Archive for April, 2009

The Colour Yellow

I don’t have anything against the colour yellow. But if I wear it, it makes me look really ill. So, when it comes to knitting, I don’t do yellow scarves, or sweaters or hats. So, not a lot of yellow knitting goes on around here.

Why is this a problem, you might ask?

Well, back in January, our national knitting shop chain had a sale. And in their inimitable way, they discounted only a few colours of each chosen yarn, leaving the rest at regular retail prices. And the gorgeous yarn Merino Et Soie was discounted, at well less than half the retail price. But – you guessed it – only in yellow. Sigh.

I took a punt and bought 15 balls of their DK weight yarn, planning to dye it.

Here’s how it went:

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Once the yarn was soaked, I used my delicious Shamrock acid dye to make a semi-solid green yarn.

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After this last photo was taken, I wound the skein on itself and immersed it in the dye pot to get a bit more depth to the colour.

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In February, I began knitting this up in an ill-fated project. But it’s back on the needles again now. Just call me an attention deficit knitter – yep, the ribbing  on the Whisper Cardigan is taking so long I had to cast on another project.

I think this is a huge improvement on the colour I started with. Not that I dislike the colour yellow.

Thirteen Things

The lovely Amybel over at Knitting in my Backyarn tagged me with the request to tell thirteen things about myself. So, since I’ve got no FO’s to share with you (I’m in ribbing hell again – 3 inches of 1×1 ribbing with 320 stitches per round seems to take a long time for some reason. I do realise I should quit whining about ribbing or quit chosing patterns that have it…)

Okay, so 13 things about me:

1. I’m an optimist. DH quotes the saying “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade” at times. Imagine my pleasure at finding three blackening bananas on the kitchen bench of Saturday.  I made tw0 and a half dozen banana choc chip muffins – yep, if life hands you blackened bananas, make banana muffins! DH tells me they were heading to the compost. Oh, the shame!

2. Most of my friends are people I met over the ‘net. Some of them I’ve not met IRL, many I have.

3. On the subject of friends, I had the same best friend from age 8-22 when we were flatting together. I’ve only seen her once since then. And I’ve not had a best friend since then either.  It’s not that I’m a crap friend, honest (at least I don’t think so!)

4. I used to be a single mother.

5. I am a total punctuation Nazi. Ever read “Eats, Shoots and Leaves?” I found myself laughing out loud, agreeing, and then disagreeing because we do things differently here! There’s one restaurant in town with a sign outside advertising “Pizza’s” and “Pasta’s”. I think it was sent to torture me.

6. I read (part of a book) every single day.

7. I knit every single day.

8. I’m a cloth-nappy-using, tandem-extended-breastfeeding, vegetable-gardening, recycling, non-hippy freak.

9. I have some lovely new knitted-sock showing off shoes – must take a pic to show you all!  Must finish knitting socks to go inside them  too 🙂

10. DH and I live in a town without any of our relatives here – our parents are in a different island and about 10 hours driving away. I do have a sister 3 hours drive away though, and another one moving about the same distance away mid-year (Hi D!!)

11. I am studying part-time to finish my post-grad Dipolma in Arts majoring in English, which I should finish this year.

12. I am due back at work from maternity leave in January. Scary stuff – I’ve been at home full time for all but 3 months of the last 2 yrs 9 months. 

13.  I had six inches cut off my hair last week. For some reason I keep forgetting to go to the hairdresser. It isn’t until I realise I’ve not worn my hair down for a couple of months I realise it’s too long.

And that’s it from me!

I think I’m meant to tag other people too – *hate* that part – it reminds me of chain letters from when I was a kid. So, feel free to screw up the invite and pop it in the bin folks!

But, if you wanna, can the ladies behind Purdy Peas, Knit.so.quaint and Pimp my longies please step up to the plate 🙂

Teddy Too

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I’m not one to spoil my children, or give in to their demands… but I couldn’t help but notice how much Miss 2.8 wanted a knitted bear of her own.  So, this wee guy (or girl, I’ve been told) has been pieced together in the weeks since Easter.  She was delighted to be greeted by a finished bear this morning – only last night she was lamenting her lack of an ear, any limbs, eyes and a nose.  I had it all done but for one limb, so last night I completed the missing leg, and sewed the rest together, using every last bit of stuffing to do so.

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I thought it would be cute to get a picture of the girls with their bears together. Wrong! It was an awful shot. Ah well, you can’t expect a 10 month old to sit still, really! Especially if you’re dangling a great camera cord in front of her.

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Now, I don’t plan any more bear knitting in my immediate future. But you never know, we might be getting more in the household anyway…picture-2103

FO: Slinky Ribs

Yes! It’s done!

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My Slinky Ribs has been on the needles since mid-February I guess, so it’s wonderful to have it finished. The weather is starting to cool down, so this will be worn a lot this autumn and winter.

The yarn is a Merino/Possum blend and so incredibly light – 160metres per 50 grams, at a DK weight. The strands were quite thin for DK I thought, but it’s knit up quite nicely.

 

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The other thing that I loved was the fact that the sleeves grew by a couple of inches when I blocked it – I thought I had knit them the right length, and then they looked far too short! See…

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I’ve already mentioned the placement of the rib detail in earlier posts – it is much too high up, and it wasn’t until the sleeves went in that I realised this. That was a big disappointment, but I think that it is okay as is. Just not as cute as the pattern.

Despite the forever that this took to knit, I do love it. The yarn makes it so light and snuggly at the same time. It is a nice sweater to wear, and will be versatile. I would definitely consider making another one – with cap sleeves though!

Pattern: Slinky Ribs from Wendy Bernard’s Custom Knits

Yarn: Merino Possum blend from Weft Industries, colourway Red Marl. I weighed the finished garment, and it’s 262g, so it’s not quite 6 balls of yarn. I was gifted 3 of these and purchased the rest. Miraculously, I found more in the same dye lot.

Buttons: ended up being from stash:)

Needles: 4mm and3.25mm Knitpicks Harmony interchangeables.

Thinking back, I think that this was intended to be my fourth sweater of the year, but instead, it’s number six.  Ah well, better late than never, eh!

A little bit of Magic

I have had my little bit of magic arrive in the post 🙂  You might recall a few weeks ago, I made a magic yarn ball for my friend’s birthday. And I mentioned that I was in a magic yarn ball swap. Weeeell, mine arrived! 

Here ’tis:

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The theme is Lemons. I received 100g of Wool Company 4 ply yarn dyed in shades of yellow, and a suggested pattern of some “Fruit Salad Mom and Baby Socks”. Not sure on the pattern, I think socks would be nice and cheerful in this yarn, but I might contemplate the pattern for a bit.

But I can’t put it off forever, because, hidden inside the yarn are some goodies. I can see wee hints at them through the ball… I think I spy some beads – maybe some stitch markers? But beyond that, I have *no* idea – and I’ve got not a clue who sent to me either!

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Now, here’s the bit where I admit, I lied through my teeth a few weeks ago when I said I had yet to make my swap ball. To be honest, I’d already made and sent it before I posted – but my swapee had (and has) no idea. I think it’s about time to put her out of her misery.

So, this is what I made – 100g of Patonyle 4ply sock yarn, dyed in acid dyes – browns, oranges and pinks, to go with my theme.

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I based the ball around a theme of “The Four Elements” and drew the colours of the yarn around earth and fire, and the gifts also fit into these colours, as well as air and water – you can’t see the lining of the sock project bag, but it’s fully reversable with a blue inner. And the beads that make up the stitch markers were called “earth”. Cool eh! My wee blurb said that the ancients believed that everything in the world was made up of the 4 elements, but that they had clearly missed a few. The gifts would show her what the other elements were. And they are: coffee, chocolate and yarn. My giftee makes her socks two at a time, so had to unwind her yarn into two balls in order to knit it- good plan, eh!  I don’t think I will follow suit though, I’ll just need to be patient.

I was totally in love with the coffee cup – can you see, it has a picture on knitting on it? How cool! But darned hard to wrap yarn all around. I had heaps of fun, and it was such a delight to be there when Christine opened it – even if she didn’t know it was from me. Or did she? If she did, she’s a very good actress.  Glad you like it C!

What do Shakespeare and knitting have in common?

Answer? Both were part of an enjoyable weekend away

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Our family took a long weekend break this past weekend to travel across to Turangi to visit DH’s great aunt.  Apart from his parents and sister, she and her family are his only relatives in NZ.  We usually go across to visit her once a year, although we missed a year last year.  And we love to visit in Autumn if we can – Turangi has something we don’t get here – lovely deciduous trees.  It’s much better to visit than to be responsible for raking up all those leaves, but it’s totally irresistable to crunch and kick your way through piles of fallen leaves.

Another lovely aspect of the visit is that DH’s great aunt in another knitter.  So lovely to have knitting company, even if she does favour acrylic yarns! DD 2.8 was delighted to find a hand-knit blanket on her bed – there were also ones for DS, and a double one in the master bedroom.  And in our room, this crocheted beauty 🙂

 

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I had plenty of time to sit and knit while the kids explored a new house, DS enjoyed a Sky-watching marathon and we all relaxed after our time at the Tokaanu hot pools. There is a cool wee DOC track around a geothermal area including a few wee mud pools which were  a hit with the kids, as per usual. And look at what got it’s first outing…

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Great Aunt’s house is full of wee treasures – from the nostalgic items like candlewick bedspreads and a knitted doll covering a spare toilet roll, through to a great collection of teddy bears for the girls to enjoy. And, for me, a copy of Bill Bryson’s book on Shakespeare. Okay, call me mad, but I had it read cover to cover by the time we left today.  And really enjoyed it. Given my not-so-past-life as a high school English teacher, and my current post-grad -student-of-English designation, such madness is really par for the course. And luckily, thanks to many a mis-spent evening in front of the computer knitting, I can knit and read at the same time.

As well as knitting on Whisper, I cast on these cute socks last night:

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These are the Staccato Socks from Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn, colourway JOY from Vintage Purls. They are supposed to be knit in stripes, but I only had one colourway with me – they are looking sweet though, so I think they will be a success.

It was time to head back home today, and somehow DH missed the turnoff to take us back the route we came. I deny all responsibility – I was knitting, not driving! So we ended up coming back via the Forgotten Highway. Possibly the shortest, but most isolated route home. The AA describes it as ” one of New Zealand’s most secluded roads, explores the ever-changing landscape between Taumarunui and Stratford.

New Zealand’s first heritage trail, this scenic route winds over four mountain saddles, alongside the spectacular Tangarakau Gorge and passes through the 180-metre-long, single lane, Moki tunnel.”  They forgot to mention the 30 or so kilometres that aren’t sealed yet.  But it was a good, very quiet, trip – we didn’t pass another car, or get passed, on the whole 4 or so hour journey home.

And so now we are home again… I think I’ve got a bit of button shopping and blocking to do tomorrow!

My own private Everest

No, I haven’t gone mountain climbing. And, no, I didn’t discover a knitting pattern for a mountain.  But, I am still knitting the-same-never-ending-sweater.  Slinky Ribs.  And, like conquering that seemingly insurmountable mountain, it seems like finishing this sweater is going to take perserverance, and it will be worth it in the end.

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Does this seem like a familiar refrain to you?

Well, I decided that there was nothing for it but to knit it and stick with it. Over the past few weeks I have completed the first sleeve and the neckband, leaving only one sleeve to go. One ball and a bit of yarn left. Only a couple of problems…

I knit and knit and knit around and around and around in 2×2 rib – which looks great. And last night, I ran out of yarn 1.5 inches from the end of the sleeve.  Argh!

And to be honest, the sweater neckline does not finish as low as I thought it would, so I had to finally admit that I had to knit the body longer too.

So, tonight I sit here, having finished the sleeves (finally!) but now with nearly another whole ball of yarn to complete the body to extend it further. If I were to do it again, I would have done more of the rib in the body rather than the stockingette. But to go back to that mountain allusion, I just don’t want to go back the mountain just to climb right back up.

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We are heading off on a wee break tomorrow, with around 4 hours drive each way. So I hope that before I return I’ll be able to join my countryman  in being able to say “I knocked the bugger off”.


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