Sunday, 31 July 2011

Oh my...

Have you seen the new All Blacks jerseys? Think I might be watching a little more rugby this year...

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Confession time

Hello everyone. My name is Jody, and I'm a knitaholic.

It all started back in February 2009, when I bought a ball of Regia sock yarn and some cheap metal 2.75mm dpns from Thimbles & Threads in Upper Hutt, with the encouragement of my friend Margaret, who then taught me how to knit socks. She was so helpful, she even gave me a ball of Opal sock yarn for my next pair. These were worked up in pretty short order, and from there I knew I was hooked. I started surfing the net for hand knitted socks and patterns, and stumbled across a website called Ravelry. This site sounded very intriguing, but needed an invitation to join. So I registered for this invitation and waited patiently for a little over a week, until my invitation to sign up arrived via email. The rest is history really. I was on the slippery slope into fibre oblivion.

I came to this realisation when I took stock of the situation I was currently in:

Three WIPs on the needles - my Pisqu socks, my Simplicity cardigan, and my handspun boot toppers. Not much really. But rather than working on these, I cast on for an Hourglass sweater. The book with the pattern (Last Minute Knitted Gifts) was due back at the library on the 8th August, and I wanted to try and get the sweater done before then so I didn't have to reissue the book. Easily achievable right? Somebody else on Ravelry had managed to knit the sweater in a week...

I happened to have 11 balls of Naturally Aran Tweed in a lovely mid-blue sitting in my stash, having bought it recently to make the Derry Raglan and Cowl from New England Knits (which had been mentioned on Kiwiyarns Knits' blog - I fell in love with it on the spot and decided I just had to knit it). After much hunting around through websites and email sending, I managed to track down an American company that stocked the Karabella Soft Tweed yarn that the original sweater from the book was knit in, who were willing to sell and send me the ten balls of light blue (shade #1310) I required for the sweater and cowl, which left the Aran Tweed available for another project. Fate, right? ;-) So with the boys occupied with XBox and having another official pyjama day (not me though, I'd already dressed), I sat down in front of the laptop, whacked in a Bones DVD, and got to knitting. As of 11pm last night, I had knit through two balls of yarn, and got 9" of the sweater body done:

I think I might've been on a high from finishing the Christchurch shawl for Deane's nana:

Who could say? All I know is, I need to put myself on a yarn diet. No more yarn purchases. Well, after I've paid for the fibre I ordered from maude & me. And of course, there's still three more instalments due from the Knitsch yarn club. But they're already paid for so it doesn't really count...

Speaking of which, here's last month's instalment - Zidler:

Can't decide what to make with it yet, but never fear, I'll come up with something!! For now though, its hanging out with all my other pretty skeins of sock yarn in a large shopping bag because I ran out of room in my oversized wrought iron fruit bowl. No, my stash is not yet unmanageable - almost every skein of yarn has a project attached to it. If I keep it that way, it will be fine. It will all be okay...

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Does half a day in pjs mean I'm only half lazy?

Yesterday I decided I was going to falumph around in my jammies just because. We'd spent all day Tuesday at Rainbow's End and tired ourselves out, so I thought a lazy day would be just the thing. Deane had left for Australia at a god-awfully early 4.30am and I hadn't managed to get back to sleep, so wasn't up for much in the way of energetic activity. I also decided that the housework can wait until the boys go back to school, since tidying up now would be a pointless exercise - there's still several days left of the holidays.

My plans were scuppered however, when I realised I would have to take the car to the panelbeaters - Deane had booked it in, and they expected it to be dropped off Wednesday. Poop. It took several hours, but I managed to extract the name and location of the panelbeaters from Deane (who had neglected to tell me before he left), got myself dressed (the kids had dressed themselves voluntarily that morning - guess it was just me being lazy...) and took the car in. Once home, the boys decided they wanted to go into town to get T some model painting gear (yep, I have the nerdiest boys in town).

They then proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon with heads bent together, working industriously on their little Warhammer models:

X carrying out his big-brotherly duty and passing on pearls of wisdom to his younger, less experienced brother. It warmed my heart to sit back and observe this wonderful teamwork, and listen to the praise and encouragement flowing from big brother to little brother.

It also gave me time to finish my socks of Squidgy Blue Goodness:

I also have only six pattern repeats left to do on the border of the Christchurch shawl - I'm hoping to have this finished by the end of the day so I can block it. I'm really hanging out to see what it looks like all finished!! Not long to go now...

Monday, 25 July 2011

Mission: Accomplished

I set out, during the Tour de Fleece, to spin 200g of laceweight merino silk yarn. It got very close to the wire (in fact, a little over, but we won't dwell on that) - and I made it!! We got back from Tauranga yesterday afternoon, got the kids sorted, had a really basic dinner, and sent them to bed. Then it was straight into plying the two bobbins of singles I'd managed to finish on Friday night. Six hours later (at a little after midnight, but who's going to check?) I came to the end of one bobbin. Time for bed!

This morning I got up and wound the yarn into skeins, and here is what they look like:

Sooo preeeeeeettyyyyyy!!!! (Picture comical batting eyelashes here). A total of 1,161 metres of merino silk goodness - 193g of two ply heavenly yarn. Beautifully balanced (for once!) and so, so lovely. What on earth am I going to knit with it??? Plenty of time for that though - they're so stunning I'm just going to have to leave them as they are for a while, and admire my handiwork. Yes, I'm that modest ;-)

So the Tour is officially over for another year, and our lone kiwi rider and his US team had a podium finish - hooray! Moving on...

I'm half way through the pair of thick DK socks in the VP Max yarn - unfortunately the heels aren't the flashest, because I was knitting them in the car and during the family barbeque the day after the wedding, and I kept losing count. Still, nobody's going to look too closely (right?) and they look mostly okay. Just the legs to go, and I'll have me a pair of cosy winter socks!! Next on the list, boot toppers!

The wedding in Tauranga was beautiful. The weather held out just long enough for the ceremony and family photos before it started to spit. The bride was gorgeous, the ceremony itself full of laughs, as was the reception, a perfect day. They had the best cake topper I've ever seen:

Hand crafted from photos of the bride and groom, they're a fairly accurate likeness (apart from the disproportionately large heads of course ;-P) Go check out this website if you're in the need for a clay figurine of yourself. You never know, might come in handy ;-)

On the subject of cool/cute, found these at a random cafe just out of Tauranga:

Only 90 cents each :-) I almost don't want to open them, they're so cute. I guess I could always get more...

Only a week left of school holidays (yay), and Deane will be away for about half of it (boo). He's off to Australia for work. More time for me to catch up on Supernatural and knit in peace I guess. Less cooking too! Speaking of cooking, better go sort out tonight's dinner. Have a good week people :-) And Happy Birthday mum!

Edited to add: Oops, nearly forgot to show you the finished pics of T's hoodie! He was a dear and posed nicely for photos:

I rather like the end result, as does he. Got plenty of compliments over the weekend for it too, so happy all around! W00t!!

Friday, 22 July 2011

I must be sick

Last night, after having spun for most of the day in an attempt to get this red laceweight finished before the end of the Tour, I decided to sit down and knit something simple and relatively quick. What better than some DK weight plain socks?

I had some yummy new 'Max' yarn from Vintage Purls in a beautiful blue, and had been down to the LYS earlier in the day to buy some Addi Lace 3.25mm circulars. I wound the yarn cakes, cast on using Judy's Magic Cast On, and then...


I couldn't remember how to knit!!! Seriously! I was sitting on the couch, staring at my needles, and couldn't for the life of me remember which side the stitches were supposed to start on, and which direction I was supposed to knit. I was lost for words. I had to get Deane to hand me a WIP so I could study it and figure it out. Needless to say, it all came flooding back and I was able to continue on, but oh my, the fleeting terror was quite something.

I knit the toes, then went to bed.

I've had a head cold for the last couple of days, which is unusual for me. What normally happens in this household is the kids get it, and Deane gets it, and 99% of the time, I dodge the cold completely (I pride myself on having an excellent immune system). Not so this time around. The boys have had it, as has Deane, and now me. Its not fun. Apparently it melts your brain. At least I have plenty of mindless stuff to be getting on with - the plain socks (which are now just straight knitting until I get to the heels), and this seemingly-never-ending-but-almost-done-I-think-I-can-make-it laceweight:

This is a picture of bobbin #2 - I still have about 22g left to spin, which I may or may not manage today. Plying on Sunday I hope (the last day of the Tour).

I have a good excuse (well, sort of) for not doing the housework - I've just had my nails done (we're going to a family wedding on the weekend) so I think I'll be able to get away with general blobbiness today. I'm waiting patiently for T's hoodie to dry - its all finished, and blocking at the moment. He wore it for half a day as soon as I'd finished weaving in the ends - I knit the i-cord and threaded it through the hood casing while he was wearing it he was that keen - so I know it fits, and will probably fit better once blocked. So pictures to come, I promise :-)

I only have ten border repeats left to do on the Christchurch shawl, so that should be finished in the next week or so as well - pictures of that to come soon too! Ooh, how exciting...

We're nearly halfway through the school holidays, and so far, nothing eventful has happened. There was the trip down to Napier on the weekend, and I got to see Harry Potter with my bff. Will definitely be going again. Not just because the movie was so good I have to see it a second time, but also because during the first viewing, the copious amounts of teenagers in the theatre rustling their paper bags, giggling, and exclaiming loudly over plot-lines they clearly knew nothing about because they hadn't read the books kinda ruined the movie a bit. So of course I have to go again ;-) I asked X which movie he'd rather go see - Kung Fu Panda 2 or Harry Potter - sadly, he picked Kung Fu Panda, so I can't use him as an excuse. I'll have to find somebody else to go with. Or I could go by myself. Either way is fine by me :-)

I must dash now, and get stuck in to this spinning if I am to have any hope of finishing it in time - have a good weekend!!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

I think Winter finally hit Auckland

Its rather chilly today! Has been for a little while now, and we've had a few thunderstorms (yay!). I was actually starting to wonder if I'd have any use for all of my awesome knitted scarves, hats and mittens. Guess I do ;-)

The Tour de Fleece is chugging away, we're up to Day 11 now. I managed to finish my first 100g of laceweight singles, as evidenced by my super-cool daily collages:

Yesterday, Day 10, was a rest day for both the Tour de Fleece and the Tour de France, so I was busy with all sorts of other things. My friend Polly jinxed me on the weekend, talking about 'Spring cleaning'. Pfft, it isn't even Spring! But, I ended up getting stuck in myself. There's a story behind it though, and it goes a little like this:

On Saturday, the boys were playing building tag with their friend on the 8th floor - its much like normal tag, but they use the entire building (much to the annoyance of fellow residents I'm sure). So of course each of my boys wanted a set of keys so they could get around between floors. I was reluctant to hand over both sets, as Deane has the third set at work (apparently - I'm not holding my breath over that one), and X has a tendency to lose things - like his brand new Cotton On Kids sweatshirt that I'd bought for him, that he wore to school and lost on the first day (grrrr). Deane was all "it'll be fine, just give them the keys", so I handed X the set with the car key, my gym tag, and the mailbox key. "Don't lose them!!" I said. What did he do? Lost them.

He was adamant that he'd brought them home and put them on the dining table, but I searched the entire apartment and couldn't find them anywhere. On Sunday morning I sent him upstairs to his friend's place to look. He came back down with friend in tow, but no keys. I made him walk through all three parking levels with me, looking for them. No luck. I left for knitting group in a slightly non-cheerful mood, deciding to check with the Building Manager on Monday to see if anyone had handed them in.

Monday rolls around, and no, nobody's handed in any keys. The friend's parents had been in advising of the lost keys (before me!) so he said he'd keep an eye out for them.

I went back up to the apartment and literally turned the boys' bedroom into a toy wasteland looking for them again:

After creating this atrocious mess, I decided I'd better clean it up because I really didn't want to be looking at it all day, and there was no way the boys would clean it up if I helped make it. So I started in, and when I did, I found the keys.

See those Nintendo game cases sitting just inside the doorway, on the clear plastic container to the left? They were under one of the game cases. I was stunned. I'd turned the place upside-down and inside out all weekend, when all I had to do was pick up the games. Ridiculous. Anyway, a good hour or so, and the room looked much better:

So after I'd wasted half my day on the room and the keys, I managed to find a little bit of time to get stuck into a new project. This one feels like a mini triumph of sorts. T has always refused to wear knitted jerseys, because he can't stand the itch-factor. I think he may have changed his thinking on this slightly though, and I'm not sure how much has to do with X having knitted jerseys that I've made, and how much is just him growing up. About a week ago he asked me to knit him a jersey, "and I promise I'll wear it". I asked if he was sure, and he assured me he was. I was busy doing something at the time so wasn't paying much attention, and the gravity of the situation didn't quite sink in. A few days later, I started thinking about the conversation, and I really couldn't remember whether it was an actual occurrence, or all in my head (you know, wishful thinking...) so I asked him if he wanted me to knit him a jersey. He said "yes, and I promise I'll wear it". Well, I didn't need any more persuasion! Onto Ravelry I hopped, and I dug around a bit until I found a pattern for a hooded jumper. Next was to find the non-itchiest yarn I could think of - what better than Malabrigo Rios? On to Little Country Wools, where I ordered three skeins in T's favourite colour - green.

I have to laugh a bit when I'm knitting this hoodie - for the kid who hates vegetables so much, to have something knit in a yarn with the name 'Lettuce', I find it a little comical. I have therefore named this project 'Anti-Salad' ;-)

I only managed to get a little bit done before having to go pick up the boys from school:

I told T when I picked him up that I had started on his jersey. I'm not sure how fast he thinks knitting grows, but he asked if I'd done the sleeves yet. I had to disappoint him and say no, but I got stuck in last night and managed to get a bit further - enough for him to try it on for fit:

Hopefully I'll be able to get a fair bit more done this afternoon while X is at swimming, and again tonight at knitting group. I'd like for him to be able to wear it next week. If it weren't for the TdF, I might've had it finished by tomorrow night. But my spinning wheel calls, and today is not a rest day - for a change from the (very slow) laceweight, I decided to work on a worsted weight yarn (hopefully, my consistency isn't the best) in a maude & me. colourway, kentucky ave.

I've finished one bobbin, and I think that'll be it for today. Must work on T's hoodie before he forgets he wanted me to knit it. Next bobbin and plying tomorrow! Then back to the laceweight...

For now though, time to organise X's swimming bag before Deane arrives home with the boys. Have a good week!! And remember, Harry Potter starts on Thursday ;-)

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Nearly a week of spinning. Still going strong.

I believe I've already covered days one, two and three. On to days four, five and six.

Now I know how much y'all love my collages ;-P, so I've made some more!!!

Do you see a recurring theme here? I'm feeling a bit of déjà vu...

Still, I'm over halfway through the first 100g bump of this fibre, then I'll take a break from that and move on to something a little chunkier. I might go back to the second 100g bump before the end of the tour, depending on my sanity levels, and time left available during each day. Unfortunately, the second half of the tour will be during the school holidays, when my dear children will be at home driving me batty.

Next weekend we're heading down to Napier for a very special occasion, so I'll be spindle spinning for the weekend and my friends and family will think I'm even more crazy! Apart from it being the start of the school holidays, I will be going to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two with my bff. OMG - the final movie!!!!! So much excitement!!!!! I can hardly contain myself - a little over a week to go! Note to self: stock up on tissues. Oh my. The end of an era. And sadly, I didn't craft anything special for this movie :-( Still, I have a fabulous Gryffindor scarf in my possession (well, X isn't using it!) - and being the middle of Winter, what better opportunity to wear it? And I have a bag of Sherbet Lemons to share with Tans at the movie. Perfect.

I had a lovely proud moment this afternoon, when X's teacher informed me that his reading had improved so significantly over the course of the year that he is now reading at an age 10-11 level!!! This, from the boy who was so far behind at age six he had to go to Reading Recovery! I had a huge idiotic grin on my face for a good hour or so after hearing that. My clever boy (^_^) Pretty good improvement for a two year period if you ask me. And Deane still insists that all the XBox gaming time has something to do with it. Perhaps... As far as I'm concerned, nothing quite beats a good old paperback or hardcover book. He's getting through the Beast Quest series slowly but steadily, so I'm happy. Maybe I should start working on T now, although his reading level is more than satisfactory anyway, he's just not much of a 'recreational reader'. Yet ;-)

Monday, 4 July 2011

Here's another collage for ya!

My Shalom cardi :-)

That is all.

TdF Progress Update

Hello hello hello!!! Day three of the TdF is drawing to a close. I've put the spinning away for the day ready to settle onto the couch, and shove my freezing cold feet under Deane's leg for him to warm up ;-) Just thought I'd let you know how I'm getting on with the spinning, and this year I've figured out how to make snazzy little collages, so by the end of the Tour, you'll probably be sick of them, but it saves space - you can post one picture instead of a whole bunch. Yay! So, without further ado:

For those who would like a little more detail, the first two days were taken up with the other half of the gradient-dyed maude & me. merino. I now have two matching skeins, all ready to make a pair of socks with:

You probably can't read the wee tags I've put on the skeins, but they say - Skein #1, 76g, 186m and Skein #2, 75g, 171.75m Not much difference between them, and I think they'll look awesome all knit up!

Day three saw me attempting my finest spinning yet, to create a lace weight two ply yarn. I have 200g of this scrumptious fibre, hand dyed by Lyn Walsh of fibre2go. I put a little more detail into the collage, as you can see, so its pretty self-explanatory. This fibre is going to take me quite some time to spin up, but if I get bored with it, I'll break it up with some other spinning (of which I have plenty to be getting on with!!)

You needn't fear for my family - they are still being well fed and looked after. Washing is being done, the kitchen is clean and tidy, I made roast chicken for dinner this evening, and I even managed to get the housework done! I find I need to take more breaks from spinning than I do knitting, to avoid getting a really sore back. I think perhaps a change of chair would help - I would love to get one of these, with the Rose motif to match my wheel, or maybe one of these. Maybe I should put it on the 'birthday/Christmas wish-list'?

And just a little random snippet - a fellow kiwi knitter/blogger posted this the other day. Well worth the read, and non-knitters may find it helpful ;-)

Have a good week!!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

On your marks, get set, go!!!

The Tour de Fleece is on!! Oh, happy day :-) I was spinning like a crazy lady yesterday, and managed about half a blob of fibre (excellent measuring skills and technical terms there):

There will of course be more of this today, but interrupted by the usual Sunday knitting group. I've started the Simplicity cardigan in Vintage Purls laceweight. It took me four starts to get the increases looking right, but I'm on track now:

I took a brief interlude while knitting this to knit another cardigan. In three days. Could've done it in two if I wasn't sick. Now, before you go all 'yeah right' on me, the cardigan is knit in bulky yarn, and it has no sleeves. So it wasn't really such a great feat after all ;-) Still cool though. How many people can say they knit a cardigan in three days? Hmmmmm??? I'm hoping to get some 'on my person' pics of it today at knitting group (or possibly by Deane this morning), which I will post, but for now here's a 2D pic:

Shalom, knit in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Bulky, 'Coal'. Super easy to knit, absolutely no seaming at all, completely knit in one piece. Awesome.

Moving on from crafting... Deane arrived home earlier than expected - he buzzed the apartment just before midnight on Wednesday. Me, in my bleary-eyed half-asleep state said, "are you downstairs?". "No, I'm buzzing the apartment from China". So I went down and let him in...

He brought back lots of interesting stories, and plenty of goodies. The boys were spoiled with two new Nintendo games each, and a digital video camera that works underwater. I got an iPod nano, complete with accessories, all sorts of little bits and pieces (like a genuine silk cushion/quilt), and the coolest hand made clay tea pot and matching cups:

Here's a close-up of the tea pot, with its bamboo feature:

I got all sorts of different Chinese teas to go with, so I should be covered for the next few years...

Much to do today I have, so leave now I must. May the Force be with you.