Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Yule Fest... Yarn Fest

Hanging out at Yulefest ... Lots of fun!

While in Seattle, I managed to visit the Nordic Heritage Museum, which had been on my list of 'must go to places' after seeing some amazing images of their mini yarn and Nordic knitting festival in October.  The Yule Fest was on the weekend that we were visiting which meant eating lots of Nordic food treats and taking in some Nordic crafts.

Nordic Heritage Museum

The museum is in this amazing old building, however there are plans for them to build a new and more modern museum.  I guess that this building doesn't meet the 'museum standards' - yes that's the curator nerd in me.

These 2 skeins are hand dyed and spun by folk in the Seattle handspinners and weavers guild!

I did manage to score some gorgeous yarns at Yule Fest.  It probably makes up for the lack of yarn stores that I visited in Seattle (sorry Seattle!)  The yarns above are hand dyed and spun from members of the Seattle Spinners and Weavers Guild.  Always great to support fellow hand makey folk!

Picked up some yarn loot at Yulefest! Had a lovely chat about Australian wool with her! #yarngeek

I also scored 6 skeins of gorgeous yarns from this little old lady for a ridiculously low price.  As soon as she found out that I was from Australia, we had a very long conversation about wool and sheep.  The muted colours and texture of this yarn feels very 'Nordic' to me but also very Seattle.  I love picking up various yarns in places that I travel to.  When I knit it up, I feel like I still have the memory of the place in the object.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

On Making Mistakes...

Wah! I made a stitch error! But I think this is what makes handknits... It's those little imperfections that I know, where you can see my hand making this! #handmade #fringeandfriendsknitalong #tonofwool

There are two kinds of people, those who when they make a mistake in knitting or sewing, that they go back and fix it and then there are those who just live with it.  I think that I'm the second person.  During the Fringe and Friends Knit-a-long of the Amanda cardigan, I have miscounted some of the stitch patterns and made a couple of errors.  I have decided to just keep going and to try and earn from it.

In some ways I like the fact that items that are handmade have errors in them.  I mean, we are human after all!  I generally take this approach when I'm weaving as well.  I would like to think that you learn from each project and take that into the next.

The ton of wool yarn is knitting up beautifully... I hear that there isn't much left in stock, so make sure you get some if you haven't already!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Amanda KAL: Making a Start!

And my #tonofwoolschool arrived!!! I've given it a big hug... This stuff is soooo soft! It's amazing! #tonofwool @tonofwool #fringeandfriendsknitalong

So my lovely Ton of Wool yarn arrived for my Yarn Scholarship.  It is so squishy and soft!  I find this yarn pretty amazing, it is 10 ply which I would imagine to feel quite bulky and heavy but instead it is super light.  It almost feels like air, which I think will make the knitting of the Amanda cardigan much easier.

As I mentioned before, I have never knitted cables before in my life!  So tackling this Fringe Association Amanda Knitalong is going to be a challenge.  To prepare myself, I watched a couple of youtube clips on cables which gave me a better understanding of the principles of cables.  I now know that it is about knitting stitches in different orders to create the beautiful highs and lows of the cable.

Um, so I just did my first bit of cabling... Ever!!!!! #fringeandfriendsknitalong #tonofwool #tonofwoolschool #cormoforthewin

I started with a small sample of the honeycomb stitch from the Amanda KAL just to try out the technique. I was so excited to see the cables forming!  I think a few of my friends thought I was crazy by this excitement.  A few people noted that if I could knit socks, I could definitely cable... so that was comforting!

After this small sample, I went into knitting a gauge swatch.  To my surprise, my gauge seemed pretty on par with what was in the pattern.  So I am about to throw myself into it all!  The post on gauge swatches from Fringe Association was incredibly helpful!

Amanda KAL chart

Reading through some of the other posts on the Amanda KAL, the post on annotating the chart was super helpful as well.  Out come the highlighters and post it notes to keep track of where I will be going.  Matching the colours of the icon with the instructions makes it easy (and fast!) to see what I am meant to be doing!

Finally made a start! #tonofwool #fringeandfriendsknitalong ... Also love this thumb counter!! #knittersofinstagram

So I have cast on!  I have cast on the XL size, though I am a little concerned on the sizing.  For an extra-large, it has a very small bust size.  I am not confident enough to make sizing changes AND learn cables on this project, so I am just going to go with the pattern.  I have noticed from the gauge swatch that there seems to be a bit of give when blocking so the bust issue may not be such an issue after all.

So here we go!  Yay!  Amanda Knit-a-Long!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tackling Cables...

The secret to a truly great-fitting sweater
Image from Fringe Association.

I've knitted for quite some time, well actually, since I was a child but it's only been in the last five years that I've really been knitting solidly.  I've been choosing projects that are a bit more challenging and ticking knitting 'how the hell do I do that' off my list.

This list looked something like this:

  • learn how to knit in the round
  • learn how to knit socks
  • knit a shawl
  • learn intarsia
  • learn how to do i-cord binding
  • learn how to seam knits better
  • learn how to do a sweater in the round
  • learn how to knit cables
Yeah, that last one... everything above it has been ticked off except that.  My mum is a bit of a cable whiz but I just haven't gotten around to actually trying it, until now.

The Amanda knitalong of Fall 2014 — everything you need to know!
The Amanda Cardigan that I will be knitting!

The wonderful team at Ton of Wool were offering a Yarn Scholarship.  The recipient would receive 3 huge hanks of Ton of Wool cormo to take part in the Amanda Knitalong  that the awesome fold at Fringe Association are holding.  I adore Ton of Wool's Cormo yarn, it is so soft and squishy so I thought I would enter.  I mean, what better way to be forced to learn cables than if I won!

Yep, well I won...

Here is my winning photo...

So I will be tackling this gorgeous cable cardigan, blogging about my experiences learning how to do all of this and taking you on the journey with me.  Wish me luck and pray to the non-frogging gods that it all goes to plan!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Big Wool...

Loopy mango
Image courtesy of

I have always been a bit obsessed with big wool.  There is something super delicious about the thick and squishy yarn and also that you have to use giant knitting needles to create something!  Lately I have been drooling over the Loopy Mango Little Monster's Jacket (seen in these pics!)  They say that you can knit this jacket in about 6 hours, one of the pros to big wool.

Loopy mango
Image courtesy of

The oversize shaping in these jackets remind of of Balenciaga dresses.  There are many people who find the oversize look pretty unflattering but I love the bold shapes and structures.  I also love how every single stitch is defined and visible.  You can see how this item was made!

Loopy mango
Image courtesy of

There are some wonderful companies and designers who like to share the big wool love.  Obviously Loopy Mango are big on their big wool.  Little Dandelion are an Aussie label that create beautiful homewares and there is also the Big Stitch Merino bumps yarn that is made in Ohio.

Designer Christien working on her Idaho project.  Courtesy of her website.

Quite a few years ago I visited a fantastic exhibition called Design for a Living World at the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York City.  There was a project by Christien Meindertsma where she created items from sheep on a small range in Idaho.  As you can see from the image of Christien above, she is a lover of big wool too!  The items were beautiful and Christien's approach to the project was inspiring.  It was part of the exhibition that has stuck with me for years!!!

I will leave you with an interview with Christien about the project.  This screened at the exhibition. If you can't see the imbedded YouTube video then click over here. Enjoy!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Gorgeous things from crafty people...

Delicious, delicious yarn arrived yesterday from the gorgeous @msgusset !!! Thank you my dear! It includes "you're killing me!" Red!!!! #yarnnerd

I've been spoilt with lovely treats from some crafty ladies lately.  I wanted to share their awesomeness with everyone... just in case you are wanting to get some treats in your post box too.

When I got home from Hong Kong, a wonderful parcel of hand dyed 4ply yarn was waiting for me! The lovely (and Queen of pink!) Ms. Gusset has been popping up lots of delicious yarn goodness on etsy recently and I couldn't help myself with these amazing colours.  You can check out what she has to offer here!  I showed a fellow knitty friend the above photo and he proclaimed... "Oh my that is like delicious lollies to me!"  Yup, Ms. Gusset's yarns definitely are addictive!

Oh my!! My amazing handmade project bag arrived from @modularmodular_etsy !!! It's perfect!

Also this amazing, specially created for me, knitting project bag arrived from the lovely Katy at Modular Modular.  Inspired by the Stephen West shawl that I am currently knitting, Katy put together a wonderful combination of fabrics that I adore!  We are both knitting the Stephen West Vertices Unite shawl (find it on Ravelry here).  Mine seems to be going a little more slowly, maybe because I keep stopping to admire this bag's gorgeousness!  I will post a project breakdown of my shawl when it is finished.

Check out the links for Kylie and Katy, they are making some very gorgeous things that will make your craft experience even better! And remember, when you support independent artists and makers, it makes you more awesome!


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Living out of Hotel rooms...

Home for the next 2 weeks... Living out of a suitcase! Luckily we got a room upgrade!

I'm the crazy kind of person who enjoys airports, airline food and living out of a suitcase and hotel for weeks on end.  I find it relaxing in a weird kind of way.

I am currently in Hong Kong for two weeks attending Art Basel Hong Kong as well as catching up with friends, shopping, eating and all those other wonderful things that you do while in another country.

Thanks Muji for inventing disposable pour over coffee devices... This is all kinds of amazing! #coffeedork #pourover #deathbeforedecaf

I treated myself to a new suitcase for this trip.  A wonderful new Samsonite cosmolite hardcase that weighs barely 3 kilograms!  I can't believe that my case to Hong Kong only weighed in at 14 kilograms, so not like me!!! I even brought 4 pairs of shoes with me... to try and deal with my foot issue.  One thing that I have trouble living out of a hotel room with is the coffee situation.  I have to have coffee as soon as I wake up and although I have been known to drink the horrible instant coffee at the hotel, I always want something a little better!

Morning hotel coffee made even better with walnut biscuits from @sanitiser !

Bless Muji for inventing their little instant pour over coffee things!  They are pretty amazing.  It's like a mini brewed coffee right in your hotel room without the need for any equipment!  We did pick up some larger coffee cups as the hotel ones are so tiny.  I can't tell you how having a real coffee in the morning with some lovely biscuit treats (thanks Catherine!) can really kickstart the day.

Vacation knitting... Socks for @elgatogrande

I always bring knitting with me too.  I love spending the evening... a bit of downtime, watching movies and chilling out knitting away.  I've managed to complete a pair of socks while here and have started another pair.  It's great to stay productive and also not to feel the need to spend every waking hour outside of the hotel.  We've been pretty lucky that we managed a room upgrade here in Hong Kong so our suite is quite roomy and definitely feels like home.

I know a lot of people that stay at places via Air bnb, I have tried them but I do love staying somewhere that makes my bed, gives me fresh towels and takes out the trash. Maybe it's me, but that is a real vacation... not having to clean up after myself!!!
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