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.


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