January knitting & adventures in sewing

Keeping my knitting goals in mind, I have been very successful this month.  I wanted to knit one hat per month – I have managed two this month (this was a stretch goal, there needs to be one month this year where two hats get finished as I needed 13 for my gift bag).

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Off Grid, Storm Door hats.

The first hat I finished was Off Grid by The Plucky Knitter.  I knit this with yarn from my Plucky Knitter Classics Subscription – Primo Aran, in the colourway “Babysitting Blues” inspired by the film adventures in Babysitting.

Edit: Correction – The yarn colourway is Poet’s Corner Inspired by the film So I married an Axe Murderer. I was so convinced it was Babysitting blues, but I do have the yarn wrappers telling me otherwise. Oops.

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Off Grid

My Classics Subscription included 2 skeins of Primo aran, 3 of Bello (fingering weight) and one of feet. This year I have cut this back to just one skein of feet, in order to help me save up for a trip at the end of the year.  Cutting back was a tough decision.  I really like this yarn, but truthfully, I do have a plentiful stash of it.

I’ve photographed this hat with a pompom I purchased at M&J fabrics and Trimmings (happy memories of last years trip to NY).  Thankfully they are online so I can get some more of these lovelies for some of the rest of the gift hats this year – there are some on my gift list who would prefer me not to use the fox fur I suspect and I respect their feelings.

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Storm door hat

The other hat is another one designed by The Plucky Knitter, Storm Door.  This was fun to knit, but I ran out of yarn from my remaining skein of Primo Aran in Babysitting blues, luckily I had 7 grams left over from the other hat project and I was able to finish that hat.

Here it is with a fox fur pompom.  I have also tried it out with a tassel (see first photo) – not sure which I like best.  I do like the strong contrast between the white of the pompom with the grey blue of the yarn.

Moving on from that hats, my other knitting goal this month was to complete a pair of socks.  I have also completed this goal.

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Susan B Anderson’s How I make my socks

These are made using Susan B Anderson’s How I make my socks pattern.  They are the best fitting socks I have made so far.  I think this is pair number three all together.  I’m really happy with how they turned out, even though in my finished picture above I’ve managed to twist the toe around a bit on the left.  Please ignore the state of the floor.  Yarn is by Stray Cat Socks (Etsy seller) from New Zealand.

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Holiday in FL.  Poste yarn by Simply Socks Yarn Co.

I’ve cast on my next pair, using Holiday in FL Poste Yarn (75% superwash corriedale wool, 25% nylon – feels super wooly, I’m enjoying working these so much) by Simply Socks Yarn Company.

I also worked a little on Ropedance, by Melanie Berg (but I’m thinking of ripping this back again, the “knots” are much larger in my later work on this project).  No photo to share today of this one.

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Colette Sorbetto – Hello Kitty Liberty fabric

Lastly, here is a non-knitting project.  I’m trying to teach myself to sew and be less afraid of my sewing machine.  Here’s my first clothing project since my high school days, Colette patterns Sorbetto, made with some Hello Kitty Liberty of London Tana Lawn.  This is a wearable muslin – mainly because whilst I managed to ensure that the selvedges were matched before I cut into the fabric, I hadn’t taken into account the direction of the fabric.  I was so disappointed when she wasn’t orientated correctly.  Measure twice, cut once.  Otherwise, I had no major hurdles putting this together.

I hope you also had a successful and productive month.

Knitting resolutions 2016

I like thinking about the year ahead and setting goals each year.  This of course, is just an exercise in futility for me but I still like to do it.

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Ropedance by Melanie Berg (Marilynd) started in September 2015

So, keeping in mind that I will not manage to keep all of these here are my knitting goals for this year.

  1. Knit more from my stash:
    1. Keep a wishlist for yarn I like rather than just buying straight away.  I have a lot of impulse purchased yarn and whilst I’m not on a super strict budget, my study/craft room has finite space, no matter how many clever solutions I find for squishing in more.
    2. Purchase wisely using the wishlist.
  2. I’d like to aim for one pair of socks per month.  I believe this is achievable if I continue to carry socks as my commuter project.
  3. I’ve decided to knit hats as gifts for my family and friends who are knitworthy this year.  This means I need to do one per month (plus one more).
  4. I want to knit a shawl for my mother-in-law this year.  She has identified Zarzamora by Malabrigo as the colourway she’d like (a conversation in my craft room a year ago – fondling my 2 skeins of Rios with a gleam in her eye)  I don’t think I have enough Rios for a really large shawl which is what she would like.  My father-in-law has failing health and I’d like to offer the shawl as a comfort gift (added Zarzamora to my wishlist).
  5. Reduce my WIP load.  Time to stop knitting on things I’m not enjoying.  I’d like to finish:
    1. Verdea Cardigan
    2. Ropedance shawl
    3. Playground Shawl
    4. Plucktober Leftovers Cowl (These are all for me)

I’ve got proactive on goal 5 already!  I frogged my Doodler Shawl – I loved the finished shawls I saw, just didn’t love the yarn I was using for mine.  I also frogged my Viajante WIP and my finished Razzelle Shawl (not worn, not loved, not willing to gift to someone else…)  Here’s the pile of reclaimed yarn from my efforts yesterday.  This yarn has been soaked and is good as new again!

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Reclaimed yarn

 

Welcome 2016

Goodness, it’s been nearly two months!

I’ve been busy not really achieving anything…

  • Traveled to Melbourne for work meetings for three days
  • Applied for a job in Canberra (but didn’t get it – strange relief)
  • Dad came to visit for a week (he’s based in Adelaide)
  • Traveled to Mt Barker for family Christmas
  • New Years spent with loved ones

What have I been knitting?

I finished my Reston Station Socks by Helena Callum.

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Reston Station Socks – Completed!

Love them! And I like to think I understand kitchener stitch now… (preparing for crushing disappointment in 3…2..)

Next, using a free pattern and scrap yarn from my stash I knit 13 little gift hats for wine bottles, flavored oils and in one case bubble bath.  These became part of my commuter knitting for December.  My project page on Ravelry for these can be viewed here.

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Most of my “How ’bout a night cap?” finishes under the tree.

They were a quick knit – they took me at most, an hour each to knit up.  I used a clover pompom maker for these pompoms (my most successful pompoms ever).  Response to these little tokens was universally lovely. Would you believe I blocked each one? Strikes me as strangely obsessive!

Not having any socks or mitts on the needles got too much, so I cast on some Scurry socks with some Stray Cat sock yarn “Luigi”  and then frogged them (yarn and pattern not such a great match).  I’m now trying Susan B Anderson’s How I make my socks recipe (turns out I prefer magic loop or five needles over Susan’s four dpn method) with the same yarn.  Here’s sock number one in progress.

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“How I make my Socks” socks in progress  (pattern by Susan B Anderson)

I’ll post again shortly on my new years resolutions.

Projects in the “Naughty corner”

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I’m back with a progress report on my November projects… most of which are currently sulking in the “Naughty Corner”.

Warning: I discuss the Stephen West MKAL – “The Doodler” at the end of this post.

First up: My Reston Station Socks (pattern by Helena Callum.  Yarn: Dream in Color Everlasting Sock; Amethyst).  These are progressing well, I’ve just finished the gusset stitches and will probably do most of the foot on my journeys to and from work this week (predicting a finish next weekend!) This has a toe (ha!) in the naughty corner because I think my gauge has changed between the two socks.  Sock two seems looser.

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Reston Station Socks in progress

Next up, my Candy Dish Cowl (pattern by the Plucky knitter; yarn The Plucky Knitter Bello: Rye).  This one is on it’s way out of the naughty corner.  I picked it up this morning to work on and discovered about 10 rows back, I had dropped a stitch – Drat!!

After having a small mental breakdown, I pulled it back and it’s ready to go again.

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Beginnings of a candy dish cowl…

Lastly, we come to the Stephen West MKAL – The Doodler.  I’ve got one wedge to go on this clue and I’ve only got 14g of yarn left (I’ll probably need at least 20g).  Still not completely sold on this yarn but I did see other knitters were running out of yarn and so placed an order for another skein earlier this week.  This one gets to stay in the naughty corner till the new yarn arrives (so I can alternate the skeins on the last wedge).  I’ve seen the next clue and I’m excited to work it when I finally get the chance…

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The Doodler, Clue one in progress.

Whilst I’m not sold on my yarn choice, I am really enjoying the knitting on this piece.

Yarn is Hedgehog Fibers Sock: Genie; and The Plucky Knitter primo fingering: Magnet and Steel.

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Reading: Polish your Poise with Madam Chic/Jennifer Scott (turns out I have more poise than I thought; not much more, but more).

Wishing I was knitting: One of the socks from the Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet series of books (I have them all out from the library at the moment and they are awesome!)

Feeling: hot and bothered. It was 39c here yesterday. Not ready for summer yet (as if I’m ever ready).

Genie’s out of the bottle.

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Warning: spoiler image for the Stephen West MKAL ahead.

On Monday Morning I was notified that a parcel had arrived in my parcel locker in the city.  I excitedly trotted across the city during my lunch break, grabbed my parcel and returned to work.  When I opened the package I was aghast.  The Hedgehog Handfibers yarn i had ordered (Genie) was not at all what I had envisioned – there was too much peachy pink in my skein.  I don’t hate pink – I love fuchsia pink but this pink just isn’t my favourite – I’m not peachy keen ;)

As I had ordered it for the Stephen West Mystery KAL starting on Friday, I just had to make it work (In hindsight, I should have ordered a few skeins at the same time so I had a choice of main skein). I pulled some solid Plucky colours from my stash to go with it. Here’s my potential choices below…

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Yarn Choice for The Doodler

When the first clue was released on Friday morning, I started knitting with the Genie and the light blue on the left above.  But this had to be unraveled, the blue was just overwhelmed by the Genie – it’s a powerful, colourful yarn.

Saturday, I got up and used the darkest blue as the second colour and have had more success.  When I finished up Saturday night, I had 9 “wedges” completed and I was (honestly) still not in love.  I started my project page on Ravelry, naming the project: “Put the Genie back in the bottle and throw it in the deep blue sea” (might give you some idea of my lack of enthusiasm for the piece).

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Progress on Clue 1 of The Doodler

This morning, I got up and picked it up again.  I now have 5 wedges left to go before I complete the clue.  The Genie is starting to charm me at last.  It’s not love yet, but I don’t hate it anymore.

The pattern is fun to knit.  It’s simple and interesting.  I like that at the moment it looks a bit like a butterfly wing.  Not knowing where the pattern will go, right now I think it could be fun in some orange and yellow to look like a sunrise or sunset.

In other knitting, I have cast on my Candy Dish.  The provisional cast on took me an hour to get done — I don’t get along with my crochet hook.  I’m currently 3 lace pattern repeats away from finishing section one.  Progress photos will come soon.

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