Friday, February 26, 2010

what I've been working on...

Inspired by, and in total agreement with, Ysolda's comments over here , I decided my poor neglected blog needed some love today. I have been knitting.. lots ... but just not sharing as most of what I've been knitting are prototypes for some new patterns. You can see these on my Ravelry projects page but they don't always make it to my blog.  Time to change that.

Knitting has been interspersed with the getting used to kindy stuff. I thought I would have more time once the little Rainbow girl was off at kindy, but no, not so.  This week I had kindy duty, which was oh so much fun and made realise that I do actually miss teaching. It was so much fun to be back in a classroom. But I won't be returning until my babies are at school.  I've also discovered that my little Miss Independent Player has too quickly become used to having other people to play with, like kindy. So now when she is home I'm finding myself roped into playing with her constantly, mostly dolls and barbies. It usually goes something like this;
"Mum, I've got a deal for you. If you play with me afterwards I'll give you a big kiss and cuddle."
How can I resist that?

I do get to be Belle though so that's ok ;) She's my favourite apparently, because she wears a yellow dress. Yes, my daughter does indeed think I am that fickle!!!

Anyway, onto the knitting.

This started out as a bit of an impromptu knit, just had to get the idea out of my head.  It's a little vest knit in a 10 ply cotton, Magicline, which is awesomely self-striping. It's a little seamless vest suitable for 10 ply, 8 ply and 4 ply cotton.  It's designed to be worn as a singlet or a vest or because I like options; it can morph into a heap of other options that are included in the pattern. I'll tell you more about those in the next few days.

Did you see Ysolda's photos of her trying on her new design mid-work?  This is what the kids in my household have to endure.  See the ball of yarn in the back pocket. Unfortunately, he isn't very good at standing still. Lily however, I can slip something on her while it still  has a circular needle in the garment, she is so used to it LOL

He's a bit cute, isn't he? He knows it too. Ask him if he's cute and you'll get a cock of the head, shoulder hunch, big grin and a big nod. awww, he melts me, little rascal that he is.

ooh, ooh I have a couple of competitions coming very soon too. Details probably over the weekend along with some other exciting news and stuff!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Rockin' Socks

As anyone who as ever been the recipient of any will tell you, there is nothing finer and more luxurious to wear than a pair of handknitted socks.  I look forward to the colder months when I can glide about the house in mine.  Not so very long ago I finished one of the cutest pairs I have ever knitted. Check them out!

Oh, those are not actually my feet though, which are indeed small but not that small.  These are Lily's little munchkin feet and her cute little socks knit out of nothing other than some scrumptious Pear Tree 4 ply in acacia.  Aren't they adorable?

I was so very very lucky to be able to test knit this pattern, it was soo much fun.  A simple easy knit and a lovely clearly written pattern. The lace ribbing is adorable and really easy to memorise. And you know what the best thing about little kids socks is? OMG they are so quick to knit, like almost instant gratification!!!  We're talking like 28grams of yarn.  perfect for sock leftovers, particularly if you have small feet like me. 

This pattern comes from the lovely Sheryl Greenfield of Shortly Stitches. Sheryl is a New Zealand based designer. I have now knit three of her patterns and I love them to bits. 

Did I mention Sheryl has just released this pattern? you should pop over and have a little purchase on Rav ; )

You'll see you can also get the mummy version of these sock s, well they could be the daddy version if the man about the house is not adverse to a bit of lace rib. How cute huh, mummy and daughter matching socks!!!  Lily would insist I make a pair for her doll Jasmine too though. She thought the mini Christmas stockings I made might make her good socks. Unfortunately they were too small and I might have promised her I'd knit Jasmine a pair of socks *what was I thinking!!!!*

Speaking of socks, I didn't show you the finished socks I knit for my FIL for Christmas, so here they are.

They're knit in 8ply and from one of Sheryl's patterns too called Jimmy . I affectionately called mine Jimmy Rogers. hehehe  i think my FIL liked them. I know my husband did and has put in an order for a pair. I love the cast on in this one and the gorgeous rib cabling, very nice!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

spring garden tee

so it isn't Spring, but it doesn't really have to be Spring to knit and wear this cute little top. I'm sure it will be equally loved and worn in Autumn here too. Probably even Winter under a long t-shirt.

So yes, this is the Spring Garden t-shirt a lovely little pattern from Alana Dakos.
I knit it in Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, the leftovers from my Something Lime. I just had enough to squeeze this little top out of the 1.5 balls I had left.  And I mean, just. There was enough yarn leftover for another round and that is it, five metres!  Not much at all.  So by Shopping The Stash I already reduced the stocks of cotton fleece this year, and Lily and I both have green tops, hmmmm.

I made quite a few little adjustments to this, mostly to do with tension.  The pattern calls for 24 stitches per 4 inches, and that would be just a little firm with the Cotton Fleece, which really is a worsted cotton but knits up nicely at DK weight tension.

I knit the size 12 month which at the looser tension equated to about the size 3 to fit Lily’s petite frame and gave about an inch positive ease. I did consider knitting the 9 month size which would have resulted in about a 20.5” chest, the same as the size 2 measures on 24/10cm.
Knit to size 3 length before sleeves CO
sleeve mods: I purled sleeve stitches on the last row, cast off using my underarm neatening technique so therefore only CO 4 stitches under each arm. 
I worked these mods not because I thought it would be neater, but because, simply, I couldn’t be fagged with the waste yarn for one row and weaving in the extra 4 ends. I’m happy with the end result, it’s neat enough
increasing mod: I used m1L and m1R one stitch in from each stitch marker, worked every 14 rounds.
worked extra length (16 inches), and used the lace on the hem; 5 repeats the same as the sleeves and finished with a purl round before casting off.

and an answer to a question: what do we do to our peach tree?  umm, nothing.  Really nothing, it doesn't even get watered and usually suffers from a bout of leaf curl early in the season. Which I always think I should probably do something about  but never get around to it.

Yep, we're still eating peaches daily.  Best get to preserving some soon.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

off to kindy we go

It's been a big week here with the start of the school year, big changes, getting used to new schedules, times, and being organised!!! *eek*  Andy had his first teaching day with students on Tuesday, and three days back last week. It's been hard for the kiddies not having him here all day after being used to seeing him all the time for the last six weeks.  It does make him Mr Popularity on the weekends though!!! hehehe 

The biggest change though, has been our little princess Lily starting at kindy. You know, when I look at this photo of her first day she looks so grown up and ready for it. And she was!! She was awesome. 

The first day as we walked to the gate, where she was so excited to get inside that she would barely let me take this photo (I got a "hurry up mum!" *gasp*), she asked me to stay with her for the first day.  She's doing a transition program for the first two weeks, they have half sessions with half their class. I stayed for awhile but then had to go and get some information out of the car for her enrolment form. When I told her i had to go to the car, she didn't seem to care. So I thought I might push it and not come back until the end of the lesson (45 minutes later) I honestly knew she'd be fine.

And she was. When I went and picked her up she said to me, "Mum, tomorrow I'll be fine to go to kindy all by myself".   Awwww, my baby girl is growing up.

And yep, I shed a big tear.

Monday, February 01, 2010

January and the Crazy Cast on Crusade

So as part of my Shop the Stash challenge for 2010 I'm giving myself, or taking part in some little themes for each month, you know to kind of make it a bit more exciting, jazz it up and well, I dunno, it seems like some sort of crazy fun!

January was crazy cast on month, which meant I was allowed to cast on as many projects as I liked,  with nary a care for others that hadn't been finished or even how many I had piling up. It was all about guilt free casting on as the mood struck. There was even some talk in some ranks about casting on every day in January, pure and utter crazy talk for sure!!!

At month's end, I had cast on a total of nine projects. Four of those were finished, three oh so close to being finished, and two sort of just fluffing along nicely.  I was  a little surprised at my scant casting ons to be honest, I thought I would have cast on more but January has been a busy month and despite that I did somehow manage to knit over 1700 yards of yarn. That seems like a hell of a lot to me!

So here's the first cast on for the month (the others are my own designs so shall have their own posts;))

Pattern: Whirligig Shrug by Stephanie Japel
Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Tea Rose (seconds) one skein
Needle size: 4mm
Size: 24 months

I just adore this yarn. I bought it as a second which means the colour isn’t completely solid, so it has a lovely semi-solid tone to it.

I wanted this knit to be a simple mindless New Years Day knit, so I cast on with no thought or regards for reading through the pattern first or casting a critical eye over it. Given the finished measurements, I initially cast on for 12-18 month size as Lily only has a chest measurement of 21 inches. As I was knitting it dawned on me that a back of 56 stitches does not equate to 11 inches with a tension of 22/4”, it would come out at 10 inches. So I decided recklessly to work extra increases to get to the 24 month size back of 60 stitches. (which by my equations equates to a 11 inch back not a 12 1/2 inch back) This did mean that cable section wasn’t quite right under the arms, so promise not to look there.
I also worked a little bit extra length in the frill to account for Lily’s age (5 in March) and managed to get all this out of the one ball of Cotton Fleece.

I adore the look of this shrug, and Lily is totally enamoured with it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stay on. It keeps falling off her shoulders and I feel like a fusspot mum constantly fixing it. I probably need to do something about tightening the edging to help with this problem but at the moment I can’t be bothered.
I might still do another one but perhaps with more negative ease, perhaps the 3 or 6 month to cast on.

February's challenge?

Well, I'm thinking about "knitting the ones I love" to coincide with Valentine's Day. Knitting some of that hoarded yarn that seems too good to actually knit.  I shall confess to a little headstart here as I started a shawl the other night in Handmaiden Fine Yarn Sea Silk, mmmm.