My favourite colour is pink.
Funnily enough I don’t knit in pink very often. Millrace (which I need to block) and the Hopsalots slippers (which I need to finish) are the only things that I’ve knitted for me in pink, that I can think of off the top of my head – and both of them are still in unwearable forms.
The 4th blogging challenge is about colour, what colours do I like, what colours I like to knit with, what colours do I actually knit with (all without cheating and looking at my projects page on ravelry 😛 ). I like to think I knit in a rainbow of colours, but I think in actuality I knit in a lot of green and blue with the occasional other colour thrown in for good measure, at least when I’m knitting for me. When it comes to the rest of the family I try to choose colours that I know they love. Miss 9 loves yellow, Miss 7 loves pinks and purples, the boys like blues and greens, and Mr HK likes grey.
I’m going to be honest and say that this challenge is hard for me. I love colour, I love knitting in rainbows of colour, but pinning down what colours I actually use is tough. I guess my house mascot, the Monkey, likes things that are interesting, and I’ve always tried to keep my colour choices interesting, I don’t tend to only ever buy one type of colour, I try to buy from the entire rainbow.
The best way to describe the way I feel about colour choice is that patterns tend to tell me what colour they want to be knitted in. For instance, from the very first moment I saw the Kai-Mei socks I knew that I had to knit them in a light blue. The same thing happened with Om Shanti, I knew that the socks needed to be knit in a gradient of some form. Sometimes it’s a case of matching a pattern with the best colour I have in my stash, sometimes I find a pattern and then go yarn hunting for a particular colour. Sometimes, I choose colour dependant on my mood.
In a nutshell, colour evokes an emotional response from me. On Saturday I balled up a skein of yarn from Spacefrog for the Blomster socks. It’s a variegated blue, pink and purple and it’s pretty busy and very bright. I needed a pick me up and that pattern coupled with bright yarn sung happiness to me. They have been a joy to work ever since. I love watching the little “flowers” fling extra pops of colour across the brightly coloured backdrop of stocking stitch. These are my happy socks and I have a feeling I will always have a pair of these ready to cast on, whenever I need a bright little pick me.
I’m beginning this with an apology. I realised after I posted my last blog that I never explained why I was going on about Monkey’s and Houses and all of that. So this week, if you haven’t gathered, is the Knitting and Crochet Blog week. The aim is to blog everyday and Eskimimi has set out challenges for those participating. The first challenge was to choose a house (and if you want to read about the other houses then check out the Eskimimi blog) and I chose the House of Monkey. I obviously haven’t been blogging everyday, but thankfully Eskimimi is pretty flexible about that, and I hope you will be too.
Day 2’s challenge is to find a project that embodies the house that I’ve chosen. Well, I most certainly won’t be knitting any Monkeys any time soon so that’s out of the question (although I have knitted Cookie A’s Monkeys and you can see them here). Rather I’m going to talk about 2 projects that I’m really keen to cast on and why that fits into my house of choice. In fact I would have cast on one of these projects already but I don’t have the right sized needle.
The first project is the Om Shanti Bed Socks (these are the ones I want to cast on right NOW) which I first saw when I bought Socktopus by Alice Yu just before Christmas last year. It was one of the socks that I thought looked pretty but I also thought that it looked a little complicated and too short, besides who only uses knitted socks for bed? Not me! But as I continued to flick through the book (I do that with my pattern books, I sit and flick through them from time to time, either for something pretty to look at, for inspiration, or just for the heck of it) this sock started to speak to me. I realised (and at this point I will completely blame baby brain and the distractions of being away for Christmas) that I could alter the sock. It didn’t have to be ankle length, it didn’t have to be done in a luxury yarn (hey, all sock yarn is a luxury, not just because of the cost but because it’s just so darn pretty!), and it most certainly deserves to be shown off! As I started knitting the V Junkie socks I began to realise that the Socktopus book was not just a book with pretty sock patterns within it’s covers, it’s a book with a wealth of new techniques that I had never ever thought of.
The more I flicked through the book the more the Om Shanti sock began to speak to me, to woo me with it’s short row toe construction, the Kihnu Vits braid, and it’s interesting cuff construction. Between the Socktopus book and the Sock Knitting Master Class book I think I’m just about ready to throw myself into the deep end with Estonian knitting, that stuff is amazing! Anyway, up until now I’ve never come across a short row toe, actually I’d never come across a short row heel until I knitted the first V Junkie sock and I love that! For me the Om Shanti sock is full of mysterious new techniques that are dying to throw themselves on my needles. Ok ok, I’m dying to throw them on to my needles 😉 . New sock constructions are completely enchanting to me and I seriously can’t knit fast enough to get to them (I’m really feeling that pain right now, just discovered a mistake in my Jaywalker and I’m going to have to rip back several rows 😦 ).
The second project is Cat Bordhi’s Pussy Willow Stockings from the Sock Knitting Master Class book. These socks just look intriguing. There is no other word for it. From the Moccasin Toe, to the instep expansion camouflaged in the patterning across the top of the foot and beyond, these socks are…. are…… are…… leaving me speechless. I know that they’re going to be a challenge, I’ve only knitted a total of 2 complete pairs of socks (almost 3) and 4 individuals. It’s not like I have a huge amount of experience in sock knitting under my belt (hey, I’ve only just learned that I should be using a stretchy cast on for my top downs……. didn’t know that for the first 5 or 6 individual socks) and I have only knit 1 toe up sock – yes just 1, not a pair, just 1 individual sock. BUT they’re Cat Bordhi socks, and if you’ve ever watched her videos on youtube then you know that she’s an amazing and entertaining teacher. I’m really looking forward to knitting those and the wealth of information that I’m going to learn from the experience…… I might knit another pair of toe ups first just to be on the safe side of toe up experience though.
It’s funny, as with almost all knitting, just when I think there can’t be any other trick to it – because in all naive honesty, I thought the most exotic you could get with socks was an afterthought heel – I’m proved wrong yet again and honestly I don’t claim to know it all. I don’t know why I think knitting is so limited, maybe because my ability to think outside the square is limited. Which is a shame really. I know that I’m getting better at it, thinking outside the box that is. I guess for me everything has always been pretty black and white, creativity wasn’t something that was necessarily encouraged in my childhood. Following the law right down to the very last comma was enforced and that’s the way that I’ve been with everything, from cooking right through to my knitting, never deviating from the recipe or the pattern (in my mind there’s always been an underlying disclaimer that if I change what is I’m going to make a massive mistake!). Although my creativity is getting better in the kitchen and I’m becoming more comfortable with cooking things without a recipe, or using a base recipe as a diving board into something else entirely different. Happily, my knitting is slowly moving in the same direction. It just takes a bit of effort to trust in my own judgement, to believe in myself and my own ability, to not cling so tightly to the ideas of others.
I think as time goes by I’m becoming more and more of a process knitter and it’s slowly breaking down those creativity stifling barriers I’ve had up for my entire life.
Are you a stickler for rules and patterns, or are you happy making it up as you go along?
Hellooooo lovely people!!!
I hope, wherever you are in the world you’re having a great day! Me, well it’s Friday evening, Mr HK is home and the little people are on their way to sleep, what’s not to love about that?
On Wednesday – ooohhhhh I must be having an ok week, I can remember 2 days ago…. Anyway, I digress….. On Wednesday I cast on My Superhero by Jennifer Lori. This is my first intarsia project, ok that’s not entirely true, the first jumper (“sweater” for those playing in North America) I ever knitted had “colour work” on the sleeves. Essentially it was a solid stripe of colour right up the centre of each sleeve, pretty basic intarsia if you could even call it that. Anyway (I wonder if I can set a record for the number of times I can say “anyway” in a post….. yes I’m in a strange mood, but as I’ve said it’s Friday), I knitted that particular garment over 10 years ago and I haven’t done colour work since then – unless I’ve blocked those memories because they are way too traumatic 😛 . I’ve had the Superhero in my queue for a while and when I say a while I mean well over a year, if not 2. I even messaged the designer way back then with questions about the difficulty of the colour work and printed out the pattern when I first added it, all with great intentions….. and then I baulked. I chickened out, I got cold feet, I freaked out over my ability to be able to successfully knit this little project, I made excuses, and so it sat in my queue in the same spot, not moving and being blatantly ignored.
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t trying to be mean, I could see those little masked eyes peering at me every time I looked at my queue (it was up near the top) but I would avoid eye contact, I would tell myself that I would get to it soon but I think those little Superheroes and I both knew that was a lie. However, I paid for the pattern and that alone has kept it in my queue and held me to the need to knit a Superhero rather than banishing the pattern and the idea of intarsia knitting forever.
A little boy has his 1st birthday coming up and I need a gift for a him, so I thought to myself, what can I give a little boy that’s toddler friendly, isn’t going to cost a packet, but is still worth it’s weight in fun and play? I thought about knitting a little jacket, or a hat, but neither of those cut it really, and then I remembered those Superheroes in my queue, the fact that I paid money for that pattern and my need to put that money to work, and I swallowed my fear and made the decision to cast on.
Those sneaky little Superheroes wormed their way onto my to do list.
So far so good, youtube is most certainly one of my first go to resources for demonstrating all things knitting. The only problem, there are a million ends to weave in!
Before I started knitting socks I freaked out, I thought that socks would be too hard, they looked good, they looked so good that they must be incredibly difficult and there was no way I had the skill level to pull off something that cool. Then I discovered hand dyed yarns and those beautiful colours with their subtle semi solids and cheeky variegations slowly but surely won me over. I swallowed my fear and when Mr HK was out one Friday night I launched in with a practice sock done in an 8 ply (DK weight) yarn. A few happy hours later I had a miniature sock in my hand – it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. The same is true of this, it’s not that hard, there are just so many ends to weave in. At least I can say I can do intarsia, even if I never try it again.
Do you have a knitting nemesis that you’re too scared to conquer?
While I was reading some of my favourite blogs earlier today I came across a banner advertising the 4th Annual Knitting and Crocheting Blog Week (which you can read more about here) and after reading through the info I thought it would be a bit of fun to join in. So next week, hopefully, there will be a blog a day from me. I’ll try and keep them brief, especially considering that it’s still school holidays and I have 5 kids home to keep happy and entertained, but I’m going to give it a go. If you’re a fellow blogger, come and join in, it’s bound to be a fun and interesting experience.
Well that’s it from me. I hope you all have a great weekend.
Hello lovely people!
We celebrated yet another family birthday last week. This time my little G turned 3. We have at least one birthday a month from November through to June between our family and Mr HKWT’s brother’s family – that’s a lot of birthday presents! I’m thinking of doing a celebratory give away when all the birthdays are done!
Have I ever told you how much I love Autumn (or Fall as our North American friends call it)? Aside from the milder temps I love the colours. I mean, I really really love the colours! I get excited seeing the trees turn all sorts of amazing shades of reds, oranges and yellows. I love them so much that I want to paint my house in those colours.
On Saturday we took the kids up to Blackheath Memorial Park, it’s a great place for the kids to play with 3 separate playgrounds. It’s also set on the side of a hill so it totally wears the kids out with all the running up and down the hill plus it’s great for rolling down 😛 . It’s a great place for a picnic and so that’s what we did – fish and chips in the sunshine. Perfect day!
Blackheath is a beautiful part of the mountains, it’s further up then Katoomba and well worth the visit, with lots of lovely shops to browse through (not that I get to do that with 5 kids in tow) and plenty of cafes. In my opinion the place comes alive with colour in Autumn, I’m sure the same is true for Spring but as I’ve already said I love Autumn :p . It’s also the home of a new and very cool yarn store, The House Of Wool (I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before) and of course we had to stop in and have a browse! I was pleasantly surprised by lots and lots of new Australian indie brands, including Augustbird. I stumbled across Augustbird sometime last week when I was trawling etsy looking for Australian yarns, so it was quite serendipitous that The House of Wool has started stocking this particular yarn and of course some of it came home with me 😀 .
I think my stash is growing faster than I can knit .
It’s funny, I’ve talked a lot about everything but what I’ve been knitting over the last couple of weeks and yet I don’t really have much to show you (I still don’t, I have taken no pics 😦 ). I have finished Millrace. I haven’t blocked it yet and I have no photos of the finished project BUT it is finished and I am so happy that it’s done! I do need to take myself to Bunnings to get some more rubber mats so I can block it and that is near the top of my to do list. It would be great to have it done soon, just so I can wear it as the weather gets cooler.
I started my 2nd Jaywalker sock while we were away and I am well and truly into the foot. I’m still decreasing the gusset as I’ve been busy with other things and it’s pretty much become my travelling project so only gets worked on here and there. I’m kinda at that point where I’m wishing that it was done already, just so I could move on to the next thing which should be finishing off another pair, or at least working on Mr HKWT’s Gimli sock. Why couldn’t God have given us 4 arms? I could get so much more accomplished! Anyway, it’s closer to being finished then to being started and that’s a good thing!
I also finished off the right front of J.J’s Artichaut. I had a migraine last week (reason why I only blogged once last week, I can only do so much when my head is throbbing) so took the opportunity to sleep and knit whilst Mr HKWT did everything else. It’s so nice that now I only have one side and the bottom edge to finish off but I’m going to have to find the motivation to do that. I’ve come to the conclusion that the Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 4 ply is not a good yarn for anything beyond baby clothing. (Correct me if I’m wrong, I’m not claiming to be the next Clara Parkes) I think the yarn is plied rather loosely, making the yarn very lofty, airy and soft, but also making it rather stretchy/ elastic. It’s beautiful on the skin but the weight of larger garments and the elasticity of the yarn don’t mix. M.I.A wore her Artichaut a few weekends ago and it’s already losing it’s shape and falling off her shoulders. I guess it doesn’t help that she’s a bit rough with her clothes (she’s a very active 7yo who likes to pick up her baby sister) but still, I would have thought that it would survive better than that. As a result M.I.A took of the Artichaut before we went out and I’m not sure if she’ll be very keen to wear it again any time soon. I’ve already decided that I’ll knit Sunny’s Petit Artichaut out of something else, just not sure what yet. (I just google translated Artichaut from French to English…… it means Artichoke…….. mmmmkay 😯 )
The first Hopsalots slipper out of that lovely hot pink Nundle yarn I bought while we were away has been started and finished – well at least the knitting part. I still have to knit the ears, felt the slipper and then ears, let it dry and then attach the ears, then do the 2nd slipper. But the knitting is done 😀 . OH MY WORD! The 8ply (DK weight) Nundle 100% Australian yarn is to die for! It is so incredibly soft, smooth and a dream to work with! I love it! I tried the unfelted slipper on my foot and it was so lovely and soft and warm. I can’t wait for these to be finished. They’ll be my luxury slippers, for when I’m sitting around spending my afternoon knitting, or reading (yeah, like that happens very often. Oh well I can dream). I will definitely be buying yarn from Nundle again!
Aside from some swatching, I have cast on and knitted the first 4 rows of Sempervivum. I will be totally honest with all of you and say that I’m totally disappointed with Brooklyn Tweed Loft. But I think I’ll save the reason why for my next post. I will soldier on with the project considering that I bought all the yarn for it and I’m dying to make Sempervivum but I doubt I’ll be buying Loft again. I’ve been looking at the Rock Island (another gorgeous Jared Flood design – see I have nothing against the designer, just the yarn) and I have decided that I will be knitting that out of something from Skein in all likelihood. On the upside, if I hadn’t have bought it I would have gone on wondering what it was like. Well, now I know. Fingers crossed the finished object looks great
Here in the Have Knitting household it’s school holidays and it’s raining today. So, better tear myself away from all of you lovely people and get back to entertaining and feeding the troops (I’m sure they eat more when they’re all home).
What’s your favourite season?
PS. There is now a facebook page. If you’re on facebook please swing by and “Like” me 😀
On our way home from Toowoomba and the very epic Easterfest, we had a few adventures 😉
The first was finding a crazy dinosaur on the side of the road. I can’t remember what small little town it was but we decided to stop the car, turn around and all get out for a few photos 😀
Secondly, we visited the Nundle Woollen Mill. Nundle is a small little country town about an hour out of Tamworth (think Golden Guitar and Keith Urban) and about 5 hours drive from Sydney. I was positively beside myself with glee at this little adventure and couldn’t wait to get there.
The mill itself is set back from the road a bit and there is off road parking, however Nundle is such a quiet town that parking on the street is no drama. Outside is a lovely place to picnic, there are a few tables around and some trees to shelter under away from the hot Australian sun.
Inside is knitters heaven! When you walk in the door you are immediately in the shop. On the left hand side is yarn, lots and lots of Nundle yarn that has been spun on the premises (and possibly some Noro). There are lots of colours to choose from and a few different weights and blends. There was also a beautiful display of Art Viva knitting needles, made from Tasmanian oak in Tasmania (ok, they were arranged in a tin bucket but that doesn’t sound as nice “display”)
The night before we went to Nundle I sat with my phone trying to decide on what pattern to buy yarn for, I was thinking of knitting up a cardigan, but when I got to the mill I realised that I would need around 1000 yards of yarn and that seemed to be a bit too much for my bank balance. So I settled on the Hopsalots slippers by Tiny Owl Knits. I came across this pattern a week or so before we left on our adventure and was totally in love with the idea of knitting and then felting slippers – something that I haven’t tried before. The only thing that concerned me that there was no mobile phone coverage in Nundle and I couldn’t access ravelry to find out how much yardage I needed.
On the right hand side of the store were a range of clothes, socks, locally knit scarves – I didn’t pay a great deal of attention to these as I was there for the yarn, not the already made goods. At the back of the store was a door that lead through to mill viewing area. Essentially the mill is a 2 storey building, with the shop and the viewing area both being on the top floor. Unfortunately I think everyone was out at lunch so I didn’t get to see the mill in action, BUT just seeing the machinery pretty much put my excitement levels into overdrive and I almost cried (I’m an emotional being). There was also more yarn, a lounge to relax (and possibly knit) on, more clothing items, Ugg boots, lots of different books for both knitting and crochet, and a basket on a table full of beautiful ready to spin braids that have been dyed locally.
After settling the kids down outside for lunch (they were going a little silly in the mill) I went back in to make a decision about my purchases. That wasn’t easy. In the end I settled on 4 balls of the 100% Merino 8ply in hot pink, perfect for felting (and if you’re wondering, my guess about yardage was spot on 😀 ). When I got to the counter I asked the lady a few questions, trying to suss out if the yarn was completely 100% Australian, and happily it is (the ball band even has the Australian Made symbol on it). Although that’s not true of all the yarns available from Nundle, it was for this one and I walked out of the store so happy to not only be supporting the Nundle Woollen Mill, but supporting the Victorian processing plant and the hard working Aussie wool growers.
By the time I had finished my rather large family had moved from under the tree where they were enjoying their lunch to the playground that sits just to the side of the mill. For such a small town it was one of the best playgrounds I have come across, with a cubby house, slide, swing set, and other various climbing on and over things. It was great and the kids were having such a ball, it was hard to get them back in the car.
The entire playground had a farm/ yarn theme, which for a fibre enthusiast left me wanting to play too. Above and beyond all the sheepy and farm inspired equipment, there was one thing that stood out from the rest…
A swing set, made of knitting needles and yarn :p
Wish I could have one in my backyard!
Have you ever seen a knitting themed playground? If so, where? I’d love to see it – even if they are only pictures 😀 .
I bought some Kauni yarn in a very vibrant turquoise, online of course from Scandinavian Knitting Design. I had originally earmarked it for Kate Davies (Get Off My) Cloud hoodie. I guesstimated how much I would need and as the Kauni comes in big 600m balls I bought 2, thinking that 1200m of yarn would be more than enough for the project. The yarn arrived yesterday, I purchased the pattern and printed it out……. there isn’t enough yarn 😦 . Well, that’s not entirely true, there is enough, but considering the length of the original project is 16 inches and I’m going to need at least another 5 inches in length I think I’d be pushing it to make it work.
Enter stressed, anxious and somewhat panicky Christy. What was I going to do, what was I going to knit? I considered leaving off the hood, even leaving the finished project at 16 inches. But I know I wouldn’t be happy with the end product if I did either of those things. So I went hunting around and found the Plain and Simple Pullover by Veera Valimaki (the same designer behind the very popular Color Affection Shawl). It takes a minimum of 1094 yards to knit the small size and the length is only fractionally shorter than what I would want. Considering that it’s meant to be layered, I don’t think it’s going to matter if I knit it to size as I can wear a longer t shirt underneath. Plus it’s free, what’s there not to love about that?
I think I’m happy with that decision. I think it will be a great knit and a great way to ease myself back into doing larger scale projects. I haven’t knitted any adult sized jumpers/ cardigans for a very long time, simply because I have had too many failures. I don’t want to fail at this type of project again!
Early last week I came down with a cold, which left me feeling tired and achy for a few days. I didn’t want to knit but I did want to knit. It was strange, but the best way to describe it is that even my fingers were sore, so the thought of making them work was off putting, but my heart wanted to keep at it. I looked around for something easy to knit, something with a simple pattern and larger needles, something that I didn’t have to think too much about and something that wasn’t tiny 1×1 ribbing. Millrace it was! I’ve worked so diligently on that project for the last week that I’m almost up to the final chart (and when I say almost, it’s only a couple of rows away). I’m so happy with that! The project that felt like it was never going to end is almost complete!!!!
When I pulled it out of my knitting bag last week all of a sudden I loved the colour. Nice and bold. It’ll be a great pop of colour during the cold dark days of winter.
By Friday last week I was itching to do some baking, it’s been a while since I’ve baked anything beyond a packet cake mix. I remembered a blog post from Raspberri Cupcakes of cookies made from 3 ingredients – a tin of sweetened condensed milk, some flour, and some butter. That seemed easy enough, so I whipped up a batch, adding a 200g bag of milk choc chips to half the dough, and rolling the other half in sprinkles (ok, it wasn’t quite half and half, there are definitely more choc chip cookies then sprinkly ones). They’re not too bad, more importantly, they’re super simple and the kids loved them! I used about 1/2 of the dough (there I go guesstimating again and I’m probably wrong) and I froze the rest to use later. It will definitely be a recipe that I turn to again and again, just for the sheer simplicity and ease of it. Although next time I might add some brown sugar and vanilla extract, they’re not as sweet as I would like them (says the lady that still eats fairy bread sandwiches for lunch on occasion 😉 ).
Well, that’s it from me until sometime next week. I hope you all have a wonderful Easter, however you celebrate it. I can’t wait to share with you what I get up too 😀