Sunday, August 31, 2008

In which I teach my 2yo to take the knitting photos

Impatient me couldn't be bothered waiting until M6 came home from school to do the photographic honours..... so I got N2 to do it instead. Photographing gloves whilst wearing them is a little on the difficult side.

Attempt 1

Would be perfect if subject matter was my knuckles! Nicely centered even....I think this kid has a future in photography.
Shame about the I've been in the garden fingernails

Attempt 2


Not bad! Especially if you do a little cropping...

Ta Da!! The official FO portrait, as taken by my almost 3 year old

Sometimes its not a bad thing to have a simple and cheap point and shoot camera :)

Evangeline Gloves made in Paton's Jet (slightly less than 1 ball). This is the third time I've made this pattern, won't be the last. I love the fit of these and the cable is fun to knit and looks great on.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

New hobby results in zero knitting

Uh-oh new hobby.

Fun!! And ever so slightly addictive I feel....
This is last nights efforts

I just couldn't stop!! I'm getting in early for Xmas and birthdays :)

The set below is for my sister's birthday. She will be turning 13 and I'm planning on putting together a little knitting bag filled with knitting bits and pieces for her. I'd seen some KNIT PURL SLIP markers somewhere before and thought she would like. I was planning on doing her name or initials as well but I didn't have enough alphabet beads so made her a bling one instead - if she evers gets to knitting in the round she'll have a pretty one for marking the round.

I also made a couple of pairs that are possibly going to turn into earrings for Xmas gifts

And these ones are for me and are made by refashioning some old jewellry. The blue beads were earrings but had horrible earring fastenings so I never wore them - don't they make just gorgeous markers?! The little flower was a necklace pendant I've had for years but really it is too small for me and not really something what I would wear now. And the koru patterned one was from a very special (and expensive) pair of earrings I adored but unfortunately I lost its mate a long time ago. I'm stoked I can still get to use it now, albeit in a completely different way!


Clearly I still need some more practice at getting the markers all the same and putting the loopy bit in the right place but I'm pretty pleased with my beginner efforts! I enjoyed making the ones from 'old stuff' the most and found it very satisfying to refashion something unloved from the bottom of the jewellry pile into something beautiful and functional again. I'm on the hunt now for vintage earrings I can restyle!!

Thanks to Neak for inspiring me to give beading a go and for giving me so many helpful tips!

P.S. Photographing glass beads is really really hard!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Best Reads on the KnitBlogosphere this week 1

I've got nothing to show today but other people have.....

Best FO
The February Lady Sweater - I so want to make one. I've already bought wool (hopefully enough...might be close). No doubt you've seen FLS popping up all over the place. It's a very cool pattern and "made to fit a grown ass woman" . Check out the gorgeous one Lucky Knitter made here. I love the colour of the yarn she chose and it looks so nice on.

Funniest FO
Has to go to AtHomeMummyKnits for this. A good lesson for those of us who are loathe to swatch. PS - funny but also very cute photo....not laughing AT you....just feeling your pain ;)

Most interesting FO
Caffaknitted is a new to me blog I stumbled across not long ago. She's making these amazing HenryVIII series of knitted dolls for an exhibition. So far she has made Henry, and his first 3 wives - Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour. Anne has to be my favourite so far - very clever. Some people are just uber creative! I can't wait to see how the rest of the wives turn out.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The new way to swatch


Got a big plastic bangle?

Got a swatch you want to try out? A clever stitch pattern or funky cable? Want to just knit and make it up as you go (like I did?)

A great idea of upcycling those retro 80's bangles (yes I totally stole upcycling from Jannelle) and something funky to do with those swatches.

Instructions are here :D

P.S Learn from my mistake...don't choose a super chunky yarn else it might be a bit of a squeeze to get your hand in!

P.P.S Thanks for all your encouragement about my startitis! Glad to see I'm not alone and I'm hanging out for spring and a fresh spark of motivation


I've had an attack of startitis.

I don't know what's happened but I have the attention span of a newt at the moment.

I can't seem to stick at anything longer than about a minute. I seem to be stuck in some sort of casting on rut.

Something cute and pink (and just a little bit special in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino) for a friends new baby girl. Baby isn't due for a couple of months so I have *plenty* of time....

Another pair of Evangeline gloves for a friend , half way there! I'm a bit late with these and even massive guilts isn't making me just get on with it!

Something cute and summery for M1
. I got a really good start on this but then saw a rather obvious mistake so ripped it out and started again. That's a sure mojo killer

I even went back to my Wicked which has been hibernating and waiting for warmer weather. I got past the sleeves and am about halfway through this now. But DK in adult size....yawn. Endless knit rounds. Sigh.
This pic came out really blurry so I've kept it small. I started doing this one size up (having not swatched) since I was using DK not worsted. Now I measure it and I'm spot on for gauge. Yup.... you read that correctly SPOT ON FOR GAUGE!!! That never ever happens to me. Ever!
Which is great but it means I should be doing my correct size not one up. And I've read it runs big. So I bumbled my way through the raglan , trying it on as I went and have ended up with a something-in -between-size that fits me fine :D The pic shows its pretty much the same size as my favourite short sleeved hoodie and how much I have to do......

If anyone has some concentration/motivation/stickability mojo going spare I could do with some right about now!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Been bit by the (dyeing wool) bug

Oh no

Dyeing wool is rather addictive. So much fun though.

Since finishing my yarn swap I've done a few more.....

This one I'm auctioning off to raise money for Erin's fundraiser at She's had $50,000 (!!) of medical supplies donated (way to go Erin!) and now needs to raise money so the supplies can be shipped to a hospital in need, in Zimbabwe. The auction includes some wooden 4mm needles I made myself.

I dyed this one in sections so it should be sort of variegated. The wool I was using I had already dyed a very light pink (which look white in this pic)


This one was a bit of an experiment. Instead of dyeing in sections I put the yarn in a bit pot of dye (red) and then added a little bit of blue to the top of the pot. The end result was some gorgeous muted reds and dusky purples and almost browns. This will be more random once knitted up. 140g of DK.


I love this one


And this one was done in the same way. I started off with 100g of 14ply that I had dyed with Koolaid previously but wasn't really that impressed with, as the colours were really light and a bit washed out looking. It was light blue and light dusky purple. I added this to a pot that had very dark blue dye solution in the bottom and then poured much lighter blue over the top of the pot. I wasn't too sure of it when it was dyed in the hank but now i have reskeined it, I totally love it.


The blues range from sky blue to an almost silvery and theres a tiny bit of more purple blue in there too. It still smells a little fruity from the KA though. Might give it another wash!


Louise commented in the last post about a dye tutorial...LoL!!!!! have to say that my dyeing method is pretty haphazard! I just try things and see what comes out! I've just been using food colouring (Hansells in the supermarket) and white vinegar/heat to set. Nice and easy and you don't have to stress about contamination in the kitchen or icky smells and its easy to clean up if you happen to splash on your bench - even if you dye your hands they're only bright red for a day or so (don't ask me how I know that!).

If I'm dyeing in sections I just have 2 pots going over a low heat on the stove top and put a section of the skein in each pot. I've got a couple of old pots I'm using just for dyeing wool now. To get two tones of one colour I leave a largish white section between the pots and put this in for a shorter time to get less colour. People use their microwaves with great results too - mines in an awkward place so I find it easier to use the stove.

If I'm dyeing it altogether in the pot its very much just make it up as I go. I pour in my dye solution leave the wool for awhile then pour some more in! (Very scientific!!)

More food colouring = deeper colour. Once I'm done if it still bleeding colour then I pour over some more vinegar/water and microwave it (clingfilm over the container) for a few more minutes.

My yarn swap ones I was a bit more calculated as I was going for something 'specific' - these ones I was just happy having a play - if you're not too fussed with what you are ending up with then its the sort of thing where there are 'no mistakes'

People get some gorgeous results with cake dyes (you can get Wiltons from Spotlight and they cake dyes on TM too) and I think I will get some more next time I am shopping for craft supplies. For now food colouring is working out fine and its in the cupboard already ;) I really am just learning!!

I did explain my KoolAid dyeing "method" here. And there are some great tutorials out on the internet....try these :D



Self striping

Ashford acid dyes

Acid dyes

Cake dyes

Nautral Dyes - ie from plants/flowers/spices etc etc

Great dyeing site:
Paula Birch's All About Dyein

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Yarn Swap Gorgeousness

You may remember me mentioning awhile back about a themed yarn swap I was participating in....well this post is all about that. Its going to be a pretty long post with lots of pics so you may want to go grab a cup of coffee and settle yourself down for lots of scrummy yarn pron....(don't say I didn't warn you this was a long one)

Ok so the swap was the brain child of uber talented kb. (She has a cool blog here you should go check out!).

This is what we had to do...

You will need to pick a theme that you wish to build your swap package around. Your theme can be anything - a song, colour, emotion, book, quote, pattern, an era, country - whatever inspires you at that particular time.

Now, you've picked your theme, you need to put together your swap package.
Your package must have:
* 100g hand-dyed yarn
* 1 piece of knitting paraphernalia
* A pattern suggestion that will suit not only the yarn, but the theme as well!
* A recipe
* Something SMALL (i.e, a small gift. So if it is something knit must use less than 50g yarn, if sewn something using less than 1/2m fabric, if purchased something less than $10)

First up....the magnificent yarn package I received.

My theme was Scandalous Romance of the Tudor Dynasty

From my yarn swap fairy:
The pattern suggestion I have chosen is a vintage capelet. Perfect for keeping your shoulders warm whilst stealing those secret kisses in the palace grounds on brisk spring nights.

As per the pattern instructions I have used 10ply wool (felted merino) dyed in brilliant regal colours as you are no shrinking violet. It is this same bold manner brilliance and beauty that has seen you capture many hearts in the royal court

As only the best will do for you, enclosed find some jewels (st markers and an antique brooch) of venetian glass and hand made silver beads brought from lands afar by your current lover.

Sadly the brooch is your undoing

On one of your romantic liaisons it comes unclasped you are unable to find it, you think little of it but the lady of the house finds your brooch. She insists you are banished from Court, you are never to be seen again

This scenario lends itself to a recipe of sweet desire mixed with sensuality (berry) and sharp pangs of reality (lemon)

How freakin cool is that????!!!!

So I was given "regal" dyed wool, a gorgeous antique brooch, TDF stitch markers, a pattern for a capelet (brooch to secure it perhaps) and a recipe for decadent berry cheesecake.

Here is my package

My gorgeous 'regal' wool - love the deep rich colours

My "jewels" - venetian glass stitch markers and antique brooch

Lucky me!!! My yarn swap fairy was "Mavis" and she did such a fantastic job of it. I loved the little scenario, don't know how she knew that I have a teeny obsession with the Tudor era and Henry VIII and I absolutely love it all. I feel very spoilt! Thank you SO much!!! I am so keen to knit up my wool but for now it is still on my dresser so I can admire it every time I walk past.

And here are the packages that were sent by me....(I was sending 2x and receiving 1x)

The first theme was "Under the Sea". First I dyed 100g of DK wool in 2 tones of blue and green
Under the Sea closeup
Under the Sea1

I loved how this wool dyed up. It looked so pretty in the skein I sent it as is (hopefully my person has a winder). I really wished I had dyed some extra so I could have kept some for me (an important lesson learnt!!).
My knitting paraphernalia were some fishy stitch markers (my pattern called for 2) - I made these the same day as I made the ABC ones I mentioned here. Really pleased with how they turned out ....and can so see how people get addicted to beading now!
My little gift was a little notepad with a paua shell motif (you might know it as abalone perhaps) and a little bath book for my persons little boy which was about an octopus and his adventures under the sea! The pattern part of this swap caused me a bit of grief until I found a pattern for kids fingerless gloves called "small fry fingerless gloves" (Small Fry.....get it??!!....i don't think my person did). I also included a chart I made up for a little fish to embellish the gloves with, and a tiny bit of orange yarn to do it in. And to finish the package off, the recipe I sent was for "Kuku" or mussels, a family favourite.


In a large pot add 1/2can of coconut milk, a heaped tablespoon of minced fresh coriander leaves (or use from jar equivalent), 2 tablespoons of sweet thai chilli sauce and 1 heaped tablespoon of minced garlic. Mix well and add mussels (approx one big pot full ). Mussels are cooked when the shell opens.

This is also a nice BBQ recipe – omit the coconut cream and spoon a little mixture into each mussel as it opens.

My 2nd package started off as one thing but I wasn't thrilled about my yarn dyeing and was severely lacking in inspiration until I wandered past a market stall selling lavender products. So I bought a little lavender pouch (which became the knitting accessory part....for sweet smelling stash)

and decided to do a lavender theme.I based it around the nursery rhyme "Lavender's Blue" (if you don't know this one check out this youtube clip)
This is the wool I dyed (I called it Lavender Fields)
Lavender Fields closeup

I loved this and got to keep an extra 70g for myself, which if you are the observant type you will notice I have already knitted up. Naughty eh?! Couldn't help myself - it was perfect for the project at hand and I was so interested to see how it would knit up.

I found a totally yummy sounding recipe for Lavender icecream (and learnt heaps about lavender for cuisine and medicinal purposes during my 'research')and included this pattern called Lavender Scarf. Finally my little present was a lavender bookmark and a book about Aromatherapy. My person makes her own organic cosmetics so I think this theme suited her. She seemed to like so that made me happy.

This swap was so much fun! A great chance to do some fun dyeing and to get the brain ticking over trying to come up with a theme and all the bits to go together. Thanks kb!!!

Now...if you are still with me and want to see MORE yarn swap goodness check out these posts from
kb and again

Pretty cool huh? Amazing to see everyone's different take on the same guidelines. It was great seeing everyone's fantastic creations!
There were about 30 people playing this swap but unfortunately there are only a few people with blogs and funnily enough there are a few giving to each other there so sorry if you see the same stuff twice, well worth the extra few minutes to go have a look what everyone else received though :D

My First Socks


I made socks!! Yup....Socks!! I finally did the whole "heel flap, turn the heel, graft the toe" thing. I am insanely proud of these. The fact that little miss refuses to wear them doesn't dampen my enthusiasm and love for my first EVER sock FO.

They may be in DK and knit on 4mm and they may be toddler size but socks are socks...right?

I actually kind of liked knitting these much to my own surprise. No 2nd sock syndrome here, these cute little things only took a night and a bit each. My entry into the Ravelympics SockPut and my first foray into learning about sock anatomy.
There are a few mistakes that show these socks were handmade with lots of love (lots of lessons learnt about tension while slipping stitches and picking up with no holes) but N2 hasn't noticed.

And look they fit even....


The yarn is from this stash and dyed by me in lavender shades of purple and green. The pattern I used is this one - the top down toddler version with a couple of mistakes modifications to make them slightly bigger for an almost 3yo (14cm).

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It runs in the family

Knitting action shots from my house during the weekend

My Mum knitting her Clapotis

My sister (12yo)knitting a baby cardigan for our brand new niece.

M1 getting in on the action too

A love of yarn and knitting ....perhaps it is genetic after all

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cowl Jump


Pattern: Zigzag Cowl (Rav download link)
Yarn: Scrummy Malabrigo Worsted Colourway: Sealing Wax

My Ravelympics entry in the Cowl Jump event. 2 events down, 1 to go!! (last event is the sock put...stay tuned for my first ever socks!!)

I love this cowl. I still haven't blocked it despite finishing it a day or 2 ago as I've been wearing it pretty much nonstop since it came off the needles. Blocking it will have to wait until we get a fine day (please some time soon ok??!!) and I can bear to take it off! Beautifully soft, very warm and the perfect size.

I love the yarn - totally get why people rave about it, it was soft and buttery and a dream to knit with. I hope this will not be my last Malabrigo experience!! The Sealing Wax colourway was just devine. Subtle red and orange changes which are incredibly difficult to get a good picture of. The closer colour is the more red photos rather than the orange.


The pattern was great. I didn't make any mods and I found it very intuitive once I got going. It was pretty easy to see where to do the yo's and the K2tog. I love the zigzag and I think it shows off the yarn beautifully. I ummed and aaahed for ages about which pattern to use my prized Malabrigo on but this was a match made in heaven.

Thanks again to the lovely Sonia for picking such fabulous yarn for me.

A post about a cowl wouldn't be complete without a stick 'em up photo.....


Sunday, August 17, 2008

You can't help but smile....

When you see these in the garden...

Spring IS coming! More snow forecast today but I'm ever hopeful this will be the last cold snap and warmer-ness will be with us soon!

When you have gorgeous friends who spoil you for no apparent reason. Thank you Megan - You are a sweetheart. 2 balls of ROWAN (!!!) Pure wool Dk in gorgeous deep red and blue/green (crappy photo taken in not very good light definitely doesn't do justice to the beauty of these)


AND!! she also sent me a little collection of fabulous fridge magnets. Aren't these the cutest? My fridge unfortunately is not photo/blog worthy so I had to make do with laying them out on my hand (which gives you a nice indication of size). Megan makes these herself and sells them here. Her stuff is fab so if your fridge needs brightening up you should go check out her lovely creations!


Just what I needed to lift the spirits from the depth of winter doldrums

Friday, August 15, 2008

Triple Jump

I have completed my first Ravelympics event! The Amigurimi n Toy Toss. I entered 3 times for this one so I guess you could say I was competing in my very own Triple (Toy) Jump.


I was in half a mind to boycott watching the Olympics given China's appalling human rights and environmental practices, however I have been surprised how much I have enjoyed watching the events so far. It makes a really refreshing change to have a showcase of other sports (sport does not have to equal rugby and rugby league!!)
NZ has been doing Ok, we are minnows at the Olympics so the handful of medals we are likely to get is a pretty big achievement for a country with only 4million people. Looking forward to more rowing tonight!

So instead of boycotting the Olympics I think I will sign up for this. Its a boycott of buying anything Made in China for the last week of the Olympics (August 18-24). It probably won't result in freedom for Tibet but I feel like I would like to do 'something', so silent message it is.

Anyway, back to the knitting. Here are the pattern details in case you want to make any of these cuties for yourself :)

All the patterns are by Raynor at the Knitted Toy Box. I used some little bits of leftovers in my stash. They are all made in 8ply wool and I knit the toys on 3mm needles. I have a couple of friends due in the next few months who are having baby #2 or 3. Since I am making something for the new baby, these are going to be gifts for the big sister or brother. I know my girls were always super stoked when they got a gift on the arrival of a new baby. I hope they like them!

Little Hippo for Seth

Tiny Turtle for James

Lovebug for Emily

I'm 3/4 of the way through my cowl jump entry now so another FO hopefully in the next day or 2. How is your Ravelympic knitting going?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

This is a knitting blog

If there was ever any doubt this is a knitting is a super cute word cloud I just made using Wordle. It takes the words you use most on your webpage (based on your RSS feed) and makes a cute word cloud out of them. I just saw this on IndigoMouse and thought I'd see what I *really* do talk about...turns out it is knitting! Imagine that :)
You can see all the other cool word clouds people are making here. If you give it a go on your own blog leave me a comment so I can go check yours out.

P.S I'm such a dummy at html I can't seem to get it bigger on here but if you click on it , it will go to Wordle and you can it full screen size :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Lucky Sweetp had lovely Leah come to stay for the weekend. We knitted, we chatted, we drank coffee, we went shopping, we dyed wool, we invited knitting friends over for a night of knitting and yummy treats, and we just hung out. My girls thought she was wonderful. M6 asked when are you coming to stay again! Thanks so much for always being there when I need to chat, thanks for being so kind and thoughtful and always helping me out!


Lucky SweetP got given a very special present from Miss very talented Leah.


Remember I was saying how I needed a WiP bag? Turns out my little conversation with naughty Kb was actually a little bit of 'research'!! Leah made me the most excellent bag!!! She thought of EVERYTHING!!

Made just for me (I am so blessed and spoilt!)

With a little zipper pouch for holding knitting jewels

And a drawstring ball holder so my yarn won't get tangled in the bag. This is a clever little design which was much admired by our knitting friends

And these wee pouches clip to the inside of the bag via a D-ring so I can clip them on and off if I need to (yip...she thought of everything)

It's made of super cool fabric (dark colour so little grubby children won't mark it) and she has lined it so that it stands up on it's own. Plus (!) the clever thing put a row counter on the drawstring so it won't ever get lost.

And...wait there's more....inside was some super yummy (dairy free so N2 could have some) chocolate, some super soft and scrummy yarn and a copy of kb's yarn harlot book to borrow. Lucky me!!!
Thank you Leah, I feel very spoilt and absolutely love it.