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!

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I can do that!

One of the websites I read pretty much every day is Apartment Therapy.  This is because I like to torture myself with nice things I can’t have taunt myself with neat places and soothing spaces gather ideas for my own home, and sometimes just look at the pretty pictures.  They’re doing a colour theme at the moment, and some days it’s like candy for your eyes.  Eye candy, to coin a phrase.

Lately there’ve been a bunch of quilts (and crochet blankets, here and here, to give two examples) popping up.  Like this one:

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/boston/bedroom/easton-star-quilt-from-garnet-hill-098278

From this post.  (oooh, bonus crochet hexagons!)  I don’t think I would want the brown, if it were mine, but I like the combo, and I like the tones.  I like that it is traditional but that the colours lift it and make it something different.  Maybe replace the brown with another nuetral that isn’t white?  How about a natural linen?

Or blue?

IMG_5435_rect540

From here.  Also, check out the last pic on that post, with the white frame against the deep blue.  LOVE!  Here, as well.  (Mirrors!!)  I love those deep, bright blues.  Soothing but not boring, restful and exciting as well.  I think I am going to end up with the reverse – bright saturated furniture and acessories against a white background. Which makes sense since I will be renting in the forseeable future, and the walls are always white.

1014_rice05_rect540

What about this one?  Oooh, look.  More crochet.  Is that even quilted?  Maybe it’s just a throw.  But how easy would it be to do?  I could totally make one for myself, and I bet it wouldn’t even take that long, if I actually DID it, which seems to be the problem with most of my crafts.  The actual doing it phase.  Like in my last post, it’s just easier not to do anything, really.  Playing computer games or noodling around on the internet is a simple way to spend an evening, and relaxing every now and then.  But when it means I don’t excercise or craft anything that can’t be done in five minute chunks, or even read much anymore… then there’s a problem.  And the problem isn’t the internet, it’s my motivation.

ANYWAY, I could do it like this.  I won’t steal Posie’s photos, so go look.  I think I probably have enough thrifted bedsheets that I could do it using only them.  And I think a tied quilt is a good way to get my feet wet – no actual quilting involved, which I suspect my machine will not handle well.

I borrowed a Modern Quilts book from the library – will find a reference later, it’s an Aussie one.  The ones I loved the most were either lots of little strips put together, or ones not quilted at all, or much.  There was an abstract rose one where the quilting was lines intersecting scattered roses.  It was devine!  But the one that’s relevant here was one that one indigo linen on one side (mmmm) and French toille on the other, and it was tied with French knots.  Simple, and beautiful.  It had running stitch around the edges and I wanted to snuggle under it.

I don’t think I’m going to start on a quilt like this tomorrow.  But I wouldn’t mind at least getting it started cutting in the next few months.  Again, if I just DID it, it won’t be hard.  And I’d love to have a summer weight quilt before the next heat wave!

An on a final note: speaking of inspiration, have you seen Attic 24?  The colours!  THE COLOURS!!!!

Recipe for perfect post

Begin with a blanket.  Then just free associate.

Five hexs by you.

I took these photos last weekend.  I have since added another round, which helped with the middle hex which I was a bit uncertain about, and am debating another – or should the next round be the white edging?

Tub o' yarn by you.

The yarn was getting in the way all laid out in colour order on the floor.  So I found this IKEA divider thingy that wasn’t currently being used, and whacked it in there.

Cool end by you.

It makes me smile every time I see it.  So colourful!

My favourite by you.

This one is my favourite.

A fan by you.

Although this comes a close second.  MMMM that green!

I am coming up with all sorts of excuses about why I must buy more yarn, NOW, for the blanket.  So far I have resisted by telling myself that I must wait until after my holiday.  It’s been a close run thing, though.

Cool end by you.

So addictive, those little hexes.  Round and round and round, watching the colours.  But not portable at all and also I ahve to watch my hands, so I can only listen to things while I do it, not watch.  Which is waht podcasts are for, am I right?  I’m totally right.

Tesselating by you.

They’ve been put away for a bit because I was trying to get some WIPs out the way (yes, ok, so I can use their leftovers in the blanket)  Also, I am flying out for my cousin’s wedding not this wednesday but the next, and I have one measly little repeat left on her stole and then I must block it.  I am starting to worry about where.  No carpets in my house, you see, and it’s pretty long.  Too long for my bed, even if I wanted to give it up for a night.  Maybe even too long for my foam puzzle pieces that I usually use, and anyway, they’ll surl up at the edges.  Might have to block it on a blanket on the lawn and hope the weather stays as nice as it is now so it will dry in a day.

Course, I have to finish it, first…

In other news, I WON SOMETHING!  This never happens.  I won a copy of ‘Handmade in Melbourne’ from Nikki at My Black Cardigan.

Handmade prize by you.

And I have read the introduction and then got distracted and haven’t had a moment to sit down with it and a cuppa… aaa, bliss!  I hope I get a chance to at least skim it before my holiday…

It came in lovely sewn-on wrapping paper, and with this bookmark:

'S true by you.

In news of other things that make you feel good: exercise!

Last night, after a nice weekend of doing some things, and a fair amount of lying in the sun, I was sitting in front of the computer feeling pretty cranky.  I was full of cupcake, which is delicious, but late in the evening can kind of make you feel icky.  I was idly contemplating doing some yoga, since I have been shanghai’d into a group yoga session tonight, and it’s been forever and ever since I did any.  I thought some stretching might be in order before I embarrased myself in public.  But it all jsut seemed so hard – well, not exactly, but it seemed easier just to sit on my bum and wait until it was time to go to bed, rather than changing, finding my yoga mat, and doing something.  And I was thinking how lovely the weather was, and how I am not going to get to ride my bike in this week, AGAIN, because every time the weather is nice (like this week) I am doing things after work every night that make having a bike inconvenient.  And then I thought… maybe I’ll go for a ride.

So I did.  Before I had a chance to think about it and talk myself out of it, I went and got my bike from out the back where it has been parked, in everyone’s way, for weeks.  I tucked my pants into my sock, slipped on some shoes, and went out the door.  I was only gone 15 minutes, but it was the 15 minutes just before the sun really set properly, and it was glorious.  It was a warm day, and you could smell the promise of summer in the air.  Plus, it was just nice to be doign something.

And then I came home and ended up doing some yoga, too.  My hamstrings are ridiculously tight, as they always are when I haven’t made a point of stretching them.  Freaking downwards dog, I tells ya…

And I felt so good.  Why do I always forget that you exercise because the payoff is feeling good?  Am working on trying to remember that.

Obsession update

Instead of leaving it to languish as usual, I actually DID something about this one.

On Friday I went into Spotlight (otherwise known as The End of All Hope) and bought five bright skeins to punch up my stash.  When I got home I placed every suitable DK yarn in a circle, thus:

Original wheel by you.

New yarn pointed out in notes on the Flickr page

The yellow and the light green down the bottom are from a second trip, because I realised that I have NO yellow in my stash at all!  Although that’s a small lie – there are a couple warm colours tied up in a WIP that I think I’ll have plenty of left to add to the blanket.  I practically gave myself RSI working on it today, but as it’s currently sitting on 444 stitches a round, it’s going to be a while yet.  Still, it was nice to get it out, gave me a nice sense of accomplishment.

As a slight diversion from my story, the second trip to the Pit of Despair (I hate Spotlight so, so much) was after taking my bunny Pie to the vet.  Her teeth are growing at weird angles, one up and one down so that she has an absess.  She needs surgery, which is tomorrow.  I am super nervous because bunnies are hard to operate on.  I have to give her antibiotics in the meantime which is very distressing because her mouth hurts and she hates it so much.  I cried the after the first time.  So upsetting, because she’s such a sweet bunny, so I know when she resists something that she is in a lot of pain.  She was exploring the vet’s table and trying to hop up onto the scales herself while the vet was basically telling me she’s quite likely not to wake up, and carefully NOT suggesting any alternatives.

Anyway.  Back to the happies.

Edited wheel by you.

With the help of my sister I culled the muddier colours.  I’m still not sure about the dark green, I’ve put it in a couple and it’s a fair bit darker than anything else in there.  I’m keeping my eye on it.

Colours by you.

Then I did a couple of trial squares with the rejects.  Partly to work out which version I wanted to do, mostly to learn!

Trail runs by you.

I ended up modifying it a bit from these anyway, but in the process I had that ‘ahah’ moment where I actually worked out what I was doing.

Once I got going, I realised that my colour choices were actual pretty limited within each colour group.  Especially since three of the greens are essentially exactly the same.  So I went back to the stash and pulled out some aran weights.

Boosted by you.

If you click on the photo you can see the notes on my flickr page, about them.  I’m not sure how that will fly, since I’m already working on a 3mm hook and it might be just too small.  But we’ll see.

I am pretty pleased with my efforts.  And I am proud of myself for learning a new skill, and also having at least SOME follow through.  I am resisting going online and ordering skads of new yarn, since I have at least enough to be going with.  Besides, the finances are a bit strained, what with Pie’s op, and my holiday coming up soon soon soon.  Which I need to finish Juno before, whoops!  I’ll be in Melbourne from October 28th until the 1st for my cousin’s wedding (Juno being her wedding gift, if it gets done in time).  So if anyone I haven’t already planned a meet up with is interested, let me know!

Obsession

A while back I decided I was going to crochet a ripple blanket.  That would be a good thing, I thought, to use up scraps and also all those odd balls I have of things I bought before I was really a knitter.  Dull colours or weird shades or not so soft.  Things that won’t ever be a project of their own, but in other combinations will have their moment.  The scrappier the better!

But, well, I can’t actually crochet.  I mean, not to speak of.  I can do it, but it’s hard and I have to concentrate and they’re all wonky.  And I find it intimidating.  So I never really got around to it.

Then, I decided I’d crochet a granny square afghan.  Or maybe a hexagon one!  I keep seeing them online and the colours, oh man!  I love love love the scrappy ones.  And I love the way one colour looks completely different depending on the combination it’s in.  I like them edged in white, and I like them edged in black.  I loved Kgirls granny afghan she did for her daughter – I loved everything about the project, the sentiment, the effort.  We had a couple of conversations about it and I decide to buy white yarn to edge them but I never did.

And then, I found Sarah London’s blog.  Again, there’ve been links to it I keep seeing, but.  Pow!  Wham!  GOTCHA!!!

The colours!  Oh, man, the colours.  I suspect she’s bumping up the colours because that pink looks a bit radioactive on my screen, but, still… And then there’s the Hexagon Love pool on flickr.  This is what I want.  Now.  I want it NOW.

I love her granny a day’s, where she photographs the squares with every day objects of the same colourways.  And more recent ones where she takes colourways from fabrics.  Interesting combinations that I would never think of.  She has a couple of posts for her granny hexs showing how she goes about picking the next colour.  I think it’s an opportunity to use colours I am shy of, or dislike by themselves.  To get a bit more adventurous and exciting.  To experiment, because I always find colour intimidating and challenging.  And I don’t mind if it ends up more scrappy than planned, at least for the first one.

I am going to go in to town tonight and pick out five candy icecream colours to start pepping up my stash with.  And I’m goign to start.  It make take me years, but I am going to have a hex blanket in all shades of the rainbow.  And then maybe I’ll do a mini hex one, or a real granny one.  It’s important to have goals, right?

And then I am going to make one of THESE!!  Imagine it in all cool colours, or all warm.  Or a natural colour and some red scattered in…

You don’t think that’s too ambitious, do you?