Sunday, 2 August 2015

I'm back!

It's been a while since I blogged last but I'm feeling in the mood to start it up again! How are you? It's been busy around here. It's the summer holidays and my mum came to visit me for 2 weeks. We had a fantastic time in Jakarta, doing some touristy things such as going to the Jakarta National Museum and Taman Safari Park. We had a wonderful time in Bali also and visited an Elephant Safari Park. My mum's favourite animals are elephants so this really made her trip. We rode an elephant and got to feed them too. All the elephants have been rescued and according to our mahout (who was from Sumatra and witnessed how elephants are used for logging etc) the elephants are much happier here and far better cared for than in their previous homes.

After she had gone I had a week at home to do nothing but knit, spin and a little crochet (more on that later though...). This was followed by a relaxing and revitalising week in Bali with my husband. After I got back from Bali I completed a 2 day chocolatier course! I can't tell you how fantastic this was. It was extremely tiring as I learnt so many new things and worked hard to make the chocolates but it was an experience I'm unlikely to forget! Hopefully you don't mind me not going into too much detail...we'd be here for a while if I did!

My main project is my second Custom Fit cardigan. The yarn is from Life in the Long Grass in the colour way Splash in their gorgeous silk/merino blend.  You should absolutely check out their colour ways! So far I've completed the back and the sleeves. I'm about 1/3 - 1/2 way through the cardigan fronts and knitting these 2 at a time.

My next WIP is a sock yarn scrap blanket! Never before have I felt the urge to knit one of these things. My view was that they'd take waaay too long and be a great deal of hassle. However I've been seeing a few on the podcasts I watch and felt inspired. Blankets made of squares just weren't doing it for me though so I cast on the Beryl Blanket. These little hexagons are a bunch of fun to knit although somewhat fiddly. I'm not going to list all of the yarns I've used unless you're really interested.


Since the Never Ending Cardigan I'm not sure I've actually finished any knitting...I took a break from it for a while as I wasn't feeling the love but the holidays have given me the boost I needed to pick my needles up again. Spinning took a hit for a while too but during the TdF I was determined to get a longstanding WIP finished.

This project was started in February of last wasn't the easiest of spins which is probably why it hibernated for a while. With some determination (that lead to sore hands) I finished spinning and plied it up before my husband and I went to Bali. I got about 499 metres of a 2 ply. It's stunning and I'm very much looking forward to knitting it up! The fibre was from Ixchel Bunny and is the Magic Bunny Top. It's a blend of 60% merino, 25% firestar, 10% cashmere and 5% angora. It's not the softest yarn ever, which I attribute to the firestar, but it's fine for next to skin wear.

As I mentioned above I've been teaching myself to crochet. My efforts have not culminated in a great deal yet so I won't post pictures yet. My brother and his partner are expecting a baby this month and I've started crocheting them the Classic Baby Blanket. I'm using some King Cole Merino Blend in the Kingfisher colourway. So far it seems to be coming out OK but I'm not holding my breath!

I hope you've had a good few months and will check in here. I love to read any comments you have to share so if you have anything to say, please do!

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Sunday, 22 February 2015

Things I Learned When Knitting the Never Ending Cardigan

The journey of the Never Ending Cardigan has been quite a long one. I started it back in March May 2014 and finished on Friday. Having spent Thursday morning completing the button band and casting off, I planned to spend the rest of the day sewing on buttons and weaving in ends. I was immediately concerned that it wouldn't get finished when we booked last minute flights (we left for the airport an hour after buying them) to Singapore to see friends. Quickly I threaded some yarn through where I'd put pins in for the buttons and packed it to take with me. It got a bit of attention at the airport and then on Friday I finished it.

While I have enjoyed knitting the NEC I am incredibly glad to have it finished. It hasn't been a hardship working with this beautiful yarn though and I'm sure wearing the cardigan will be an absolute pleasure. It's been an incredibly interesting knit; ironic since it's all stockinette stitch with a little ribbing chucked in there for fun. It's my first adult sized fitted garment though and I've learned a lot while knitting it.

Things I learned:

- That swatching is really important. I don't swatch for many things but it certainly paid off for this!
- I will gladly use the CustomFit recipe maker again. I struggled with some of the terms but that's because in this instance I was pretty much a beginner knitter! The Ravelry group are so helpful and I always got answers to my questions and the help I needed.
- I don't mind seaming that much.
- I hate blocking. Alright...I didn't learn that from the just confirmed it! I went into complete meltdown as the fronts looked far too big and I couldn't shape them properly and I thought the whole thing was a waste of my knitting time....
- My husband hates blocking too. At least when I do it!
- I am sometimes quite irrational. (See my hatred of blocking).
- Where is important to mark off in a pattern so row counting is easier.
- I need more lobster claw stitch markers to mark certain points in the knitting.
- That you count decreases not from where the two stitches overlap but the stitch that joins obvious when you think about it!
- Finally that I should knit more cardigans!

Project details:
Pattern from CustomFit
Yarn: InkedYarn in the Katharine base. A 55% SW BFL/45% silk blend
Buttons: 6 mother of pearl, 3/4 inch
More details can be found on my Ravelry project page.

Overall I'm really pleased with it and think it fits quite well. There is a little too much fabric near the armholes but this doesn't seem uncommon with the CustomFit design and there are ways to fix it. The buttons are really pretty however I didn't use any grosgrain ribbon and I am slightly concerned that the buttons will pull on the button band, although seeing as I rarely button cardigans up it may be OK.

I have the yarn on the way for a second CustomFit Cardigan and hope to begin swatching soon! I'd love your feedback my first adult cardigan! Is there anything I should consider changing for next time?

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Sunday, 15 February 2015

Midmonth Update

I hope you're all having a great February! Normally I wouldn't bore you with details of the weather but we've had some fierce storms over the last few weeks! I'm not scared of thunder or lightening and I really enjoy watching storms but we've had some claps of thunder here so loud that it feels like the house is shaking! The car alarm has gone off a few times because of thunder too! Rain has been extremely heavy and some parts of Jakarta have experienced flooding; luckily not where we are though! This has all meant long nights knitting! 

1. Complete the left front of my cardigan (cast on today) I have finished the left front, re-knit most of the right front and as of today started seaming!

2. Decide what to do with the socks and shawlette that are currently on the needles (more on that later) I ripped out the socks and will probably knit a pair 2AAT using the magic loop method. 
3. Spin for at least 15 minutes every couple of days I've been very bad with the spinning as I've been really focussed on my cardigan. 
4. Figure out a plan of action for a baby blanket I need to knit I've not given this much thought...yet! As I'm not going home until Christmas I'm not too concerned about time. 

That's it for now. Next time I hope to show you a mostly completed cardigan and share some plotting I'm doing for my next projects. Have a great week! 

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Friday, 6 February 2015

What a Knitiot!

As I was in the car this morning I was knitting blissfully away on the left front of my cardigan. I stopped just at the point where I am due to do the bust increases and had a quick scan of the pattern to make sure I knew what was coming up. Then a thought occurred to me. Had I done the bust increases in the right front? If not that would account for the 5 missing stitches that I had to fudge....note to self to check for much needed bust increases.

So I got home and had a quick check of the right front and sure enough it looks like I missed the bust increases....I'm not sure how but I must not have read that part of the pattern! I'm glad now that I know where I lost those 5 stitches as I was racking my brains trying to work it out....

Luckily I had it in my mind that I may have to reknit the right front anyway. I may well rip down to the first decrease as it's not so neat so I suppose that's my silver lining.

I hope you all have a lovely crafty weekend lined up! 

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Sunday, 1 February 2015

February Goals

As January was a good month for knitting and spinning (at least by my standards) I am keen to keep this up this month. These goals really do seem to help keep me accountable for my crafting and ensure that I get on with my projects - or at the very least think about them.

Goals for this month:

1. Complete the left front of my cardigan (cast on today)
2. Decide what to do with the socks and shawlette that are currently on the needles (more on that later)
3. Spin for at least 15 minutes every couple of days 
4. Figure out a plan of action for a baby blanket I need to knit 

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