Thursday, 29 July 2010

Construction Tools and Sydney Design

My lucky friend Anna received a very awesome birthday gift this week, a set of 25mm (massive!) ebony needles and enough yarn to make a super chunky hooded scarf, by Nikki Gabriel. Here are a couple of rather dodgy iphone photos of Anna knitting at work.

Anna let me knit a row and I did find it a bit of a challenge to hold such large and heavy needles, but the bespoke yarn is gorgeous and I love the chunky designs. I especially like the idea of being able to knit up a quick garment like Nikki Gabriel's vest.

When I looked up the website i discovered that Nikki Gabriel is actually giving a workshop at the Powerhouse Museum in a couple of weeks as part of Sydney Design. There will be six workshops over 3 days (Fri 13-Sun 15 August), and for the $80 entry fee you get the workshop, pattern, needles, and 2 balls of yarn. I am definitely thinking of attending and maybe dropping by the Wild for Tea Cosies talk by tea cosy queen Loani Prior while I'm there.

Friday, 23 July 2010

A Grey Area

There is something bewitching about this variegated yarn. I was so drawn to it's mix of greys and charcoals that I bought two skeins intending to knit it into something myself.

At first I thought it would make a great eternity scarf, but after further consideration I realised that I couldn't face knitting a big tube and decided that a triangular shawl might be more my thing.

On Monday night I wound the first skein into a ball. Warning bell 1: when I unlooped the skein I thought "it's very stripey". Undetered, yesterday I eagerly cast on Using Orlane's textured shawl recipe. Warning bell 2: it's hard to see the texture with so much variegation. So after knitting 40 rows I put my knitting away and moped around for an hour or so. I then browsed through every project made in this yarn on ravelry. I didn't like any of them! Finally I came to the realisation: I don't like the look of this yarn, or any variegated yarn, when it is knit up.

Woe is me! What to do now with 2 skeins of this accursed yarn? Bury them in my stash? Do a give-away? No. I have decided that it is still lovely yarn, it is Malabrigo afterall, and it might not look right for me but it would make a pretty cute jumper for a little boy that I know whose birthday is coming up soon. I know his mum will read this so I won't give any more away....

Hmmm, even the photos for this post are grey and dreary ;(

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Blogworthy Blogs - stash, knit, repeat

I can't quite remember how I stumbled across this blog, but I am so glad that I did. stash, knit, repeat is the blog of knitwear designer Amy Herzog, who has a "passion for well-fitting sweaters".

Lately the blog is featuring a series of tutorials called Fit to Flatter where Amy explains how to choose and modify knitting patterns to flatter your shape. I think it is essential reading for all knitters, especially if you are relatively new to knitting like me and have had issues with fit in the past.

I also like the idea of concentrating on your shape rather than size and have found the advice on her blog helpful and relevant to all areas of the wardrobe not just knits. I really love several of Amy's designs, especially Arm Candy and February Fitted Pullover, and will definitely be knitting these in the near future to fit and flatter my classic pear shape.

Monday, 19 July 2010

FO: Ishbel

So I finished my very own Ishbel a couple of weeks ago and here it is:

I will probably be cast out of the knitting community when I admit that I didn't LOVE knitting this pattern. It could have been my needles. I used my Addi interchangable 4mm needles and the whole time I wished they were pointier. I also struggled a bit with the lace pattern, it just didn't "click" with me and I had to follow the chart stitch by stitch without knowing if it would turn out right. Luckily it did, and I am very happy with my knitting, so that's something.

I made the small size which turned out a bit smaller than I had hoped. It only used up 35g of yarn (Lush Yarn merino/silk fingering) so now I have half a skein floating around in my stash which I find a bit annoying. I might just have to knit myself a pair of purple socks or a matching Ishbel Beret. Next time would definitely make it bigger by knitting the stocking stitch section according to the instructions for the large size and the lace section for the small size.

I don't think it is a mere coincidence that my passion for blogging has waned at the same time as I stopped knitting for others and concentrated on knitting for myself. I am way too critical of the things I make for myself and am afraid that the blog will turn into a whine-fest if I continue to pick at all the flaws of each FO. I can reassure you with news that I have cast on a new project as a gift for someone else and I feel my inspiration returning already (what a relief!).

Saturday, 10 July 2010

A Winter Wedding

Things have been a bit quiet on the blog front lately. This is partly because I have been busy very busy at work and also because there was another wedding in the family. My beautiful sister Naomi married her lovely fiance Dan on Sunday 4th July (they like to refer to it as "Dependance Day" now) at Bellachara in Gerringong, about 2 hours south of Sydney.

Bridesmaids: That's me on the left and my sister Nicole on the right. The Bride: looking gorgeous in her 50's style dress.

My fears of freezing on the cliff tops during the photos were unfounded as it turned out to be the most perfect mild and sunny Winters day you could imagine. It was a beautiful wedding and a lovely long weekend away with the family.

My very talented mum was responsible for the knitted shrugs you can see in the photo above, and for all the dresses including the flower girls and the bride! She also knitted two other cardigans for the flower girls, and all this in the space of a couple of months. She makes it look so easy!

I have also been quite busy knitting something old (my not-so-romantic vest is almost done!) and something new (more on that later) and will soon be knitting something blue!
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