Monday, January 27, 2014

M.I.A - Missing in Action

Taken from my place in December 2013
Missing in Action.  That's what it feels a bit like at the moment.
I definitely was getting a bit slack with the blogging last year. Interestingly enough my last entry was in July, which was also the same month my Father in Law passed away in 2013.
But October was really when everything was flipped upside down. On the 10th of October 2013 my husband came off his road bike at speed, taking the impact on his head - an impact which also caused his fractured clavicle (broken collarbone) and the smashing up of his helmet. And ultimately - his traumatic brain injury.

So, let's just say I haven't spent much time knitting, let alone designing patterns since then. I feel now (approximately 3.5 months later) that I really want to knit, but solo parenting 3 kids (7, 5 and 3) whilst my husband is a full time resident in a brain rehab unit can kinda keep you pretty busy and kill the ability to concentrate. Have I mentioned how much I'm looking forward to school being back next week???

Though, in saying that, how precious are my kids? (I've got to take this opportunity to show photos so you can compliment me/us on them!)

My husband WILL be discharged in the next month or so. But the reality is that being discharged doesn't mean that our lives will be the same. We sure hope we get back to something similar to the life we had - but we also realise that for now, our lives aren't the same and we'll just take things day by day. Thank you to everyone who has helped us out since then, I have a list so long it puts me off writing thank you's right now. I will thank you all personally, promise!

So, there you go. If you've been wondering why I haven't replied to your message about a pattern (oh I'm so so sorry!) or haven't commented on your projects lately, hopefully that might make things a bit clearer.

Wishing you a safe and uneventful 2014. Now go and kiss those kids of yours and smooch your partner. We never realise how good our quiet everyday moments are until we lose them (for a bit, hopefully).



Thursday, July 4, 2013

It's got to be seamless.

I was talking to a lovely friend and her Mum at school today and I mentioned with my current non-existent voice (laryngitis I suspect) that I was meant to be teaching a beginners knitting class this weekend at Holland Road Yarn Company. Anywho, her mother mentioned my friend used to knit, but the discussion evolved into how they could never be bothered sewing things up at the end. Who can? I showed them right then and there the Greyson sweater my youngest was wearing and how these days, many people design and knit only seamless items. That there's no front, back, arms to sew together. Sheer brilliance.

It was this Greyson sweater to be precise!

I really think this is why knitting is so popular these days. I would never be bothered to knit my kids garments if I had to sew pieces up at the end! I know I can knit nicely, but sew? No. I do recall trying to patchwork together pieces of my first adult garment years and years ago, and trying to sew it so that everything matched up well enough. I remember vividly trying to sew together this blanket for a beautiful friend of mine who's most precious daughter Hope was diagnosed with terminal cancer...and whilst I did my absolute best at the time, I still grimace at the less than perfect sewing and piecing together.

Awww Hope, we still all think of you and your family often. How big your little brother is now xxx

No, there would be so many knitting bags with many more WIP's if the huge range of seamless patterns didn't now exist.

Seamless all the way! How wonderful are the fabulous ranges of circular needles these days, that we can just change tips and cable lengths to suit our projects. That we can just knit and virtually pop a garment on our children as soon as we cast off, or try it on numerous times whilst still knitting to get the length just perfect. All hail to the wonderful seamless designers out there.

I actually thought back to why I picked up my needles again after my first child was born - my next post I'm going to show you some oldest circular knitting and the patterns that got me hooked again. Be prepared for less than perfection! And imagine prickly yarn....(which I called wool then, because I called everything I knitted with wool then!) and birch needles with their terrible bumpy joins!

Do you ever sew items that need seaming? Why? What kind of garments?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Yarn Along

I apologise profusely to those who left comments last week and haven't received comments on their own blogs in return! You see, in New Zealand when my Yarn Along posts go up, it's actually Thursday here. And on Thursday evening, when I planned to check in and catch up we were hit with a monstrous storm. Worst in 45 years, with wind gusts recorded of 200 kms an hour. We were battening down the hatches and as the lights flickered we ran to collect a torch or two, just in case... just in time. With that, the power went out. Luckily, we have a wood fire and I had a fully charged laptop, so whilst others wondered what to do (it was only about 7:30pm, but it's winter here in NZ, it was dark and cold and scary sounding outside), I sat down with a cuppa tea with water boiled on the wood burner, the laptop playing a DVD of Downton Abbey and knitted by candle light.

I snapped a quick photo on my phone, this shows my current WIP

It's all about priorities right?
Truth be told, I should've been a little more forward thinking. The next morning we still had no power or phone, I'd used up all the bandwidth on my phone plan checking on others online and sharing photos in my knitting page on Facebook, all the battery on my cell phone and couldn't recharge it on the laptop because I'd bled it's battery dry watching 2 episodes of Downton! Luckily we had power back later on Friday, the phone was finally reconnected on Sunday.
I wish I had photos of our trampoline, because it looks more cave now like than trampoline. The storm produced some pretty significant damage, but there were no fatalities, luckily. The trains should be up and running tomorrow again and hopefully all will have power restored by the end of the week, though most do already.
Last week I also showed you a Hoodlum I'd almost finished. I've completed it now and so I took a few photos of it modelled by my daughter on the weekend. I love it to bits! I wasn't sure I'd like it as it is so bright, but it's just perfect! Don't you think?
And reading - well, as I was last week, I'm still listening to 'House Rules' by Jodi Picoult and I'm still really enjoying it! The simplified web synopsis is:  
HOUSE RULES is about Jacob Hunt, a teenage boy with Asperger’s Syndrome. He’s hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, and like many kids with AS, Jacob has a special focus on one subject – in his case, forensic analysis.

Thanks for yarn-ing along! How's the weather at your place?

I promise to catch up with all comments this week too!



Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Yarning Along

Here we are! Must be Wednesday again! Time for an update on what's on my needles and what I'm reading at the moment..

Knitting wise, I'm so so close to finishing the Little Hoodlum I'm knitting for my 6 year old daughter. She chose the yarn, which I never envisioned being a Hoodlum, but as I'm knitting this it's reminding me of a 90's garment, maybe a brightly coloured surfie style hoodie. I'm playing a bit of yardage chicken with the hood, so as soon as the main colour is used up I'll be kitchenering the top.

Maybe I'll have finished pics next week, hopefully! The weather really is not any good for taking outside photos today though. I did plan to go outside or at least snap some great natural light photos. These gloomy pics were taken at midday today. There's a cold front on it's way up the country and it's been cloudy here all day. We can normally see the sea from this window (see the double rainbow I took from the same spot earlier this week HERE) but today we can barely see the houses across the road!

And the book. I finished 'The Persimmon Tree' by Bryce Courteney this week and would thoroughly recommend it, especially listening to it as an audiobook. It was fabulous, I only wished there was another chapter at the end. I have heard there is a sequel 'Fishing For Stars' but the reviews are that it's drawn out and rather boring in parts so I'm not sure I want to go there.  I have this frustrating habit of needing to finish things even if I don't enjoy them anymore and don't want to get trapped reading it. Has anyone read 'Fishing for Stars'? Let me know your thoughts if you have?!

I've started reading listening to  'House Rules' now by Jodi Picoult. I love Jodi Picoult and I'm only a chapter or two in at the moment but I'm really enjoying it. The blurb says it's about a teenage boy with aspergers and a fixation on forensics who gets mixed up in a murder. I can't wait to get to the nitty-gritty!

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love you to leave a comment and I promise to pop by your blog and leave a comment too!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Double Rainbows and yes, yet more talk of knitting!

We see a lot of rainbows where we live now. I think there have probably always been the same number of rainbows, but in our new house within the same area, we have a sea view and a stunning outlook - it's something we don't take for granted after years of feeling a little overlooked and hemmed in.

We've been experiencing rainbows pretty much every day this week, the combination of drizzly rain and sunshine is perfect for them isn't it? But there was a stunner on Friday, this picture can't even come close to how amazing it was as about a minute after taking this, it transformed into a complete rainbow with the lighter double rainbow outlining it. There was just no way to capture it in a picture though, it was just too huge and too close. So you'll just have to take my word for it!

I realised too late this week that I hadn't mentioned my KAL (knit-along) over on Ravelry HERE yet either. Everyone is welcome to join in (or just use the discount code ;) ) to knit any of my patterns during June. I know, I know, it doesn't leave people who are just finding out now much time! But there are smaller projects still eligible to be entered in the draw to win a prize - maybe just a dishcloth! And prizes for just loading a WIP (work in progress) picture too. I always welcome old WIP's too, the thought of languishing projects really upsets my just one WIP OCD!

Happy Knitting! Enjoy what's left of your weekend.



Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tidying Up Loose Ends

I hate things like sewing on buttons and weaving in ends. That could be why I'm completely in love with seamless knitting and why there are so many people knitting these days with so many fabulous seamless patterns to chose from!

Anyway, this poor neglected Primrose has been finished since last year but it took me forever to sew the buttons on and then even longer to finally get around to photographing it. It's been sitting in a 'to-do' pile sadly! But I finally got around to popping it on my Penny and taking a few photos this week! And it was well worth the wait and perfect for those just going into Summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

Whilst I'm sharing things I've finished lately, I also finished my first 'knitted by me, for me' socks. Love them!
Have you got a long unfinished WIP or not quite ready for wearing FO on your 'to do' pile? Maybe tonight's the night to weave in those ends or sew on your buttons!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Yarn Along

Brrrr...winter is coming! It's getting pretty frosty here at the moment. There was even snow on the nearby hills yesterday (which happens only a few times a year, and it's not officially winter yet!)

Please excuse the street light and roof of the house across the road. That streetlight annoyed me so much when I was taking the photo, but there wasn't much I could do about it!

What have I been knitting and reading at the moment then? Well, I'm a big audiobook fan and I'm currently listening to 'The Persimmon Tree' by Bryce Courteney. I'm really enjoying it actually, though I shouldn't sound surprised as I do love his writing.

The knitting - how are my socks coming along? Not bad compared to last week, right? I finished the first sock not long after the blog entry and I tried it on. Oh my! I love it! I can see how people get addicted to this sock knitting thing!

It might not look like an awful lot of knitting either, but in the last week I've also released a new pattern and I've whipped up a new hat for my kindy-aged child. This is the Mimipita Earflap Hat, it's a free pattern and I really love the construction of it, though the sizing and translation have a few errors. But I do plan to whip up another and make a few changes

And I think that's enough for the week, right?
Thanks for leaving me a comment! Go on, leave me one! I do so love to read them? Have you read any Bryce Courteney books, or can you recommend a great hat pattern? 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Yarn Along

I'm almost finished my first sock, it's a little bit exciting. They're my first 'knitted by me, for me' socks and although I cast them on in January, I'm quite motivated to get them finished now. I've been working on quite a few patterns lately, and there's something about getting a WIP finished, which is someone else's well written pattern (Sarah Ronchetti's Basketweave Rib Socks) and is for me - which makes it quite motivating! Plus, it's definitely getting cooler now and these would look so good with my black shoes for winter! Must.knit.faster!

The book, well, it's just adorable. My oldest sister had a copy of this book when we were kids and I fondly remember reading it many many times. It popped into my head the other day when I was trying to think of books I read that I could read to my 6 year old daughter. With that, I looked up book depository and bought it for the tidy sum of $6.50NZD. It's called 'The Ordinary Princess' by M.M.Kaye and is the delicious tale of a princess who, when born is given the gifts of charm, wit and various other wonderful gifts from her Fairy Godmothers - until the last one, who isn't in the best mood at the time, gives her the gift of being Ordinary. And so, she grows up to into a mouse-coloured haired, freckled princess, who isn't content to simply throw a golden ball in the courtyard...but whose Father can't marry her off to any Prince either she's not your typical blonde and fair skinned princess. The story takes off when her Father hatches a plan which Amethyst (aka Amy) decides to rebel against.

I can't recommend it enough! And I'm well above it's target audience!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Hats For Ethan

Come join us with our big 'Hats for Ethan' fundraiser!

Ethan is a lovely little 6 year old, who is battling leukaemia. His family have said that the money this raises they'll put towards buying a spare single bed, so that they can have a quarantine type room if needed this winter, with bugs and flu germs around. That's not too much to wish for surely, is it?

'Hats For Ethan' is a wonderful showcase which kicks off tomorrow, Friday the 10th at 7:30pm NZ time. The link is HERE. If you join the group, click on the showcase album, or click HERE, and you'll see all the amazing items up for grabs! Custom made hat auctions, starting at $10! Yarn kits of luxury yarns starting at $15! Beautiful 'buy now' items! Seriously, the range is just lovely - there cold be some amazing bargains to be had, but the aim is to raise as much money as possible for this precious little guy, so the more, the better! Auctions close on Sunday, what a lovely Mother's Day gift it could be to win an item - both for you, your hat recipient and Ethan and his family.

Here's my contribution....I know, I know! It's not a hat....but it's the thought that counts - right?! Please come bid on it! 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Final Reminder!

I hate things that come in the mail that say 'Final Notice' or 'Final Reminder' - they're often things that will hurt my bank account!

But this will be my final reminder - for my knitting course in Hanmer from the 17-19th of May as the sign ups close this week!

So, it's now or never (well, till next time anyway!)

Course - Beginner Knitting – seamlessly and speedily. In this course Julia will introduce the basics of knitting in the round including:
  • How to use circular needles
  • How to read a pattern
  • Knitting basics – knit, purl, increasing, casting on and off
  • How to fix mistakes
  • How to check gauge
  • Useful links and resources
  • How to wind yarn into a ball from a skein
  • Julia will also give a demonstration of how to dye yarn yourself using things you have at home
  • Students will be working through a pattern for a child’s garment written by Julia with the aim of completing it over the weekend.
But wait, there's more! I have a wonderful friend who happens to live in Christchurch and is a very talented knitter and yarn dyer - so Rachel Booker, of Featherbrush Yarns, will be joining me for the weekend! I'm so excited about that!

Don't worry that you'll be bored if you know the basics, I have plenty of tricks up my sleeve to teach how to knit speedily. I'll also be teaching Continental knitting (which I have somehow omitted in my blurbs!), which is a different way of knitting for most people.

Sign up information is HERE. The cost for the course is $110.