Saturday, 27 March 2010

Knitting Miffy

Today, when searching for a good Miffy image to form the basis of Nina's birthday cake, I came across this gorgeous picture of Miffy knitting - I knew she was "a smart little bunny" but I didn't know she could knit!

Friday, 26 March 2010

A Knitter's Handbook worthy of your Knitting Bag

As a public transport knitter, and one who it of an intermediate skill level but likes to "do things properly", I occasionally get stumped when starting a new project on the train and have need for a compact reference book. I hate these moments where I have to put away my knitting and wait until I get home and look up one of my large heavy reference books or do a search on the internet for some of the newer techniques.

Recently I came across and purchased "Vogue Knitting Quick Reference: The Ultimate Portable Knitting Compendium" from The Book Depository.

...Just on the side, I LOVE this website! If you don't know about them already you should check out their website. Based in the UK they ship anywhere in the world for FREE! And it doesn't take very long to get deliveries. Amazon orders take about 4-6 weeks to get to Australia and even if the product is reasonably price the shipping cost is usually a deal breaker. But I digress...

Anyway, when the book arrived I was quite disappointed. It really didn't live up to the claims of its subtitle. My main grievance was with the cover and the overall size of the book. Firstly it is a weird sized book measuring 8.5" wide x 7.5" high; not particularly "portable". But far worse than that is the cover and the binding. The book is spiral bound and the cover, which is made of quite a thin card stock, is attached to the back of the spiral after a few reads the front cover tends to overhang the rest of the book. I've only owned mine for a month or so and already the cover is looking very scrappy, and this is only after a few times in my knitting bag. This might sound very superficial but there is just something very un-flickable about this book, and I think that a good compact knitting reference should be able to be easily flicked through.

The information inside is useful and clearly illustrated, but it lacks an index and so far it also missing 2 techniques that I would have like to be included: 1) long tail cast-on, and 2) Circle/Disappearing loop cast-on. I have used it a couple of times but it now lives on my book shelf rather than in my knitting bag.

Today, I chanced upon a handy little book at my local library, "The Knitter's Handbook: Essential Skills & Helpful Hints from Knitters Magazine". I was taking my 2 year old to story time and passed it on display on my way in. When I got a chance to look through it I was delighted by what I found. Firstly, it is a great size (6.25" wide x 8" high), and although it is also spiral bound, it is covered with a nicely designed and robust hard cover. I also like the way that the information is grouped together in general categories which form the chapters, and these appear in alphabetical order: basics; bind-offs; buttons, buttonholes & zippers; cables; cast-ons; etc, etc. Each chapter starts with a mini table of contents and finishes with a notes page. It also has an index, which all good reference books should.

The first thing I looked for in the table of contents was long-tail cast-on. It's in there! I didn't expect to see the disappearing loop cast-on in there but found it on page 47 in the Circular Knitting chapter, described as "Circle Cast-on".

I've already been online and ordered this book from Amazon (when I typed in the ISBN into Book Depository it brought up a book with a slightly different name and a totally different cover - possibly just the British release but I didn't want to risk it) - now I have to wait until the last week in April for it, but at least i have my library copy in the meantime. I think this book is well worth adding to your collection, especially if you want something that you can throw into you knitting bag.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Got the Bug

I am quietly thrilled that a close friend of mine has recently caught the knitting bug. Like me Maja learned to knit from her mum as a child and picked up the needles again in her twenties, and then put them down again. Until recently. It could be the nesting instinct of an expecting mother and might pass, or she might be in for the long haul. So far things look promising; Maja has whipped up two baby hats in less than a month and is planing a third. And none of these are for her own baby yet!

Twist stitch baby hat (above) and little Indie Lloyd (below) in her Debbie Bliss striped hat.

Maja is one half of the very talented designing duo behind Australian jewellery brand Polli. Check out their amazing designs and say hi to Maja on Ravelry.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Knitted Gift Giveaway

I am a big fan of the blog giveaway. Most of the time I am a bit shy when it comes to leaving comments on other peoples blogs, but the promise of a giveaway helps me to come out of my shell and find my voice every time (funny that!).

A couple of weeks ago I even won something - yay! Hadley at shescrafty handknits did a giveaway of her Tassel Pixie Cap pattern. I am so thrilled to have won this and am planning to knit this with the gorgeous yellow Malabrigo Worsted that I bought at the beginning of the month. Now I am hoping to win the 16-Cable Hat giveaway on the Never Not Knitting blog.

So anyway, it got me thinking that I could do my own giveaway. I don't have any patterns or products to giveaway but I thought I could knit a gift for the lucky winner. There are a few conditions: it has to be a one-skein project, there will be a short wait for the gift (I'll try my best but I am a tortoise when it comes to knitting), and the winner must agree to send me some photos that I can post on my blog.

In order to enter all you need to do is leave a comment on this post and answer two simple questions:
1. I would like a knit for my...
(a) head
(b) neck
(c) hands
(d) feet

2. My favourite colour is...
(please describe the colour, shade, intensity in at least 3 words. E.g. "warm yolky yellow")

I will choose a winner at random from the comments and post the details on my blog. Please make sure that I have a way to contact you (via email, your blog, Ravelry, etc). Entries close 27 March 2010.

Comments for this post have now closed - winners have been notified. Thanks for all your comments! knitkntnat

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Koolhaas Progress

Progress is slow but satisfying. Any accomplished cable knitter would groan at the sight of me painstakingly knitting the 1st and 5th rows of the cable repeat, where every second stitch is crossed. Having only ever knitted one cable before I think it was pretty ambitious of me to even try. Next time I might try to master cabling without a cable needle.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, 15 March 2010

The Easter Bunny's Coming

My almost 2 year old daughter is at that age of discovery where every second she asks (or demands) "what's that?". She was particularly curious about the brightly coloured shiny eggs and bunnies that started appearing in the supermarket a month or so ago. I explained to her that "the Easter Bunny is coming" and to my surprise she has been happy enough with this explanation so far. This year Easter will be a lot of fun. I'm planing an Easter egg hunt I'm the garden for her, at the end of which she will find a gorgeous knitted bunny!

I purchased the pattern for Ysolda's knitted rabbit Sophie last July but after one too many failed attempts at the fiddly disappearing loop cast on I gave it up. Easter gave me the perfect excuse to pick it up again but this time I did things a little differently. Firstly I did not try to knit it with acrylic yarn (I feel nauseous just thinking about the stuff I started to use last time), I bought myself a set of 3mm Knitpro Symfonie Wood DPNs, and most importantly I convinced my mum to do a Sophie knitalong with me.

We spent about half an hour huddled in front of the computer with out knitting needles trying to make sense of the instructions for creating the disappearing loop cast on. There was a lot of swearing, and dropped needles, and more swearing! But we both got there in the end. The head and body knitted up beautifully and quickly. I love Ysolda's ability to incorporate the increases and decreases into the character of the toy, and stuffing as you go and attaching appendages by picking up stitches means that there is now seaming or sewing in ends.

I've knitted the legs now and am half way through the first arm. The legs were straight forward enough but the arm was a bit tricking to begin with due to the head getting in the way and maneuvering 5 needles in such a tight space.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Nina's Milo Vest and Poor Boy Cap

Today the weather was finally crisp enough to dress Nina in her new Milo vest and Poor Boy cap, both of which were finished a couple of weeks ago. I am very happy with the vest and she looks super cute in the cap even though it is way too big and I had to pin the peak back with a brooch so that she could actually see.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Find me on Ravelry

In answer to my own question I found the following information about blog widgets on Ravelry. I am a bit too tired tonight to figure out the progress bar widget (plus it is get awfully busy on my sidebar) but I did install the find me on Ravelry button. I downloaded the glossy icon from the very informative Laylock blog and then used the step by step tutorial for bloggers on this page. And hey presto!

You might also like...

I've been wanting to install this widget for a while but couldn't figure out where to get my hands on it. If you are a blogger like me and interested in installing it too here is the link to Link Within.

If there are any Ravelry addicts out there who know how to install the Ravelry project progress widget please leave a comment and point me in the right direction.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Progress Report - Romantic Vest

Although it is a painfully tedious process, I have been forcing myself to knit a row here and there when I'm on the train or in the car. And slowly but surely I am beginning to see a faint light at the end of the very long tunnel... I am almost finished knitting the back! How I will ever find the motivation to even cast on the front I don't know but for now I am focusing on the positive aspects.
Listening to the Never Not Knitting podcast helps to keep my mind entertained even if my hands seem to be working in slow motion.

I also took courage today when my sister sent me 21 gorgeous photos of my nephew Xavier wearing the seed stitch hoodie that I knitted for him last year. The fresh autumnal weather this morning gave her the opportunity to put it on him, for what could be the last time as he is almost too big for it now. At the time I found knitting the seed stitch very tedious but seeing it again now after 6 months I am very impressed with how it looks and am proud to have knitted it.

So onwards and upwards...

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Malabrigo March

You've got to love express postage! My second order of Malabrigo arrived from Tangled Yarns yesterday and this time I am in love! The blue (azul profundo) for Jamie's hat is perfect and the other two colours (vermillion and Sauterne) are divine. Not exactly sure what I will do with the last two but I'm sure I'll think of something!

Monday, 1 March 2010

Stash Guilt

I'm feeling a little guilty this afternoon; because of a couple of recent yarn purchases. Retail guilt is something I experience on a regular basis; not because I shop a lot, but because I tend to agonize over any purchase that is not essential. This really takes the fun out of shopping. It usually doesn't extend to the buying of books and toys for my daughter or the occassional purchase from an online yarn store. But this time is different...

Today I received a package in the mail from Tangled Yarns, an online and retail store based in Brisbane. I came across this store when I was searching for Australian stockist of Malabrigo yarn. There is such a cult following of this yarn on Ravelry that I really want to see what all the fuss is about. I have a pattern queued: Koolhaas by Jared Flood for Jamie (which 763 out of 4474 Ravelry users have used Malabrigo to knit) and now just need to get my hands on the yarn.

When I went to place my order a week and a half ago Tangled Yarns were out of stock of most colours of the Worsted Merino (10ply). By this stage I was in a bit of a frenzy, I wasn't prepared to leave the online store without some Malabrigo in my cart! So I ordered a skein of the Silky Merino (8ply) in teal feather and a skein of Cascade 220 (10ply) - also hard to come by in Aussie yarn stores - in teal also. I don't remember what the logic was at the time. I think I'd figure it out when they arrived. And today they did and I'm not happy with myself.

I don't love the teal colour of the Cascade 220, and it's not the most masculine of colours either. It is definitely not the yarn for Jamie's Koolhaas. The malabrigo silky merino is divine to touch and a lovely muted teal colour, but it is only a 150 yard skein so not enough for the Koolhaas even if I wanted to try and make it in this.
1) I've ordered the Malabrigo Worsted Merino in 3 different colours (since my last order Tangled Yarns just so happened to receive a new shipment!). Hence the stash guilt.
2) I have queued a different hat for Jamie to make use of the Cascade 220 and I've queued a hat for myself to make use of the malabrigo silky merino. And so my queue of projects grows...
Related Posts with Thumbnails