Knitting Vs 5

Day 3’s challenge has to do with infographics.  Well, I’ve tried to make it as interesting as possible 😉

I’m not sure if I’ll ever make a infographic again (seriously that was a lot of effort and unnecessary stress).  But at least I can say I have now 😛

How do you make time magically appear?

Christy

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Inspirated

Have any of you watched MKR (My Kitchen Rules for non Australian readers)?  I’ve watched about 10 minutes all up.  I’m not a fan of watching people pour everything they have into succeeding at something while other people do their utmost to tear them down.  Anyway, leading up to the start of the latest season were some rather interesting promo ads, one of which featured a little blonde home-maker talking about feeling “inspirated”.  I’m not sure if she truly thinks it’s a word and uses it regularly, or if she made a faux pas that ‘the powers that be’ pounced on to make the show more appealing.  Regardless, I like it!  It sounds like a combination between inspiration and perspiration (and as I say this my husband rolls his eyes).

If you’re a regular reader of the blog then you know I’ve managed to score myself some Lollipop Yarn, 2 balls in fact and they’ve been singing to me, serenading me with a song about socks and the socks they want to be knit into.  I’m not a vanilla sock knitter, I need something with a bit of oomph, a bit of pizzazz, something to stop me from falling asleep.  In all honesty the only thing that got me through the Kai Mei ribbing was the pattern detail across the foot that I knew was coming!  So, I wanted to knit something pretty, but not something that would take away the lovely self striping goodness of the yarn.  I went trawling through ravelry for inspiration, I decided to try my hand at designing my own sock and wasn’t entirely happy with what I came up with, then I found these socks by Patons.  It’s just a simple feather and fan stitch and I thought, I can do that.  I wasn’t keen on the projects that were available on ravelry in the feather and fan pattern so I decided to make one up myself.  I’ve got Barbara Walker’s First Treasury, so I can play with the pattern undeterred until I’m happy with the result (for instance, I don’t like the purl bumps).  I’ve also picked up Ann Budd’s Sock Knitting Master Class and although there are some lovely patterns in there that I’m keen to try, none of them suit the yarn.  My plan is to combine different elements from the book and morph them into one glorious pair of socks (I can dream can’t I?).  I figure, if I ever want to try my hand at designing then I need to start somewhere, so why not with something fairly tame and ease myself into it?

latvian

I’ve begun with a Latvian Twisted cast on, as featured on the French Market Socks by Nancy Bush.  It’s something completely different and adds a nice amount of interest as well as incorporating all 3 colours of the yarn.  For the rib I’m just doing a simple 2 x 2 rib.  I had originally thought about a twisted rib but as it tends to make the stitches stand out more the rib was competing with the cuff so I decided to stick with an untwisted stitch.  So far, so good.  I’m not sure how long I’ll make the ribbed section, I think I’ll keep going until I feel like it’s long enough (isn’t that how designers operate, going by feel and aesthetic?).  It’s nice to be working on something of my own, even if it’s almost the most basic pattern, at least when I’m finished I can say that I designed it.

I’ve been making slow but steady progress on both the Gimli socks and J.J’s Artichaut.  I’m still working on the rib of the socks, although I think I might be just about done.  I’m not in too much of a rush to get through those as I really don’t want to make any more mistakes, not like the last time.  I’d rather the socks take me the next year to get through and have a perfect sock then make a stack of mistakes and have to rip it out because I can’t live with the mess.  I’m now through the armhole decreases on the Artichaut and I’m picking up the stitches down the side for the seamless version.  Ok, I’ve picked up one stitch.  I think I’m already regretting going for the seamless option, I have the feeling that it might be a bit fiddly if the first pick up is anything to go by…… too late now, there’s no way I’m ripping it out and starting it all over again.  Plus I don’t think J.J would ever forgive me if I ripped it out…… ok, she would, she’s 9, but it would take a very long time for her to get over it.  So I shall just have to plunge ahead and hope that it works out alright!

I started my last post with a promise to blog twice a week and then I didn’t.  I got to the weekend and everything went a little pear shaped and by the end of the weekend I never wanted to knit again let alone blog (a long story I won’t bore you with), so the desire to put myself out there just wasn’t forthcoming.  It still surprises me how emotionally tied to my knitting I am.  I knit more when I’m stressed or feeling anxious; when I’m sad or upset it’s the last thing I want to do.  Do your emotions affect how or what you knit?

On Monday, as a result of my rather emotionally draining weekend, I took time to appreciate the little things that bring me joy and I thought I would share some of them with you.

Lily

Beautiful flowers that my wonderful, kind and thoughtful husband bought me for our wedding anniversary.

socks

The way my M.I.A rolls down her socks, not because it’s cool, just ’cause she wants to – marching to the beat of her own drum ♥

sisters

One big sister taking the time to play dolls with her baby sister

princess

Forever exploring the world around her, even if it includes taste testing a plastic Princess

autumn

The colours of Autumn.  I may not be a big fan of winter, but red leaves set my heart aflutter

darkies

My kids and how much they love each other and love spending time together.  And of course all the joy they bring me every single day with all their hugs, their kisses, their giggles, their smiles, their everything ♥

What has brought you joy this week?

See you soon

Christy

 

…. more than meets the eye!

Growing up, my brother had a lot of Transformers, and I mean a lot!  I was always fascinated with them, something about taking one form and manipulating it into something totally different, all encapsulated in a toy.  Every time my brother got a new Transformer I would have to have a go of it at the first opportunity, I couldn’t always figure them out but it was fun trying (not so much fun admitting defeat and asking my little brother for help).  The Aestlight shawl is a little bit like that.  With a lot of knitting and a bit of manipulation it transforms into something completely different to what it started out at, and I’m not talking about the transformation of yarn into fabric.  Its construction, to me, is completely unique, I’ve never come across anything like it and I love it.  It’s so addictive and as a result has been my only knitting over the past week.

 aestlight

In a former post related to the Aestlight I said that the pattern had errors, well the only thing in error was me.  I have no idea what I was thinking but I was reading the pattern chart back to front and disregarding the centre stitches as irrelevant (and now I sound like 7 of 9).  Anyway, once I figured out what my mistake was and got the hang of the lace pattern (which is really simple by the way) it worked up really quickly.  Within a few days the centre panel was complete and now I am working on the border, which feels like it will take forever to do.  I still have some reservations about the colours together but the yellow in the Yarn Love Banana and the yellow in the Sunshine Yarns After the Storm are a perfect match.  I think once it’s finished and blocked all those reservations will be a distant memory and it will look awesome, but first I have to finish that border!

I’ve been considering what to work on once the Aestlight is finished, I’m super tempted to cast on Sempervivum but I think I’m going to have to finish Millrace.  I don’t know why I’m so resistant to getting that finished off, I honestly don’t think it’s going to take that long to complete, but I’m just so unmotivated……..  I like the pattern, the colour – though not what I expected isn’t horrible, so why can’t I just finish it off?  Plus I have that Artichaut to finish off (Miss 9 is reading over my shoulder pestering me as to when it will be finished), it’s not like that’s a horrible pattern either.  What is my problem?  Not enough knitting hours in the day and too many beautiful things to work on I think is what’s at the core of this.  Teething, non sleeping baby makes Christy a frantic and desperate knitter.  It’s like somewhere in the back of my mind I have this idea that I’ll never feel awake enough, or never have the time to just knit without little people constantly demanding my attention, so I have to try and cast on every beautiful thing right now, while I have the least amount of time and energy.  Deep breaths Christy, it won’t always be like this.

teething girl

On Thursday my craft group – aka mummy’s sanity time – started up again.  I was so excited about being back – not so much my little G who clung to my legs like some kind of 4 limbed, curly haired octopus.  He was excited to be back until we got there and all of sudden there were a whole bunch of kids and no big brother to protect him.  Funnily enough, when it came time to leave he was having such an awesome time he didn’t want to go.  Once he was wrangled off me and I had a chance to make a cup of tea and breathe, I got to work on a crewel embroidery (much to the shock of a few people).  Yes, I am a knitter of many talents including embroidery.  I’ve never attempted crewel before but, despite it being a slow process at the moment, I’m really enjoying it.  I’m working on the Bee’s World pattern from The Floss Box for J.J and I love it, I’ve already started making plans for the next one.  It’s a secret from J.J which is why I’m not knitting at Craftworks.  There’s only so much time during the week that I have where she can’t spy on me and Craftworks is the perfect opportunity for those secret projects.  It would be easy to get obsessed with embroidery I think, it’s like colouring in but with pretty coloured string instead of pencils.

 Pics 007

I know what you’re know thinking, it’s no longer a secret…… ha!  J.J went to bed shortly after her little comment about her Artichaut, the embroidery remains a secret so sssshhhhhh!!!!!!

The last week has been a blast, busy but a blast.  Last Sunday was spent at the beach celebrating Mr HKWT’s birthday.  We don’t get to the beach very often and it was so much fun.  Every year we promise ourselves that we’ll go more and then don’t follow through.  Tomorrow is M.I.A’s birthday and the plan was to go again, but it looks like rain so I guess there goes that idea.  One year we’ll get to beach more than once annually.  Until then, I’ll cherish the trips we make now.

beach babes

#1 Son has really enjoyed his first week and half at school.  Every day he goes with a smile on his face and he told me the other morning that he loves school!  I was a little concerned for a while last year that he wasn’t quite ready, well, I obviously was very wrong.  Friday he had his first assembly and brought home his first Principal’s Award.  I am a very proud mummy that is so happy to see her little boy thriving in an academic environment.  I hope he always loves learning.

Have you ever tried crewel embroidery?

Have a great week.

Christy

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I have a confession to make, I’m a bit of a Christmas Grinch.  There’s many reasons for this, all of which I won’t bore you with, but put simply I don’t like Christmas very much.  Well, I usually don’t like Christmas very much but this year I actually looked forward to it.  I didn’t get into the Christmas carols very much (I never really do) but I didn’t approach the season with the same sense of loathing I generally feel.  Maybe it’s because it sneaked up on me a little, or maybe it’s because we were spending Christmas with people that I really like…. or maybe it was a combination of both.  Anyway, needless to say I actually really really enjoyed my Christmas this year.  Mr HKWT and I even went shopping on Christmas Eve (with only 1 child) and the shops weren’t crazy (and I got some great stuff for me :p).

Christmas Day was jam packed with loads of presents for the kids (too much I think, too much remarked my 12 year old nephew and even the mother in law – who was concerned we couldn’t get it all home, not enough said my 4 year old), amazing food, great company and my Gingerbread House which has become a tradition in our house ♥.  Even the weather was pleasant.  Not too hot which is always a nice surprise.

I think the highlight of my Christmas Day was the gift my sister-in-law made for my Sunny Girl.  She is by far the best sister in law ever!  She’s creative and generous, she’s an amazing artist and an excellent cook.  I always love visiting their place as I know I will always be fed well and my children are loved like they are my brother in law and sister in laws own.  When my husband opened the present and showed me the hat (the little sunshine is a badge that we can reuse on all other future hats) it quite literally made me teary.  It is the most thoughtful and beautiful gift ♥

The Sunlight Shawl for Sad People was burning a hole in my knitting bag so I gave it to my niece as an early birthday present.  She loves it and it went so nicely with what she was wearing (still too hot for wearing too much wool though).  I hope she gets a lot of wear out of it in the coming cooler months.  I have plans to make a cuffie with the left over yarn, I started on a design that I had in my head, but it needs some tweaking and a smaller needle, so I ripped it out and bought the yarn back home (do any knitters take all their needles with them when they go away?).

I finished Mud Puddles.  I didn’t have the right needle for the bottom edge so I continued with the 4mm and I think it looks fine.  Now I’m just waiting for the buttons to arrive.  Shortly after I finished that (and tinkered around with the cuffie) I started on J.J’s Artichaut.  I’m trying out the seamless version.  Now that I’ve made one I understand the instructions and know what I’m doing, when I started the first one the instructions for the seamless version was like reading another language.  J.J is thrilled to bits that I’ve started on hers, I gave her the option of the seed stitch pattern or just a plain version.  After staring at her sister’s for a while she settled on the seed stitch pattern.  I’m not so sure about it but if that’s what she wants that’s what I’ll knit for her.

M.I.A took every opportunity while we were away to wear hers and I couldn’t be more thrilled with her showing it off ♥.  If anything, seeing how good it looked on her made me want to knit another one more than ever.  I’m happy to be knitting J.J’s and hope that it looks as good as the first one once complete.

I also started the Aestlight Shawl but being too pedantic for my own good I ripped the whole thing out last night and started again.  It’s a long story, but in order to give some explanation for such a rash decision (I’d almost finished the garter triangle), one of the loops along the edge was sitting differently to the others.  I noticed this as we were driving home from our visit to Canberra, I ummed and ahhed over it for a few moments (it was quite a few rows back) and then decided to not worry about it.  When we stopped for afternoon tea I mentioned it to my husband, within a few seconds of looking at my work he pointed and said “It’s there isn’t it?”.  That made the decision for me, I ripped it back and picked up the stitches but since then there have been loose stitches all over the place and I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong.  Last night I made the decision that I couldn’t live with those mistakes and started again.  I’m happy with the decision and I guess that’s the main thing.

I’ll be back by the end of the week with a new book I picked up and some yummy yarn that I got for Christmas (ok, I was given the money and then I went and chose the yarn….. I doubt my MIL ever expected me to spend it on yarn :p) to show you.

How was your Christmas?

All that Glitters…..

Cheeky Elves eyeing off the chocolate

Sometimes all that glitters is not gold but chocolates wrapped in foil.  Despite wanting to make the Hot Chocolate spoons I simply didn’t have the time.    As it was I was still gluing felt to beads and pom poms this morning before breakfast – today is the last day of school.  So the elves came right down to the wire and I simply ran out of time for anything else.  Mr HKWT suggested just giving out the elves with a Hershey Kiss (these are not readily available in Australia, I just happened to find a lolly store that seems to specialise in American sweets and I bought a big bag) but of course that wasn’t good enough or even just enough for me to be comfortable with.  I managed to pick up a box of Ferrero Rocher’s and a box of Lindor Balls both on special when I did the grocery shopping.

All wrapped up and ready to go

The cellophane bags are biodegradable.  I bought them from SideStreetVintage on Craftumi.  I had originally intended them for the chocolate spoons but considering I didn’t make those, they make sweet little gift bags too and they’re biodegradable which makes them even sweeter.

Just hanging around

I was a little concerned about the gifts, I mean they’re nothing spectacular and not everyone appreciates handmade.  Up until I spoke to one of the teachers at #1 Son’s preschool.  She was telling me that after 20 years in early childhood work she can still remember which Christmas tree ornament came from which child she taught.  It was nice to know that she would always remember my boy, just from a little elf.

I am so happy that they are all finished and off to their new homes!  By the time I finished the final one my fingers were sore from working with the wire and my eyes were tired from all the stitching in bad lighting.  Next year I think I’ll have to start Christmas gifts in July (I’m sure I say that every year :/ ).

It felt weird picking up my knitting again after so much time spent sewing and twisting wire.  I can honestly say that I missed it and it’s nice to be able to sit and knit without having to think much.

The beginning of a muddy puddle (and the most awesome pink jeans ever!)

The weekend before last I cast on Mud Puddles by Kelly Brooker.  Kelly is the designer behind Beyond Puerperium, the cardigan that I knit for my Sunny Girl to bring her home from hospital in.  I’m knitting Mud Puddles in the Utiku yarn from The Wool Company that I wrote about in my last blog.  I would describe the yarn as a work horse yarn, it feels nice and dense as it runs through my fingers and the fabric it’s creating feels durable.  I guess the best way I can describe it is that I won’t be afraid to let my toddler run around in it.  There is so much yarn and I love the pattern so much that I’ve already decided to knit another one for my cousin’s little baby who was welcomed into the world a few short weeks ago.  The pattern itself is pretty straight forward, it has a top down seamless construction and (other than a little bit of fiddling with the sleeve caps) it is pretty basic.  In many ways it’s very similar to Beyond Puerperium, so if you’ve knit from that pattern and enjoyed it then I would highly recommend Mud Puddles.  Because I’m knitting such a small size it’s working up really quickly which is nice, it always feels so good to have something off the needles and ready to wear quickly (not that it’s the weather for it), especially with so many bigger projects on the go.  The sizing is also a bonus, the pattern goes up to a size 10 (72.5cm chest), so I already have plans to knit one for J.J and M.I.A….. I’m wondering how I can put a different twist on each one just to make them a little individual for my other 2 girls.

The Sunlight Shawl for Sad People continues to grow.  I only have a golf ball sized amount of yarn left so I think in another few rows I’ll be ready to cast off.  I would love to have that finished before the weekend, just so I can have it washed and blocked before Christmas.  But we’ll see, I’m not sure how much I can achieve in the next few days what with all the Christmas craziness that abounds at the moment.

Well, that’s it from me until sometime after Christmas.  I figure that I won’t have time again before the weekend between having all the kids home, packing, washing and family gatherings, so it’s better to not plan to blog then promise something that I may not be able to achieve.

So, on that note.  I hope all of you readers out there have an awesome Christmas, however you celebrate it (or whatever you celebrate).  I’m hoping ours isn’t too hot.

‘Til next time

Christy

Pip

Not much knitting has happened this week.  Sometimes, unfortunately, life is simply too busy to fit much in.  I have been working on The Sunlight Shawl for Sad People and Millrace has had a little love.  I keep adding projects to my queue (and resisting the temptation to cast on) but I don’t seem to be finishing anything in a hurry, which frustrates me.  I want to knit ALL the things NOW!  I know, that’s physically impossible, but it doesn’t stop the desire to do it though.  Oh, if only I could have a super power :p.

Anyway, I may not have managed to get much knitting done but I have started on Christmas presents for my kids teachers

I got the directions for this happy little fella from the Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Edition (I think it’s the Australian November issue).  He’s so sweet.  It’s also a really quick gift to whip up….. that’s if you’re not a perfectionist like me.  I took so much time blanket stitching the little mitts and socks.  I think for the next one I won’t be so particular.  I have 9 of them to get through in 3 weeks (2 would be better, the race is on!) so I don’t have the time to be fussy.

The one in the pic is my prototype (I like to see how a project is going to turn out before I start the mass production – you did read that I have to make 9!  Yes, I’m a glutton for punishment :p).  I think I might need to make a few little changes, but otherwise I’m really happy with how this little guy turned out.

Aside from making pom poms and blanket stitching felt I got……… wait for it………. wait for it……. A NEW CAMERA!!!!!  I finally have a DSLR camera, which has taken a little bit to get used to but I can tell you that I love love love it already!  I finally have managed to get some pics of Sunny smiling that aren’t fuzzy.  It’s already paid for itself :D.

I can not get enough of her smile!  Her little face lights up so quickly and she’s so eager to smile at everyone.  Love her to bits!!!!!

Can you believe that she’s 6 months already?  Time flies far too quickly!

Finally, a camera that I can take decent pics with!  I can see why people get addicted to DSLR cameras, I’ve already said to Mr HKWT that we’ll need to buy another lens.  I’ve been having so much fun taking all sorts of pics, including the fog at dusk during a thunder storm the other night, the tree fern out the front with rain drops on the leaves (is that what they’re called?) and of course all my kidlets.  I’ve also signed up for the Photography Primer course on Craftsy.  I haven’t started watching the lessons yet but I am eagerly looking forward to learning more about how to make the most of my camera and get the best pics of my projects.

Well, we’re in for a heat wave this weekend.  I think I’ll spend most of it trying to hide in the cool of the bathroom.  What are you up to?

‘Til next week

Christy

Bumble

My J.J turned 9 earlier this week.  I still can’t get my head around it, I’ve been a mother for 9 years!  I kept telling her in the days leading up to her birthday that her birthday was more about me than her.  I was just teasing of course, there is no one more important than the birthday person on their birthday!  But seriously, as a mother, I can’t help but mark each of her birthdays as milestones in my own life.  The only thing that I’ve stuck to longer is being a wife.  I choose to be a mother every day, just as I choose to be a wife.  I fail at my job, I make massive mistakes continually, but I haven’t given up.  There have been plenty of times when I’ve thrown my knitting down and walked away but I haven’t done that as a mother.  I don’t think that makes me special or any better than anyone else, it’s just an acknowledgement of my own commitment to this job and for me that’s an achievement because I generally would take the easier option and walk away.

The picture above was taken at a birthday party early last year.  My cheeky monkey with a pinata on her head :p.  Funnily enough she hasn’t changed much in the past year and half, just grown taller and cheekier.  I love this (not so) little girl so much!  She brings so much joy to our home with her funny sense of humour (she called her dad and I “dudes” for an entire afternoon), her cheeky face, her love of reading, her thoughtfulness and sensitivity.  She is also an amazing big sister, she gives so much and is so patient (most of the time) with her younger siblings.  It’s not uncommon to find her on the floor playing with her 2 year old brother, or reading to our 2 boys, or even trying to keep a very sad and crying Sunny Girl company while I’m trying to make lunches and get everyone ready for the day.  J.J is such a blessing to us and I am so thankful for her ♥

This week I’ve been exclusively working on The Sunlight Shawl for Sad People.  It’s just easy at the moment.  Generally speaking I look at plain stocking/ garter stitch patterns and think “Boring!” but I’m really enjoying not having to think as I knit.  I bought a pair of Hibiscus coloured jeans last weekend and as I was working on the shawl the other day whilst wearing my jeans I discovered that they are a very close match in colour.  So if the recipient doesn’t like the shawl at least I have something to wear it with :p.

 

The little blur in the bottom right corner is my G, trying to help mummy take a pic I guess :p

Well, that’s it from me this week.  It truly is a short one.  The weekend awaits and my Sunny Girl reaches 6 months :O.  I hope you have a great weekend 😀

‘Til next time

Christy