Wednesday, April 20, 2011

out of the wilderness

Once again I've been MIA for a wee bit. We decided to take advantage of the school holidays and the last bursts of pleasant weather to take the kids away on a little family holiday. So off we went to the bush block.

Despite the hope for a continuation of the fabulous weather we've been having it was wet and a bit on the chilly side. But this did mean there were plenty of puddles to explore.

There was a also train rides to be had,

trees to climb,

hide and seek to play,

lots of wandering, walking and exploring.
As well as a big trek to the gem fields!

Jetties to hang out on,
(and if you're Toby, apparently throw your toys off and into the dam! eek!)

water to explore and paddle in,

so so so so many dragonflies to wonder at,

and just a little bit of knitting.

Just ...  squeezed in amongst the beautiful distractions.

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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Things I know about felting.. and some that I forget!

I've mentioned a couple of times that this year I'm working my way through Elizabeth Zimmermann's Almanac and knitting up one of her patterns for each month of the year. I'm doing this with a group of ladies from my LYS in Geelong, Twisted Threads.

There has been a bit of cheating and self selection involved. Truth be told; out of the three months of the year so far we've only stuck to the Almanac for one. Well, the group only started in February, but I did complete a January project by myself, which also wasn't part of the Almanac agenda. I'm sure EZ wouldn't mind!

But you know, I am actually going to re-visit January and March and whip something up from those months; just not a full size 40" chest jumper, no matter how much Andy would love me forever and be so totally grateful.

so for March our group divulged in a bit of double knitting and as well as tackling the January hat swatch, which I must say looks awesome!

I tackled some double knitting, the double knitted pot holder.

I chose to knit mine using some leftover Cascade 109 Bulky on 9mm needles with the reasoning that if it's going to be a pot holder, I'd probably prefer a felted fabric.

I've done a wee bit of felting over the time, but I really don't know what I'm doing. My approach is pretty much chuck it in the washing machine and hope for the best. And generally that has served me well, all has turned out pretty much as planned. Felting, however, is one of those crafts where I always have a moment of clarity, generally at the end of the felting process, when I think, "ahhh, that's right, that's what I'm meant to do."

So here are my personal felting reminders:

1. You can felt in a front loader, despite what some people will tell you. And yes, even the super dooper water efficient ones will felt.
If you're lucky enough to have one of those front loaders that can be paused and open the door half way through a cycle os you can check on how your felting is going, even better. I used to do that, now I just throw it in and hope for the best. I like the cavalier approach.

2. Best to always eliminate the rinse cycle. Those built in wrinkles aren't the best look.

3. The quick 30 minute cycle isn't long enough.

4. Be brave and hit 60 degrees!

5. It's jeans that I need to throw in the machine with my felting, not towels.
Unless of course, you DO want bits of fluff all over your felted item.

6. When you're knitting up your felted object, stick to either garter or stocking stitch.
Different sized stitches which stretch in different directions means they're going to felt differently.
No, that hint of a ruffle on the edge of my pot holder wasn't deliberate.

7. Don't let your husband see you put woollens in the washing machine.
He might get the idea that you can wash woollens in there, which you can if you know what you're doing. But really what man does know what he's doing with a washing machine? I have teeny tiny felted woollies and lots of grey underwear that tells me that.

8. Felting is a bit like scrambling an egg, once it's done; you can't undo it. It ain't ever going to go back to the way it was.

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Monday, April 04, 2011

Ziggy: sweater #9.

Even though I haven't yet shared with you any photos of sweaters numbers 7 and 8, I am going to jump right onto number 9.

This is Ziggy, which the autocorrect thingy on my iPad keeps changing to Piggy, hmmmm.

 I'm skipping along to share these photos because it seems so few and far between that I knit for the wee boy. And I really really need to remember to do more while he's still relatively small. He's just hitting that stage where I can no longer get a jumper out of 200g so it's not going to be long and he'll be towering over me and refusing to wear hand knits!! eek, what a future!!!

So while he's still so very very cute and sweet and little and it's approaching winter, I'm going to deck him out in the most gorgeous and cute little boy knits that my wee little brain can muster up.

Quite honestly, boys do miss out a bit when it comes to new knitting patterns. I have to be honest and say that if I look through my visual diary at the sketches (really badly drawn ones, I assure you!) they're mostly girl knits! There's just so much more scope for girls.

This one I wrote specifically for this yarn, which is one of my favourite colourways. Do you know how much I love this colourway? Loads! So much so that I actually have it on three different yarn bases!

The yarn is Treliske organic merino, a lovely lovely New Zealand yarn which is a pleasure to knit with. This is the first time I've knit with the new construction of the Treliske. Previously, I've only used the old crepe, and you know, I really do love this yarn. Why do I not see it around as much anymore?

The colourway is Brassica and comes from evoke. This is the same colourway that I used on my first milo vest.

I designed this jumper specifically for beautiful hand-dyed yarns like this one from evoke. Such variegated yarns are quite popular and I do have a few in my stash.

I wanted to create a design that would work well with variegated yarns but still have a bit of interest to it. I thought the zig zags and the mixture of stocking stitch and reverse stocking stitch would work well with the variegateds, without it getting too busy.

I used the trim, well, to be honest... because I can't quite get a jumper out of 200g for Toby anymore! I also do know that those who love variegated yarns sick, also have a bit of a fondness for matchy matchy trim yarns too!

While i was knitting this jumper Toby would often refuse to try it on, and even when I first finished it told me he wouldn't wear it!

However, I put it on him this afternoon, took him down to our local park at the end of the block to see the ducks and ...... he didn't take it off for the rest of the day!!!

So yep, this is Ziggy. Another boy pattern in the works at last!
Watch this space for more details on the emerging pattern!!

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Saturday, April 02, 2011

march flies by...

I'm feeling bit of a sense of deja vu as I write this. As I started thinking about what I had to say I had this strange sense that I've already written this post, so much so that I actually had to hastily read my blog to check that I hadn't.

Perhaps it's sitting in my drafts somewhere. who knows.

But yep, I'm going to say it, March really has flown by. If you asked me what I've achieved since my last post, it probably wouldn't be much. I don't think I've managed to knit much, I know I definitely haven't sewn, and given that we're still waiting on insurance issues to replace our oven, I certainly haven't been baking or cooking. So what have I done?

hmm, I did organise a birthday party for our 6 year old and her 20 something closest friends. Don't ask. But it went surprisingly well and quickly and was heaps of fun!

That cake is all about the fairies, in case you're wondering. I'm pretty chuffed with my little toadstools that I thought up all by myself (mini marshmallows and white chocolate cooking melts)

Next year's party is already planned, a sleep over and a visit to Sovereign Hill apparently, with just her bestest cousin/friend.

Today my little six year old reminded me just what a wee one she still is. The conversation went something like this;
(We were doing some grocery shopping and Lily decided she would like some sausages (organic please, mum) for dinner. So there we were looking at the organic sausage range;
Me: Do you want lamb sausages?
Lily: LAMB sausages!!! Lambs don't lay sausages. ( exclaimed rather loudly)
Me: (laughing in shock) Lily, where do you think sausages come from?
Lily points at the vicinity of where babies or eggs come from.
Me: um, from what?
Lily: Sausage dogs, Mum....

Yes, I did laugh. I couldn't help myself. Neither could the man standing behind us.

Then I asked her, "Lily, you do know that butchers make sausages don't you?"

She tried to convince me that she was just tricking but later did tell me that she really did think sausage dogs laid sausages... I am so glad I don't eat sausages, I don't think I will look at them in the same light again.

Actually, I'm not sure she did eat her sausages tonight either.

I was so surprised by this! Lily is a pretty bright little girl, we talk about all sort of deep things. She knows where babies come from and how they're made (despite the girls in the school yard telling her they come out your belly button), she knows who the Prime Minister is and we often have in-deep conversations about environmental issues (She can't understand why so many people drive to school and has come to the conclusion that footpaths are bad for the environment because of the nature they cover up).

In all honesty though, I have never thought that I need to explain where sausages come from. Have you?

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