Monday, 29 December 2014
Nearly everything is packed now, which was not as painful as I thought it could have been. I think we will be pretty close to our weight limit on luggage though, so there may be a few books being replaced later...
We will be on the other side of the world in less than a week now!
Monday, 15 December 2014
Jennifer currently has 99 patterns listed on ravelry, and there is a good mix of garments and accessories. I am always a sucker for great shawls, and I love the colours and shaping in Swirligig:
The interview follows - my questions are in bold, and I have added personal notes in italics.
1. Do you have a favourite amongst your designs? Any that you personally love that just aren't as popular as you think they deserve to be?
My latest design is always my favorite! At the moment, it's my two-color asymmetric shawl Vary, which is a riff on my popular Sundry shawl, with expanded slipstitch patterning.
2. Do you have any particular source of design inspiration, or do your ideas come from anywhere and everywhere?
Inspiration can come from anything; I live in a beautiful place where there are always color and shapes in nature to draw from. I like to make things that I want in my own wardrobe, or items that explore different techniques - I'm always looking for unusual constructions.
I think the edging on Venomous Tentacula is fun and creative. It looks not too complicated to knit, but incredibly effective.
3. What are your favourite yarns to work with (or just fondle) - either content, weight, or brand (or all of the above)?
I like worsted weight wools for garments, and soft wool blend fingering weight for shawls. Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted was my first "nice" yarn, and is still one of my favorites for all sorts of items, especially accessories. I love String Theory Caper Sock, which is a hand-dyed mcn; I also really like the drape and hand of fingering weight singles like madelinetosh tml.
4. What sort of thing do you most like knitting/creating?
That depends, too. My standbys are sweaters and modern shawls, but with winter coming soon, I'm feeling the love for warm accessories. I have a hat and long cowl in development now, and they'll be released soon.
For some reason sweaters always feel like a lot of knitting to me, even after I worked out that I'll quite happily knit more stitches in a shawl, but I am trying to push myself to make a few! I like the sleeves on Shadow Dial, and have added to my list of possible patterns to make when I feel up to braving another garment - bonus is that it's lace weight, so maybe it won't feel so heavy to me as I'm knitting.
5. I am currently facing the prospect of my first ever winter Christmas, do you have any favourite winter Christmas traditions?
On Black Friday, the day after the US celebrates Thanksgiving, we go to the tree farm to get our christmas tree. There have been years when it's been a balmy tee-shirt weather day, or a snowstorm, but we always go. Then we decorate for the holiday (and maybe do a bit of cyber shopping).
Thank you for answering my questions, Jennifer!
All photos are copyrighted by Jennifer Dassau
Thursday, 4 December 2014
There is something incredibly beautiful about vegetation glazed in ice.
Tuesday, 2 December 2014
It is Monday, it is December, and it feels like things are starting to fall into place (somewhat).
The Christmas stocking has about half the backstitching done now, and I am hoping to finish by the end of the week. It won't be made up for this christmas though, I'm planning to just pin it to a pillowcase. I have started knitting myself a new hat, which I would like to finish before it is suddenly summer again.
We have a stack of Christmas cards to write in and post, with any luck we haven't missed the Christmas mailing dates already. Had a bit of a glitch in failing to find somewhere to print some photos I was aiming to send - apparently people don't print photos here or something? Yesterday I hunted for the right spices for the Christmas baking, and ended up with 'gingerbread spice', so it will be interesting to see how that turns out. Next step will be finding time to actually do the baking...
I think we're doing pretty well on the gift shopping front too - the boys are mostly sorted, just need to order a drink bottle for the changeling (Life Factory glass bottle, he loves his brother's one, and it will be better for long plane trips than his tiny sippy cup). We haven't got everything we'd like to find for people back home, but we either know what we're looking for and where to get it, or have no idea. There will be Christmas markets to explore throughout the month anyway. I would also like to buy some tree ornaments to bring back - until now we've had a chipmunk on top of the tree (I don't want a star or angel), but here the thing to have is apparently a spike. (What else could it be, in this city of spiky spikiness?)
The weather forecast keeps threatening snow in a week, which never quite happens. I hope we'll see some at some point during the month.
Monday, 24 November 2014
I have 1.5 grams left with which to do at least 16 more rows. I have a funny feeling that's well short of plausible.
New plan: finish the ball, then calculate how much smaller it needs to be, then rip back a bit and try again. I may block before ripping too, in case I suddenly decide I hate it.
It's not my normal knitting, but I'm surprising myself by really liking it so far. Here's hoping I still like it after I'm fully satisfied with how the design works.Anyway, it's getting cold here, and I want to use that knitting needle to make a nice warm hat!
Thursday, 13 November 2014
Not only do I have a stocking update and a cardigan update, there is also a new design that decided to jump into the needles. It is destined to be a scarf or stole, and is being made from some Zealana Kauri fingering (60% merino, 30% possum, 10% silk) that I bought for a different design where it didn't want to cooperate. I'm much happier with this incarnation so far.
The heel of the stocking is now nice and clear, just the rest of the foot to go.
You can almost see the knit/purl chevron pattern on the back of this if you squint enough.
This is so beautifully soft, I'm loving it so far.
Tuesday, 11 November 2014
Somehow Wednesday last week snuck by without me noticing, I suspect it was related to the range of illnesses we managed to work through in the last week. Happily everyone was fine by Friday, so we headed off to Dresden for the weekend.
I have now finished the first 200g skein of the cardigan, and will try to get a decent photo (light permitting) in the next few days. The stocking is also progressing well, and there are more knitting plans afoot.
Thursday, 30 October 2014
Thursday, 23 October 2014
This week I would like to introduce my cardigan WIP. Pattern is Woodstove Season, by Alicia Plummer. Yarn is a wool/hemp blend that I got from the mill in Milton a year ago. It feels a little harsh, but not actually scratchy -I'm assuming that is the hemp making itself known, and I hope it will soften in time. Even if it doesn't it will be fine, as I'm intending this to be a loose cardigan to throw on for around home and going to the playground.
I am finding the knitting to be a little bit of a slog already, I think because the hemp means the yarn has a bit less give than wool, and is less flexible. I hope I will get used to it because I don't really want to end up giving up on it. I am using 4mm needles, which is giving me a slightly smaller stitch gauge than the pattern says, but the row gauge is good. I'm compensating by making the next size up, which I think should turn out about right. (I have checked the numbers, and they look pretty good).
(Apologies for the terrible photo, today has been miserable and our indoor lighting is somewhat suboptimal.)
I am nearly halfway through the yoke increases, so I think this will take a long time to finish. Maybe I will aim for next winter...
Thursday, 16 October 2014
Thursday, 9 October 2014
The weather is definitely cooling down here, and I only have one pair of small mittens for two little boys. Clearly this won't work, so last week I started on another pair. The pattern is The Stay Put Mini Mitts by Jennifer Alexander, size 3-4. Yarn is Schoeller + Stahl Limbo, a superwash wool. I am using 3.25mm needles, which is smaller than what the pattern calls for, but is giving me a nice dense mitten.
I have actually finished the thumb now, next photos will probably be of the pair though.
I started these on Saturday, and would probably be further along by now, but for the last 4 days we have all been working through various stages of a stomach bug. Everyone appears to be on the mend now, The Changeling is the last to be laid low and I think the fact that he is still breastfed has helped a lot. He does have some pretty nasty nappy rash at the moment, but we have the medications and routine sorted from when he had issues before so fingers crossed that he will bounce back pretty quickly.
Wednesday, 1 October 2014
For ages I have seen people posting works in progress on Wednesdays, and thought it seemed like a nice idea. But by the time I would take a photo, extract it from the camera, and formulate a post it would almost certainly not be Wednesday, and absolutely not the one on which the photo was taken.
Just this last weekend I decided I wanted to track progress on the Christmas stocking, I remembered the WIP Wednesday concept, and realised that I have a smartphone with a passable camera at the moment. I've only been using this phone for 3 months so far, I work these things out eventually.
I will aim to post a single WIP photo every week, which means I will by cycling through projects, depending on whim. To kick it all off, here is the current state of the stocking. Apologies for the sidewaysness!
Tuesday, 23 September 2014
I thought that my general knitting speed was around 25 stitches per minute, but discovered yesterday that it is more like 35. This doesn't really mean except I will have a new cardigan slightly sooner than I expected. I started it last December, and am expecting to finish it just in time for it to be too cold to wear it...
I have also finished a shawl that must remain secret until later in the year as it is for a luxury yarn club, and failed to finish a sock. The construction on the sock is a little interesting, and consequently the fit is not quite what I would like. When it has had a wee rest I will rejig the numbers in an attempt to make it work better.
Putting the sock aside has also given me more time to work on the Christmas stocking, which may actually stand a chance of being finished in time. I don't think it will be an actual stocking, I may just pin the embroidery onto a pillowcase this year...
Monday, 28 July 2014
In the last few weeks we have learned a few things:
- Jet lag and teething are a horrendous combination
- Singapore is hot and tropical, and that's just the airport
- There are many ways in which you can create a swing
- Bugs here are generally much bigger than I'm used to (also slugs, snails etc.)
- It is surprising how quickly you can get used to walking next to old brick/plaster buildings that are not in the best condition (Christchurch people will understand what I mean about that...)
- There is quite a lot of decent outdoors here, two large forested parks withing 5-10 minutes walk
- Children like sausages. Except when they're 2 and decide they don't like anything...
- It's amazing how many aeroplanes you can fit into a small space if you're determined
- Having a lot of recycling bins outside, and a different day for each type to be picked up makes for great entertainment pretty much every day. Also, the rubbish guys are great at waving to small children as they drive past. (And OSH appears not to exist here, the men just stand on platforms on the back of the truck and hold on.)
- And the Czechs really know how to make a good drinkable beer
And a few photos to illustrate some of these points:
Hunting reserve visible in back, this is what we see from our apartment
Just one of the interesting swings we've found (this one is also a good size to lie back on for adults). Also, train.
In the hunting reserve, on the way to another playground (with a multi-person swing).
Swing just mentioned
Lots of plane, not enough space.
Wednesday, 25 June 2014
After all that hunting I had to summon up the enthusiasm to pick it up and finish what felt like an endless edging.
Unfortunately, the yarn didn't wear well, so by the time I was ready to tackle writing up the pattern and decided I needed better photos it was looking pretty tatty. So I made a second one, in a completely different yarn (Skeinz Vintage DK, colour Merlot).
And now the pattern has finally been released!
Available on Ravelry, NZ$7.00
Tuesday, 24 June 2014
This weekend we bought suitcases - a cabin bag sized one for the monkey (he can just fit into it), and a giant one for us (which I can just squeeze into). We have already paid for seats on the plane though, and I suspect they'll be a bit more comfortable...
We went to music last Friday, in the last couple of months The Monkey has really started enjoying it, and learning actions to songs. It seems a shame to have to leave just when he is really getting into it, but I guess that just means we'll have to try to find a similar group overseas. One more week left, and we will definitely be back in the new year.
Everything seems to be counting down - last visit to the local woolcraft group yesterday, second to last preschool day today, second to last playcentre day on Thursday, last music on Friday.
Friday, 13 June 2014
(Importantly, I have found a website that appears to list all playgrounds in the Czech republic, with details of play equipment and facilities. I had already found the two closest to where we will be via google maps, but now know where to look for a few more nearby. Also, a wooden hippo.)
Monday, 26 May 2014
Next step, dealing with the insurance company...
Sunday, 25 May 2014
The pattern is Booties Toddler Goshalosh Boots by Elizabeth Alan (The Lovely Crow), and I was pleasantly surprised by all the little shaping details. To be honest, I think having different shaping on right and left is a bit unnecessary for toddler slippers, but it does make them even cuter. (I have no expectation that they'll ever go on the correct feet...). I love the firm edging on the sole too, makes it seem much more like a slipper than just a glorified sock.
The first pair I made was theoretically the right size (Size B), but I didn't bother checking gauge because I am slack. They fitted just, but would have been better being a bit longer. I'm not worried, the baby will grow into them. So I did the next size up (C), which was a better length, but a bit roomier in the foot than he really needs. I'm not going to blame the pattern for that though, he has narrow feet (some shoes are pretty ridiculous on him too).
And since I was on a slipper kick I made the smallest size too, for the Changeling.
The slipper horde:
I think my crochet has definitely improved over the course of these slippers, although there is still plenty of room for improvement. I feel like I have learnt a lot about shaping in crochet too. Creating a design like this still seems like a bit of a black art, but I'm feeling quite tempted to try to come up with a me-sized version at some point.
Wednesday, 21 May 2014
I'd love to show you the shawl I'm currently working on, but it's a secret. The design is for a yarn club, and I'm looking forward to being able to share more details. For now I just want to report that the yarn is divine to work with, and despite initial misgivings that I was crazy and it wasn't really going to work I am pleased with how the shawl is developing. I have no idea if it will be finished before we go overseas, but as we have no idea when that is happening I am seeing how far I can get.
(Seriously brain? I have samples that show that the concept works, and no real reason for it not to. Why can't you just sit back and have a bit of faith for once?)
This post brought to you courtesy of awake-too-early baby.
Tuesday, 6 May 2014
So, frantic scrambling to get everything sorted out for living on the other side of the world for 6 months with two little people. What do we need to buy, pack, make, organise??? Maybe I will have to look for some books about travel and aeroplanes from the library for The Monkey to look at. I still have some half made shirts for him, and some clothes for myself that I was going to make.
At least my original goal of saving the much-needed shoe shopping to do over there might actually work out. And we probably won't need to get any more firewood for this winter after all!
There will be more knitting and sewing here at some point, when the dust settles!
Tuesday, 15 April 2014
The first four days or so I managed to squeeze in an hour of sewing a day, and finished off a shirt (just needed buttonholes and buttons):
Pattern is Burda 9792, size 2. I added about 5cm extra length to the body, although it was probably unnecessary - the sleeves will be too short before he really needs the extra length! This is the first long sleeve shirt I've ever made, I'm pretty happy with the result. I think I'll mostly be doing short sleeve shirts in the future though, more growing room.
And a pair of pyjamas, sans elastic. I put the elastic somewhere safe, and I need to either find it or get more. The new stuff I got a while ago is too wide for the channel I made, which was measured off the elastic I had planned to use - so clearly it is somewhere! (These were mostly done, just needed buttonholes, and hand finishing).
Pattern is Burda 9747, size 3.
I originally meant to cut the top with extra length, but forgot as I was cutting, hence the blue fabric that I added to the bottom. To make it look a bit more deliberate I also did a blue pocket, and blue inside the sleeve and pants cuffs that will show when they're turned up.
The other thing I disappointed myself with was failing to look closely enough at the monkey print. I looked at it and saw that the monkeys hung both up and down, so didn't worry about the cutting direction. It was only when I was sewing it together that I saw that all the faces are up the same way. I managed to cut everything upside down except the back of the pants! Oh well, they're monkeys, and monkeys like being upside down, right?
I also managed to get two short sleeve shirts half finished - one green and one with penguins (also Burda 9792). It's really not that easy to get uninterrupted sewing time with two small boys - one who doesn't want mama to abandon him, and one who has to help whenever I'm sewing. Despite not meeting the hour-a-day goal for the entire week I'm still happy to have made some sewing progress!
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
On my to-do list is:
Finish a long sleeve shirt (size 2) - just needs buttons and buttonholes
Finish pyjamas (size 3) - needs hemming, buttons, buttonholes
Two short sleeve shirts (size 2) - cut, partly sewn
Four short sleeve shirts (size 3) - fabric bought
More underpants, in size 2 and 3 - not sure how many I want to make, I suspect there will never be enough!
My actual goal for this week is to meet the challenge of spending at least one hour a day working on sewn clothing. Yesterday I did the hand finishing and thread trimming on the pyjama top, and trimmed the threads on the bottoms. I still need to hem the legs, put elastic in, and do the buttonholes and buttons.
Sewing time is somewhat rare around here - either the boys are awake and wanting to help, or I am trying to get other stuff done that I can't do when they're up. (Or I'm too tired to do anything).
I think the short sleeve shirts need pressing before I can do any more sewing, so I think that might be my goal for tonight (and maybe some buttonholes, the ones on the pyjamas are marked. I probably should mark the long sleeve shirt ones too, it would be nice to get that finished soon!)
Sunday, 30 March 2014
The pattern is Brucie, and it was the preliminary pattern from Sock Madness. This is my second year participating, and I haven't managed to finish the first round before the time was up either year, but it has meant I have made myself a new pair of socks each year.
The yarn is Soft Like Kittens Unicorn Sock, in Crystal Cavern. I love the colour, and it really is soft like kittens.
(In typing this post, I appear to have forgotten every last little bit of html I know, and couldn't even create links properly. I got there eventually, but I think it is time for bed!)
Thursday, 20 March 2014
I'm not particularly happy about adding another food to the restricted list, but at least we are making progress on keeping the wee boy healthy. Also, there might be a chance of getting a bit more sleep now...
Monday, 10 March 2014
Yarn is Skeinz Vintage DK, in Merlot, I used most of 10 balls. The pattern is currently being slowly written up on days that I can summon the brainpower after the boys are in bed. (Anyone interested in testing, when it's done?)
It is worked in the round from the centre out, and finished with a cabled icord bind off. It's technically a baby blanket, but at 1m square it also makes a great lap rug, and I have to confess that's the main use it has had so far.
I tried to get some 'in use' shots, but both the changeling and the monkey are far too active. No quietly posing babies here! Here are a couple of outtakes:
I love this one, it's just not really a good photo of the blanket
And this demonstrates why this blanket is taking so long to finish writing up!
Sunday, 23 February 2014
I find I have a tendency to overthink things when I design. Sometimes it helps refine a design - things like working out exactly which type of increase or decrease gives the best result. And sometimes it just delays things while I think up more and more options to investigate.
I have just had a lesson in spontaneity by starting on a new shawl. I spent a while trialling all sorts of things that weren't right, and then gave in and charted up something simpler that turned out to be pretty much exactly what I was going for anyway. (Some of the other options would have worked too, but it would have taken a lot longer to finalise it.)
And my next lesson in not overthinking will be putting together a couple of shawl patterns for a submission. That is, I'd like to do two, but I definitely plan to get one done - the second one will take a bit more messing around and may not come to fruition by the deadline. (I hope I can do it, I love the concept.) The first design is basically drawn up, just need to work out a few details and swatch. I'm actually a little surprised at how quickly it has come together!
Tuesday, 18 February 2014
It hasn't turned into a stocking, I am planning to make this up when I have the next one to do too. This is how far the next one has got so far.
With any luck they will both be usable by Christmas this year!
Sunday, 16 February 2014
There is some cotton knit for making more underpants for Mr 2 (and to stockpile), a new skirt for me, 4 shirts and new togs for Mr 2.
I think that pretty much fills the necessary sewing gaps for the next little while, at least until I think of something else I've forgotten about!
Today I cut out a dress to try the pattern for (got a few tweaks to make to it), and made the togs. They're rather terrifyingly green, and there isn't much room to grow in them, but that's okay.
The pattern is Boys underpants, from Little Olly in size 2, I put wider leg bands on. I think I will do the next size up as well, for when he grows a bit.
Sunday, 9 February 2014
1/4 C honey (whichever variety I have at the time, currently clover)
1/4 C sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 C wholegrain rolled oats
1/2 C cashew pieces
1/2 C sliced almonds
1/2 C sunflower seeds
1/2 C pumpkin seeds
1/2 C coconut chips/flakes
1/2 C raisins
1/2 C sultanas
1/2 C diced apricots
1/2 C dried cranberries
Stir the first set of ingredients (honey through cloves) in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave until bubbly - (60s + 30s in our microwave).
Stir in the oats, nuts and seeds, mix thoroughly. Microwave for 3 minutes, stir. Continue to cook in 1 or 2 minute bursts until toasted. Our microwave takes 6-7 minutes total cooking time. I use the pumpkin seeds as an indicator of toastedness, they puff nicely when they're cooked.
Stir in the coconut and fruit, allow to cool, eat. Enjoy!
*There is plenty of room for variation, I've found the proportions that I like best are 3 C oats, 2 C nuts/seeds, and 2 C fruit. (The coconut is just a bonus, and I sometimes put it in partway through the toasting process).
Saturday, 1 February 2014
is well and truly mobile. He has been having fun exploring the house - the pantry and his big brother's bedroom seem to be the two most exciting places to be.
I finished this last week, it is beautifully squishy. It may turn into a hat eventually, but I'm not sure. Fibre is from Heavenly Wools, colour is Salamander over dark grey halfbred. I managed to get 230m/100g, which I'm pretty happy with, as I was hoping for around 200m.
I have about 6 rows left to go on the blanket (plus edging), they're very long rows now though!
Saturday, 18 January 2014
I have just realised that I have photos of some (semi-)recent finishes to post.
First off, a pair of underpants for Mr 2:
Pattern is from Little Olly on Etsy, size 2, and I have since made another two plain pairs, and one pair with some microfibre padding. I also want to try a couple of pairs with a waterproof layer to see how that goes.
And secondly, some new pyjamas, also for Mr 2:
Pattern is Burda 9747, size 3. He was very excited when I finished sewing the buttons on, pyjamas went on early that night!
There will be more craft-related stuff to come as soon as I get myself sorted out with photos...
Tuesday, 14 January 2014
I figure if I plan dinners far enough in advance then I can actually order specific things from the butcher, instead of hoping they have what I want. At the moment if I want unmarinated ribs (lamb, beef or pork) they have to cut them on the spot, and they can't always manage it. (The sauce they use is pretty tasty, but it contains soy). There are a few other things they don't always have that I like too. It makes sense to get it fresh when I want it, rather than buying when I can to store in the freezer, which is what I have been doing.
Next week. Next week the meal plan starts properly.