5 Things

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A Bazillion Ends

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 ūüėõ . ¬†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!

Tangled

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.

Christy

The BEST Swing Set in the World

cow

On our way home from Toowoomba and the very epic Easterfest, we had a few adventures ūüėČ

dino

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 ūüėÄ

nundle

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.

mill outside

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.

lunch

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 ūüėÄ ). ¬†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.

goodies

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.

cubby

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…

needle

 

A swing set, made of knitting needles and yarn :p

swing

 

Wish I could have one in my backyard!

If you’re ever in Tamworth, make sure you take a trip out to Nundle, it’s totally worth it.

Have you ever seen a knitting themed playground? ¬†If so, where? ¬†I’d love to see it – even if they are only pictures ūüėÄ .

Christy

Route 86

strangling

About a month ago the local Christian radio station that we listen to, Hope 103.2, was running a competition for tickets to Easterfest, Toowoomba. ¬†Easterfest is a Christian music festival that’s held in Toowoomba, Queensland and has been going for the last 13 years. ¬†I registered my name, not thinking that I would win. ¬†I wrote on the cow blackboard (yes, I have a blackboard in the shape of a cow) that is hung near our kitchen what I needed to say just in case the radio station rang me. ¬†I never thought that I’d win.

Easterfest 2013 005

Day 1 of the competition, I listened as I organised my kids out the door, no phone call.

Easterfest 2013 009

Day 2 of the competition, the older 3 had just left for school and G was nagging me to put the tv on. ¬†I walked over to the radio to turn it off and they had just started the call out. ¬†The phone rang on the radio and my heart dropped a little in disappointment, the phone continued to ring and eventually the broadcasters cut the call and started on call #2. ¬†Again, the phone rang out and as the presenters were discussing the possibility of no one answering their phones that morning, my phone began to ring. ¬†I quickly picked up the phone and said very timidly (just in case it was someone else) “Hope 103.2 send me to Easterfest”. ¬†I instantly heard cheering on the other end of the line. ¬†I won, I won a family pass to Easterfest 2013 with a premium upgrade. ¬†I honestly couldn’t believe it!

flat

The next few hours were spent in a flurry of activity as I tried desperately to find¬†accommodation for a family of 7¬†in the already packed to the rafters city of Toowoomba. ¬†Finally – after a few tears – found accommodation in Postman’s Ridge, about a 15 minute drive out of Toowoomba, down in the Lockyer Valley (yeah, you read right, the place that had all that flooding, although I didn’t realise that until we were there). ¬†I was quite hesitant when I rang Six Mile Country, the camping ground that amazingly enough had cabins big enough for my family, I wasn’t expecting them to have any spots left, so I was beyond pleasantly surprised when she said that the 8 berth cabin was available. ¬†And the price, oh my, so affordable, especially in comparison to what we would have paid if we’d stayed in a motel. ¬†After that it was easy to find accommodation on the road to and from Toowoomba – for those playing along at home, it’s about a 12 hour trip from the Blue Mountains in NSW (where I am) to Toowoomba, QLD (where we were going). ¬†I guess if the kids were older we could probably have done the trip in 1 day (and to my darling husband, I don’t think I will be ever up for trying that!) but 5 -6 hours in the car is not fun, especially for the kids. ¬†Plus with all the toilet and food stops it generally ends up being a lot longer than what we expect.

Easterfest 2013 018

It wasn’t until the week before we were supposed to leave it hit me that we were going away for almost a full week and then the pressure was on to get all the washing done, dry and folded, ready to pack. ¬†What I accomplished in that week still astounds me, especially considering that I still managed to blog and get some knitting done in that time :p .

eyes

There were moments on our journey that we both wondered what we were up to (me more than Mr HKWT, seeing as I won the tickets and he was only along for the ride) especially once we got to the camp ground.  There were only 2 showers and 2 toilets for all the people camping, and while that was fine on Thursday night/ Good Friday morning, by the time Friday afternoon rolled around and all the other guests had arrived, that was a lot of people using only a few facilities.  And folks, this may come as a surprise to all of you, but I am no camper!  I found the whole sharing amenities a little confronting Рbut for the sake of my personal hygiene I did get over it :p .

elmo

But in the end it was more than worth it and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. ¬†The people in the caravan/ tent set up across from us were also going to Easterfest and their daughters played so nicely with my kids. ¬†They were also kind enough to lend us their GPS so we could find Queens Park (which really wasn’t that difficult to find) and told us where the “secret” parking was – aka free parking.

spider

There was a dedicated kids programme run by Scripture Union Queensland. ¬†While Mr HKWT and I were rather tied to that particular area due to needing to supervise our children, the kids had a ball. ¬†There was phenomenal face painting, a jumping castle thingy, a ball pit, a petting zoo full of little farm animals including the cutest tiny little piglets, games, activities galore, a sand pit, colouring in, a circus school – not once did I hear the word “bored” in the whole 3 days. ¬†The kids had a blast! ¬†And Mr HKWT and I did manage to get out individually to see some of the other things that were happening around Easterfest, plus drink some of the best coffee I have ever EVER tasted!

flowers

Saturday was the epoch of the weekend for me and will probably go down in history as one of the best days of my life! ¬†In an amazing twist of fate (sometimes having kids has it’s bonuses beyond the love, cuddles and kisses) I managed to not only meet the guys from NewWorldSon but I also had my picture taken with them, all the while listening to Audio Adrenaline, who were just over the fence, sound check. ¬†Then I had my Audio Adrenaline cd – Under Dog – signed by Audio A. ¬†That cd is now priceless! ¬†To top off an awesome day, Saturday night was spent singing and grooving along at the Audio Adrenaline concert headed up by their new front man, K Max, originally from DC Talk. ¬†E. P. I. C! ¬†Now I know the vast majority of you will be wondering who I’m talking about and if you ever walked past any of these fellas you wouldn’t even bat an eyelid and that’s ok. ¬†It was my epoch, my day to savour, my weekend to be forever thankful for, a memory that will always bring a smile to my face (especially after being told by 2 of the artists that I admire so deeply that I was wearing a cool t shirt) – and yes, I’m still smiling now, almost a full week later at the joy that weekend bought me.

NWSI’m the one in the middle that’s smiling so hard her face is about to explode :p

What did you get up to over Easter?

Christy ūüėÄ

I Was…. Then I Wasn’t

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 ūüė¶ . 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!!!!

Millrace

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.

Biscuit tower

¬†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¬†ūüėČ ).

3 Cheeky Monkeys

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 ūüėÄ

Take care

Christy

xo

Aestlight

So, I’ve finally had a chance to wear my Aestlight.

Saturday at Gloria Park 025

I love it!

When we went to the park on Saturday to take some pics it was pretty warm, too warm to be wrapped up in wool anyway.  So we just snapped a couple of pics before we left Рnot much of a photo shoot, but I hope it shows you just how pretty it turned out.

Aestlight

The only thing that I would change, if I could travel back in time and tell myself what mistakes not to make, is to make the larger version. ¬†I could have gotten away with it, especially considering how much yarn I have left over. ¬†But I didn’t think of that at the time, and I thought the large one would be too large. ¬†I don’t know, it’s smaller than I thought it would be, but maybe I’m considerably taller than Gudrun Johnson so it looks bigger on her ūüėē . ¬†Hmmmmm….. maybe they should put the models measurements on patterns so you can gauge what it’s going to look like on you ūüėē ¬†What do you think?

G

The kids had a blast at the park, as always.  It can be such an effort to get all 7 of us out of the house, but I think Mr HKWT and I forget how easy it is once we get to the park, no complaints of being bored, no demands to be entertained.  Just an hour or more of watching the kids enjoy themselves running off all that energy.

Mia

It’s Autumn now and I can feel the change of season. ¬†The days are getting shorter and it won’t be long before daylight savings and those light filled evenings are over. ¬†It makes me sad. ¬†I don’t like winter, I don’t like short days, I don’t even like the cold (says the mad knitter). ¬†It always seems that winter is far longer than summer, and I will miss summer, the hot days, the long evenings, the ice blocks and water guns, the long light filled evenings, the sunsets, the sun dresses and skirts, my thongs, the washing drying off in a few hours. ¬†Everything. ¬†I know it will come again, but it’s too far away ūüė¶ (now I’m sounding like my kids waiting for their birthdays to come around again ūüėõ ).

83b6219e-e518-4cfd-8fe1-797534097ad9

But at least with Winter approaching I’ll have a chance to wrap myself in all that knitted goodness I’ve been working so hard on! ¬†Speaking of which, the socks I’ve been “designing” have been ripped back about 3 times now. ¬†It’s frustrating and demoralising (and a lesson to be learned in using that grid pad I bought) and I keep wondering why I’m putting myself through this and is it really worth it? ¬†Do all designers have this same issue? ¬†Or is it just me (because if it is I think I’ll give up now)? ¬†I like to think that for as many great new working designs that each designer puts out, there are at least 2 that didn’t work out the way it was planned – or am I totally wrong and great designers are born, not made? ¬†I know that it’s hard work, this designing caper, and maybe it’s something that I’m going to have to really push at in order to succeed. ¬†It’s a shame that my automatic reaction to this is to give up and walk away before I’ve even really started. ¬†Maybe 2013 should be the year of positive self talk.

The Gimli socks are a slow work in progress. ¬†And I mean slow! ¬†I was looking at them the other day thinking that I must have at least an inch of the cuff already, I measured it and was way of (as in there wasn’t enough). ¬†The cuff is supposed to 1.5″ and I have thought about reducing it to just 1″ just because it’s so time consuming and a pain in the butt! ¬†However, considering that they are for my husband I think a longer cuff is probably a bit more masculine, so I’ll tough it out!

Just over a week ago I discovered gradient yarn.  It started a little bit of a fascination and I spent a while trawling through etsy looking at all the different colours.  I came close to buying some, but I thought better of it and ended up doing a google search for Australian hand dyed gradient yarn.  I came across the House of Yarn in South Australia.  Not only is it a functioning yarn shop, both online and a physical store front, they also dye their own yarn and they have gradients.

Peony

So the above (I don’t know what I was thinking when I took that photo) is 4 ply/ fingering weight sock yarn in the Peony colourway. ¬†It’s a 75/ 25% merino nylon blend and at 400m I’m pretty sure it’s going to make an awesome looking pair of socks. ¬†In fact, I’m already planning on making the Om Shanti socks with them. ¬†When it comes to Australian indie dyers, I don’t generally think twice about buying, I love supporting Aussie made ūüėÄ .

Well, that’s it from me for today. ¬†I have a little girl home with an ear ache. ¬†It’s always nice to have an extra set of arms around that are willing to help.

Do you know of any good indie Aussie dyers? ¬†Post them here and share the love ūüėÄ

See you soon

Christy