Central Park hoodie finally

I try to keep only one drawer set aside for all the WIPs that I’m bored with and are hibernating, but it has been crammed full for a while and I’ve started using a big paper bag as an extension… So in a moment of madness I tipped the drawer out last weekend and went through it. Good grief, what a weird bunch of crap. A lot of it went in the Frog Pond, which is yet another almost full drawer that I have to get around to sorting out some time.

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Yeah, no, I’m not going to show inside. Too many explanations required…like yes, I do actually have a good reason for knitting a chapstick cover in the shape of a penis…

But I did discover an almost finished Central Park Hoodie. Why did I stop knitting this? I only had a tiny part of an arm cap, the hood and the front band to go. It’s been languishing in that drawer now, according to my Ravelry project page, for well over 2 years. I think what happened is I discovered top-down and seamless knitting and that was that.

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It’s funny how your tastes change over time. This just doesn’t do it for me anymore, too chunky, WAY too beige, and the cables are a little boring. And it is far from my best knitting. But I was determined to clear some of these old projects, so I finished it off over the last couple of days, quickly, roughly, but that’s how I roll when I don’t love something. It turned out a reasonably nice chunky hoodie, quite weighty and very warm.

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The yarn was another of those giant balls of acrylic/wool blends. Cheap, and they come in great colours. This one was DY Choice Aran with Wool, and I remember the colour was called Oatmeal. I like the wooden buttons the best, I recycled them from an op shop jacket.

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Mods: The sleeves, I notice, are two inches longer than the pattern called for. I must have been accounting for my monkey arms. Because I have broad shoulders, chunky set in sleeves can look a bit much on me, so I had stopped the cables just before the top of the sleeves to minimise bulk. Didn’t work. Still look like a footballer in shoulder pads. The rest of it fits nicely though.

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I added an inch to the length of the hood, and probably could have added another one. I also bound off the hood with a three needle bind off, then picked up all 300 sts for the front band at once, instead of in two parts and then seaming. Three needle bind off rocks!

I do still work the occasional flat piece but I haven’t for a little while now, and to be honest I didn’t enjoy this. I forgot how much seaming sucks. Urgh. Oh, and purling. Purling sucks too. I really like circular knitting. A lot. 🙂

A retro sock knitting tote…

I was so happy with my knitting tote I made the crochet version the next day, from the same pattern. It’s the same size base, but shorter sides. It only took 2 hours the second time around, these are really fun to make. 🙂

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Even though I dislike orange, for unknown reasons I still decided to go hideously retro with this and use vintage sheeting from my stash, plus some more chocolate brown polycotton.

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I added the optional drawstring top again.

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I like that it can be pushed down inside to make a plain basket.

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After I made it, I realised its true purpose….it’s clearly a sock knitting tote bag. It’s perfect.

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So now I have to make yet another one for crochet. I can see myself with a collection of these. 🙂

B

DIY Knitting Tote

I’ve never had a knitting tote that I’ve really loved. The vintage ones I own are too small really for anything but socks or small projects, so I’ve always tended to make do with a big market bag or basket. Not anymore! I came across this digital pattern on Etsy this week and knew straight away it would work for me. Pockets galore, and lots and lots of room inside! It’s called the Ultimate Knitters and Crochet Tote by Sew Sweet UK.

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It took me 3.5 hours start to finish, including finding and digging out the fabrics from my stash. I used an old piece of quilting fabric and brown polycotton for contrast. I didn’t want to use anything too ‘good’ in case it didn’t work, but I needn’t have worried. The instructions and photos were very clear, and even with my usual pretty ‘casual’ measuring, it all fit together. The drawstring top is optional, and I chose to add it to keep heat seeking animals out. It was an easy sew. I did need to use the walking foot on my machine to get through the thicker wadding layers.

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I added two pockets to the lining for notions.

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I am so happy with this tote! I can fit an entire sweater project in it, balls and all! Plus all kinds of needles, including circulars. It stands on its own, plus it has a carry strap.

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The pattern comes with a smaller crochet version of the tote too, which I definitely plan on making as well. I actually wanted to make one for my mum today, but I ran out of wadding! So instead she got a dishcloth. I don’t normally do dishcloths, but this was too cute to go past. Nineteen Hundred House Dishcloth by Amanda Ochocki.

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Happy creating!
B 🙂

Vegie Gardening

I escaped from under my laptop and a huge pile of knitting this weekend to the garden temporarily, to redo my vegie garden. I’ve had quite a lot of successful vegie gardens in my life, but my original one here had been a bit of a fail. The raised beds dried out too fast in the heat and full sun, the soil we bought was too clay-ey, the plants burned, the gum trees competed from underneath for the water, and I couldn’t protect them from bandicoots and echidnas and possums or an absolute plague of rhinoceros beetles (I wish I was joking). So I eventually turned it into a mini orchard for some drought tolerant fruit trees instead. That was a few weeks ago and now it is powering. 🙂

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Here’s some pineapples I grew too in a pot. Just cos they are kind of cool.

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So anyway I decided the new vegie garden should go in the old chook pen. M, handy as ever, had built this out of concrete reinforcing mesh, and we had wired over the top of it. So we pulled out the old chook house, dug it over and I built a path and a U shaped bed inside. Nothing can get to it, and it is shaded from the Queensland sun by a passionfruit vine overhead. Perfect, and I love it.

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M is actually pretty talented with a welder. He whipped up a couple of presents recently for both our mums out of metal lying around the place. The artist sometimes lurks in the most unexpected of places.

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B 🙂

Some socks and some sparkle love

Some more socks this week, chunky ones this time for my mum. The yarn is Drops Uni Fabel and knits up on 5mm needles. Not sure if I like them this chunky, but they took no time at all to knit and will be warm. I managed to get a pair in size 9 from one ball. Just. I bought two just in case. I seriously need to stop taking photos on the carpet. Its hard to find a spot that gives the illusion it has been vacuumed.

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The following yarn, however was a completely random purchase. I added one single ball of sparkly yarn at the last minute to a loveknitting.com order, just to get me over the ‘free postage’ threshold. But when it arrived, I was fascinated by it. I couldn’t leave it alone. I kept it next to me in my knitting basket so I could look at it. And I kept getting it out of my basket and cuddling it. I kid you not. I patted it, I stroked it, I squished it to my cheek. I showed people that came over. I have issues. But it is soooo beautiful! It’s so sparkly! Look at it!

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Seriously, look at it!!!! 🙂

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It’s Adriafil Riflessi. I don’t know why I love the sparkle so much. I’m not 12. But still.
It took me a while to decide what to knit with it. There’s 150m in a ball, so I had a few choices. In the end I decided on a hat. At first I really wanted to do a fancy cable slouch beret, but then I thought the yarn should really speak for itself. Plus, there’s not a lot of spring in this yarn, so a slouchy beret might quickly collapse and stretch out. I decided eventually on a simple beanie with some rib and basic cables.

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This is a cast on of 84 sts on 5mm needles, then moving on to 6mm for the cabling. I decided on a turn up brim for this one for extra warmth. I knitted it over this weekend, and I’m very happy with my beanie. The only problem of course, that a more insightful person might have foreseen, is that when I am wearing it, I can’t see it. D’oh. I may need to invest in another ball to make matching mittens, so I can look at them. And maybe a cowl. Go full disco ball, yeah! 🙂

B

I love Paris! Week 2 and home again

Week 2 began with a trip to Bruges, Belgium, so gorgeous and so much chocolate!! (Also marzipan, meringues, nougat, more Florentines…) Much willpower was needed. It was a beautiful drive there and back too through Northern France.

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We also went to Versailles. It was so overwhelming I don’t even know what to say about that. Intense.

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Our favourite part of Versailles was wandering alone through the oak forest, having finally escaped the squillions of tourists and seeing a squirrel! Yay! (In case it isn’t obvious, we don’t have squirrels here.) We followed that squirrel for about ten minutes.

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Then back to the city and we once again walked and walked the streets of Paris. We packed so much into our trip, every street was like a postcard and it was breathtakingly beautiful and stylish.

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I didn’t buy any yarn, but I still had to sit on my suitcase to close it to come home. A few too many souvenirs and pressies…the scarves, the linen, the clothes, the earrings!! Oh and the handbags…I am such a sucker for rainbows…

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I think it’s safe to say that knitting is not a huge thing in Paris. My Fireside Sweater and Amadeus got plenty of looks, but not the ‘oh I should knit that too’ kind of looks, mainly ‘what the hell is that, knitting??’ kind of looks. 🙂

We were soooo lucky with weather, tours and flights, not a single glitch. That West to East jetlag though…Ergh. A lot worse than going the other way, that’s for sure. As Paleo people we had raw vegetable and fruit platters on the planes which were good, but didn’t quite cut it over 30 or so hours of travelling. But after arriving home at 3:30am like starving insomniac zombies, we were greatly helped by the sight of a Paleo smorgasbord in our kitchen, left for us by my wonderful Mum…chicken soup, brownies, apple cinnamon muffins, toasted macadamias…Aren’t Mums the best.
I did a few super quick watercolour sketches while we were away, and nearly finished my Drops socks.

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I’ve come back huuuugely inspired to make things…helped by a big parcel of yarn from loveknitting.com waiting for me….:)…..four more knitting projects on the needles today on top of the ones I already had! One is a scarf for my mother-in-law, and another a warm trapper hat lined with eyelash fur for my November trip to Finland. And I have also started another new design of my own, will update on that soon.
As always though, after a big stint of travelling even to somewhere as breathtaking as Paris, it was nice to come back to our simple little cottage on the mountain.

B 🙂