Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Blog Giveaway Winner!

Okay, so I'm a day late with this.... best of intentions and all!

The winner was picked via a random sequence generated by the Random.Org website, just to be totally fair.

And the winner is....

.... Carla!

I've dropped her an email to let her know.... so if you didn't get one.... it's not you :-P

It's been fun though (as well as a sneaky way to get my blog viewed) and I may do it again sometime so it doesn't hurt to check back now and again. (Though that may me another sneaky way to get views)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

In the Spirit of Christmas

.... and for the sake of karma.... or whatever you'd like to call it!

I announce my own Blog Giveaway!

Being given away is one custom-made handknit item of the winner's choosing from the list below:

  • Beanie-style hat (any size)

  • A pair of socks

  • A pair of shorties (baby or toddler sized)

  • Pack of three cotton dishcloths

To enter, simply leave a comment, and make sure to include your email address.

The fine print:
Winner may choose one of the above items, and give input into fiber choice and colour. However, pattern used to knit it is of my own discretion.
A valid blog and/or email address must be given to enter, so I can contact the winner. However, it will not be used (by me) for any other purposes. Entries close at noon (NZ time, or +13 GMT) on Christmas Eve (24/12/07) One winner will be chosen at random on Christmas Eve (24/12/2007) no later than 7pm. I reserve the right to show off the finished item here at a later date. International entries are welcome.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Quick Knits and Spare Time

No, I still don't have my needles - my original needles - back yet, as the suitcase is still missing and now Air New Zealand have no interest in knowing me.

BUT thanks to the lovely expedited and personal service from Green Beans I have some 4.5mm 30cm and 40cm circular Addi Turbo needles, so I can knit my standard longies / soakers. These are actually slightly different than what I usually use - which is 4.0mm - but I figured, since I didn't have this set yet, if my original needles ever turn up, bonus! and I'll have the extra set.

I've been so glad to get the needles that I've already put them straight to work.

First with the Forest Longies - knitted as part of a swap with a friend for Secret Santa gifts. They're done in the The Wool Company Utiku Multi-dyed "Forest" colourway - which seems to be fairly unique to their retail shop (as opposed to the website). They're a size medium, for a 6 month old boy.
Forest Pants
The Forest longies were started on Thursday morning (in a bout of insomnia) and finished while watching the Friday evening news the next day. So quite a quick knit - but I'm pleased with them! Do really like the way the pooling's worked out in these.

Secondly, some newborn sized longies in Cleckheaton Vintage Hues for Meep, courtesy of World of Warcraft. This morning I started to download the Burning Crusade expansion pack (trial version). In the time I was waiting, I cast on the pants. Approximately 3.5 hours later, I'd finished the bum-portion of the longies, and the download finished, and I ran the installer. Then ran the program. But now I have a major patch to download. So I went back to the longies. I did both legs, the weaving in of ends, and the kitchener stitch at the crotch. Took a photo, uploaded it, put it on Ravelry. And now wrote the blog.
Meep Vintage Hues Longies

The patch download is now at 63%. Perhaps I should work on another pair while waiting!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Murphy's Muses

Quote from the Nov 16th post of The Yarn Harlot:
Luckily, the yarn was cheap, and the knitting is fast, and I think that increases my chances. The muses are buddies with Murphy, and the more time and money you spent, the more you attract their decidedly cruel sense of humour. Maybe if I knit faster...they won't see me go by?

This is the story of my Rosebud sweater. I was inspired to do the sweater, largely, simply because I could. Rather, I wanted to have knit a sweater because I kind of felt like a fraud calling myself a knitter - indeed, even thinking myself reasonably advanced - and not having ever made myself (or any other adult) a sweater. Plus, I continually browse Knitty and am continually inspired, and never do anything about it. Oh, and I'd fallen in love with a particular yarn, and knitting a sweater is about as close to marriage to a yarn as you can get. Plus it's a good excuse to completely blow the yarn budget. ("But honey.... it's for the sweater!")

My original goal with the sweater was to have it finished in time to wear it for the late autumn / early winter season that I would be in whilst visiting California this year. I left on the 18th of November. At that point, I had the body of the sweater completely finished. I had one sleeve finished, and the other sleeve was started. Simple, I thought. I'd finish it while there. Something to look forward to and keep me busy at the same time.

While over there, I ran out of yarn.

Probably this is my fault. The pattern originally called for 11 balls of yarn for the size I was doing. But I'd been playing it by ear and thought that each sleeve shouldn't take more than a ball and a half to do. I'd make it. I knew I wouldn't have much to spare... but certainly I'd make it.

I didn't make it.

Rosebud - Sleeves - WIP

I had a few choice words to say about it. But I got over it. All this meant, would be that I'd finish the sweater at home, after buying a final ball of yarn. I probably wouldn't wear it until late March, after giving birth to Meep, but as the pattern was based on a maternity sweater and I'd added a little length besides, it'd be a fantastic post-natal sweater. Plus the seasons should be changing right around the time I give birth. Perfect.

So I packed it diligently away in my suitcase for proper care when home. Along with a good other number of things... including a ton of scrummy new wool, my brand new shiny Knit Picks Options set as well as some Harmony double pointed needles, and the couple projects I'd brought with me (some now completed, some still in progress).

And then Air New Zealand lost my bag. Not all bags, mind you, but just the one with all my knitting gear in it. Including the sleeves of the Rosebud sweater. Air New Zealand assures me that they're "tracing" it, but at this point it's been nearly a week and I'm not holding my breath.

The irony is, the body of the Rosebud sweater was packed in the other suitcase. Which made it home to me without any problems.

So for now, at least, I present...

The Rosebud tank.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The tangeled webs...

Today I went through Every. Bit. of Yarn. I own. As per usual this wasn't spontaneous organization (please, I'm not THAT pregnant yet). Rather, I brought out all the bags of yarn that had been orderly stacked in the closet, and turfed them all out onto the bed. I was looking for the knitting elastic. I bought some several months ago because I thought it'd be useful, though I wasn't sure what for at the time. Then today making Rosebud it occurs to me that THAT is exactly what I need. Right. Now.

So, as logic happens, I distinctly remember buying the stuff, but I haven't the foggiest idea where I've put it. And for the record, I still don't. I bought it at a fabric shop right next door to my favorite yarn store, so I checked bags of wool and what little accumulation of fabric that I have. No luck. The wool at one point was somewhat organised (or at least stored neatly in random order together) and the fabric was very neatly tucked away. The elastic, though, no idea. For those who aren't familiar with it, knitting elastic looks very much like a small spool of thread, it's just ever so slightly thicker. So we're not talking about something that's going to jump out and grab me - rather, something that can quite easily sneak into a dark corner and live there for decades.

Which it may well end up doing, because the bloody stuff is still MIA.

In the end, however, I did find this.

Originally uploaded by KiwiWonder

I claim no responsibility for this. It's at least 6 different ends-of-balls of wool. Most of which may be enough to do 'something' with. Except for the fact that somehow in the process of shifting them (not today, but the last time they were thrown together and moved) they have become one. Hopelessly intertwined. Now, my hubby can verify - I suck at freeing knots / tangles at the best of times, to the point where it's one of hubby's odd knitting related jobs. The idea of freeing this mess.... well, it's not appealing. All of this is complicated by the fact that one of the ball-ends in there is my very favorite rainbow yarn. Which I thought I only had half a ball left of, but now I've found this, I actually have two half-balls left of, which is enough to "do something" with. If I can ever get it free.

Monday, October 29, 2007

One a Day

For the past couple of days, I've been starting a new project every day.

But I've also been finishing a project every day, too, so perhaps it's not as bad as it sounds.

Thursday was the most impressive, I finished the Purple Rainbow pants for Missy.
Purple Rainbow

And I started and very nearly finished the Snazzipants Shorties - the actual knitting was finished on Thursday night but I did the embroidery Friday morning.

The shorties were done in response to a promotion / competition run by Snazzipants at the Parent and Child Show on in Auckland this past weekend. The shorts were a HUGE hit, despite Miss only being semi-cooperative in terms of actually modelling them.

Friday I finished the above shorts, and started the a newborn sized soaker / diaper cover for Meep. Which I then finished on Saturday. The main wool here is hand-dyed stuff I did with food colouring a couple months ago, and hadn't decided what to do with yet.

Saturday I didn't start anything. So sue me.

Sunday, however, seems to have made up for it.
Firstly, I finished the Yarn Eating Poncho. I knew well before I finished it that it was a disaster, and it is. Lessons learnt, I suppose. Or maybe I'm still bitter.
Sunday I also started some socks for hubby. These have been on the going-to-get-around-to list for awhile, but were bumped up this weekend. As I was casting-off (and casting off and casting off and casting off) the gazillion (600) stitches on the cursed poncho, hubby comes out into the room holding one of his woollen socks (store-bought) which he's had for years. And which he absolutely loves to wear in bed, despite the fact they rub up against my legs and drive me absolutely crazy because they are NOT the softest yarn. These said horrid socks have worn through to proper holes in the heels. Hubby comes out with one in his hand, holds it high, and says "I guess I need new socks, unless you want to darn them?" I figure, good riddance to bad rubbish - but as I happened to be casting off, I decided to cast on some socks. The wool is a bad dye lot of The Wool Company "Seaweed" cleverly disguised in the bricks-n-mortar Wool Company shop as "Forest". Anyway, I liked the grey in it (which Seaweed doesn't have) and figured it was close enough to camoflauge colours to please hubby. It's not my choice for sock wool (even for thick boot socks) but it's less scratchy than the horrid things hubby had been wearing, so I figure it's a compromise. I'm so generous.

Started on Sunday afternoon...
Forest socks
... and finished tonight, Monday. Actually, I partially lie - this sock is finished. I still have to make the other. Minor detail.

Also, just to keep in pattern, I started something tonight. And just to make up for Saturday, I started it twice, because I the first time ended up being crappy so I redid it. It's (hopefully) a baby blanket for Meep. I'm designing the pattern myself (apparently I don't actually learn my lessons) although it will probably be fairly basic. I'm sure there's a pattern very similar to what I'm trying to create already out there, but I've looked and can't find one, so I'm doing it myself. I'm hoping for a roughly waffle-like texture to it. We'll see how close I get.
Blanket, Hopefully

I seem to have a 'green' thing going on at the moment.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Oh, the Shame!

Originally uploaded by KiwiWonder
14 balls of wool later, it's finished.

And I hate it.

I guess this is just desserts for assuming I could knit with nothing even resembling a pattern - not a published one, not any calculations to figure out the stitches for my size, just a vague thought that I wanted a poncho.

The amount of things wrong with this yarn-eating blob are numerous... the neck's far too wide and not really long enough, there's far too many increases, and really, who needs 600 stitches per round? Certainly not me.

14 balls of wool and the thing only comes to my bust. Seriously. I did try it on, but didn't take a picture - the shame was simply too much.

I figure this will get frogged (part of the reason I haven't bothered to weave the loose ends in) but probably not for a bit. I don't immediately need / want the wool for anything and I'd really rather not see it - the 'poncho' or the wool - for a long, long time.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

The trouble with trying something new

... is that it may well be addicting.

Last week I knit the Boat Neck Sweater, from "Baby Knits for Beginners" by Debbie Bliss. I altered the pattern so that it was mostly done in the round (read: I'm seam-phobic). Plus I knit it in simply devine Sublime yarn, a blend of merino, cashmere and silk. Super soft, silky stuff. (And at $14.50 NZD a ball, it should be!) I am in love with the finished product, and immediately after finishing it I wanted one for me.
Boat Neck Sweater 01

So, just two days later, I made the journey down to my almost-local yarn shop and fondled more Sublime. I even talked with the owner (who's wonderful, by the way) and she agreed that I'm regular enough of a customer that I can reserve wool in the same dye lot if I can't afford enough for an adult sized sweater all at once, and just buy a few balls of it at a time. Much nicer on the budget for us skint girls. (On a side note, I'm still trying to figure out if being immediately recognised in that shop is a good thing or not... )

Last night I finished my most recent project - an order (through CSKnits) for shorties for a coming-up-1-year-old girl.

This morning, I woke up full of purpose and excitement. I would start the sweater! I have the yarn picked out, and the first three balls of it bought, and just sitting on the shelf, taunting me (as they do).

Except then it occurred to me that I haven't yet picked a pattern.

I flipped through "Big Girl Knits" and while there's several things in there I love, there's either an element that scares me (not always a bad thing mind you) or they simply won't work with a postnatal figure. And I want something that I can wear while pregnant (albeit probably not ready-to-burst, due to being summer and all) or very recently postnatal. I do love the "Bombshell" pattern from Big Girl Knits, and I reckon it could be fairly easily altered from a t-shirt to a sweater with the simple addition of long sleeves. But it's a bit short for my liking... and there's only so many alterations I'm comfortable making to a pattern...

So then I hit up Knitty and found several patterns I love.

I love the Cherie Amour pattern. It looks stunning. I love the colour, and would probably do it in the Orchard colourway from The Wool Company which is quite similar, and dark enough that it would suit me. But I'm not a fan of knitting lace. (It's slow - I'm lazy.) And also quite concerned that it really needs to be paired with something (i.e., probably not decent to wear all by itself!) Not too sure it'd suit a postnatal belly, either! I do still want to knit this... but probably not right away.

I also really like Roam from the same issue of Knitty. I love the fact that it zips (button-up doesn't suit me). I love the hoodie. I love the variegations - although I don't reckon it would look as cool in the Sublime, and the Wool Company wool wouldn't likely have the same drape without the silk content. Plus there's the postnatal figure to consider.

So I think for now, I've decided on Rosebud. It would flatter my figure - all the parts of it. It's a relatively simple knit, would look fab in the Sublime wool (and I like my Sublime colour much better than the bright red!) and it would suit my figure while postnatal, but also in my normal state. I may even get away with wearing it while pregnant - but if I don't, I won't be heartbroken.

Now... just to cast on! (And sneak the wool - and it's price tag - past my husband!)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

That Uncommitted Feeling

Over the weekend I cast on three projects in the space of two days. Two of those projects got finished shortly after - a small sized soaker in plain white merino, which I'll be dying whenever I next have some vinegar in stock. And the tartan socks:

I also started a pair of size 12m longies for a friend, as part of a swap.

So, tonight as usual, I sat down to knit.

Except I'm sick of longies. I've done about three pairs in three weeks, I need a break.

Then there's the amazing-wool-eating-shapeless-poncho. Which is making me wonder if I'll finish it before summer. Or, for that matter, before I'm a grandparent. Or maybe that the thing just eats wool and has become it's own living presence rather than an actual garment.

So, I figured I'd cast on some gorgeous baby outfit that I haven't done. I'm pregnant, I have no less than four friends who are due within a couple months, and even more due further down the track. There's always babies to knit for. Plus I have three books chock full of gorgeous baby patterns, surely there'd be something I could knock off quickly. I'd feel creative and virtuous, and get a baby gift out of the way too. (Or maybe just start my own baby's layette early).

So, I started to look through patterns.

Fell in love with one, but it was very girly. All of my friends are either "surprises" or having boys. Nope, can't do a girly one.

Fell in love with several others....
Debbie Bliss Jumper, in cashmerino aran - no, don't have any of that yarn. Have several single balls in a decent substitute yarn, but only single skeins. All the patterns called for at least two. Dye lots may well not be current... bugger. Look for something else.

Gorgeous footsie longies. Look very yum. Need 4ply yarn. Don't have any. Bugger. Look for something else...

Nice looking kimono top and pants set. Knit in wool/cotton blend. I don't have any of that, either. Bugger. Look for something else...

Very pretty newborn dress.... oh. Right. No girly things. Look for something else.... Bugger.

Found a Cleckheaton pattern book I've got on loan from a friend at the moment. Absolutely stunning newborn stuff. Hey, I've even got a couple balls of that exact yarn! Ah... but it's different colours. I could do a hat, maybe booties? Meh. Anyone can do a hat. Oh, but there's that scrummy bamboo, it's the same ply, it's nice and soft for new babies... I can use that!

Sit down with scrummy bamboo and cast on.
Knit two rows in pattern.
Swear at pattern as it's very unclear - do I knit 2 rows to start, or 4?
Decide they mean 2 rows.
On row 4, decide they're wrong and they mean 4 rows.
Unravel. Start again.

Knit two rows in pattern.
Swear at pattern as it's very unclear - does that line mean "every fourth row to follow" or "for the next for rows"
Decide it means the latter.
Knit three rows.
Reread pattern, decide it meant the former.
Unravel. Start again.

Knit four rows in pattern.
Swear at pattern as it's very unclear - do I keep increasing, on every 4th row, until I have the required stitches?
Seems right. Bloody awkward way of phrasing it though.
Knit another two rows, give up for the night. I'm six rows into this baby cardigan and I'm already fed up with it.

And yet, the thing I want to do most is visit my favorite yarn shop and spend an obscene amount of money on ridiculously scrummy wool.

Pity I'm broke.