365 and Counting

Hello Kneeps*

Well, today is my last post for the Knitting and Crochet Blog Weeeeeeeeeek (seeing as it’s taken me a lot longer than a week to write, I thought that is was only fair that I made it a very long “week” 😛 ).  The final challenge is to blog about where I would like to be this time next year in terms of my crafting.  It’s taken me a long time to figure out how to write this.  Not because I don’t know where I want to be but because my own self doubt got in the way of writing something positive.  So I am taking the plunge (while I’m feeling good about it all) and baring my knitting hopes and dreams with you all and I hope that you will keep me accountable to this.

For a while know I’ve been keeping a sketch book close by to jot down/ sketch any original pattern ideas I have, these vary from kids through to adults; socks through to jumpers.  I’ve even gone so far as to chart out some of the different designs, and I’ve cast on 1 or 2, only to rip it out again a few rows later.  I’m kind of scared, firstly because I really don’t know what I’m doing and I struggle with the concept of making “mistakes” and not making something perfect the first time.  Secondly, I’m scared that I’ll knit something up and be really proud of it only to find out later that everyone else thinks is ugly.  Thirdly, I really really don’t know what I’m doing (beyond the knitting bit) and that freaks me out a fair bit.  Maths was never my strong point at school and despite the fact that I know how to use a calculator and have one handy, I still avoid anything to do with maths as a general rule (says the mum with school aged children who bring maths homework home 😕 )

My goal for the next year is that I actually get over myself and turn my sketches into tangible items with real patterns available for those that want them.  Realistically, I know that not everyone is going to like my particular style and you know what?  That’s fine.  But I also know that there must be people out there that will like what I design.  All I need to do is start – or more knittingly, cast on 😛

My 2nd goal for the next year is to start dying yarn.  I’m really keen to give it a go.  Once again, colour aesthetics differ from person to person, just like design.  There are some indie dyers out there whose work is good, but not my style.  I’m sure that there will be people that love my colourways and some that don’t but until I give it a go I’m never going to know what I can accomplish.  And if I bomb out, well, someone’s going to be getting a very ugly multi-coloured Beekeepers Quilt for Christmas 😛 .

So, that’s it.  Putting it out there is a good thing for me (despite the terror I feel at baring my knitterly soul to you all), it means that if I don’t do it, everyone will know.  Really, I don’t want to come to this time next year and find myself having to make excuses as to why I didn’t give it a good shot, it’s certainly not an example that I want to be setting for my kids.

I hope you have enjoyed the last 7 posts, some of them have certainly been very different to what I normally write.  I’ve enjoyed the challenge and having to think outside of my usual box and I’m certainly looking forward to doing it all over again next year.

*Kneeps = knitting people 😛 (“Creeps” – crafting people – just didn’t seem right 😉 )

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

Inspirated

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

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

latvian

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

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

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

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

Lily

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

socks

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

sisters

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

princess

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

autumn

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

darkies

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

What has brought you joy this week?

See you soon

Christy

 

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?

You Have to Start Somewhere

Shortly after I bought my Sunny Girl home I decided I wanted to knit her a hat (actually I’d thought about it before she arrived but put it off as I couldn’t find anything neutral enough to suit my tastes).  I happened to come across Kate Oates Math for Hats book after listening to a podcast that referenced her designs.  After buying it and reading it through I thought to myself (in my sleep deprived brain addled state) I can do that and proceeded to cast on.  After several false starts I finally got it going (now I can say that I understand negative and positive ease!) and was on a roll up until I reached the decreases and that’s where I faltered.  I’ve only ever followed patterns, I’ve never really differed from the pattern and I’ve never really given a great deal of thought as to why the designer did that particular thing there.  For the life of me I couldn’t figure out what the Math for Hat book was telling me to do and even though I asked on ravelry about it I still didn’t quite get it.  So the unfinished, self designed hat sat neglected in my project bag.  I felt so stupid, I’ve never been good with maths and thought that it was this lack of math loving skills that was letting me down.

That is until this weekend just gone.  I looked at the weather forecast and saw that it was about to get a whole lot colder and I thought to myself, I have to finish that hat for my baby!  The last thing we need is for her to get sick (plus I hated the thought of letting that yarn go to waste).  So, I gathered my courage, plucked it out of my project bag and dived back in.

Well, what do you know, most of the decreasing process is about trial and error and making something that suits my tastes.  I’m not entirely happy with the finished project but I can say that I “designed” it myself and I know where I need to make improvements for next time.

It’s not the hat that I envisioned in my head but that’s ok.  For my first go at not following a written pattern it’s not bad.

Since finishing the hat I’ve cast on another Anabelle Babe Cardigan in the same purple as Sunny’s little beanie.  It’s knitted from the top down and I’m only putting in 3 button holes for this one.  The pattern calls for a sport weight/ 5 ply yarn on 3.75mm needles, however I’m using a 4ply on 4mm needles.  I’m pretty sure it will work out fine.  I’m already passt the sleeve separation and am making good progress on the body.  Fingers crossed it’s finished in a few days and I can get on with my next project 🙂

Do you like the little pink teapot and tea cup stitch markers?  They’re from StephCuddles on etsy and I would definitely describe them as bling for knitting :p.  I bought them with some money I had left over from my birthday.  They’re pretty heavy but they’re definitely cute.  My 2yo likes to play with them and pretend he’s making himself some tea :p.

Well, that’s it from me today.

Christy