Sunday, March 27, 2011

Monkey Socks!!

I have finally cast on for the famous "Monkey Socks" by Cookie A, and so far I love them! I will admit I have only done a couple of repeats down one leg, but so far I really enjoy the pattern and have almost memorised the repeat. I can tell these will be gorgeous socks, and in the hot pink Cleckheaton Merino I'm using, I am hoping they will be nice to wear and not itchy or scratchy at all. I love the warmth and the extra cushioning knit socks provide, and knitting them is a lot of fun too. But they lose their appeal when they are too itchy to wear.

I have not seen a pair of Monkey socks in person before, so seeing the pattern developing is very addictive. I would love nothing more than to work on these exclusively, but I really need to work on my cardigan for work. The weather is getting cooler and I don't like being cold, especially when it is preventable.....with a nice hand knit cardigan.

I have looked at other sock patterns by Cookie A, and I can tell many more of them will be making their way onto my needles. I will just need to buy more sock yarn!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Reuniting with the wheel

Since working I have found my free time to just disappear before I have had the time to use it! I always sit in my car and knit while listening to podcasts during my lunch break, but when I get home, the hours fly by and I barely get the chance to do all I want to do.

I usually want to have a look on Ravelry and facebook, spend some time with the kids, unfortunately tidy up a bit, and then do some knitting on a home project - one that is too big or too complicated to take to work or do during the day at home with the kids. Sometimes I just want to really focus on getting through a project or starting something new.

But what I realised was lacking is my spinning. I realised that with a goal to spin and knit a sweater this year, I have to keep up the spinning, and really half an hour a night can be found reasonably easily, even if you need an extra cup of coffee to find it!

I was very pleased to realise that I hadn't lost the skills or knowledge I had gained in my almost 4 months experience (minus the month or so I neglect my spinning). In fact I found the rhythm again easily and in no time had spun up enough to feel I had accomplished something. My spinning is still not perfect, however I finally came to the conclusion that because I am spinning directly from the fleece, un carded, no matter how good I am, my spinning of this fleece will always be a bit more "rustic" than spinning from a roving would be. I am eager to purchase some roving soon, so I can truly compare the two methods and see how my spinning compares.

Until then, I'm going to go spin some more!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Holden Shawlette

Searching for a shawl pattern that included a lace pattern that was a bit of challenge, but not so that I would get flustered, I chose the Holden Shawlette by Mindy Wilkes. I really like this pattern. It has enough of the stockinette portion to really show off the varigated yarn I'm using, but I am also really looking forward to getting to the lace. It looks like so much fun!

The two photos don't really show off the yarn as well as I'd hoped, but it is truly gorgeous. The main base color is blue, with porions of indigo, purple and a bit of bright jade green just to give it that little flash. The color is definately me andI cannot wait to see it finished, although a part of me doesn't want it to end! I mostly knit with solid colors, so I didn't realise how truly pleasurable varigated yarns can be.

I'm using Zig Zag by King Cole and it's a 75% wool, 25% nylon blend. Very nice to work with, soft and oh so pretty. I purchased it at a local yarn store in Dandenong called Knit'nPurl. They don't have a website but they have a nice range of yarns and the owner is lovely.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Knitting with Case 39

So recently, while sitting and knitting in one of my rare moments of free time, I finally got around to watching Case 39. I had been wanting to watch this movie for ages, it sounded like a really good psychological thriller, and they are my favourite movies to watch.

Case 39 is about a social worker who has to rescue a girl from her parents who are trying to kill her. This film could have gone down a very dramatic, emotional and gripping path, but instead it chose to follow the road of the evil/demon child. Very reminiscent of The Grudge and The Ring. Although not as graphic, there were certainly enough similarities to make the film a little predictable.

But that's not to say it was a bad film, not at all in fact. I really enjoyed the movie, it was entertaining, the acting was good and I do like Renee Zellweiger. It was a perfect movie to sit down and get immersed in some semi-complicated knitting, ie. basic cables, basic increase and decreasing. Notso enthralling that you can't take your eyes off the screen, but entertaining enough that the time flies.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Handspun Mits and Beret

With the fleece provided to me by Spinaddict on Ravelry I was able to spin up and knit this Beret and Fingerless Mitts set for myself. The color is a really nice brown, rich and warm, although the photo does not do it justice. I was impressed to see how knitting my first ever handspun up, managed to hide most of the inconsistancies in my spinning, while providing the fabric with a very unique texture. I definately encourage people to knit up their handspun before dismissing it entirely.

I did not use any specific patterns for the mitts or beret, it was more just looking over numerous patterns until I was able to combine them to make a generic pattern. Both the patterns I have come up with are perfect for my sizing and I will certainly make again. They display the uniqueness of a handspun fibre beautifully because of their simplicity. And I love looking at them and knowing I made them entirely on my own.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Another Natural Disaster???? And I was thinking TGIF.....

Finally sitting at home, thinking TGIF and having a glass of red, some cashew and cherry dark chocolate, curled up on the couch and loving the sounds of my kids playing. And of course my knitting next to me and a new desire to knit patterned socks running through my brain.......hmmmm shopping?

And then I flick channels and come accross the sad and scary news, Japan has been hit by an 8.9 earthquake and then a 7.4 30 minutes later. Tsunami warnings are set for through the night, and we have been told Australia will feel an impact. I shouldn't feel too much being at the bottom, but who knows. At least I am not near the coastline, although my sister is in Queensland. With this coming so close  behind the floods, Cyclone Yasi, the earthquake in New Zealand, now this, it makes you wonder if we will even have a planet left by the end of the year. A bit dramatic I know, but how many natural disasters can we take?

It really makes you appreciate your own life and that the trouble we may face are really very minor to what can happen and does happen to people all around the world. A shit day really doesn't look to bad in comparison. It also makes you cherish the time you have at home with the kids and other loved ones. It will certainly make me appreciate the time I have at home with the kids this weekend.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Knit for all Moments

With spare time at a minimum, I want to be using each moment to it's greatest potential in regards to my knitting. This means making sure I have a project that is applicable to all moments, so none are left with me sitting there twiddling my thumbs. So here is the plan:

1: Practical and portable knitting: My basic black cardigan. Knit in pieces this project is small and highly portable, simple enough for those quick moments of knit time, and simple enough that I can read while knitting. Always a bonus to do more than one thing at once.

2: Slightly complex knitting: My daughter's cabled cardigan. Is simple enough to pull out at any time, especially while watching tv, the cable interesting enough to keep you going, but memorable so that it does not require too much brain power. Also in a lovely color to defend against boredom.

3: A fingering weight lace shawl: More complicated than the others, the project I bring out when I want to immerse myself completely and accept a challenge. Lace has always needed more of my attention than cabled patterns do, and less fiddly with only the yo and k2tog etc to deal with. A meditative rhythm can definately be acheived.

4: A knit in the round sweater: A largish project containing miles of stockinette stitch in the round that needs no thought, no concerntration and can be done in the dark. Ideal for movie theatres, when sitting in a dark room while your child goes to sleep, or when you just do not want to think at all.

The last 2 projects are not on the needles yet, but the plans are certainly in progress as I completed my striped jumper for me, and now have only 2 projects on the go. Ordinarily I do not like to have too many projects on the go, but at the moment, I feel I need to to optimise my knitting time, prevent boredom and give me something to look forward to.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Working Girl

I have not written in a very long time, for one very simple reason, in January I got a full-time job and between that job and being a full-time mum as well, I really haven't had much time for myself, and when I do, it's usually to knit.

So I now work monday to friday 9-6 with an hour lunchbreak, which is spent in my car, knitting. When I get home, the evening is filled with cleaning, getting the kids off to bed and if I'm lucky, maybe an hour or so of knitting. My spinning and blogging have both been neglected unfortunately, and weekends are now primarily about doing the parts of a project that require a little more thought, a little more time, or that are just plain weaving in ends.

So I have completed my handspun mitts and beret, a nice thick shawl, a red sweater for Nathan, (which happens to be too small), almost completed my grey and black striped fitted v-neck, half-way through a cardigan for Chloe, which is actually a mixture of 2 patterns, and I have begun a simple black cardigan to wear in the office. This may sound like alot, but considering what I used to achieve, this is kinda slow.

I have plans to make a fingering weight lace shawl for myself next, some more hats and fingerless mitts for me, and maybe, more clothes for the kids. Maybe. If only there was more hours in the day.