Saturday, April 25, 2009


Highlights from my day yesterday 25 April - ANZAC Day.

* We rise before dawn and sneak out of the house in the dark. It is so quiet and still, and surprisingly, not that chilly.

* I put on my big black coat that I haven't worn since last winter and find a pair of forgotten about gloves in the pockets. Now I don't have to rush to knit some mittens

* We're late so we run down the road holding hands, our coats flapping behind us in the wind. My legs and lungs are burning, its been a long time since I did any running

* We turn the corner to the sounds of the Army band and in a minute or two we are standing at the back of the crowd. DD asks me if this is a thousand people.Everywhere we look we see red poppies.

* The man talks of war and there are words that sound like another language - artillery, battalion, infantry. I hope my daughters also live their lives not really having an concept of what these words mean. Thankfully DD doesn't ask too many questions and I escape any long winded explanations about the insaneness that is war.

* A plane flies low overhead. A gun salute. The Army band sings their tribute. A lone bugle plays The Last Post. A tear slips off my cheek.


Lest We Forget

* After the service DD and I go to a flash hotel for breakfast. DD enjoys her first ever buffet and fills her plate with much glee. We enjoy having a 'date' together and some quiet time, just the 2 of us.

*I overhear snippets of the conversation at the next table. An elderly gentleman recounts his experiences fighting the Germans in North Africa.

* We leave and later I discover we were only charged for one breakfast not two.

* Back at home we find Dad has everything under control. The baby and I snuggle down under the warm blankets and have a little nap.

* My 2 big girls are so excited to be going for an overnight stay with their auntie they barely remember to kiss their mother goodbye!

* We meet my friend at Playcentre and the first thing she does is compliment me on my new hair cut. We spend the next 2hours rearranging all the centre furniture and toys. We're exhausted but it looks so much better.

* Dad has won his rugby game. We buy a cold beer for Dad and some hot chips for M1. She only wants to eat the ones covered in sauce.

* Later I head out for a night with friends. Dessert, clothes swapping and chatting. I meet some new people and catch up with old friends. A friend kindly gives me her new baby for a cuddle, he's so cute I want to steal him. I cast on for an owlet and I manage to get a couple of inches done while we all sit and talk. We make plans and it sounds like everything will come together nicely.

* I arrive home in the dark and Dad has been entertaining the baby for the last hour. She's so relieved to see me she bursts into tears. As she nurses off to sleep we sit and chat about our respective evenings.

* It's been a long and busy day. I'm asleep before my head hits the pillow

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Garter Yoke Cardi


The past 2 weeks have been school holidays for us and while I was secretly hoping that holiday mode would result in an increase in knitting time, I was never really sure if I'd get this done within 2 weeks or if that was just wishful thinking. Looks like holidays are good for knitting productivity!and this isn't the only thing I've been working on! Guess it was all that blobbing around home with the kids.

I'm really pleased with how my cardy turned out. I know just about everyone on Ravelry has made one of these and for good reason. I really wanted something warm and wearable for "jeans at home days" and this pattern seemed perfect. Simple but with a few nice details (like shaping) it struck me immediately as something I would get lots of wear out of.


Excuse the little cling on at the side there

The Naturally Sensation was a dream to work with. Its a felted single with just a bit of halo, it knit up as an incredibly soft and cozy fabric - I even want to cuddle me when I'm wearing it! I bought this at our LYS sale in January, they only had this colour on sale ($4/50g) and even though it was described as "navy" - it is so much more prettier than that. My camera (as always) hasn't captured the colour so well but its much deeper in real life with a hint of purple. Very nice. Normally this is $10/skein so way out of my price range for a sweater's worth but if I ever see it on the cheap again I'd buy more as it really was lovely. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that the skeins are 120m so I only needed a smidgen over 7 skeins for a whole jumper.


The pattern is a yoked/raglan hybrid - top down and seamless - which I do really enjoy knitting. It's so great to get to the end of knitting and just 'be finished' - not have endless seaming to worry about . I'm still pretty new at "me" knitting but my experience so far would suggest that for me, less is more, when doing the raglans. Once again I just increased until it fit and ended up (again) with a size smaller than what I measure. I have quite a narrow back and doing less increasing seems to result in a better fit. I did pick up some stitches under the arm and ended up with the number I would have had if I'd followed the increases for my size. Before blocking my cardy had quite a bit of negative ease and was a bit short. I eased it out just a little bit when wet and got an inch or so in added length. Yay for blocking ( it really does fix everything!)

GYC Buttons

Buttons from Spotlight! Button shopping is hard I think. I always agonize over what to get. I found the buttons of my dreams but unfortunately they had a nightmare-ish price tag so maybe if I make myself something that needs only 1 or 2 buttons I'll get some then! (They were silver with dragons on them). I'm pretty happy with the ones I got though and think they add a nice finishing touch to it, a nice mix between casual and dressy.


I made some notes on my Ravelry page but really didn't make any major modifications. The only thing worth mentioning was to add another set of increases after the waist decr/hip increase (as per the pattern). Unfortunately for me below my hips is where it all goes pear shaped (pun intended) - perhaps something to be said for sitting on your butt all day knitting?? - anyway I added some more increases so that there would be a little bit more ease if I wanted it buttoned all the way down. I'm still not sure which way I will prefer to wear it so at least this way I can choose and it will still fit nicely. The extra increases have made the bottom a little swing shaped (not that noticeable when worn) but I took a photo (above) so you could see. Other than that I just knit the pattern as was written.


Buttoned up? Or loose? I'm still not sure...
I think once I've worn it a bit it will ease a bit and not pull on that button

This is number 4 for me for NaKniSweMoDo 09 (That's National Knit a Sweater a Month Dodecathon) - the group the crazy people join up to! I'm still not sure I'll get to 12 but am pretty pleased to have #4 done before the end of the 4th month.

The observant amongst you might also notice I had my hair chopped off today! Its been long or long-ish for, what seems like, forever. Time for a change!! So far I'm really pleased with it (even if MissAlmost2 gave me some funny looks when I got home) - I feel so light!

Oh and once again thanks to M6 for the photography xx

Sunday, April 19, 2009


I have long admired the ability of some clever NZ bloggers to find (a seemingly never ending supply of) awesome thrifted clothes and other bits and pieces. I often lamented that I wasn't blessed with an ability to find the cool stuff amongst the junk stuff. Since moving I find myself within walking distance of several op shops, a 2nd hand recycled label clothing store and a cupboard-sized "treasure trove" shop full of 2nd hand bits and pieces. My neighbourhood is apparently a thrift shoppers dream.

Here (in my experience anyway) "thrift" shops seem to fall into 3 distinct categories. The Op Shops - opportunity stores/charity stores (Salvation Army, City Mission and the like) where there is usually lots of stock but finding the cool stuff can be a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack. I seem to often leave empty handed having just waded through a whole lot of stuff people threw away for good reason , but occassionally, do find the odd gem. Last visit this included some (in N3's words) "gorjus" 80's plastic beads and "nana scarves" for the kids dress up box and these wooden handles (Score!). All for the pricely sum of about $5

Thrifted bag handles

There are a few 2nd hand clothing stores around the place which specialise in recycling labelled and quality clothing which can be good for a look through every now and then if you don't mind paying more than op shop prices.

And then there are the "treasure trove" shops , where the stock has been hand picked - retro, vintage, just plain old. But there's more cool than junk. One of these stores happens to be just around the corner from school (how sad for me). Last week I saw this black jacket hanging in the window and luckily it just happened to be MissAlmost2 sized

Thrifted Jacket

Originally it came with an odd assortment of mismatched buttons and funny sewn on flower things on the pockets. I gave the jacket a little make over by ripping them all off and replacing them with silver star buttons - much better.
Buttons and things from M's jacketNew buttons

The jacket has the loveliest of details, and beautiful red satin lining inside. It's "Old Navy" - I'm not really big on label clothing (especially those that aren't actually available in this country) but it does tell me it's probably not going to fall apart with shonky sewing anytime soon.

Lovely details

I'm very pleased with this find. M1's going to be very well dressed this winter!


Thursday, April 16, 2009

For Bells

For today's post first go read this post at Bell's. Off you go....

Back? Ok then...

May I present The Dead Muppet Fur Cardigan:

Dead Muppet Fur Cardy

My Mum knitted this for my big girl quite a few years ago. Before I was knitting seriously. A very cute pattern I picked out and then Mum had to buy a ridiculous amount of not cheap yarn to make it with. Thanks Mum

Bells, you are right, it is SO soft. And it weighs a tonne, so is very warm. A bit too warm for every day wear but if my kids ever have to go out in sub zero temperatures then this would be the perfect cardigan!

Quick get me out of this thing
Quick get me out of this thing!!

Dead Muppet Fur Cardy 2

I will never be able to look at this cardigan again without imagining a muppet eating crayons and then barfing everywhere. Thanks Bells (and her ever hilarious commenters).


Someone else wanted a try on too. Perhaps proof that Muppet road kill can still look pretty cute?

I have to admit my stash doesn't have any novelty yarns in it anymore. My first foray back into knitting again was making scarves out of "Feathers yarn" when they were all the rage. The first Christmas after I started knitting again every female in my family got a feather scarf!

I'm pleased to say I've moved on now and the glitter and the fuzz and the eyelashs don't really do it for me anymore. I'd like to think my taste has matured somewhat but you know , there was this yarn I saw at Spotlight, with sequins in it.......

Sunday, April 12, 2009

In Progress

Recently I sent a lot of half completed things off to hibernate and yesterday frogged the Lion Neck Cardigan I had started (on account of there being just too many things wrong with it).

So as of now I *only* have 2 things on the go....

Garter Yoke Cardi
from Knit.1 magazine (Rav link) - My next selfish knit and #4 NaKniSweMoDo09 (got talked into signing up, thanks Shortly) is coming along rather nicely. I'm done with the garter yoke and separated for the sleeves and am quietly hopeful I'll get this knocked out within a couple of weeks. So far all is going well and I think it's going to be a very wearable knit.

My garter yoke cardigan

I'm using the Naturally Sensation Merino/Angora that I (and just about every knitter I know) bought in the Knitworld sale in January. It's lovely to work with and has a little bit of haze/halo/fuzz (whats the right word?) so is well suited to this simple design (got to love a one page sweater pattern). I do however wish the yarn came as balls and not skeins....

I wish this yarn came in balls not skeins

The other project I have on the needles are some very cute crocodile gloves for my little crocodile obsessed 3year old. This is the Later Gator pattern from Stitch and Bitch Nation (Rav link) . Still need teeth (and the 2nd glove) but so far they get the seal of approval from N3. They're a touch big for her so hopefully they might do 2 winters. At the moment we're just using the buttons she picked out for eyes, not sure yet if I'll replace them with proper eyes yet or not.

CROCODILE!!Crocodile Gloves

And then what?

Maybe back to my snoozing projects.

Maybe on to something new. I bought the new Interweave Knits magazine (Spring 09) a couple of weeks ago and want to make the Whisper Cardigan. (Rav link) I have SO many things on my to do list but find myself drawn to simple clean lines and things that look "wearable" at the moment.

Kate Davies has released her new Owlet pattern (Rav link) and I may have already bought a copy and it may already have gone straight to the top of the list for M1 - I promise on my honour never to wear my O W L S at the same time though ;)

What are you making at the moment? Or got planned? My queue has room for more great patterns :D

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

FO: Robin Hood Jacket

robin hood2

This pattern has been on my 'one day I AM going to make this' list for a very long time. I'm still very smug about finding the book (Adorable Knits for Tiny Tots by Zoe Mellor) for a fantastic price recently, only a few weeks later and I've finally made the jacket I have admired for so long.

robin hood1

To begin with I was very intimidated by all the cables but actually they weren't so bad. Yes there are lots but nothing tricky. I used stitch markers between the panels which helped immensely. It was a really fast and fun knit, and not at all taxing or brain draining like I thought it might be.


I used Cleckheaton Country 12ply. I nabbed 6 balls for $1 ea on sale (score!) but then ran out of yarn (don't I always??!!) - the pattern said 6 balls but I forgot to check yardage and of course the CC was less than the recommended yarn. Luckily I found a local store with some and ended up going a little way into my 8th ball.
Which to me sounds like a LOT of yarn. I used a little over 10 balls of the same yarn making my adult sized FLS!! So to those who might like to make this jacket too....those cables and that hood really do eat up the yarn!! Buy more than you think you'll need!!


I'm really pleased with how this turned out. I didn't make any modifications - just cast on for the 1-2y size but used the length for the 2-3y size since my gauge was off a bit. M is 20mths so I was wanting the 2-3y size in the hope it will fit again next winter. It's a fairly looseish fabric (squishy and warm) with plenty of stretch so I'm hopeful she'll get 2 winters out of it. I think I would have liked maybe an inch more in length but I actually haven't blocked it yet so when I do I may see if I can ease it out a little bit lengthwise.


I am really very pleased with this actually and forsee much wearing of this jacket this winter! Functional, warm and so damn cute. And fun to knit. Always a winner combo!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Looking Up (and down)

Inspired by the gorgeous 'looking up' photos at Lily's House , some 'up' shots of my own...

Up in autumn

Autumn is so pretty. We are having the odd cooler day but this day the sky was perfectly blue and picture perfect. The girls and I are finding all sorts of interesting 'treasures' to bring home at the moment...leaves in every colour, acorns and conkers, and other autumny things dropped from trees I'm not sure the names of. I was remembering the autumn shots I blogged almost a whole year ago when we had just arrived back here (gosh that has gone fast!)


Every day we walk UNDER railways lines. Despite thinking that we have worked out the train timetables we haven't yet managed to be near the bridge when a train is going over, hopefully one day we'll time it right. N3 says its 'a little bit freaky' when we go under and I try to pretend I can't see the cobwebs, rust and general decay on the tracks - not a sight for those with overactive imaginations!!

I am so going to try this idea

I also found some interesting things to photograph when looking down, like these plants in gumboots!! Such a great idea , I may have to borrow this one myself!


And inspired by more gorgeous photos, a shadow photo of my own. What it looks like when you have someone who thinks she needs to be 'pulled' all the way home. I love the shape in this one , it looks like she might be pulling ME out of shape, not my jeresy.

I'm almost finished the Robin Hood jacket after managing (phew) to track down another ball of wool. Just the hood to go now so I should be back in a couple of days with a FO post, all going to plan.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Where my stitches at?

How lucky am I? A special parcel for me in the post this morning....

where my stitches at

The Ravellers amongst you will recognise this as a Ravelry store tee. SO cool (100). I wore it all day along with my 'so stoked' smile. Lucky me!!

Thank you Beck, you really are a sweetie. I feel incredibly blessed to have such a generous and thoughtful friend. The last few weeks have been a hectic blur of visiting grandparents, finishing playcentre assignments, sore throats and sniffles, other unspeakable childhood ailments, sleepless nights and emerging molars! Your little pick me up gift came just at the perfect time! Thank you!!

And that's not all....also a big pile of lovely new wipes for the little ones. Love that rainbow print. Thank you so much!

New wipes

Beck is the brainchild behind Ecobubs - awesome wool pocket nappies (which are always my first choice for Miss20months) and gorgeous classic childrenswear, always something to covet there. Go check it out :D

Where my stitches at?