The Future – Day 7

Today marks the end of the KCBW challenge and the end of my first week blogging. It has been a whirlwind experience and I am so glad I decided to take part. Today the challenge is to look to the future, I am going to divide this post into three sections, looking at dreams and goals for different areas of my knitting life.

1) This blog

Before I started blogging this week I was not sure how my posts would be received, I was nervous and a little shy. I am so happy with the way people have reacted to my blog, the comments I have received and the new people I have chatted to throughout the week have made me smile. I will certainly be continuing with the blog, and hopefully developing it into something quite exciting.

I plan to blog a few times a week and cover a range of topics. There will be frequent round ups of WIPs and FOs as well as coverage of new and exciting things I find on Ravelry or hear about in the world of knitting.

Most importantly I hope to use this space to showcase the amazing knitting talent we have here in South Africa. I have already lined up interviews with exciting designers, yarnies and other interesting folk in the South African knitting community. More details to follow in the next week or so.

2) My knitting

I am a little time poor at the moment due to the addition of a wonderful little person into my life, but I still have some lofty knitting dreams.

a) the Cookie A KAL, I chatted very briefly about this in a previous post and will chat more about in the future. Basically the premise is to knit all the sock in the book with some other lovely knitters for support. I have knitted two pairs and am woefully behind with the third pair (yes that little person again) but I a stubborn and refuse to give up on my dreams. I shall be knitting my way through this book over the next year. Look out for posts with tears and celebratory posts as I click my way through all those gorgeous stitches.

b) Colourwork, ah yes colourwork… how all non fair-isle knitters dream of colourwork. I hope at some point in the next year to get my colourwork knit on. Maybe some mitts or maybe a Paperdolls by Kate Davies – lets see where this dream takes me.

c) Three dreams, because all the best things come in threes – especially when you are born on the third – oops digressing again. Knit more lace shawls. I have to finish my Rock Island by Jared Flood. I thought I would finish before my goregous girl arrived, but someone was early – unlike her mother, and the shawl is now languishing in the UFO bin.

3) Professional knitting stuff

Over the next year I hope to develop my business as a technical editor and layout designer. I am working with some very talented South African and UK designers at the moment and hope to continue to grow and develop in this industry. I feel passionately about the knitting community and think the next year is going to be very exciting indeed.

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey over the last week, I hope to see you round these parts often in the future.

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4KCBWDay6 – A Tool to Covet

Today’s task is to write about a favourite knitting tool. While there are some bits and bobs I use for my knitting, I don’t have many special tools. A few stitch markers here and there and needle gauge, pen and paper. I have tried using fancy gadget row counters and apps on my phone but none of them have really stuck, I always end up back with a printed pattern and a pen. In light of this, I have chosen to write about something no knitter can live without – his or her needles.

When I started knitting we were cash strapped and backpacking around Australia so I settled for the cheapeast knitting needles in the shop, they were aluminium straight needles and I am surprised they did not put me off knitting for life. They were awful and I am glad that I have since moved on.

I quickly graduated to KnitPro (or Knit Picks for my US readers) and slowly collected a wide range of sizes in their interchangeable range. I have one set of wooden needles (4mm) and the rest from their Nova range. Later on I was seduced by their Cubics range, which I have to say I was very disappointed in – I wanted to love them, I really did but after three pairs have broken at hugely inconvenient times I have decided to move on.

Recently I have discovered two new types of needles and I am very much in love. The first is KnitPro Karbonz. I remember the moment when the man in the LYS opened the catalogue and said the words “knitting needles made of carbon fibre” my little heart fluttered. I immediately thought about all those complicated sock patterns in the Cookie A book Knit.Sock.Love that I would soon be knitting for the KAL challenge. I placed an order and eagerly awaited their arrival. Here they are in action…

Karbonz


Needles: Karbonz by KnitPro 2.5mm (80cm)
Socks: toe up afterthought heels using Nurturing Fibres Supertwist Sock in Hidden Treasure

Did they live up to expectations? Yes I think they did. I love them, they feel smooth and are a joy to knit with. I only have one pair that I use for socks (2.5mm) and while I love them I don’t think I would invest in any other sizes. Why? Well, because at roughly the same time that Karbonz made an appearance in my life I discovered ChiaoGoo. The sleek stainless steel points and the best cable I have encountered thus far make them my knitting needle of choice these days. I only have one set for knitting socks, but I will defintely be buying more, maybe one day I will even splash out on the interchangeable set.

ChiaoGoo


Needles: ChiaoGoo Red Lace 2.5mm (80cm)
Sock: Thelonious by Cookie A in Nurturing Fibres Supertwist Sock Silver Lining

There are some other knitting needles I would like to try

Kollage Needles – “The Original Square Needle”. Why? I really wanted to love KnitPro Cubics, the square finish on the needles appealed to me and it felt good in my hands. I liked knitting with square needles, I just need needles that don’t break. These might well be the solution. The only problem is they don’t make them small enough for socks – sigh.

Heavy Metal – handcrafted in Vermont. Why? They sound amazing and have a 2mm interchangeable needle! That is pretty fantastic as far as interchangeable needles go.

Signature Needles. Why? Everyone raves about these, I hear about them on podcasts and read about them on blogs. They sound like the creme de la creme of needles, and they have a price tag to match. I would like to give them a whirl, although I think if I had the money to buy a set I would get another pair of ChiaoGoo’s and some nice sock yarn instead.

4KCBWDay5 – Something Different (This Moment)

The task today was to do something different. Being new to blogging this whole week has been something different so today I have decided to start something else new. I intend to post a picture every Friday that captures a moment I want to remember.

This has been inspired by Soulemama.

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

130426_This moment

4KCBWDay4 – Colour

Grey_dark to light

The task for day 4 is to complete a colour review. I suppose I did not strictly stay on-task but that is what happens when you are in love.

Today’s post is a little bit of a love story. It is about the beautiful relationship between a knitter called ‘knitforklipskaap’ and the colour grey. Now I know you might be thinking, of all the colours to fall in love with, why pick grey? Your mind may wander to old soviet block flats, a grey rainy sky, concrete or even gruel. I can forgive you for thinking grey is drab and boring. However, I am truly, madly, deeply in love with grey – I do not discriminate when it comes to grey. I love all shades of grey – from the palest dove grey to the richest charcoal and all shades in between. I recently dug through my stash and found I have eight shades of grey yarn from my good friend (and spectacular indie dyer) Carle from Nurturing Fibres. I have grey yarn in every weight imaginable, from delicate cobweb to substantial chunky and a vast array of fibres to suit any project your heart may desire. I am obsessed with grey.

Grey

Nurturing Fibres Supertwist Sock wool in various gorgeous shades of grey.

You may still be wondering – why, what does grey really have to offer? Well ponder no more my friend, be prepared to be wowed by the endless possibilities grey yarn presents.

The first reason I love grey is its beautiful understated but classy neutrality. Knit yourself something in grey and know that you will get many years of wearing pleasure from your lovingly crafted item. It won’t clash or compete – it can be placed centre stage or used as a delicate backdrop to something brighter or bolder. Four examples of what I mean.

1) Cladonia by Kirsten Kapur, usually knitted with stripes is elevated to a new level of class by Julie (Robbyraccoon) by using a gorgeous shade of grey for the entire shawl.

2) Lady Marple by Nadia Crétin-Léchenne. A timeless design added to with a shade of grey that hints at brown, I need this cardigan in my life – I even have the yarn to knit it and, yes of course, the yarn is grey.

3) Across the Beach by Monique Boonstra. A stunning shawl given that extra touch of class by my faithful friend, grey. I love how the delicate detail of this shawl is allowed to shine through by the subtle colour of the yarn.

4) Another example of Cladonia, this time with two delicious shades of grey by Lisa (Lisatoo).

But wait, grey has so much more to offer!

My favourite reason for loving grey is not its understated classic timeless quality, no my dear friend, it is its ability to showcase that bold daring yarn choice, to stand steady in the background while your needles whip through a storm of colour, adding flashes of brightness to your life.

1) I am absolutely in love with the way Nicole (Ohnikki) has combined colours in this infinity scarf. In between the flashes of neon is the ever-steady grey yarn, allowing those bright neon shades to strut their stuff, acting as an anchor holding everything together.

2) How much fun are these fingerless gloves by Elise Dupont? The endless combination of colours for the fingers makes my heart flutter with excitement. My faithful friend, grey yarn, makes me feel safe as I rush through the rainbow with wild abandon.

3) This last example is the kind of thing I want to knit for the little one in my life, bright and fun without being too much. The grey gives it balance; the colours make it fun. I love this example of Bulle designed by Karen Borrel knitted by Ieva (ievakas).

See, grey does not need to be boring – it is the perfect match for any colour your heart desires.

The last reason I love grey, always keeping a skein or two within arms reach, is its ability to encourage me to be brave. I don’t like yellow – lets get that out there – but with the help of grey I find myself yearning for a grey and yellow shawl. When I scroll through the projects of the Cladonia shawl by Kirsten Kapur it’s the grey and yellow ones that appeal to me the most. I have a hankering for a subtle grey and strong ochre shawl. Looking at this selection of gorgeous projects its no surprise that I have felt compelled to select some yarn from my stash for my own version.

1) I love how this example uses the yellow as a highlight for the lace and the main body is knitted in a steely grey by Elina (Darjuska) 

2) The more muted shades of yellow work so well with the grey here in this example by MHii.

3) Rita (Redpepperquilts) has knitted four Cladonia shawls, all of which are gorgeous. This yellow caught my eye though. Pop over to her blog, its a great read. 

4) Another great muted yellow and grey example from Dona (donaknits) who also has a fab knitting blog that is well worth a visit.

grey and yellow NF

More Nurturing Fibres yarn ready and waiting to be whipped into a Cladonia

Ah grey yarn how I love thee so…

Grey_DH

This yarn is Dragon’s Hope by Nurturing Fibres. Specially dyed for the NF Pattern club design by the very talented Pink Hair Girl.

Have I convinced you? Or do you still think grey is rather drab and boring?

4KCBWDay 2 – The Mascot Project

Today’s task was to think of a project that embodies my house. As you know, I pledged my allegiance to the “House of Bee” yesterday. I also mentioned about how hard I find it to make decisions, so bearing that in mind you will understand how today’s task was nigh impossible for me. For that reason I don’t really have a single project or even a select few – no, I have selected an entire category just for me!

You may think this is taking the easy option, but I think it sums up my bee-like characteristic perfectly.

“Busy and industrious, but can flit from one interesting project to the next as bright and shiny things capture their interest” 

So without any further ado … (drum roll please) … my mascot is socks! The great big, wonderfully warm and dreadfully exciting world of hand knitted socks awaits. If you had told me a year ago I would have been singing the praises of sock knitting I would have laughed (a lot and probably very loudly), but it is true I have been bitten by the bug, and bitten hard.

Why socks? They allow me to fulfill my constant desire for something new, exciting and different, they also happen to be super comfy and rather warm (perfect for Johannesburg winter).

If I am tired and just want the meditative enjoyment of going round and round I can knit some vanilla toe-ups, if I need that added bit of excitement to said toe-ups I can add some self striping yarn. Cue quick excursion to various yarn shops to oogle over the offerings. If I am feeling more adventurous I can add my own stripes or colourwork. I can knit in colours I would never dream of wearing or using anywhere else. I can challenge myself a little or a lot depending on my mood. Then to top it all off there are so many ways to knit your socks, top down, toe up, heel flaps, short rows … the list of construction variables in endless.

Ah the humble sock, it can take you on so many journeys…

Onto the enabling section, after all what would a blog post about socks be without some gorgeous patterns to tempt you.

1) Own vanilla sock recipe

2) Vanilla Socks by Carle Dehning design picture courtesy of Carle

3) Venetian Blinds by Ursa Major Knits design picture courtesy of Ursa

4) Yorkshire Yarns Mismatched Socks by Jasmine Wallace design picture courtesy of Jasmine

5) LoveSocks by Devon Clement design picture courtesy of Devon

6) Nightingale by Vintage Purls project picture courtesy of Sharon (pSTATqueen)

7) Zig Zag Spring Socks by Judy George my own picture

8) Pointelle by Cookie A. project picture courtesy of Bridget (WhattheHay)

9) German Stocking by Cookie A project picture courtesy of Sofie (Sofieee)

Don’t fancy following a pattern, how about trying out some new heels or toes? There are plenty of excellent tutorials online and more sock knitting books than anyone one knitter would ever need. Take your favourite vanilla sock and play around with the details.

Looking for somewhere to start? Lara Neel* (Math4knitters) has a great tutorial on Ravelry featuring three different sock heels.

Copyright: Lara Neel

Copyright: Lara Neel

Or you could treat yourself to the Cookie A book Sock Innovation which just happens to be on sale at the moment. I may have accidentally bought it myself this morning.

With all these options what isn’t there to love about socks?

On that note I am off to join sock knitters anonymous – I think its about time I accept that I have a sock addiction.

* Lara Neel is a knitting, designing, math diva podcaster who is determined to talk with each and every one of you on her show, Math4Knitters: Crafty Living. There is probably more than you ever wanted to know at http://www.journalgazette.net/craftyliving. She also has a personal website at laraneel.com.

With over 150 free patterns on Ravelry, she has recently started offering select, test-knit (or tech edited) patterns for sale. She is Math4Knitters.

4KCBWDay1 – The House Cup

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When I sat down to think about this post I was overcome by a wave of indecision. This happens to me all the time, I am far too indecisive. I am always the last to order from a menu, too many choices and the weight of a decision involving my next meal is often just too much to bear.

If I was left to my own devices I would be a “ManaBeeKey” but that is not in the spirit of this challenge so I shall declare my allegiance to “The House of Bee”. This decision allows me to be all the things I want, because by the nature of the ever busy bee I can flit easily from one idea to the next with wild abandon.

In days gone by I was what some may refer to as a pretty monogamous knitter, while I may have had more than one project on the go I certainly kept a tight ship when it came to WIPS and finishing projects. Since the arrival of my little bundle of joy (also know very lovingly as the knitting time thief) I have drifted from my organised knitting schedule. I have found myself flitting from one thing to another, writing endless mental lists (my hands unable to reach for a pen as they remain pinned under the baby) of what I shall knit next.

This change of pace has brought forth new knitting aspirations though and I have found myself quickly moving from my go to project – the shawl – to a variety of other things. I have a new found love for socks, chunkier knits and a strange desire to learn to crochet. Somehow I seem to think crochet will be easier to manage within the current time constraints. Although my hands haven’t managed to “get with the programme” just yet. I am determined to learn though, as I have to knit  sorry ahem, crochet one of these Hippos. Designed by Heidi Bears using a series of crochet motifs it is the cutest little critter I have ever seen.

Hippo

Copyright: Heidi Bears

So you ask, what treasures can be found in this bee’s hive?

My current biggest challenge is the Cookie A KAL from the Knit.Sock.Love book. Yes, I hear you groan, I did indeed decide to embark on this 18 month challenge the month my daughter was born, and yes indeed I am woefully behind schedule. So far I have knitted two pairs of socks and have the third on the needles. It is a race against time to complete them by the end of this month.

I also have a chunky cardigan Common Ground, a lace shawl Rock Island (sleeping soundly in the WIPs basket), a squishy winter scarf Rondelay and a baby blanket (for the baby who was born in January, maybe we can call it a toddler blanket – I think I need to be realistic here). There are also the vanilla toe up socks for moments when my brain no longer functions enough to do more than knit round and round and round. Strangely enough this project gets more attention than the others at the moment.

With this wonderful array of projects on the needles you would think I spend any spare time I have knitting. Of course not, I can be found buzzing around the pattern pages looking for new and exciting projects or browsing the shop fronts of my favourite yarnies dreaming about my next purchase. More about my knitting time management later in the week.

And we’re off…

I started this blog 18 months ago with a single picture. Since then not much has happened in this space, okay actually nothing has happened in this space. Lots has happened in other spaces though, and now I feel it is the right time to return here and fill these pages with my ramblings.

I will mostly be rambling about knitting, with a southern hemisphere flavour. But as knitting knows no borders who knows where this journey will take me.

There will be snippets of life including food and adventures aplenty.

To get me going I will be participating in the “Knitting and Crochet Blog Week” coordinated by Eskimimi Makes. Over the next seven days I will be blogging about a range of topics.

For more information on the idea visit http://www.eskimimimakes.com

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