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FO: Lake Effect Shawl

I never used to knit shawls, but then a couple of years after I made the first one (a Fantoosh by Kate Davies Design), the bug well and truly got me. Now, I tend to knit shawls with fingering yarn. But when the stunning colours of Wren & Ollie’s Spin DK popped up on my Instagram last year, I knew I had to find a suitable shawl for this particular yarn.

And this stunning Lake Effect Shawl by Cheryl Toy from Little Church Knits was just the ticket!

I knitted this beauty on our holiday in Byron last year, and it was the perfect project. An easy to follow pattern that I could knit while sitting on the beach and watching my kids. The fact that it called for DK yarn, made it a beautifully quick projec, despite a large size when completed.

I love the colours, they are perfect for Autumn, which is when I started wearing this beauty. People never realise how cold it can get during the changes of season here in Australia!

Funny story about these pictures, a good friend of mine took them for me, on a stinking hot Summer day in Sydney.

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40 Things List: Latest Update

1. Take part in a rally driving session
2. Practice my violin
3. Make and donate items to charity
4. Proper rock climbing – with regular practice sessions: ON HOLD until my knee is better.
5. 40 different hikes/walks in NSW (or further afield if possible). I managed to complete three hikes this month, and on the last one I hurt my knee quite badly, so have been out of action. 
* Hike 1/40: Engadine to Heathcote Loop
* Hike 2/40: Fitzroy Falls West Rim Track to The Grotto 
* Hike 3/40: Evans Crown Track
6. Hunter Valley wine tour
7. Canyoning
8. Obtain a boat licence
9. Trip to New Zealand (if possible)
10. Weekly photo of the boys. 
* 1/52
* 2/52
* 3/52
* 4/52
* 5/52
* 6/52
* 7/52
* 8/52
* 9/52
11. Daily photo for the entire year. ONGOING.
12. Write or blog most days. ONGOING.
13. Teach a craft class
14. No new clothes all year. ONGOING.
15. Regular outings as a family. STARTED: here.
16. Buy and own art: Done! See post about it here.
17. Use up my extensive yarn stash
18. Only buy yarn for specific commissioned projects. I had to order some yarn!
19. Visit 40 beaches, STARTED: 
* 1/40: Coogee Beach
* 2/40: Bondi Beach
20. Roadtrip to the Outback
21. Beibehaltungsgenehmigung – Aussie Citizenship
22. Weekend away with Megan & Bettina
23. Memory quilts for the boys
24. Move every day for 30-60 mins. ON HOLD, due to knee injury.
25. Monthly video calls with family and friends, ONGOING.
26. Refresh Italian (penpal)
27. Practice and improve my swimming ability
28. Hot Air Balloon Ride
29. Sign up to do my ‘Master of Handknitting’
30. Write 40 letters throughout the year. STARTED!
31. Cocktail making course
32. Stand Up Paddle boarding
33. Read more – aim for 10 books during the year. STARTED: The Testaments by Margeret Atwood
34. Random acts of kindness. STARTED and ONGOING
35. Plant roses: Done! See post about it here.
36. Drive in Movie: Done! See post about it here.
37. Roadtrip without destination
38. Regular German practice with the boys
39. Campervan holiday
40. 4 days away on my own.

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Finished Object: Adult Cardigan

I don’t often knit for myself. I always feel it’s a bit self-indulgent if I do, but really what a load of… Why shouldn’t I knit more for myself, after all I am the one who knows how much work has gone into something! This cardigan I made back in 2016 and I have loved wearing it.

I love the simple shape of this cardigan, and I remember distinctly how easy it was to knit. I used DROPS Paris, a cotton yarn that is made partly from recycled cotton, how great is that? It is really soft, but at the same time rought to the touch. But actually when it’s knitted up it feels wonderful on the skin. Another plus, as it’s a aran/worsted weight yarn it knits up incredibly quickly, even if making a cardigan or jumper!

I knitted this in about a month in 2016, although I am pretty sure I wasn’t knitting on only this for that length of time. And how about some pictures of me wearing it? 🙂

STATS
Pattern:
Early Autumn Cotton by Drops Design.
Yarn: DROPS Paris.
Needle size: 5mm
Knitting time: 4th March – 3rd April 2016.

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Knitting: the Difference between Continental and British Style

I wrote this post a few years ago for a blog called Craft Candy (which unfortunately doesn’t exist anymore). So, I thought why shouldn’t I share it on here?

As knitting seems to have become more popular, with avid knitters taking their projects on ‘trains, planes and automobiles’ it’s also becoming apparent that there are two distinct knitting styles: Continental (or German) knitting and English knitting.

Continental Knitting British Knitting – © http://craftsmumship.com/

I was taught continental knitting by my aunt and in school when growing up in Germany. Only when I came to England in 1996 did I notice the English knitting style, which immediately struck me as being much more complicated and taking longer to complete projects.

I always believed that the way I knit (continental) was much faster and much more time efficient. And in fact, it actually is. Not only according to Wikipedia which states that: “Continental knitting can be done at a greater rate than English knitting, as the stitches are formed closer to the needle points and the yarn has a shorter travel.” But also according to STV Scotland, which interviewed Hazel Tindall, who won an international knitting competition to become the World’s Fastest Knitter. She completed 262 stitches in 3 minutes!

Continental knitting/German knitting or picking as it’s sometimes also called is mostly used in Northern and Eastern Europe. The yarn is held in the left hand and a movement of the left index finger (or other fingers) helps the needle to pick up the yarn and form a new stitch.

Important to remember with this style of knitting is the position of the yarn, it always needs to end up behind the needles after any stitch has been completed. The yarn is held over the forefinger of the left hand, achieving tension of the yarn in many different ways. Either by wrapping the yarn around the little finger, wrapping it around the forefinger or holding the yarn against the left hand needle with the middle finger to keep it as taut as needed.

People that have previously crochet find learning the continental style of knitting easier as the yarn is held in a similar way, in the left hand, and the right hand motion is pretty much the same for both knitting and crocheting.

English knitting, which is also sometimes referred to as American knitting or throwing, is mostly used in England and America, according to About.com Knitting. It involves holding the yarn in your right hand and ‘throwing’ it over the needle to form a stitch.

Making a knit stitch the right needle is inserted into the left side of the first loop on the left needle. The yarn is then wrapped counter-clockwise around the right needle, and this new loop is pulled with the right needle through the old one.

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Update on my List of 40 Things

1. Take part in a rally driving session
2. Practice my violin
3. Make and donate items to charity
4. Proper rock climbing – with regular practice sessions
5. 40 different hikes/walks in NSW (or further afield if possible). I managed to complete three hikes this month, and on the last one I hurt my knee quite badly, so have been out of action. Hike 1/40: Engadine to Heathcote Loop, Hike 2/40: Fitzroy Falls West Rim Track to The Grotto and Hike 3/40: Evans Crown Track
6. Hunter Valley wine tour
7. Canyoning
8. Obtain a boat licence
9. Trip to New Zealand (if possible)
10. Weekly photo of the boys. 1/52, 2/52, 3/52, 4/52
11. Daily photo for the entire year. ONGOING.
12. Write or blog every day. ONGOING. So far I only missed one day!
13. Teach a craft class
14. No new clothes all year
15. Regular outings as a family. STARTED: here.
16. Buy and own art: Done! See post about it here.
17. Use up my extensive yarn stash
18. Only buy yarn for specific commissioned projects
19. Visit 40 beaches, STARTED: Coogee Beach.
20. Roadtrip to the Outback
21. Beibehaltungsgenehmigung – Aussie Citizenship
22. Weekend away with Megan & Bettina
23. Memory quilts for the boys
24. Move every day for 30-60 mins. STARTED…FitBit reinstated… I had to have a bit of a break due to a knee injury. But I will be getting back to it.
25. Monthly video calls with family and friends, STARTED
26. Refresh Italian (penpal)
27. Practice and improve my swimming ability
28. 1 day a week without my phone (entire year). ONGOING I am actually swapping this one out for a HOT AIR BALLOON Ride
29. Sign up to do my ‘Master of Handknitting’
30. Write 40 letters throughout the year
31. Cocktail making course
32. Stand Up Paddle boarding
33. Read more – aim for 10 books during the year. STARTED: The Testaments by Margeret Atwood
34. Random acts of kindness. STARTED and ONGOING
35. Plant roses: Done! See post about it here.
36. Drive in Movie: Done! See post about it here.
37. Roadtrip without destination
38. Regular German practice with the boys
39. Campervan holiday
40. 4 days away on my own

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For the Love of Yarn

The reason I put myself on a self-imposed hiatus of buying yarn is because I have a huge amount of absolutely gorgeous hand-dyed yarn that I need to use first. But before my hiatus started on 1st January, I put a couple of orders in…. Because it’s not just about buying the yarn, it’s also about supporting these small businesses.

The amazing Angela runs Blackwattle Yarn and Fibre from her Alpaca farm in Murrumbateman with her husband Matthew. She’s got such a great eye for stunning colour combinations. I have bought my fair share of skeins from her. This latest lot was in a sale and the colours are not my usual choices, but they really spoke to me… I think they will become a shawl or a couple of shawls.

These skeins are Qing Fibre, which I purchased from Yarn & Co, a store I visited in Melbourne a couple of times. Beautiful mother and daugther had to close their Fitzroy store during 2020 and are online only for now. I have not worked with the yarn before, but those sweet colours made me so happy!

The gorgeous Mia of Wren & Ollie always has enticing yarn colours. I used a kit of her yarn to make my Slipstravaganza Westknits Mystery Knitalong Shawl and the colours are just so wonderfully vibrant. This is a sock kit, which knits up into a stripy set…I can’t wait to make this.

I know it will be incredibly hard not buying yarn… It’s something I like to do whenever I visit a place and a new to me Local Yarn Store. But I also LOVE all the yarn I have purchased in the last few years and I NEED to make it into garments, socks, shawls, hats, etc. So really, I am making space for next year!

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My Exciting Year of 40 Things

It’s been quiet in my little corner here. And it’s not because I haven’t had anything to say. I felt it was necessary to take a break and let the last year work itself out.

That is all about to change. This year I am dedicating myself to a list of 40 things, in honour of turning the big 40. It’s exciting, I’m excited!

1. Take part in a rally driving session
2. Practice my violin
3. Make and donate items to charity
4. Proper rock climbing – with regular practice sessions
5. 40 different hikes/walks in NSW (or further afield if possible). STARTED: Hike 1 and Hike 2.
6. Hunter Valley wine tour
7. Canyoning
8. Obtain a boat licence
9. Trip to New Zealand (if possible)
10. Weekly photo of the boys. STARTED: Week 1.
11. Daily photo for the entire year. ONGOING.
12. Write or blog every day. ONGOING
13. Teach a craft class
14. No new clothes all year
15. Regular outings as a family. STARTED: here.
16. Buy and own art: Done! See post about it here.
17. Use up my extensive yarn stash
18. Only buy yarn for specific commissioned projects
19. Visit 40 beaches, STARTED: Coogee Beach.
20. Roadtrip to the Outback
21. Beibehaltungsgenehmigung – Aussie Citizenship
22. Weekend away with Megan & Bettina
23. Memory quilts for the boys
24. Move every day for 30-60 mins. STARTED…FitBit reinstated…
25. Monthly video calls with family and friends
26. Refresh Italian (penpal)
27. Practice and improve my swimming ability
28. 1 day a week without my phone (entire year). ONGOING
29. Sign up to do my ‘Master of Handknitting’
30. Write 40 letters throughout the year
31. Cocktail making course
32. Stand Up Paddle boarding
33. Read more – aim for 10 books during the year. STARTED: The Testaments by Margeret Atwood
34. Random acts of kindness
35. Plant roses: Done! See post about it here.
36. Drive in Movie: Done! See post about it here.
37. Roadtrip without destination
38. Regular German practice with the boys
39. Campervan holiday
40. 4 days away on my own

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Planning and plotting

I recently went to a ‘yarn tasting’ organised by the Knitter’s Guild NSW and showcasing three wonderful indie dyers: Imogen at 24 Mile Hollow Yarn Co., Rhiannon at Reaction Dyeworks and Kathryn at The Australian Wool Store. They each told us about about their yarn and how they started dyeing and then we received a little ‘taster’.

And look at the mountains of yarn I was able to pick what I wanted from.

I just couldn’t go past the ‘I carried a watermelon’ and ‘Bay Tree’ from Imogen and the gorgeous dark blue and dark red from Rhiannon.

I am in love with the yarn I have bought and am busy deliberating what I can make with it.

For the ‘watermelon’ and the green I was thinking about Andromeda by Pam Allen.

And for the blue and red I am considering socks, I think either colour would be wonderful for Waltana by Darlene Hayes.

What do you think?

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Yarn Along: March

I have been reading Ginny’s blog Small Things for a while, but I have never joined into her wonderful monthly ‘yarn along‘ round up. But today I am finally changing that.

I am on the homestretch of the test knit I am doing for the wonderful Yvonne from Aida Sofie Knitting Design. This is the third time I am test knitting for Yvonne and I love taking part. Her designs involve a fair amount of colour work, which I really enjoy. Those that follow me on Instagram will know of my dilemma with this. I was actually almost finished with this knit last week, but I was very unhappy with my colour choice and I felt that my colour work was too tight and no amount of blocking would have been enough to stretch it out. So, I unravelled…and this was at the point where I only had the second sleeve to finish.

I am really excited about the colours and the eagle-eyed among you will see that I was able to include some glittery yarn within the unicorn pattern.

I am not doing a lot of reading, but when I do get a chance I am trying to finish ‘Dragonfly in Amber’ by Diana Gabaldon the second book in the Outlander series. I have watched all three series currently available and absolutely love the books and the show, but clearly not enough to finish reading the book…or it might be a lack of time!

I am also trying to decide on buttons for this cardigan I made for my youngest, because I am really not happy with the ones that I sewed on the other week, they just don’t fit right.

Linking with Ginny for Yarn Along.

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Suppliers I Love

I don’t feel like I am a particularly rigid person, but I have noticed since moving to Australia that I have still ‘stuck’ with my favourite suppliers for yarn and for buttons from England.

And that’s not to say that there are not amazing yarn companies and shops as well as button suppliers, including this wonderful gem: All Buttons Great and Small in Newtown, here in Australia.

Nonetheless, I love my yarn from DROPS and I love that I am still able to buy my yarn at Woolwarehouse and they ship it to me in Australia for a very reasonable £9.98. Equally, I will always love the buttons from TextileGarden.

The buttons from TextileGarden are simply divine. First of all they are not plastic, but shell, coconut shell, horn, ceramic, wood, metal, etc. I am always able to find the right button for the pieces I am knitting. I believe that if I am spending the time knitting something it needs to have the right button to match it!

Here’s just a tiny selection of the buttons that I’ve been able to use from TextileGarden.