May 27, 2010

Little Blue

Another productive day in the Powell Knitting Factory. I just finished another baby sweater. I knit this one basically to test a pattern I have created...just making sure the other sizes in the pattern work as they should.  I also reworked the faux fur around the hood as the last time I knit this, there was too much fur in the baby's face, and anything a baby feels tickling its face, it will try and eat. Not always good!

Today was cold, rainy, and windy. About 42 degrees during the day and we had a few bouts of hail too. The sun peeked out for all of about 5 seconds once today which was a good reminder that it's still out there. This huge storm has latched on to New Zealand for the last 3 or 4 days. But all indications are it's on its way out.

Rainy day by the Avon River

Wet autumn leaves

So, a good day to catch up on knitting projects. I put the buttons on the above sweater. Lining them up...

Marking the placement...

I tried a couple of different ways of making loops, including i-cord and crocheted, but finally came up with an idea I got from 'The Knitter's Handbook' by Montse Stanley. There weren't instructions per se, just one illustration of what it was supposed to look like and a bit of text. But I finally figured it out and I'm happy with the results. It's hard to describe but basically you use something called a 'buttonhole' stitch -- which essentially is blanket stitch without the spaces inbetween --  wrapping around a couple of loops of yarn that formed the base of the loop.

Here's what the finished loop looks like:

Very nice looking in my humble opinion.

May 26, 2010

Commission Completed

I put the final touches on my commission hat tonight and it took some time to decide what colors to use in the tassle. In the end, simple red won out...everything else seemed to fight with the pattern of the hat. It's lined with windblock fleece, so it's very warm. The recipient of this hat will get to travel to Antarctica in style and warmth, with a one-of-a-kind hat.

Here's the hat...well...flat.

I get the added bonus of getting to hand off my creation to its new owner and see how it looks on her noggin. I've heard that these colors will work very well on her.

In unrelated news, we are being pelted with a big storm causing wide-spread flooding around New Zealand. At high tide, our street is almost completely flooded, but it recedes when the tide goes out. I feel sorry for all the poor farmers down south trying to keep their livestock out of harms way. Hopefully it will pass soon.

May 21, 2010

Sneak Peek

My current project is blocking (the cookie cooling rack is doing double duty)...but here's a sneak peek. I'm pretty happy with it although I must admit, some things about fair isle knitting are still mysterious for me...most it's about the tension of the 'floats' in the back of the work. I used to make them too tight, but now it seems a lot of them are a bit too loose...and some are just right; the consistency is off. I would love watch a knitter who is really good at fair isle to see what they do. But blocking really helps...makes everything lay down nice and flat and hopefully it will 'mold and hold' those stitches in place.

I do love working with Cascade 220 yarn. It's really good for this kind of knitting.

Don't the penguins look like they are wearing little dutch clogs?

May 18, 2010


This is my next project; a hat commissioned from a woman who is heading to Antarctica on a cruise next austral summer. She loved a design she saw on my blog and told me the colors she likes and above that, is letting me design whatever I want. I was inspired to put some little Adelie penguins on the hat so I had to figure out a chart that worked within the vertical space of a hat.  This one is 10 wide (with one white stitch in between each penguin) and 20 tall.

I have to get this done since I'm leaving for the States on June 1st and she lives in the general area I am visiting in California, so I had planned on giving it to her then.

I'm not entirely sure about all the patterning in the hat as shown in my sketch, so I may simplify it somewhat. What usually happens is the hat kind of tells me what it wants to be as I go along, but it helps to have an idea to look at.

Neat Cast On
I want to share with you a little trick for how I do a cast on when I want to make sure the edge is really tidy. I use the smallest size DPN I have and lay it alongside the needle I am casting onto. Then I snug the cast on stitches down quite tight around both needles. Then when I'm done casting on, I just remove the smaller needle. Works like a charm!

Ta da! Nice and neat cast on edge and plenty of room to work into the first row.

Just One More...

The day before my friend's baby shower, I experienced an overwhelming desire to make another pair of booties to match the pink hat, even though I'd already knitted a pair of booties to go with it. I found this free pattern, 'Saartje's Booties,' and thought they were cuter than cute, so I downloaded the pattern and made a pair in pink.

They look like they would stay on pretty well, which is always a concern when making babies are pretty much always moving their feet.

The lichens on the wall in this picture is also proof positive that I live in a city that has ultra clean air. Yeah for Christchurch, New Zealand!

May 08, 2010

Nature's Delights

Just appreciating nature today. I whacked the end off a rather giant celery and was taken by the loveliness of the design that resulted.

Also walking in Lyttelton this morning, found a fuschia bush quite unlike any I've ever seen. The flowers are so delicate; I call it the 'fairy fuschia.'

It's been a lovely birthday so far. Lots of wishes from friends and family in far off places and a fun morning going to the market and shopping in Lyttelton with a friend. Unexpected present and lunch. A celebratory Kiwi trifle (with candle) and presents from my husband. A fragrant little package in the mail from a friend in Wellington. I think I need a nap!

May 05, 2010

Oh Yummy!

Nothing more delicious than new yarn. This pile of lusciousness just came in the mail today. It's all Cascade 220, which I just scored off the Webs website ( for $5 a skein (normally $7). Not sure how long it's on sale, but I checked tonight and it's still at that price. Cascade 220 is just a nice, basic, all-purpose, affordable wool yarn that comes in a kazillion colors and felts REALLY well...and it's quite soft too.

The colors may seem somewhat random, but I actually have two projects in mind for all these skeins. When I will find the time to actually sit down and make those projects is another matter entirely.

This is in addition to the 40 balls of yarn I purchased on sale last weekend...enough to make two sweaters. I already have the patterns picked out and downloaded...and so the yarn and patterns sit, waiting patiently until the day I find make the time.

So all in all, I'm about 7 projects deep at this very moment. But hey, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Cascade also comes in 'paints.' Here is a color called 'Thunder.' It's gorgeous. My photo doesn't do it justice, so here's the one off the website...
I think I will make another pair of those French Press Felted Slippers with this yarn. It will pretty much match 50% of my wardrobe. The green ones I made match another 40% of my wardrobe and if I get ambitious, I will make a red pair that will match the remaining 10%. But let's be rational.


I am testing my baby parka pattern, by knitting another of the 3 sizes offered in the pattern. I bought the cheapest yarn I could get at the local yarn store, which is still a nice 100% New Zealand wool yarn in a vibrant 'Superman' blue. I am just making sure the pattern makes sense in all the sizes represented.