Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Aylaah........You Got Me on My Knees Ayla!

Sniff, sniff, aaah-choo! Oh what a surprise another bloody head cold! I hadn't even gotten over the last one yet! Probably has something to do with those four days last week without house heating!

I've dosed up on Sudafed Super Extra Mega Strength, so hopefully I've get through this post "drip free"! Ewww!

Earlier this month I began knitting a felted backpack, Ayla by Jordana Paige. I used Cascade 220 wool as the pattern suggested, but changed the colours to those that my adorable little niece, Jaycee Mae, would just lerv!

Jaycee Mae with the knitting needles she made

I know I said I'd never do intarsia again...but the flower on Ayla called for intarsia. The knitting itself was pretty boring.....stockinette all the way. I modified it a little - to break the boredome - by spelling Jaycee's name at the top with some stranded work. I also did the last three rows in a little red and white stripe just to add some of the flower colour somewhere else on the bag.

At the end of my knitting my unfelted bag was 20ins tall, 46ins around and 5.5ins deep. The straps were 30ins long.

Unfelted Canary Ayla

The pattern said to sew the base to the body of the backpack, then pick up stitches around the base, stockinette for a few rows, and cast off. The tube that results from this gets wrapped around the sewn edges, making what almost looks like an i-cord. I sped this process up a little by not sewing the base to the body first. I simply picked up the required stitches holding the base and body together.

I put the straps, i-cord tie, backpack and an old pair of jeans into the washing machine for about 10mins - hot wash, and a little detergent.

My resulting felted backpack measured 11ins tall, 39ins around and 4.5ins deep. The straps were 21ins long.

Felted Ayla

After the backpack was fully dry, I had to line it. The instructions for lining the bag could have been better (i.e. adding some sizes of pieces), but I'm a sewer, so it didn't take long to sew the pretty lining. The body piece was 40ins x 11ins, and the base was 11ins x 5ins. Finally, a bit of hand sewing to attach the straps and the lining to the backpack, and I was finished.

End Results

This was a fun project. The backpack turned out awesomely! I love it, and I know Jaycee will love it too.

Now, as they say "one down, two to go"! Next one is for Karlia. Like her Aunty, she loves turquoise!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Little Red Mitten

Family Day - what better day to go on a knitting road trip?

And that's how my lovely day began at 11:30am. Laura and her daughter Ally came to pick me up for a raod trip to the grand opening of Little Red Mitten.

Little Red Mitten is a lovely new yarn store on Talbot Street in St. Thomas (across the street from Jumbo the elephant). Joan and Matt, our lovely hosts, have set up a beautiful little store filled with wonderful knit and crochet goodies!

There are several rooms filled with: yarn, books and patterns, needles & accessories and wool washes.

Amongst the needles are such names as: Addi Turbo, Clover, Takumi and Bryspun. I bought a lovely Addi Turbo Lace Circular, 24" x 2.5mm. The nice thing about this circular is that the cable is pink! Helps enormously when I'm knitting two socks at a time and need to differentiate between the two circs.

There is a great selection of books and patterns in the front room. I had trouble deciding on just one, but in the end came home with The Sweater Workshop, by Jacqueline Fee.

Yarn - and lots of it - filled all the rooms. Brand names such as Diamond Yarn, Noro, Brown Sheep, Zitron Trekking, Fiddlesticks and Briggs & Little. There was more, but I don't remember them all now. Lots of crochet thread too.

I also bought this awesome circular needle storage system. It's called The Circular Solution, and is already half filled! No spot for 2.75mm or 2.00mm circs though....

Here's what mine looks like:

Following our petting at the zoo, we went for lunch at East Side Marios on Fanshawe Park Road.

What a lovely outting. Thanks Laura!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Oh I'm Gushing!

Oh my God....this was so unexpected! I feel faint...NO...wait honoured! Who to thank, who to thank [pant, pant]...

Laurie from Issues With Knitting gave me this absolutely fabulous Creative Blogger Award.

1. The winner must copy this Award to their own blog.
2. Link to the blog from whence you received the Award.
3. Nominate a minimum of 7 other bloggers.
4. Link to the nominated on your blog.
5. Leave comment about the award on the nominated blogs.
Nominate seven bloogers bloggers?? See...I'm so excited I can't type properly anymore. Although I must ashamedly admit to living like I type - fast with a lot of mistakes!

I'm gonna skimp out on the seven - don't really have time for that - so here's a few of my favourite in no particular order:

Balkan Style - Tina & Nadine frolicking through life's precious moments!

Spinning Jenny - Give Jen a spinning wheel, some fibre and some dye, and she's bloody amazing!

Knitty Kat - Kathryn and Bogey on this merry-go-around called "life".

Kataish - nobody I know is as creative as Kata - together with Will's she's unstoppable!

UGH, sniff, snort.....my poor nose. I've got a rotten head cold. Won't somebody please just shoot me?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Astoria by the Seaside

The Astoria sweater is named after a little seaside town in Oregon, USA. This is a lovely top down, raglan sweater pattern designed by Marnie MacLean.

I used Cascade 220 wool as opposed to the superwash - but that's OK as long as I don't accidentally throw it in the washing machine and shrink it!


This is a "fitted knit". That means it hugs the body. There are darts in the front and the back for bust/waist/hip shaping.

There were a few knitter defiined glitches - my own fault really for misunderstanding the pattern. Marnie was great though and steered me back on the right path several times. I hasten to add that this was my first top down sweater, and my second only attempt at stranded work.

The great thing about a top down sweater is that you can try it on as you go!

Marnie gives lots of extra instructions to custom fit this garment for a fuller bust, shorter/longer waist, larger/smaller hips.


I actually followed the pattern closely until the sleeves!

The first sleeve was a super-sized headache. Beware stranding on the sleeves! I used four dpns (4.5mm) for the stranded motif in the body of the sweater, and did the same for the sleeve. I'd almost finished the sleeve and decided to try it on. Bugger, the sleeve was a little tight. Not uncomfortably tight, but still more than I like.

So I frogged it and knit it again using 5mm needles. I knit down to the elbow again, and tried it on. It fit better, BUT I didn't like the looser stranding. It just looked wonky to me!

So I frogged the sleeve again. This time I photocopied the stranded motif for the sleeve and redrew the sizing lines to accommodate four extra stitches under the arm. I knit the stranded motif on an 80cm x 4.5mm circular needle using the magic loop method. Much better.

I also knitted one less set of repeats and decreases for the sleeve length.


This was also a bit of a struggle. As predicted early on in my knitting, the neckline was way too big/loose.

I picked up the number of stitches suggested in the pattern and used the suggested needle size - although there was no way that 190 stitches were going to fit on one 12" circular!

I added extra rows, but it was still loose. So I frogged it back to the picked up stitches point and asked for advice through the Tips and Techniques Group on Ravelry. Together with some advice from Marianne and Diana, Marnie (the designer), and a tip from the Yarn Harlot, I ended up doing a crocheted cast off.

She turned out well, and I'm one happy little Ozzie!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Road Trip & Stashing

Despite the dreary, snowy weather yesterday, four brave souls (Kat, Laura, Kat's Mum and I) went on a road trip to the annual Shall We Knit SALE!

Kat did an awesome job safely chauffeuring us around yesterday (thank you, thank you!!) and Kat's Mum [we'll just call her Mum] gave us the wheels AND paid for the fuel (thank you, thank you!!).

The road trip itself was fairly uneventful except for the usual morons that have a license.

Shall We Knit was alive with people, and a bubbly Karen greeted us at the door. All four of us went in different directions - but it didn't matter in the end cos we all ended up with an armful of goodies (except for Mum)!

Here's a pic of my haul:

(front to back starting at the left: Lang JaWoll Silk sock yarn, Estelle Cadenza sock yarn, Louet top roving, row counter, and three back issues of Spin-Off in the background).

At the front right is a bag of roving. I'm going to use my new drop spindle to spin this lovely fibre into something glam [hehehe].

Yup, I got a lovely new drop spindle just before I went to Australia, and totally forgot to blog about the little darling.

I ordered my Turkish Drop Spindle from Jenkins Woodworking, Oregon, USA. It is an Asage Orange and weighs 1.8oz.

While I was in Australia, with my Dad's help, I sanded and varnished another Turkish Drop Spindle. I ordered this particular spindle from Ashford in New Zealand. The Ashford spindle came with a little sheet of sandpaper and required finishing.

Here are both my spindles. The Ashford is the assembled one.

And today I spent the better part of 3.5 hours doing stash inventory! I added 30 [$$#@!!!] more yarns to my Ravelry stash. There yarns were just last year's yarns that hadn't been added to the Rav database.

Righto, back to knitting - my Pacific Astoria waits for no woman!