Tuesday, 4 December 2012

crazy december daze

My my, how these days and months are slipping by!
Already Christmas is just around the corner and like many families December is crazy hectic for us. We have the last few weeks of school, graduation ceremonies, carols to attend, various functions, work parties, Christmas!! and then my middle child has a birthday right after Christmas which must be celebrated with gusto. Add to that my working week and it seems I have little time left for anything else. Sound familiar?
In the true spirit of being a mum I love to take more than I can chew so add to my list baking gingerbread, mince pies, rum balls (the best ever!) planning a christmas lunch, presents for teachers and tonight I even got the hairbrained idea that perhaps I can sew myself a party frock before next weekend...!
Oh, and don't forget advent!
The biggest commitment by far each December when I plan out a month of festive activities, outings, crafts and treats for my kiddies to do in the lead up to Christmas. I first started this 4 years ago in a bid to make this time of year more about family and less about, well, presents. Sure presents are nice and all, but I really think kids these days have too. much. stuff!
So far I've been posting our daily advents to Instagram if you care to check it out. You can find me as restlessknitter.
Day three advent: Letters to Santa
So, things have been pretty slow on the knitting front. It seems as though work and life in general is getting in the way of my knitting time. I've been plodding away at my Elizabeth for a while now and I feel like I'm making no progress at all. I love this pattern and the lace is simple and intuitive but the yarn! The yarn has no memory or bounce and it's torture on my tired hands. If I knit this again I will definitely knit it wool, NOT bamboo.
I also have been taking part in the Anadiomena Mystery Knit along which was going great but I got to a stage of doubting how much yarn I had left and given that I've dodged the chicken twice recently, I doubt I will be a third time lucky. The KAL has now ended and after seeing the final pattern I'm in two minds about finishing it at all. I really like the boy version more than the girl version so I may ponder on that a while before I continue or rip out.
I have also been very slowly working on a test knit. Unfortunately I had some gauge issues and after knitting about a third of the garment, I had to rip it out and start again. Hopefully this time it will work out better.
I did recently manage to finish a cardi for my eldest daughter, just in time for a scorching hot Australian summer!
This is the Mini Waters Edge cardigan by Hannah Fettig. The minute I saw this pattern I knew it would suit my Bella. I made a few changes which I outlined on my project page. Go check it out!

And lastly, I pre-ordered a copy of Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf by Alana Dakos (hopefully) in time for Christmas. I can't wait to have a read and let you guys know what I think. In the meantime, the Knitmore girls  have a review on episode 206. If you don't already listen to this podcast, you should :-)

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Socktober roundup

I don't often partake in these novelty knit along months; there are so many of them and it's hard to keep up. But I like knitting socks and seem to have a little binge now and again so the concept of Socktober was perfect really. The idea is to knit as many socks as possible during the month of October.
So my final tally is 6 and a half socks.
Mini Vanilla Socks

Chunky Vanilla Socks

From Left: Uzu sock, mini vanilla socks, half a sock and a teeny baby sock

They are not all matching pairs mind you but that's ok. I finished one of my Uzu socks, which I may have to rip back to the heel as I'm really not happy about it, but I'll save that for another day. I knit some worsted vanilla socks for me, some vanilla socks for my little monkey, one teensy baby sock and half of another vanilla sock.
They've all been put aside for the moment while I work on some other things including the Anadiomena Mystery Knit Along. It's not too late to join in if you like mystery knits. This one is for a child's jumper/ sweater with some unusual construction. If you've never heard of a mystery knit along (MKAL) then the concept is pretty simple: The pattern is released in stages over a month or so and you have no idea what the final item will look like until you cast off. Each week you knit the section that has been released and you can get support and advice by participating the corresponding forum on ravelry.
I really like the mystery element. It keeps me interested and usually prevents me from getting bored with the project. This is a good thing because lately I feel a bit like my knitting mojo has gone AWOL. I have quite a few WIPs so maybe I'm a bit overwhelmed by choice.
My husband joked that maybe I've lost the knitting bug. HA! yeah, I don't think so. It's just taking a vacation for a while, I hope ;-/

Monday, 22 October 2012

Nanna Chic back in style

Earlier this year I was quite anxious to participate in a Mystery Knit Along (MKAL). At the time they seemed really hard to find which only fueled my insane desire to get in on the action. When this one popped up on my radar by Kristen Kapur I was in the sign up queue quicker than you could say knit picks.
I really really like a number of Kristen's designs so I was sure this one would be a winner.

I made a really good start and kept up with the clues each week. Until the last clue that is.
I had also signed up to test knit Maura and obviously I had a deadline to stick to. My Mkal shawl found it's way into the UFO pile with only 10 rows to go and there it sat in neglect for several months.

I finally got bitten by the finishing bug last week and got stuck into it. I knew I would be cutting it close with the yardage so I emitted the final two rows of the last chart. Good thing I did, I had less than 1 metre of yarn to spare once I bound off!!

I wasn't convinced I would love this shawl. I don't think I would pick the pattern had I seen it before the mystery knit. I was contemplating gifting it. But after I blocked it on my shiny new blocking wires I was just a little bit smitten. In fact, I haven't taken it off all week. It's perfect for the cool rainy spring weather we are having at the moment.
Secretly, I just love the nanna look. ;-)

Monday, 15 October 2012

Just in time for summer

I've been planning to knit myself a hat all. winter. long!

I played a little yardage chicken with this. The contrast colour is the Squoosh merino I spun recently. Or to be more precise, it's the 3 ply leftovers. I had an estimated 76m. After much project stalking it seemed that other ravellers used between 65 and 90m of the contrast colour so I decided to make a go of it. I'm pleased to say I made it with 2m of yarn to spare!
The pattern is Selbu Modern and is free on ravelry. I made a couple of mods you can check them out here.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

All rolled into one...

It was like Christmas and my birthday all rolled into one when this arrived from the post office this week.
I'm sure you can imagine just how I squealed with delight!
clockwise from front: Lolita, Victorian Gothic (7) Jade (2) and Steam Age

13 glorious skeins of Tosh DK!

I have a few plans for some of these. One skein of Jade and Lolita are destined to become a Cladonia
The steam age is joining a couple of co-ordinating colours to become something stripey.
The Victorian Gothic is to be a cardigan but I'm still open to suggestions on the perfect cardigan. I want something that will 'go' with everything. Something I can wear to work or with jeans. Maybe a few cables or lace but nothing too intricate. Please leave me a comment and tell me what YOU would knit with 7 skeins of madelinetosh :-D

Jane FO and saying goodbye

I've been a bit lazy in updating my blog, but then I figure, no one is actually keeping score, right?
I finished a Jane Cardi for miss Ellie a couple of weeks ago. I decided she needed a little spring cardi to wear over her sun dresses. I admit, I tend to get distracted by shiny things. I can be halfway through a project and then on a whim I will cast something new on and knit like the proverbial wind.

I have two other cardi's on the needles at the moment along with an almost finished (and languishing) shawl; that really ought to be finished but I'm too lazy to knit the last 5 rows. Not to mention the two pairs of socks. I have actually finished one sock from each pair and so have been wearing mismatched socks to keep my toes warm until I actually finish one of the pairs. :-)

Instagram pic of my mismatched socks :-)
This weeks distraction comes in the form of the Selbu Modern hat. A stunning stranded colour work hat which is available for free on Rav. I'm knitting the background using Shepherd merino 4ply in black and using some of my 3 ply handspun for the motifs. I love watching it grow and seeing the colours change. It will look spectacular once it's finished.

We lost a long time friend this last week.
Mr Gobbelino (or Gobbles as we called him) was diagnosed with diabetes. Although he did respond to insulin treatment, it became evident that he also had something else wrong with him, most likely a tumour in his chest. After 11 years, we said our final goodbye on Wednesday September 26, to our beautiful, fat, loving furry friend.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Happiness is...

My youngster was feeling a bit blue yesterday. I was chatting to her about sock knitting since that was what I was doing at the time. After looking through my stash she declared I had way to many pinks and purples and that she would like some blue or green socks.
I dug out a skein of undyed sock yarn and we spent the afternoon mixing up the perfect sock yarn to cheer her up.

Now she just needs to learn to knit her own socks!

Spring yarn

After sitting dormant for months, last weekend I finally finished spinning my Squoosh Merino.

I couldn't decide whether I wanted to 2 ply or navajo ply. I really wanted to keep those colour repeats as clear as possible, but I also wanted to get the maximum amount of yardage I could. In the end I decided to go with a 2 ply after a few failed attempts to start the chain.
I was thinking I had made the wrong decision as one lot of singles were slightly thinner than the other meaning that my colour sections didn't line up as I had pictured it in my head. But really, when do things ever work out just how you envisioned them...
So I had a bit of barber pole-ing going on, which wasn't my desired effect. But ah well.
I don't think it was until I wound the finished yarn off my niddy noddy and skeined it that I really fell in love with it. I still have those gradual colour changes, but the barber pole effect means the colours are softer and more subtle.
I ended up with approx 372m of plied yarn on my first bobbin. Wah-hoo!
I was aiming for over 300m so this was a bonus, plus I still had a fair bit of the singles left over. I navajo plied the remaining singles and got 76m of yarn. After seeing the two yarns side by side I am really glad I went with the two ply after all. The 3 ply is lovely, don't get me wrong, but I really love the way the colours blend softly together in the two ply. It reminds me of spring, which it is!!
This yarn is destined to be a shawl. After a bit of project stalking on ravelry, I decided on the Holden Shawlette. There are many handspun projects and they all look stunning!
I have a few UFOs to tend to first; and I must be stern with myself, but I really can't wait to cast on :-)

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Spinning in the sun...

We are 6 days into Spring here in the Southern Hemisphere. So far we've had nothing but wind and rain and hail!
Today was mildly pleasant. So much so, I decided to venture outdoors and took my wheel with me.

Superwash merino from Squoosh fibrearts

The fibre is superwash merino from Sqosh Fibrearts in colourway Raisin. I'm spinning (roughly) laceweight singles in the hopes of plying into 4ply/ fingering weight yarn. If all goes well, I should have around 400m of finished yarn with a slow colour change from deep purple into pinks into green into brown.
My View <3

Another curious spectator
I spent most of my morning sitting out and enjoying the sun when it peeked through the clouds. I had a few curious onlookers plus a toddler running around; but as far as I can tell, it was pretty much a perfect morning.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

9 months gestation : : an FO

Well peeps, you read that right. 9 freekin' months.
I'm not proud of it, but hey, let's all just focus on the end result.
Matchy matchy sisters <3

I started this one waaaaaaaay back in January this year. I got a fair way into it and lost interest. Probably due to the miles and miles of stockinette. Even that gorgeous lace panel didn't keep me interested. Darn her for having such a long torso!
The great thing about this project is that I could pick it up and put it down anytime, anywhere. No rows to finish and the lace pattern is super easy to remember. Even after months of not touching it I could still remember it. This became my 'leave in the car incase I get stuck somewhere with nothing to do' knitting.
I made a few mods this time. The first being the colour! Ooopsies. I had promised the Midget pink and the Big One green but I got a little muddled :-/
I knitted the 7yo size with extra length for my skinny mini.
I changed the increases to mirrored m1 on the raglan
I didn't bother with the lace panel on the butt. It looks cute but I wanted to keep this one simple.
I did the baby cable rib on every knit section on row 3 only (I'll post a close up shot of this later)

While I was knitting it, I WISHED I had included a little side shaping. She is so long and thin I think it would have looked nice with a little shaping, however after the bottom hem was finished it looked good on her as is.
The fit is so perfect, she'd better not have a growth spurt any time soon!

Monday, 3 September 2012

A Gramps for Squishy

My first FO for my BFFs first baby. A little boy due to join us sometime in early November.
I'm planning to knit quite a few goodies for this little squishy in the coming weeks.
If you like this pattern, I ravelled it here.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Little Red!

So my baby girl turned three yesterday. Where the heck did all that time go?
Last year I knit her a birthday dress and knew that I wanted to knit her something special this year also. I'm not sure how I came up with the idea of Red Riding Hood, but initially I planned to knit a red hooded cape that could be worn as a dress up and also as a cover up when it was cold. I found a few nice patterns but none really spoke to me. I was committed to finishing my test knit by the end of July which left me with exactly 10 days to knit something awesome.
I was sitting at my computer trying to find a last minute solution when hello! The Annabel pattern by Georgie Hallam was released. I LOVE this little jacket. I had seen a test knit in red and was smitten. It must have been fate that this pattern went live at the very moment I was trolling for ideas.
I immediately downloaded the pattern, did a rough swatch and cast on that night.
The only thing I changed was the raglan increases; I preferred to do a mirrored m1 instead of the kf&b called for in the pattern.
I finished knitting it the day before her birthday with exactly 8g of yarn to spare. Sewed on the buttons and steam blocked (Didn't have time for a full wet block)
And hey presto!

And in the spirit of Yarn Along, I am currently reading not one, but two books!
I was feeling guilty that I hadn't read anything good (or anything at all for that matter!) in such a long time, and was inspired to pick up a book after first seeing the yarn along posts. I took a trip to the library and came home with Sepulchre by Kate Mosse.

This is a massive book and I'm barely halfway through. I haven't actually had a lot of reading time between my test knit and finishing my Annabel, but I'm enjoying reading this.
I had a call from the library the other day to say they had a copy of The Hunger Games for me. I couldn't help but start reading straight away. I've heard good things. I'm only up to chapter 4 but so far I'm really enjoying it also.

Maura Test Knit

I love doing test knits. It's a great way to get past the indecision of 'what should I knit now' and I find it opens me up to new techniques and construction methods. I try to find designs that appeal to me aesthetically and that provide some challenge.
My latest test knit is Maura  by Wondrlanding.

When I first saw this pattern on Ravelry I contacted Eszter and expressed interest in testing should she require it. I was soon contacted and immediately jumped at the chance.
I really hoped to use my Madelinetosh 80/10/10 Sport in the colourway Jasper but alas, I didn't sufficient yardage :-(
I spent some time swatching with different yarns in my stash and achieved gauge with some Moda Vera Wool/ Cashmere. I was able to buy some through destash for a bargain price so this is the yarn I knit with.
To be honest, it's not the nicest yarn in the world. It's a little splitty and coarse. That said, the finished sweater is quite soft and the yarn feels nice against my skin without itching so I'm happy about that.
This cardigan is knit from the top down with raglan shaping and features a mirrored cable and lace pattern down the fronts. The little knotted buttons are knit and then attached to the fronts and create a series of almond shaped opening down the front when closed.
I chose to knit a size 36 which is smaller than my actual bust size and had a few concerns about it being too small but if anything it is actually a little big. It is designed to be very close fitting but I'm finding that it is not as tight as I expected. I've since come to the conclusion that I need to knit for my high bust measurement (underarms) which is 34 inches, especially on garments where negative ease is required. My Papillon sweater has the same problem (along with excessive pilling!). I knit a size smaller with that pattern and yet the finished item is loose where it should be tight.
The only real problem I have had with this garment has become apparent with wearing, and that is that the button loops are too loose, or to be more precise, they have stretched. I haven't decided yet if I will unravel that edge and do it over or if I will sew the buttons in place to make it a pullover. I have tried wearing it open but to be honest I much prefer the look of it closed.

Friday, 10 August 2012


another snapshot. Miss Ellie Rose turned three today. We celebrated by taking the day of work and school and heading down to Busselton. It was a perfect winters day!
And see that little red jacket...stay tuned for details coming soon!!

Monday, 25 June 2012


This is a snapshot of my Sunday morning which involved a trip to the local farmers market where we bought three new chookies, two light sussex (white with black ring) and a light sussex crossed with an australorp (black with white ring) We also ate some amazing homemade cupcakes (they were gone before I could say "say cheese") Then we had a play in the garden before I headed back indoors to curl up on the couch for a spot of knitting before I had to go off to work.
Love Sunday mornings at home :-)

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Yarn along

I'm a little late to this party but better late than never, right?
So I was over visiting the amazingly talented tikki's blog and happened across this great idea to encourage us crafty types to show our blogs a little love on a regular basis.

I'm the first to admit that I'm a bit of a knitting whore. I don't believe in monogamy at all. This sometimes leads to some complicated relationships between me and my knitting but hey, it's all good!
So right now I have a couple of projects on the go. The biggest and most exciting is probably my Mystery Knit-along shawl. I have been itching to participate in a mystery knit ever since I first heard of the idea but had trouble finding one. When this one popped up by designer Kirsten Kapur  I knew I was onto a winner! I LOVE Kirsten's designs so I'm hoping that this shawl will be amazing. I'm knitting it with Misti Alpaca tonos carnival in the Rosemary colourway.

clue 1 of the mystery shawl

This yarn is deliciously soft. I had initially envisioned socks but decided it was too soft to be hidden away in shoes and resolved that it should become a shawl instead....

On that note, I am actually knitting socks with the exact same yarn base, this time in the blackberry colourway. The colour makes me think more of blueberries with it's smokey blue black hue. My indecisiveness to settle on a pattern led me to find the Uzu sock pattern which featured in Knitty Deep Fall 2011. I love it when simple lace patterns give the impression of a cable!
Also on my needles right now is a second Sorello by the afore mentioned Tikki. I admit I've lost a little steam with this one but it has turned out to be a good go-to project while watching tv as it requires virtually zero attention. I will finish it one day....I hope :-/
I'm modifying this one, mainly due to laziness, I plan to leave out the lace panel on the butt and leave it as a more simple tee. I wish I would have included a little side shaping as my miss 10 is rather slim and although I've knit the size 7, it actually is HUGE on her. Not to mention that it will grow some when blocked.
I'm not going to go on about the many other unfinished, languishing projects...I'll save them for another day.

I admit to not reading much in the past few weeks. However, this evening I did enjoy a fireside session of reading aloud fairytales first published 200 years ago by the Brothers Grimm :-)
Followed by pizza and Back to the Future III.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

A cashmere merino sweater? Yes please!

My Papillon sweater is finished! 

Knit using Naturally Me (80% merino wool, 20% cashmere) on 3.75mm needles.
I used 8.2 balls of yarn

close up of the cable/ lace panel

I really enjoyed knitting this. The construction was a little different to the usual top down raglan. The contiguous method of construction is relatively new and was developed by Susie Myers to create a top down, one-piece, set-in-sleeve style construction.

You can read more about my experience here.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Get your knit on peeps!

Saturday June 9th is Worldwide Knit in Public Day. For real!
So get your pointy sticks out and head to your favourite cafe or park and get knittin'.

I know I will be.
Then again, I never really need an excuse to knit in public! :-D

Friday, 30 March 2012

bad luck and a good deed

Recently my car died and I was stranded on the side of the road, with my husband, my two year old and 5 canaries, at about ten to three in the afternoon 20km away from the school my elder children were attending.
Luckily it wasn't a hot day or things may have turned out differently for those canaries!
But despite the car sizzling and spewing molten liquid everywhere my biggest concern was to stop the kids getting on the school bus. Thank god for mobile phones!
I live in a semi rural area, a long way from family so I have to rely on the goodwill of friends. I found a friend willing to collect my children and mind them until I could come to get them. Along the way, between frantic phone calls another friend called to say that she was coming to get me, and the midget and the canaries (we left the husband on the side of the road...)
She totally didn't have to. It was a long way out of her way. Not to mention that she was on the way to her weekly swimming class. But like the good and selfless friend she is she literally dropped everything to help me out.
Sooooo. I wanted to do something special to say "thanks for saving us!"
My friend is a knitter and spinner and all round amazing creative person. She is also the wife of a farmer which means her me-time is pretty limited as she spends a lot of her day doing farm duties. She has been talking of late about wanting to find some time to spin. She is always envious of the "beautiful rovings" I buy since she is more used to raw fleece straight from the sheep.

The solution was quite simple really. I ordered some yummy hand dyed BFL/ Silk roving from Spun Out. Similar to the fluff I spun recently.

The Thylacine Oatmeal BFL and Silk 

And since I was paying postage, why not order something for me...

Sqoosh Fibrearts 100% superwash merino in colourway 'raisin'
Now my friend has an excuse to do some spinning. In fact we are planning a grown-ups only spin/knit day in the upcoming school holidays (for all you non-fibre-freaks that is like HEAVEN!!) So yay for that. I'm planning to attempt to spin and ply my wool into a fingering weight yarn to knit either socks or a shawlette, so we'll see.
I can't tell you how nice it feels to do something nice for someone. Especially something that was so unexpected. So go, do something nice. Do it now.
Go on...

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

everyone loves a good yarn

From this:

To this:

 In two days... :-)

My little helper <3 Love her guts!!

Plying the yarn

Battling with my ancient Niddy Noddy. This one was obviously designed by a man! (or a non-spinner!)
 I have approx 130 metres of roughly DK- light worsted weight yarn. I was hoping for a bit more but for my first skein of yarn I'm pretty pleased.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Spinning up a storm

I first learned to spin around 10 years ago whilst I was studying textile art at Uni. My first experience was on an electric mini spinner and then I moved on to a traditional style single treadle wheel, you know, the fairy tale looking ones a la Sleeping Beauty.
Over the years I have dabbled occasionally; My grandparents sent me over an antique wheel around the same time that I was learning but despite all my best efforts at the time I couldn't make the damn thing work! I now know that I needed to tension the wheel, but back then I had no idea about the workings of a spinning wheel. As far as I was concerned you put your foot on the peddle and you treddle...
Towards the end of 2011 I was presented with an Ashford Traditional spinning wheel in excellent condition for a steal of only $50! You bet your ass I bought it! Much to the disdain of my husband who has been trying to convince me for years to get rid of the other one.
So over the last few months I have dabbled a little again, but recently for our wedding anniversary, said husband bought me a beautiful spalted beech drop spindle and some luscious BFL/ Silk roving.

I wasn't sure about the colours of this wool when I first saw it online, but when it arrived I was totally smitten.
The colours are divine; ranging from silver to fawn to chocolate to deep plum and mauve. Beautiful!

So my new spindle has inspired me to get my spin on again. And I wanted to get some good practice in before I attempted to spin the new roving. I've only ever spun Merino before which I've since learned is crap for a beginner due to its short staple length and tendency to snap when overspun. So I dug out some Corriedale I had in my stash for felting. It had been pre-washed and carded by me last year so it was good to go. I was AMAZED at how easy it was to spin!! Seriously, these fibres seem to go forever and you can spin it so fine!
I have a ball of Merino/ Silk I spun about a year ago. It's pretty dodgy to say the least. But lately I've been intrigued by Navajo plying, I mean, as far as I can tell it's kinda like taking a shortcut in plying and I'm all for shortcuts. It's in my lazy nature. So thanks to the wonders of YouTube I watched a few video tutorials and decided to have a crack at it. Obviously my first attempts are ordinary at best, but this is so freaking awesome! Ingenious!
Front, Merino. Rear, Corriedale. Both Navajo plied

So I went ahead and plied the Merino/ Silk, just for funsies. I ended up with approx 30 yards of super bulky weight yarn. I was initially planning to knit some fingerless mitts with this yarn, then last night I thought a neck warmer. I knit it up on 10mm needles and there isn't enough :-( So I'll have to ponder on another purpose for this.

After a little maintenance on the wheel (the Conrod joint snapped. Who even know it was called a Conrod joint?! By the way, an old leather belt cut into a 2 inch strip did the job just fine!) I decided I was ready to take on the BFL/ Silk.

Did I mention the colours are AMAZING!

The silk glides like butter through my fingers. The BFL is a little more hard work, but those fibres spin so beautifully. I don't know that I'd ever go back to spinning Merino again! Not for a while anyhow...