Thursday, 27 May 2010

Favourites: Necklaces

Favourites is a new regular section of my blog where I will share a selection of patterns for a particular type of project, recently added to my favourites in Ravelry.

This week is all about Necklaces.

A friend of mine recently saw a cool knitted chain necklace being worn by a lady at a Sydney Writers Festival event. She asked the lady where it was from and was told that it was an Etsy purchase from Poland. After a quick scour for the "knitted chain necklace" on Etsy, I'm pretty sure that this is the one in question: Golden Chain by Celapiu

It is very cool! I like it but I would never wear something like this. It's possibly a little too big (and too cool) for me to wear at this stage of my life (maybe back in my twenties!).

So I took my search to Ravelry and found the following patterns for necklaces that I would wear...

#1 - sev[en] circle by Kirsten Johnstone. Free pattern available to download from Ravelry

sev[en] cirlcle. Image from Ravelry

#2 - Ruffled Crochet Bib Necklace by Stefanie Fail. Free pattern published on the A Common Thread blog

Ruffled Crochet Bib Necklace. Image from Ravelry

#3 - Indian Gold by Alyssa Kabel. Free pattern available on the concrete is made of glass blog

Indian Gold. Image from Ravelry

I love all three of these patterns and hope to have one on the needles in the near future.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Oops I did it again!

Cedar Leaf Shawlette

Once again I have run out of yarn in the final stages of a project. You may recall that this happened to me last year when I was knitting the Moss Stitch Hoodie for my nephew. In that instance Ravelry saved the day and a very lovely lady from Missouri, all the way on the other side of the world, was kind enough to send me a couple of balls of Naturally Merino 10ply (we still keep in touch on Ravelry which is nice).

This time around I should have known better. I am knitting the Never Not Knitting's Cedar Leaf Shawlette in Malabrigo Silky Merino. Having consulted other Raverly users' project notes I knew that it would be tight, if not impossible, to knit this out of just 2 skeins. So on Sunday night the inevitable happened and I ran out of yarn with just two and a half leaves left to go.

I had even asked the store where I bought the yarn to hold an additional skein for me, but that was weeks ago and I never got back to them, and of course now they and the only other Malabrigo stockists in Australia are out of stock!

The upshot of this disaster is that I placed my first order with US online store Eat.Sleep.Knit yesterday and my order has already been shipped. To make it worth my while in terms of shipping, in addition to the skein of silky merino that I need to finish the shawlette, I added 2 skeins of Malabrigo Worsted Merino in Frost Gray and 2 skeins in SFO Sky (I love grey!). Now I just have to wait 10-21 days (fingers crossed that it's 10!) for it to arrive.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

One skein of Malabrigo Scarf

My sister Nicole entered my knitted gift giveaway back in March hoping to win a red scarf. Even though she wasn't an official winner I wanted to make her something. She is a regular follower of my blog and one of the few who leaves comments (which is always nice!). She has also just returned to work after her second child so I decided to whip her up a one skein wonder as a mothers day gift.

Having the self imposed restriction of using only one skein made the pattern choice a little tricky but I ended up choosing to knit the Drop Stitch Scarf (ravelry link) by Christine Vogel.

It was a nice brainless knit and only took me a few days to finish. I followed the lead of other Ravelry users and wet blocked this, increasing the size from 115cm x 15cm (knitted size) to 165cm x 17cm (after blocking). The result is a good sized scarf and the stitch and slight variegation of the yarn show up beautifully.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Koolhaas Complete

It feels like an eternity since I started knitting Jared Flood's Koolhaas hat for my husband but I am happy to report that it's finished.

One thing that slowed progress considerably was losing my cable needle down the side of a seat whilst knitting on the train. It was so frustrating and it was my only cable needle so the hat had a hiatus until I got around to buying a new one.

The other thing that slowed me down was all the cable crosses. This being only my second attempt at cables I was painfully slow. If I were to knit it again I would definitely take the time to learn how to cable without a cable needle.

Apart from the above I was very happy with the pattern and my knitting but am very cranky at myself for losing count of the cable repeats and knitting 7 instead of 6 (which was the number recommended for large) so it really is a bit big. It will keep Jamie's ears warm though.

I'm a bit disappointed with the amount of piling the yarn has done in the short time since I finished. J does rub his head a lot which doesn't help. I still love this yarn and love this colourway: Azulprofundo.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Phat Knits

Image from Bauke Knotterus website

Jamie stumbled across this on the web the other day and new that it would tickle my fancy. Dutch design studio Bauke Knottnerus create crazy cool interior products made from giant threads. I love the concept and this knitted hangout mat in particular. I wish I knew how they actually made it...giant needles??

Monday, 17 May 2010

A Big Day Out

I am pleased to report that our day out in the city on Saturday was an all around success. The Beginners Crochet workshop was a good introduction into crochet. Over the space of four hours we learned the 4 main stitches and finished with a granny square.

I have to admit that I was surprised that I got the hang of it at all. I tried to get my mum to teach me late last year and it was a disaster. I think the problem was that I went to her with a pattern in mind and tried to launch straight into it before even learning the foundation stitches. At the time I also struggled with holding the yarn in my left hand and keeping my tension.

This time around I didn't even think about it and it wasn't an issue. I liked the fact that workshop teacher, Jeanette, didn't care how you held your hook or yarn as long as you got the end result.

Stitch sampler - chain stitch, double crochet, treble and half treble. I lost a few stitches along the way but I was getting the hang of it.

My first ever Granny Square - my precious!

Morris & Sons were kind enough to give class participants a student discount of 10% off all purchases after the workshop. Maja and I didn't take much convincing to take up the offer, but I did have trouble deciding on colours for my granny square. I couldn't resist buying some of Morris & Sons' own Empire yarn. It looks so delicious and comes in a beautiful range of colours. Pity in is made in China (from 100% Australian merino at least) and so pricey ($10.90/50g). I have Maja to thank for helping me select these beautiful, grown-up colours.

Morris Empire superwash merino 8ply in Bluestone, Smoke and Pumpkin

After the workshop we reunited with our husbands and my little angel and enjoyed the world's best dumplings at Din Tai Fung at World Square, before catching a bus to Newtown to check out a designer kidswear sale. We must have got there a little late in the day for the clothes but I did snap up these 3 gorgeous Lark knitted cupcakes for just $5 each.

Lark Cupcakes - cute enough to eat!

It was a great day out and now I am itching to start a big granny square cushion for my sofa but I am banned from picking up the hook until I at least finish the now very belated birthday shawl for my mother in law.

Friday, 14 May 2010

If I could crochet...

Tomorrow I am doing a Beginners Crochet workshop at Morris & Sons in Sydney with my good friend Maja. This is my belated Mother's Day present and to add to the excitement of the day my husband has the day off (a very rare occurrence for my chef) and will be looking after my daughter with Maja's husband and then joining us for lunch. So in anticipation of acquiring my new skill I have decided to compile a list of crochet projects that I would like to undertake...

1. A big granny square cushion cover

Images from Ravelry. Copyright Nikki and thornberry

Left: Swanky Granny Cushion byNikki from Mama Blue Knitting Goods based on Craochet Cabana's Basic Granny Square
Right: Circle in a Square Cushion Front by Thornberry based on a motif from the quarter of an inch blog

2. Potholders

Images from Ravelry. Copyright Illanna and throughtheloops

Left: Illanna's Floral Pot Holders.
Right: throughtheloops' Potholders. Pattern by Bea Aarebrot

3. Pincushions

Images from Ravelry. Copyright Olesdatter and Leanda Xavian

Left: Naalepuder by Liselotte Weller. English version of the pattern available free here
Right: Hexagon Pincushion by Leanda Xavian. Pattern available to purchase on the very pretty One Loop Short blog

4. Baby Booties

Images from Ravelry. Copyright Sylvia Schuchardt

Left: Little Button Loafers (baby booties) by Sylvia Schuchardt
Right: Baby Mary Jane "Skimmers" by Sylvia Schuchardt
Both patterns available from Hook Candy

5. An Afghan

Images from Ravelry. Copyright Alicia Paulson and Nova Seals

Left: Sunshine Day Baby Afghan by Alicia Paulson
Right: Ruby Hexagon Blanket by Nova Seals. Pattern available for free on Ravelry or the Novamade blog.

Wish me luck!

Monday, 10 May 2010

Knitted Gifts for Friends Old and New

So some of you might remember that back in March I ran a giveaway on my blog, the prize being that I would knit the winner something. It was a blatant attempt to draw in a few extra comments on my blog. Desperate? Maybe, but it worked; although most of the comments were from people who are friends or relatives. To keep things fair I decided to have two drawings, one from the friends/family category and one from my unknown blog followers. Nina literally drew the names out of a hat (ok, it was a bowl) and the winners were my good friend and former work colleague Kate, and Ravelry knitter and blogger Sarah from North Carolina.

Now that both winners have received their prizes I can finally post pictures of what I made for them.

Kate had requested something for her head in the colour of the ocean, so I knit her the Slouched Tuva Hat by Turvid in Malabrigo Silky Merino Yarn in Teal Feather. I didn't love the pattern and it's not as slouchy as I would have liked but I did love knitting with this yarn and think that it looks great on Kate.


This is a little gift tag I whipped up to go with these gifts

Sarah requested something for her hands in the sunburst orange so for her I knitted Susie's Reading Mitts in Malabrigo Worsted in the Rhodesian colourway. I was so happy with how there turned out, even after the small hitch of making the first mitten a size too big and having to knit it a second time.

A big thank you to Sarah for sending me the picture below. I'm so glad you like them.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Finders Keepers

The Finders Keepers is a design and craft market held in Sydney and Melbourne biannually. I decided to take a drive with Nina yesterday to visit my good friend, and Finders Keepers exhibitor, Nicky of The Near Future and to pick up a Mothers Day gift for myself.

Anna at the Near Future stand at the Finders Keeps market

Traffic and finding a park proved to be a bit of a nightmare, as did navigating the crowds with a stroller. Luckily Nicky and Anna offered to look after my pram and my daughter whilst I had a look around (big thank you girls!!).

A mountain of pompoms on the Dreamers & Believers stand

The absolute highlight for me was discovering Dreamers & Believers and purchasing myself one of their gorgeous Dreamcatcher necklaces. I rarely fall in love with accessories but this is just my cup of tea and affordable too. The pendant features a pompom trapped in a wooden ring, below which are three pretty beads. And you get a second pompom of your choice so that you can mix things up depending on your outfit. I wore mine today and just love it!

My lovely Dreamcatcher necklace

I also purchased one of Nicky's fabulous over sized tote bags. I got the mosaic, I love the colour and the yellow contrast lining. I think that it will make an ideal knitting bag, and is ideal storage for at least 3 or so WIPs.

Friday, 7 May 2010

A Mitten Reincarnated

Here's another craft project from last week.


When I started knitting last year it was the middle of winter and I was working in a freezing cold office here in the mountains. I decided that I needed a pair of fingerless mitts for working at the computer. Instead of using a pattern I decided to improvise with a lace stitch square that would be sewn up the side leaving a hole for my thumb. As you can probably predict, this project went wrong in so many ways. For a start I was using a wool/soy blend yarn which was quite horrible to knit with, especially in lace. As it was my first attempt at lace knitting I had to cast on and knit the ribbing 3 times before I got the pattern right, I kept mysteriously losing and gaining stitches in all the wrong places (later I found out about threading a piece of yarn through the stitches at the end of the ribbed section - if only I'd known then!). And to top it all off they looked terrible when I finally finished them. I didn't even bother to sew up the second one.

One of the "mittens" before reincarnation

On the positive side, what I did learn was how to draw up a lace pattern on a graph chart and how to read and knit from a chart, which I find much easier than reading the pattern.

So after being stashed away in a drawer for almost a year, I came across these again in last week's tidy up. I also came across 2 empty tea tins that I had stashed away at Christmas time. I try not to collect junk as we don't have the room for it in our little cottage, but I thought these tins could be useful for something. And so, two lost souls have come together in a new form. I painted the tins black and stitched up the misused mitts to form a pretty little tin cozy. One of which is now an ideal container for storing my collection of old straight needles and the other will be a gift for someone in my family.

T2 tea tins getting overhauled: Monk Pear and Girlie Grey (my favourite)

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Mrs Sniffles - Knitted Tissue Box Cover

Last week when it came time to take photos of my little knitting nook at home, I had to do some serious rearranging, tidying and styling. One of the items that stuck out like a sore thumb was the ugly tissue box sitting by the lounge. Solution: I decided to knit a stylish tissue box cover.

I jumped on Ravelry to search for a pattern, but there was nothing suitable. I did a google image search for inspiration and all it came up with was the frilly numbers you see at a country craft fair or school fete. Then I went back to Ravelry and searched for box, thinking I would find something with the basic structure I was after. What I found was Erica Knight's Knitted Baskets (Rav link) made from heavy string. I loved the concept and decided to give something similar a go. I purchased a ball of 3mm string from the local discount store and cast on....

Here's my pattern, designed to fit a tissue box sized 22.5w x 10.5h x 11.5d (cm).
Yarn: 1 ball (80m) of 3mm household string
Needles: 6.5 mm (US 10.5)

Main Panel
CO 22 stitches
Knit in moss stitch alternating K1,P1 rows.
Knit 22 rows or until it measures 14.5 cm from cast on edge.
Knit 4 stitches in moss stitch then cast off 16 stitches, knit final 4 stitches in pattern.
Knit 4 stitches, turn work and cast on 16 stitches using cable cast on. Turn work and knit last 4 stitches.
Continue in moss stitch for 22 rows or until work measures 30cm. Cast off.

Side panels x 2
CO 8 stiches and work 14 rows in moss stitch
Cast off
Sew side panels to main panel.

And there you have quite a funky tissue box cover. Feel free to use this pattern as a guide but you will need to experiment a little to get the right size for your materials. Warning: String is definitely not a great joy to knit! I'm thinking of making another one soon in leather thonging.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Blog Week Round Up

4 days have past since my last post and after blogging everyday for a week it feels like an eternity. I even feel a little guilty - like I haven't been doing my home work. I have, however, been trying to read as many of the other Knit & Crochet Blog Week posts as I can, I have been finishing up and photographing a few projects, starting new knitting projects and even trying my hand at continental knitting (not a raging success unfortunately, but more on that later).

I am so glad that I took part in blog week as it was a real challenge for me and I think it has made me a better blogger. It has also opened up even further for me the amazing online knitting community. A big thank you to my followers old and new and to any visitors who have stopped by my blog over the past week.

Here are a few of the other great blogs that I have discovered during blog week:
A Girl in Winter
Little Sparrow Knits
The Student Knitter

Oh, I'm so excited (can you tell?) to have the new Hipstamatic app for my iPhone - LOVE!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

#7 - What a Yarn

And what a week! Today's post is the final post of Knit & Crochet Blog Week and I have to admit that I am glad it is so. Blogging every day is not as easy as it looks, especially trying to fit in a family and husband and some actual knitting at the same time! But I am so glad that I have made the effort and definitely think that I am inspired to keep challenging myself and blogging on a variety of topics each week (or fortnight!).

To wrap it up here are a couple of yummy yarn's in my stash that I am just itching to use...

Malabrigo's Silky Merino in Lettuce colourway from Tangled Yarns. I've raved about my love of Malabrigo Yarns and this yarn especially before so I won't bore you again. But let me just say that I LOVE it and if you haven't tried Malabrigo yet you are missing out - really! I don't want to knit with anything else at the moment. If you live in Australia and are finding it hard to come by, visit the Tangled Yarns website. I hope to cast on Never Not Knitting's Cedar Leaf Shawlette in this tonight. I planned to knit this for my mother in law for her birthday but it is going to be a bit of a belated present now.


I also can't wait to use this 50% silk/50% merino hand dyed fingering weight yarn from Lush Yarns. the colour is called "Violet Sky" but I couldn't quite capture the richness of the colours in the photograph, I think because of the luminosity of the silk. But take it from me, it is beautiful!

I definitely want to knit myself a shawl out of this. Either Kirsten Kapur's Lavalette(left), Gudrun Johnston's Aestlight Shawl (centre) or YsoldaTeague's Ishbel (right).

Thanks to everyone for tuning into my blog this week! I hope you have found these posts informative or interesting. I haven't had a chance to read everyone else's posts but plan to sit down with a cup of tea tonight and indulge in reading what other knitters have been up to. I'll do a round up over the next couple of days and share some of my favourites with you.

x Natalie

Saturday, 1 May 2010

#5 - Location, Location, Location

After yesterday's wordy post I thought I might let the pictures do most of the talking.


I knit at home on the lounge in the evenings after my daughter has gone to bed and I knit to and from work on the train twice a week. Today's subject inspired me to do a bit of a tidy up and a rearrange at home and even a bit of home accessory crafting. My old diamond stitch mittens have been reincarnated as a smart needle storage tin, and I knitted a tissue box cover out of string. More on these DIY projects next week.
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