Monday, October 25, 2010

UFO's in the lounge room

I wish I could pretend that I only have a nice area for my knitting, small, tucked away, neat. No chance. I have projects scattered the length and width of my house and no idea which is next. I decided to do a room by room check, but it appears that most of the projects are either in my lounge or out in their rightful place, the bungalow of win.

Now the lounge room knitting can be divided up into sub categories:
1. Stuff in bags
2. Stuff shoved into the knitting bucket in the hope I won't notice it.
3. Stuff behind the couch (I wish it wasn't so, but still...).


1. Stuff in bags

First up is my Tea Party frock.

This has been languishing for a very VERY long time. I haven't lost the pattern (it's on Knitty), it's not too hard (although increasing by 1 stitch every 3 in the opening rows almost killed me), I'm not knitting it because I have to, which leaves a deadline.

This jumper was my project for "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" for the "Knitting 19th-Century Novels" group on Ravelry. You have two months to read the novel and discuss it and your knitting project should reflect the novel, hence red and an Edwardian tea gown pattern. The deadline was April 30th. In 2008. I really missed the deadline on this one.

I do love this jumper. I love the colour, I love the pattern, it's all great. But... 22 inches?!? Follow the basic 4 row repeat for 22 inches?!?! Using the tension that's 148 rows and each row is kinda looooooooong. I might lose my mind with this.

Should it stay or should it go? As I tend to show a certain bias, I asked Felix. His logic is that unless I need the yarn for another project, do not frog. There's other projects more important, so put it aside for now. It a lightweight jumper, more spring or autumn than winter, so I'll try to finish it up for then.

Verdict: Hibernation - finish for autumn.

Next on the program is a plastic bag with potential. Two balls of Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed in Fleece and a ball of Jo Sharp Alpaca Silk Georgette in Ecru. Two still have the ball band on. The project? A cabled tea cosy of my own design. I have about 20 tea cosy design in my head and drawn up but I've never converted them. It takes the luxury of spare time and I don't have all that much of it these days (blog every day? Pfffffffft!). Time to ask Felix again.

Felix reminded me that I had planned the tea cosy for the Royal Show but never really started properly (a swatch isn't really starting and all I learned was that my chosen pattern was terrible and I needed to re-jig everything) so I guess it's another missed deadline piece.

Waaaaaaaaaaaay back in February I declared that I was quitting deadlines and the pressure that comes with it, so I know I'm putting my tea cosy ideas on the backburner for now and if I feel like it I'll get around to them again.

Verdict: Hibernation - pick up when I feel like it again.

Oooo, I'm feeling a LOT better!

2. Stuff shoved into the knitting bucket in the hope I won't notice it.

"Oh you mean this knitting bucket, officer? I'm just minding it for a friend..." Good thing there's no knitting police, isn't it?

Let's see...

Grey ball of wool with a swatch attached. It was the start of a jacket for Marcus who is now far too huge for the pattern.

Verdict: Frog!

Felix's Skull socks, which I started in January. The patterned section is too tight for him to pull over his foot, so I'm going to pick up just below it and rip it out, then knit up in green. Apparently the second sock has to be the same "but the opposite colours". *sigh* How vile are these two colours together? Only for love...

Verdict: Repair and continue, knit at work.

Three balls of Sublime in olive green that will become a jumper for Marcus next year. He doesn't need it just yet, so I'll put it aside until the end of summer and start knitting it up then.

Verdict: Hibernate until March.

Various colours of 8 ply I'm planning to split in half and use to make "The Knitted Farmyard". The blue will be for the river, the multi for the hayfield, the gray for kittens and donkeys and the dirty brown for fields, knitted in ribbing. It is an amazing book and it's going to be a lot of fun. I must be mad, obviously, but lots of fun.

Verdict: Keep nearby and knit pieces at night.

This is a completely knitted newborn baby bonnet that is just lacking the bows on the side. I made it for my second cousins little girl, but I haven't been down to see her yet. Anyone know of a little girl soon to arrive who wants one?

Verdict: Add ribbon and give away.

The remaining yarn for Marcus' nursery blanket, number two (He'll get the Alphabet blanket one day, okay?). The blanket itself is the one item I have down the4 back of the couch and that's due to sheer laziness on my part. Couldn't be bothered to pick it up! I need to settle in to the couch for at least a fortnight and just work on this, but it's currently in no great hurry (winter is over) so I'll put it aside until after Christmas.

Verdict: Hibernate until New Years.

Lastly we have some cream yarn. The tangled up piece was used for a small hat that was frogged to use in a very nice jumper (I'm sewing it up even now) and the other ball is an 8ply that I plan to splice for the farmyard animals.

Verdict: Use up in the next week.

So there it all is. A ragtag mess that is now somewhat more organised, if only mentally organised.

Next up I'll have to tackle the bungalow stash, and that one could be pretty nasty...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Spring Cleaning the Knitting

The insane season is now officially over. The Show has been and gone (to the helper who folded up my Alphabet Blanket, be aware that my mum hates you) with no fanfare or a win, but arriving nice and early for Marcus to visit the Animal Nursery before it all got too busy was pretty great. 

Less showbags, more animals and farming next year please RASV. Felix was happy that halfway through the day there was a bar in the middle of the food pavilion!

Our next problem was Marcus' 1st birthday party and my need to go over the top at the slightest provocation. I tried to reign myself in but I failed.

Marcus enjoyed all of his visitors...

...but mostly he enjoyed his smash cake.

A lot.

We've almost moved all of our stuff into the new/old house. Most of the books are still cluttering up my parents front room, but they'll get over it, right? I've moved all of the craft books into the bungalow, and now I need to sort out my yarn and projects  - you can tell when spring hits, can't you?

Looking around the blogosphere, I'm not the only knitter with starting fever. I have tonnes of unfinished projects lying around in bags, boxes, ziploc bags, heck everywhere! (I can see one sitting on top of the bookshelf in front of the tv even now!) It seems to come down to a few reasons:

1. I can't find where I put the pattern. This is less common than you'd think, but it really can hold up a project, sometimes for months.

2. I've come up to a hard part or I don't understand it and I'm wussing out. Hardly ever happens, but can block up the queue, definitely.

3. I'm making something because I feel I have to. Skull socks for Felix are in this category, and I feel terrible for not working on them more, but they're really boring socks!

4. I was working to a deadline and missed it. Once the deadline has passed there's no need to rush and so I just relax and start something new. Something small that I can whip up and give out. Christening shawl? What christening shawl? Nope, nooooo idea....

This is going to take at least a week of working out what to finish, what to frog, what to do, so feel free to join in each day. If Marcus keeps sleeping this much I'll be blogging more often!

Monday, September 06, 2010

'Tis the season

This is not a post about Christmas. I'm now doing adult Kris Kringles on two sides of the family, so I can relax about the season of fun/stress now. This is about the Show.

The Royal Melbourne Show is the event I spend all year planning for. Forget showbags, this is about showing off. I want my knitting to win the blue ribbons so I can call up my parents, grandmother and friends and squeal with joy a lot.

Last year I won the fair isle section, and Felix worried that I might go into labour two weeks early (no such luck!). This year I'm entering four categories, and I need to hand them all in this week.

My christening shawl needs an entire side of lace knitted on and then some blocking; my tea cosy hasn't even been designed, let alone started; Marcus' alphabet blanket might need to be reblocked; my hardanger embroidery piece needs to be framed.

I honestly cannot be bothered. We just moved house and Marcus' 1st birthday needs to be organised. My parents front room is filled with my boxes and they need to be here. We just had Father's Day and the season of small birthdays is now upon us (hi Mum's Group!). To top it all off, next month I plan to launch my new business (yes, it is knitting related - oooooo...).

I've been forced to prioritise my knitting before, but never to this extent. Sanity vs Show. It's hard to say who's going to win.

Monday, August 02, 2010


As previously mentioned, I spent a fortnight working on an entry for the Australian Country Spinners "Knit Your Way" competition. The opening line of "Do you know the cutest baby or child in Australia and New Zealand?" was a very attractive notion, but I knew that I wouldn't have enough time to enter. Dearest Divine J (aka Madam Tricot) convinced me that I could knit something up quickly and Felix promised he'd help do the housework (and he did too!).

The pattern chosen was a Bouton D'Or that I thought was adorable, but that I'd knit for Marcus when he was older. Time was of the essence (less than two weeks until the closing date) so it was off to Spotlight and many balls of Patons Jet were purchased.

I finished in time and dumped Marcus on a rug in the middle of an oval and snapped a few pics, ran to K-Mart and printed them up then ran back to my mum to get her help in deciding which one to send.

This is Mum's chosen shot because it shows off the jumper so well, not to mention the rooster-y hat. I know she also loves the serious pouty look that Marcus gets, which is very very cute.

I pointed out to Mum that it was for the cutest baby, not the best knitting (but really a combination of both), so I vetoed her and picked my favourite shot.

I seem to have picked the right one because I got the phone call this afternoon. I, Andrea, won the ACS's "Knit Your Way" competition. I won $15,000 through knitting.

I am in complete and utter shock and have been since half past two. I cannot express my thanks for Australian Country Spinners enough, and I need to call them back and apologise for crying throughout their phone call this afternoon.

Friday, we move into our house. Friday night, I'm opening a very nice bottle of Moet.

Best. Week. Ever.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

So it begins again...

I'm well known for my inability to settle in one place. True, I lived in my amazing flat in St Kilda Road for four years straight, but I gave up it all up to run off to Scotland. I've now lived in 9 houses/flats/hovels since I first moved out of home at the age of 21, and we're about to move again.

The weird thing is that the number of addresses doesn't change. We're all moving back to a house I first rented in 2000, and it's available again, so I jumped straight in and grovelled until the real estate agent gave up and laughed. The house tour was great: "Oh the lounge is still blue! The kitchen's mint green! The bedroom is still purple!" "Oh, were they like that when you last lived here?" "Um... I painted them that way...".

Now the reason I'm blathering on about this on my blog rather than Facebook or general email is a simple one: to cause complete jealousy. You see, my new/old house has a two room bungalow in the back yard. It's pretty big. It's almost the size of the hobbit hole we're renting now. It has a kitchenette, bookcases and a LOT of room. It's all mine. Felix likes the idea of never having to move another knitting project off the couch, so the bungalow is all mine.

The front room (where the stove is) will be the knitting room, complete with cushy armchair and boxes of yarn (plus the bookcase full of patterns). The back room will be set up for my sewing machines, cutting table and knitting machine table. I'll be buying an overlocker once the tax money comes in. As soon as it's all set up I'll be posting many many pictures.

So...anyone jealous yet?

Monday, July 05, 2010

How many unfinished projects is too many? Or projects in potentia?

You see, I have a pair of socks for my sister's partner's mum (seriously), a cream cabled jumper for Marcus, a pair of skull socks for Felix and the ever-eternal christening shawl which needs to be finished to enter the Royal Melbourne Show. I suspect a repeat of last year's 2am blocking fiasco will occur.

Now, normally, this wouldn't phase me all that much. I just spent two weeks knitting up an entry for the Patons baby knitting competition (if I win I'll post about it. You'll be able to hear the screams of joy from where ever you are anyway) and now I need to get back on track, so I have to sort out my knitting priorities.

The bedsocks for Anna (or is it Ana?) are halfway done, and need to be finished asap, but I've only got the front of the cream cable jumper to go and then I can sew it up and Marcus has a finished cricket jersey with a shawl collar. Felix hasn't had a new pair of socks in over a year and I'm almost ready to shape the toe on his first sock.

I also frogged my old green jumper to make a cardigan for Marcus, but first I have to wash and weight the wool to get the kinks out. I think it might work, and it is a pretty good idea as the jumper was always too short and my mother's hints over the years about extending it were driving me a little batty.

Finally, I had to buy some yarn last Monday (yes, had. It was for the competition!) and when I walked into Spotlight they had yarn at half price. The Entwine bulky was $1 a ball! I have no willpower in the face of that and now own another 32 balls of yarn. Oh, stop judging me. I was planning to make Felix a jumper from it, but when I got home with the stash I remembered that I just bought 16 balls of grey Zara last month to knit him a jumper as well.

So my problem is that I have four main projects on the go, and five waiting to be started.

Oh, did I mention that my dad and my nan both need new bedsocks? Sigh...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Poirot for Knitters

My lovely older sister Bronwyn very generously lent me her collection of Hercule Poirot series dvds last week, and already the first disc has thrown up an embarrassment of riches in Art Deco knitwear.

I thought the fair isle vest worn by Hastings in the first episode was eminently copyable for either myself or Marcus. I seriously doubt Felix would wear a fair isle vest - boo!

Then up popped two little boys in vests, so out came the camera and magnifying glass again.

Finally, the golf scenes.

First off, the disgruntled old codgers waiting on Poirot. Fair isle vests and argyle socks are go!

I think I'm in love with this jumper worn by Hastings - moss stitch with button down pockets? Too yummy.

Last up , what every female golfer needs: a cable vest with side buttons, matching fair isle jumper tied round the neck and a very fetching beret. Just spiffing, I say!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Finished Objects 2010 - #5

I finished off the raglan sweater last weekend but I haven't been able to find my camera to take a decent shot. If you check in the kitchen long enough, everything ends up in a drawer.

I was really happy with the colours in this piece. I used up the last of the leftover Jo Sharp Silkroad Ultra in my stash and I had to do a fair bit of frogging to make it all work!

I like the way the right sleeve ties in all the colours, my own design feature (see Microsoft? That's a design feature...).

Of course it's too big for Marcus right now, but give it about two months and he'll be fine, especially the way he keeps putting on so much weight!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Once you frog, you can't stop!

Another victim of the "Enh" knitting plague. I've been ignoring this cardigan for a while, for no reason other than it really isn't necessary nor on a deadline.

I took it out and looked at it and considered if I could make anything else out of it.

Oh look! It fall down go boom! Hehehehehe...

A sad side effect of pulling lots of yarn out is that the cat and the baby find it.

The cat I yell at. Squishie I take pictures of.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Finished Objects 2010 - #4

I set a zip. All by myself. Into a jacket. Can you feel that? It's smugness, that's what it is!

The pattern is by Debbie Bliss and I once planned to make it for my littlest nephew, but never got around to it. I was looking through some old folders and found the pattern again, had a think, realised that I had a ball of navy and a ball of cream and cast on.

Three balls of navy were bought because you honestly can't knit a jacket with 50g of wool/bamboo! I recommend the Spotlight Bella Baby brand constantly and having knitted this jacket my opinion of the Layette range has not changed. It's fantastic to knit with: smooth, nice twist, pill-free, great (albeit limited) colour range.

Marcus made no complaints and my mum swooned when she saw him in it for the first time. Actually swooned. I think she's a bit biased, myself.

Two weekends ago I spent the day with Chantal, watching her zoom through knitting projects while I massacred her projects list on Ravelry (Sorry, Chantal, but if you haven't started it it doesn't go on the list!). In return she made fun of my inability to get any work done on my Fair Isle vest.

I started this project on June 1st 2006 (you what?!?) and zoomed through the back then got bogged down on the front. I decided to finish it off because I really need a nice warm vest for winter and I love the colours I chose (which were originally for a completely different project, a Jo Sharp intarsia). I don't care what fashion claims, the 70's colourways rock the most.

I just couldn't get going on this piece again. The width was too narrow and I worried that the 30cm or red ribbing was a very bad idea. The more I thought about the more I realised it just wasn't fun anymore.

So I took a long hard look at it last night and decided to adapt the pattern.

Right, what's next?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Time for a re-think...

A new project was due using some of my newly re-found yarn.

The back of Marcus' new raglan jumper is a lovely shade of purple.

The front is a beautiful pale blu- what? There's not enough there to finish the front?!


The front is a lovely combination of pale blue and blue-gray.

The right sleeve is a pale olive with stripes of purple, pale blue and blue-gray to tie the whole piece together.

The left sleeve is just the pale oliv- oh come on! Not enough yarn to finish that piece either? There's only 10 rows to go!

One of those days, I think... Now I just need to go off and find my camera so I can take a decent non-iPhone pic of the finished piece!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Finished Objects 2010 - #2 and #3

That is not a typo; I really have finished two projects at once. It never rains but it pours, I guess.

First off, my Skewed Snow White Socks.

All these required was that I sew in the ends. I really can be that lazy, but this time it was because I forgot. I kept thinking I had hours of work left to go when I had five minutes, tops. It's strange how the mind plays tricks on you sometimes.

These are an amazing pattern to knit. Skew was instantly a hit on Ravelry and with good reason. The design defies logic to be worked diagonally which allows for defined toes and the greatest piece of origami for the heel. I love the swirl of the heel - just look at it! Brilliant!

The short row shaping at the top is equally clever. Suddenly your sock is done and you can knit up row after row of rib and voila! Done!

The colourway used here is "Snow White and the Seven Stitches" by Biscotte and Cie and was a gift from the ever wonderful Chantal, who spoils me greatly. I loveloveLOVE it to little tiny pieces and can't wait to wear them somewhere they can be seen and appreciated.

I spent yesterday with Chantal who is kicking my backside in finishing projects. Yesterday she wiped out two pair of socks and was picking up stitches for the neckline for an exquisite cabled vest for Marcus (how spoiled is my son?!?), so that should be done by now. Then there's only four rows garter on her cabled baby blanket and another Monkey sock to go and that will be five projects completed in a week. Stop showing the rest of us up, Chantal!

My other finished project is a bit odd. I was rummaging through a folder of old interwebs printouts and found it, handed it to Felix and asked if I should bother to keep it and he requested that I knit it straight away (I believe the phrase "Hell yeah!" may have been used. I therefore give you the Chicken Viking Hat.

As you can see Marcus is incredibly unimpressed. This is his usual face when a hat is put upon his head. Within a minute he'd pulled it off and started gnawing on the feet.

It was good while it lasted...

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Is there such a thing as autumn cleaning?

No matter if there isn't, I can then claim sovereignty over the name. All royalties to me, please.

It started on Monday when I started vacuuming my gallery (the nickname my mum has for the concrete hallway in front of the concrete bathroom and concrete laundry - very 1930's). I realised there was a spider's web in the corner, so I vacuumed it up. It felt good so I kept cleaning. Wednesday was the lounge and I knew I was cleaning a bit harder than usual when I took books off the shelf, dusted them and put them back. This was a bit worrying.

To scare you further I started to tackle my yarn. I came up with the brilliant idea (according to me, anyway) of bagging it all up by colour, because I tend to make things based on what colour I'm in the mood for, rather than a pattern or and idea. This would be an insane idea if it wasn't for my very odd memory which means that no matter if the yarn has no label, I'll still know what it is. I can tell two different 4 ply yarns apart, it's not that hard to me. Like I said: odd.

This is the first layer of the yarns. Many bricks of colour, and I was amazed by how little black I own. Ex-goths need more black for credibility's sake. I was also confused by how much blue I own - I don't even like the colour!

This wasn't a big shock - I own a LOT of burgandy yarn. I expected that to be the highest amount, whereas Felix was all for purple (I think he forgot that I used up 10 balls knitting him his Cobblestone, but no matter). As you can see, both are pretty huge. A complete lack of yellow is not surprising, as it is a colour avoided by pretty much everyone, except my niece Ashlee.

The big surprise was was that I own a lot of cream yarn.

So much that it wouldn't fit into the stash box. Here it is nestled next to the multicolours/variegated pile. So much cream and I took three skeins out as well. Weird.

I've also pulled out a few hibernating/fully forgotten projects to investigate if they will be finished or frogged. This could take a while.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Finished Objects 2010 - #1

See that title? I honestly thought that it would NEVER happen, but there it is!

It's apt that the first item whipped up took two days and is worn by Marcus - yet another pair of Christine's Baby Booties, which I think are one of the best patterns out there. I used the last of my Patons Merino Deluxe DK, which is no longer available (but Feathers is? Morons...). I was forced to go up to 3.25mm - the horror!

Marcus can't kick them off, although he gives it a pretty good try! Eventually my assistant was required to make sure I could even get a shot.

Thanks Felix.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Our special day; Odds and sods

Marcus' christening went off without a hitch (unless you count our car running out of petrol before we even left the house. Thank heavens we tried to go somewhere three hours before we had to leave!). It was lovely weather with lots of friends and many more family, some of whom made it all the way from NSW, so they win.

He looked just beautiful in his christening gown (not dress, no matter how many times his Auntie Leah calls it that), and he is now the third generation to wear it, which I love. Felix and I scrubbed up okay for the event (how fake is that pose?!), and yes Gidgetknits, my husband deliberately bought a navy and red pinstripe suit to match the Doctor. This is why I'm married to him.

It was a bit of a big day, so Marcus flaked out relatively swiftly, including during the first hour of the church service. Standing to sing hymns while holding an 8.5kg baby when you have a bad back is emphatically no fun.

So how did the christening shawl look?

Here's the fairy cakes I made.

Here's the christening cake I made.

Here's Felix's 30th birthday cake I made (I heart my nerd).

So, how did the christening shawl turn out?


It was 27 degrees! Who wears a shawl in 27 degrees?!?! In other words, I'll get it finished relatively soon, no rush now!

In the meantime I've currently got about four rows of ribbing to go on my Skewed Snow White socks, I started a fair isle jacket for the Squishie after the yarn fell out when I was tidying up and I've got about 45 minutes before I finish up another pair of booties using the fabulous Christine's Baby Booties pattern. I'll get it all done eventually.

The jacket was knitted up during last weekend's "Wire in the Blood" marathon where I watched series 1-5, finishing up yesterday afternoon, while Squishie slept - he really doesn't need to watch dismembered bodies and Munchhausen by Proxy mothers now does he?