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

Finally, a scarf for me

Well the change is not to take even longer between posts! Since making my last post’s bold statement it does feel like I have moved in entirely the opposite direction to what I am hoping to move in. Fortunately as they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

What I am really exited to share with you is the scarf I finished knitting for myself and have actually had a chance to wear once or twice (spring is inching its nose around the corner here). You may recall that I bought this divine wool more than a year ago. What was that about Rome?!

I have never put tassels on a scarf (or anything else for that matter). For the life of me I could not imagine how to do it and always envisaged it would be pretty tricky. It is so easy I am tempted to put tassels on everything I knit! If you have never undertaken the joy of tassels I can highly recommend these two sites, a wiki How and this page from Felt Magnet. Think it took me longer to find the instructions than follow them – did I say how easy it is to do tassels?!! The photos do not really do the scarf justice – this may have something to do with the completely cracked lens on my phone, fortunately just about to be replaced. It was a simple ribbed pattern that came with the ball of gorgeous merino mohair wool. The scarf is light and so cosy, the colours so rich. While it may have only got an outing or two this year I foresee many for next winter.

Needles, what needles?

I am doing it without needles.  Doing what without needles?  Giving injections? Taking blood?  Acupuncture without needles – now that makes no sense at all (though apparently it is called acupressure – whoops!).  No, I am talking about the mad new trend emerging.  I did not even realise it was a trend, or that I was part of a trend – that’s not like me to be trendy!

I originally bought this gorgeous wool to make a scarf out of flowers using a flower loom and joining all the flowers together, but had not started this apart from making two flowers and then thinking that I wanted to figure out how to join the flowers as I went along rather than sew them up afterwards.   When I suddenly came up with the idea to turn this wool into super fat yarn by french knitting, and then knitting it into a scarf by finger/arm knitting. How crazy am I? (No answers thank you!).  It is going to take me like for ever, but I am actually really excited.  Gives a new name to the notion of double knitting!   And then when I start to trawl the interweb I am clearly neither mad nor alone!  I am going to have to figure out how to store my arm knitting as I am going to have to do some and then back to the french knitting, and back and forth…  Now I know I could technically do my french knitting without needles as well, but I am not completely mad!  And that snapped off bit of plastic can hardly be called a needle anyway (well that is my story and I am sticking to it!).

I have three balls, so I may yet also make a scarf out of flowers depending on how much I need for this arm generated scarf (and imagine what I could make if I won this competition – ok I would settle for a runner up prize, I am a working mum to a little girl so to be fair could not do justice to the first prize – well I could, I reckon I would be set up for the rest of my life.  And that would be ok!!!

This post is my submission to the Deramores Craft Blog Competition 2015.  Deramores is the UK’s number one online retailer of knitting and crochet supplies.  Visit www.deramores.com for more details.

Sometimes it is all about me…

…well at least a little bit more me than everyone else!  On the Thursday before Easter I had a meeting light day at work, and as someone who rarely stops to eat lunch I had pre-persuaded myself to head into town.  Perhaps partly fuelled by the fact that Lincraft has made a reappearance in the CBD (yay by the way!) and I had a $10 voucher, but I went wild and crazy and did the trifecta by also visiting Cleggs (also on Elizabeth St in the city), followed by Morris & Sons on Collins St – and bought something from every store!

So this does not yet explain what this may have to do with me.  Maybe it has something to do with one particular purchase.  I have never, ever, spent so much on a single ball of yarn in my entire life!  But I am going to knit myself… wait for it… a pair of socks, with some great variegated blue yarn.  I am excited and not worried if it takes me until next winter to finish these socks!  I love to read other blogs and those that I frequent of a knitting ilk have either been long on the sock bandwagon or have hitched a recent ride. Why not me too! This boldness being incited in two ways.  One is that I have recently finished knitting myself a very simple scarf (the intention to do so being a little while ago!).  I suddenly realised that what knitting I have been doing, nothing was for me.  So I have fixed that, and am looking forward to wrapping some bright red around my neck this winter.  The second is, and I should not be so surprised (read here treat myself like an idiot!), that I am actually capable of learning new techniques, as they say learning keeps the Alzheimers at bay!

As you can see I have made great progress on my little’s girl shrug, just the sleeves and sides to sew up.  I am not admonishing myself for taking a little longer to get around to sewing it up than I should have.  While autumn has arrived here and she may only wear it once or twice now, looking at the size I am hopeful that it will make a reappearance next spring/summer.  I have picked up stitches for what I think is either just the second or third time in my entire life.  I should point out I was too lazy to go and buy another ball of yarn when I realised I would not have enough to finish the ribbing, and used some leftover yarn from my stash.  Having already had to go and purchase a third ball compared to the pattern (oh that’s right I have never knitted a tension square – bad me; plus have also now learnt the very tricky task of reading the length of yarn on the label!).  I actually love the two tone/contrast ribbing.  Think it makes the shrug look better than if I had not run out and been too lazy to go get more.  Anyway I digress.  The whole point was to say I can learn new things.  And moreover where would we be without YouTube? Acting like mum, aunt, and grandma replacements and alternates (not the knitting should be solely considered a female domain) in our more dislocated world. For those like me with a reluctance to sew up knitting I can highly recommend this for shoulder seams and this for sleeves.  I was actually excited about doing both of these!   And with a tip about using Judy’s Magic Cast on for the toe up socks – there ain’t no holding me back!

A First Treasury Inclusion

There are aspects about this electronic world that are just as real as a person to person interaction, especially in your own reactions.  One of my items has featured in a Etsy treasury entitled Pretty in Pink by Robyn Faye Designs, and I am so excited!  Someone has stumbled across something I have made in this large marketplace that is Etsy and liked it enough to include it in a themed collection all of their own choosing.  Cannot help but make you feel good.  (There is my scarf on the second row)

Pretty in Pink

My Etsy shop is still very much in its infancy.  I am playing around in my spare time with a few product ideas.  Though as a full time working mum of one joyous toddler spare time is best described as a little scant.  I literally have two more scarves that have been sitting on a shelf beside me since at least before Christmas just waiting for me to sew in the ends and photograph (evidence below).  I am easily distracted by the next new thing…!  But I am having fun, and as the saying goes better late than never, those scarves will make it to my shop.

Made in North Melbourne

I have done it!

A sense of achievement is a wonderful feeling, and I have it right now.  I launched my Etsy shop (Made In North Melbourne) this week.  My original intention was to wait until I had five items before launching the shop, but I had also set myself a go live target of the 30th June.  I achieved neither and have gone ahead anyway!  I am calling it a soft launch.  The reality is that I have another three items completed, that just need the final finishing of sewing threads in, so in a short while there will be more stock. The pieces I have started with are simple, but already my creative ideas are starting to flow; I scribbled a design on paper this morning, and without the simple that would not happen.

I am very proud of myself.  Towards the end of last year this was just an imagining, which I didn’t let go, and now it is real.  Especially now that I am back to full time work.  Have I said how much I miss my non-working Fridays and spending the day with my little girl – three weeks and counting every one of them.  In honour of my daughter the first item is a toddler girl’s scarf.  And perhaps with both effort and luck, who knows I may get more than just my Friday’s back!

Still crazy, but making progress!

I went out to run a single errand Friday morning, a simple go and collect mission for a BBQ cover that we had already paid for but had not been in stock.  As I was walking into the shop I eyed up the Spotlight store at the other end of the car park to where I was.  And then I thought bugger it, it is a new store, I am going to go in and have a quick look once I am done.  True to my word I did not linger as I had the little girl in tow, and I am not a believer of dragging her around stores.  However I did not leave empty handed.  I came out with these, aren’t they gorgeous?wool

Now as I have previously said I have a bit of a random wool purchasing addiction, albeit not breaking the bank (the purchase above cost me $4) coupled with a too many projects on the go and none looking like being finished habit!  However I am slightly on the improve.  And it is about making some of my supposed free time for this.  As I said in my first post of the year I do have to get my priorities balanced. And I am pleased to say that as January draws to a close I have been pretty good. It has helped that I did not go back to work until mid January, and that we also have a long weekend in this part of the world this month.  But hey you have to start somewhere!

So what have I have finished?  Well I am pleased to say that I have completed all the pieces of a cardigan for my little girl.  I was so utterly taken with the ripple effect, I kind of want to knit many items with ripples!.  Procrastination does mean that what was on target to be finished in time for her first birthday as the cardigan is sized for 12 – 18 months is still not finished.  I am reluctant, well unpractised if the truth be known, at sewing up knitted items.  I fear that I ruin my knitting.  The fact that my daughter is already 19 months old does leave me in some quandary re the cardigan, perhaps an item for my imagined Etsy store.  However I have also made another scarf for a friend for her birthday earlier this month.

So if I never get an Etsy store off the ground and up and running (my second get rich slow scheme after this blog!) will that be a failure, a goal not achieved. No, quite the opposite.  As the saying goes, life is a journey not a destination.  And at least I have bought two things back into my life, I am crafting with some regularity. But more importantly I am back imaginating, having wild imagining and creating thoughts, and it feels wonderful – I am alive.

So what makes you feel alive at the moment?  I would love to hear.  And happy Australia Day to all those celebrating today.