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 😀

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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?

Squee!

Right!  This should be a pretty quick post.  Not much has happened in the last week.  Unfortunately I’ve had a week full of sick little people and my world has revolved around them.

I finished my first Kai-Mei

I’m really really happy with it and I know that once I have a complete pair it’s going to look fab!  I ended up following the instructions rather than trying to get the lace pattern to continue on the bias.  Maybe I’ll modifiy it the next time I knit a pair (because I will be knitting this again!).  The fit is quite comfortable on my foot, almost loose, which concerns me as the other socks I’ve knitted are a fair bit tighter.  I’m hoping I don’t have any issues with this stretching or growing once I’ve washed it.  Oh well, what can I do?

Work has continued on Artichaut but I’ve been having a little bit of trouble with it (knitting in the dark, knitting whilst nursing a baby, knitting with sick children constantly distracting me = lots and lots of mistakes).  I’ve reknit the same part several times and it’s been driving me a little bit crazy.  I’m almost ready to throw the thing in time out and leave it there permanently.  I love the pattern but I don’t love it in the BWM yarn.  The yarn is rather loosely plied so I keep splitting the stitches which is frustrating me no end.  Plus the seed stitch pattern looks a little messy.  I’m hoping that once it’s washed the stitches will relax a little bit and it will stop looking so messy.  Otherwise I won’t be using the seed stitch pattern on the next one.

The Sunlight Shawl for Sad People has become my go to project for mindless knitting.  I won’t bore you with a photo as it doesn’t look much different to the last time, just bigger.  It’s not very big but I’m already looking at it wondering if I’ll ever finish it (not because I’m bored with it, but because I want to be knitting something else).  I’ve also pulled out Millrace and the 2nd skein of Finch so I can finish that.  I’m determined to get it done so I can start Aestlight (I think I’ll start with that shawl and then move on to Sempervivum).

Speaking of which, I’ve got the yarn for the Birds Nest Lace.  I’m using Yarn Love’s Elizabeth Bennet in Banana (Light).

As always, the pic isn’t very good.  I really should upgrade my camera.  One day.  Anyway, I’m hoping it works, it really does make the After The Storm look brighter.  I guess we’ll see once I’ve knitted it up.

Also, new to my ever growing stash is a skein of hand dyed sock yarn from an Aussie Dyer I found on etsy, Half Baked, and we all know how I feel about supporting Aussie, I didn’t think twice about buying a skein.  Danielle predominantly sells roving for spinning but she does have a few skeins of yarn in the shop.  Up until about half an hour ago she wasn’t even listed in the ravelry database, I fixed that.  If you’re an Aussie reading this, have a look at her shop.  Let’s get behind supporting our indie dying/ spinning/ designing industry!  (I’ll hop off my soap box now).

The picture doesn’t do it justice.  It’s a lovely semi solid, almost variegated in shades of minty green.  I’m planning on knitting Cookie A’s Pomatomus socks with it.  It was a toss up between an almost solid plum and the green.  The green won out (obviously) simply because I love how variegated/ semi solid colours works up in socks, adding interest and depth.  If I wanted plain socks I’d go to Big W :p.

Last but not least I have another ball of Lollipop Yarns in Hootenanny.  Oh my goodness I love this yarn!  It is so bright and cheerful, it makes me happy just looking at it.  I have a design in my head for this beautiful ball of happiness, something simple so as to not detract from the gorgeous stripey colours but will still add a bit of interest to the sock.  I’ve started swatching and playing around with different patterns.  Not sure when I’ll find time to do it all……. but if I don’t try I’ll always be wondering “what if?”.

Joan, the genius behind Lollipop Yarns, is the nicest person.  The only time I managed to catch one of her shop updates she was sold out in minutes.  So this time I didn’t even bother waiting for a shop update, I just messaged her and after a lovely conversation and timing the custom order so we were both online at the same time (so no one else would snag it – I can’t believe people would steal other peoples custom orders :/ ) I got a ball of the above yarny goodness.  It is so worth the wait, buying yarn from her.  Every box is a delight to open.

Well, that’s it from me for another week.  I’ve just discovered yet another mistake in Artichaut so I’ll have to rip back a couple of rows to fix that.  If I’m lucky the next time I blog it will be finished (here’s hoping)!  Either that or it will find it’s way into the dark recesses of the cupboard never to be seen again!

The postie dropped off my Book Depository parcel this morning – Wildwood.  Hopefully I’ll get some reading done this weekend, in amongst the knitting.  What have you got planned?

‘Til next time

Christy

 

Gold!

The kids were talking about the Olympics the other night and my M.I.A (6) says “I’m going for Australia and Queanbeyan“.  She’s so funny!  (For those of you that aren’t Australian, Queanbeyan is a large town outside of Canberra).  We haven’t watched much of the games this year but when we do there is a lot of loud cheering for anyone representing Australia.

Saturday was a glorious day up here in the Blue Mountains.  It’s still winter and although the wind was on the chilly side the sunshine was glorious.  I spent sometime enjoying it with my kids.

 

And sometime enjoying it with my knitting

I swatched Artichaut which was a nice change from Millrace (even if it was just stocking stitch).  I think it was more that I could just sit and knit without having to think about it which is what I enjoyed.  Turns out that to get gauge I need to go up 2 needle sizes.  I like the fabric, it’s nice and light and I think that it will make a beautiful light cardigan for those cooler spring/ summer/ autumn days to come.  Believe me, I am looking forward to that warmer weather!

I’m almost through my first skein of the Finch I’m using for Millrace and I’m also up to the decreases.  I’ve decided to do another round of the pattern.  I have more than enough yarn and I’m also tall so another round isn’t going to hurt (in fact, it’s probably best).

Well, that’s it for me today.  Short and sweet :p

Happy Knitting

Christy

Confessions of an Amateur Knitter

The Case of the Missing Camera Cable

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged as I lost the cable for the camera/pc and I haven’t been able to upload any pics.  I know it’s not a necessity to have pics on my blog but it’s nice to actually see the projects that I’m talking about.  Anyway, after tearing apart the lounge room and dining room in search of this blasted cable I happened to be looking behind the pc for some odd reason on Mother’s Day and lo and behold, there it was, tangled up with the pc wires.  I can’t believe it took me that long to find it, I can’t believe that it was actually behind the pc especially considering that I’m pretty sure I’d already looked there.  Oh well, it’s been found and I can go back to uploading pics of my current projects.

Mother’s Day Socks AKA The Most Boring Sock Pattern in the World!

I knitted my MIL a pair of plain ribbed socks from Cleckheaton’s book “Hand Knits to Wrap and Adorn”.  It was a very easy pattern and I would

The Most Boring Sock Pattern in the World

Socks knitted for my Mother In Law

certainly recommend it as a beginners sock pattern, simply because it is easy, knitted in 8ply (DK) yarn on 3.75mm needles.  No fine yarn and fiddly thin needles to deal with.  The heel flap is short and straight forward.  There’s lots of room for playing with the pattern too – for example I changed the stockinette heel flap for a slip stitch one.  It would be easy to change the ribbing or add a simple cable without too much hassle.  I also modified the pattern for magic loop (my preferred method of sock knitting) and that worked out a treat too.  So why have I doomed these to being boring?  Simply because it was!  It was a completely brainless pattern, so simple I probably could have done it in my sleep if wanted :p and I had to force myself to work on them.  I prefer more of a challenge and certainly more texture and interest then just a plain rib, especially in socks.  But anyway, they were simple enough for a gift and I hope my MIL likes them.

A Confession

I’ve been knitting for just over a decade and recently I’ve prided myself on being a relatively advanced knitter.  I’ve tried my hand at socks; I’ve just started getting into lace; I’ve been blocking; working really hard on my seaming technique (instead of the constant avoidance or dodgy job); I can do kitchener stitch successfully without needing to sit in front of the pc; I’ve been good and worked at finishing my projects (rather than shoving them to the side and intentionally forgetting them); I’ve even started to listen to knitting podcasts (release the inner knitting maven!).  I figured that I was getting pretty good at it all and then it all fell down around my knees.  Not that I’m a bad knitter, I’m just not as good as I thought I was.  For starters I’ve never knitted a gauge swatch, I’ve never seen the point.  I’ve been that knitter that just jumps straight in, throwing caution – and her gauge – to the wind.  Even my closest knitting friend thinks it’s a waste of time to knit a swatch, but now I have come to see how blind we have been.  It’s arrogant to think I can achieve the correct gauge just by willing it to be right.  Or that the difference between my gauge and the pattern gauge means very little and will have very little impact on the overall finished object.  I have now seen the light AND – despite the desperate desire to jump straight into every project – I will take the time to swatch and wash before I start.

Yarn Love’s Elizabeth Bennet in Sweet Tangerine

Funnily enough I tried swatching for the Manolo socks that are next in my queue and I did a dodgy job of it.  I don’t like the idea of using yarn unnecessarily and so, determined to make sure I had 2 full skeins of yarn I cast on only enough stitches for the gauge swatch, knitted the right number of rows, then – keeping the swatch on the needles – tried measuring with my mother’s old sewers measuring tape (which I’m sure is incorrect considering how old it is and how much it’s been played with over the decades).  I came up an inch short, I was devastated!  An inch short, a whole inch.  Not just a little bit, not just a few millimetres but an entire inch!!!!  I took myself to my LYS and told the owner my dilemma, hoping for a solution, she looked at me completely horrified.  I walked out without a solution and a 3mm circ to knit socks on.  It felt WRONG and I felt anxious and disheartened!  Socks are meant to be knitted on thin needles and I was sure that 3mm needles were just too thick – there had to be another answer!  So I went searching for a better one, I posted pretty much the same question on rav twice, just worded differently.  All I can say is that those women were far more helpful and supportive then my LYS owner (who is a wonderful woman).  The 3 things that came out of those rav responses were

  1. You can teach yourself to knit looser or tighter
  2. Individual gauge is individual gauge and there is no right or wrong and everyone is different – it’s just a case of playing around and finding what suits you best.
  3. Swatch, Swatch, SWATCH and do it right!

After those conclusions I felt much better and more determined to make sure that I find out my gauge and making sure that it closely matches the pattern gauge – regardless of needle size.  I have been working very hard on knitting with a lighter hand as I’m sure I’m quite a tight knitter (just not as tight as I first thought I was) and making sure that I can move those needles fairly easily up and down my needles.  When I first taught myself to knit I used to break needles and I could barely move the stitches simply because my tension was so tight :/.  I have come a long way since those days and I know I am continuing to improve :D.

Current Projects

I currently have Citron on the needles.  I’m about half way through and loving it but it’s a little fiddly as the Malabrigo Lace keeps snagging on my calloused fingers (see what happens when you knit too tight or even too much for that matter :p?).  I’m just about to finish the second Sunday Swing sock (aka The Lots of Mistakes Socks :p), by the time I have posted this they should be done.  Next will be swatching for several different

Blocking Sunday Swing Socks

patterns and then away I will go again, this time with correct sizing, looser stitches, and a better understanding of the knitting process :D.  I’ve also cast on Manolo socks by Yarnissima, my first pair of toe ups and they’re looking pretty good in Yarn Love’s Elizabeth Bennet, Colourway – Sweet Tangerine.  I’m cabling without a needle for the most part, the centre part of the cabling is a little tight (I think that’s just the nature of the pattern and not my technique) and so I’m having to use the aid of my cable needle for that bit.  It’s been a bit exciting as I’ve had to change the pattern to accomodate my foot length (I don’t have a particularly long foot but it’s longer than what the pattern allows for), so my maths resistant mind was put to work and I figured out the formula (with some help from some lovely Ravellers).  My only concern is that I may not have enough yarn but I guess we’ll see and deal with it when I cross that bridge.

Wearing Trillian (and my very pregnant belly) up at the 3 Sisters in Katoomba

Finally, I got some photos of me wearing the Trillian Shawl, which I am loving!  I’m always getting complements on it when I’m out and about.  I’m really happy with it and I’m looking forward to knitting something else from the Hitchhiker ebook.

Don’t forget you can find me on Ravelry and see more of my crazy knitting adventures there 😀