Friday, 24 October 2014

Adventure Knitting

Pin It All the preparation for the Wedding and Honeymoon are finally over as we arrived home from our Honeymoon yesterday.

Both events were everything that we could have hoped for.  Well, in all honesty, we could have done with a little less rain on the big day.  It bucketed down all day and in the city of more sunny days per year than any other city in Australia, I was taken completely by surprise at just how much rain we had.  In the end, I think it only served to make the event a little more cosy and intimate.

We left the reception and flew straight to Sydney for our Honeymoon.  We caught the red-eye and were beyond exhausted when we arrived at 6.00am Monday morning, having not slept since Saturday night.   I knew that I would not be knitting that day .. but, as I arrive home, I have very, very little knitting done.  I did take some sock knitting with me and I had every intention of knitting quite frequently but somehow it just didn't transpire.  I have about 2/3 of a sock done but that was the sum total of my honeymoon knitting.  That's not to say however, that my knitted items that I had packed did not have a good time.  They went everywhere with me.

My blue knitted 'Serendipity' cowl came with me for the trip on the first leg of our journey.




This is the blue Serendipity cowl & me in Sydney, still with 'wedding hair' (I had only just managed to take all the hair clips out) trying not to look totally exhausted as we wait for something to eat. 




The weather in Sydney was glorious - very sunny and mild so I had to wait until a few days later in New Zealand before it was cool enough to wear some knits.






On our first day in New Zealand, we took the train across the Alpine range.  It was just glorious (at the start).  My new cowl was just the item to keep the chill away.  Once we arrived at the half way point it started to rain and did not stop for 3 days.  Coming from such a dry state as Western Australia, we loved it!
                                                                                                                        Our arrival in Queenstown was met with a complimentary bottle of wine for the 'Honeymooners' which we drank outside on our balcony after a day of sight seeing..  My favourite hat was definitely needed to keep away the evening chill.

Authentic New Zealand fish 'n chips beside the lake for lunch was just perfect for 2 ravenous holiday makers.  Still not warm enough to take off a hat and cowl though.  The 'breeze' that was coming in from the lake was colder than expected.





We had a fabulous time jet boating the next day and I have never been more relieved to have my knitted headband than on this day.  The 'short' stroll to town in the morning turned out to be an hour long in 6C temperatures but this paled when on the jet boat.  It was beyond freezing.  Thanks to a bit of knit wear and a heated hand rail, we came through it unscathed.   The long walk back to the hotel though is best left unmentioned.

Peter and I on the practise run on the lake.

Ever since we had booked our honeymoon, one of the highlights was the Gondola ride to the skyline restaurant at the top of the mountain.  Neither of us expected to feel as jittery and as nervous as we did though.  Don't be mislead by the smile on our faces, it was purely for the camera and, I am afraid to say, even my trusty cowl failed to make me feel any calmer.

We all look like a display from Madame Tussauds
A little more relaxed after a strong cup of coffee
A glass of wine and a great meal made the
 trip back down a little better than the trip up
Once at the top, my cowl and I got to experience a genuine New Zealand Haka which was fantastic.


Waiting for coffee


















About half way through our trip, the weather turned cold - Really, really cold for a couple of Aussies.

We bravely decided that we would have our breakfast outside on the Pier - just to REALLY experience the weather (if only we knew what was coming up in the next couple of days.)  I had forgotten my gloves so Peter (in true romantic spirit) leant me one of his.










When we left Queenstown, it started to snow and we were as excited as children on Christmas morning. We pulled the car over a few times, took heaps of photos, played in it even tried to catch it in our mouths.  It was cold however, and once again, where would I have been without some cosy knitwear?

It's quite difficult to take a
selfie with frozen fingers






















The legacy of all the snow though, was a bitterly cold cruise on the Doubtful Sound.  Did I say bitter?  I meant completely and utterly, mind blowingly freezing.  Hat, cowl, glove & coat weather.  I went outside to take some photos without my gloves on and very quickly regretted it. 



Silk roving from Ashford.
Very pleased indeed















The drive up the east coast took us past Ashford Wheels and Looms in Ashburton.  I love their spinning wheels  and could not resist a look inside their shop (and of course a small purchase of silk roving.  It had to be small, our suitcases could barely cope with the amount they already had)




We had such a fantastic time and  I can heartily recommend New Zealand as a fantastic spot for a holiday/honeymoon - especially for all the knitters and crocheters out there .. 

Now it's time to settle in and get back to some crafting.  I have missed it.

Happy Holiday-ing
Louise

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Saturday, 18 October 2014

Ridged String Scarf

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So far this Spring, we've had a couple of lovely days of sunshine, and those two days were glorious and cleansing as only sun and warmth can be after a long, cold Winter.  Two warm days is not enough to have me betting on a warm Spring  though, and so when I picked up my crochet hook to start a new scarf, I did it with the confidence that I'll still get quite a bit of use out of my new garment, even as we hurtle towards the end of year and the hot Australian Summer.





The bag of Homespun that Louise left with me when she last visited, continues to be a source of inspiration and I'm pleased to say that I still haven't purchased any more yarn since I declared that I am going to use what I have, rather than go shopping for any more yarny goodness (as delightful as that is!)


The pattern for the scarf is from New Stitch a Day and the pattern is the Ridged String Network 




Pattern:

Using a 12 mm crochet hook and thick yarn of your choice, chain 13.  For a wider scarf, add extra chains in multiples of four.

Continue with the Ridged String Network Pattern from New Stitch a Day until scarf reaches desired length.






This is a very easy pattern and a short project that can easily be finished in a weekend,which means if the weather forecast is looking dismal for the week ahead, you'll soon have a new accessory to see you through the cold, blustery winds and rain.



Happy Crocheting

Deb





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Sunday, 12 October 2014

My Favourite Hat

Pin It Quite some time ago (in the days before blogs), I knitted a hat. In all the days of knitting that has passed since then, it is still my favourite and it still looks as it did on the day I finished it.

The pattern was by Vogue and knitted up quickly (as all hats seem to) and fitted to perfection. (the pattern can be found here for $5)  It is the perfect hat for keeping my very unruly hair in order (no mean feat for a hat).

There was no question that this hat was coming to New Zealand with me.  It's a versatile garment - stylish and functional.  I just needed something to go with it - and not much time to be starting a new knitting project.  (Wedding planning takes up a lot of time I have discovered).

Last weekend I was rummaging around in my wool stash and came across a solitary ball of the dark brown that I used for my hat.  I grabbed it out, sat straight down and knitted my standard, no fail cowl.


Pattern



Using 2 strands of 8ply wool and a set of size 8.00mm circular needles, Cast on 66 stitches.

Knit 5 rows Purl
Knit 5 rows Plain (K)
Repeat 6 times.
Finish with 5 rows Purl and loosely cast off.



Weave in any loose ends and you are good to go.

The garter stitch in the cowl matches the feature garter stitch on the brim of that hat.

This cowl knitted up in an evening in front of the TV.  66 stitches means that, not only is it a quick knit, it's a warm, snug fit.  With the temperature reaching a high of 7C in some of the places we are staying in New Zealand, I think that this is an item that needs to remain in my carry-on luggage as I think I will be wearing it a lot.

With only a week to go before the big day and then the honeymoon, I am pretty sure that I will not have any time to knit anything else - but you never know.

Happy knitting,
Louise

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Sunday, 5 October 2014

A little Downton Crochet Collar

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I think it's fair to say that I'm a big fan of Downton Abbey.  I could easily sit and watch it for hours, not just for the antics of Daisy and Lady Edith, but the sublime setting and glamorous clothes are beyond heavenly.   It's a bit hard to get away with Downton styling in everyday life, but I think this easy crochet collar may just be the thing to bring that time period into this millennium.



This is a very quick pattern that's easily completed in an hour or so and magically transforms the plainest top or jumper into a 20's masterpiece.

I chose Bendigo Woollen Mills Classic 8ply in Almond for this project and a 4mm crochet hook.

Pattern:

Chain 70 (if you want a smaller or larger collar,  the pattern requires multiples of 6 plus 4 extra chains)

The design for the collar is the Fairy Shell Stitch pattern from New Stitch a Day.

  1. Row 1:(Right Side): sc in 4th ch from hook, *skip 2ch, shell in next ch, skip 2ch, [sc, ch 3, sc] in next ch; rep from * across to last 6 ch, skip 2ch, shell in next ch, skip 2ch, [sc, ch 1, hdc] in last ch, turn.
Row 2ch 3 (counts as dc), 2dc in hdc, *[sc, ch 3, sc] in ch 2 sp, shell in ch 3 sp; rep from * across to last ch 2 sp, [sc, ch 3, sc] in last ch 2 sp, 3dc in 3rd ch of tch, turn.

Row 3:  ch 3 (counts as hdc, ch 1 sp), sc in 1st dc, *shell in ch 3 sp, [sc, ch 3, sc] in next ch 2 sp; rep from * across to last ch 2 sp, shell in last ch 3 sp, [sc, ch 1, hdc] in top of tch, finish.

Sew in ends, blockadd an elegant button, then attach or slip over a simple top and the transformation is complete.


Now if someone would be so kind as to  please bring me a cup of tea and a cucumber sandwich :-)

Happy crocheting

Deb


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Saturday, 27 September 2014

Serendipity Beanie and Matching Cowl

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Serendipity Beanie
I had been looking for a slouch beanie pattern for quite some time.  Something soft, fashionable and drapey.  The other day I found it .. on my favourite craft blog - ours!

Deb and I spend our days crafting and posting the results to our blog.  It's always lovely to see her posts pop up and I can see what she has been doing.  One of our recent posts was her 'Shades of Grey Beanie'.  It was pretty much exactly what I was after and so simple to make.  I had to laugh.  My search had proved fruitless whilst Deb was knitting exactly what I was chasing.

I'm in a frenzy of last minute knitting for our honeymoon to New Zealand and I am making hats and cowls to match various items in my wardrobe.  The latest project is a sky blue beanie to match a simple cable knit jumper.  
Slouch Beanie & Matching Cowl

I scanned the pattern - Deb said that a good substitute for the yarn she used would be a cotton or bamboo blend.  BINGO - I had just the right yarn. Debbie Bliss' Prima (80% Bamboo and 20% wool - delightfully drapey).

I used her pattern but modified it ever-so-slightly to included a chunky cable design.  I also knitted with 2 balls of yarn at the same time to achieve the chunky look I was after.






Beanie Pattern

Matching Debbie Bliss
Abbreviations:  
C3F - transfer 3 stitches to cable needle and hold in front of work.  Knit the next 3 stitches and then knit the 3 stitches from the cable needle.
C3B - transfer 3 stitches to cable needle and hold in back of work.  Knit the next 3 stitches and then knit the 3 stitches from the cable needle.

Using 8mm needles, cast on 50 stitches.
  
Row 1:  Slip 1, K15, P2, K6, P1, K6, P2, K17
Row 2:  Slip 1, K18, P6, K1, P6, K18
Row 3:  As row 1
Row 4:  As row 2
Row 5: Slip 1, K15, P2, C3F, P1, C3B, P2, K17
Row 6:  As row 2
Row 7:  As row 1
Row 8:  As row 2
Row 9:  As row 1
Row 10: As row 2
Row 11: As row 1
Row 12: As row 2
Row 13: As row 1
Row 14: As row 2
Row 15: As row 5

Rows 5-14 make up the cable pattern.

Continue in the cable pattern until work measures approx 48cm from beginning.  Cast off loosely.
Sew cast off and cast on seam together with right sides facing from one edge until just past the cable pattern.  At this point, run a gathering thread along the other edge of the cast on/cast off edge and along the side.  Pull the thread so the beanie has a slouch look.

Turn the beanie right way out and then roll up the brim of the hat and secure in place with a stitch or 2 at the back.


Cowl Pattern

Super Simple Serendipity Cowl
Using 2 strands of Debbie Bliss 'Prima' and a set of size 8.00mm circular needles, Cast on 66 stitches.

Knit 5 rows Purl
Knit 5 rows Plain (K)
Repeat 6 times.
Finish with 5 rows Purl and loosely cast off.

Weave in any loose ends and you are good to go.

Happy Knitting,
Louise

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Monday, 15 September 2014

Knitlon Crochet Bath Scrubbie

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Knitlon (also known as Craftlon or Nylon Knitting Ribbon depending on where you live) is one of those products that it's hard to know what to do with.  We've been making loom knit flowers and items for fund raising, but I've had a few rolls left over and I decided there must be something else out there other than coat hangers and toilet roll doll covers that would suit a product that reached it's peak in the 70's.

After a fruitless Google search for ideas, it struck me that it could just be the perfect medium for bath scrubbies.  It's nylon so dries quickly meaning that a wet soggy mess of yarn isn't going to be left hanging in the shower day after day.

The pattern for bath scrubbies is really very simple and ideal for beginners, once you know how to chain, slip stitch and double crochet.

Pattern:

Using Knitlon in the colour of your choice chain 4, slip stitch into first chain to form circle.  I used a 5.5mm crochet hook, but feel free to experiment with different sizes.

Chain 40 to form loop for hanging, slip stitch into circle.

Round 1:  Chain 2, Double crochet into circle 40 times (it can be a bit of a squeeze).  Slip stitch into first chain 2 to finish round..




Round 2:  Chain 2.  Double crochet 3 times into each stitch of Round 1.  Slip stitch into first chain 2 to finish round.

Round 3:  Chain 2.  Double crochet 3 times into each stitch of Round 2.  Slip stitch into initial chain 2 of this round, bind off leaving a 10cm length of knitlon.  Tie 10cm length of Knitlon to centre circle of scrubbie.  

I love these for a guest bathroom, or a lovely little treat for a friend.  I might just have to go and buy myself some more Knitlon I think!

Happy crocheting 

Deb

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Monday, 8 September 2014

Pompom Cowl

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Don't you love it when you have an idea, pick up some yarn and from the very start the project unfolds easily and the finished item is just as you imagined?  This is not one of those times!

I had used what I like to call "Novelty Yarn" once before when I made our Six Percent Whimsy Scarf and so when my daughter required a black scarf or cowl to match her school uniform I had no hesitation in picking up a similar yarn to make this new piece. 

Now, the instructions on the label of Petunia Pimpon called for size 10 needles and while I understand that size 10 means different things in different countries, it seemed that no equivalent needle size would work with this yarn to make the pompoms line up.  In the end I tried every needle size I owned and then went and purchased a couple more sizes, just to check those as well.

In the end I used a pair of 12 mm needles and cast on 5 stitches, continuing in stocking stitch until I had used one full ball of yarn.  I had purchased two balls of yarn, thinking that I may make a scarf and it wasn't until I went to use the second ball that I realised that the problem may have actually been the yarn and not me after all.  I know a bad workman always blames his tools, but the two balls of yarn I had were completely different, despite having the same label,  and I think I may have started off with the dodgy one...at least that's what I'll keep telling myself every time my daughter wears her new cowl to school!


 Happy Knitting

Deb










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