Sunday, October 31, 2010

New Fitness Goals

Now that I have definately booked my wedding, for real this time, and with summer around the corner, I feel a strong desire to get in shape......again. To be back where I was happiest I need to lose 15-20kgs, which is a big undertaking. But I will get there. Last time I lost 15kgs I did it using the exercise bike, but that has done nothing for me for the last couple of years. I have always exercised pretty much every day. So my new goal includes running.

As I have a treadmill, I have started jogging, tried running but not fit enough yet. Today was a breakthrough point, I actually enjoyed it and the time flew! Shocking! But I managed to do 7.63kms in 60mins. Very proud of myself. I do hope to one day be able to do 10kms in one go. At least that's my short term goal. So to hold myself accountable I plan to note down any kms I do and a total tally as well.

But other than running my ass off, I have finished the first sleeve for my tangled yoke and have cast on for the second sleeve. I have had no desire to work on the Wave Shawl, all I can think about is how I need another light-weight cardigan that can be worn with skirts. All my knitwear is more designed for jeans and cold weather, which is fine for today (cold and wet-record rainfalls over the last 2 days in glorious Melbourne but at least it looks like our drought has ended) but we have also had some lovely days with the sun shining, but the breeze requires light coverage.

Planning on making the Cece I think as my summer lace cardigan. I was going to make myself a Que Sera, (I loved that pattern) but I decided that there are so many patterns out there, I should try to do as many as I can! And I can always do the Que Sera whenever I want.

So now off to work on my second sleeve....can't wait to get to the tangled yoke, looks like fun!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wedding Dramas

We have been trying to get married for over a year now. Twice we have had to postpone the wedding due to money issues, and today I had to change the date again.......all because the AFL Grand Final date has officially been changed from the last Saturday in September, to the first Saturday in October......which is of course the date we had set! And boys being boys have different priorities to us girls, so while I don't care about the Grand Final, he does. So frustrating.

So the date has been rebooked and I hope it all goes through now....hassle free. It certainly feels like we are not meant to have a wedding with the dramas we have had. Between the venue and the photographer, we have had a few headaches just in this last week. Now my priorities are:

1. Lose weight. A lot of weight. And get in shape so I look fabulous on my wedding day. If I'm doing this I might as well do it properly.

2. Knit a heirloom wedding shawl. I have a few patterns in mind, the Aeolian Shawl being at the top of the list at the moment. Need to decide what yarn to use though. Want something extravagant I think.

3. Figure out what else needs to be organised, make a budget and start stressing!!!!

Beyond that I have no idea, I think that is all I can handle at the moment. Especially considering I was planning on resuming my course next year, Nathan starting Kindergarten, Brian thinking about changing jobs, and whatever else life wants to throw at us!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sweater Vest Finished

I finished the sweater vest almost a week ago, last Sunday to be exact. But it has taken me this long to take photos. I am extremely pleased with how it has turned out, not only the correct size, but lovely and thick and soft too. The cabling has made the fabric very stretchy with is another bonus. The ribbing at the neck and arm holes also turned out better than I expected. I chose not to count the stitches around the arm and decided to just pick up as many stitches as would look best, and I was all prepared to rip out if they looked too different. But they look fine. I can't wait til Christmas when my father-in-law gets to see it! I really hope it is what he wanted.
So now that the sweater vest is completed, I have cast on for my mother-in-law's wave shawl. The colour is pale eucalypt and it turns out I really like the colour, it is not as yellow based as I thought. I think I will have plenty of this yarn left over, I tend to overbuy ALL the time. But I think it may go well with the Oceania, (which is a dark green and the yarn I'm using for my tangled yoke) and I may make a Tempest cardigan. Although the wools are both 5ply (sport) I think they'll go with the pattern well. And it will mean I have enough yarn for another project without having to shop!
I hope to buy a second hand pot soon specifically for dying. Then I can get started on dying the cotton I have into colours I would like more. So this week has the tangled yoke flying along, I have finished the body to the arms and almost completed one arm, and have begun the wave shawl. Not much progress there because I really want a light weight cardigan now that the weather is heating up a bit. I should have no problem finishing the shawl for Christmas as we still have a couple of months to go. Thankfully!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

No Wool......But Dye

Well I am currently in Bendigo visiting my Mum, (and the Bendigo Woollen Mills!) except life stepped in and no new wool acquisitions. When I arrived here I was informed by another driver I had no brake lights working. After calling out roadside assistance it was determined that the globes and fuses are fine, it is the brake pedal switch that isn't working. Now this isn't too big a deal, the switch is reasonably inexpensive and the job takes less than 30 minutes. But being a Saturday do you think there are any mechanics? NO!!!! So I made the decision to not do any unnecessary driving to avoid accidents. Luckily the drive home is freeway all the way, so I should be ok. Then we have our mechanic ready to go first thing Monday morning.

But this meant that I couldn't really afford to buy the wool I was planning on, and it would have been a hassle getting to the mills in Mum's car, considering I don't know how to drive a manual. So I thought I musn't be meant to buy wool this week and increase my stash. So disappointing. So instead I went for a walk to the local shops and not only was the walk lovely (I love Bendigo) but I also had a nice time browsing in the shops.

One shop in particular had a large range of knitting tools and accessories, as well as wools. But none of it appealed to me. And then I saw it....Dye! The dye I bought is Rit brand and each packet is for about 1lb of fabric. Especially cotton. I remembered that I had a fair bit of cotton at home that I bought on sale at Spotlight, and I don't really like the colors. But if I overdye them I think they could be really pretty. So I bought Wine-a deep burgundy maroon colour, teal-self explanatry, and purple. I am definately looking forward to my first exploration into the world of dyeing and am very excited to see the results.

I believe everything happens for a reason, and I learned a bit about cars today, but I was also given the opportunity to do something new, dyeing, instead of just buying wool. The wool will be there next time :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Not Much Knitting

Over the last few days there has not been much knitting, housework, kids, visiting old friends, etc all seem to get in the way. Not that that is always a bad thing. Sometimes putting the projects down for a few days can reignite the passion felt before! The monotony of housework and the satisfaction of a job well done (especially if the house is neat and tidy) can be very rewarding. And catching up with friends is always great, especially when 5 hours fly by, absolutely fabulous!

I have almost finished the sweater vest, which is great because I am eager to start my Wave Shawl for my mother-in-law. I prefer to have minimal projects on the go, or I find I forget about them, lose my place or my momentum. I have almost finished the second side of the front, and once that is done, I will just need to sew the shoulder seams, then pick up stitches around each armhole and the neck, do some ribbing and Voila! Finito! 2 Chrissy presents down, more to go!

I am so anxious to finish my tangled yoke cardigan, as it is a lightweight cardigan, I have wished it was already done as the weather has been glorious lately, especially today with a forecast of 29C. In the sun it is hot and lovely, but I always get a bit too cool in the shade. Hopefully it will be completed in the next few weeks as I have only 23 or so rows until I have completed the body and need to start on the sleeves. Cannot wait until I reach the "tangled yoke" pattern itself, looks like so much fun! Last night I managed to get a fair few rows done at the drive-in when Brian and I went to see The Town. Excellent movie. Not something I woud normally see, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. We did go to see a double feature, the Expendables being the second film, but had to leave early as my sister was in a car accident and my dad, who was babysitting the kids, had to go get her. She is fine, car is dented, but nothing serious.

Today is set to be a quiet day at home, hopefully knitting and listening to podcasts. Although there are some serious dramas going on in my household (to do entirely with my sister who is living with us) I hope to tune them out and enjoy what should be a beautiful day.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I have spent hours looking at all the gorgeous shawl patterns available, everything from a simple shawlette to large wraparound shawls. I think, for me, the appeal lies in the shawlette. Adding that splash of colour and lace to a simple outfit, without the length of a scarf that can sometimes be annoying.

The large shawls, although beautiful, I don't think are for me at the moment, although I plan to make a large one for my wedding. Love to have the heirloom item! The shawl I have planned for my mother-in-law is very large, but mostly stockinette with a lace edging. A good start I think into the shawl world.

I know there is a difference between lace knitting and knitting lace, but I can never remember which is which. I know that I do not think I am ready for a pattern that needs lace knitted every row, I think I need the purl row for now, at least til I feel more confident with knitting lace. Likewise, I doubt I am ready to attempt a superfine laceweight project either, the thinnest I think I'll go for now is 4ply (fingering) weight yarn. I have lots of sock yarn and I think i'll mostly use that. I have decided I think most sock yarns are too pretty to be hidden on the feet, plus no matter what I do, knitted socks itch me. Too much knitting for something I won't use.

With summer around the corner I predict many shawls and shawlettes being knitted as I'm sure I won't want anything like a carigan or jumper sitting on my lap!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Learning top down construction

Firstly I have been powering through my tangled yoke as I am in the stockinette portion and I felt like some simple knitting. As I said before, I actually knitted the garter rib for 5 1/4 inches then began the pattern in stockinette according to the rows of the pattern. This will make the cardigan nice and long which I will love. I also adore the drape and feel of the fabric, it is light and will definately be a warmer weather cardi, which was my goal. I think I prefer the slightly looser knit fabric as opposed to the tightly knit, but we'll see how well it sits when finished. Isn't the color gorgeous!
I spent last night reading the book "Knitting from the top down" by Cathy Carron. Not a fan of any of the projects, they are definately outdated, but I found that the information in the book on how top-down construction works, how to add shaping (which I already kinda knew), how to calculate sleeves and how to do various collars was fabulous. I had that 'light bulb' moment when all of a sudden the top-down method made perfect sense and seems quite simple.
I have knit top down before, but I could never figure out how the calculations worked, how to calculate the beginning stitches, how to seperate them for front, back and sleeves, or how to figure out the increases for the yoke. But now I get it! I'm hoping to use this method and calculations to amend patterns so that I can make the sweaters/ cardigans more simply, but also out of the yarn I want and the needles I want. Being in Australia (as opposed to USA where most patterns originate from) we mostly use 8ply (dk) yarn as opposed to 10ply (worsted). This means that many patterns I want to make need many alterations as not only do I not prefer thicker yarn, but it is harder to find, whereas 8ply is everywhere!
My first aim is to make myself a top-down jumper, long and fitted, with 8ply smoky gray and black stripes. I want it to be a perfect fit. Unfortunately the book didn't cover v-neck design, but I have located a few other sources which should help. Although, now that I understand the construction, I think I can figure it out on my own. I am going to have a think about how to do the increases for my bust though, I want it to fit well without the loose fabric under the bust, but I'm not sure I want to do short rows in the stripes. Thinking about just adding the increases on the front, so the back doesn't get baggy either, that happened last time. Too much fabric on the back so it didn't quite sit right. Maybe darts are the way to go. Oh well, more research!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sweater Vest Progress

This is the progress so far on my father-in-law's sweater vest - as requested! I have finished the main body and have seperated for the front and back. On the back I am about halfway finished, still have 5" or so to go, but it's going fairly quickly now. I have already used over 500g 10ply (worsted) superwash wool, so it is getting kinda heavy!
I am making this sweater vest according to my own pattern, as I couldn't find a pre-designed pattern that I really liked. So far it is going well, and I have used a few calculations for the armholes and the v-neck that will be on the front. Still hoping to get it finished by Christmas, which shouldn't really be a problem, I have plenty of time.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Spring Clean the Queue

Today I realised that my Ravelry queue had gotten a little out of hand, over 25 pages and I couldn't remember most of the things I had queued! So I went through the queue and deleted many things I had queued just bcause I liked them. Things that no one I know would wear, like little girl dresses and baby clothes. Although they are cute, I don't need the patterns saved. I can re-search for them again when I need them.

I also deleted many toys I had saved that I intended to make for my son, but realistically, he doesn't play with soft toys, and I just donated a few garbage bags full of stuffed toys as they were just collecting dust.

There were many items I had queued for my daughter, and many of them weren't sized for her anymore. Rather than rewrite patterns, I realised that making the smallest size of some women's garments would be her size. So no more little girl patterns.

As for garments for me, I removed many that I realised I had queued just because I liked them not because they would be wearable for me. As I went through these I considered whether they would be suitable for anyone else.....mainly mum, and those I kept. The rest.....gone. Anything that was in a thick yarn that I didn't absolutely adore went too, I much prefer to knit from 8ply and 5ply yarns (dk and sport) I don't mind 10ply (worsted) but I prefer the finer gauge. More yardage for your money and I think that garments in a finer gauge look better too.

So now I feel lighter, and my queue less cluttered. I'm sure that by this time next year I will have to spring clean my queue again, and some things saved now will be deleted and new beauties will be kept. With 17 pages left, I stil have plenty to inspire me and keep me busy!

Til next time..........Danielle xoxox

Monday, October 11, 2010

Knitting to Audio Books

Ok, so I rarely get to watch tv. Between the necessary censorship of having a 3yo and an 8yo, the days are pretty much impossible. Nights aren't much better. I usually have no chance of winning against Brian and either his tv shows or a night playing his PS3. Sometimes they are tv shows I want to watch too, Law and Order SVU, Bones, Criminal Minds......etc, but some nights he does marathon Two and a Half Men, and although an episode here and there is entertaining, two and a half HOURS + is not really my cuppa tea.

So I have learned to love the Podcast. I have a huge list of Podcasts I listen to, Knitmore Girls, Sticks and String, KIPing it Real, Stitch It, It's A Purl Man, and many more. Obviously knitting is not always enough, I need to hear about it from others too! But there are days (or nights) when I want something a bit different, and so I have discovered audio books. I have mostly gotten hold of many of my favourite books from my fave authors and have spent my time reliving the stories I enjoyed. I will admit, I have a weakness for crime, mystery, psychological thriller novels that don't take much brain power but are thoroughly entertaining. Kathy Reichs, Jonathan Kellerman, James Patterson, Lisa Gardner, Linda Fairstein, Iris Johansen, Val McDermid, Michael Connelly, Tami Hoag and Patricia Cornwell. I also love Stephen King and Dean Koontz, when I'm after something a little bizarre.

But what I love the most is the way that I can enjoy books as audio books, and not go insane from children's programming or video games. I can still knit, exercise, cook and clean and be nicely entertained. I love you dear did I ever live without you?

Til next time........Danielle xoxox

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Wish I had a spinning wheel

Today my thumb is sore, it really only hurts when I purl, but it's enough to really annoy me. It is times like these that I wish I had a spinning wheel so I could still play with wool, even if it is in a different form. I have watched a few spinners and I love it! It looks like so much fun and so satisfying.....I would absolutely love to wear a jumper or a cardigan made from wool I had spun myself. So divine!

Occasionally, and I can't believe I'm admitting this, I feel I need a break from knitting, so I tried crochet, and it just wasn't for me. But since seeing the spinning I really feel a draw to it. Being able to take the craft to another level is very enticing, and some of those natural fleece colors are beautiful.

So now, instead of buying more wool, I think I will save for a spinning wheel and some fibre. With Christmas around the corner I hope to be learning to spin next year! At least that will be my goal..........

Til next time.........Love Danielle xoxox

Friday, October 8, 2010

Que Sera is Finished!!! And I improved my Seaming!

I did it! I finished my Que Sera and it took less than a month. The cardigan flew off the needles once I had memorised the pattern, and I loved every minute of it.......including the blocking! What a difference! I tried it on and it fits me just how I like my clothes to fit.....fitted. Unfortunately the buttons do that gaping thing they do when they are pulled to tight, but it really suited me as an open cardigan, more than a button up one. After all in summer, I probably will want the cardigan open and drapey. I doubt I would make it bigger for myself, as I really don't feel comfortable in baggy, loose clothing. Makes me feel slobby and bigger than I am.

I did discover however, that my method of seaming my knitted garments was not the best it could be. I thought I was doing it right, but it looked terrible on Que Sera so I did a search for seaming tutorials. After watching one, it clicked and I understood how it all worked, and how much better it can look. There are still some areas of the cardigan where the sewing was less than perfect, but still looks pretty good. I don't mind that little hint of evidence that something is handmade.......actually I think i like it.

So now, I can devote my time to my Tangled Yoke and the Sweater Vest. I may even cast on the Wave Shawl too. Yesterday my day was filled with a major spring cleaning of the house. Well overdue. Endless garbage bags for a tip run and many more for the Op Shop. Just got to get there now. It honestly amazes me how much stuff we have hoarded in the past few years, and how much was really just garbage. But I feel a lot clearer now that my house is less cluttered. Hopefully I never let it get that way again. I also had to drive to Tullamarine (Melbourne) Airport to pick up my dad from his visit to my sister in Queensland, so very little knitting happened yesterday. The collar of Que Sera and that was it.

Today, I spent the morning sewing up the cardigan and have not yet knitted a single stitch. I have cooked Pumpkin soup though, which smells great. So tonight I hope to have a very long knitting session, probably with my iPod as I barely get access to the tv. But lately I haven't minded. I enjoy being in a quiet room without the artificial glow of the tv. It's definately more relaxing.

Til next time..........Danielle xoxox

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Tangled Yoke

Today, as i was waiting for the Que Sera to block and dry, I turned to my father-in-laws sweater vest. Basically a 2x4 rib, with the 4stitch panel doing a cable every 8 rows alternating so they are uneven. Although knit with a thick wool and on 4.5mm needles and knit in the round, it is kinda boring, working up the body. I'm in a place where I either want interesting wool, interesting pattern or a plain knit stitch I can completely zone out with. So I figured it was time to cast on a new project.

So now the Tangled Yoke Cardigan by Eunny Jang is officially on the needles, and I'm excited about it. It's going to be knit in a 5ply/sport weight so it should be a lighter cardigan for the warmer months. The yarn is 100% handwash wool, in Colonial Ocean Tweed. It is a gorgeous deep green with slight flecks of lighter and darker shades speckled through. I love it!

I'm not happy about the length of the cardigan though, definately too short for my liking. So I think i will knit the 5inches of garter rib, then 8 rows of stocking stitch before I begin the shaping. Hopefully this will keep the shaping in the right place, but add on the extra 5 inches in length I want. I love my long cardigans......obviously!

Tonight I am hoping to take Que Sera off the blocking boards, sew the shoulders together and pick up and knit the neck stitches. There aren't many rows so it shouldn't take too long. Then I'll sew in the sleeves, try it on (we are pretty much the same size) and then put it away in it's box, awaiting Christmas. After taking photos of course!

Love Danielle

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Almost a Year Later

So, it's been almost a year since I last wrote anything, and much has changed, including my skills and knowledge of all things knitting related. I have made a Central Park Hoodie, Cable and Rib Jacket by Debbie Bliss (with a zipper), a smocked turtleneck and the gathered pullover, which I added waist shaping to.

I have discovered a true passion for cables and am planning on making the tangled yoke cardigan as my next project for me. I have also discovered lace, and although I haven't approached anything very difficult, I still love the process and of course, the blocked result.

I have gotten many compliments on my knitting from family, friends and fellow knitters. This has led to many requests, that I am happy to fill out for this Christmas. I see this as an opportunity to make projects and use colours I wouldn't necessarily use for myself, but also to see who would seriously appreciate and care for a hand knitted garment. Those people will receive more, and the others, obviously not.

So the list is as follows, my Mum is getting the Que Sera from Knitty in a gorgeous pale purple called Anemone in Mystique by Bendigo Woollen Mills. It is a wool, alpaca and mohair blend and is looking stunning if i do say so myself! My father-in-law is getting a thick cabled vest in the color denim blue in Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 10ply. Kinda boring to knit, but at least it's simple. And requested. Apparantly he can't find sweater vests that are a thickness he wants, they are all too thin and not warm enough. I decided to make the wave shawl for my mother-in-law, not requested, but you can't give one a hand-knit and not the other......right? This is a large shawl and will be knit in BWM pale eucalypt too.

That's all for now........little boy is awake :)

Love Danielle