It’s a Go!

It’s been a little while in the making, but the day is here; I have an Etsy store!

Rather than complain about my plot in life, I’m seeking to change it.  With positivity, colour, and constructive action.

So, ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce to you:

Phancee Yarn.
Yarn with a love story.

IMG_3789.jpg

No positive 3 today, because this just takes the cake.

There’ll be some changes here on the blog over the next week or so, as this will be the new home of Phancee Yarn.

Watch this space!
I’m really excited.

Spin Me Right ‘Round; Day 21

I like the number 21.  It’s not only my birthday, but it’s divisible by 3 and by 7 and it’s not an even number.  Don’t try and tell me that’s weird – it’s perfectly logical thank you very much.

Today was a busy day at work.  Not stressful, frantic busy – just full, working lunch kind of busy.  I like those days, though I wish I had actually accomplished more.

This evening has been a crafty one and that makes me pretty happy.

Two of my top 3 points from today are fibre related;

  1. I’m making great progress on my brother’s beanie.  He requested one and needs it for warmth so I’m knitting it with a NZ possum / nylon blend.  Very warm, even if the colour blends in seamlessly with my blue/gray couch.
    IMG_3800.jpg
    Pattern is my own – it’s just a simple garter rib.  I don’t think I’ll release it as a pattern but I’ll have a look on Ravelry and if there isn’t a similar one I might write up a recipe and release it for free…
  2. I pulled out my electronic spinning wheel (Ashford e-Spinner, if you’re curious) and spun up some of the 100% merino roving I dyed up a little while ago.
    IMG_3332.jpg
    I’m very much a novice spinner and the consistency of my singles leaves a lot to be desired, but I think tonight’s efforts went well.  They’re also the thinnest I’ve spun to date, so I’m hoping they’ll make a useable fingering/sport weight three ply (I plan to chain ply).
    IMG_3806.jpg
  3. An exciting piece of life admin; I’ve set up Skype on my laptop so that I can video call with The Boyfriend without having to worry about propping up my phone.  This is great news, even if only in my head.  Funnily enough, that’s the whole point of this list so it counts.

Tomorrow will be an equally good (or, perhaps even better?) day.  Onwards!

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.

Image Today 21 02 27

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…

Blue Hands; Day 16

Wow, have kept up these 3 positive points a day for over 2 weeks now.  Sure, I missed one – but that was planned and intentional.  I’m claiming this first fortnight a success.  Here’s to more to come!

It’s Thursday night Friday Eve, so I’m mentally preparing for the weekend.  Monday is a public holiday here (Queen’s Birthday weekend), so it’s a long weekend!  I’m hoping to get plenty of workouts, socialising and yarny goodness in there.

Today’s top 3 are what I love about weeknights:

  1. A whole lot of naked, undyed yarn that I had ordered arrived today so I spent the evening dying beautiful yarn in bright, vibrant colours.  They’re drying now and I just want to get in there and play with them!  My hands are currently blue, though.  That’s not ideal… hopefully it’ll be clear before I have to go to work tomorrow.
  2. A good snuggle-in-on-the-couch phone call with Mum.  Because a girl just needs those kinds of chats with her Mum sometimes.
  3. I’ve got tickets to this year’s World of WearableArt (WOW) show!  I’ve never been before and always hear good things about it.  I’m looking forward to checking it out and having a night of glamour and arty goodness.  Bring on October.

Feeling Loved; Day 7

It started off really, really sucky, but the day really turned around and I ended up really enjoying myself.  This morning at 4.30am we waved goodbye to The Boyfriend as he went off through the international departures gate.  Destination; Rome.  Eventually… London.  For two years.  Two years.

That’s literally the other side of the planet.  12 hour time difference.  Northern hemisphere to my southern hemisphere.

And it sucks.

But all is not lost, and wallowing does not help!  So, I have 3 awesome, positive things to focus on instead;

  1. I don’t have a lot of friends, but the friends I do have are amazing, loving, totally-there-for-me people.  Quality over quantity, people!  I love them dearly.
  2. Phone calls with my mum, over a glass of wine, on a cold rainy evening.  Comforting and good for the soul.
  3. Dyeing yarn makes me smile.  Tonight I dyed some yarn in greens and browns for a handsome young man’s woollen sweater (and cast on for his little brother’s cardigan while the yarn dries!).

(For those wondering what happened to Day 6, I briefly mentioned in my last post that I wouldn’t be posting.  It was my last day with The Boyfriend, so he got all my attention.  You know, priorities)

Finished Object: Looking Back

It’s done! Its off the needles! Actually, it came off the needles a week ago but the photos requested to marinate a while… it wasn’t because I was too lazy to carve out blogging time at all…

This is my completed Looking Back cardigan by Joji Locatelli.

20150424_065724

I love it.

I love how easy it was to get into a rhythm – lace panels included!
I love how fast projects in DK grow – this only took 2 weeks (including blocking).
I love the fit – as in, this cardigan actually fits.
I love that I learned new techniques – particularly tubular bind off (see below).
I love that I dyed this yarn – even though it’s not a colour I would usually wear.

20150423_183943

A success!

This wee beauty made its public debut on Friday at work.  Casual Friday + autumn = perfect timing.  There were plenty of compliments from people who knew I am a knitter, and no “ew gross!” comments from those who didn’t.

And it was comfortable!  At the end of the day, it could make me look like a gorgeous Amazonian beauty with legs up to my armpits, but if it’s not comfortable, I wont wear it.

20150423_183821

Learn all the things!

Plenty of firsts in this cardigan – the two stand outs are the cardigan construction, and my chosen bind off (not called for in the pattern).

Cardigan construction –  this is my first seamless cardigan with set in sleeves.  All the other seamless patterns I’ve made (mostly baby knits) have had raglan sleeves, which were worked from the top down so you work the shoulders and top of the sleeves at the same time as the neckline.

I really like the way the set in sleeves sit.  I think the finished object looks a lot more tailored – not that raglan shaping looks messy…

Tubular cast off –  I think I have my new favourite bind off.  I used this bind off on all edges – and I love it. I’ve used this technique since and I see a lot more of it in my future.

If you haven’t seen a tubular cast off before, it’s basically a way of grafting your ribbing so it looks like a continuous knit that wraps around from the right side to the wrong side.  Like you didn’t bind off, you just folded your ribbing over and sewed it in a seam – like you would with ribbed fabric on the sewing machine.

20150412_123642

It’s a bit fiddly – you knit the ribbing in a particular way (slipping alternate stitches) for 2 rows to make two separate pieces of fabric before grafting.  You end up with a ribbed tube along the edge.  Hence; tubular bind off.

20150412_114736

This wasn’t called for in the pattern, but I saw this on a knitting video podcast and was intrigued.  I used this tutorial from Purl Bee.

It adds a fantastic finish.  Having done this now, I’m not sure I would like the finish any other way.

If I do this again…

… I would probably chose a different colour.  Something like a navy blue (which would be harder to knit in artificial light so ‘swings and round abouts’…maybe I wouldn’t enjoy knitting it as much as I did this one).

I really like the colour I used, but it ended up being really, really bright.  Like… really bright.  I didn’t realise just how bright until I was on my way to work and saw it in morning natural light.  Nothing wrong with bright yarn – I just don’t wear it was much as perhaps I should…

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.

IMG_7867

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!