Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Strange Days Indeed

This week has been quite strange. Not because I turned a year older or because of any of the normal things.

It has been strange since the AFL Grand Final was drawn last week and is being replayed this weekend. Last weekend T (who is not the Collingwood supporter - I am) decorated the front of the house without me knowing about it. He will do the same this weekend (He did it 7 years ago when we lost the GF too). This is only the third time in the history of the AFL that a Grand Final has been drawn. At the end of the match the feeling was really just flatness, exhaustion yes, but none of the other feelings that comes with completion.

So instead of me knowing who won and having this Saturday free. We will again be settling down in front of a TV to watch a second Grand Final filled with an audience of punters as opposed to corporates and package holders. It should be a fine spectacle.

On the yarn front I did get two packages yesterday morning. One with some Wollmeise to share (but we still have some things to work out so no published photos yet). The second had 2 lots of Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy with which to make some Summer Tees. I am a huge fan of Hemp as a fabric and Fibre. T's casual shirts are highly populated with items from Braintree and they wash and soften so beautifully but retain such a strength. I am really looking forward to getting this on the needles.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Spring and Summer Knitting

With the onset of the on-again off-again warm weather knitting thoughts turn to warm weather garments. Tees, Tanks and Summer Cardigans become a focus. This inspires a trawl through back copies of Summer and Spring Magazines and a tour of ravelry to gather a range of patterns to choose from. I have a stash of Bendigo Woollen Mills Cotton so it was time to find a pattern to go with it.

Last weekend, after I left my new cardigan at work, I started the Flutter Sleeve Cardigan (Spring is time for a Flutter!). Three swatches it took me to get guage (from a 4.5mm to a 3.5mm for the largest needle in a set of 3) but the resulting fabric is perfect.

The back is knitting up quickly. The ribbed waist is creating i nice little gather to the lower part of the cardigan. I love a pattern where the sleeves are part of the front and back. The only additional knitting is the cuffs. Did i mention it is really really soft.

Mmmmmmmmmmmm Madelinetosh and Mmmmmmmmm Majacraft

Five Skeins of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Wood Violet destined for an Austin Hoodie.
Yes it is really that bright in person a bit deeper in colour but very very PURPLE.

I have also ordered the new spinning wheel A Majacraft Rose (can't wait for it to arrive).

Friday, September 17, 2010

Knitting Evolution or GAAK

Over the last month I have been considering the evolution of my knitting. I have looked at the projects I now am confidently tackling in volume, complexity and diversity. I have revisited the techniques I have mastered.

More recently my thoughts have turned to the processes I undertake when planning, resourcing and starting a project.

Pattern Selection
I start with an idea of what I might want to knit. Cardigan, Shawl or other itemI consider the projects already completed by my friends (Ravelry is awesome for this). I will look at the blogs and patterns of my favourite designers. I will do a search on Raverly and look at all the completed projects and the notes. Especially modifications and fitting notes. Usually settling on a pattern after a few days.

Yarn Selection
If I start with the yarn I will look at the projects it has been used for in Ravelry. Consider what it has been used for and widen the pattern search to similar patterns. (as per above).

If I start with the pattern I will look at the different yarns that have been used. Often looking more widely at yarns with similar content, twist and drape (by my estimation) or that have been sucessfully substituted.

Probably the biggest change I have undertaken.

Not only do I now swatch but I swatch BIG (at least double the size of the guage requirements. Last month I was lucky to attend a workshop with Liz Gemmell (at the Inner City Group of the NSW Knitters Guild) and as a result my new motto is


Swatching is an essential part of that.
  • Making them reasonably sized, washing them and simulating wear are all part of the process. See how the final fabric will act when made up and worn.
  • Measuring your swatch in 3 places rather than once to get a more accurate guage. Rounding only at the end (and to nearest half or whole stitch).

Mostly I have become more organised. Labelled swatches, Notebooks (a sketch book A3 size and a smaller A5 size with lined and blank paper) and thinking time. The ever present measuring tape and some pearl head pins. The Swatching and planning toolkit including Graph Paper as well!

It is interesting that my GAAK (growth as a knitter - coined I believe by RoseRed) has evolved from exposure to other knitters, and more recently the structure of the Inner City Guild Group workshops (The current about to be outgoing team have done an amazing job - Kris, Geraldine and Rosemary) that have really challenged me to think about not just the advanced skills but the basics!

Next up Steeking.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Project Bags and Cardigans

The bags are from JennyGee's Etsy Store. They come into stock from time to time.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Unexpected Gifts and Knitting

Last night I came home to this on the couch (in my
corner). The item was actually in the bag. My Sister In Law had left me a very early Birthday present. It was quite timely as my handbag has seen better days (the handles were very definitely on their last legs). The bag is made by a friend of hers the very talented Selkie Smith. It is a defiite delight.

On the gift front I also recieved this cute little project bag and purple cashmere yarn from Miss Fee a few weeks ago. an appreciated score.

On the knitting front It has been shawls and socks (Whilst aquiring yarn for tees and cardigans). The Annis has been blocked and worn and looks fantastic with black (The purple does get a little lost in the Blue). I have started Brandywine in Lush Silk Merino in Trophy a deep reddish brown. Socks I have started some stocking stitch socks for T in the stunning Sacred Forrest colourway from Knitabulous' Black Japan Club (The yarn is her Supertwist merino which is lovely to knit with).

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Annis Alpaga

It is quite amazing to me how quickly some projects come together.
I started Annis after many false starts with the yarn trying other projects.
Commenced on Saturday finished on Wednesday and already blocking.

A quick knit with some lace challenges in Nupps and short row shaping to make a nice curved shape.

Overall a perfect match of yarn to pattern. A fun and challenging knit completed quickly.

Loving it!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Yarn Decides

Every so often we are reminded that we don't decide what the yarn becomes we are just the intermediary that helps it transform.

I was lucky enough to recieve some lovely soft Lilac La Droguerie Aplaga (Aplaca) as a gift from LynS when she returned from Paris earlier this year. The yarn has been hanging out in my stash making friends and maturing. It is now ready for transformation like a butterfly emerging from it's cocoon.

I set about picking a pattern and started on the Party Lace Scarf but the yarn and the pattern were just not clicking. I moved on to Ysolde Teague's Scroll Lace Scarf And after 2 repeats of the Scroll Lace I just knew this was not a match either.

The yarn is lovely, the patterns have all been delightful. Yet neither pattern worked for this yarn. I am now about to embark on Annis. Although I am also flirting with another Ishbel.

Sometimes the yarn decides and it takes some time to formulate and complete the decision

Thursday, September 2, 2010

You Call That Yellow!

After a small lapse in focus I managed to finish these just in time for O to wear them to a party this weekend that requires her to wear socks.

They are very very very YELLOW.

Yarn: Knitabulous Super Twist Merino in Acid Test
Pattern: Easy 4 ply Sock from The Wool Shack (Now from memory)

Satisfaction - High.