Last week, I headed to Melbourne for a professional development course. I have to say I waited too long to purchase my flight tickets so I ended up taking some really crummy timed flights. I took a red eye to Melbourne (with a stop over in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) and got to the city around 10 AM. I was exhausted, but I trooped on and saw the sights. Melbourne is a really cool city. It is well known for its street art alleys as well as its friendly people. Personally, it reminded me a lot of San Francisco… and so I loved it.
I also “needed” to get some yarn shopping in. My goal was to make it to the yarn shop Yarn +Co before closing time (Sunday hours are 12-4). I entered the Fitzroy neighborhood and was instantly charmed. Smith Street is just so cute. There are fun little boutiques (e.g., A Harry Potter merchandise shop!) and restaurants to explore. Yarn +Co is a really nice yarn shop. They stock mostly moderate to high priced brands- Cascade, Brooklyn Tweed, Quince and Co- but did have a few brands I had not seen before. The store had a range in yarn weights and everything was out to touch! The needle selection was okay, and the store stocked tons of patterns and books to choose from. The sales associate (who I suspect was the owner) was very friendly and knew when to help me locate things and when to just let me enjoy all the yarn goodies in peace.
I ended up purchasing 2 skeins of sock yarn, 4 balls of cotton yarn, and a set of US size 2 double pointed needles. I got the Rainbow sock yarn wound up right away as I wanted to start a pair of socks. My total came out to be about $100 (Australian Dollars).
Overall, my yarn shopping experience was awesome! If I lived in Melbourne this would certainly be a place I would shop at. The combination of staff, space, and yarn was a win win for me!
Until Next Time,
Side Note: Check out this awesome yarn creation! The school my course was being held at had a giant crochet/knitting display of the Very Hungry Caterpillar. How cute it this!?!
It is now October, which means I have about 2 months to get my Christmas knitting together. My plan is to knit for about 7 people this year. I am feeling ambitious so I will probably be making a few objects that are not hats, hence the getting started in October. With this being said, I started with a hat (hahaha).
I made one of my basic beanies (80 stitches on US Size 8 needles). This hat is made with a worsted weight wool/ acrylic blend (sorry no brand name). I used the leftover grey yarn in my Costal Pullover. I just went with the flow with this knit. One of my favorite color work patterns is this alternating color speckle. It is super easy and allows me to work on holding two strands of yarn in both hands. I don’t know if you can notice, but I played with holding the yarn in different hands half way through to see my tension difference.
My little experiment yielded that the non-dominant color needs to be in my left hand (aka using the Continental method) so that it pops. If I hold it in my right the tension is too tight and the dominant color swallows it up. This hat is intended for my old co-worker. I am debating if I should add a multi-colored pom pom on the top. She seems like a pom pom type of girl, but I am not quite sure.
To add a pom pom or not?
Until Next Time,
Vita de Vie is the latest sweater I have finished from Pom Pom Magazine (Issue 24). This sweater was very interesting to make. You begin at the cuff of one sleeve and then move toward the midline. I will say that this type of construction is not for you out there who hate seaming and the kitchener’s stitch. There is A LOT of it.
Vita de Vie is a well written pattern. I like how there are 6 sizes available and the model’s dimensions are included. Sometimes it is hard for me to picture how the sweater will look on me so it is nice to know approximately how similar (or different) the model’s body is to mine. The pattern is super clear and the lace section is charted and written out. I much prefer written directions when executing a pattern. All of those symbols just add a layer of complexity that I would rather avoid.
I used some yarn I purchased in Beijing. It is a Chinese brand that is a wool combination. The yarn was a little rough when working with it. It also felt like the material was really dense and weighty. However, after a wash my new sweater is feeling oh so soft and quite a bit lighter. The negative of the yarn was that in the wash the yarn shed quite a bit. I had a sizable scattering of yarn fibers left in my sink. I am hoping that this sweater doesn’t shed while wearing it.
Okay so let’s talk about the seaming on this sweater. I highly suggest if you are “allergic” to hand seaming than this is not the sweater for you. After knitting both sides, it took me about a week to seam the sleeves, sides of the body, as well as graft the front and back seams. I am not the best at hand seaming therefore, my grafting down the center seam is not as invisible as the sample pictures. This is something that I can over look as I put a lot of effort into this sweater’s construction. Besides, who will notice but me?
Considering that it is over 30+ degrees Celcius here in Guangzhou I don’t predict I will not be needing this sweater for a long time. However, I do have a trip planned to Melbourne in 4 weeks so I am hoping that it is still pretty chilly there so I can debute it.
Until Next Time,
Debbie Bliss and Love Knitting are holding a contest call “Why I Knit.” Reading/ listening to many of the stories on the website got me thinking about the reason(s) I have invested so many woman hours into this glorious art of knitting.
Recently, a co-worker asked if I would teach him how to knit. I agreed and he was knitting in about an hour. That weekend he went home and sent me a few update to check that his piece was on track. On Monday, he reported, “I see why you like to knit.” I smiled and said, “I am glad you found it. Many do not and just give up on knitting.” What is the it you say? Well it is that point where knitting just clicks for you and it becomes an act of pleasure rather than work.
Knitting is the moment of the day where I get to clear my head and give my brain a chance to go into auto pilot. I get to loose myself in the methodical clicking of the needles. I mean how many times have you said, “Just one more row!” and it has turned into 20?
I also get to meet my needs of being creative. Knitting has endless possibilities. Between the number of things you can make, to the color and yarn choices, to the method you use, there are no bounds to knitting. My brain has always been art-centered and knitting is an outlet for me to imagine and create.
Knitting is also a community activity. Yes you can go it alone, however, it it so rewarding to fellowship with others. I have learned so much about knitting and technique from chatting it up with fellow knitters at a knitting group. The internet is also a wonderful thing. Reading blogs and watching videos has added so much to my personal tool box. Aside from technical stuff, knitting brings people together. One common interest can lead to a beautiful friendship of respect and caring.
So Why do I Knit? I knit for my mind, I knit for joy, and I knit to connect with others. At the end of a project I feel such satisfaction knowing I created something from string. My finished garments almost feel like a piece of me. Within each stitch is a little bit of love.
Why do you knit?
Until Next Time,
PS: If you want to enter the competition to win £100 of Debbie Bliss yarn head here for the rules.
So my Karbonz Interchangable Set is worn out. I am down to one interchangeable cord. The three other cords were chucked out due to the screw cap breaking off. Secondly, many of the screw inserts became worn out. This meaning that randomly the needle would disconnect from the cord creating and explosion of loose stitches that would be nearly impossible to place back on the cord. Frustration mounted and I decided to look at my options.
Most knitting needles in China are bamboo, which I hate. I like a slick needle with a pointy tip. The yarn glides better (for me) and I can keep a faster knitting speed. I tried searching on Taobao (China’s Amazon equivalent) and I kept finding a lot of straight needles. Not that I am opposed to straight needles, but they are a lot harder to travel with and keep organized. After some more internet research, I discovered that Chiaogoo was a Chinese brand. I ended up finding an interchangeable set with US size 2-8 needles online for 600RMB (~$87).
It took awhile to receive my package, but when I did I was ever so pleased. Included in the set were needles US size 2-8, 3 cords, the tools to attach the needles to the cords, a cord extender, end caps, stitch markers, and a digital row counter.
So do I like the needles? Yes I really do! I love how slick the knitting needles are as the whole needle is one material. My Karbonz needles are wood and metal. The cords are awesome as well. They don’t kink and are pretty flexible. I also like that the connection join is very smooth. I don’t foresee many projects getting snagged. The only downfall is that I received less needles as I purchased the small set. However, I mostly knit with sizes 2-8 so this isn’t a huge issue. Looking forward to using these needles until they wear out 😉.
What is your favorite brand of knitting needle?
Until Next Time,
Once upon a time a parent told me that cardigans are way easier to dress their babies in than pullovers. As an adult person I tend to be more partial to a pullover. I hate when the cardigan edges flap in the breeze when I walk. However, with babies, I can see how avoiding pulling things over the baby’s head is the preferred option.
This summer I bought some Debbie Bliss Eco Baby on Taobao (China’s Amazon.com) This cotton is great. It is soft and has great stitch definition. I intended to make a cotton tank. I bought three balls thinking that would be enough (I was aiming for more of a cropped length). Boy was I wrong. It looked more like a bralette. So I frogged it and decided on a baby sweater instead.
This was a process knit and sorry I didn’t write down the pattern. I started with a top down raglan approach. I then added the purled rows to give the bland color a layer of complexity. Last but not least, I added the adorable rose buttons. Don’t you love the bright pop of color against the neutral tone?
I love making baby items. They are quick and oh so adorable. I am estimating that this sweater is about a 6-9 month sizing. I will keep this one in the gift reserve as there are quite a number of babies popping up around work.
Until Next Time,
This summer, I happened upon this great cotton yarn from Morris and Sons. It is a Pima cotton, which meant it was oh so soft. Lucky for me, I found a pattern that I knew would fit it perfectly two weeks later.
Roanoke, by Triona Murphy is a lovely short sleeve bottom-up sweater. It had my usual favorite elements- simple silhouette with a intricate yoke- so of course I fell in love. The yoke was made with a 4 row repeat of eyelets and yarn overs. It looked a simple enough, but let’s just say it took 4 froggings until the pattern clicked for me. I just could not figure out how to get the twist effect just right.
This was my first time working with Morris and Sons yarn and I really liked it. The yarn was soft and had great stitch definition. It didn’t expand too much when I wet blocked it either. The color did bleed quite a bit, but all was good because I washed it separately.
I am kind of mad at myself for only buying one sweaters worth of this yarn. However, travel restrictions didn’t allow me to buy more yarn than “needed.” Lucky for me, I get to return to Australia in October for a conference. Let’s just say I might have to bring an extra suitcase.😉
Until Next Time,