Last minute Monica

24 08 2009

Sometimes snap decisons are not always the best ones.  Belinda made a snap decision to have a birthday party for Annabel, after assuring us all that it was family only this year.  Almost four year olds have special, guilt inducing, powers which can make us all make decison that we do not entirely understand.

So then, Friday night, I made a snap decision that Annabel needed a knitted something to go with her Ballerina Barbie.  (I know, I know, bad, non-feminist gift sending out terrible messages to young girls about body image, but Mr Potato Head doesn’t exactly send out a good message either and Annabel loves ballet, ballerinas, glass slippers, tiaras and cascading long blonde hair so I know she will love it).

I knew it would have to be something quick and simple as the time frame was pretty short so I chose “Monica” from Knitty.   I thought it would make a good tank top for over skivvies in a winter weight yarn.  I didn’t have any pink in my stash as I don’t normally go in for pink, but it would have been perfect for Annabel (she is definitely a pink girl).  Anyway, I chose Patons Soft Haze cream for the body and Moda Vera Believe olive green for the ruffle.  Both knit up well, and both were bargains from a Spotlight sale.

In the end I had the whole of Sunday to do the ruffle and straps so I ended up doing a feather and fan pattern for the ruffle to add a bit of interest and because I was quite sick of knitting miles and miles of stocking stitch.  I chose a k2tog X 4 yo K1 X4 instead of six, as six didn’t go into the number of ruffle stitches and it worked well.

I knit both the body and the ruffle in the round (and managed to twist the stitches on both – I am hopeless at this).  This is also the first time I have done yo using continental style.  I had to go back and have a look at the YouTube CraftSanity video, as I couldn’t figure it out but it was easy peasy after that. 

Monica from Knitty with variations

Monica from Knitty with variations

Feather and Fan detail

Feather and Fan detail





Oh When the Saints

28 07 2009

I have been immersed in “footie” knitting for the last little while. 

James turns 7 in a couple of days, and as he is a big St Kilda supporter, I thought I would grab some Spotlight Basics Sports Supporter yarn and knit him up a footie jumper.  The Sports Supporter colours are great for Aussie Rules teams and the yarn itself feels pretty soft.  It is a 50/50 wool acrylic blend and is reasonably priced at $3.99 a ball.  The only criticism I have of it is all the joins in the yarn.  There were at least 2 joins in every skein, this is one of my pet hates and one of the reasons that I use 200g skeins of Bendigo Woollen Mills yarn alot.  200g and I can count the number of times I have found a join, in all the years I have been using it, on one hand!

I found a pattern for a V-Neck sweater and used it for the neck shaping and just did a simple rib band to finish the armholes.  When I began I thought I would be very clever and knit the body in the round, I can tell you I felt very silly when I realised that the yarn was going to end up at the wrong end of each colour section when I got to it.  So, unfortunately, I had to sew a couple of side seams.  The first I have sewn in a while. 

I am hoping it hasn’t turned out too big.  I am finding my tension is much looser using the continental style of knitting.  And, with my usual impatience, I skipped a gauge swatch.

Oh when the Saints, Oh when the Saints

Oh when the Saints, Oh when the Saints

I had a skein each of black, white and red left over and I am in a stash busting mood at the moment, so wanted to use it up straight away.  We are off to see the Saints play on 8th August and as Jenny is such a big fan I thought I should make her a “Waving Around on the Day” scarf.  It is a simple two row chevron pattern.  Easy to knit while listening to, my new found passion, audio books.  I am listening to “The English American” at the moment, and I absolutely love it.

Wave it in the air, like you just don't care

Wave it in the air, like you just don't care

In an effort to get ourselves on the big screen when we are at the game.  Elise and I spent an hour or two on Saturday making a banner to wave about at the game.  It’s rough and ready, but we had a good time making it and managed to keep the paint off everything except the banner.

Have we jumped on the right bandwagon?

Have we jumped on the right bandwagon?





The Learning Never Ends

22 06 2009

I have suddenly become unhappy with how slowly and how undignifiedly (can’t think of a more suitable word, so had to use this made up one), I knit.  I wonder if it has something to do with my being left handed and having to control the yarn with my right hand.  Although, this is a bit of a weak excuse as I use a knife and fork right handed, play golf and cricket right handed, but I do write, use chopsticks, play tennis and crochet left handed.  Anyway, the reasons are irrelevant, but the feeling of dissatisfaction is annoying.

Last Saturday afternoon I decided to teach myself to knit in the continental style.  To hold and control the yarn with my left hand.  I downloaded a great video demonstration from YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuRLFl36tDY) and watched it a couple of times before making my first attempt.  I must have watched it another 20 or more times while I got the hang of it, but eventually I seemed to have at least mastered what I was supposed to do. 

On Sunday I knit a garter stitch square using my new style and although the tension wasn’t great at the beginning, by the end it was looking pretty even.  On Monday I started knitting a cardigan (swing style with a K12P6 rib pattern) using my new method and I must say it is looking very even. 

I can see that it is going to be much faster, although it is probably at the stage where it is on a par with how fast I was knitting using the throw style, previously.  It is kind of like changing to tea with no sugar, I am still not quite used to it, but there is no way I could go back.  The method feels really comfortable for me and I’m so glad I made the effort to learn.





Hot Water Bottle Cozies everywhere

11 06 2009

In the end I decided that the hot water bottle cozy that I designed for Ryan was just a bit too “manly” for a three year old.  I am still very pleased with it but not quite sure what to do with it. 

A "manly" cozy

A "manly" cozy

It is knit with Bendigo Woollen Mills “leftovers”, some classic and some mystique, all 8 ply.  The colours work quite well together in the slip stitch pattern.  The yarn carryovers and the slight puckering of the fabric, caused by the slip stitch rows, make the cozy a bit squishy and extra cuddly and should give good thermal properties. 

Here is a close up of the slip stitch pattern:

slip stitch pattern

slip stitch pattern

In the end I knit a simple cozy for Ryan out of some Moda Vera Flirt and some Moda Vera Jazz which I had leftover from knitting a “Green Sheep” for a child who absolutely loved the book “Where is the Green Sheep?” by Mem Fox.  It is a tube knit in the round to the neck with some decreases at each end of each side (similar to sock gusset decreases) and then a frill knit in jazz by increasing in every second stitch every couple of rows a few times.

blurry, flirty, jazzy cozy

blurry, flirty, jazzy cozy

The photo is very blurry and the cozy is very acrylic, but it is lovely and soft and cuddly for a little boy.





A free Knitting pattern

12 05 2009

I have designed a Hot Water Bottle Cozy for my Aunt.  It is knit in the most gorgeous handspun from my Stich’n’Bitch buddy Lynne http://tasknitterspins.blogspot.com/  The yarn was buttery and so soft, simply gorgeous to knit with.

The knit is easy and quick and makes a lovely gift. 

Clare's Handspun Cozy

Clare's Handspun Cozy

Clare’s Handspun Cozy

Clare’s Handspun Cozy pdf





Two FOs in one day….

5 05 2009

Yesterday was a good knitting day.  I ended up with two finished objects in one day… it feels like the planets are all in alignment and things are right with the world (if we ignore global warming, peak oil, abject third world poverty, etcetera etcetera).

The first one to come off the needles was an Irish Hiking Scarf knit with a skein of Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride in the most gorgeous shade of green.  I received the skein in a magic yarn ball swap and it was full of lovely little treasures, buttons, beads, stitch markers and an amazing little pink fairy who looks like she belongs in an exotic cocktail.

The yarn is lovely and soft and a little bit slubby.  I enjoyed knitting with it, and, although it is a little bit sheddy, it is definitely worth it for the softness of the fabric.  I knit it on 5.00mm but probably could have gone up one or even two sizes as the fabric is quite dense.  I only had one skein so it is a short scarf and I would definitely like to make myself a nice long version one of these days…

The scarf and all it's hidden treasures

The scarf and all it's hidden treasures

Next up came off the hook rather than off the needles.  This is the first time I have crocheted a garment, unless you count a granny square poncho that I crocheted for myself in High School, which I don’t, obviously that whole era of fashion is best forgotten about completely. 

I found the shaping instructions very confusing, and constantly ended up with less stitches than I was supposed to.  However, luckily for the novice, crochet seems to be extremely forgiving and I just kind of freeformed, the sleeves especially, until they resembled the shape of the piece I was looking for, and, voila, it fit.  It is crocheted with Bendigo Woollen Mills cotton on a 4.00mm hook and looks really nice on Elise.  I wish I had taken a photo but this afternoon went by in a blur so here is one without the model inside…

A first attempt at crochet

A first attempt at crochet

Crochet grows so quickly, it was all over before I knew it, a nice change from knitting, but never going to become my passion I don’t think.





Tennis Socks for Lindy Lou

25 04 2009

These socks have been on the needles for too long, so I decided that monomgamy was the only answer and finished them off remarkably quickly.

They are knit with Tofutsies yarn from South West Trading Company which is really gorgeous to knit with.  It is lovely and soft and a little bit stretchy and doesn’t split at all.  I found that it knit really quickly as well, although this may be because I knitted them on a size larger needles than recommended to make them a little lighter and lacier (the wearer will be playing tennis in Vietnam – doesn’t bear thinking about really!).

The pattern is from a Tasmanian designer, Ceriwen Davies, and is published in Yarn Magazine (issue 12).  It is an easy lace pattern, quick to memorise, and looks more complicated than it is (always a bonus).  I can’t figure out any mistake that I made, but the pattern didn’t work out correctly down the heel flap, although it did down the foot, luckily, unless you know about it, you can’t really notice it.

All in all, I enjoyed knitting these socks and I have more than enough yarn left in my skein to knit another pair.

Unblocked - Lindy can block them when she wears them

Unblocked - Lindy can block them when she wears them

Elise - my graceful, if slightly too small, model

Elise - my graceful, if slightly too small, model