Four Quarter Stashdown

We recently moved house. It’s great! I will hopefully blog some actual house stuff at some point, since I will be doing curtains and the like. For now, let me just say, it’s bigger, cleaner, lighter, and near the beach. This beach:

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So that’s pretty amazing (I still can’t quite believe it). Also, I have a craft room again! The king bed fit perfectly in what was the last owner’s nursery. So all that’s in there is the bed, side tables, and the built in wardrobe. A couple of people have expressed surprise that the biggest room isn’t the bedroom, but that seems like a real waste of space to me, since for sleep hygiene purposes I don’t like to hang out in the bedroom.

Instead, I scored the big room. Mwhahahaha! I do have my/the spare bed in there.We always like to have a spare bed since both of us snore, usually mildly but if we have a cold or it’s very pollen-y it gets worse. So it’s nice to have somewhere else to go when that’s an issue. Plus we have pretty different body clocks, so it’s nice to be able to pass out without someone keeping you up if they aren’t ready for bed yet. At the moment my sister is home – she’s come back from Ireland to study in Melbourne, and she’s spending a couple of weeks here first. So she’s got the use of the room and the bed. Very nice to be able to host people easily!

Before we moved, most of my stash was in the shed for six months or more. I did have crafting space but I gave most of it up for general living space, since the last house was so cramped. It was much better for everyone but it meant organising to craft was a big palaver. I know having designated crafting space at all is a pretty big luxury, but it was hard to adjust to not having any after having a whole house to myself.

In the summer holidays, our task was to unpack all the shed boxes from the last house. We’d unpacked the everyday stuff but stuff from the last shed just went into this shed. I knew if we didn’t get to it soon it would just be there for the next five years. It included the majority of my stash, and I wanted it. So I got to the task of finding it a home.

You guys… I have a lot of stash.

I am ok with having a lot of stash. I use it. I like it. But it’s a bit unbalanced and poorly planned and used. I have a lot of random crafting supplies that I’ve been hanging onto for years. I have nice materials that I am afraid I’ll ruin. I have a WHOLE BOX of plain black fabric. I keep buying it because I think ‘oh! I need some more plain black work skirts!’ and then I don’t sew them, and then the next time I see appropriate fabric and it’s nice or on sale I think ‘I DO need some work skirts. This is a sensible purchase!’.

I have no problem with having stash, but I want to use it. I want it to be useful. I want it to be small enough that I know where everything is, and it would be nice if it were small enough to fit into my room! Or at least mostly. At the moment I have:DSCF7595

Drawers of my sewing table have mostly bits and pieces in them, since this is the most sensible way to store this stuff. There is a drawer for things I use while sewing, like pins and scissors. A drawer for projects I am working on and have put aside for now. A drawer for interfacing, one for knitting needles, one for computer stuff, stationery, you get the idea. I have more of these drawer units but I’ve put them in the shed because I want the legroom more.

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This will eventually be my cutting table. I mean it IS my cutting table, perfectly functional as is but it’s not finished – I need to paint the wood and attach it and put castors on it so I can wheel it away from the wall and get all around it for cutting out. (also, say hello to my purple terlet). Those bins hold a whole lot, which is nice! This is where my fabric is, and it basically all fits, with a few exceptions. I also have my patterns in a big IKEA box in one of the cubes. They all fit, but just. Books obviously are on the shelves above the desk. I need to re-sort the bins so they are logically organised, and maybe label them.

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Half the linen closet. Ok, it’s a big space and we don’t have that much linen but really I would prefer to not have filled this up as much. It’s not an ideal use of the space, and if I AM using it, the stuff in here isn’t very well arranged. There’s a lot of misc. crafting stuff here – beading stuff, tatting, candle making stuff that I ordered and never used, quilting, vintage sheets that I want to use for crafting that don’t fit in the other room. Notebooks that I’ve never used but they’re cute and I don’t want to throw them. I just realised I bought most of them in China, which means they are 10 years old. What is wrong with me? That was rhetorical, thanks.

This is the bit I am the most unhappy with. It’s just not what I want to be using this space for, and it’s not organised in a way that I can access the stuff anyway. It’s basically just shoved into a cupboard to be forgotten about. (Soap making stuff is in the laundry cupboard and can stay there, it fits nicely and it gets used).

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One third of the wardrobe in S’s study. S has the third bedroom as his study, although the plan is that when G moves out in a year (or so) S will move into the external bedroom – it was the garage and the last owners refinished it to be a room, and added a carport instead. When that happens the study will probably just be a spare bedroom, but the details are still in flux. In the meantime it’s S’s study/private hangout room, but he kindly volunteered the wardrobe for misc. storage. Most of it has things like board games and winter coats, but this side holds my yarn, in four fabric bins. I have been pretty brutal in culling the yarn, to be honest. I don’t want to have stash yarn I am not excited to knit with, since knitting takes so long. I do not knit at the speed I used to!

So, that is what is there. It is too much, not proportionate to how I use it, and poorly organised. But that’s ok! I have a plan!

I almost didn’t blog this because I want this to be pretty loose, and not to set myself up for (inevitable) failure. But I think I need to put it out there and make it solid. You’all won’t judge me if I proceed to not do any of this… right?

I am going to do a fairly casual quarter based stashdown. I need a bit of a push, I think, to get back to crafting as a default activity. I just totally got out of the habit when I didn’t have designated crafting space. I am trying to not look at screens after I get home, which is actually going ok now, after a rocky start. Not a strict rule, more a guideline to get me to stop frittering away my time – I’m on the computer in the evening now, for instance, but I’m DOING a THING, not just checking Instagram every five minutes. But I often find myself at a loss without a screen, and I want to use that time to craft instead of looking at my craft room and thinking ‘nahhh, no time’ and then staring at the wall for an hour. (Ok not exactly but you know. Not doing anything that couldn’t be put off or done quicker).

I was going to start this from January but obvs that’s almost over, and my sister will be in my craft room until start of Feb. So I’m starting it for myself Feb 1st, which also means the last quarter will get some of my regular summer break in it. It also means the first three quarters all get a craft camp in them – whether I go or not, there’s an extra push there to prioritise crafting. Here are my aims:

Q1 (Feb-April) – Basics

Gonna get through that tub of black fabrics. Gonna sew some things I know will work and get worn, and some new things that fill specific needs. Gonna pump up my wardrobe which needs some gaps filled (I was going really well and then dropped the ball).

Q2 (May-July) – Non core crafts

My main crafts are sewing and knitting. I also have, as you have seen, random craft tools. Some of those are useful and worth keeping. Some are crafts I regularly dabble in. Some are… not ever going to be my thing, not unless I retire and have far far more time I need to kill. So I would prefer to use the space they are taking up. This quarter will be about getting some of those crafts out, having a go  If I reach the end of the quarter with a particular craft untouched, that means I am not into it and the supplies have to go.

My main focus in this bit will be quilting, though. I’ve got most of a quilt cut out that I started in my honours year. It’s flannel (mmm snuggly!) in autumn colours (uuugh) because that’s what I could find at the time. I don’t love it. But I am pretty sure S will! I need to take it out and assess if I want to finish making it. If not, out it goes. If yes, I would like to at least get a good way through piecing the top. I also have some random jelly rolls etc that I’ve been given over the years, it would be nice to make a mini quilt for the living room, and maybe one for the spare bed. Not that I think all those things will happen in this quarter, but aim high, right?

Q3 (August-October) – Knitting

Wintertime! Crack that yarn out! As I said I was pretty brutal with the yarn but there are some jumper’s worths of yarn that could be knit up or gotten rid of. I would actually like to accumulate some MORE stash yarn, more yarn I am excited about, but I want to clear the space for it first. I’d like to keep my yarn stash essentially the same size, but with more good stuff in. I don’t anticipate knitting several jumpers, but winter is a good time to concentrate on the pointy sticks and get some movement happening there.

Q4 (November – January) – No pressure!

Back to sewing. I have things in my stash I am scared to sew because they are too nice. Or clothes I want to wear that I am putting off sewing because they are fiddlier and harder, like fitted shirts and shirtdresses and a dress out of that butterfly fabric I bought two years ago, and a By Hand London Anna dress with proper bust darts and maybe that Sewaholic maxi skirt with the pieced hem, or a Colette pattern or two. This is the time for them! Possibly setting myself up for failure at the tired end of the year, but it’s got to be some time.

 

My aim in this is to focus on those themes in those quarters, but not exclusively. I particularly want to be knitting and sewing basics throughout the year. The stashdown doesn’t only mean using things up. It also means assessing the stash and passing it on where it doesn’t suit my needs anymore, or is unlikely to get used in the next five years. It also means no acquiring new stuff until I at least START to make some headway. Unless it is perfect and/or on sale. No, wait! Not even then. If I’m not sewing all of these things I have the supplies for and am really excited about, then I’m not going to sew whatever it is I want the new fabric for. I’m not making strict rules for myself about when I am allowed to buy stuff again, just going to try to be a bit sensible about it.

Ideally, I would LOVE to be able to fit my yarn stash into my craft room, and the linen press stuff into where the yarn is now. Even getting close to that would be great.

Anyone else out there have too much stash? Don’t lie. Anyone else have exactly the right amount of stash, but needs to use it? Want to play along, with mine or your own goals?

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Exclusionary inclusion

I’ve been reading sewing blogs to make myself feel better about not having time to sew. Black dress from craft camp is as yet unhemmed. Craft Camp is unblogged. I have the next few weekends ‘off’ since S is busy so I might actually do some of those things! After I tackle the triffids in the front yard.

So you know, blogs really aren’t meant to be consumed in big mouthfulls, but if I find a new blog I like I generally trawl through the archives before deciding whether or not to add it to my overflowing blogroll. I’m trying to simplify my stuff, in spring cleaning fever, and that includes the amount of information I consume. But when you do that, and do that with several blogs, you notice a trend.

The one I’ve noticed is this.

‘Hey, sewing ladies, and gents, too, maybe?”.

‘So, guys and gals…’.

‘What do you girls – and boys, I suppose, are there any of you out there?!? do in this situation?’

Either you’re being inclusive, or you’re not. I get being cutesy and addressing the reader directly – it’s fun to play with language! And it’s a nice way to be informal and create connections. Except when it’s not. If there ARE any men reading your blog, they now feel like it’s been pointed out that they don’t belong, and are an anomaly. I know I’m on the flip side of this all too often, where it’s just assumed that anyone who does [activity] or like [thing] or, ya know, exists and is important, are male. It gets irritating and exhausting.

Why even gender it? MegtheGrand likes to call all her readers ‘friends’ while Patty from Snug Bug addresses us as an assortment of animals and other adorable things – from ‘kittens’ to ‘marmots’ to ‘armadilloes’ – or else just says ‘morning all!’. It’s inclusive and friendly. Actually inclusive.

I suppose part of it might be trying to create a cosy atmosphere. It’s just ‘us girls’ and we can giggle and talk about silly things like sewing and clothes! Which I guess is fine. If you ARE actually trying to exclude people, then good job, it worked! It worked for me, too, since that’s not the kind of blog – or world –  I’m after, and I usually work myself up into an impotent rage whenever I read this.

Much like the impotent rage I get when someone uses ‘decimate’ to use ‘devastate’, or types ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re’ in a formal document. It’s about as important as that, in the scheme of things. Not that big a deal on the day to day but over time, slowly eroding clarity of communication.

So. There. Consider yourselves told.

Quickly

I didn’t get that job. But I got some really great feedback and there’s another position at the same place that they’ve asked me to apply for. So I feel, all in all, that it was positive.

I started knitting the second baby blanket. I decided I was better off getting her the kid’s blanket, so she had something nice to wrap the baby in in the first few weeks. Sunbreak is pretty big and heavy, I think it’s going to be more of a playmat/cot blanket, so there’s less rush. I’m knitting Abby’s Blanket by Kristin Kapur. Like all her patterns, it’s wonderfully knitting, and a perfect blend of simple, elegant and complex. Loving it so far – I’m up to the second repeat of the lace. I’m knitting it from Bendigo Rondo, which is a machine washable one but is twist plied not crepe. I like it a lot, it’s soft and smooshy. The colours are their regular pastelly ones, but somehow are less flat than usual, I guess because the base is nicer? I think the ‘lime zest’ is the same dye mix as the ‘pistachio’ alpaca, but it’s much less insipid. I’m using Lime zest for the inside, I’m just going to knit until I’m out, and then Ocean spray for the border, and I’ll just knit until it’s a decent size. But I’m thinking of this as more of a car seat/wrap blanket, so it shouldn’t be too big to be unwieldy.

That’s been my evening couch knitting. But I’m knitting the sunbreak border on my commute. I’m managing an average of 3 repeats of the cable each way. 27″ down. 161″ to go. That’s still a good 5″ a day, though, so I’m feeling ok about the whole thing.

The centre of the sun

I’ve been diligently knitting away on Sunbreak.

It’s not finished yet. It’s 47″ by 37″. That’s 168″ of edging to be knit – well, a bit more, counting corners.

It’s taking me about a half hour an inch.

So another 5040 minutes of knitting. 84 hours. Plus seaming. Not that I’m counting.

The recipient is due on the 4th of March. I don’t know if anyone realises, but that’s three weeks away.

Well, 20 days. That’s 4.2 hours of knitting needed per day. At least. My commute is two hours a day, and I can knit for most of it. Even so, that’s a lot of stitches.

Well, it’s a first pregnancy. It’s bound to be overdue, right? RIGHT?

Some actual information:

  • I blocked it out pretty hard, as per the instructions. They tell me that the size I’m knitting should be 43.5″ by 51.5″ but I just blocked it until it was stretched, and then evened up the sides. The drape is really lovely, and the heavier middle and heavier cabled sides are going to make it even better, I think.
  • The pattern is amazing, and really clever, but I struggled with a few bits. It’s clear enough for the advanced knitter it assumes you are, but there were one or two points where I could have used a hint. Once I remembered that the bumpy side is actually the right side, though, it all came good.
  • Ravelry tells me I’ve been knitting this since the end of July. Six months, or so. Not too bad, really, especially as it reached maximum lap warming size about the time the first heatwave hit Adelaide this summer.
  • I say the recipient is due in March, but that’s not true. This one’s not for the kid. It’s for its mum. She’s my oldest friend, apart from my cousins, and I wanted to give her something that showed her how much I appreciate her, and all the warm sunny thoughts I have for her future.
  • I was going to knit another blanket for the actual baby. I still intend to. I think maybe someone should call a psychiatrist for me, or something.
  • Doing the centre was freaking painful. There was swearing. There was an email to the intended recipient that read ‘I’m making you a blanket, and it’s going to be shit’. There was ripping out and restarting and darning in of ends. And it’s not perfect. But I am so, so happy with it. Like our friendship, there are dodgy patches and a wonky seam and a couple of ends poking out, but the overall effect is stunning, if I do say so myself. Besides being cozy and warm.
  • Brb, knitting.

Happenings

Last week I came down with the black lung.  I spent Thursday and Friday in bed, coughing and achey, completely unable to do anything.  Even reading was too hard.  By mid friday, I was bored out of my mind and VERY whingey about it all.

Luckily, entertainments had been booked!  S’s kids are in Scouts, and they were performing in this year’s Scout Shouts.

Guys, a word of advice.  Never, ever go to see a pantomime performed by young children when you have a fever.  Especially not if it’s Peter Pan and appears to have random things thrown in just because they had extra people and costumes.  Like adolescent girls in lycra catsuits.  Just wrong.  They were led onstage by an adorable 5 year old and then BAM!  My involuntary reaction was ‘woah!  That’s confronting!’ and the lady next to me turned around and agreed.  It also involved an Indian scene rife with cringe-worthily inappropriate racist puns (although I did enjoy the scene that went: Hook:where’s my redskin? *first mate hands hook a lolly* Hook:no, where’s my REDSKIN? First mate: OH, you mean your nativeamericanprincess!)

And the second half of the show was a series of sketches themed ‘the human body’ and was apparently written by the young performers themselves which makes me feel a bit better about the amount and quality of the puns.  Sample sketch: two adorable young blonde girls run on stage in nurses uniforms (no, I don’t know why).  Someone chucks a bunch of plastic ears on stage.  The two adorable girls chorus ‘WELL THAT WAS EERIE!’ and scurry off stage in delight. 

Actually, I kind of enjoyed it, and the small children were incredibly adorable (especially the ones that popped out while they were changing scenes and sang ‘never smile at a crocodile’ over and over, complete with hand actions.  That song will not. Get. Out.  Of. My. HEad) but it was very, very surreal.  And ended quite late – about 11ish, I think, which was WAY past my poor invalid bedtime.

Then we had to get up early to vote (and wasn’t that all very exciting!  I am not commenting until it is all over because while i am not particularly sorry that Australia has registered its displeasure, the Mad Monk still scares the shit out of me) and collect my chickens. 

YES I HAVE CHICKENS.

They are Bantam Langshans and they are adorable, as are the teeny tiny eggs I am getting from them.  I have photos on my camera, and I will get them to the internet eventually.  They are black and shiny green, like beetles.

I spent the rest of the weekend doing not much, pottering around and coughing.  And this week I have had zero energy for anything, and the house is trashed.  It’s highly irritating.

I realise that I have no time because I am spending it bundled up on a couch with a snuggle buddy, and as such I am not complaining.  But given the amount of sorting and organising there still is to do of my sister’s stuff, it’s a bit irritating.  The spare room and laundry is literally just heaped with stuff.  I am hoping to get time this weekend to clear that out and get all of my sister’s stuff that’s left into boxes and in the shed.  And then I can start on my OWN stuff.

When I semi set up my craft room I sorted my wool stash and pulled out some rejects.  Mostly murky greeny brown colours that I will never use.  There’s more in there that I am determined to use  before buying more yarn.  Well, except that I just did, but that was for specific things – white for my semi-abandoned hexagon blanket and some yarn to knit S something for his birthday which I was thinking was nicely away in October but guys.  August is almost over.  And I only just remembered to turn my calendars over, so I’ve been missing out on Janet’s lovely photo of her sewing machine, all that time!  HOW is August almost over?  I nearly missed my sister’s birthday (luckily she’s already had her present).  So anyway, considering what a tardy knitter I am I probably should get going.  So I ordered more yarn. 

I haven’t been doing much crafting, to be honest.  I am still knitting away on a couple of WIPs, ones that don’t require much thought or input.  Thing is, I can’t really GET to anything – my stash is now accessable, but all those bits and pieces you might need – notions, scissors, measuring tapes – have no home.  That is also part of the projected tasks for the weekend.  Locating and amalgamating craft stuff.  Even if it WILL still be on the floor of the craft room for a while before I can get a new desk, at least it will all be in one area.  Things need amalgamating, Like needs to be with like, WIPs need to be sorted and assessed.

While thinking about but not doing all of this, I’ve decided that, as well as having too much of my sister’s STUFF, I myself have far, far too much STUFF.  I have too many plates and glasses and bowls, too many knick knacks (not that many, but definitely too many) JUST enough books, so please stop buying them unless you plan to finally read all those ones that you never got around to and then maybe pass them on.  Some things can be gotten rid of altogether, some, like the excess crockery, can be put in the shed in case I suddenly decide to entertain 30 people (ahaha). Problem is, by the time I get home, it’s cold and dark and I’m tired and lazy and just wish to sit by the fire with the cat.  And I get a little bit done on the weekend, but I really need a good two hours at LEAST with no distractions.  S would be perfectly happy to sit and read while I putter – last Sunday he sat in the sun while I pottered around weeding and watering and the like.  But I feel guilty and, more to the point, would rather join him in the sun reading, or on the couch talking, or whatever other activity is in the offing.  But I am DETERMINED to get at least the spare room and maybe the laundry sorted this weekend.  That would mean I could have a table to eat at, and the other organising can be done in half hour lots. 

I am trying to curb the wanties, too.  I want new, more, better.  My life would be shinier if I had this shelving system or that single use tool.  Mostly this is a symptom of inaction (buying feels like doing something, and if I don’t have time to make something I am more likely to buy it ) and of feeling poor.  Which I am not.  But I have a backlog of largish purchases to make, like more mulch for the front yard and a new desk, and bird wire for the rabbit run, and I really need new glasses but I’m putting it off.  I got my tax return, and the same week I got a water bill, a gas bill, an overdue phone bill (the post office has been losing our mail) and council fees.  Bye bye, tax return.  Which, you know, is fine.  At least it meant I wasn’t stressed.  And hopefully bills will be lower now my sister isn’t taking two showers a day and sitting in front of the heater all night.  I mean, there’s no one living there most of the week, since I am at work.  That should cut down the $$, one would think.  And I’ve downgraded the internet plan and decided to eat less meat (mostly because all that stodgy winter food was making me feel a bit icky), so hopefully the pennies will start to add up.  It would be nice to be able to buy those large things I want, and then maybe start paying more off the mortgage.  Well, there will always be something else that I ‘need’, I guess, but I’m trying to keep the wanties to a minimum.

Well, that was a tad whingey.  But I feel like that.  It’s friday, and I’ve been mildly sick and listless all week, and work has been irritating while I do bitsy work and wait for people to get content back to me, and I feel scratchy and bound down.  I bleached and dyed my hair last night – I had massive regrowth and the blue was fading, and I was SICK of it.  But it takes about 5 hours all up, so I had to stay up late to do it and now I’m tired, and I’ll have to top it up later because I missed some bits and didn’t leave it on as long as I’d like.  But I couldn’t see a free weekend when I was going to be ok walking aorund with gladwrap on my head for 5 hours, so I just went for it.  On top of that, I’ve been dragging up my mother issues this week, which has made me generally a bit glum and a bit churned up.  But that’s a blog post in itself.  If I ever get around to it.

 But, on the other hand, it’s friday!  Tonight I am heading up to S’s place in the hills, so I will get a good dose of lounging around guilt free on Saturday (while at the same time meeting one of his best friends, no pressure or anything) and then Sunday I might achieve things.  I’m hoping to use my pent up purging urge while it’s around.  What are you all up to this weekend?

FOtastic

I’ve been a bit of a lurker lately.  I’ve been reading everyone’s blogs and looking at your flickr photos, but just haven’t felt like I have much to say, or the brainspace to put anything into words.  Feel a bit on the back foot, just in general.  That’s not really accurate.  I feel like I’m riding in the passenger seat a bit.  Everything seems to be on hold – until my sister moves out (soon!  Scary!) until it gets warmer and lighter (hooray for solstice!) until… I don’t know what else.  But I miss chatting at you guys, and I have to talk about craf camp and Julia and my FOs.

Queen’s Birthday long weekend I went on another lovely craf camp.  It was LOVELY.  But that deserves its own post, not to be part of this bitsy one.  While I was on camp, I pestered Suse and Janet into taking photos of my two finished jumpers – Emily, which had been done for a while, and Cinnabar, which I seamed up finally that weekend.  It just needed the arms attached.

Here is Emily (rav link).

You can see the line where I lengthened it and the grafted it – the band originally started where that line is… much too short.  I could have lengthened it a couple inches more, I think, but I’ve decided I’m happy with where it is.  I shortened the sleeves, too, since I knit this out of regular yarn not cracksilk haze as the pattern calls for, so instead of being soft and billowy around my hands they were just bulky and annoying.  I didn’t do bust darts because the neckline is so low, and I don’t think it needs them, although looking at the curving-up hem on that last closeup it wouldn’t have hurt.  The fit is ok – I just did the shaping in the pattern and it doesn’t match me perfectly but it’s pretty good. I might have to start lengthening jumpers from the middle by knitting and extra inch or two between the hip decreases and the bust increases, since that is where I have the extra length (I’m long waisted.  Most people fit two sideways-hand lengths between the bottom of their bust and their waist, I fit three) and most jumpers – this one included – sit a bit out above my hips because of that.  Looking at the photos I feel like it’s a bit lumpy bumpy, but I can’t work out how much of that is 1)because it is 2)because it’s photos of me and everyone always thinks they look terrible in photos even if they are FINE and 3)because I made it so I know all the places where it is not-quite-right, could-be-better, wish-I-had.  Why are we always so hard on ourselves?

The yarn is Bennet & Gregor and I LOVE it to pieces.  It is soft and smooshy and the blended colour is really interesting – you can see the darker strands if you look close and that gives it depth and saves it from being to beige.  There definitely needs to be more of this in my wardrobe.  In varying colours – natural sheep colours, of course, since that is what they do.  They don’t have an internet shopping cart, but they are very friendly and helpful – if you contact them, Nancy will send you out a colour card, and they take mail orders.  They are usually at Bendigo Sheep & Wool as well, keep an eye out for them.  Their yarns have some vegetable matter in them, but it’s a small price to pay for not using sulfur to process tehm (says the itchy one) and it’s not enough to be annoying.  The yarn is an absolute pleasure to knit and to wear.

I haven’t gotten heaps of wear out of this one, but I think that’ mostly because it’s gotten cooooold and this isn’t really a full coverage jumper, and because you can see whatever you wear under it it is less versatile for layering.  I think it will be the perfect transition season jumper, though.  I am not 100% happy with it, but I love the overall look and I am ignoring that line.  Because this jumper is done and I am f*&king NOT regrafting it.  So there.

What I would change: the adjusted sleeve length is perfect (ravelry tells me I made them SIX CENTIMETRES shorter) but I wish I had been more carfeul when I picked up stitches on the sleeves and seamed them, because they are a bit bunchy chunky there.  Not too bad, but a bit irritating.  I would have made it much longer – when I fixed it I knit three extra inches and I wish I’d done just one more.  I wish I had seamed better (I’ve recently given up and learnt mattress stitch and folks… it makes SUCH a difference) but overall it’s a good, servicable, wearable knit. 

What I love: The yarn.  The neckline.  The yarn.

And here is Cinnabar (rav link).

This one was a bit epic.  I was determined to do this one RIGHT and I ripped and I ripped and I ripped.  And it’s still not quite right, but it’s close enough.

Issues with it: The collar is a bit weird – I had trouble making the placket the right length to sit right.  Since I don’t intend to add buttons, I’m not fussed.  I might have to undo that bit where it’s all bunched because I seamed it badly (on the left of the neck in the above photo).  The right sleeve is a bit wider than the left because I switched to circs for that linen sitch band, and my gauge was looser than on straights.  Again, not much, but enough to be a bit irritating, especially when putting on jackets, etc.  It’s actually a wee bit long.  I deliberately made it long and I love the length, but it bunches up when I sit down, so I end up tugging it back into place when I stand up.  This is more pronounced because the whole thing is just a bit big.  The yarn (just Bendigo 8ply rustic in Red Currant) bloomed quite nicely when I blocked it.  I also made a larger front size to compensate for absentmindedly casting on and knitting half of the back before realising I was knitting it a size too small.  I needn’t have gone up an extra size, it’s plenty big.  The extra size in combination with my laboriously knitted bust darts means it pooches a bit at the shoulders/underarms (you can’t see it in those photos because my hands are on my hips stretching the extra fabric out).  It’s not that big a deal, but it looks more pronounced to me because I am looking down, which makes it obvious.  I’m sort of tempted to find a dryer and chuck it in for a minute to shrink it just a biiit, but the thought of actually doing that is a bit scary.

Most of these issues are not actual issues.  It’s just that it’s turned out to be a different jumper than I thought I was making – I thought I was making a form fitting jumper to be worn over a tshirt.  Turns out I was making a comfy winter jumper to be worn over at LEAST two shirts.  I’ve worn it twice every week since I finished it, and I see it being in high rotation for many months to come.  It’s comfortable, well made (except for that fracking placket bit) and the red is lovely and makes it look smart.  I am not 100% happy with this one either, but I am very very proud of it.  I definitely took more care with this, and I feel like I’ve learnt a lot.

Things I love: the colour.  The length.  The beautiful seams.

I really need a better system in my wardrobe.  At the moment I have NO ROOM so all my jumpers are shoved into the top bit of my wardrobe.  Really, shoved.  This makes it very hard to find anything, and I just wear the same ones over and over.  I now have enough hand knit jumpers that I could probably wear one a day to work without repeating (although a couple of them I don’t really wear much) and I’d like to get more use out of them while it’s still cold.

While we’re on the topic of FOs, you can see another one in the Emily photos.  In my last minute packing frenzy for craf camp, I chucked a skirt into my luggage.  It was part of a set that my sister bought at an op shop, of a cape and a skirt.  Sort of like this, although slightly less lairy.  Here it is, on the floor at sewjourn.

The sister kept the cape, and since the skirt was teeny, she said I could have it, because I had admired the fabric.  It’s not pure wool, but close enough.  It really is teeny: it literally only just fit my thigh.

Please to excuse my tres sexy pj pants – I spilt tea ALL OVER my jeans (it was v. dramatic) and had to wear my pjs for half the weekend.  Because I am classy, that’s why.

Anyway.  Janet had very kindly borrowed her mum’s sewing machine so I could have a go at sewing.  And did I!  I did.  Janet was very patient with all my nervousness and umming and ahing, and I chopped away at the skirt, refaced it, and took it in a bit.  Then the lovely Suse pinned the hem and I hemmed it (by hand and everything!).  Ta da!

I love it.  I haven’t worn it to work yet, since it’s been too cold really, and I’ve been too tired to futz around with stockings.  But it will be worn.  Oh, yes, it will.  I wore it home on the plane, too.  Looking at this photo reminds me of my pirate-plaid skirt that would go very well with cinnabar.  Must crack that out when it warms up a bit.

I also traced off a pattern from one of Janet’s Ottobres and sewed another skirt, which just needs hemming.  Which of course I haven’t done.  But it has a ZIP!  The most badly done zip in the history of zips, but still!  A functioning ZIP!  Oh, and I also finished Damson on camp, but I ran out of yarn on the cast off.  This is what I had after I eliminated a purl ridge and cast off again:

One.  Inch. 

And it was too tight.  So I ripped it when I got home and recast off with different yarn, but I haven’t reblocked and photographed it yet.  Hmm, this sort of turned into a craft camp post.  Well, let’s change directions and make it a FO post, since I don’t think I’ve talked about Sahara (rav link), have I, since I finished it?

I really need to find somewhere where I can take self portraits.  I have no good photos of this – I asked my sister to take some, and this is what I get:

No, no, take photos of the TOP!

No, of the TOP!

Well, yes.  Technically that was what I asked for.  OH HAI INTERNET HERE ARE MY BOOBS.

It’s been a while since this was done.  Don’t really remember much about the knitting of it.  Rav tells me I used a smaller needle and a larger pattern size, to get a fabric I liked.  I used Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool which is ACE and I would totally knit with more of it if I could find it somewhere that doesn’t charge as much for shipping as for the yarn.  It’s surprisingly warm, but also nice and cool in hot weather.  It’s a wee bit scratchy (for sensitive folks like me) so I almost always wear it with a singlet underneath – for modesty as well cos, dudes, that’s a LOT of boob.  But it’s a flattering length of neckline for the big busted among us – breaks it up a bit.  I pretty much knit this to pattern apart from diddling with gauge and adding bust darts, and the shaping is excellent.  Oh, I believe I lengthened it as well.  Since it was top-down, I could try it on to see where the shaping should be, which was wonderful.

I had a bit of a wrangle whether to knit the cap sleeves, short sleeves, or long sleeves.  I am very happy with the cap, and sort of converted to the whole knit-tshirt thing.  I’d previously thought it was a bit silly, but no!  It’s so useful!  I see more in my future, if I can find appropriate yarn… why is it so hard to find summer-weight yarns in Australia.  Counterintuitive.  But I would love to have a long sleeved version of this as well.  I see on rav that some people have knit it in wool, and it looks fine.  I’d do a DK and do the same gauge shenanigans.  I reckon it’d be ace.

God, that boob photo is confronting.  Note to self.  Find place to do FOs, STAT.  I don’t have any finished photographs of Rogue, either.  I wish I had crafty papparazzi here ALL the time.

And to finish off, here’s a WIP.

Remember my granny hexes?

Gosh, the colours in that bottom one are making my heart thump!

I was doing them on a 3mm hook.  Once I had a few of them I put them together and realised that they were too stiff.  Not nice for a blanket at all.  So I decided to get a bigger hook and restart them.  This was a bit disenhearteining, so they languished.  Then, last Tuesday, I decided I had to restart them RIGHT NOW.  Possibly spurred on by the granny blanket I found at the Pt Adelaide Market for three dollars. It’s lovely, too, I wish I could show you now, but the photos are still on my camera.  Anyway, I went to look at other people’s crochet to see what size hook I should use and got enchanted by Lucy’s Hexagon how-to.  Then I got sad because I didn’t have a 4mm hook, which meant that I couldn’t start them AS SOON AS I GOT HOME.  I was emailing S and mentioned this.  He was picking me up from work that evening and… he brought me a 4mm crochet hook.  That man knows a way to a crafter’s heart.  WAY better than roses, I tell’s you.  I might have blushed.

So, anyway, I started with some hexagons that night.  I thought I’d ordered white yarn to edge them, but apparently not, so I’m just cranking out little circles at the moment and I’ll start joining them later.

All in a row

I’m actually quite happy with that as it gives me time to build up some colour diversity.  I might need to order some more yarn for them, because otherwise I’ll use up my leftover yarn too quick.  There’s some rainbow wools scraps leftover from this blanket (rav link). 

 

The scraps are lovely – both the colours and the yarn – so I might get me some more of that.  Or maybe just some more Bendigo, since that’s cheaper and that’s where I’ll be ordering the border yarn from.  If anyone has any 8ply scraps in bright colours that they are feeling guilty about: I’ll have em!  I have less yarn to work with than I thought because I rejected some yarn for being too muddy.  Don’t worry, though.  Those hexagons didn’t go to waste.  I upcycled them into hats:

Hats for cats

Anyway, I had booked in a ‘hermit weekend’ to spend by myself, having some down time and cleaning my house, which is a bit trashed.  I DID mop the floors, but apart from that I mostly slept and spent quite a while this weekend sitting on the couch drinking tea or beer (in the evenings) and crocheting away.  They are like potato chips, I can’t stop.  I have about twenty some now.  I think I want to make it big enough to be used on my queen bed, but I might be kidding myself.  Then again, I’m sort of happy to be working on this for years.  My favourite part is choosing which colour to use next.  Looking at them makes me really happy.

Like candy

Ooooh, shiny happy colours!