Friday, December 19, 2008

Better than George Costanza

You know that Seinfeld episode where George is bragging to Elaine about what a good parallel parker he is and as he is yammering on the guy that called Jerry a phony tries to snag the spot by pulling into it? Then they sit there both half in the spot, blocking traffic and miss the big fight they were going to watch at Jerry's.

Well, last night we went downtown to meet up with some friends and I was lucky enough to find a spot less than a block away from the bar we were headed to. There was 2 people standing in the spot as I approached and I wasn't sure if they were crossing the street, trying to get to the car parked in front of the spot or what. So I pulled up and past the spot to do a parallel park job and the pedestrians ended up crossing the street behind me. So after they crossed, I looked back preparing (but not bragging like George) to pull into the spot and what do I see? Someone with their signal on trying to pull in nose first! So I says to myself, oh no they don't and I whipped into that spot, quick as lightning, one fell swoop, no need to adjust forward or backward, put her in park, shut off the car, and off we went to enjoy our evening. Apparently I'm quite good at parking under pressure and unlike George, I only brag about it after the fact!

(I couldn't find a pic of the parking space episode so I went with this gem! )

Moss stitch neck warmer

This pattern is great for a quick last minute knitted gift. After making the feminine promenade neck warmer, I decided I wanted to make a more masculine version and thought this brown handspun would look nice knit up in moss stitch.


Yarn: I used a worsted to aran weight handspun, about 50g

Alternative yarns: I think this would look nice in a noro yarn, but kuyeron or silk garden would be closest in weight to what I used . However, any yarn you fancy would work, just use appropriate needles to match the gauge.

Needles: US 9 (5.5 mm)

Gauge: 4 stitches/inch

Size: one size fits most


CO 98 stitches
Knit in moss stitch (k,p to the end on both odd and even rows) for 28 rows.
On row 7 and 21 make an appropriate sized buttonhole 3 stitches from the end.

I used this buttonhole tutorial and castoff 3 stitches to match the button size I used.

Bind off loosely, sew on buttons (using the pic above as a guide), and you're done!
If you have any problems or questions with this pattern please let me know so that I can fix it!

*this pattern has now been added as a free pdf download on ravelry

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I was busy last weekend

This weekend... not so much. But last weekend, last weekend I realized that I needed to get all family xmas shopping/knitting done and in the mail in order for them to receive it (hopefully on time). And with the exception of one failed hat (which I may or may not cover later) I think everything was a success and I'm glad to have all the shopping over at such an early date!

Item number 1: the haruha scarf finally finished and blocked.

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I'm pleased with the turnout and hope the recipient enjoys it.

Item number 2: the promenade neckwarmer knit out merino/possum wool that is o soo snugly. I hope I have enough left over to make myself one!

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This item's finishing touches were the buttons that I received in a swap from Lyn in the UK. They went beautifully with this neckwarmer!

Item number 3: my improvised masculine neckwarmer. This was knit in moss stitch out of hand-dyed, hand-spun yarn. It was also finished off with buttons from Lyn!

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And item number 4: Tudora, an elizabethan collared neckwarmer. This one is also knit out of hand-dyed, hand-spun yarn. The yarn is a purposefully spun thick and thin and I really liked how it turned out and it knit up all texturey and nice.

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You may have noticed the neckwarmer theme! It was nice to find some patterns that had at least a little intricacy and were small enough that I could finish 3 of them and most of an ill-fated hat in 2 days. In addition to the knitting in those 2 days we also did all the shopping for the non-knitted gifts and watched the national cycling criterium here in Christchurch. I never thought I would enjoy watching a cycling race, but it was really neat to see some nzed Olympians. I was cheering for Hayden Roulston who got 4th.

With christmas knitting quickly behind me I've started a top for myself and knitting some stripey socks for a friend. One more week of work and then 2 weeks of vacation! I can't wait! We are headed to the north island for a tiki tour. So far we have done no planning for it... might need to get on that pretty soon.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Some sweaters

Here are some sweaters I have made (in the last few months anyway):
Feb Lady Sweater

This is my first adult sweater! Sure it's lacy, on kinda big needles, and only has 3/4 sleeves, but a sweater's a sweater. The pattern is named February Lady Sweater, it's an adult version of an Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern (February Baby Sweater - I'm thinkin' I'll be making one of these someday). I am pleased with how this cardi turned out and happy with my springy colour choice. Truth be told I totally made it to match the skirt in the picture and don't they look sweet together?

Next up is a teeny tiny little fly away cardigan that I started knitting for my boss' baby. Then he had a boy... So now it sits awaiting a baby girl to be gifted to. I used a pattern out of a cleckheaton pampletty booklet thingy. The patterns in it are cute, but soooo many small pieces. The small part is redeeming enough for me to knit them. But sewing that lacy edging on after sewing all the pieces together was a bit much.

bsj buttons

This last one is another Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern. It is called the baby surprise jacket because it is knit flat and then you fold it up (very origami like) and sew two little seams. It's hard to know exactly where this knit is going until you are almost finished with it. This is my first handspun project. I used the roving I spun up from maude & me. She's got a gorgeous green and pink one up right now! Yum! For a picture of the whole sweater click here.

I would just like to say that E Zed sure was a smart and innovative knitting lady. She's got some amazing/simple/beautiful patterns. They seem to be timeless as well. Funnily she only lived a few miles outside of 'craps' (where I went to high school) and had a knitting show on PBS which if I think really really hard about I might be able to vaguely remember.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Swaps & Birthdays

Earlier this month I organized a New Zealand Fiber Swap on ravelry, an online knit/crochet/spin community for those of you not so into the fiber crafts. I've been taking part in a few other swaps this spring, but having to ship overseas is so expensive! By keeping it within the islands of New Zealand we were able to save some coin (that will then be spent on more knitting/spinning items!).
flowers and presents
Lucky me got my swap package earlier this week from Stella. It actually came on Blue's birthday (tee hee hee). I felt a bit like a small child getting a hush present as to not get jealous of the birthday boy. As it turns out, it was more like having my own birthday! I had lots more presents to open up in this package than blue had all day (shhhhh, if he thought about it, it might make him feel bad). The above photo is of all the unwrapped gifts matching beautifully blue's birthday flowers. Now he is claiming that I bought these for myself! On his birthday! Not me, I wouldn't do that. Nope boys need flowers on their birthdays too!
Thank you Stella!

So here is what I got: soft white wool pencil roving, 4 ply cream coloured cotton, a beautiful handknit washcloth, purse sized emery boards, a nice big button, dark chocolate (mmmmm), "blank" vintage purls sock yarn (for me to dye), self striping sock yarn, AND the yummiest looking and smelling handmade soap I have ever seen! Check it out:

How pretty, I wish you could smell it too!

Thank you Stella! What a great birthday er I mean swapday present!

And as far as blue's birthday went. He got a nice new grill for us to enjoy all summer long, a delicious dinner (that well frankly he had to cook) of groper steaks (aka grouper steaks - yum.), and a yummy yummy cheesecake made by yours truly! This year I went with an oreo cookie crust as he wasn't a huge fan of the wine biscuits last year. Oh graham crackers where art thou?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Catching my breath

We took a 5 day vacation almost 2 weeks ago now! Work has obviously been keeping me too busy to blog! We had a great trip up in the Abel Tasman, 4 days of kayaking and 3 nights of tenting on (or close to) the beach. For blue and me this was our first overnight paddling trip together (and my first overnight paddling trip ever) so it was a bit exciting and unnerving.

Our first day out we had perfect weather and the sea was wonderful and calm. The next morning it was perfectly calm, but by the time we got packed up and ready to head out to our next destination the waters had become rough and we struggled a bit to get our grips. But we made it safely (and sorely) and spent 2 nights at our next campsite. There were naughty possums and a beautiful estuary. On the 3rd day we got up early (in an attempt to avoid rough waters) and paddled to an island seal colony and past some sandstone arches. It was really really beautiful. We ended up not paddling all the way back to Marahau (our starting point) but instead we took a water taxi due to rough waters/inexperience. We were even more pleased with this decision when we got out in the open water on the taxi into 2 meter high swell! Yikes! Oh and we saw two little blue penguins swimming! What a treat! The bottom photo is of our first campsite bay. So nice and round. The top photo is of one of the tractors used to put the boats in/pull them out. I love that they use old tractors and they keep them so nice and pretty! The clouds are pretty amazing in it too!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I think this is what most of us americans are feeling right now.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Big Smiles!

I'm so excited I came home to not one, but two packages today. I was expecting one this week (from a swap) with surprise spinning items in it, but I was not expecting the other (with surprise spinning items in it!). I'm such a lucky girl.
Sweatergirl rocked my stash with some roving she didn't quite get around to spinning up. I think the blue and white are both bfl and the brown might be romney.
another surprise packag from sanne!
The package also came with some paintings by an aspiring artist ;-) and lots of photos of munchkins that I miss! Oh and cheetos mmmmm cheetos, spicy cheetos (which are unobtainable here).
AND THEN I got this from a fiber swap I'm taking part in! More hand-dyed bfl and lots of extra goodies including handspun singles and a super bad-as* button! What to do with that button? On a bag? On a hat? Top of a cardigan? I'm sure I'll find the perfect use fore it, but it may take a bit of searching/serendipity.

swap package unwrapped

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


These little guys sure are good at hiding! But we finally found a few within viewing/photographic range. They had a baby too! But we didn't see the baby, it was in the bush. Oh baby in the bush. It was crying though. Which made us feel bad so we backed off and watched from afar for a little longer.
It was a really nice weekend with great weather. Although 3 nights of camping at primitive camp sites with sandflies was enough. I was glad to come back to my kitchen, bed and shower (oh and personal space). I also didn't get much knitting done, so I was glad to come home to that too! Winding roads and knitting do not agree with me. Knitting by flashlight in a prostrate position isn't my bag either. Sitting on my couch with a beer nearby in decent light, that's my preferred knitting position.
Oh and I've put a cute youtube clip from march of the penguins. The little baby call is similar (although more calm) to what we heard this weekend.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

coloured wool

IMGP8365.JPG, originally uploaded by .ily.

Here are some of the fibers that I pandered to the women at the guild last saturday. I personally like to stick with the browns/blues and earthier tones, but I thought that maybe everyone doesn't have the same taste as me. And I was right, the brighter shades were a hit!
I can't wait to see some of them spun up!
I'm also taking part in a fiber swap for the next few months. I got my package out yesterday, along with my U.S. ballot (hurray!). I'm hoping to get my swap package next week!
This long weekend (Labour Day) blue and I are off to the west coast in search of fiordland crested penguins! Hopefully it won't rain too much and we'll be able to get some hikes in along with some great photos.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

yarn so soft

The yarn for my february lady sweater arrived a while back and then a week or so later I ordered the right needles. Now the sweater is well under way and I'd say I'm about halfway done. I'm in love with the yarn -malabrigo, merino worsted. It is so soft and fluffy, like a cloud (or what I would imagine a cloud should feel like). It is also a single and I love knitting with singles. Before I knew much about the construction of yarn I knew that I loved singles and didn't really stop to think about what made them so special and fun to knit with. For the yarn novice (aka me a few months back) a single is just one spun piece of yarn not plied with anything at all.

Last Sunday a group of us guild members went on a fiber buying trip to a farm south of here with more fleece on shelves than I could have imagined! It was beautiful. All the natural colours! Here are some pics of the combed corridale and merino.Then in the shearing shed there were boxes upon boxes of raw fleece and the lighting was lovely and diffuse. I opted for a few houndred grams of prepared merino (in brown, silver, and silvery brown). I am planning on plying it with hand dyed merino.The raw fleece was so nice and soft. This box was calling my name. But I'm not really into fiber prep at the moment and I don't have room to spare in my house (you buy one sheep's worth of fleece at a time - that's a lot of fiber!). Maybe next time I go I'll be ready to tackle washing and carding the whole sheep's worth of fleece.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

my first sale

hand dyed merino, originally uploaded by .ily.

Last night the weavers and spinners guild had a fiber destash night. So I bundled up all my hand dyed fiber I've been hoarding over the last few weeks. Unsurprisingly I arrived late and the announcements were already being made and everyone had placed their items to sell on the table. So I snuck in and sat by a friend and immediately the women around me started fondling and claiming their braids of fiber. I only had amassed 5 so it didn't go far, they barely made it out of arms length before getting snatched.

I was happy that my goods were so well received and even happier to be able to make a little profit off of them. I realized it was the first time that I have ever sold anything that I have made. (I'm pretty sure it is anyway.) Out of all the crafts I've ever crafted, I've only ever given them away. So now I have a little pocket money... to go and buy more fiber of course! It's a vicious cycle I tell ya.

On my way to the guild I realized that I hadn't photographed any of the ones I was selling. This fiber photo is my first acid dyed roving and it turned out so lovely that I had to keep it.

When I got home last night I cooked up another special request batch of fiber and will try and get another 2 done to take on Sat for the continuation of the fiber sale.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

3 dogs, 2 horses, 1 bunny, and some rat babies

Yup rat babies.
Blue and I are housesitting this week and that is the role call. The rat babies were a surprise. Turns out they live with the bunny, or rather next to the bunny. We went out to feed her the first night and almost as soon as she had her food and we shut the gate this little rat came scurrying out towards the food dish, saw us and then ran back to where it came from. We looked around and waited quietly (after I gave out a little girly scream, but it was only a little one) and then a few other little rats peaked their heads out. I must admit, I'm not really into rats, but was a little curious about them and their relationship with the bunny. Are they friends? Does the bunny willingly share her food cuz I'm pretty sure she could scare them off if she wanted. Maybe they keep her company. She's so fat and soft.The puppies are wonderful too. They are all very nice and entertaining. I'm not allergic to them either which is a bonus. That and they don't seem to really shed much (perhaps one of the reasons I am not too allergic). Here are 2 of them: kiwi & hamish.

Monday, September 29, 2008

sexy spring flora

Rhubarb leaf

Rhubarb flower
(who knew?)



Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why knitters wane in the summer months

Because your hands sweat and it just isn't pleasant to work with wool (or most fibers probably) while you have sweaty palms. I remembered this the other day when it reached 26 degrees! (78 for those of you Fahrenheitly inclined). Also, it's fun to play outside and garden and hike and all those other sunshiney more activite type things. Knitting is definately more suited to cool (or cold) evenings snuggled up on the couch.

However, because it really just doesn't get that hot ever in New Zealand (don't get me wrong, it gets warm, just not very often is it hot), I think I will be enjoying my summer evenings knitting this year... Or at least my knitting season will be extended beyond it's normal season (we'll have to see if this really holds true).

Earlier this week it was beautiful, sunshiney, and warm here in Christchurch (it's been raining again the past 2 days). So when I went out for knitting night on Tuesday I put on a springy skirt and top, but just didn't have a sweet little sweater to keep the evening chill away. Hence, in light of spring I have decided on a cardigan pattern and ordered some yarn. The pattern is this:

and the yarn is this:I have also recently found some online knitting stores that have reasonable international shipping prices. Hurray! I ordered this from Eat Sleep Knit and I'm dreaming up new projects so I can order something from Loop.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

a new knitty.

I just discovered that latest issue of knitty and it actually has some really great patterns, which was a nice surprise.
I think these are my favorite:And I really like this blanket... but I am afraid it would send a wee one into a seizure. Don't ya think?I was able to finish my yarn today which was a relief. I sat out on the deck and plyed til my little hearts content in the beautiful, and much appreciated, sunshine. Plying always takes longer than I expect it to and yet I continue to expect it to go quickly. Sigh... when will I learn.
The yarn is currently stewing in the crockpot with some kool-aid. I am sad to say that I don't think it is going to be as pretty as I envisioned. I used a grey fleece to get deeper/more muted colors, but the dye just doesn't seem strong enough to penetrate and probably would've worked better on white wool. I am excited to try out some real acid dyes. Hopefully they will arrive this week.

Friday, September 12, 2008

It's true

I've been wanting to make myself a sweater lately, but nice yarn is so darn expensive and you can never be sure that you/the pattern are going to be a good fit. Also most of the best yarn comes from the states. I'm pretty sure a lot of the wool that makes that nice yarn comes from elsewhere, but they sure spin some nice yarn back home. Heck, maybe it isn't spun there either. And because it comes from the states, it is even more expensive to get it here... Bless and their delicious yarn, but $25 for all international orders is way steep!
I do like this new pattern that Wendy Bernard has worked up though... And Aurora 8 is so nice and soft and bouncy. I think I would like it in a nice light grey with blues for the details... Maybe the yarn fairy will come for a visit soon.
As for spinning I am working up some grey romney I picked up yesterday. I am hoping to get it spun and plied so that I can dye it tomorrow, which isn't going to happen now that I actually think about it... Maybe Monday or Wednesday...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Autumn Colours

I made this
all the colours!
Out of this
fiber from dunedin
It's a very pretty, soft and autumn coloured... I'll have to find some inspiration from back home to bring it to life. :DI haven't checked the wraps per inch, but it seems to be about fingering weight maybe a light dk. I think it will make a nice scarf.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Some finished objects

I have a lot of finished knitted items to share. First and foremost is my favorite little elephant.
This guy is Elijah and he is fated for my boss' newborn boy - Owen James Eric.
side view stroll
This little hat goes with too. Hopefully it fits little Owen, cuz it's too big for elijah. baby hat stuffed with fiber on a mug
This wee crayfish is the one aforementioned. He was knit in 11 pieces, sewn together and hand felted. It was my first time for hand felting too. Usually I just chuck in the washer and check on it every so often. The hand felting actually pretty easy and I think I will use that method in the future for smallish items. He (or she...)is in Louisville now, enjoying the end of summer.
Another present that I made way back in June for my mom's birthday in July was the Clementine Shawlette. It was my first shawl, with a pretty simple lace pattern. The only tricky bit was the seam in the middle. I did my best with the kitchener stitch and blocking, but it was still evident. :/
And last night I finished these snicket socks. I made quite a few (probably unnecessary) changes to the original pattern. I used the heel flap heel instead of the short-row heel, I made the bottom of the foot in reverse stockinette instead of regular stockinette. And I changed the toe a bit to be a less pointy and more round.finished these suckers in 10 days!!! a miracle.
Now I'll probably try to finish up some other items I have going (4 things that I can think of right now) continue with my spinning and maybe (just maybe) start knitting something with something I've spun. But that sounds a bit silly to me!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Swap package for me!

A few months ago Maepress and I decided we would put swap packages together for each other. So I knitted and felted a little loony lobster for her and skatergirl and sent some funky kiwiana stuff that I hunted out a various gift shops. Today I received mine in the mail! I got oodles and oodles of kool-aid (for dying fiber and yarn) and kitchen cotton, that I requested (neither are available here). Some books! (which are quite "dear" here), some great stickers - including that fantastic one of Barack, a deery-lou lougage tag, AND a much needed and appreciated handmade tote in my favorite shade of poop brown!Skatergirl (she is 5) had a few questions about New Zealand 1) are there cats in New Zealand 2) do people have pets in New Zealand?
I would like to answer both of those questions with a photo of our neighbour's cat that I took this morning (she of course refused to look at the camera or was moving every time I took a picture). Also, that is a frozen dish of water (or simply a dish of ice) that she was licking at.

As any good sconnie girl would...

I much prefer winter snow to winter rain so this weekend was a wonderful break from the rain! We headed up to Hanmer Springs and played in the snow above Jack's Pass. The original plan had been to head all the way to the summit of Mt. Isobel, but the weather didn't look like it would hold too long and we ended up just scooting up a few snow covered hills. Snowshoes and gaters would have been helpful. We ended up getting a bit wet. The snow, especially in the lower elevations, was really wet and we kept falling through the snow, sometimes past our knees! It was fun and basically just some big kids playing in the snow!
Funnily enough Blue and I realized that the last time we were in Hanmer was almost exactly a year ago. There was considerably less snow and the weather was warm and spring like then.
I didn't build this little guy, I just added a little snow hat.