Monday, July 21, 2014

Happy Monday Holiday preparations...

Apologies for the relative silence these past few days - I'm in the midst of holiday preparations. We are off to Germany to see my folks, and with three lively boys to pack for, and a house to put in order, and babysitters for cats and chickens to arrange, it's been a rather all-consuming task.

I started putting it all together this morning, and as usual it looks like we are moving house. By the time I've packed clothes for 5 I have filled two suitcases (and that's only the basiscs - we can wash things at my dad's house so I don't tend to bring too much), and then there are books, and toys, and bicycles, and all sorts of other things that little boys find essential for a two-week trip.

There is also my knitting to consider of course. What do I bring on such an adventure? Not the granny squares, that's for sure. With all the odds and ends of yarn that is quite a bulky project.

Perhaps some sock knitting? I'm currently on sock #2 for boy #2, so that's definitely coming.

But how about some knitting for myself? I really REALLY want to bring the Garter Yoke Cardi along with me - but will that be too ambitious? We've had holidays before when I brought three projects along only to find that I didn't have time to knit even a single row.

Decisions, decisions...

I'll leave you with a Happy Monday picture, and will check back in once we are in Germany.

This was the sunset a few evenings ago, seen out of my office window:

Sunday, July 20, 2014


I'm finally getting round to figuring out Bloglovin', which looks like a neat way of keeping track of all your favourite blogs. In order to claim my blog I have to post a link, so here it is:

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

So if you want to follow my blog you can now do so via Bloglovin'. :)

Friday, July 18, 2014

FO - Ink Flare

Guess what happened! I finished my Ink Flare sweater!

After pinning it together loosely to see how it fit I decided that the sleeves work rather well and I pushed on towards the finish line. That same evening I sewed up all the seams (and the strange edging does help - it makes the task a good deal quicker) and just before bedtime I added the crochet edge. I had initially planned to do this in the same yarn, but after trying the sweater on I thought that since it's quite 'roomy' anyway, meaning that there is a rather vast expanse of purple, it might be a good idea to break it up a bit. 

I've had this teal coloured alpaca lying around forever. It came to me as part of a swap, and although I immediately loved it I never quite found the right project for it. It's deliciously soft and super strong (there is no way you can break it by pulling it, as I found out that evening!). 

Look at that pretty edge! :) I think it makes for a really nice accent colour to the berry/purple tweed. 

This morning I washed the jumper, blocked it lightly (mainly to get rid of the rolling edges) and dried it in the glorious sunshine outside and then I did a little photoshoot. I nearly expired in the heat because, I'm telling you, this sweater is warm!!

It really is quite large. I think you can see just how large on the two pictures below - there'd be room for anther half-person in there at the least! 

It is ever so cozy and comfy though, so  I don't really mind. I think I'll get a lot of wear out of this. While it wasn't quite so comfortable to wear it on a hot day like today, it will be perfect for those winter days when we are out with the family, or even when I'm sitting in my office. 

I'm really happy with the result, especially considering the bodge-job it really was. Since I didn't hit the correct gauge and then nearly ran out of yarn there are a few alterations to the pattern but I'd definitely knit this one again - hopefully that time with the right gauge!!


I cast on 8 stitches less than the smallest size for the body and followed the pattern up to the point when I got the right length, at which point I jumped straight onto the raglan decrease for which, again  I followed the pattern.

For the sleeves I cast on 2 stitches less than required for the smallest size and again followed the pattern. Due to my yarn shortage I didn't do all the increases but stopped at a random (pattern-wise) point and started the raglan decreases instead. I followed those up to the end, at which point I had 11 stitches left on the needles. 

Shared with:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Little Interlude...

Look what arrived!

It's my camera bag! 

I only ordered this about a week ago from Jo Totes and since it came all the way across the Atlantic I really didn't expect it to arrive for a good few weeks. Imagine my delight when it was delivered after only a week. It's even in time to come with us when we go on holiday next week!!

I am so in love with this bag. Finally a proper bag to carry my camera in style and with room for all the other things that I tend to tote around with me. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

WIP update - Ink Flare

Wednesdays are for WIP updates, so I thought I'd report on my progress with Ink Flare.

It's  getting tantalisingly close to completion now - the body is done, and I'm working on the 2nd sleeve right now. I had to alter the sleeves slightly to make a kind of 3/4 length because I'm rapidly running out of yarn. This was a pretty spontaneous decision I took when I was knitting the first sleeve. When I was about half-way done I realised that there was no way I was finishing the sleeve pattern with what I had left of my ball of yarn and since I have a very strict yarn allocation for this (I only had 4 balls of yarn, so it's 1 ball and a bit for each part of the body, and the rest equally divided for both sleeves), so I just cut it short and started the raglan decreases early. Once I finish sleeve #2 I'll probably loosely tack the whole jumper together to see if the sleeves look very odd. If they do I might rip them out and re-do them with a bit of a flare...

Anyway, here it is:

Close-up of the seam allowance. I was a bit confused by this because I had never encountered this technique before, but it does actually help when it comes to sewing the pieces together so I'm glad I went with the pattern on this:

Here she is, loosely sewn together to see what the sleeves look like - I think it might just work out OK...

I shared this WIP with the lovely folks at:

Monday, July 14, 2014

Happy Monday

My Monday was actually a little less happy and a little more stressful, with work, and holiday planning and all sorts of annoying paperwork, so I think I'm in need of a bit of eye candy to bring back the happy. I'm still with the theme of flowers because there is just so much in the garden right now and I'm trying to capture at least a fraction of it.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Simple Things Sunday - Weekends spent at home

We stayed close this weekend, and sometimes that's just what is needed. Both D and I had been feeling a bit under the weather these past few days - summer colds and the like - and we thought we'd take it easy and not go far. I think we all had a lovely time - there was water play, which is always a favourite with all of them (and it means that my plants get watered too!), trips to the local stream, crayoning on the patio, and then there was the 'slime' that boy #1 brought home from a science birthday party that he attended on the Saturday. I even managed to get some knitting done - before the cat decided to put a stop to that.

I played along with Simple Things Sunday. Hop over there if you want to play too. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

FO Friday - Pink Socks

These were finished a little while ago, actually, but I'm trying to pace myself with the posting, and thought I'd wait for a FO Friday to share these.

I really really like these socks and have been wearing them quite a bit, off and on (depending on the weather of course). They are knitted in a simple top-down stockinette pattern with a short-row heel, but working with the Lorna's Laces sock yarn was such a pleasure, and patterned yarns always make projects go quicker I think - as you knit you wait for the next colour change and before you know it you've done another inch.

Knitting these has also been hugely fascinating to the clan of boys - each of them, at some point, came and inspected the socks, and when they were done they all tried them on and decided that they'd like a pair too. So there we go - I guess that's my next project(s) all lined up... In fact, I've already started with a pair for boy #3, but I'll share those another time. :)

Sharing with Tami's FO Fridays

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Keeping Chickens

These chickens, they love us. 

Honestly, before we had chickens I could never have foretold how affectionate and even downright clingy these birds are. 

Even when we first brought them home they were already pretty tame and put up with not only children but also cats relentlessly stalking them. Not only that, they even seemed to seek out the company, seemingly drawn to the activity whenever we were in the garden. They are so nosy! 

As they got to know us they grew bolder. They would hang out with us on the patio, would sit on the bench next to me as I drank my morning tea, would wait for scraps under the table when we had dinner outside. If you don't watch them they'll fly up to steal food right off your plate (and once right out of boy #2's mouth - he was not happy!). In the winter they mainly hung out on the patio, sitting on the bicycles stored by the back door, high enough so they could peer through the glass in the door and spy on us inside.

Then they decided that this really wasn't close enough. 

They started following us into the house. Nyla, the brown chicken, in particular developed a strong fondness of cat food and whenever the back door opened she ran across the garden to get there before the door was shut again. It's pretty amazing how fast chickens can eat when they put their mind to it! 

She will also happily follow me into the kitchen to hoover up crumbs under the kitchen table. I wouldn't miind this so much if she didn't poop every 5 seconds. I think there is really not much space in there - it's mainly all egg I think - so whenever something goes in at the top (which is constantly) something needs to come out the other end (which is therefore also near-constantly). 

Sorry, I realise this is probably more information than strictly speaking necessary.

This is Rex on the picture above - the boys named her when they were still convinced that she was a cockerel. They look pretty fierce when viewed up close like this. I read the other day that they are descended straight from dinosaurs and I think in a shot like this you can kind of see that. 

Anyway, I'm conflicted about the fondness that our chickens have for our company (and food) - on the one hand they really are good company and I love the way they will immediately start 'chatting' to you when they can hear you getting close, but on the other hand there is all that poop, and the bold food-stealing off the table... We have built a run for them at the back of the garden under the fruit trees and they are mainly in there now unless one of the boys lets them out. They like it well enough, although they still prefer to be with us all of the time. 

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Yarn Along / WIP Wednesday

I've finally found the right project for that unruly no-gauge purple yarn that I tried to force to become the Garter Yoke Cardigan - instead it's going to be come Ink Flare.

I first found this pattern in a knitting-pattern-a-day calendar in 2006 and kept it because its simplicity appealed to me. This would be a good casual jumper, I thought, cosy and good to hang out in. And then, as you do, I put the pattern aside and promptly forgot about it. 

In the spirit of my new-found knitting-from-stash resolution I was looking through my stash of patterns and there it was. I cast on with the purple yarn (which has no name I think - I remember buying it years ago from Texere to make an hourglass with it but guess what - it couldn't get the right gauge. Ha!). Anyway, I cast on and yes, you know it, I couldn't get the correct gauge. It seems like no matter what you do with it, this yarn wants to come out at 11 cm rather than 10 cm. I decided to go with it and just accept that this yarn wants to be different. I cast on for Ink Flare and deliberately picked up fewer stitches. Since it's a slouchy kind of jumper I'm hoping for a slouchy, cozy kind of end product that isn't going to be too huge. 

Since it's on 5.5 needles it knits up really quickly and I've already completed the front. I then decided to do a sleeve next because I wasn't entirely sure I'd have enough yarn for full sleeves (that flared body takes a lot of yarn!) - and as I predicted it was a bit tight, so half-sleeves it is. To be honest, I'm amazed how far this yarn goes.  I only have 4 balls of it and it really doesn't look like much. I only decided to try because I vaguely remembered that I had calculated yardage for the Hourglass so I thought that it couldn't be too far off. It turns out that one part of the body takes about 1 1/2 balls of yarn  - not too bad!

Also linked to Frontier Dreams - KCCO (Keep Calm, Craft On)

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

A Year of Projects

I've signed up for A Year of Projects. Since my aim for this year was to a) get back into a regular knitting and blogging routine and b) to knit from stash, I thought I might as well make it official and join up.

I've since done some thinking about what I can rationally achieve this year. The idea is to not buy any yarn, so that limits it somewhat, but with a stash as huge as mine it doesn't really limit it very much!

This is my ideal list:

The Garter Yoke Cardi
Yarn - natural wool/cashmere yarn from stash

Ink Flare
Yarn: that unruly purple yarn that never gets the correct gauge

Ink Flare
Yarn: the huge hank of green Fleece Artist hand-dyed mohair that I've had for I don't know how long.

Socks for boys
knit one pair of socks for each of the boys. They've chosen their yarn already, so:
Yarn: Regia Crazy Color self-striping 4-ply.

Bulky Moebius Cowl
Yarn: Berry Handspun (by me)

Shalom cardi
Yarn: Olive wool/cashmere blend

Yarn: orange and yellow handspun

Yarn: sock-weight feltable yarn from stash

Socks for me
Patterns: Conwy or Whitby
Yarn: any number of possible yarns from my huge sock yarn stash

Sideways Grande Cloche
Yarn: Single skein purple Cascade

Easy Raglan V-Neck
Yarn: GGH Savanna

Granny Square Blanket
Yarn: all the left-overs and the single balls and skeins that I have lying around in dk and aran.

I'll update, create links and images and add to the list in the days to come, but it's a start!

Monday, July 07, 2014

Happy Monday

I'm still finding my equilibrium with this new/old blog and part of that is figuring out what I want to post throughout the week. As I've said before, having a structure helps not only my blogging habits but also gives me motivation for crafting and photographing. It looks like Wednesdays are going to be my WIP days, which means Yarn Along and WIP Wednesday. FO's are probably going to be posted whenever, but I may at times participate in FO Friday. Sundays are for Simple Things.

I think Mondays should be for happy things - who can't do with something happy to look at or think about on a Monday? So this will be whatever makes me happy or struck me as beautiful in the past week.

This week it's this:

This time of year I'm so in love with my garden - all those flowers!

If you want to play along, just post something that makes you happy on your own blog and if you'd like me to have a look at it you can always leave a comment and link and I'll hop over. :)

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Simple Things Sunday

These rubber band bracelets seemed to appear out of nowhere a couple of weeks ago. One day there were none and the next day everyone was making them. It seemed like it literally happened over night  - we woke up one morning and the whole world had gone bracelet-making mad in the space of 12 hours.

Never ones to be left out the boys have been making bracelets by the dozen. Boy #1 has actually started undoing some of his older ones so he can make them all over again. I'm finding it all very odd, but that said, the simplicity of making them and the fact that it's basically finger knitting also kind of appeals to me. Plus, we've had some lovely moments this past week, sitting in the sunshine at the end of a busy day of working and playing, the husband playing the banjo, me knitting, and the boys huddled together, for once not bickering but united, helping, sharing, making together.

living arrows

Friday, July 04, 2014

Yarn Along - Garter Yoke Cardigan

One of the projects that's been on my list for far too long is the Garter Yoke Cardi from Knit1. It seems like an age since I first spotted this pattern and decided to knit it. 

Well, about a week ago I decided that since I had finally finished Tea Leaves it was finally time to give this a go. I even started a KAL for it - if you're planning on knitting this in the next few months, join us!

And that's how far I have got.

I've been swatching all week but I cannot seem to get the right gauge. I've tried different needle sizes (even down to 3.5 mm when the pattern suggests 4.5 mm) and I've tried different yarns. My first choice was the purple yarn on the right but the gauge is so off for that there really is no chance. Even with 3.5 mm needles I only get the gauge down to 11 cm rather than the required 10 cm and the resulting fabric is really far too dense and stiff for my liking. This yarn has been in my stash for ages for that very reason - it's not a true aran but rather a sort of thin bulky yarn. 

Next on the list, the dark olive coloured yarn on the left. No such luck. The gauge was nearly as far off as with the purple yarn.

I then toyed with the idea of using Rowan Calmer but I didn't like the colour for this project. In my mind that light green wants to be a jumper rather than a cardigan. Why? No idea, but the conviction will not budge so I'm going with it.

I'm currently trying the light beige yarn. Not my ideal choice but I'm determined to make this from stash. The 4.5 mm needles yield a 11 cm swatch, so if I'm going down to 4 mm then perhaps, perhaps... 

I'll keep you updated. 

PS: I'll miss out on {this moment} this week I think, but I'll substitute for {Simple Things Sunday}. :)

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Yarn Along - Pink Sock update

I've made good headway with the Pink Socks and due to a major organising session of my yarn stash I even a) discovered the second ball of yarn so I will definitely have enough and
b) I think I may have discovered the identity of the yarn - Judging from a label I discovered in one of the baskets that doesn't seem to fit with anything else I think it's Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, Colour 630, Bittersweet. 

I finished sock number one yesterday. There are some errors - that's what you get from not following a pattern properly - but I felt too lazy to correct it and it won't impact on the wearability of the socks at all. If they were a present for someone else I might have bothered, but I'll wear them anyway and to be honest, the mistakes are barely noticeable at all. 

Concerned about another bout of 'knitters-block', I swiftly cast on for sock #2 and, despite a meeting last night, even managed to knit a little more. At this rate it won't be long before I will be able to wear these!