I ♥ Autumn

Hello lovely people!

g

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!

leaf

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.

leaves

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!plane

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 😀 .

"Wild" Rich Sock

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 😯 )

hops

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).

car

What’s your favourite season?

Christy

PS.  There is now a facebook page.  If you’re on facebook please swing by and “Like” me 😀

The BEST Swing Set in the World

cow

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

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 😀

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 😀 ).  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 😀 .

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 – but 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 😀

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