Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Countdown to KAN 2015

It's pretty much the big event on New Zealand's knitterly calendar, and there's only two sleeps to go! 

I cannot wait to get down to Napier this Friday for Knit August Nights. I first went to this great knitting retreat in 2013, and I had an amazing time meeting people I'd met through the blog and Ravelry in person. There was also a serious amount of stash enhancement and some learning too. 

This year I'm only taking one class as I want to have a bit more time with friends and explore a bit of the neighbourhood we're staying in. I'm also really hoping to squeeze a yoga class in too, so if anyone knows anywhere around Ahuriri, let me know!

Looking forward to catching up with a fair few of you there too! Now to think of packing.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Granville - the beginning.

It's taken me quite a few months to get to this point. 
I've managed to find plenty of other things to do, other projects to make, more skirts and dresses, all the while avoiding the most difficult pattern I've ever picked out. 
But last weekend, I ran out of excuses. I've cut out the pieces to my Granville Shirt.

There are so many pieces to this pattern that I'm feeling quite overwhelmed. I think I'm still in the realm of straight-line sewing, none of this fancy cuff and collar business. But the pieces are cut now, and that makes it harder to make excuses. Maybe this weekend I'll get started on the sewing, although I do have a sock to finish…

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Camera crafting

My Olympus camera gets a bit of a beating on a regular basis. Not because I intentionally want to damage it, or because I'm completely clumsy, but she gets used a lot and usually it's just easier to put it in my handbag with the rest of my life than carry an extra camera bag around. And let's be honest - cool camera bags are just hard to find or really expensive. 

My camera's already got a cracked touch screen where I caught it on the corner of a table at a wedding recently, and although everything still works perfectly, I'm sure another hit won't do it much good. I'm looking into getting it repaired, but for now I need to look after it. After a fair amount of Googling, I came up with a solution to part of my problem - make a camera caddy to fit inside my handbags! 

I used How Joyful's camera carrier tutorial for my base, but had to improvise a bit because I didn't have any felt. I used my go-to leftover fabrics and spent this afternoon making. I also didn't have any velcro to hold my dividers in place, but for now I'm okay with that - if I get more lenses, I can easily move my dividers around.

Inside my handbags it squishes up to fit the base better, which is great and holds the camera really steady. I think I'll also make another one soon that's about half the size, just to hold the camera when I don't need to take the rest of the gear with me. Pretty happy with how it came out! And hopefully my camera will be able to live in my handbag more securely!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


I'm between projects. Apart from a pair of socks, there is nothing on the needles right now. So I've been  stash browsing to get some inspiration, and my Spinning A Yarn silk merino is still waiting to be turned into something special. And maybe the time has come!

I've never made a cardigan before, and this lovely Onda from Pompom Quarterly's second issue is tempting me to cast on. But maybe a 4-ply cardigan is a bit much for a first start, so I'm also deciding between Pompom's Netherton Cardigan from their first issue which is knitted in DK… but then I'd have to buy yarn… maybe at KAN?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Storm shawl and Nettie dress

Two crafty projects completed this weekend - feeling very productive.
The first is my new favourite shawl / scarfy thing. I'm calling it my Storm Shawl because of its gradient. The yarn is Dark Harbour Yarns' amazing Mare Vaporium gradient set and a very basic semi circle shawl pattern that I kind of made up from looking at a bunch of semi-circle shawl patterns. I'm not usually one for eyelets but I found the yarn-over increase to be the one that gave my the nicest finish after playing around with a few different ones.

And the dress is my finished Nettie. I got started on this at my overlocker class at Sew Love Tea Do and did the twin needle hemming at home. When I first cut the pattern I thought it looked like made the wrong sizing choice - it looked tiny! But all was well in the end, it fits perfectly. Will definitely be making more of these - I'm thinking I could cut it shorter and make a fitted top quite easily, maybe in some merino to keep warm for the winter...

Friday, July 17, 2015

On community and craft

Here's me, teaching my husband to knit, outside, in the city, in the middle of winter. The dream.

One night last week we spent one of the coldest evenings of the year knitting to keep some bike racks warm. When it's put like that, it's kind of odd. Why would you spend a freezing cold evening outside, your fingers going numb, knitting something that's not really functional?

For me I guess it's a few reasons. One is that it was bringing my usually indoor hobby into a space where it's less expected. With about 30 of us knitting, enjoying a sausage sizzle and drinking tea in a square on one of Auckland's main streets, it helps challenge people about what a solitary hobby can really be. For me it's really social. It helps strikes up conversations with people you might not normally encounter, who are interested in seeing what is often considered a domestic craft in a non-domestic place. And it brings people who love making stuff together, to brighten up our shared home city.

I've been incredibly lucky to have met some amazing people with my crafting over the last year, and quite a few of these amazing people were knitting with us on the chilly evening. Some of them I'd been lucky enough to teach, and quite a few of them have also taught me a thing or two. 

Like how much making stuff matters. Sure, my knitting isn't going to change the world on a giant scale, but it has made a difference in that little square in the city, where people now walk past the bike racks and touch them, talk about them, point them out. If it's starting conversations with new people, and helping us rethink the public places we all share and what we use them for, then that can only be a good thing. These spaces are our outdoor living rooms, so they should be cozy! 

And even better, it's helping people to rethink what craft means. It's not just something to be done at home. It's something that can be valued in a wider social context, open for anyone to try and not be afraid of having a go, and the way it brings people together should be celebrated.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

It's been a bit quiet around here, but craft has been happening!

Apologies for the radio silence over the last couple of weeks! My poor Macbook's RAM had a bit of a meltdown, which meant minimal internet access over the last week or so until we could fix it. And let's face it, blogging off a phone is a bit frustrating.

Now all is well again, and the upside is that with less time spent in front of the laptop, I've had much more time for making. That can only be a good thing! 

A highlight of the the last two weeks is this sweater. I've signed up for Sew Love Tea Do's overlocking course because of my slight fear of the crazy machine. The whole cutting-fabric part is just terrifying, so I thought it would be a wise idea to get some focussed tuition on using them. And my first project, which I am beyond happy with, is Grainline Studio's Linden Sweatshirt. I've opted for the short sleeve, waist length version because there was only enough of my $2.50 vintage stripe fabric to make that option, but I just love it. It will be great in spring and the warmer winter days. I left off the ribbing at the neckline and cuffs, opting to do a twin needle hem instead and make it a bit less sporty, and more versatile for my wardrobe. 

I had a bit of trouble matching the stripes of the raglan sleeves. I think given the age of the fabric (about as old as me) it's likely that it's lost a bit of its shape and the angle of the cutting didn't help either, but at least the most-visible first stripe lines up. The rest  of my mismatches can't really be seen unless my arms are in the air but the side seams are good. It even looks like the blues and reds on the sleeves and body match up when my arms are down, so I'm considering this a win.

This is going to get a lot of wear, and I love that sewing it with an overlocker made it a very quick project.

The course is spread over three lessons, and with one lesson to go I'm busy cutting out a Nettie Dress by Closet Case Files so it's all ready for sewing on Wednesday. I'm definitely feeling more confident with the overlocker and I'm sure I'll be well on my way to using one all the time after this class.