My husband has warm feet

socks-musee-jacquemart-andreSo as Australians, it is a bit of a cold shock to visit Europe in winter. Our hand knitted socks have been in high rotation, and I finished these ones for the Fireman on the flight from Sydney to Hong Kong.  Their first day out was a visit to the Musée Jacquemart-André, one of my favorite small museums in Paris.  I tried to persuade him to pose with the socks closer to the art, but this shot was the best I could extract.

socks-in-actionWe are now in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, and the sock model was feeling a tad more co-operative – the absence of museum guards, and the the lure of a glass of red might have helped.  Don’t be fooled by the pose into thinking that the weather has been warm – when the socks were hanging on the line today after a wash they froze!

socks-hangingTechnical details here.

I went to Iceland in January and I didn’t buy any yarn

In Iceland, there is yarn for sale in lots of places, but so far as I could see – it was all Lopi. As a wool lover, I feel like I should really like Lopi, but, I really don’t.

Part of the problem is that I was knitting this scarf while I was in Iceland.

20170114_144806It doesn’t look like much in the photos, but the yarn is the softest I have ever felt.  When I went to the Nordic Knitting conference in 2009, I felt the original Raha scarf as knitted by Nancy Bush, bought the yarn, and let it age in my stash.  Last October, my mother and sister went to the Nordic Knitting conference (without me! the traitors!) and I thought that the time was right to knit up my qiviut.

img-20170114-wa0003

I followed the pattern pretty closely, but did a provisional cast on and made it into a cowl.  I pretty much knitted until all the yarn was gone. More technical notes on Ravelry.  It is the softest, lightest cowl and feels like an angel is caressing my neck. You can buy some here.  I finished it last night in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, and wore it today.  It makes even slightly scratchy yarn very difficult to contemplate.

Put your feet in the air

Noro Striped Socks These socks were my slow commuter knitting project.  They went to the naughty corner several times because I had persisted with trying to knit from the centre of the skeins. I ended up with a great snarled mess of knotted yarn.  Things moved much more quickly when I broke the yarn, and started knitting from the outside of the skein. The downside of this approach was that somehow it involved me missing the pretty aqua part of the colourway of the Noro Kureyon Sock, but that might also be the mystery of Noro working it’s charms. IMG_1538 I was very concerned and annoyed when I knitted the first sock, and realised that instead of the regular 2 skein stripe that above the heel (on the left foot in the photo below), I would have a 3 row stripe. I almost frogged the whole heel, but at that stage was on the knitting tour of Estonia, and the message from the Estonian knitters that we were meeting, was always to knit on. Certain imperfections are to be expected, and time spent unpicking is time wasted. They similarly were not worried about the “jog” that can occur with striped socks and I resolved to be more sanguine. IMG_1553 The advice must be working, because the three row stripe is almost undetectable. I will however, also remember that the next time that I knit striped socks, to only knit 1 row of the heel colour prior to starting the heel, so that the 2 row pattern is maintained after the heel… For more technical details – the Ravelry link is here.

Larch cardigan

In May/June this year I was very lucky to go on a tour of Estonia led by Nancy Bush with my mother and sister.  I intended to knit this cardigan so that it would be finished while I was there.

I knitted on the flight to Estonia, and on the bus as we drove around Estonia.  We had amazing lessons, learning many new techniques and making friends with each other.

My mother and sister

We stayed in a huge variety of accommodation (the photo above shows my mother and sister in the doorway of our cabin in Kihnu – it was by far the most rustic) and I knitted this cardigan outdoors while drinking Estonian pear cider.

Kihnu Roosie

After lessons where I learned to make braids like the ones on the troi below, I sat and ploughed through stockingette.

1-IMG_0776We visited castles – the one below is in Haapsallu (yes the town of the shawls).
1-IMG_0831 But I wasn’t knitting as I walked down these steps!1-IMG_0832 The variety of knitwear that we saw was truly amazing – these socks are knitted at an incredibly fine gauge and date back to the late 19th Century.

1-IMG_0373 The variety of mittens and gloves that we saw have given me lots of inspiration for colour work.  Nancy was a very thoughtful and organised tour leader and the tour group laughed constantly.1-IMG_0424 Despite all the inspiration, I plugged on with the stockingette.1-IMG_0574By the time I hopped onto the plane back to Sydney, I had finally reached the collar of the cardigan, and then I remembered that I hated knitting twisted rib.  The cardigan sat scrunched in a bag until a couple of weeks ago, and I finally finished it today.

Finished Larch cardigan

Technical details here. The dog is Percy, who joined our family in April as a retired pets as therapy dog. He is a delight; a neurotic, food motivated, delight.

London Sweater

As I sit in Sydney, lightly sunburnt after a day on the water following a very dear friend’s wedding, it seems a long time ago that I finished this sweater.Seamless Hybrid outside Buckingham PalaceToday is Saturday and we left London on Tuesday (or New Year’s Day).  We were away for nearly 3 weeks, and my poor husband had to wait until the second last day of the holiday for his new sweater.  The photos were taken on New Years Day outside Buckingham Palace (with a couple at the cafe at the Serpentine Pond in Hyde Park).

Seamless Hybrid back detail

He greeted its finish with delight, helped by the fact that we had packed very light, and the 2 sweaters that he had with him were starting to look very familiar and tired. The sleeves seemed to take forever to knit, and they are slightly too long!  If they grow at all, I might need to do some surgery, but for now they are fine with the ribbing folded over.

Seamless Hybrid shoulder detail

It is a very basic Seamless Hybrid with a discreet cable down the torso under the arm. Any requests for further adornment were not entertained. More technical details on Ravelry.

Chain detail

The yarn is superb, and if you can track down any from Colourmart or in a destash I highly recommend it.  I washed it using my usual washing soda technique (the medium strength solution on the linked page) and really enjoyed knitting with it.

Warm feet, cold neck

Sock in progress

Older daughter has been waiting (not so patiently) for me to finish her a pair of socks – I’ve only been able to get knitting in on public transport (and at my first meeting of the Bar knitting group).  The return to full-time work has gone relatively smoothly, but it has eaten into my crafting time.

I’m on holidays now in France, and the flight here was when the socks were finally finished.

Sock at Chateau Bussy-Rabutin

The girls have grown so much this year, I built a bit of extra length into Older Daughter’s socks.

Both socks

I was thinking of slightly more artistic shots to show off the socks at the Chateau de Bussy-Rabutin, but you will just need to imagine that the view below was in the background (I promise it was).  If you notice that that the colourway of the sock resembles Regia Kaffe Fassett Random Stripe, then you are not on your own – my sister bought it on Ebay and we both noticed the resemblance as soon as it was unpacked. More details here.

Chateau de Bussy - Rabutin

I’ve been so busy that I delegated some knitting for the trip to Mum, and she made Older Daughter a Luxe Neck Warmer out of Colourmart cashmere to match her hat (thanks Mum!).  Older Daughter loved the neck warmer, and wore it every day of the trip until the car trip to the castle.  Then she noticed a loose thread and decided (using logic best understood by a bored 10 year old in the back of a car) to chew it off.  Now we have a hole (Sorry Mum!).

Luxe neck warmerUnfortunately, I don’t have any more of this yarn with me, so the repair will need to wait until we return to Sydney.

Happy holidays to everyone.  I have to dash – I am hoping to finish a sweater by tomorrow…

Crafternoon in Melbourne

I’ve been thinking a bit about what makes travel successful for me.  I haven’t written a blog post dissing the company that took us to Vietnam (but have come close) because I think that the problem with the trip might be with me.  For the most part, I don’t enjoy sight-seeing.  In fact, hanging out with a lot of other tourists, eating tourist food, and being hustled about in a manner more akin to a feedlot gives me the heeby-jeebies. So what does work for me?  The day I had in Melbourne this week…We were in Melbourne for the week, and Soozs suggested that we get together at Crafternoon.

For the uninitiated, Crafternoon is an amazing little cafe where you and your children are encouraged to draw, cut up books, and create.  My daughters were with me, and had a fabulous time with Suzie’s kids.  I drank excellent coffee, knitted, chatted, and ate a tasty, satisfying lunch.

The kids made badges, and insisted on them being photographed for the blog.

There were no other tourists to be seen.  I think that a local can give you an insight into a city that most tourist guides are never going to reach. When you have a local who shares your interests – you have the makings for a very fine day. Suzie knew that the two locations were within a quick walk, gave me tips on the tram to take, and the itinerary met my interests…She even brought along some lovely baklava from A1 Bakery to satisfy our turkish sweets needs.

Suzie had suggested a further stop, a trip to the Handweavers & Spinners Guild of Victoria.  I would have taken many, many photos of this place, but there was a sign on the wall expressly forbidding it.  If you have ever desired some hand-spun yarn, this is the destination.  They have a huge variety of handspun for sale, as well as spinning supplies, and some amazing finished garments (a beautiful handspun and woven scarf really did nearly make it home with me).  The prices are exceedingly low – I bought all this (for $72).

That’s a 100 gram skein of wool/silk, a 200 gram skein of wool, and a handspun and hand-knitted pair of booties for our neighbours’ baby.

I can tell that the larger skein wants to be a scarf:

Any ideas on what to knit?  I want to show off the yarn, but am not that interested in measuring it. It looks like a worsted/aran weight – I have 200 grams, so let’s say 440 yards?

Details:

Crafternoon: 531 Nicholson St, Carlton North, VIC 3054

Handweavers & Spinners Guild of Victoria: 655 Nicholson St, Carlton North, VIC 3054