Back into Routine; Day 28

I’m getting back into my routine after a long weekend away and playing catch up yesterday.  It’s been an easy day to stay positive, and I’ve found my positive 3 easy today;

  1. I got to see a bunch of old workmates today.  It’s always nice to catch up with everyone and see what they’re getting up to.
  2. I’ve finished spinning up my latest braid.  It got a little thick-and-thin towards the end, but it should even out with plying.  All going well, I hope to ply tomorrow.
  3. We had a morning tea at work today and – while I’d decided to be far better behaved this week – I got my grabby hands on a beautiful (and tasty!) cupcake.  It makes me want to bake more.

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Now, as the night winds down and I’m about to get ready for bed, I’m working on a few rows of my sadly neglected Flax jumper for a friend’s son.

It’s been a good day.

Tough Stuff; Day 17

Yay!  Friday!  And we have three days off in a row.  I’m really looking forward to it.

I stumbled this picture on our intranet at work today and thought it would be a good one to share.  I read it and identified with a lot of the traits, and spotted a couple I’m already trying work on.

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What about you?  Which traits do you really identify with?  Or, really don’t identify with…?

A week and a half on from The Really Sucky Day, I think I’m coping well.  Mentally strong.  The lead up to the day was an emotional rollercoaster – the kind that makes you just want to vomit all over the ride attendant in protest.  Being left behind had some finality to it. He was not going to change his mind.  Hurtful or not, it was happening and I just had to get over it.  Move on (see the first point in the picture?  There was a point!)

So, I’m taking control of myself and embracing change.  I know I won’t be happy all the time (because I’m human), but I’m going to keep up my 3 positive observations every day and stay optimistic.

Part of that optimism is working on my career, my business, and my own personal health.  There’s more to me than my relationships and it’s important to remind myself of this often.  I find it really empowering to think that way.

I am empowered.

And on that note… today’s top 3 positives:

  1. Finding the above picture today gave me a nice mental boost in the afternoon – I have the ability to be a mentally strong person… I’m a large part of the way there, now I have to work on my consistency.  I can do that.
  2. More dyeing!  More colour!  I can’t wait to share photos of all the beautiful colours… just waiting for them to dry at this stage.
  3. The sleeves on the Professor Cardigan I’m knitting are finally done.  Not a fan of knitting sleeves, but the cardigan is looking very cute with the key structural elements now complete.  Only the shawl collar left to knit before I can do the finishing work.  Should have a FO this weekend, all going well…

Hump Day; Day 8

It’s Wednesday.  Hump Day.  But that doesn’t mean I let it go to waste!

My three things are easy today;

  1. I rocked a quick workout at the gym after work.  It was the first time I’ve been in a wee while so I didn’t go too hard, but the endorphins are pumping regardless!
  2. Lunch out with a friend today, catching up on gossip and talking about our feelings.  Cathartic and tasty.  The only way it could’ve been a better use of a lunch hour is if it were sunny and we were on the waterfront soaking up the rays (we weren’t.  We’re facing thunderstorms and power cuts here at the moment…)
  3. I’ve settled on the couch now with a glass of red wine, the latest episode of Outlander and the beginning of a cardigan for another friend’s son.

Now that’s what I’m talking about.

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The cardigan I am making is the Professor Sweater by Rae Blackledge.  I’m knitting it in a real wools wool.  It still smells like the sheep.   The body is going to be a natural, undyed oatmeal colour, with stripes of a dark green.   Complete with the cute arm patches.

It screams out for a little red bowtie accessory… so cute!

On My Needles: Lotsa WIPs

My name is Amy and I have startitis.  Honestly, I’m fine with that.  It’s not a real problem.

But, it means I have a lot of WIPs.

Curious?  You should be!

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1. Hitofude swatched and ready to go.

I’m knitting this cardigan as part of the Tea House Knits Light KAL.  I’ve already knit a Starshower cowl (photos to come).

Hitofude is a lace cardigan knit in one piece.  Designed by Hiroko Fukatsu.  It’s very popular – 3,208 projects on Ravelry as I type this.  That’s… a lot.

So I’m joining in!  Knitting with Ice Yarns extrafine merino in a nice, classy grey.

It’s perfect timing, too.  We’ve just booked tickets to Japan in August, so hopefully I’ll have this cast off and ready to wear then! (Noting that August is the middle of summer and according to the internet the min temp that I can expect is as high as our max days here in Wellington.  Excellent).

I’ve already swatched (and blocked it…) and I’m comfortable that I’ve got gauge (Yay!).  That makes things easier.

Expect to see more on this one soon.

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2. Rosebud Socks – for something a little bit fancy. 

Last night I cast on for Wendy D. Johnson’s Rosebud Socks.  I love the lace pattern (you can see a better shot of it here), but I was drawn to them initially for the name.

As a child, my great-Aunt nicknamed me ‘Rosebud’ for my English Rose complexion.  So, love the name.

I’m knitting these in Happy Go Knitty alpaca/merino/nylon (60%/20%/20%) on 2.00mm needles (US 0).

First time I’m knitting on 2.00mm needles – I usually knit on 2.25mm (US 1), but my gauge is getting looser.  So far, I’m really liking the fabric.

Toe up (as the photo suggests…) and one at a time.  Not too sure what heel I’ll use yet.  The pattern uses a gusset and heel flap, but I think I’ll opt for the fish lips kiss heel – I tried this the other day with some vanilla cashmere gradient socks and it fits really well.

No deadline for these babies, but they’ll be finished eventually.

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3.  Jumping on the Sockhead bandwagon.

Have you heard of the Sockhead hat pattern?  It’s been knit a couple of times.  Only 7,014 and counting.  Yowzer!

If you can knit and purl, and have a skein of fingering weight yarn, you can knit this.

It’s beautiful in its simplicity – an excellent way to showcase your special skein of luxury yarn.

I’m knitting in a mystery yarn.  I got it in a swap, and it came without a tag.  The colours are gorgeous (I’m a sucker for green), and as I’m knitting I’m trying to figure out what the fibre is.  At the moment, I think it’s a merino silk blend… but how will I know for sure?

This has been on the needles for a while now and is serving as my end-of-the-day mindless knitting – for those times when following a pattern is the absolute last thing I feel like doing.  So, no deadline on this one either.

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4. Basic cowl to show off colourful yarn

This is a woven stitch cowl I cast on to experiment with a yarn I bought just because.  MadelineTosh Tosh DK in the ‘Mandala’ colourway.

These colours are brilliant.  Seriously.  Look at the colours in that ball.

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Sadly, they are not colours I would ever wear myself.  They’d take my English Rose complexion and make me look a little too undead for my liking.

But thankfully, I have plenty of blue-eyed lovelies in my family who would look wonderful in these colours.  No one specific in mind yet, but this will make a good gift later in the year.

That’s what’s on my needles – what’s on yours?

On My Needles: Looking Back

A little while ago I posted about a cardigan I was looking forward to cast on for myself, using my own hand dyed yarn (you can see the post here).  Since finishing my Drachenfels, I have cast on and I’m going great guns!

Working in DK weight yarn is a great change – I work most of my projects in fingering weight – so the knitted fabric grows quickly and the pattern is interesting enough to entice biscuit logic.  You know, ‘oh, just one more won’t hurt’.

IMG_7870My gauge swatch showed what I’ve learned to expect from my knitting – I am a relatively ‘loose’ knitter, so I dropped down a needle size from what was in the pattern and dropped down a size.  From medium to small.  The thought was terrifying, but I had to have faith that the maths would not lie.

Was it the right decision?  I’m still not entirely sure.

Being a seamless pattern, I’ve been able to try it on as I go.  I think I’ll be okay in the bust because I added some extra stitches on those rows (I would’ve had to on the M size if I’d gotten gauge, too), and I’ve added a few for the hips too (what can I say?  I gots the curves).

The back worries me a little, though.  The logical part of my brain says that it’s fine, and it just looks bad when I try it on because the stockinette stitch is rolling up on itself and the button band isn’t on there yet.  Makes sense.  But, the emotional knitter in me just doesn’t know.  This cardigan is so close to being my best fitting garment yet, I just don’t want to jinx it.

The pattern itself is a joy to knit.  Looking Back by Joji Locatelli.  I am loving it.  The pattern document is clear, and well presented – I haven’t had any questions that weren’t answered by reading a few rows ahead.

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The lace pattern makes me smile.  There’s no simpler way to put it – I love how easily memorised it is, how pretty it is, and how it makes me look far more talented than I am when it comes to lace.  The large lace panel down the front, surrounded by stockinette, is really impressive.

I was a little worried that the colour variations in the yarn would detract from the lace pattern, which really should be the star of the garment, but it doesn’t look too bad.  The real test will come when the cardigan is finished and there is sleeve patterning, too.

So, watch this space!

On My Needles: My Aunt Doris

This is one work in progress that I’m really excited to share with the world.  A quick knit that I am desperately trying to slow down.  To delay the cast off, and savour every stitch.

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I’m knitting this with yarn I dyed myself.  It’s a reddish pick with splashes of purple and flecks of orange, just when you thought it couldn’t get any better.

This yarn is the star of the project.  None of these photos have been edited – these colours are captured perfectly already (at least, on my computer…)

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The pattern is beautiful; a very sweet knit for a very sweet little girl.  It’s  My Aunt Doris, by Kelly Brooker of pekapeka design studio.  There are 3 versions of the pattern, depending on the weight of yarn you’ve got – fingering, sport or DK.

This project is fingering weight, but I bought the ebook with all three weights because I plan to knit this over, and over, and over again.

Lace on the front and plain stocking stitch on the back – this is a fantastic compromise of pretty and practical.   It shows off the colours in the yarn, and keeps enough interest in the patterning to be fancy.

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This particular cardigan is going to my niece, Lilith, for her first birthday.

If I can bear to part with it, of course.   (I kid. I think).

On My Needles: Drachenfels

I’ve got a couple of projects on the needles at the moment, and this is the one I’m working on tonight.

Work to date - Drachenfels - 26 March 2015

This is the Drachenfels shawl by Melanie Berg – a colourful garter stitch shawl with just enough pattern to keep your interest as you knit (and wear it!).

IMG_7744This has been on my needles for almost two weeks and I haven’t made much progress – I’m still in the early stages of the pattern.  I’ve been distracted by plenty of other stuff (more on those later).

I’m really enjoying the simplicity of the project.  Working with two colours at the moment… but there’s a third colour for the second half of the shawl.

When I saw the pattern, I knew I wanted to make something with a POP of colour.  So; grey, blue and orange!

IMG_7767All three yarns are Tria Fata Fibre Arts’ Super MN Sock in Firey Coralis (orange), Sapphire Sea (blue) and Silver Fern (silver) colourways.  I can’t get over how bright the orange is.  The camera really struggled to capture the true clean, crisp brightness of it.

These yarns were just part of the stash I fell in love with at the Unwind Fibrecraft Retreat in Dunedin (NZ) at the start of March.  I also picked up a bright pink of the same yarn – of equally bright deliciousness (if you’re curious, you can check it out in my Ravelry stash here).

Still plenty of knitting left to do – I’m hoping to work a whole chunk more this weekend, but I want to savour it to.  Knit for the joy of the knitting, not just to get the finished object (though I love that part, too!).

So, tell me, what do you want to know about the projects I’m working on?  Would you appreciate more of the technical side, or are you quite happy with pictures and ramblings on my happy feelings?

And, perhaps more importantly, what’s on your needles?