Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dream on (the "Glee" version with Neil Patrick Harris)

Like most knitters, I have dream projects. The ones that are going to take ages, be nice and complex and fulfill all of my knitting dreams.

The Garden Path shawl is one of my dream projects: complex, huge and lace. I love lace, almost as much as fair isle, and my love for fair isle is eternal and sacred. I have two sides of the edging to go, and then I get the brilliant fun of wet blocking it. Well, fun for me.

I've got the perfect colours combination for the Renaissance cardigan: Jo Sharp DK Tweed in a dark forest green and a dull rosy pink. It's all packed away, waiting to become my big intarsia project. I'm a bit nervous that the pattern requires 10ply, but pfffft! Challenge!

I've spoken before about how I don't like deadlines, and I'm not about to start them again. Pressure over knitting is ridiculous, takes away all the fun and leads to excess caffeine consumption, which isn't an option while I'm this pregnant (10 weeks to go).

I want to make this for Marcus for Christmas. We've already got our eyes on his birthday present (too expensive but too cute, so we'll bribe the grandparents to come in with us), so I'll have many many months to work on this, and some of the animals are quite small and I already knitted up the cat in under two hours.

As you can tell I'm already making excuses, but when it comes down to a choice between this and a Fisher Price plastic farm set, the Steiner in me is screaming "Do it! Do it!".

Now all I need is to get started, and that will require a very nice/bribe-able husband to size up the graph for the playmat. Yes Felix, that was a very unsubtle hint.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It works!

I suspect Felix was getting a bit tired of all of the unfinished knitting projects I seem to accumulate in pairs, so I promised that each time I finished something I would pick up a U.F.O. and work until it was done.

Oddly enough, this idea seems to work. I finished Marcus' hat and mittens and picked up my retro crocheted rug that I started in January and sort of forgot about. Easy to do when you have that many U.F.O.'s...

I used Zara in colours to match Marcus' room, and just changed colour each row. As I was running out of yellow I decided to finish up and edge the rug in red using the Granny Blanket edging pattern from Attic 24. The edging pattern is great to follow and the tutorial layout is brilliant - take a look at all of the crochet tutorials, they'll have you hooking up in no time.

The ends were sewn in while watching "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1", so it was a good thing I'd sewn most of them in while I went, because it was a really fun film. Can't wait for Part 2, although we'll probably have to wait until the dvd comes out because the film comes out early July, and so does baby #2!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chicken? Who, me?

I am not scared of setting a zip into the Tomten jacket.

I am not scared of setting a zip into the Tomten jacket.

I am not scared of setting a zip into the Tomten jacket.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

I am not scared of setting a zip into the Tomten jacket.

Oh look! I can work on that crocheted rug instead! See, I'm not avoiding anything!

...Well, for now, maybe.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Remember slacking off on weekends?

I don't. I finished working at my local service station at the end of last month, and I've been ridiculously busy every Saturday and Sunday since. Next month is May, also known as the party time in our family. Every Sunday is taken up with a birthday or Mother's Day, or - in my case - an interstate visit.

This weekend was no different. Yesterday morning started off with a dangerous shopping expedition at a Hallmark sale, so if you need any Christmas cards feel free to ask. Back home for some adoring of my family before deserting them for an Ikea run with Chantal, which is always a very bad idea. Five hours later I leave with the important things: a small coffee table for Marcus to eat from, a little blue chair from his Auntie Tal and eight clear plastic boxes for yarn.

This morning Felix and I headed out back to organise the bungalow (yes, again. It got cluttered again, alright?) and my job was to sort out my stash.

The eight boxes are on the bottom with my yarn grouped in colours. I need at least another box, because currently the yellow, orange and pink are sharing a box, or they would be if I owned any yellow yarn that I'm not currently using.

The two boxes above that are slightly more complicated. The one on the left is UFO's that I've either forgotten about or are neglected. The box on the right is projects that I've set aside the patterns and yarns for, sealed up in ziplock bags, ready to go.

The shelf above has a large box of variegated yarns, which I honestly didn't know I had that much of. Above it is a small box with pompom makers, my de-piller, chunky stuff. The bag at the end has 20 balls of 12ply for a jumper for my da, but it won't fit in any of the boxes, so it gets its own bag. The fabric and shower curtain are for blocking, the basket was my Nana's knitting basket and is full to the brim with more knitting bags. I seem to own a lot.

The piggy bank? It reads "Yarn Money". You can't say I'm not prepared for anything.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Beanie weather

I don't know about the rest of Melbourne, but I am loving this weather! Cold crisp mornings, followed by rain and semi-sunny skies. It's bliss for me, it really is. The fact that I'm currently my own incubator system has absolutely nothing to do with it, either.

Autumn weather is beanie weather in that I need to start knitting them before they become essential wear which is usually around the beginning of June when our area gets really cold. You can tell when the mountain that looks over us suddenly disappears every day into cloud. That's a sign of beanie need.

The ever-lovely Chantal gave me the pattern for Jared Flood's Koolhaas and when I saw how it looked on her needles I cast on. Owning your own online yarn store is rather fun, especially when your friends can rummage through your new Malabrigo stock before it's posted up (that's right folks, Stitch Culture has Malabrigo Worsted! Email Chantal and beg for some!).

(Funny story - a customer at the service station I used to work at recognised the pattern as a Jared Flood. His wife had made one, you see, and he remembered the name of the designer. I suggest he may be the best trained partner of a knitter so far.)

I've never seen the attraction in the Malabrigo myself, I like my plied yarn for knitting. I must admit I was won over by the time I'd finished the ribbing - soft, smooth and yummy. Call me a convert. The only problem was the pilling, and if you own an automatic de-piller it really isn't a problem.

Then we had a new problem. I made the beanie for Felix but my Da saw it and thinks he needs a new beanie. The last time I made Da a beanie was about 2004, so I might actually owe him a new one. Mind you, he did trash it somewhat and now the beautiful burgandy Jo Sharp Aran Tweed is covered in white paint flecks, so I'm wary of wasting Malabrigo on him. Not to mention I'd need a new skein, unless I can pinch some leftovers.

Hey Chantal! Swap you your leftover Malabrigo for some Koko Black?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

You've been doing *what*?

Unsurprisingly, I have been a bit productive of late. The wonderful season of winter is soon to be upon us, the one time of the year we knitters are actually appreciated, so I need to start early.

A few weeks ago I started a Tomten jacket for Marcus, but I still need to finish knitting the hood lining, so no pictures have been taken so far. It's plain stocking stitch in three colour stripes and it's taking a lot longer than I expected. He'll be toasty warm, but he always is, except when he's playing about in puddles.

(Gratuitous Marcus shot for Sonia)

So I decided to start some smaller projects that would provide quick satisfaction and a feeling of accomplishment. Four days after starting, they were done.

Project one was the Inca Hat by Debbie Bliss. The pattern is knitted straight with a back seam, but I just assumed it was in the round and knitted it accordingly. The pattern matches a little zip up jacket Marcus wears, and I'm still hoping I might actually get it on his head. I'll either have to wait until he's asleep or superglue it onto his skull.

Project two was a set of matching mittens for teeny frozen fingers, to match the hat. A ridiculously easy pattern from "Vintage Knits for Modern Babies" by Hadley Fierlinger, and all I have to say about this book is run and buy it. The patterns are simple, elegant and adorable.

No problems getting Marcus to wear the mittens either. He loves the sound they make when he claps. Now to find the superglue...

Saturday, April 09, 2011

The Finishing Touch

I've been a very busy little knitting person since I was last on here. My business is all registered, leaflets have been printed and the website is live.

I give you all The Finishing Touch.

To clarify, the idea behind the business was that I like finishing. I enjoy the challenge of setting in sleeves and having them look perfect. I like mattress stitch, and watching seams slowly join together. Shockingly, I even like sewing in ends so they don't show. Why do you think I do so much Fair Isle?

The plan is to pick up the knitting on a Monday and drop it off the next Monday (while picking up the next rounds). Yes, I can come and harass you at work. Nothing like being outed as a knitter to your co-workers, right? (Besides which, if you're not knitting during work hours you're not maximising your best knitting times!)

All of the work is done in my cozy little bungalow, far far away from a small sleeping child and a highly annoying kitteh. I've got the back room of my bungalow set up and ready to go and I'm now scarily excited.

When Mark at Geekzone set up the website, I was scared (and highly impressed. Thanks Mark, it looks amazing!). When I ordered the leaflets, I was scared. Now that I've announced it here, I'm terrified.

Posting it here makes it real, which means there's no turning back. Wish me luck.