Saturday, November 30, 2013

Crafty birthday! And the Auckland Art and Craft Fair

27 is turning out to be pretty good so far! Husband cooked me a fancy breakfast! It was amazing. He's like the best cook ever. And then we went to the Auckland Arts and Craft Fair! No better way to spend a birthday! 

And my purchases / birthday gifts:

A skull and crossbones jug by Ahoy Cutie
A milk jug necklace by Reignbow
Some alpaca / silk yarn from Happy Go Knitty
And an awesome purse from Jacolily Designs - this is going to be home to all of my knitting notions! And you all know I'm a sucker for chevrons!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Skyping Beanie - having issues!

The Year of the Hat has been going well so far. Four Rikkes, four Honey hats and possibly a baby hat in there too, I consider that a good amount of hat projects for the last 12 months. Actually, that's not a bad amount of projects anyway - a few years ago I'd never have been able to knit that many in a year, let along just one type of garment.

I digress though - the Year of the Hat was going so well until this project. Enter the Skyping Beanie. A colleague of mine was feeling a tad left out that he didn't get a knitted hat in the last round. It wasn't like I was never planning on making him one, he's just pretty fussy and I didn't really want to waste a stack of hours knitting a hat he might not like. I took my time and found a pattern I thought would fit the bill. A bit slouchy but not too hipster, cool shaping at the top that looks really on-trend right now and easy enough for me to knit without paying too much attention.

Or so I thought. The body of the hat was fine. An easy mix of 1x1 ribbing and knit rows. A very good opportunity to practice my continental knitting. I completed that all in about a week in some Countrywide Windsor DK I found at Geoff's Emporium (now in walking distance from my house - most likely a bad thing).

Then came the crown shaping. I haven't managed to get past the first row. I'm sure it's not the pattern's fault. It was only published in October, so there aren't many projects on the go but the Ravelry reviews so far are great. The difficulty rating is pretty damn easy, and it's got a solid 4.3 out of 5 stars overall. 

It must be me. There's something I'm finding very weird about doing the decreases in pattern. I've had to unpick it three times already. The decreases are centred around what I can only describe as four "seams". The decreases are done either side of the seam to make it look like it's decreasing at four points instead of eight which I'm used to. I just can't get my head around it. 

I started avoiding the hat by returning to my rainbow socks that have been a bit neglected recently. But then I started on a heel flap and realised I wasn't knitting it across enough stitches. More unknitting. 

Maybe this week will be better. Otherwise my colleague might be waiting a bit longer than Christmas to get his hat. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013


On Friday night we had a bunch of friends around for our first night of entertaining in our new home. I can confirm that the oven cooks homemade pizza dough very well. Not that I'd be considering moving if that wasn't the case, but it definitely adds to the overall awesomeness that is our new home. It was so warm and such a clear evening that we decided to climb up the big hill (it's called a mountain, but only just - even though it is Auckland's highest) that is our new front garden. Husband had a torch, I had a camera. I love this photo (thanks to the photography classes I took this year I kind of know how to make a long exposure now). Every time I see it, I just want to smile. It makes me think of the importance in the little things - friends, family, pizza (duh), keeping things simple and making the most of each day. I feel like I've been able to do that a lot more since moving. There's more time in the day and everything is less rushed. 

The other thing making me smile today is this AMAZING lampshade!
You may remember earlier this year I picked up a very sad looking lamp from a second-hand shop.

I had this grand plan to knit it a nice shade cover - and I did start - but it ended up looking really ugly. Like the most hideous thing I've ever knitted. 
It was frogged pretty quickly. 
Instead, I asked the lovely lady at Let's Go Retro if she had any shades left with the stained-glass window pattern I'd seen on her website.
Luckily for me, she had enough fabric left to get one custom-made!
I'm so happy with how it's turned out. It's taken pride of place on the shelf in our living room.

 A bit of knitting has also happened this weekend. I've revisited my rainbow socks and I'm chipping away at the next hat for a colleague. More on that later. I'm going to enjoy the rest of the sunshine before the weekend is all over!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pom Pom Quarterly's latest issue

I'm posting pretty early this morning. I was supposed to be at an outdoor yoga class right about now, but it's been pouring with rain so I decided it would be best to stay inside and mooch around with the cat. I'll try and pop along to one this evening.
As I'm awake and have a little spare time to kill, I figure catching up on the blog is a very productive use of my time. It's been a crazy few weeks with the house move - glad to say we're now all well unpacked and settled in. The cat has mastered the new cat flap and we walk to work most days - a much better use of 40 minutes that's still quicker than our old commute.
Now the mail is starting to be redirected and yesterday the magazine I've been waiting for found it's way into our mail box.

I'm always excited when a new issue of Pom Pom Quarterly turns up and this one is beautiful. I'm once again in love with every pattern. As I sit here in a muggy Auckland, I'm wishing winter would come on back so I can rug up in all of the designs. I think I need to dedicate all of next year to knitting the back catalogue of amazing patterns. Or at least one from each issue. 

I feel extremely privileged to have an article published in this issue about my vintage pattern collection. 
I've been writing for magazines and newspapers for a long time but once in a while there is a real thrill in seeing your byline in a publication. For me this was one of those moments. It's such a well curated magazine that I was surprised my submission was even considered. 
I may or may not have read the article to the cat. And waved it around in my husband's face while trying not to crease it. 

Make sure you check it out!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Twisted Angle's Trends: Floral ebook

Earlier this year I interviewed Vicky from Twisted Angle and she's just published her second ebook - an amazing resource for knitters with a stack of swatch patterns to incorporate into their own designs.
Make sure you check it out, you can download it here.

It's 78 pages full of the most amazing floral designs. I'm in love with the Poppy Horizontal Repeat... thinking that would look amazing meandering around the bottom of a jumper!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A new crafty home

As far as moves go, this one has to be the best yet. We weren't expecting to relocate for the second time  in six months but when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Now we are a 10 minute bus ride from our work, closer to our friends and in a nice little vintage apartment. The craft space has had to downsize, but I'm not complaining!

I figure every craft room needs a day bed to knit on. I might not have a craft table anymore, but a bed is always a good substitute.

I have insane shelf space. As I was packing all my books last week, I thought it might be time to part with some. Now I just plan on buying more.

And I've had a little bit of time to work on my Hitchhiker - only four more pattern repeats to go!
I'm looking forward to properly settling in over the next week and getting back into a good knitting routine. It's been a busy two weeks; it's nice to relax and take some time to catch up.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

On the move!

It's been six months and we've decided that it's just not right for us to be living out in the suburbs anymore. We moved in expecting to be settled for a while - at least until we bought our own place - but circumstances change and commuting is lame and I want to walk to work. 
So we're moving to a city fringe suburb. I've already lost count of all the benefits and the amount we'll save each week on transport. And what we'll save in time. We've found ourselves a 1940s apartment with wood floors and a new kitchen. I'm giving up the craft room but it's definitely a compromise I'm happy making!

The yarn stash is packed up with the action figures and books. The Crown Lynn is all wrapped up. 
Might be a bit quiet around here for a week or so until we get settled in the new place, but between the organising I'm sneaking in rows of my Hitchhiker - hoping to finish it this week!