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 – not 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 😕 .  Hmmmmm….. maybe they should put the models measurements on patterns so you can gauge what it’s going to look like on you 😕  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 😦 (now I’m sounding like my kids waiting for their birthdays to come around again 😛 ).

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 😀 .

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 😀

See you soon

Christy

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Restore thy Soul

It has occurred to me recently that in order to be a good mother and wife sometimes I need to put myself first and take care of me.  I will be the first to acknowledge that putting myself first grates against everything that I am.  For the last decade I’ve become well practised at putting my needs aside (although as I write this I’m also aware of how selfish I can be) but because I love my kids and my husband, I need to show myself some love too.  And it’s not always healthy to show that love by buying more yarn or even casting on another project 😛 .  Last weekend I endeavoured to show myself a little love and ventured across the road to my neighbours Stampin’ Up party.  I spent 3 hours without children, 3 hours of talking to other adults without the interruption of my little ones, 3 hours of being creative, and 3 hours of concentrating on a craft other than knitting.

Car card

I had a great deal of fun.  A short while after Mr HKWT and I got married I started making cards, I had a decent assortment of stamps and inks and it wasn’t long after the birth of J.J that I was hooked on scrapbooking.  There’s something really wonderful about choosing pretty coloured papers and embellishments and marrying them together.  It’s a whole different tactile crafting experience that I love and hope to do more of.  I gave up scrapbooking because there were too many little hands leaving little gifts of fingerprints all over my pages, and to be honest I don’t think I could go back to that particular craft.  I’m very particular about how I do my pages and I tend to steer away from bombarding each page with as many photos as possible, so I think if I were to take that up again I’d be 200 years old and still not anywhere close to finishing off an album for my 3rd child 😛 .  But making cards and playing with stamps, now that is something that is a lot like knitting – what insanity is that woman going on about? I hear you say – well, it’s pretty and it’s practical.  I can make a card and give it to someone who needs a little cheering up, far quicker than I can knit them up a shawl (although that is something that I will continue to do).  I can make several cards in a few hours in many different styles and colours, I can’t do that with knitting.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to stray from my first love, I’m just going to have a little hanky panky on the side with card stock and stamps 😉 .

Card 1

This last week saw Aestlight finished.  WOOHOO 😀 !!!!!!  Unfortunately the weather has not been kind and it still remains unblocked.  But it is finished!  I think my stitch count was off at some stage, either on the lace section or in the border, I’m not sure which.  However, I resisted the temptation to rip it back, recount and then start the edging again.  You can’t tell, at least I don’t think you can tell.  I’m happy with it and that’s the main thing considering I’ll be the one wearing it.  I bound off the centre garter stitch triangle with the Banana (light), Elizabeth Bennet yarn I was using from Yarn Love, 2 friends of mine made that suggestion and I’m glad they did (and I’m glad that I listened to them), it looks really good.  I used a traditional Shetland bind off that Chrissy Graham of Snappy Stitches talked about in one of her podcasts.  It’s a really pretty bind off, which I know probably sounds a bit strange, but because the bind off has been done in the contrast yarn you can see it.  Seriously, if you plan on making the Aestlight – or any other shawl that needs a stretchier edge – use this bind off, it’s worth it, and it’s so easy.  I’m finding myself hoping to cast on a pair of toe up socks soon so I can see if the same bind off will work well with the cuff.

Aestlight

In a fit of anxiety and stress I wound up a skein of Loft from Brooklyn Tweed in the Blanket Fort colourway.  As with so many of my online purchases I’m still unsure of the colour.  I’m hoping that once the Sempervivum has been knit up it will look far less like the colour of dryer fluff.  I love the colour believe it or not (there is something about cleaning off the lint filter on my parents tumble dryer that I’ve always enjoyed – yeah I know, I’m weird) but I’m just not sold on it for this particular project.  I’m not so sure what it’s going to look like once it’s finished, it’s such a pretty pattern that I want the finished project to look striking, not a confused mix of purple and grey which is what I think it looks a bit like at the moment.  I love the pictures of Sempervivum on the Brooklyn Tweed website so much that I don’t want to be disappointed with my end project, I feel like that would not only be letting me down but a designer that I admire – not to mention all the hours spent working on the shawl.  I also bought the pattern and OH MY GOODNESS!  This is going to keep me on my toes!  All I can do is give it a go and cross my fingers, arms, legs, and toes that I’m able to grapple my way through it without making too many mistakes.  Wish me luck!

bag 3

The V Junkie socks have had a whole lot of love this past week and I’m happy to report that the short row heel fits my foot wonderfully.  I’m really really happy with that heel construction and plan on using it again and again and again.  Does anyone out there know what the wear on that is like compared to a traditional heel flap?  Hmmmm…….. Anyway, I am through the foot and onto the forefoot part, the pattern stated to end the foot section on row 15 once a certain measurement was reached.  I didn’t do that.  I was a centimetre off the measurement and the pattern repeat is 2cm long (yes, I sat there and measured it like the knitting dork that I am), so I decided that instead of adding an extra centimetre to my sock I was going to start on the forefoot section and add extra rows before the toe decreases if necessary.  I think that’s a good decision.  I just have to remember to make sure I take good notes so I can make the next sock exactly the same, otherwise there could be trouble.

I realised the other day that I have 2 pairs of finished socks and 3 single socks currently, plus 1 on the needles (well 2 if you consider the Pomotamus socks I started a while back but I’m planning on frogging them).  I think it’s time to start on the other socks…… why can’t I grow an extra set of arms just for sock knitting?

bag 2

Last year I got a bee in my bonnet about sewing up a drawstring bag with a boxed out bottom for my sock projects.  Well, after far too long I finally got around to sewing one up.  It’s not perfect but boy am I happy with it!  Not only is it pink, it has those cute little houses on it (reminds me of the Smurfs or some other cute cartoon character), it makes me happy and it’s the perfect size for my current sock project.  It holds my yarn, my extra long circular, the project, the pattern and a small notions tin, with a little bit of room left over (I managed to stuff the Aestlight in there as well on Thursday to take to my craft group).  I am very very happy with it and I’m looking forward to sewing up more in the not too distant future.

bag 1

The next week is a going to be a fun one.  On Tuesday we celebrate not only #1 Son’s 5th birthday but our 13th wedding anniversary.  I’m hoping this year everyone is well  as last year everyone was throwing up 😕 .  What a way to celebrate a wedding anniversary by delivering a baby!  At least that is one anniversary that I’ll never ever forget!!!!!  Or even be able to celebrate without thinking of my son.  J.J is generally so sweet on our anniversary, making sure that we don’t get forgotten in all the birthday festivities.  I really do have the sweetest kids.

Smoochy Kiss

What do you think of the new blog theme?

Have a great week 😀

Christy

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 ♥

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