easily add beads for drama too.

Tatiana's Sweater
I love cables and this is really pretty. It still has shape around the waist which is important and I love the neckline; it would have been too wide if they hadn't continued the cable pattern over the shoulder, but they did and it works brilliantly.   This one will be queued!

Drop Mesh Tee
Yuk!  I need say no more

Curvy Squares Tee
I'm not sure about this one, I like the entrelac look, but I think ti might be a little tight on the model in places which is making it ride up and lose her curves.  If the sizing was right this has potential.

Hexagonal Petal Tee
I love this, it's curvy in the right places, lace, but not so much as to be showing all your assets and would be lovely as the top of a knitted wedding outfit.  I want one!

Diminishing Gore Skirt
Another one I'm not sure about, it seems to sit strangely over her background leg.  I don't think I'll be doing this one, there are many other nice skirt patterns out there that beat this one into the ground.

The Pinkerton Shawl
Simple, yet stunning.  This is a shawl I'd consider for a relative who's not lacey, but as it's more of mesh I think she'd be ok with it.  Should be a simple knit as well.

Lara Bubble Top
What makes designers think a top that balloons at the hips is flattering?   Maybe if I was stick thin and didn't have childbearing hips; but I don't fit that criteria and nor do most people I know.  I do like the neck cable though, so might consider stealing that for something else, or even this without the band at the bottom that creates said bubble.  Hmm, thinking about it I'll shift that band up to an empire line and then it should be really cute and flattering.

Draped Vest
Surprisingly I like this, totally impractical, but I want one anyway.  It won't keep you warm, but you'll look good!

Ruched Yoke Tee
Another one I really like, nice shaping and the ruching really works for a tee without being over the top.  Queued.

Gossamer Smocked Tunic
This is nice also, simple and with the "smocking" under the bust it gives a nice gentle shape.  I think this might head towards the favourites, if not queued just yet.

So as you can see I really like this issue, if you're not subscribed then take a look when it comes into your local mag/knitting shop.

My knitting is growing slowly, very slowly this week as I've been catching up with work.  I'm almost halfway through the cabled diamond on the top of my first sock; into section 4 of my Citron and haven't really moved at all on my mitten or either of the bigger projects on the needles.  I've got some Shetland coming from Colourmart to add to the cone I already have to do some colourwork, and a skein of Vintage Purls lace called Biosphere might have decided to come home to me.

Sewing is getting there, no clothes atm, but I do have a patchwork quilt that I'm working on.   I have some more blocks to sew up, then I can start on the sashing.  I'lll do photos later; haven't got a decent one ready to go right now and I really want to get to sewing.

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