Dawn

This morning Sunny was awake at about 5am and wasn’t willing to go back to sleep.  After spending 40 minutes trying to encourage her to go back to sleep with no luck I decided to get up.  I’m generally not a morning person, but I really wish I was and I think (as much as I don’t do New Year Resolutions) that I will make it my goal for this year.  There is something so peaceful and beautiful about that stillness and quiet of the early morning.  Before the hustle and bustle begins, before the noise of the kids and the tv or radio.  It’s a great time for contemplation and letting my brain wake up slowly, instead of the usual “hitting the floor running” start to my day.  It’s also a great time to blog without the distractions of the kids or the other day to day stuff (except I do have Sunny Girl on my lap trying to help me type).

Last post I promised to tell you what I book I picked up on my visit to Canberra and the yarn I bought with my Christmas money.  I love Canberra, I especially love shopping in Canberra (not that I get to do that very often).  The Canberra Centre (where Mr HKWT and I visited Christmas Eve) has a T2 store, something that I don’t have locally, so that was one of my first stops.  Then on to Dymocks to pick up our nephew’s Christmas present – I think it’s hysterical that we travelled all the way from Sydney for a book :p.  Of course, being book lovers Mr HKWT and I started off by browsing through the shop before getting the book we had on hold.  I headed straight to the crafting section and I was pleasantly surprised by the range of knitting books on offer.  I was looking through one of them when Mr HKWT walked up to me and told me that he was leaving the store (Sunny Girl was not enjoying the book shop) and that I could buy the book.  As he walked away and I put the book back on the shelf I noticed another knitting book, Socktopus by Alice Yu.

I immediately picked it up as it’s a book that’s been on my wishlist for a little while.  I started flicking through and thought to myself that I didn’t need another book, that was until I noticed all the new techniques that I could learn from the book.  Seeing as Mr HKWT had already said I could buy the other book I had been looking at, I figured I was allowed to substitute Socktopus for the other one.  There are a few patterns in the book that I’m really keen to knit, the first one being V Junkie.  There’s something about those “cells” that get my sock knitting mojo back, something that seems to have disappeared after starting Cookie A’s Pomotamus.

When we opened Christmas presents after church and I was given some money from my MIL I immediately decided to put it towards a skein of sock yarn.  I spent some time looking on etsy at hand dyed yarns but couldn’t find anything that I really wanted to work with.  Then I remembered The House of Wool, a tiny little LYS that opened up in Blackheath late last year.  They’re only open Friday – Sunday and have a very limited range (which is growing) but they do specialise in Aussie hand dyed yarns.  Sunday my M.I.A and I went on a trip up the mountain and I got a skein of sock yarn from Hawthorne Cottage Yarns, a Victorian based indie dyer.

It’s a lovely variegated red with just a touch of purple (which you can’t see in this pic).  I’ve nicknamed it Sangria considering there is no name on the band, just a number.  I think it’s going to look pretty good worked up the V Junkie pattern which I’m super keen to start but I’m resisting temptation and trying to get through some of the other projects I’ve got on the needles (let’s see how long that lasts :p).

I also picked up 2 pairs of kids knitting needles at The House of Wool.  Both my girls have expressed a desire to learn to knit, so of course they need their own needles.  Finding 2 pairs of the kids size needles was a bit of a boon and I let M.I.A choose a set for her and her sister.  I’m looking forward to teaching them but at the same time I’m a little bit apprehensive as I know I’m not the most patient person in the world.  Any tips would be appreciated.

One of my favourite things about Canberra is the sunsets.  So I will say good bye for this week and leave you with a photo I took from my brother-in-law’s front verandah on Christmas Eve ♥

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?

Surprise!

This is intended to be a very quick post.  I finished the Sunlight Shawl for Sad People and wanted to let you all know.  I’m so happy that’s it done.  The ending was a little tragic due to not knowing how much yarn it would take to do the picot bind off.  I started and realised (among other things) that I didn’t have enough yarn, so I ripped it back and started again.  Now that it’s finished I can see I could have knit a few more rows.  But, on the upside I have enough yarn left over to make a little cuffie.

Giving it a severe blocking to :p

 

I’m a little concerned as the colours seem to have faded a bit during soaking but from the pic it looks ok (the water in the bucket is a really lovely plum).  I’ve blocked it out rather firmly, stretching it out as much as I could.  I can’t wait to see how it looks and drapes once it’s dry.

I’m also very very excited because I started Aestlight last night.  It’s my Christmas present to myself, ha!  I was organising my knitting for our Christmas break (I’m seeing the MIL and she always seems displeased with my knitting – so I have to seriously plan what I’m knitting in order to not heap condemnation on my head) and decided that I could afford to start Aestlight considering that the Sunlight Shawl is finished.  The plan is to knit Aestlight whilst travelling and when MIL is otherwise occupied.  At all other times I will be working on Mud Puddles and I have packed the yarn to start J.J’s Artichaut (which she is very happy about).

So in love!

I’ve admired Gudrun Johnston’s work from afar for a very long time and had at least one of her designs in my rav queue for the last few years (pretty much ever since I discovered knitty and ravelry that top has been in my queue).  It’s so exciting to be finally working on something by one of my favourite designers :D.

From my somewhat crazy and very wonderful family to yours, a very happy, merry and wonderful Christmas.

Have a goggling good time :p

Christy

xo

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

“Hi”

I hate being sick!  And, unfortunately for me, the past week and a bit has seen me sick with varying things.  So, rather than posting a rather long blog I’m going to split it in 2 – one today and another early next week (fingers crossed I stay healthy).

The Saturday after my last blog (during the middle of a heat wave) we went up to the Bluebird Markets, held in the car park of the Alexandra Hotel in Leura.  Despite the heat it was quite a nice little market.  Lots of lovely handmade goodness ranging from soaps, clothes, cards, and jewellery through to food and coffee.  From what I could see it was pretty good quality stuff, at least the sort of stuff you want to see at a handmade market.  I bought the kids some marshmellows and some Espresso Shortbread cookies for me – they were so yummy!  I also got the funkiest pair of earrings from Poppy and Belle (you can also find them on facebook here)

Could a pair of earrings be more friendly?

I love wearing these friendly earrings, they are my go to accessory when I need a bit of a pick me up and they certainly attract some interesting attention :p!

I also added to my stash.  I bought some Utiku (8ply Corriedale) from The Wool Company in New Zealand.  It came in the most massive hanks I’ve ever seen (although that might have to do with the fact that it’s 8ply/ DK weight yarn and it’s over 420g).

Left:  CyclamenRight:  Mallard

Left: Cyclamen
Right: Mallard

It’s a nice change from the Bendigo Woollen Mills yarns and comparable in price.  There isn’t a massive range in colours but I was very happy with the colours I chose and would happily buy from them again.  I’ve balled up the Mallard hank and started a little top for my Sunny girl, with plans to knit another one for my cousin’s newborn bub.  But more about that pattern and project next time.

With the arrival of December comes thoughts of Gingerbread houses (among other things :p).  For the last 2 years I’ve participated in a Gingerbread Fundraising night held through the playgroup that I sometimes attend.  This year I ummed and ahhed about going, simply because I’m so tired.  But I’ve started a tradition of taking the Gingerbread House to the in laws every Christmas and I wasn’t about to let everyone down, so off I went for my 3rd year.  This year I was a little uninspired and it ended up being a case of throwing as much sugar on (and in – it’s filled with chocolates) as possible.

The House of Ginger

 

The main thing is that there are enough lollies and sugar on the house to share between 7 kids.  Maybe next year I’ll have the energy and inclination to do some research and come up with a themed house……. oooohhhhhh I wonder if I could do a knitting theme.

The Cheeky Little Elves I’ve been knitting up for the teachers Christmas presents are coming together nicely .  I honestly hope the teachers like them.  Unfortunately being sick set me back a bit and I’m spending my whole weekend cutting out, blanket stitching, and gluing bits of felt.  So far I’ve finished off 3, only 6 more to go.  I’ve promised myself if I can get through 3 today I can have a nice bath tonight with one of my special Lush Christmas bombs.  I’ve finished off 1 this morning and have started on the 2nd one, so far so good :D. (ETA: that didn’t happen!  I only got through 2.5 yesterday.  Desperately hoping I can finish off another 2 today if not 3, otherwise I think I’ll be figuring out who can miss out on an elf).

A plethora of pom poms

My darling M.I.A volunteered me to make pikelets for her class Christmas party on Monday, so I’ll be frying up those later (some for J.J’s class too) and also making hot chocolate spoons to pop in the teachers gift bags as well.  I’ll be so glad when Wednesday is over and the kids are on holidays.  I think I’ll need the rest almost as much as they do.

Have you been to any good markets lately?

Back in a few days with part 2

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