May 19th, 2013
Gentleman’s sock with Lozenge Pattern by Nancy Bush
125g Patonyle 4ply, Charcoal
Started: February 2013
Finished: April 2013
These socks were finished in April, but circumstances meant that I could only take photos of them yesterday. This meant that for about a month, I wouldn’t let Matt wear them for fear of them spontaneously disintegrating in his boots and thus going undocumented. Now that he has my blessing to wear them, they feel like they’re really finished.
The results are pretty pleasing but I’m glad they’re done. This is mostly because I ended up knitting approximately three socks in the pursuit of making two. Part of this was to make sure the socks fit Matt’s skinny legs, but most of it was because I wasn’t paying attention at the appropriate moments. In the end, I only made two minor modifications; the legs are narrower than given in the pattern, and the feet are longer.
When I first came across the pattern, I was drawn to the diamonds. Now that they’re done, the elements I like the most are the cuff and the faux seam that runs down the back of the sock. I think they look rather handsome and fancy up the socks just nicely.
The yarn did an impressive job of keeping it together as it was continually frogged and knocked around in my bag as I took it to and from work. However, by the end of the first sock, the cuff was starting to look a bit fluffy and in need of a visit from the magic depiller (the honeymoon period is still not over).
Both Matt and I are people of simple tastes when it comes to yarn colourways. The more solid (and closer to grey) the colourway, the more we seem to like it. So while picking charcoal Patonyle might seem a boring choice, I think the solid grey suited both the pattern and the recipient well. Let’s hope they don’t spontaneously disintegrate upon contact with his boots.
March 16th, 2013
Just in case you needed reminding, it’s March! I have no idea how we got to March already, but here we are, and here is this year’s Bendigo Woollen Mills shade card. I don’t know if there’s such a thing as shade card spoilers. If there is, consider this your spoiler alert.
This year I was more excited about writing this compare/contrast post than finding out which colours have gone and what’s replaced them. A lot of this is to do with the current status of my stash, but part of it related to a deep-seated desire to be a shade card analyst when I grow up.
Here’s a summary of the differences between the 2012 and 2013 shade card:
- Pink (shade number 338), Acorn (345) and Desert Pea (346) discontinued
- Fuchsia (magenta-purple, 303), Pine (dark green, 305) and slate (dark grey!, 307) added
- Slate (307), Lotus (322), Aquarium (324), Sunflower (344), Forest (360) added to the 10 ply range, with Frost (312), Brick (361) and Purple Storm (367) discontinued from the 10ply range
- Passionfruit (749), Coffee Bean (750) and Burnt Rose (751) discontinued
- Coral (orange-pink, 752), Hunter (dark green, 753) and Blazer (dark blue, 754) added to the 5 and 8 ply ranges
- Charcoal (618) and Cranberry (664) added to the 2/3/12 ply range
- Rich Sky (409) and Rich Fern (410) discontinued
- Rich Azure (mid blue, 419) and Rich Rust (brown-red, 420) added
- Wineberry (928) and Carbon (929) discontinued
- Linen Fleck (very light brown tweed, 904) and Cinder Fleck (black tweed, 902) added
Being a new colourway is evidently a tough old business at the Bendigo Woollen Mills, because the majority of the colourways discontinued in 2013 were added to their respective ranges in 2012. Of all the discontinued colourways, I’m feeling most sad about the demise of Acorn from the Luxury range. I thought Luxury was crying out for a nice chocolate brown like Acorn, so I’m surprised to see it go.
The only comfort I can take from the discontinuation of Acorn is the introduction of Slate, a very nice dark grey. From the teeny tiny sample in the shade card, it’s the sort of grey that I could wear all the time. Because I like it so much, I full expect to be panic buying both 4ply and 8ply versions when it’s discontinued next year.
I was also quite pleased (and surprised) to see Cinder Fleck introduced as a Rustic colourway. I bought a few balls of that colourway when the limited edition Highlands was available, but was kicking myself for not buying enough to make multiple jumpers from it. As a yarn, Highlands always seemed very Rustic-like to me, so I think the colourway will translate well in Rustic.
That’s enough shade card analysis from me for the year. If you get the Bendigo Woollen Mills shade cards, what did you think of this year’s effort?
February 16th, 2013
On a recent trip away, I acquired some more vintage patterns. This is not an altogether unusual occurrence but instead of just adding them to the pile of somewhat neglected patterns like I normally do, I’ve started scanning them. My collection of patterns is fairly modest, but it’s taking a little while to scan all the patterns, let alone start cataloguing them so they’ll be easy(-ish) to find.
Since being the epic scanning journey, I’ve rediscovered some lovely patterns, some patterns that haven’t aged all that well and some unintentionally hilarious styling. Here’s an example of a nice pattern with unintentionally (?) hilarious styling:
Every time I see that photo it makes me chuckle. I think it’s because those glasses have a real ‘Kim Jong-Il looking at things‘ vibe about them…
As a result of finding gems like the photo above, I’ve started a new blog with bits and pieces of my collection that I like or have found amusing. The usual new blog caveats apply — I’m still working on the design, and there are only three posts so far. This is not the end of this blog, it’s just a side project. More accurately, it’s another blog to add to the collection of blogs that I rarely update.
February 4th, 2013
I am ridiculously excited to have finally finished a project. My last reported project was the draft stopper in September last year, and the lack of finishing has made me a little antsy. Even though I’m not a craft factory and this hobby of mine is not about how quickly I can produce crafty output, it really does feel good, almost triumphant, to say ‘I’m finished!’.
This bag was a lot of fun to make and I’m incredibly pleased with the result. One of the things I liked the most about it was how unfussy it was – the design is asymmetric so it didn’t matter when my stitching became a bit… asymmetric. I also liked that the fabric was thick enough that I didn’t need my embroidery hoop. Even though using an embroidery hoop isn’t that much of a hassle, it was still nice to have one less thing to worry about when working on the bag.
I also liked taking photos of it as I finished with each colour. In my last post, I posted a photo after finishing all the dark brown sections. Here it is after completing the mid brown sections:
And with the light brown sections completed:
I love how striking the wolf is. Matt thought that it looked a little scary, but I can’t stop looking at it. In fact, I’m considering doing all over again but in a wall hanging. Let’s call it a potential rebound project.
The only area of concern for me was the amount of floss included in the kit. I had plenty of light and dark brown floss left, but I used every last skerrick of the mid brown. This was good from the perspective of using everything up, but not so good for my poor risk-averse nerves. If I had come up short, I would have been trying to find the same dye lot. Given that the kit came from the UK and I’m in Australia, I suspect I would have been out of luck. It’s entirely possible that I lost some floss along the way, but it did cause me some slight heartburn as I neared the end of the floss.
Now that it’s finished, I’m a little sad I won’t be working on it again. Hence, the consideration of the rebound project. If you’re in the market for an easy but slightly hypnotic embroidery project, this one is definitely worth considering.
January 3rd, 2013
Before my holidays started, I had grand plans to bowl over some neglected knitting and sewing. Then Christmas happened and my little sister gave me a Navajo Wolf bag kit from What Delilah Did. Then I started working on it straight away. Then my eyes and shoulders got tired (I’d like to say I really get my shoulders into cross stitching, but I just have terrible posture), but I worked through the pain. It’s been while since I’d cross stitched and evidently I forgot how much I enjoy it.
Now I’m back at work, I’ve gone back to knitting on my commute. For the sake of my eyes, hands, shoulders and relationship (can’t talk, cross stitching.), I’m rationing the cross stitching to only a little bit each night after dinner. This is what it looked like after finishing all the dark brown parts:
I’m now working on the mid brown sections and it’s nice seeing the colours come together. For once I’m not worried about my stitches being a bit wonky in places; I’m enjoying the process and love seeing the grey crosses printed on the back being filled in, little by little, by colour.
This project has given me a taste of working on pre-printed needlework bag kits, so I’ve been digging around for more. What Delilah Did has another kit, and although it’s not cross stitch, Sublime Stitching also has some nice totes. In all honesty I don’t know if I need any more totes, but sometimes there’s no point trying to fight these things.
December 31st, 2012
Over the last couple of days I’ve been thinking about my crafting year, and haven’t felt particularly compelled to write a post. However, for posterity, it’s probably a good idea to write down a few words.
This year was again a fairly quiet knitting year, filled mostly with relatively quick to knit accessories and not one jumper to speak of! Using Ravelry as the definitive source of my knitting productivity, all of my finished objects were fun to knit and featured elements that kept me interested (even the very basic stockinette stitch beanie I knit in July). Some of them, Jan and Wavy Line in particular, get a lot of wear. Seeing all the finished objects together made me realise something quite disturbing; there was a distinct lack of grey yarn. Before you start fretting about the future of grey in my wardrobe, let me assure you that there is some grey yarn at the top of my stash, ready to go for next year.
There are quite a few WIPs lying around the house, more than I care to contemplate. Late this year I broke my slightly arbitrary ‘only two WIPs at a time’ rule, thinking it was a temporary measure so I could keep knitting on my commute to and from work. However, I overestimated my enthusiasm to finish up those WIPs. As keen as I am to start on the year of vintage patterns, my first job next year will be gather the unfinished knitted objects that have been artfully strewn around the house and finish them. An exception to this is my wretched Pickadilly Cardigan, which needs to sit in the corner and think about itself for a little while longer. I never thought I could harbour as much animosity towards an inanimate object as I do with Pickadilly! In general I consider myself a relatively patient knitter, but that project has had me on the expressway to tantrumtown a number of times.
Aside from knitting, I made (another) tentative foray into sewing. This attempt seems more successful than the last, even though the projects I took on were all pretty basic. Despite being fairly simple, I use them often (with the exception of the baby bootees) and I’m still quite happy with how they all turned out. As with my knitting projects, I’ve got a few sewing WIPs as well that I need to finish before starting anything new. Hopefully next year I’ll be able to start doing something about that fabric stash of mine.
Now that I’m here on the last day of 2012, I don’t really know how to describe it. From a crafting and non-crafting perspective, it wasn’t a bad year. However, I couldn’t say it was a great year either. Let’s just split it down the middle and call it neutral.
December 23rd, 2012
This Christmas season, my demeanour can be best described as frazzled. I’ve not got into the Christmas spirit at all this year, in fact it’s only been in the last couple of weeks that Christmas has been on my radar! Once all the wrapping is finished (hopefully today) and work finishes (tomorrow), I’m looking forward to having a short rest, where I can spend some quality time with my knitting and sewing.
However you celebrate the festive season, I hope it’s a safe and happy one!
December 5th, 2012
The version of Orangina in my last post wasn’t really feeling right, and that menacing curl created enough irritation for me to want to start again. In the end it wasn’t so much starting again as experimenting with a looser cast on. If it didn’t curl as much, then I could rip out the first attempt — if it had the same amount of curl, it could either be used as the front piece, or I could reconsider whether I wanted to go ahead with making Orangina at all.
After digging up my gauge swatch (thanks Lynne for jogging my memory with your suggestion!), it seemed that perhaps it was my tight cast on causing the issues. There was a wee bit of curling at the cast on edge of the swatch, but not to the same degree as the back piece.
So, the back piece was taken off the needles and a new, more relaxed, cast on was attempted. I think the curling situation is now much improved:
I’m also working one less repeat this time around. Despite careful measuring, the first attempt was a bit big. Orangina is a top that doesn’t seem particularly forgiving when it comes to fit; for it to work with my body shape, it needs either no or negative ease. Now that it’s one repeat smaller, I think it’s probably just right.
In my dreams I wanted to have this finished by the end of the year so I could start the year of vintage knitting with a clean slate. This doesn’t look likely, which leaves me with a small dilemma. Do I finish it off next year, meaning that at least one FO will be from a modern pattern, or should I leave it until the following year? (Insignificant) decisions, decisions.
November 26th, 2012
I’ve broken my ‘only two knitting WIPs’ at a time rule to cast on a new project. The reason I’ve broken this rule is because my two other projects can’t be taken on the train to and from work, and what would I do on the train if I didn’t have knitting? Watch the scenery? Read a book? Play with my phone? All ridiculous notions.
The rule-breaking project is Orangina by Stephanie Japel. It was released in the days before Ravelry, and I vaguely remember it being the pre-Ravelry version of a viral knit as it seemed to pop up on all the knitting blogs I was reading at the time. I’ve liked this pattern since it was released but never thought I’d make it because it was lacy and I don’t wear lacy tops. Funny how things change.
The yarn I’m using is Bendigo Woollen Mills (of course) 4ply Cotton in Oxford. Oxford was one of those ‘have they finally found their minds?!’ colourways, when in a single year, Bendigo Woollen Mills released a great blue (this one) and a great red (called Inferno). Sadly they hadn’t and those colourways quickly disappeared. This year’s shade card features a blue, French Navy, that’s a smidgen lighter than Oxford but still darker than the usual Bendigo Woollen Mills Cotton offering. I wonder how long it’ll last – Cotton colourways seem to change every year so this time next year it’ll be back to same old same old.
Now that I’ve finally got around to using this cotton, I quite like it. It seems softer than other cottons I’ve used in the past, but I work with cotton so infrequently that I can’t really compare it with any reliability.
So far I’m fairly happy with how it’s knitting up. However, there’s a menacing curl that’s developing at the neck edge. Initially it seems like the cast on was a bit tight, but more and more I think it might be just be a property of that stitch pattern. Hopefully it’ll block out, but that might be wishful thinking.
November 18th, 2012
Just to state the obvious, this ol’ blog of mine has been neglected of late. However, I’ve been able to steal moments of crafting time here and there.
I heart Aran as been in my knitting queue for a little while now, and now it’s coming up to Summer it’s the perfect time to be making a thick, cabled shawl collared jumper. If you’re getting a sense of déjà vu, it’s because I seem to do this every year. I don’t need to yarn bomb, defying the seasons is my own form of extreme knitting.
This tie for Matt has been on my needles since the start of this year. It’s just a glorified scarf really, and I’ve been working on it in dribs and drabs. It’s one of those projects that gets put aside when something else (gift knitting, any other project that’s more interesting) comes along. It’s a hybrid of two patterns and one technique; this tie pattern from Lion Brand, a tie pattern from Knit Two Together, and this decreasing in seed stitch tutorial from TECHknitting. All it needs now is to be seamed up.
Lastly but not leastly, I’ve been doing a bit of sewing. Shortly before the unintentional hiatus commenced, I had a harebrained idea to make a dress for a wedding (not mine). The reason it was harebrained is twofold; I’m not a confident seamstress and as it’s for a wedding, it can’t look shabby. I went through all the motions by making muslins of the bodice and adjusting the pattern and making a trial dress. The trial dress is almost done, but the goal of making a dress for the wedding has been reluctantly abandoned. I think it’s something that warrants its own post, so I shan’t go into any more details now.
That pretty much sums up my last two months from a crafting perspective. What have you guys been up to?