Sunday, April 29, 2012

I've finally found it. The perfect cable jumper.

I cannot tell you how long I've been looking for a perfect cable jumper pattern. Too long. It's been insane.
Now, thanks to a quick read of Frankie Magazine's craft blog, I have discovered Emotive Yarns.
I am going to order the yarn for their Boyfriend Sweater as soon as payday arrives.

Pic Credit Emotive Yarns
It's everything I've been looking for in a cable jumper. It's chunky, which will be quick to work with, it's wooly, which will be warm, the pattern is free and the yarn costs an extremely reasonable AU$2.50 a skein.  The pattern looks challenging enough to keep me interested and everyone needs a snuggly jumper! Check out this amazing site - there are some seriously cool patterns and yarn here.

Lazy weekend

I had a lovely weekend playing around with a knitting spool and making a bracelet, as well as catching up with Bridesmaid-In-Chief and going to see My Week With Marilyn. I did a bit too much shopping - new trousers for work, new jeans and some amazingly comfortable pajama bottoms. If I could get away with wearing those to work, I totally would. 
I spent a couple of hours catching up on my reading of the new Extra Curricular and got extremely excited when I found out about Etsy's new Weddings section.
Oh my goodness. I am excited. They have a registry service. We weren't planning on having a registry because I think they're a bit odd and impersonal, but if it's an Etsy one, I could be persuaded...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I'm planning a road trip

While I would really love to go to Handmade 2012 in Wellington in just over a month, it is slowly dawning on me that the trip would take a small chunk out of the wedding budget. By the time we get there, sort out accommodation and then pay for classes - we would't go all that way for just one - the total is adding up a bit more than I'd like. But that's okay - I have another idea.

Yesterday on my lunch break, I was perusing in The Booklover in Takapuna, and I discovered the newly revised edition of Crafty Girl's Road Trip by Ann Packer. It details craft shops from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South, and recommends places to stay and eat along the way. I had an enjoyable read over a cup of lemon tea, and it is a great way to promote New Zealand to crafty visitors. 

I've also been working on some new projects - nothing really new on the needles - I've still banned myself from starting of substance until Funchal is finished.

I have a couple of ideas for my own patterns. It's all very basic and small, accessories rather than jumpers. I'm definitely going the one-size-fits-all option because I have no idea how to make different sizes of the same thing.

I've started a planning notebook, where I'm scribbling ideas and sticking in scraps of yarn. I've made a couple of prototypes but it hasn't quite worked out yet. I'll keep you posted if it comes to anything.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

New issue of Extra Curricular - out now!

Extra Curricular issue eight is now on the shelves, with some really interesting features about self-publishing and what it takes!
I was very fortunate to interview Tokyo-based illustrator Grace Lee, who did the amazing cover art. Get yourself a copy asap!

Sew exciting!

Please excuse my terrible sewing pun, but it has been a very exciting day. Me and Mum are making a skirt, and it is nearly finished. It has a peplum and everything - so fancy!

I'll be honest, Mum's the genius that's done most of the project. All I did was cut out the pattern pieces, some ironing, a bit of tacking and acted as a sewing dolly.
It's nearly finished now - the zipper is in, all that's left is the hem.  can't wait to wear it - a nice bright colour for winter. I'll post a photo when it's all done.

In knitting news, my BFL sock yarn from Happy-Go-Knitty arrived, and oh my goodness, it's the most beautiful yarn I've ever seen.

I almost don't want to knit with it - it's just so pretty to look at.
My Sunshine socks are well on the way to completion - sock number one is done, and sock number two is under construction. I'll finish the Kitchener Stitch toes all at the same time.

Hopefully I'll get it all done on my bus rides this week, and spend the evenings knitting my Funchal Moebius. I will finish it. I must finish it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Couldn't help myself - more sock yarn

I was extremely lucky to interview Helene at Happy Go Knitty for the next issue of Entangled Magazine.
I went to her place, had some amazing home made bread, toasted with cheese on top, and got to have a look through her beautiful stash of BFL sock yarn.

I fell in love with this gorgeous skein above - all of her dyes are one-offs - and when I saw it listed on Felt yesterday, I had to have it. I already have another of her self-striping BFL skeins, and I'm really looking forward to making two awesome pairs of stripy socks. 
I just have to be patient enough for the courier to arrive so I can cast on - I've found sock knitting is the best for my bus commutes to work, it makes the time fly!

And don't forget to check out Entangled Magazine - issue four is out now and available on Zinio!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A crafty adventure to Wellington

I really really want to go to Handmade 2012.
I'm organizing with a couple of friends to see if we can get down to Wellington for the weekend in June, but I think the biggest struggle I'm going to have is picking which classes to do - and it's not just restricted to knitting. Maybe a cooking class? I'd quite like to learn how to use a drop spindle, and the cake-making class looks great. It looks like I've missed out on the cheese making classes though - they've already sold out. I'd quite like to make an embroidery locket too - I think we're going to need a coffee catch-up to see which classes we'd all like to do!

Picture credit -

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hearts in Crafts - my new TV discovery

I just discovered that TVNZ is producing its own craft show, and it is now on par with New Girl as my current television obsessions! We're only one episode in, but I'm loving the presentation of Hearts in Crafts, which looks at craft around New Zealand and also gives a tutorial on how to make something for your home.  

I'm really looking forward to the next episode - it's not often that something like this is produced for the local market, so it's great that we have this show. I hope it gets lots of support to carry on! Find out more by visiting the show's website, or check out the first episode here. I love the tutorial on how to reupholster an old dining chair, and step by step instructions are available on the website. It is great to see local crafters being promoted - especially those who are making things out of recycled materials.

The next episode is on this Saturday at 6.30pm on TVNZ7, and will be available on demand too. Hosts Tamsin Cooper and Justin Newcombe will have a go at candle making, and interview master weaver Veranoa Hetet. I'm excited - can't you tell? 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

On failing my Easter knitting challenge

I have approximately five repeats of the Funchal Moebius pattern to go. I gave up yesterday when the blue and white started blurring together. I figured it was best to stop before I really started disliking the process. Maybe over the next couple of weekends I will finish it. 

To vary it up a little, I've cast on my second pair of socks, in my Shibui Sock yarn - Finch colourway - and using the Basic Stripy Socks pattern in Blendy Knits Socks by Belinda Too, just minus the stripes.
 A bit of sunshine on a rainy day back at work!

Monday, April 9, 2012

My Easter knitting challenge, and why I'm totally over it.

I like deadlines. I worked as a journalist for four years, and I like having a timeframe to have something completed by. I guess it isn't the same when I'm talking about knitting. 
For stories and features, I know how long it usually takes me to write 500 words or 1500 words, and I can pretty accurately judge how long it will take me to write something if I've got all the information I need on hand. 
But knitting is different. I set myself an Easter challenge to finish knitting the Funchal Moebius. 
I didn't want to tell anyone about it on here, just in case I didn't meet it, but then I started feeling guilty and thought I should give an update on the extremely slow progress.
I'm just about to start the tenth repeat, with four to go after that. In the last three days I've done two and a half repeats, and considering it's Easter Monday, I don't think I'm going to meet my deadline. 

I've given myself until the end of play tomorrow to have it knitted, because I have an extra day of holiday. I just don't see me getting there though. I'm starting to avoid the project, which is a very bad thing because I have projects I need to start on as gifts, including a hat for a baby due any day and a hood for a friend. 
I told myself I would finish this first. And it's not a tricky pattern; I've memorized all 28 rows in the repeat and can easily spot any mistakes. It's just taking ages.
Maybe I should stop avoiding by blogging and go back and knit. Or maybe I should make some lunch instead...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Saturday Socks, finished on a Thursday, with a successful attempt at Kitchener Stitch

I was waiting for a day off before attempting to finish my first pair of socks. I knew that the bus commute to work was not the place to try the Kitchener Stitch for the first time. Luckily, I've taken a couple of extra days off over Easter, and today was the perfect time to do it.

I got help. No matter how many times I read the written instructions to do the stitch, they just didn't make any sense at all. I turned to The Knit Witch's video on YouTube for advise, and it made everything clear.

I think I made a little hole in the first sock, but as long as it is still functional, I don't really mind.
Here's how they turned out...

They are miles too big for me - I have skinny legs, so I think 64 stitches is way too many - and I should have made the foot length shorter, but all in all, I'm very proud of them. 

Actually, they are so big that my fiancé can wear them at a stretch...

I think I'm going to keep knitting socks. When I first started knitting, I didn't really see the point - a lot of effort for something that would be covered by shoes and trouser legs - but I've found that they are very portable, quite quick and challenging enough to be interesting. A yellow pair next, me thinks.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Vintage knits - an instant crazy collection

A work colleague who also knits left me a bag of old knitting patterns on my chair on Thursday. There were so many that I've only just had chance to go through them all, and oh my goodness, they are amazing!

There are patterns here from old yarn brands that may not exist any more, or at least ones I've never heard of. Lots of them are produced in New Zealand too. From going through, I've got from the early 1950s to the early 1990s covered.

These ones, the panda and the lace set, were published before my parents were born!

Some of them are from a time when you would actually make a school uniform at home.

And there are some seriously cool kids patterns - every child needs a cape and a Fair Isle crew neck!

These little jumpers - if I was small enough I'd definitely rock one of these.

But the gem has to be the Fashion Handknits - Autumn / Winter No 2 by Fontana & Aotea.
I love this Round Neck Pullover, I probably wouldn't knit in in a boucle though.

And this dress, hat and knee high sock set is just incredible. I need to get some roller-skates.