Sunday, December 21, 2014

My Moneta - all finished

 After Gertrude the bike broke on Friday, I was a bit sad. I decided I needed to cheer myself up and finish sewing my Moneta dress in time for Christmas celebrations. There wasn't much left to do - hemming the bottom of the skirt, the neckline and the sleeves - and I got to learn a new skill!

The hems were all finished using a twin needles on the sewing machine. I had to use two top threads and go very slowly because they kept tangling, but in the end I'm very happy with the result.

The fabric was my favourite find at this year's Fabric-a-brac and I love the simple pattern. I'm sure Moneta will become one of my frequently-used patterns.

Big thanks to the lovely Sew Love Tea Do team for teaching me new skills and Dresses and Me for the pattern! I thought sewing knits would be really hard, but I think they are becoming my favourite type of fabric to sew with! 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Bike disaster

Gertrude is a very unhappy bike today. She needs some serious fixing.
Over the last three months, everything was going so well! For someone who had not serious ridden a bike since she was a kid, I totally proved the doubters wrong (mainly my baby brother, who figured I'd have one go, fall off, and give up) and have learnt to ride again. I did some safe cycle courses, practised on the local school courts and have graduated to riding on not-too-busy roads around my neighbourhood. Husband even got a bike, called Roger, for his birthday, so we have a hobby to share!
I love riding my bike. I find as many excuses as possible to ride it. 

Yesterday was going to be a big day. While we've ridden a lot locally, we've never ventured a couple of suburbs over to the city. From our place to the waterfront in town, it's practically all cycleways, so nice and easy. The plan was to cycle to Silo Park and watch Home Alone 2 at the outdoor cinema - so festive! We were almost half way when it happened. I was changing down a gear to go up a hill and all I heard was the crunch of metal. The little cog and arm (I have no idea what these are actually called) that sit under the set of gears somehow twisted behind and up into the gears, between the spokes.  
The metal is bent out of shape and the teeth on the gears are chipped. There are some cracks in the 
Luckily I was going up-hill rather than down-hill, that might have been messy. The wheel is completely jammed up. We couldn't even walk it home. We carried her about 2kms. And she is heavy. 

I am seriously hoping this will all be covered under a warranty. I doubt there's any hope she will be fixed before Christmas, and then we go to Melbourne for 10 days, so it looks like any repairs will have to wait until the new year. 

I was pretty gutted that this happened on our first ride to the city. It's something we'd been building up to and I was really looking forward to it. But hopefully the damage can be fixed and we can try again soon.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

How I survive the Christmas rush

It's a week and a half before Christmas. The holidays are in sight but it's going to be a mad rush before 24 December. There's work celebrations, friends' dinners, a giant amount of Christmas baking to       co-ordinate, and I kind of just want to nap. 

It's the busy times like these that I seem to do two things. 
1 - instead of going out on a Saturday night (it's pouring with rain, who can blame me?) I stay inside and watch movies. Currently we're on a festive rotation of Christmas themed ones and so far all of them star Alan Rickman. I'm good with it. Yes, Die Hard is a Christmas movie! It's a good time to get a bit of couch knitting done.

2 - I get lost in books or magazines. The latest copy of Extra Curricular arrived a couple of weekends ago and I've been trying my best to savour it slowly, because it's always such a treat. For this issue I got to write about something very close to my heart - how knitting equals calm. The mindful properties of stitch repetition are well-documented. A sock project is like a mini yoga lesson in my handbag. Instead of forever rushing and thinking about what to do next, it makes me present, sit still and focus on the moment.

I make the most of it during these busy times of the year, when people are rushing around in shops trying to get prepared for the holiday. Sometimes you just need a couple of minutes' break, and for me, that comes in the form of sticks and string.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Making a start on Moneta + new yarn

As you know, I am a tad terrified of overlockers. I mean, why wouldn't I be? I almost lost the sleeve on my Laurel dress due to less-than-required diligence when finishing the underarm sleeves. So when I was told the best way to sew knit fabrics was with an overlocker, I freaked out a bit. 

I figured that I had two choices. To never give it a go, and leave my amazing $1 Fabric-a-brac find as one big piece of fabric, or try and make it into a Moneta. The risk was pretty high, given I only had 1.96m of fabric - just enough for the pattern, but definitely not enough to make any mistakes.

I've started on the bodice, and so far, so good! Fitting sleeve caps is so much easier on stretchy fabric - just like knitting, so it's becoming quite a quick project. I hope to have a few hours on the weekend to get it all done - I'd love to wear it for Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, how festive is this Happy Go Knitty yarn? The colourway is Merry Christmas, in her amazing BFL sock. This colour is too good for socks, so I'm thinking of knitting it up into a Mountain Moss shawl by Beth Kling from Pom Pom Quarterly's Summer 2013 issue.
This was happily purchased (and my only purchase, I might add) at yesterday's Auckland Fair. Now I just have to finish my socks, dress and lace jumper - I cannot have four projects on the go at once!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Mini Santa hats - free pattern!

Christmas with my family and friends isn't really about spending a stack of money on a heap of presents we don't really need. Usually gifts come in the way of Christmas-themed baking and a giant meal, and maybe a Secret Santa. At my knitting class we've been making these mini Santa hats to give as Christmas decorations - you can thread them onto string for a garland, pop them on the tree or give your action figures a Christmas makeover! These don't take long to make at all - if you have an hour or so in front of the TV, you will be well on your way to making a stack of these!

You need:

DK/8ply yarn in red and white
4mm needles
A little craft pompom - available at most dollar stores or craft shops
Sewing thread


CO = cast-on
K = knit
P = Purl
K2tog = knit two together


Note - gauge doesn't really matter with this pattern - I used the needle size recommended on the yarn band of my DK yarn.

Hat brim:

With white yarn CO 32 stitches.

K six rows


Row 1 = K all sts
Row 2 = P all sts

Repeat rows 1 and 2 for 8 rows.

Crown shaping:

Row 1 = (K2tog, K6) repeat to end
Row 2 = Purl all sts
Row 3 = (K2tog, K5) repeat to end
Row 4 = P
Row 5 = (K2tog, K4) repeat to end
Row 6 = P
Row 7 = (K2tog, K3) repeat to end
Row 8 = P
Row 9 =K2tog, repeat to end
Row 10 = P – eight stitches left on the needle


Break yarn leaving a long tail – you will use this to sew the seam.

Thread the yarn through the eight stitches on the needle and pull tight.

Seam the hat using mattress stitch.

Sew a pompom on top and thread onto a ribbon or string to hang on the tree.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Twenty eight

28 today! I'm spending it riding the bike in my new Mushama and Me raincoat (thanks Husband, you are the best!) and reading the latest issues of Extra Curricular and Pom Pom Quarterly.
There will be some knitting later!

Monday, November 24, 2014

The simplicity of socks

Sometimes you need an easy, brainless knit. Sometimes you want to see a bit of progress for minimal effort and recently the only things I've knitted (minus a baby hat) have been giant. 
Lace sweater, anyone? How about a dress? Both of these projects are taking a bit of concentration and a lot of time, and the end is not yet in sight with either. 

So on Friday I cast-on a nice, plain sock with Knitsch's merino sock yarn in 1/4 Acre Dream. 
I've turned the heel and hope to have a nice fresh pair of socks in time for the weekend.

There is something very meditative about knitting a pair of socks. You knit, knit, knit each stitch, around and around, and after a while, without much thinking, you end up with a garment. 
I haven't knitted any socks in a while and I've definitely missed it. My sock yarn stash is also getting low - that will have to be remedied.