Made in North Melbourne, still going strong

It has been a long time, perhaps two years, since I have made mention of my Etsy shop. To be fair there has been a lot happening, and the blog and the Etsy store are kind of separate identities, albeit with a passing reference to each other.

However there has been a flurry of activity this year. My sales are at an all time high – there has been three this year! A scarf and two recycled bracelets have sold. Of course insufficient to generate a living income but the excitement of someone buying something you have made is unbelievably rewarding. My new sock fetish has now made its way into my shop and I am in the process of knitting baby and toddler socks for my Made in North Melbourne brand.

Speaking of socks I have this week made the most fabulous purchase, the Sock Ruler®, the invention of one Denise in California. I am only a beginner sock knitter and so all you guns out there may laugh, but I find it a tad awkward when trying to accurately measure the length of my work in progress socks. No longer. My Sock Rulers arrived in the mail on Friday and were used today – utterly brilliant. If you live in Australia the place to get them is Kathys Fibres in Adelaide – she is very friendly by email; if you are in another part of the world the stockists can be found here. That gorgeous blue sock yarn below I purchased in April 2015 with the intent of making my first pair of socks. After two and a half years I am least pleased to say that I am knitting the very first pair of socks for me! And the afore mentioned first use of the Sock Ruler® was on the cuff of the first sock. I look forward to showing you the finished product.

 

 

 

Garter drop stitch scarf

I am hooked, and not in the crochet sense of the word (a skill I have yet to try, let alone acquire). I am hooked on a knitting stitch, the garter drop stitch, which I starting knitting with to make myself a scarf with part of my Christmas purchase. I took this in-progress scarf with me when I visited my sister (because who does not take knitting with them when they fly internationally?!). Last year I took the baby blanket I was knitting with me to Fiji – it never left the suitcase! Anyway, in a moment of sisterly love I asked my sister if she would like a scarf. Initially she was not keen, but because I was so taken with what I was making for myself I showed her, and it was easy to convince her to say yes. She ended up picking a lovely peacock green for hers. Now I am not the world’s fastest knitter, but sit down before I tell you this, I have already finished the scarf and my sister actually has it for this winter. I know – I have fallen off my own chair! The photos do not entirely do my sister’s scarf justice. There is a strong possibility that I may even finish my own before the end of winter. And do not tell anyone but I may have started another scarf with this stitch already – in a bold move I am varying the yarn wraps to vary the length of the drop stitch. It is this version that will have me blocking for the very first time in my life – a new knitting adventure that awaits!

And now there are two!

Need I say more?!

At the end of most days I ask my daughter what was her favourite thing about the day, and I do the same back. ‘Kid’s rules’ means I am never allowed to have the same favourite, even if it is my favourite. Tonight she said, “that you finished the socks and I got to try on two socks“. Damn! Finishing the second sock today was absolutely my favourite thing today. And my little girl already thinks I will be making more!

And when there was only one is here.

I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it

I’m about to lose control and I think I like it…

To steal two lines from a Pointer Sisters chorus! About what I hear you ask…

Socks! The knitting of socks. And I have my daughter and Tin Can Knits to thank.

Did I say I was excited?? I have just finished my first ever knitted sock. I am SO proud of myself. Back to the start, and heed this advice to avoid my predicament, “don’t ask an almost five year old what they want, and if you do then don’t listen”!! My daughter sees me knit, and she is starting to show some potential interest herself, and very recently she actually asked me to knit her something. I of course being a generous foolhardy mum asked her what she would like, “socks Mum” came the reply. Where the *insert swear word of choice* did that come from? Now I have had a desire to try knitting a pair of socks; indeed I bought a ball of wool and some double pointed needles at least a year ago to embark on this adventure, the afore mentioned wool and needles languishing in the cupboard hidden from sight, untouched by my hands. I half heartedly tried the, “I have never made socks” line on my little girl, to no avail. Mum clearly can do anything. What is more she wanted me to use her rainbow yarn. This girl knows what she wants.

How to get out of this dilemma? Tin Can Knits to the rescue. I had stumbled upon them quite some time back, and quite fancy more than one of their knits. Their whole seamless approach to knitting has great appeal (translation: I think I would almost rather lose a limb they have to sew up my knitting!). And in hunting for a sock pattern for a child I stumbled upon their Rye pattern (here) and the words learn how to knit socks. For some reason I took the plunge. All I can say is if you have never knitted a sock before I utterly recommend this pattern. The instructions, particularly all the additional links you can click on, are fabulous. I feel like I am being enabled to tackle other patterns and knit more socks. My poor other half, he has been subjected to me going, “look at this, look at this” more than once through the course of the sock. I was so taken by what I was doing that I actually took the knitting with me to a venue, it initiated a conversation with a lady who worked there, and I gave her the pattern.

The other reason I may become hooked on knitting socks is this will be the fastest I have ever completed a knitted item…socks are small…I sense more socks in my future…I am about to lose control…

Finally the verdict of the small person who triggered such dilemma followed by such joy. Let’s just say the one sock is already being worn. I am happy.

And to really show I am approaching my dotage… I recorded the song this blog post references on a cassette tape off the radio!

From hank to ball and a new stitch

Over Christmas I visited Hokitika for the first time – the joy of family who relocate enabling you to see new places. For some unknown reason I did a bit of advance preparation, as in I found out there was the world famous, or “perhaps world famous in NZ” Sock World Hokitika – here is their website and facebook page. Small town NZ is a large part of my childhood so I love to support local endeavours. And while I am absolutely not the world’s best sock knitter – I have yet to even try knitting a pair of socks – I am of course craft curious, and my before I went search had alerted me to the fact that they may have also sold yarn… And of course it was the yarn that I was after, I wanted to buy something that I would associate with the place.

For my little girl, with her input (have to have that these days unless you are keen to start WW3!) I have three hanks of beautiful 10 ply Waterspout Felted Yarn (75% superfine merino 25% possum). It is so light and soft. No idea what I will make for her yet, but that is part of the adventure. There is a beautiful hint of black in the yarn.

Anyway last night for the very first time I took a hank of yarn and created a ball of yarn. I am so proud of myself! It is a huge ball – I put the tape measure in the photo for a sense of scale, it is about 12 cm in diameter. I followed the sage advice from Craftsy here, and in reading the comments there was a great tip about continuing to wrap the yarn around your finger as you create the ball; it worked a treat.

Sock World HokitikaSo what am I going to make with the beautiful sea green teal that I bought for myself? What I initially wanted to make is the utterly gorgeous pleated scarf by Jen Geizen on the left below, but alas I do not have enough yarn. I suspect I may go out and buy enough of some other yarn to make that scarf – I love it! Instead I am going to try a new stitch – the garter drop stitch – the effect looks amazing, yet the technique appears rather easy; a combination I am fond of. There is a pattern for the scarf on the right below, but you almost do not need it. Hoping to finish the scarf for this winter. And here’s to the family staying put in Hokitika for a while, I want to go back to Sock World Hokitika and buy more!

Image on left courtesy of Craftsy.com and image on right courtesy of Redheart.com

My heart has melted

Utterly out of the blue last night, my daughter at the ripe old age of four & three quarter years, asks can you teach me to knit. You could have pushed me over with a feather at that moment. I think my heart turned to mush. It was the last thing I expected her to say. I of course said yes, shall we do that tomorrow morning, a hearty yes being the reply.

She then immediately asked me who taught me to knit – one of my childhood memories came flooding back. Me, about five years old sitting on my brother’s lap in the kitchen – he reading a book to teach himself to teach me – with Mum on hand for tips. I still have that book. So I replied my brother – who is your brother the next question. Uncle K (the whole a person can be more than one thing still does not sit well – its my nana not your mum!).

This morning she asks are you teaching me to knit after I am dressed – the keenness is real. We started with some of my needles but they were clearly to big. A quick internet search confirmed that kids’ needles exist, she picking on screen which ones she wanted, so off we went to Spotlight to find them. Needless to say the pink pair were acquired, along with some pink sparkly wool and some rainbow wool – all her own choosing.
knitting north melbourne

To help teach her I am using the rhyme from this post which I also found this morning – thank you Tin Can Knits. My little sweetheart says I am going to make something for you, something for daddy, and something for me. Heart melt! And while it will clearly take her some time to get the hang of this, and I need to find out if I should be teaching her differently as she is left handed to my right handed, her “independent as hell” nature is already in full flight. Keen to do it on her own she demanded I go and get my current knitting – because she wants us to knit together. Heart melt more! I even had to take her knitting down the road with us for lunch. As a die hard Sci Fi person I have to save the force could be strong with this one!

Can you remember learning to knit or teaching someone else?

Baby blanket finally finished

I have to confess that when I realised that I was not going to have enough time to finish the gift of a baby blanket before the mother-to-be finished up at work I took the proverbial foot of the gas, or in this case hands off the knitting needles. However I had taken the work in progress into work to show her before she swanned off (!) on maternity leave. I am pleased to say that she was delighted with the colours and the look, as was I. With the wee boy approaching eight weeks of age I was determined to get this out of my door, and I am utterly stoked with how the baby blanked turned out, from the colours to the texture. The photos do not quite capture the delightful brightness – may sound silly but it is a happy blanket! And the no longer mother-to-be is also delighted.

For those of you who are interested this was knitted with Passioknit baby Aran 10 ply – a sliver under one ball (250g) of the minty jubilee (mottled yellow/green/white) and about 20% of the snow (white) ball; total yarn cost about $8.40 – what a cheap friend am I! I had purchased two balls of the yellow/green thinking I would need them, and now have enough yarn over to make the entire blanket all over again – I won’t be – famous last words! The free pattern that I scaled down in size can be found here. The first time I have knitted f/b (front and back), such a simple pattern but so effective.