Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Moving, and what I am learning about myself

As I type this, I'm getting used to my new surroundings in a new craft room.
In a way, it's a bit similar to the craft space I had two houses' ago. There's a window straight ahead and to my right but there is lots more light and all day sun, To my right I can see a close-up Skytower, in front of me through the trees is Eden Park. So far, this is definitely my favourite. It's very peaceful and warm (though maybe not in the winter, I doubt the insulation in this old villa will be top notch). 
There is a lot more space than our previous place, and the cat has already settled in...

...on the knitting bag.

We just figured out that this is our fourth house in nine months. We've done a lot of packing, unpacking, sorting out, throwing away and donating. And every time, I feel worse about the amount of stuff I own. I have a lot of books. Craft books. Cook books. Other random non-fiction and literature. Books that I think make me look super smart if they're on the shelf for people to see. Then there's the clothes. Collecting vintage dresses takes up a bit of space. And then there's the china. Tea cups and saucers everywhere. Admittedly they do get used, but still, I don't host large scale tea drinking sessions that often. 

So I have decided to make a few changes.
I'm pretty good at culling my wardrobe, and when I buy clothes the majority are vintage/second-hand/ethical/handmade. This needs to continue. I'm thinking half of any new clothing purchases must fit into those categories on-going, and I need to keep culling every six months.

Books. Argh. I wish I didn't love them all so much.
It's taken me a good while to realise that there is no book that I need to buy in hardcopy. 
I have a tablet with a Kindle app. And I am a member of a library. 
So I'm going to be really tough on myself. No more book buying unless it's on the Kindle.
I don't have the space, many of them never get read again, and they are damn heavy to pack and move.
And in another six months, I must do another cull. I've given about a third of my stack away with all the moving, but there's still a lot here.

China. I've decided I have enough Crown Lynn. Big call, I know. But I have just the right amount.
So no collecting unless I find something amazing. And then I'm not allowed to dip into my savings.

Yarn. I am adding to the stash this year. But I'm trying to be reasonable.
I knit a lot for myself but I find that I knit stuff that doesn't always go with other stuff in my wardrobe, so I need to be more mindful of this and more careful with my project choices.
There is no point knitting stuff that I'm not going to wear because it doesn't go with anything.
So yes, a more considered approach of yarn and pattern selection will be taken from here on in. This is why I need to knit a cardigan this year - they go with everything!

I'm hoping this will all lead to a more peaceful mind in 2014. The year started off a bit crazy, but now I hope we will be settled for a while and I can get back to the important things, like knitting!

Monday, January 27, 2014

It's a little quiet around here but I'll be back soon!

Hi all - sorry it's been a bit quiet around here for the last week or so! We've moved house and we're in the process of unpacking it all! Will be back a bit later this week with an update!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Glory Days + outdoor knitting + giveaway winner

It pretty much seems like the last month has been taken up with looking for a new place to move in to and organising our impending relocation. There hasn't been that much time for fun stuff, especially that we're both back at work. I did try and make a bit of time for myself this weekend though.

I got some good knitting time in at a friend's picnic birthday. That's the first piece of my Beaubourg Sweater, which so far I'm loving, even if the Manos Del Uruguay yarn is a nightmare to work with.
Every time I go to wind a hank up into a ball from my swift and onto my wool winder, it just tangles. I've spent about three hours unknotting two hanks so far and the pattern calls for four more. If it carries on this way, that's a total of nine hours of good knitting time lost. 

But anyway, it's turning into a nice squishy jumper and quite a quick knit. I'm loving the reverse stockinette - aside from the fact that I keep forgetting which side is the right side - it's nice to be making something with a different stitch.

And to supplement my knitting, I've done a bit of reading. I checked out a local vintage market and ran into Natasha from Glory Days Magazine - check out the very first print issue!
I've been a fan of the digital magazine for ages, and it's extremely exciting that they've started printing it. I'm a lover of hard copy and it's great to see an indie magazine doing so well.

And last but not least - congratulations to my first giveaway winner!
You get the amazing Men in Knitwear calendar from Stitch Seekers - too much eye candy!
I've sent you a Ravelry message and Stitch Seekers will be in touch very soon!

Monday, January 13, 2014

My very first GIVEAWAY + The Knitographer interviews Stitch Seekers

I was checking Twitter early in the new year when one of the knitters I followed posted this picture.

What better way to start the new year than by finding out more about Mr January? 
He (or the calendar and knitwear at least!) is the creation of Stitch Seekers, a new bi-annual, high fashion knit and crochet publication. Not only are they publishing the Men in Knitwear, a subscription calendar with patterns and well chosen models, they are about to launch their first pattern collection, Decadence and Decay
Deborah tells me a bit more about it all!

Tell me about Stitch Seekers - how did it all begin and who is involved?

Stitch Seekers began with a five minute conversation, over coffee in our local cafe!  Rhiannon and I decided to meet for a quick coffee one afternoon and went home with the beginnings of a business plan.  We’d known each other online through Ravelry for a year or so but didn’t actually have the opportunity to meet until 12 months ago when my family moved to Christchurch.  We have complementary skill sets and a very similar creative vision which is a huge advantage to our partnership.  Often I’ll be thinking about something and go online to find Rhiannon has messaged me about the exact same thing.  It’s happened so often that my husband has started referring to her as my ‘soul mate’!  To us, creativity is an adventure and that’s what the Stitch Seekers name is about.  It reminds us to seek our passion and embrace the journey.

The first collection is being published next month - what can we expect and what sets Stitch Seekers apart from other publishers?

Edition one is due for release at the end of February and we’re putting the final touches on it now.  After months of hard work we’re very excited that we’ll be able to share it with everyone soon.  The theme for edition one is Decadence and Decay and it is really a peek into our head space.  It is very strongly themed and styled and I believe that’s what will set us apart from other publications.  We are committed to creating the fantasy that you often see in high fashion publications and translating that into the bespoke craft marketplace. 

You're getting a few different designers to contribute - what are the things that you look for in designers' work that screams "Stitch Seekers"?

We are looking for designers that really pay attention to our mood boards.  We were very fortunate to have the backing of local New Zealand designers for edition one and overwhelmed by the flood of applications from all over the world in response to our submission call for edition two: Futurenauts vs. Retrobots.  It took a marathon coffee drinking session to choose the final designs for the edition two collection.  The primary thing we look for in a design is how the designer has interpreted our theme.  That is always the number one priority.  There were designs we loved in the edition two submissions, but they are not in the final collection as they didn’t convey the theme strongly enough.  Also, attention to detail is important.  Designs don’t have to be intricate or elaborate, but they must be attention grabbing.  We have a mixture of concept pieces and wearable designs from both new and established designers.  It’s very exciting.

You've mentioned that some local yarns will be included in your first collection - is it important for Stitch Seekers to support local yarnies and designers?

We’re very proud to be Kiwis (even though Rhiannon is an import from the UK!).  New Zealand has a rich pool of talented yarnies and designers and we are proud to show off their skill to the world.  The worldwide crafting community is filled with talented and creative people. Now, with the advances in technology, borders are being torn down and it’s possible for artists from a little country at the bottom of the world to be major players on the world stage.  It’s a very exciting time to be in business and we look forward to collaborating with our fellow Kiwis and people everywhere who share our vision.

And your other project - Men in Knitwear - oh la la! Mr January popped up in my Twitter feed and I need to know more! How does this calendar collection work?

Creating the Men in Knitwear Calendar Club has been a huge amount of fun.  It’s a totally tongue in cheek nod to the usual girlie pin-up calendars, except ours features hot guys modelling our knitwear designs. The theme for 2014 is ‘Heroes’ and all the designs are inspired by characters from film and tv.  Every month we email a new pattern, calendar page and, of course, the photo, to our subscribers.  There is an option on our website, to subscribe to either the digital version only or the digital and print copy which gives you all the fun of receiving the emails throughout the year and a printed copy of the calendar (dated for 2015) at the end of the year.  The ‘identity’ of each new man is a closely guarded secret and it’s a lot of fun for our Men in Knitwear Ravelry group guessing who the next ‘Mr’ will be.


I am extremely excited to offer the very first giveaway on The Knitographer blog! Yay!
Like the look of Mr January?
How would you like to check out the whole year's worth? 
Stitch Seekers is kindly offering a subscription to the digital edition of its awesome calendar.
Just leave a comment below telling me why you'd like to win with either your Ravatar or an email address for me to contact you.
The prize will be drawn on Monday 20 January - make sure you enter by 6pm NZT to be in to win!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Long lovely mittens for Margot

Yesterday I took advantage of working in an office in Takapuna. A bunch of us decided that we should make the most of the beach while the weather is good, so we took half an hour away from our computer screens and went for a swim. Of course, the water was freezing for the first few minutes but so refreshing once we got used to it. Definitely going to do it again - nothing like having a little mini-break from the office to come back ready to face the rest of the afternoon.

Our good weather is also making me feel fortunate that we're not stuck in the middle of polar vortexes, giant storms and other crazy weather that a few of my friends are facing in the US and the UK. Yes, I've said before that I'm a winter gal, but I definitely draw a line at -20degC. 
So it's timely that I've finished these Long Lovely Mittens for my friend Margot in London.
I'm so happy with how they've come out and I only ended up using one skein of my Happy Go Knitty silk and alpaca 4ply. Maybe I'll use the other skein to make a matching pair!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Knitterly new year 2014

2014 - it could be the year of knitting dangerously. 
Okay that might be a slight exaggeration but I'm planning on a very crafty year!

First up - I really want to knit a cardigan. I've never made one before. I'm not sure if I'm slightly intimidated by knitting five pieces to sew together. I am definitely intimidated by the potential need for steeking. So I'm on the hunt for the perfect cardigan pattern. Let me know if you find any!

I've loved writing for more magazines over the last year, so I hope to keep that up as well as interviewing some more awesome local yarnies and designers for the blog. I've got a couple of ideas for my own designs that I'd like to put some real effort into over the next few months. There will be lots of knitting for others (more hats?) and find a cause of some kind to knit for. I've been looking for the right one for a while, so I hope to find it this year!

Also, more cables need to happen. And I need to finish something with lace in it. 
I'm thinking to combine all of these things into my cardigan to get these resolutions sorted.

What are your new year's crafty plans?