Archive for May, 2010

FO: Crochet Scarf

Question: What takes twice as long to block as it does to make?

Answer: a crochet scarf knit in chunky yarn blocking in a week of ‘Naki rainy weather.

Yep. I’ve been crocheting. Silly me thought it would be a fast solution to provide a present for a sister whose birthday was sadly neglected. By me that is. Everyone else sent gifts. Oops.

The yarn? The gorgeous Rowan Colourscape Chunky. I used just over a skein of this yarn. If the scarf were shorter, I would have used just one skein. More on that in a minute.

The hook? I have a great selection of crochet hooks in smaller sizes, but my largest hook fell well short of the recommended M (9mm) hook, so I decided to use the biggest hook I had and to do a longer initial chain so that the scarf was still a decent length. I took a guess at how long to make it, and can’t quite remember how long that was now. But it looks good folded in half and threaded through itself like so…

The pattern? The Self-Designing Scarf , a free pattern/recipe that I found on Ravelry.  I was stoked to see the pattern as it really makes the best of the striping that is a feature of this yarn, and in fact is written for this yarn. There are some lovely FOs on Ravelry in some beautiful colourways, and I think it would look stunning in Noro or Cleckheaton Vintage Hues too.

The crocheting of this took a weekend, and it was a pleasure – simple and such quick results. It did, however, take an age to block – winter is starting to make its presence felt here, and sunshine hours are getting fewer and fewer.  It did need a decent wet block though. In my inexperience, my initial crochet chain was not loose enough and the blocking allowed me to stretch that edge out more to even it up. 

It was nice to switch to crochet for a project, and Dh mentioned today that he needed a scarf, so I might be picking up a crochet hook again in the not so distant future. But for now it’s back to knitting around and around and around.


Hey there cupcake

It’s celebration season at our house at the moment. We have a birthday each month from now until August – with Miss 3 the final birthday – so it’s a bit of a countdown for her!

One big event that has been much anticipated has been Miss 1 graduating to “Centre 2” at preschool. She started there officially today after some weeks of transition. This centre is for two year olds, and she’s one step closer to joining her sister in the coveted “Centre 3”. This morning she took in a special morning tea to share with her little friends in Centre 1. 

My friend Neak is the cupcake queen – so I got a little advice from her about recipes and icing and off I went to try to make some cupcakes presentable enough for public consumption. Aren’t they cute?

Giveaway Winners

Thank you so much to all the wonderful comments that you made on the giveaway post. I really enjoyed reading about your favourite parts of winter. It reminded me that there is much to look forward to over the next few months.

The winner of the beret is Michelle Andrews. She wrote: 

My fav part of winter , those clear days when you go out for a walk in all your woollies , kicking in puddles , swinging on swings and enjoying that clear crisp winter sunshine before coming back home to a warm fire , then snuggling down in the evenings in warm pjs reading books in the warm . Nice family times.

I hope you have a lots of lovely winter walks planned to show off your new beret Michelle 🙂

Pattern winners of the Dolce Beret are:

Jane:  Thanks for the giveaway! My favorite part of winter is the back yard ice rink my husband builds every year. We had a great season this winter!

Littlefire who wrote:

The best thing about winter in Ireland, and this is going to sound very strange, is the rain! I don’t think that anyone who lives here can really bring themselves to complain about it too heartily because it’s the rain that makes our island so lush and green and beautiful. So while it might be a pain to walk home in, it does a good job And makes us really appreciate the dry days when they come, no matter how chilly they are!

Thanks for a great comp. and congrats on the beautiful pattern. I’m certain it’s going to be really popular

KathyR:  I love winter here because of the bellbirds which come down out of the bush for shelter – I love to hear the clear notes of their song which seem to ring out in the winter air. I also love the welcoming heat of the logburner when I come in from the bracing air outside. I like being able to be wrapped snugly in soft layers of wool to protect me from Jack Frost’s cold fingers on wintry mornings and then to shed those layers as the sun shines brightly after the frosty start to the day.

And winners of the Calvados Pattern:

Margaret:  I too havebought this pattern but i have to say as a winter baby i love this time of year. curling up on my swing seat on a nice crisp sunny winters day with the cat doing a few rows of knitting. or when catching the bus to town and seeing the snow on the hills on the outskirts of napier. nothing like a good view to inspire my knitting.

Janet:  I love winter here in Nelson because we have such lovely frosty sunny days when you can see the golden sands with the snow capped mountains in the background….. truly blessed to live in such a wonderful part of the world.
Great work on your beret patterns… stunning

JennyNZ: Um, winter in Auckland is just wet and muddy most years (not this year though, we are still coming out of a drought) so I’m struggling to find a favourite part! Knitting by the fire I guess, and watching thunderstorms over the water. There’s been lots of lightening this week actually!

Could all pattern winners please pop their Ravelry name in the comments section so I can send the pattern through. Happy knitting to you all!

FO: Palindrome Shrug

It’s been a long time coming, but I have finally finished the shrug I began  back in January.  With the cooler weather arriving it seemed the perfect time to pick up this long negelected project, and I have been working on this for the last week or so.

I spent ages on Ravelry looking through patterns  before I settled on this pattern. It is a free pattern called the Palindrome Derivative Hug, and it appealed to me because it was not too plain, it seemed to be simple and well fitting too.  I cast on and soon tired on the endless cabeling. This is knit in two identical pieces and then joined together by either grafting or using a three needle bindoff (thus the palindrome).  I knit one half with a cable needle and the second half is all done without – my first attempt at cabling without a cable needle. I am sure that there are some excellent tutorials out the on the ‘net for this sort of thing. However when I lost my cable needle in DH’s car, no internet was handy. So it was a case of either putting the knitting down (sooo unlikely!) or adapting.

I love the fit of this – I really wanted something long sleeved without being a heavy cardigan.  This provides something really cosy to wear and can be worn over a t-shirt for casual wear as shown, but it’s also dressy enough for work purposes.  I used some yarn that is now discontinued – the lovely Naturally Merino et Soie DK weight yarn. There is a story to the purchase of this yarn… I bought 3 balls super cheap at one LYS, and then went to see if the other one had enough so that I could do a larger project in this yarn – purple being my favourite colour. They had some, but at full price. I shelled out, and then later discovered they were totally different shades – not different dye lots, but completely different colours. I ended up back to buy enough for a project instead of it being a wasted purchase. I’m not sure how much yarn I used – I think it is somewhere between 5 and 6 balls. But it’s too cosy on and too cold right now to take it off to weigh it!  I do have enough leftovers to make a hat of cowl to go with this, and it perfectly matches a pair of Fetching mitts I knit a couple of years ago too.

The pattern was written for one size – I cast on enough for and additional repeat, and followed it the instructions beyond that. I did leave off the decreases on the sleeve – I could try it on as I went and it seemed unnecessary. I am pleased with this decision- it fits beautifully. I was less impressed with the result of my provisional cast on. The instruction to have a cable cross so soon after the cast on caused issued when I unpicked the provisional cast on – just a few rows later and the result would have been much tidier. I used a three needle bind off rather than the kitchener grafting – things didn’t seem to be sitting quite right and I wasn’t quite sure how to bind off in pattern either.  It’s not the neatest job ever – a bit disappointing, but given I’d done all the knitting on it by this stage I didn’t really see any other options but to solider on and just get over the bind off done.

I didn’t bother to block this at all – I figured that with the negative ease built in on the upper arms and positive ease at the bottom of the arms, it could be a bit challenging, and also unnecessary. Reminds me of the good old days before I learnt about blocking – finish knitting and wear straight away 🙂

Beret Giveaway Day

The weather outside is starting to cool down here. So it seemed like a good time to offer a wintery type of giveaway.

I’ve got three copies of my new Dolce Beret pattern to give away. It comes in four sizes to fit from 2 year olds upwards, using DK weight for XS and S versions, and 10ply Worsted weight for the M and L versions. 

I also have three copies of the Calvados Beret pattern up for grabs. This is a cabled beret pattern to fit an average adult woman’s head.

And… also one lucky person will win the large size Dolce Beret pictured above and below. It is knit in 100 Pure Wool 3 ply worsted yarn in the colourway Chocolate. It is super soft and cosy. Whether it is approaching winter where you live, or whether you’re just leaving it behind, if you’re anything like me, even the coldest day can be brightened by a snuggly hand knit to shield you against the weather.  This will certainly help you achieve this!

So, how do you enter the draw? Leave a comment on this post telling me what you enjoy most about winter in the place that you live.  Whether it’s your home, your town, or your country, what is the best part? I love living where I live because of the awesome winter time views I get of the mountain that’s almost in my backyard. The last time I saw it it was totally bare. But this was it this time last year. 

So what’s your favourite part of winter? Leave a comment here by Saturday evening 10pm NZ time and you will be in the draw to win.
 Picture 2153

FO: Olearia

The lovely Miss 3 is well known around these parts for being the most enthusiastic cheerleader for my knitting projects for her, and then rejecting them totally once they are knit. My solution? Well, very girly pink yarn seems to have worked this time.

The lovely pattern Olearia was released at the beginning of May by Tikki, of the Milo vest fame. I had missed out on being chosen as a tester for this pattern, which was a shame as I had the perfect yarn all lined up. So, like other keen people knitting for the girls in their lives, I bought the pattern on the day it was released and cast on that night. 

The pattern offers three options – one is a shrug with cap sleeves. The second option is a cardigan with either long sleeves or cap sleeves, which has garter ridges on the top part of the cardigan only.  The third option is also a cardigan but has the ridges on the entire body.  I chose the second option, as I didn’t want anything too fussy. And just cap sleeves too, it makes it a good versatile weight for wearing here as our winters don’t  tend to sustained cold patches. 

The yarn that I used is one I bought at a wee yarn shop near Tirau when I was travelling that way earlier this year.  It is sold in 600g hanks, and I split one with a friend.  It is a DK weight yarn called Ridgevale, and it is a Romney yarn spun from their own flock of sheep and treated in a worsted treatment. The result isn’t the snuggliest yarn I’ve knit with, but it makes a nice soft final product. Soft enough for my fussy miss anyway!

I knit a size 3T for the young lady, and added a inch or so in length so that it will last her a bit longer.   The finished garment weighs 135g, fairly economical on yarn, and of course that means I have lots of yarn left over for more pink projects.

None of these pictures seem to capture the essential detail that captured the young lady’s heart though – it is finished off by the best buttons ever – pink *and* sparkly! Yes, these babies have glitter inside.  Miss 3 and I went button shopping and there really could be no other choice.  I did finish knitting this quickly and you saw blocking pictures of it last week.  The buttons were bought the next day and then Miss 3 was sick for several days and photos were postphoned. Today it was chosen for an outing outdoors so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get the camera out. It has been raining all day today and all day yesterday. At least 50mm according to the weather website, but however much it is, you can imagine that cabin fever starts to set in after a while. So we donned our gumboots for a sojorn (and photoshoot) outside.

Bike riding – and puddle jumping!

And little sister joined in too!

Calvados Beret Pattern

It’s amazing how you can find time to do things like work on finessing a pattern for release when you’re procrastinating. This week was senior report week at school, which means about 3000 words for each class needed to be written and results entered – everything is done electronically these days.  It is certainly the sort of thing that makes you want to bury your head in the sand and do something a lot more creative.  So working on this pattern was the perfect antidote.

I loaded up the Calvados Beret Pattern onto Ravelry for sale last night.  If you have been following my blog for a while you will probably recognise the hat above from when I first knit this pattern up. The first sample was knit from the same Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed yarn as my Calvados cardigan.  This gorgeous cardigan pattern was released this week too which gave me the incentive to complete writing up my beret pattern.  The final tweaking that I did was to add more uncharts. I first came across uncharts when I was knitting up my Nightsongs shawl. There is clearly interest in uncharts in the knitting community – my blog hits make for interesting reading at times and this post still draws a handful of visitors every day.  Therefore all cable pattern is available as both a chart and an unchart, and the crown decreases are available both written and in an unchart. I hope that people enjoy the uncharts that I’ve included!

The second sample was knit in Malabrigo Worsted, and took just 65g of yarn. It is soft and deliciously floppy to wear. The pattern calls for the body of the hat to be knit on 4.5mm needles which maintains a firm fabric on the worsted weight yarn but would be suitable for Dk weight yarn too. 

Now that my reports are written and these two patterns are written up and published, I have no excuse not to be working on my Masters thesis… But watch this space for more patterns in the future, some of which are in development, some are just drawings, and others mere thoughts. In the meantime, I want to thank you for your lovely comments on the Dolce Beret pattern release.  It’s awesome to see people loading up their projects onto Ravelry and seeing the different colours and yarns and how the finished hats look – check out the gallery, there are some seriously cute projects being loaded. Keep an eye out tomorrow for a giveaway post that might see you wearing or knitting your own beret to one of my patterns – a special thankyou to you all  🙂

May 2010
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