Monday, September 26, 2011

NaNoWriMo

So this year I've decided that I'm going to participate in NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. The whole aim of the month is to write like crazy and churn out a 50,000 word work of fiction, which at first sounds fairly daunting, but it works out to roughly 1600 words a day. Which works out to be a devilishly 66.6 words an hour, or 1.1 words a minute. Of course, you can't be writing one word a minute for a whole month, but I'm sure that you catch my drift.

Given that you're not really supposed to start writing your novel before November, which is when all this frivolity takes place, I've been thinking of starting to get a little bit of an idea of a story, just so I can work on developing the characters I'll be writing with over the month, get acquainted with them, if you will.

The problem is, what to write about? There are an infinite amount of topics that one could write about, so many that simply choosing a topic to write about will be a bit of a task in itself, but I'm kind of excited at just seeing where my imagination goes.

Has anyone else out there in the blogosphere participated in NaNoWriMo, or have decided to have a go this year, because it would be great to have some writing buddies for encouragement.

x peace folks

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pumpkin Pie or Pumpkin Scones?

This is my dilemma at the moment. I think I'm going to go for the pie, but the scones are awfully tempting too.


I'll let you know how it goes :D

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Adjusting to the new interface

I'm not a hundred percent shore whether or not I like this new interface, I mean, sure it's more streamlined, but I suppose you just get accustomed to what you've been using for the past year or so, right?

Anyway, there hasn't been a whole lot of knitting or anything going on around here, I'm trying to settle down into holiday mode for the next two weeks, so I really have to pace myself. The great thing is that I have very little in the way of actual homework for uni (apart from having to watch a Spanish movie, but I don't really see that as homework), so I could theoretically get a lot of time to finish off a lot of the projects I have been working on.

Maidenhair is going fairly well, I only have one front side and one sleeve left to knit, which feels very satisfying. It was always such a large project, but it really does feel that I am definitely past the half-way mark now, and that every stitch I slip off from one needle to the other is just another one closer to being finished.

Don't get me wrong though, it is great to knit, because it isn't nearly as hard as it looks, but you get an amazing amount of knitting respect when you whip it out for other people to gaffaw over. It just kind of get's to that stage where you really are keen to start another medium-difficulty project, where you might be flicking through a couple of patterns and you just see one that you have to try immediately. 

I normally have about three different projects going at the one time, and at the moment, I've got Maidenhair as my medium difficulty, a simple fisherman's rib sweater as my easy one, and then the fiendishly difficult "Wedding Ring Shawl", which I practically never take out anywhere for fear that it could blow away in the wind. 


Anyway, tomorrow I will hopefully be going to the Chilean Festival at Fairfield showground, it should be pretty great, multicultural fairs normally are pretty interesting, plus it's a good excuse to hang out with friends and stuff like that, so hopefully I will have some pictures from that to share with you all.

x peace folks

Monday, September 12, 2011

So it's been a while

Hiya folks, it sure has been a heckuva long time since I have posted something here, but I think after a bit of a hiatus I should be ready to get back into the swing of blogging again.

Things, as always, are pretty hectic at the moment, although I picked some fairly easy subjects to get through at uni this semester, which gives me a little bit more time to do other things, like knitting and working and all those types of fun things.

Maidenhair is still going, and going. I swear, that thing is a yarn-devouring beast most of the time. I always find it quite interesting though, I've memorised the pattern (which is suprisingly easy to memorise) so I don't have to be looking off charts all of the time, but it's still enough to keep my interest up in what I'm knitting.

As for the language studying, I am working on getting down a bit more Hebrew and Arabic at the moment, it has always been a real aim for me to learn a couple of Semitic languages, and I think that I am really starting to make progress on the Arabic front. I don't really know why, I have just found Hebrew so much more easy to pick up, whereas I've probably been exposed to more Arabic, with it being fairly widely spoken in the local surrounds.
And then I'm also studying Polish at uni this semester, which is going alright. It's always the same with the first year language studies though, you can never express yourself nearly as well as you would like to, but it is really interesting getting to study a Slavic language as well, soon hopefully I will just be able to go from country to country in Europe and not really have to worry too much about not understanding anything.

And I don't know if I've put it on here, but my sister and I will be going to the United States and Canada at the end of December and through most of January, which I am so totally pumped about. I know that a lot of people would prefer to go in the summertime over there, but to go to New York and Canada in the wintertime is really just going to be amazing for me, although I think the cold might be a bit of a shock for my sister. She'll just have to get used to it though.

But it will really be great to get to use a lot of the things that I have been knitting for the non-existent cold weather over here in Australia, all the little mittens and hats that just sit in the cupboard waiting to be taken out and used.

So I think that pretty much wraps up a lot of the stuff that I have been doing lately, it has been crazily busy, but I'm kind of glad to say that the craziness has started to die down a little, just in time for the Christmas rush to begin again. I'm sure there is someone out there who is already counting down the weeks, but it is not going to be me for the moment.

Peace folks

Monday, June 27, 2011

Holidays

Ah.

I guess I can really now breathe a sigh of holiday relief, now that I am officially on uni break until next semester! I can now think of all the great things that I can do now that I have a whole lot of extra time on my hands. I wanted to write a bit of a list of all the things that I wanted to accomplish in my last month of teenage years, and so I really want to get a whole lot of those ticked off, but for the most part I'm hoping that there will be some pretty good times in the next few months. :D

And, for good measure, I have finally found a job which is exciting, even if it isn't a definite, ongoing type of thing. I'm just happy to have a bit of money coming in for the holiday in December and January, which will be awesome.


On to the knitting aspect of things, I am slowly cracking along with the Maidenhair coat, and I'll take a picture of it tomorrow in the nice sunlight. Sometimes though, it does feel like a bit of a task to get through, you know how it goes though. You check how long the piece is, then you knit for the rest of the night, and then you measure the back piece again, and it's only really grown another centimeter or so. Even though that is physically impossible, because you know that you've checked your gauge like a pro at the start of all this craziness anyway.

Either way, Maidenhair is making great progress, I really hope to get the back done in the next couple of days, which will be the biggest part of the project all done and dusted.

I also recently purchased one of the Wedding Ring Shawl patterns, and I am eagerly looking forward to its arrival in the mail, because I think it comes with a whole lot of wool and yarn samples as well, enough to make that mind boggle anyway. I know that the shawl will take a whole lot of time and patience to finish up, but it is going to be worth it.

And then I have been crocheting squares for a blankie that I have been making for a while whenever I have a little bit of free time too. So I think it's safe to assume that the next post I get around to doing should be photo-heavy. :D

peace for now x
matty

Friday, June 3, 2011

back from outer space

Alright! I have finished my 3rd semester at uni, and only 5 more semesters to go until I graduate.

The past month or so has been pretty hectic, and there hasn't been a whole lot of knitting going on at the moment, just a bit of planning wherever I can fit it in. But I do have some garter stitch scarves on the needles, actually two or three I think.
It's mainly been a whole lot of exams and tests for the past month, and I haven't really had a lot of time to put in effort in my blog, but now I'm back with gusto :D

I'll be off for the next two months or so, and next semester I should have NO ESSAYS to write at all, which is a really encouraging prospect to look forward to.

Either way, watch this space for a whole lot more knitting news folks

x peace

Monday, May 16, 2011

BEST DAY EVER

-SUOMI VOITTI! FINLAND WON THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP HOCKEY MATCH AGAINST SWEDEN!



And, I also got my green provisional licence, which means that there are only two years left until I can get my full licence, pretty exciting.

Not a whole lot of knitting going on at the moment, but really, with Finland winning the hockey after 16 years or so, and getting another notch carved onto the road to the full licence, it's been a pretty nifty day all round.

x peace folks

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

It's Getting Colder

Which, theoretically, means that my knitting output should be growing as well, but it kind of isn't, to be honest.

I've been sick for the past week or so, which would normally be alright in terms of being able to sit around for a lot of time knitting. But no, I caught myself something which made me really tired, and even the idea of looking at the back section of Maidenhair was getting a bit tedious so....




I started a sleeve!

My logic being that, being a quarter or so of the whole back, I should be able to whip in a couple of rows here and there before feeling a little bit blase about it all. And that's not to say that I've fallen out of love with the pattern, because believe me, the more I knit of it, the more I want to knit to get it done.

I think it's this time of year that really inspires knitters to really invest a little bit more time in their knitting, churning out a last couple of scarves or beanies for the winter to come. And really, you don't need a lot more inspiration than just taking a bit of a walk outside, and seeing all the colours change.

I'd like to know if I'm the only one who thinks autumn is an exciting time for knitters and other crafters out there. I think that there is nothing greater than finally being able to fully invest myself in what I love doing, and I hope that you'll all take a little bit more advantage of the colder weather if you've got it!

xpeace folks

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Foundations of Designing Knitwear

After a bit of a hiatus, it's nice to come back with a lot of ideas and news to share with you guys.

I've begun to design a bit of a knitwear collection, I'm thinking of designing about 10 items all up, but it's hard to tell at the moment. I've been doing a LOT of mindmapping and brainstorming about what I want out of the stuff that I'm designing, because I would like people to get some use out of the patterns, while also sticking to what I like to knit, and what I like to wear.

Here is a photo of the workstation at the moment, with about a quarter of the swatches and tests that I've been doing over the past month or so:
I've really been getting into textured designing at the moment, because I like the yarn to be able to just pop out and be the star attraction. I've tried to make an effort and use 100% Australian wool/yarn, and I think that looking into the more textured designs are definitely paying off.

I really want the stuff that I am working on to scream colour. And lots of it. The last thing that people need on a drizzly, miserable grey winter day is to put on some dull clothing, what they need is a good dash of colour.  So, I've been trying to graph out a few stranded designs, whatever comes to mind really. I don't want to say that my sweaters are going to be anything garish, but I would love to dabble in a bit of the oversized colourwork from the 80's or so, but that is still in the pipeline at the moment.

All in all, though, it is a really exciting process, especially when you've got a pattern all written up and ready to go. I can't wait to start getting a few of the designs onto and off of the needles to show you guys here!

x peace folks

Friday, April 29, 2011

The maiden's hair is growing

Slowly but surely, I am plodding along with my Maidenhair cardi, and I still have not fallen out of love with it, and I doubt I ever shall.

However, I can never ever seem to get it in the right light. All this rain we've been having at the moment has made it very difficult to get any kind of decent photography done. Not that I would ever claim to be the world's best photographer, but it would be nice to get a nice light picture of it.

And I just watched the royal wedding, it was a pretty nice event to watch. Definitely great for some intense and delicate knitting done. And I think I may just keep on keeping on with the Maidenhair now. I don't think I've ever been quite so smitten with a pattern, but this is really so much fun to knit.


x peace folks

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Introducing Maidenhair

Hi all,
It's been pretty busy around the office here at Hilarity at the moment, getting into the last stretch of autumn has been a really inspiring time for all things knit, just in time for winter. Designing a range of garments has been a pretty exhilarating experience, and I am really eager to let you all know what is happening behind the blog scenes. Anyway, there has been something that I can show you, a birthday/christmas present for my sister, it's the Maidenhair Cardigan/Jacket/whatever you want to call it by Alice Starmore.

Here is a pic of the back in progress:


Sorry for the poor lighting, I will endeavour to get a better photo in the sun tomorrow. But it is a blast to knit. Not too difficult to knit up, but it is still something that you have to follow until you can remember the pattern repeat. I adore knitting it so far

Just for kicks, I took a couple of photos of the pattern sections up close:
Side panel

Middle Panel
Needless to say, this is going to take a little bit of time to get off the ground, so I have a plethora of small knitting projects going on behind the scenes to satisfy my cast-off desires. Either way, hoping your Autumn/Spring break has been great, wherever you are, and keep those needles clicking!

x peace

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New Knitting Ideas

With the autumn period well and truly upon us, I've kind of gone into mini project overload. Mainly scarves, if I'm completely honest, but a couple of hats here and there, and I'm planning to do a couple of mittens as well.
Here is a photo of my squishy scarf in progress. It's a simple mistake-rib pattern, but oh mylanta. Boy does it ever make for a lovely, squishy fabric. Definitely one of life's simple pleasures.
And, I assure you that the green is much nicer and a bit deeper in real life, I'll try and get a better photo of the colour tomorrow.

I suppose I've been in a bit of a knitting funk at the moment. After (almost) finishing my Osterdalen, I am loving just taking it easy in some scarf-knitting. No tension checking, no stranded patterning to worry about. This is real therapeutic knitting, working my way up to the harder stuff again. I started with 8 feet of garter stitch, a bit of mistake-rib, and it's really comforting. Plus it is great to have a lot of little projects completed after such a colossal beast of a project.

I've also been doing a bit of designing as of late, but I'm going to save the details for the next post !

x peace folks

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Still Alive!

Hi everyone, hope that you are having a good week so far. I've been lucky enough to score (almost) three weeks of holidays, during which very little has to be done, so I'm glad to say that I have made a whole lot of progress on the knitting front.

After the Knitting and Crochet blog week frenzy, I must admit that I have been a little bit frazzled and fizzled out about blogging so regularly, and so I've kind of just returned to my pattern of just blogging when I have time to do it, and when I feel motivated enough.

So, onto the knitting. I've almost finished Osterdalen, and I took a few photos while I was doing the steeks which I might post up here, maybe in a post devoted wholly to the steeking process. I know that there are a couple of them out there, but it can never hurt to give people a helping hand, right?
I've pretty much finished doing all the little odd bits and ends of the knitting, and now I just have to put in the zipper, which I'm not liking. I just can't seem to wrap my head around the instructions in the Dale booklet, but I'm sure that I'll be able to find a whole lot of info about putting in zippers on the internet.

Apart from that, my life has been consumed with a whole lot of knitting projects. I want to knit up a bunch of plain scarves and hats, the main accessories and stuff. Just a lot of plain patterns, and then maybe open up a stall or something like that and see if I can make a little bit of a profit. It would just be cool to see if it were viable, I suppose.

Anyway, sorry about the lack of photo's, but it is pretty late now and the lighting is ghastly, so I will save them for the next post.

Peace for now folks x

Friday, April 8, 2011

Small Gauge Aran Work

I've been dreaming of doing a Starmore sweater for quite some time now, and now that I have all the patterns that I'm going to need to get myself going on a sweater or two, I thought I might as well try off a hat or something to familiarise myself with her style of pattern.

So, without any further ado, here is a picture of my Kittiwake hat-in-progress.

It was kind of hard to spread out the stitches on the needles in order to get the cables to stand out, but I'm liking it so far.

One thing that I have found, though, is that doing cablework at a smaller gauge is somewhat more tricky than at a larger gauge, because I tend to cable without a cable needle. But I'm not going to let that stop me.

In the meantime, I've finished the bulk of my knitting on Osterdalen, and I shall devote this weekend to getting it done and dusted, which means it's time to get the sewing machine out and cut, cut, cut away into the steek stitches. I'll make sure that I have a pot of coffee that morning :D

x peace for now folks

Monday, April 4, 2011

back to basics after a week of intense knit-blogging

Wow, the Knitting & Crochet Blog Week was all a bit of a blur, it went so quickly that I didn't really get to focus on a lot of the tasks at hand during the week. I didn't really get to read as many blogs as I would have liked last week, and I have a whole bunch of comments to catch up on, but all in all I think it was a great success.

And even better, I know that I can do a post everyday now! Although, I may not end up posting daily, it all depends on the content I suppose. Either way, I am very much looking forward to doing the same thing this time next year, when I hope that I will have a few more finished projects on Ravelry by then.


So, I thought, just to ease the pace down a bit, both in terms of the blog and in real life, I've decided to start a new and extremely therapeutic project.


Yeah, it's a thirty stitch wide garter stitch scarf.

I still have good ol' Osterdalen, but the problem is that on the sleeves, I have to increase every 4 rounds, and I'm ever so not in favour of stopping before a repeat round, otherwise I fear I may lose count of where I am. It's not something that I can just do a quick row over, I have to do 4 rows to keep myself happy and sane.

So I thought, why not let someone else take care of the colourwork? I could think of nothing more relaxing than knitting this scarf, along with following my recipe for a perfect evening of knitting. I can just lose myself on a wave of garter stitch. Non-ruffling, non-complicated garter. Ahhh.

And be forewarned. My next major sweater looks like it's going to be a Starmore. So expect a lot more scarves.

2KCBWDAY7 - Your Knitting And Crocheting Time

I suppose I have never really thought about the places I knit in, or how I surround myself when I do my knitting, and I must say that after examining my habits for a little while, I'm kind of peculiar.

Comfort is something that is really important while I am knitting, but I can't knit in bed. Something about the bed being too comfortable or something like that just makes it altogether uninspiring for knitting. But onto the theme of comfort. I've found that there are a number of things that really put me in the knitting mood, and will ensure that I get a hell of a lot of quality knitting done. I've even made them in list form. Although, this list would best describe my ideal knitting surrounds, I suppose.

                                    Matthew's Recipe for an Ideal Knitting Night               
  • The thing that I think will bring along the knitting process is a cold snap in the weather. Although, this doesn't mean to say that I won't knit without it being chilly, but it is hard to pick up the needles and yarn in 40 degree weather.
  • I love to have a nice cup of tea, preferably a pot to last me a little while. Over at The Imperial Tea Garden, you can find many suggestions on how to brew yourself a perfect pot. A vital step in the perfect knitting afternoon or evening.
  • Old School Movies also add to the feel of a perfect knitting night. Don't worry about all the new stuff in the cinema now, for me, knitting is a time when I can acquaint myself with a lot of movies a bit before my time. You want to find some great movies to watch? Check out the lists at I Check Movies. You can keep track of the ones you've already seen, and find some new flicks to watch.
  • Now would be the time to grab out a nice warm blanket. You can find yourself a couple of blankets to queue at Ravelry as well.
  • A bit of something to go with the tea never goes astray. Here, the choice really is yours, although personally, I would go for something on the sweet side. My favourite thing is to make some staple Finnish pulla, kind of like a sweet bread, but incredibly addictive.
And there you have it, a simple way to make my knitting time perfect. I'd love to hear what everyone out there does in order to get into the knitting 'mood', or to make the experience just right.

And with a bit of a sniffle, that is the end of blog week, it's been great folks

x peace

Saturday, April 2, 2011

2KCBWDAY6 - Something To Aspire To

For me, I constantly love to learn new techniques, but I never really think of it being something that I have aspired to, I just thought that the more advanced you get as a knitter, the more cool things you should be able to pull out of the hat. I hope in this post I can impart a little bit of wisdom to any newbies out there who are maybe making a forray into some more exciting knitting, and maybe just encourage people to try something they've been wanting to do for a while.

Personally, I think to fully respond to this kind of topic, I first have to explain how I think about knitting as a general concept.
I'm a person who is very good at following directions and instructions, and as knitters, we all have to be, right? And the thing with knitting is that, with only two stitches and its variations, it would seem that the sky's the limit? So something which is, to me, a little crazy, is that I've seen people out there, people who have done amazing things with their knitting, that certain patterns seem more intimidating than others.

Now this is where (in my head, at least) I think I kind of sound really smug and know-it-all-y, but I find that generally, even if it's a technique I've never tried before, if I follow the directions, I shouldn't have a problem. Take steeking, for instance. It never occurred to me that the idea of cutting into your knitting was worrisome for a lot of knitters out there. I just kind of figured that, hey, it's in the directions, I'll just do it, and it worked.

And you should all do it too, there's definitely nothing stopping you. A pearl of wisdom J.K Rowling gave us via several HP characters, which I think is pretty apt here, "fear of a name only increases the fear of the thing itself." Words and phrases like "steek", "lace", "fair isle" and "aran" seem to conjure up fear for a lot of people. My advice would be this :

Any pattern is possible when you attack it one row, one stitch, at a time, and that's the only pace you can go with knitting.

As seemingly overwhelming as that Starmore sweater or Cobweb Lace Shawl may be, don't forget that if you can knit and purl, you CAN make it. Who cares if, at first, it might take you the better part of knitting to do a couple of rows? So go on and make sure that you put paid to your aspirations and try all those nifty techniques and styles that are out there these days.

Despite all of this forward thinking, there are a couple of things that I would love to make over the next year. I think that I'm going to go ahead and jump on the lace bandwagon. And here is where we have my little something to aspire to.

See, my problem is not with the knitting per se, but the sewing. I suck at making up, and I freely admit that. I'm kind of lazy and also too eager to start wearing what I spent months on making, and often the finished object leaves a lot to be desired because of it. Which is why, up to now, I haven't really given a lot of lace a second chance. Sure, it is uber beautiful stuff, but the blocking. Oh, the blocking. I could never figure out what it involved before the days of Ravelry, and anything that I tried ended up just not sitting right and I could never figure out why.

So this year, I want to pay special attention to the post-knitting part of the knitting process.


Oh, and a wedding ring shawl would definitely not go amiss. I know that having something like over 1000 stitches on a row (or something like that) is crazy and super intimidating, but I still stand by what I said before. Even if I got half a row done a night towards the end, it's still definitely do-able, and I'm so not a fan of the mention of the pattern being for 'ultra-experienced knitters'. If you want to do the wedding ring shawl, just go ahead and do it.

2KCBWDAY5 - And Now for Something Completely Different...

Ok, just for funzies. Today is going to be something a little bit different, and unfortunately not a whole lot of knitting content today. In fact, none at all.
Now, I know that a lot of your blogs are solely about knitting, or near enough all about knitting.  At the moment, mine is too, and I like it that way. But for this post, I've kind of been going on the idea that as much as I do enjoy knitting, it's not the only thing in my life, far from it.

So I asked myself the question, "If I wasn't a knitter, what would I be blogging about?". And I really couldn't come up with a solid answer. Which, in a way, fits perfectly with the little task for today. I am going to do a little photo montage so you can get to know me a little bit better. So here goes nothing.

 I love my ipod, I named here Mrs Phyllus Finkelstein, just because I can. She has been through some tough times, and yet she still seems to manage to soldier on. And as you can see, I do love my music. I often think about starting up a music blog, or something like that, but then I remember how much time and effort goes into my little blog here, that trying to do a music blog would just drain any free time I had. But it is something I LOVE talking about, and I'll listen to pretty much anything. Except country and western. It's a long story.

 As you can see, I'm pretty enamoured with books. Again, they really are something that I can't resist, and I will have read every book on that shelf at least a couple times over, and that has possibly a quarter of the stuff I (personally) own. Just putting it out there too, HUGE Kathy Reichs fan.
Also, I like to play the guitar, and just fool around with music in general. Except my acoustic up there is a little bit broken :( I'm in a band (or what I'd like to call a band, more a gathering of people in the one room playing instruments) with some people from uni, which is a lot of fun, we just mainly get together and have a bit of a play around.
 Also something that I would be really keen to blog about, is movies. I used to see so many when I was in Finland for a year, which is something that I never really did before, but now I realise that there is so many to catch up on. And it's pretty much the same as my music tastes, I can watch pretty much anything, even westerns.
Finally, it doesn't really come out here at all, but I think if you asked anybody who knew me what I am best at doing is learning languages. When I was in Finland I learnt how to speak Finnish and some Swedish (and I can kind of read Norwegian and Danish with my knowledge of Swedish and English now), and I studied French all through school. In uni, I'm studying Spanish, French and Japanese, and there are a few others that I dabble in from time to time. Eventually, I would love to become an interpreter and work for somewhere like the UN or the European Parliament, but that won't be for a while yet.
 So if you want to leave a comment on my blog, but don't speak English, don't worry about it, post it in your native language and I'll figure it out, I'd like the challenge.

I hope you got to know me a little better, I think it's so easy these days to think that us knit-bloggers don't really do anything else apart from knitting, and I think a little bit of variety posting is always good for a blog, especially stuff you enjoy talking about.

x peace folks

Thursday, March 31, 2011

2KCBWDAY4 - Where Are They Now?

Before I start off with this post, just a quick side note. I'd like to give a shout out to all the great comments I've been getting over the past week, and I shall endeavour to keep up with them all, it's certainly a little bit crazy going from so few to so many comments, but believe me, they are always in my mind.


Anyway, onto today's topic. We've kind of been prompted to take a walk down memory lane, as it were, So I've picked a couple of my favourites to take a quick stroll down those murky paths of my days as a knitting beginner, and to see what I was working on a few years ago is doing now.

First of all, this sweater is the first Norwegian-style sweater I ever put a needle to, and I must say that it's one of the projects that I am most proud of, being probably only 16 or 17 when I finished this baby.
It's a Drops design, from Garnstudio, and it's kind of where I learnt from my errors. This is the one I learnt proper colourwork technique, steeking, knitting in the round with dpns and circs, and general assembly. Of course, I had do keep it for myself because it just wasn't what I would have thought to be good enough to give away as a gift (although you probably wouldn't know about the mistakes in there unless I pointed them out) and also, it was my first. I kind of had to keep it.

I do wear it every now and again, but to be honest, I rarely need a massive woollen jumper, not the ones that I enjoy making so much. Oh the dilemma.

Secondly, there is this sweater, which I think is a real improvement personally on the former sweater, but each one has their little soft spot.
Another Drops design, from Garnstudio
Just personally, I really love myself for the colour choices, I like how this one has a lot more bam! than the blue and red. But I am a sucker for blue and red together, I don't know why.
This sweater really was a whole other learning curve, in a way. It just reinforced what I knew already from the previous sweater I had done, but it also involved working with more than two colours, and all those pesky ends.
I've worn this one a lot of times, mainly for its wow appeal, plus you can get away with black and white a lot more than blue in most cases.

Now, when I look back I'm quite amazed that it took me about a year to complete both of those sweaters, but I'm sure glad that I did stick with it.

x peace folks

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

2KBCWDAY3 - Tidy Mind, Tidy Stitches

Ha. This is so not me.

This blog post today is supposed to be about how we keep our stashes of wool as tidy as we can, and after trawling through a lot of posts on the subject today, I've kind of realised that, well, my stash could be a whole lot tidier.

I may not be the typical 19 year old guy, but I must say that I like my room with a more 'cluttered' feel than those in other age brackets may deem to be appropriate. My downfalls are mainly books, dvds, and yarn, almost in that order. It's hard to tell really, I think I have my books and dvds a lot more organised than I do my yarn. C'est la vie.

I generally keep my yarn in bags, often the bags I buy them in, but really, there will be some form of yarn in any room in the house you happen to find yourself in at the time. Sometimes, they are really blatant hiding places. And by hiding places, I mean hiding them from myself so I won't start any projects that I'm not supposed to. I tend to stash all the excess stuff up high, or under heavy things, so that laziness will win the day and I will just keep plugging on with whatever project I should be working on.

Other times though, yarn just pops up where you least expect it. I would like to call them ornaments, but I've been rather put off the idea. I would like to think that the wool lying around the house may just stimulate the designer mind instantly, as if seeing that skein of mohair in the bathroom will suddenly fill my head with an idea for a delicate lacey-do. At least, I would like to think so. Here is where I keep my dvds, for example:


Overrun with granny squares, so much so that the dvds have been moved to the shelf below. :|

But, for the most part, the stash is (somewhat) contained to my room. I have a cupboard where I've devoted a drawer to the yarn I'm making my Osterdalen with, but apart from that it is in bags, I'm afraid to say.
Not that I do have a really big stash. I'm more of the kind of plan-for-a-pattern kind of guy, I haven't yet found the way to just buy something to store away for a rainy day. I'll pick what I'm going to make, I'll go get the wool for it, make it, and then the process starts again. Of course, I would love to be able to increase the stash size, but alas. It shall have to wait for more prosperous days, I'm afraid.

A boy can dream, though.

x peace folks

(ps. I can't get to my memory card right now, but once I can, I shall take a few pics and upload em here and make it a whole lot prettier)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2KCBWDAY2 - Skill + 1UP


So for the second blog post for the week, the idea is to have a bit of a walk down memory lane and evaluate what we've learnt over the past year.

I think one of the things that I have learnt the most during the past 365 days is just how to come through with my projects, y'know? I think that when I was in Finland a couple of years ago, and I wanted that extra hat, pair of mittens or warm blankie for school-time (or on the bus, those things were COLD in the morning), I had some kind of motivator for me to get the job finished quite quickly, and for that I am eternally grateful. Whereas before, I would be lucky to get a sweater done in the time span of a year.

Generally, though, I have really been about trying a lot of new things and techniques this year, without even really thinking about it. I went through a whole cable-phase with the Point Gammon Pullover :



Which was a whole lot of fun, and one of my first cable-sweaters, and along with my copy of Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting, I am sure that there is going to be a lot more zany cable action to come.

Then, of course, I've been plugging along with my Dale of Norway of the moment, Osterdalen. And in fact, there is a little bit of a learning curve for this year, I have no safety steek stitches this time with my DoN, which is something new and not-so-intimidating, but still blogworthy, I would say. Here is a picture of the sleeve which I recently finished, of the nifty motif up the top:




 I've always loved a lot of colourwork, being able to see these wonderful pictures forming out from the charts on to your canvas of multicoloured yarn. And, although I may look at this and laugh when I eventually come to doing Starmore's Oregon cardi, it is even worth all those pesky yarn ends.


Crochet skills have also been on the forefront at the moment, and while I do like crochet for certain things, like doilies and a fast afghan here and there, I haven't really dabbled much in crocheted attire, I think that knitting shall always be my go-to guy, so to speak.

For the year coming, I really want to do some lace. I've always been a bit naive with what I've made before, in terms of finishing up to a high standard, so I think that lace would be the perfect opportunity to get it all accomplished. In terms of skills, I think that if you can follow a basic pattern, theoretically you should be able  to get a decent finished object. Although a lot of us out there know that this is necessarily always the case, that philosophy hasn't failed me yet. It got me through steeking and a bulk of my colourwork and cables, so I hope that I can get through lace this year in a nice, calm manner.

And after that, I want to try the Wedding Ring Shawl.

We'll see how that goes ;)

x peace folks

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Tale of Two Yarns - 2KCBWDAY1

 

As a young, Australian male knitter, I must fully admit that I have not yet had the pleasure in trying out a lot of different yarns. That isn't to say that I haven't had the chance to work with a few luxury yarns over the years, but on the whole, I have to keep my hobby on the cheap. So I'm going to tell you about a couple of yarns that I am dying to use, rather than just go through my love affair with the many-coloured balls of acrylic in my cupboard.

In fact, most of my experience with knitting has been with acrylic, but I'm more than happy with that at the moment. It suits the winter here really well, as it doesn't keep in as much of the heat as animal fibers do, and it doesn't need to in all honesty. But there is always just that little something missing, something that just adds that little bit of oomph to other projects.

Regardless, I definitely don't agree with a lot of the yarn snobbery that goes on these days. I suppose it's because I am much more of a process knitter. I could knit with twigs and shredded plastic bags, and I assure you that I would find it equally as pleasurable as knitting with the finest cobweb Shetland there is on offer.

So onto the fibers I am really eager to try. First of all, I am so keen to get my hands on some Shetland wool. As some of you might know, I recently received my copy of Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting from Amazon, and I am really keen to start on some of the designs, however, I would love for my first fair isle to be done in a fairly decent fiber, such as Shetland. But there is so much more that you can do with it, just looking on that web page gives me chills. I would definitely not say no to a box of Shetland wool of any weight coming to my door.

The other yarn that I would really love to have a shot at would be Shelter by Brooklyn Tweed. I love the idea of an all-American old-school production yarn, and the colours seem so amazing just through the Internet that I can't imagine what they would be like in real life. Not to mention that they would work really well with all of Jared Flood's patterns, which is a huge bonus on that.

Sorry about the lack of photo's for this post, I linked to most of the yarn manufacturers because I didn't want to steal their own photos. Vowing to double the amount of photos in the next blog. :D

x peace folks

Sunday, March 27, 2011

2nd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011

I know that it is really late notice for any Aussie knitters around here, but starting as of tomorrow is the 2nd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, which is something that I am really looking forward to participating in.
The idea is to essentially get as many bloggers as we can blogging about the same thing for a week or so, and in order to find a whole lot of new blog content to read through and just to enjoy yourself through your blog a little bit more.


Either way, it will definitely keep the posts coming for the next week, which is a habit that I always say that I want to get into a little bit more, and I've looked at the fifth day's topic in advance and it is pretty exciting actually. But I'm going to leave the other articles for a little bit of a surprise.

Of course, I may even go the whole hog and put in a couple of other posts in between all the blog week ones, because I have made a lot of progress on my Dale of Norway Osterdalen sweater, I finished one of the sleeves and I'm now onto the second.

So, I do encourage you to look into participating in the blog week challenge, because hey, there is nothing like a good challenge to get the creative juices flowing a whole lot, and also to check out Eskimimi's blog, because it's awesome in all the blog week gloriness, and just in general.

x peace folks

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rain, Studying, Knitting. The perfect combo for getting things done

It may have some sort of reflection on my personality, but I really love rainy weather. Which is especially good right now, because as I am looking outside my back door, all I can see are the drips coming off the patio.

I think that there is something particularly special about rain, it seems to have some serioud restorative qualities for me, but I just seem to get a whole lot more done when it is raining than if it were a sunny day. Not that I would be doing anything very special on a sunny day, but I just seem to stuff around a whole lot. But not today.

I've boned up on the French and Japanese readings for uni for the next week or so, and if this weather continues, I may get comfortably ahead of the course enough that I will be able to breeze along to the mid-term break, which would be overkill on the cool.  Finally, I can say that I have, with some degree of willingness, actually sat down and studied for a period longer than fifteen minutes. I definitely feel accomplished.

And of course, I think that this is the kind of weather that knitters everywhere dream of. Or maybe it's just me? I can think of no better conditions than miserable rainy and cold weather to sit down with the entire Harry Potter dvd collection and just make a start on the whole of the Osterdalen sleeve situation. And therein lies my dilemma. I reckon that the only way that the ideal knitting situation could get even better would be if it were dark and even chillier and also still raining. A boy can only hope, can't he?

Oh, and one of my friends was going speed dating today. I thought that that is something that you don't really hear about everyday, so I might ask him about it and do a cool nifty interview or something like that. I dunno. Just ambitious thoughts for the blog.

Sorry for the lack of pictures in this post, I promise to show you double in the next one!
x peace folks

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

some good old aussie music

I must say that I'm really lucky to be living in Sydney where there is such a great music scene, there is not a single artist who would come to Australia and not go to Sydney, and for that, I'm really greatful.

The good thing is that it's not only great for foreign artists and big names, but we also have a really good local music thing going on, and not just in Sydney but nationwide, which is quite exciting. It is nice to have all the popular music from the states and the UK, but I think that there is something inherently very special about the music artists are making here. There are so many good artists out there that are from around this part of the world, and I thought that I would share a couple of my favourites with you today for those of you who might not really have access to any decent aussie music.

This is one of the newer songs by the Bag Raiders, they even used it on the new Nova ad, but it's such a great song, awesome to have along in your car for a beach playlist or something like that.

And the video is kind of cute, with the little monkey. Altogether, a pretty damn fine song in my opinion.

For the second one, I decided on the new song by Architecture in Helsinki, Contact High. It is pretty awesome, and I particularly love this band because they have developed and evolved so much over their time, and even though their little developmental changes are noticeable, they never fail in being able to make music that I absolutely love.


And just a final one, at little bit different to what you might hear everyday on the radio is a little number by Boy & Bear, called Rabbit Song. They're a group from Sydney, kind of a bit indie-folky but some of the best indie-folky stuff I've heard for a long time. Check this one out.
So now that I've shared a few of my favourite bands from Sydney and Australia at the moment, what about you? I know that we get a lot of stuff from the USA and all that, but I can't imagine that we get genuine local stuff, which is always really interesting. Leave a comment or something and share some local bands from your area, it's always great to find some new things to listen to.

x peace

Thursday, March 3, 2011

You know all that sweater excitement i was talking about?

Well. After 18 inches of stockinette, in black, it's failing me. I'm trying to remain enthused with the project, I keep telling myself that there is only another 3 inches to knit before I can put in the steek for the neckhole, so I can cut this baby open to put in a zipper, and that an inch after that I'll finally get to some colourwork. But I don't really envision myself being done with those three inches at least until tomorrow, which is kind of a shame. Here is a picture of the black yarn-hungry sweater body regardless -

From that bodged photo effort, it's not easy to see how much black there is, but trust me, there is a lot. It feels like it will never end, but I shall persevere and get there in the end, so I can start all the wonderful colourwork up the top near the neck and shoulders.

Oh, and I played a match of football/soccer (delete as applicable) yesterday. It was fun, but it did remind me of how long it has been since I played that sport... but again, I shall persevere and maybe get a bit fitter than I am at the present time, which is always exciting.

And it's such a beautiful day today, it was a perfect autumn day. You can tell that it is getting a bit cooler, as the heat just doesn't have that extra edge it has like in the summer. It's wonderful to know that sweater and cardigan wearing weather is really only around the corner. It's already really nippy early in the mornings, and I had to pop on a jumper this morning, I'm hoping that there will be plenty of sweater wearing weather ahead.

xpeace

ps. Darwin Deez is coming to the Metro in Sydney, May 10th. Anyone wanna come with?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sweater Knitting

I cannot begin to describe to you how great it feels to have a sweater on the needles again, especially a norwegian one. There is just something special about casting on the three hundred plus stitches and just going for it, that makes me very excited.

The good thing about the pattern that I am doing at the moment is that, for the bulk of the body, it is just plain stockinette stitch. Thousands upon thousands of plain knitting all in black. Now, I know that the thought of this is probably so unappealing to a lot of you, but with university back, and me studying at odd hours, it is nice to be able to pick something up, knit a couple of rows, and not have to worry about where I am in the pattern. Essentially, it would mean that I would get a whole lot less sweater knitting done, which is vitally important at this time of the year.

Now for a couple of pictures -


Close up of the border pattern at the bottom
   The pattern down the bottom was quite simple, except for the one row when there were three colours in play. I'm very much a prescriber to the traditional fair isle rule of only ever using two colours in a row, and just now it dawned on me that I could have easily substituted the white stitches with the light blue, cutting down the colours to two, but what the heck. It's done now.


I find this photo to be a little bit more true to the colours, and I like how the endless chug of black is really putting a big emphasis on the border pattern, which i think is absolutely great in it's simplicity.

Also, as you can see, I do enjoy knitting at my computer. There is nothing like reading your favourite knitting blogs whilst indulging in the craft itself. I've been reading through the archives of Jared Flood's blog at Brooklyn Tweed. I so want someone to go over there and have a look at the patterns and find something that they want me to make them, because I have been itching for an excuse to buy some of them, if not just go a little wild and get them all. I genuinely love everything that he's done, again it's great in the simplicity of the look. Anyway, I've got dance practice tomorrow, which is always a lot of fun, and a good workout, so I should probably start heading to bed, but not before I get a little bit more done on Osterdalen.

x peace folks

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Osterdalen

So, I've done a complete reversal in my thinking process, thanks mostly to my discovering something last night which I thought had been well and truly lost.

About 3 years ago or so, I had cast on a project for a little baby jumper, but after I had got up to the armholes, the pattern book seemingly just disappeared. Needless to say, I was quite distressed, and the the sweater was then frogged, and kind of forgotten about until yesterday, when lo and behold! I found the pattern.

It's Osterdalen, by Dale of Norway, and it is definitely something that I am looking forward to knitting up. I'm really intrigued by the bands of colour at all the edges, while I'm also looking forward to the endless chugging of knitting for the bulk of the body.

And so, with the opening of the new Spotlight over at Wetherill Park, and all of their stuff on special for the next few days, I decided that, what the heck, I might as well get into the project with a bit of gusto. Because, let's face it, I've been really good. I have diminished the yarn stash considerably, done a hundred little projects here and there, and so I think that I am ready for another sweater.

Needless to say, I got the wrong sized needles for the body, but not for the facing, so I've started that. But there isn't a whole lot that is photoworthy today, so I will add a couple of extra ones in the next post.

x peace

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

back to the uni life

And it's kind of pooped me out. I think that after 3 and a half months of holidays or whatever it was, I just wasn't ready for so much new information to enter my brain in one day. But it is nice to get back into the swing of things.

Either way, that hasn't stopped my knitting altogether, although I definitely can't do as much as i could, with 6 hours of classes today, but I can't really complain, it will give my poor hands a bit of a rest.
I have gotten a fairly good percentage of the scarf done, which means that I will have used up another 2 balls of stash yarn (just so I can go out and buy a bit more, but we'll get back to that a bit later) and I can start another little stash using project.

Here is pic of said scarf:



And I have even written in my planner that I am going to finish that scarf tomorrow. Which will be kind of nice. While I am happy with the design, I think if I were to make it again I would make several changes, especially because I was kind of lucky when I winged(wung?) the pattern, and came up with a cool cably design. And it turned out nice, it could just be...better. But for my first self designed item, I am rather happy with it.

Apart from scarf knitting, this has been my life for the past week or so too:

Yes. Glorious granny squares.
Now, I'm not really all that keen on ALL OF THOSE ENDS, but to be honest, my stash hasn't decreased this much in, like, ever. My hoards of wool is probably minute in comparison to others, but eh. I feel as though I should diminish the wool that I've got before I buy any more. And boy oh boy, do I have some plans for some more wool. But I will come to that in the next post.

Peace for now folks.
x

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

GLORIOUS JUICE!

Before I forget, you'll never guess what came in the mail a couple of days ago!
A WHOLE CASE OF SPRING VALLEY BANANA AND BERRY NECTAR!

I got the case through a thing with a website called Soup, which is website where you get to try stuff, and then tell people what you thought about it. You should all go and check it out.

Anyway, the juice itself is heavenly. First of all, it smells really good, which can sometimes be a bit of a let down, because so often is the case that the flavour doesn't stand up to the plate, but not with this juice. Or nectar, to be precise.

So yeah, I now have 24 of these babies to pass around and see what people think of them, so I think that I am going to have a little bit of a juice party or lunch or something like that, which should be pretty cool. And hopefully it will bring a little bit of Spring into our days, because it seems as though we are headed into Autumn a couple of weeks early.

I'm not really complaining about the weather though, after the harsh 40 degree days,  cooler, wetter weather is just what the doctor ordered, but people just seem to forget that so easily. I just prefer it cooler than most. Although some sun for a picnic wouldn't go astray...

xpeace

A cool few days, with plenty of pictures

So I have been pretty busy for the last couple of days, although to be honest it is kind of difficult to remember exactly what it is I've done, but I do have a couple of photos to help me remember.

I've decided that I am going to start designing a lot of the stuff I knit, and then I'll probably put the patterns up on here, I'll make a cool little page for them. Initially, I had the little dilemma of deciding whether or not I was actually designing anything new, or just putting a little spin on something that I had seen before, which is why I'm working on trying really hard to make all the knitwear that I am going to design original.

And the good news is that I am already a quarter of the way through the cabled scarf that I just kind of come up with on the fly.
I'm still not 100 percent sure if that pattern is going to be a successful one, but I am pretty happy with it as a first design. Plus it just means that I can use up another 2 skeins of off-white 8 ply that are languishing around, in order to make room for some more yarnage. Which is always good, I don't care what anybody tells you. Especially when there is a Starmore sweater in the near future.
Just for a little bit of detail, its got seed/moss stich as the border, and it is a scarf of wide proportions. In fact, I probably would cut the amount of side stitches in half, but I want to try something a bit crazy with these stitches once I've finished, now that I have them.

And I went to a yarn store today in the city called Morris and Sons, and it was pretty cool. I got these -


They are quite quaint, really. A tiny little pair of circs, which will make beanie and sock making a whole lot easier.
I'm kind of dismayed by the lack of yarn stores in Sydney as a whole. It means that you are pretty much stuck with 8 ply acrylic for the rest of your life, unless you order stuff through the internet with credit cards and stuff like that. Plus it is a really good place to meet girls, unsurprisingly. I always love that the female to male ratio is always pretty high, but the thing I hate is that a lot of them assume that a guy into knitting is gay. Eh. Always with the good and the bad.

xpeace for now folks

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Still Alive

Just thought that I should post a little something, just so that everybody knows that I haven't yet abandoned my blog, I've just been keeping myself a whole lot busier than normal.

In the past week alone, I've finished a mohair cardigan that I had been working on for a little while, then I started and finished a white beanie, started another one because I really liked that pattern so much, and today I started and have almost finished a pair of socks in a lovely blue and green coloured wool.

So I have most definitely been keeping myself busy.

Anyway, it has been a pretty good week, I hung out with Adam and we just kind of bummed around for a while, which is always good, and then on Friday night I hung out with Andrea and Stef and a few other people for a little bit, I met up with them at a sushi train in Cabra.

I've also been thinking about trying to commercialise my knitting a bit more these days. I know that I can knit up a decent pair of socks, a beanie, some mittens or a pair of gloves in a couple of days, I just wonder how little people would actually pay for that type of stuff. I don't really know, but it would be cool to just knit a whole lot of stuff and then at the middle of the year just get a stall somewhere and sell some of my stuff.
I just would never EVER sell any sweaters. They just seem to be so personal and they normally take me forever to knit, and I don't know whether or not i could bring myself to knit something as involved as a sweater or a big piece of work like that which I didn't personally like to begin with.

And just a little side note. One of the main reasons that I am making so many little knick-knacky things at the moment is because I would very much like to start a fair isle sweater from Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting (I mean, who wouldn't?), but I have kind of been banned from getting any more wool until I can deplete my stash a little bit. But I suppose the good thing is that I can buy the wool up slowly and get the right stuff for the job for this one, because I want it to be a really special sweater.

Anyway, I think that that should do it for now, I will take some pictures of the stuff that I have been working on in the past few weeks and put them up in the next post.

xpeace

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Another Sweater Finished

It is always a pretty exciting time when you finish a knitted item that you have been working on for a little while, but this one is special. It's really the first item that I have made for myself that has had any sort of cables, and I am really happy with the way that they turned out in general. For your own eyes, here is a photograph of the finished product :
All in all, I'm really happy that I have been able to commit myself to a project for a relatively short period of time, and get it done. Normally, a sweater would take me months and months to knit, whereas this one only took about two or so. Needless to say, it will be a welcome to the wardrobe, especially with the cooler months coming round sooner rather than later.

And, very cheekily, I have immediately started on getting another project up and running. To be honest, it has been cast on and just languishing in my knitting storage space for about 4 years, and I think that it is about time to get it over and done with, so I can make some more room for other things.


In other news, (and rather ironically), just mentally preparing myself for the heat wave that we are apparently going to be having here in Sydney, so I don't really know how much knitting is going to get done, but I am going to try my best and just keep plugging along.
Oh, and next week I hope I'm going to have a Wii party with Tiff and Adam, and maybe a few others but we'll see. Should be very exciting.

x peace folks

Day at the Library

Technically, I didn't really spend a day at the library, it just happened to be the day that I went to the library, so I think that I can get away with the title.
Anyway, here is a photo that I took at the library (I wasn't really sure if you were allowed to take photos inside, so I just played it safe)

Local Library

I'm always really surprised by the local library, it normally has everything that I am looking for, which is really great. I can get most of the heavy duty reading from the library at uni, but that type of stuff is mainly all the books that you just copy a chapter out of here and there, and then just put the book back where you found it. Whereas here, they have a really great selection of books for a smaller sized library, and they actually have a fair few knitting resources, which is always a godsend. It's nice to not have to spend a whole heap of money on a book, getting it imported in from overseas (because we really don't get the good range of books and other things that are available in North America or Europe, at least some specific items like knitting books, etc.), and just to walk into the library and be able to take the book for a month, relatively free.


Anyway, we got a call from the optometrist today, and my prescription sunglasses have come in, which is pretty exciting. That is the only problem with having glasses that you need to have on whilst driving, you can't wear a pair of sunglasses without technically breaking the law. So I'm looking forward to getting my hands on them tomorrow.
Except...well I can't really wear the new prescription sunglasses while my new prescription glasses are still out being prepared, because it would be too much for my poor eyes to handle. So although I'm pretty happy about the sunglasses getting in, I am SO looking forward to when my normal pair comes through.


While I was down the road today, I also stopped by the newsagency and got myself a copy of the Winter edition of Interweave Knits. It is really exciting to have a flip through, as I could actually envisage making a lot of those patterns, as they have always worked out well for me in the past.
And while I'm on the subject about magazines and stuff like that, I personally find it really annoying that the price of a magazine in North America is half the price of what we have to pay here in Australia, especially when our currencies are so close. I suppose that they have to figure in transporation costs, but it does seem to be a little over the top. Regardless, I think that it is worth the price to pay, there are always a lot of patterns in there that I will actually make, and use over again.

And finally, on a quick update, I am close to finishing the second sleeve on the sweater, which means that the sewing is looming, but I am looking forward to stepping up to the challenge of making up the sweater pretty nicely. It is something that I often overlook, but I have the time now to spend a little bit more effort on making the final product a whole lot more presentable.


Peace folks x

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mum's birthday today

So today was my mum's birthday, which was pretty good, we all got up earlier than we normally do and gave her all the presents we got for her, and then...

We went to the movies over at Wetherill Park, and saw the King's Speech, the movie with Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. It was actually pretty good, I always find it a little bit awkward when movies are made about people who are still living, having a young Queen Elizabeth in the movie was alright though.

So yeah, then we had some fish and chips for lunch which is always a bit of a treat, I do love to have some fish whenever I can, even if it is in the battered form. But give me a bit of proper smoked salmon any day. YUM. A couple of years ago and you would never have caught me saying that, but that is what a year overseas can do to you I suppose.

Then I made a Banoffee cake, banoffee being a merger of banana and toffee, which turned out really well. The one thing that I kind of had a problem with was the sweetness level. I got the recipe of a cooking website from the States, and I should have realised that this would be a problem when I was buying so much sugar. Don't get me wrong, the cake tasted amazing, and I can appreciate the way the cake came together, but it was a sugar overload. And this is something I've found with most of the recipes I get from over stateside, all the deserts seem to be incredibly sweet, overly so, which is something that we're just not really all that used to here over in Australia. But the cake was a success, by anymeans. Nice, but you definitely need to have a whole month of exercise after each slice.

And then, I made some futher progress with my sweater that I'm making, and here is an attempt at a photo of the sleeve. (I make no claims to fame for being a great photographer, I just shoot and point in general.)


Second Sleeve
 I know that its hard to see the pattern, and I'll see what I can do to tune up the detail a little bit, but I am really pumped at how very little time it's taken me to get this sweater almost done, which is why I'll probably keep plugging along after I've finished this post. :D  The only thing that I'm really dreading at the moment is all the sewing and stuff like that coming up, urgh. My least favourite part of the process, mainly because I find it to be incredibly stressful, and so finnicky. I'm far to impatient for sewing things nicely into place, but I always strive to do my very best.

As a final note, I'm thinking of getting into the 365 project, where you take at least a photo a day (and then put it up on a blog or somewhere like that). I'm kind of pumped for it, but kind of worried that I am going to cop out after a while. It sounds like something that I wouldn't normally do, but I have read a couple of blogs by people who are givign the project a go, or who have finished the year, and they seem to be loving it. So I am going to try my darndest and take lots of photos, and today was just the start.

x peace folks

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Nice chill of a weekend.

You might be happy to know that I have come back to the blogging scene after a bit of a hiatus, I just haven't really been able to sit still at the computer for long enough to throw out a blog post here and there.

Anyway, I've been thinking that I really do need to get a bit of media on here a bit sooner, rather than later, because I know that my incessant ramblings would probably get a bit tedious after a while. So keep watching this space and I hope you will be pleasantly surprised with a couple of changes.
I think that I have just been in a bit of a blogging funk for a bit, but it's always nice to come back and just let myself ramble for a while.

Oh, and I got a Kindle eBook reader today! And it's really quite cool, I'm loving just exploring it here and there. To be honest, there are some pretty good finds out there if you look hard enough, I got the entire Arthur Conan Doyle collection for free, which is always a good thing. Plus I like its dictionary, it's got a lot of great features that I am pretty eager to get acquainted with.

So, I have dancing again tomorrow which should be fun, and a pretty nice workout. Not only do I get to work out while I'm having fun (which, to be honest, is something that I've been looking for for ages, I never seem to enjoy myslef whenever I'm doing any hardcore exercise), it will be really rewarding if I ever get round to joining one of the performances, if I can put myself up to that standard.

And from then on I think that I am going to have a fairly busy week, it will be my mum's birthday on Thursday and there is plenty to be done before then, I've found an uber cool cake recipe that I am going to cook, but I will link it to you guys next time.

peace for now folks x

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why I love to knit

It's actually been quite an enjoyable day, it hasn't been a common day when I have just sat back and watched most of the second series of Bones and just got stuck into a lot of knitting that I have left unfinished for a while.

I kind of was wondering why I do knit in the first place, apart from simply being able to do all the stitches and finish up everything to a good standard. It's kind of an interesting hobby for a guy to have, but I don't really see it as being anything effeminate in any way, to be honest, although I know that heaps of people would tend to disagree with that.

Actually, it has been a really good ice breaker with the opposite sex in general, which is always good. But again that isn't the real reason why I like to knit so much.

I suppose that it is generally a sense of accomplishment by being able to set out a plan to start something, and then spend hundreds of laborious hours of work and finally ending up with a finished project. In all honesty, we don't really have the climate here in Sydney to warrant me knitting things all the year round, but I still do it for some reason.

And then I guess that there is the whole business of artistic expression. I have a belief that everybody, in some way or another, has some artistic nature to themselves. Whether it be designing curves on a math plane, drawing anime, making music, creating movies or even just taking a liking to them, they're all forms of expression, and I think that it has to come out every now and again. For me, there is nothing more perfect than wearing a piece of clothing that has a history, where you have been involved in the creation of something that has so much of yourself in it. Being able to say that you made something yourself is always nice.

It's not all about the attention from others (although it is an added bonus), just being able to wear a nice pair of woollen socks in the winter feel a little bit warmer when they're hand knit. For me, it's more than just a nifty craft, it's something that I put a lot of my time and effort into making things look good. Everything I knit has a character, and that's something that I really love about the whole process.

Oh, and it's really relaxing once you've got it done pat. Not so relaxing if you're trying to struggle through row after row of complicated patterns, but if you can just chug along in a basic pattern, it's really nice to pop on a movie or, in today's case, a tv series, and just let your mind wander a little bit. But not too far, you don't want to be dropping too many stitches now :)

peace x

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

what IKEA means to me, and why I love it

It may be very un-finnish to enjoy going to Ikea so much, a rival Swedish company, but I'm not all that concerned.

A couple of days ago I was supposed to go to the beach with some friends, but it was kind of overcast and noone really felt like driving all the way down to the beach just for the weather to be miserable, so we decided to go the park and have a bit of a picnic, which turned out to be really good fun. But it rained there too, so we had to pack up shop and the general consensus was to go to Ikea.

So we all went to Ikea, and it was a very exciting moment for me.
After coming back from Finland, I've kind of been in a Finnish void for a year, there are not many things which you can get in Australia that are authentically Finnish, or even nordic. So when you go to a place where a lot of the signs are in Swedish and they have all the food and accessories you were so used to eating and seeing during a year and haven't been able to get for ages, something just snaps, and you go a little crazy.

It was soooo nice to spend some time in the cafeteria, with all the precision of those back in school in Finland, and just to eat some of the food that I hadn't tried for ages. I had the meatballs with some lingonberry sauce, and a piece of Daim cake, but that isn't really important.

For me, it was just really nice for a moment to be taken back to a lot of the things that I became really familiar with during my exchange year, I even saw a couple of Swedes while I was there. So it was a good trip, and I shall definitely be heading back pretty soon.


Oh, and I'm also waiting for a Finnish cookbook to come in the mail, it looks like its going to be pretty awesome, it's even got recipes for Karelian Pasties and stuff like that, and I've tried really hard to find those, but to no avail. So I'll be doing an uber excited blogpost about that.

And you can find out more about IKEA here.

peace folks x

Sunday, January 2, 2011

On a Spanish High

Ok, so I've kind of decided that I want to do really really well for my summer Spanish course, basically because I have the whole entire summer than I can simply devote to going over everything I learnt last year and just consolidate the hell out of it.
This probably isn't very blog worthy, but it really is the only thing that I can think of blogging about at the moment. Apart from the fact that I applied for a job at the JB Hi-Fi that is going to open in a few months at my local shopping centre which I really hope that I get. And there is all about New Years Eve, but I think that I am going to have to devote a whole post to that sooner or later.

Anyway, I've set myself up with an account at Flashcarddb, and I'm making myself massive lists for all the vocabulary that is in the chapters of my Spanish textbook that I've been using at uni, and I'm also just making lists of randomly impressive words that I may never use, but it's always good to know.

I've also tried to find some decent telenovelas on the internet to watch, which is kind of proving to be a little difficult. I may just suck it up and see if I can buy a DVD set or something like that online, which would be good.

But yeah, pretty much just living in a Spanish bubble at the moment, which is kind of fun at the moment. But I suppose that I do feel a little bit bad not devoting more time to Japanese over the holidays, but I try and do a little bit each day. I just find it a whole lot harder to do that in Japanese, I don't really feel as if I am at the same level with Japanese as I am with Spanish, in all honesty. But I will keep on keeping on with it, I'm really eager to see how the 2nd year of Japanese will go at uni, I'm hoping for some really good progress.

So yeah, just thought that I would keep you up to date at the moment. I'm actually really surprised at how quickly the summer holidays have been going, which is good and bad. It's right about now where I kind of get mixed emotions about going back to school or uni, you know when you actually start to look forward to getting back into the swing of things and finding a bit of a routine. And getting into a reliable sleeping pattern, which is something that I always have in the back of my mind as something that I should be doing, but never really get around to.

peace folks x