Cheat Sheet

Hello everyone (all both of you!)


What a terrible blogger I have been! I’ve had a very busy 6 months or so, and I have finally decided that it’s high time I get back into updating this blog.


I started working full-time in November, and it does very much eat into your time compared to being a Master’s student (or, “funemployed” as I also was for a time!). My knitting has been going a bit more slowly too, and I am trying to get back into the habit of picking it up whenever I have a spare moment.


I always try to keep a sock-on-the-go in my bag, but lately my problem has been that I am going soooooo slowly that I totally forget what I am supposed to be doing! I have solved this by making a sock making ‘cheat sheet’, with the basic info and stitch counts on it. Usually I only use a pattern to refer to these numbers, so there is no way that I need to carry around the whole thing (though usually it is on my iPad anyway).


When I’m not referring to it (which is most of the time), I can just pop it inside my toe up sock!


2014-03-19 12.16.21 2014-03-19 12.16.54


WIP: Make a Wish

I have been knitting away on my Make a Wish, a gorgeous pattern by Joji. When I was swatching for it, I wrote about it here. This is my progress so far! And this time I have managed to edit my photo to get a pretty good likeness of the yarn (Garnstudios Drops Alpaca). With these two photos side by side, you can see the difference between the unedited photo (left) and the edited one (right).

wishcompareNow when I say “editing” I don’t mean anything fancy. All I did with this one was to up the saturation, and how much I upped it was determined by holding the yarn up to the screen and stopping when the colour of the photo matched the real life. I think it turned out quite well!

The part of the cardi that I am knitting now involves the lace border, which is a very simple pattern. It has ‘wedges’ or repeats, shaped through using short rows, and together the pizza slice shaped wedges start to make this lovely curve which you can see appearing in the photos above. I am a little more than half way through my wedge repeats, and now that I have pretty much memorised the pattern, things are progressing much more quickly than at the very beginning. It’s gotten to the stage of being a ‘stay at home’ project rather than a handbag project, which is always a good sign (but does slow down knitting time a bit).

Right – back to knitting… I can’t wait until this ‘flounce’ (as it’s called in the pattern) is finished and I can get on to knitting the parts that make it look more like a cardigan! It’s delayed gratification – with my previous large project (Dragonflies Jersey), it was a top down raglan pattern, which gives some jersey-shaped results after only a little knitting time.

FO: Goldfishies

My boyfriend’s nephew got a couple of goldfish, and like any two year old screamed his head off when he was told that he couldn’t take them out of the water for a cuddle. 


Luckily, I have the means to make cuddly goldfish! I made these from a modified version of the Amigurumi Fish (knitted) pattern. I modified it because the original pattern had you casting on in a tiny tiny circle, which was incredibly fiddly with just a handful of stitches, and which had to be sewn up anyway. Modification number one was using Judy’s Magic Cast On, which I usually use for toe-up socks. If you’re wanting to practice sock techniques, this little fish is quite a good project. You can practice the cast on and increases without committing to the whole sock! 


Modification number two was knitting the fins by picking up stitches rather than knitting them separately as the pattern suggested. This means little hands will have a heck of a time undoing them! Modification number three was changing the tail shape. I knitted the first goldfish (light orange) with the shape in the pattern, but it wasn’t to my liking. The second goldfish (dark orange) has my own improvised tail shape, which I think is super cute. I also changed the eyes slightly, as the way it was, they were a bit too fiddly. 


All in all, I love these little fish! I think they turned out perfectly. And like any two year old, my boyfriend’s nephew screamed his head off when he wasn’t allowed to put the knitted goldfish in the water with the real ones.



FO: Plain old socks

Nothing like a pair of good, plain, stockingette socks. They are the kind that you can take in your bag with you anywhere, knit in cafes, bars, restaurants, on the bus, while having a conversations. After I finished these, I found that I was missing having something for my hands to do in all of these situations! I will need to start a new pair of plain socks ASAP… I was a bit silly and lost the bands for the wool that I used. I do remember that it is an NZ wool, bought in two separate 50g balls – on sale at a shop in Tauranga. A mix of wool and nylon, the usual for sock wool. It feels tough and a little scratchy on my feet, but I think that they will soften up with washing and wearing. 


 I always knit my socks toe-up, and I cast on 26 stitches instead of the smaller number that the pattern (All the Math) suggests. I don’t like having flappy little pointy toes! I’ve knitted so many pairs of socks using this pattern now, that I hardly actually refer to it. Sometimes I just need a reminder when it comes to turning the heel to get the exact counts of stitches. I used a new (to me) kind of increase in these socks, as you can see in the picture above, and I am in love with it. It’s a Lifted Increase: LLI and RLI are the codes for the left and right leaning versions. It’s a bit complicated to get your head around, but once your head is all wrapped around it, it’s easy and makes a lovely looking increase. If you want to try it, there is a pretty clear tutorial here





The heels are reinforced with a slip one knit one on all of the right side rows. It makes such a thick, cushy heel, and I haven’t had a pair like this wear through yet. I have, however, had a couple of holes in the bottom part of the heel, which is not reinforced. 


I also changed the ribbing on the top of the cuff to a ‘knit through back loop, purl one’ style, because I think it looks a lot tidier than the regular K1P1 or K2P2 ribbing. I bind off using Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off, as always. Image





I’m always a bit out of date with my posts, they seem to be about a week behind my real time life. When I took this photo, I was knitting swatches for a new cardigan. WHAT?! You say, a NEW large scale knitted project? What about this one? Or that one? Why would you need a whole other new one?


Well you know what? I don’t care. Because I looooooove this yarn, and I looooooove this pattern. The yarn is Garnstudios Drops Alpaca, in this bright mossy grassy fresh green, which no photo can really do justice. I’ve used the yarn before in my Stripes and Lace shawl, and it is just lovely to wear. I fell in love with it in my local yarn shop in the Netherlands, and spent ages trying to decide what to knit with it. In fact, I took so long deciding, that when I went to go buy it, the shop had closed for summer break, and would remain closed until I was securely back in New Zealand. Nooooooooooooo! Luckily, I have a good friend there who went back to the yarn shop after I had left, and armed with instructions on choosing balls of the same dye lot, bought it for me and posted it off to New Zealand. 



In the end, the timing was perfect when this new design from Joji came out. I knitted her Dragonflies jersey as my very first jersey, and I just love her clear style and simple yet effective patterns. The design is called “Make a Wish”, and for those of you not able to view the Ravelry link above, here is one of the photos from the pattern:


© Joji [Click image for Ravelry pattern page]

Isn’t. That. Lovely? The light airy stitch and loose gauge (20st/inch with fingering weight yarn, for those of you in the know) make it perfect for the alpaca yarn. The drape of this yarn will be just lovely with the swinging ‘train’ of the cardi, and the scarf-like collar. 


So! Those are my plans for my lovely green alpaca yarn. And as I said, I am a bit behind and I have, in fact, already cast on and knitted 30 rows! Unfortunately, the combination of Wellington weather (rain! storms!), the provisional cast-on and subsequent stockingette (rolling up like no-one’s business!) mean that photographing it is near impossible… So you shall have to wait!






I forgot to post this photo after I took it….

It’s my Mum, learning how to knit socks on DPNs, from the toe up. It’s her first ever pair of socks, and the first time knitting in the round, and she’s doing awesomely!

Just before I left to come back to Wellington, we did the short rows to turn the heel of one sock. She is knitting two socks at (nearly) one time, on two sets of DPNs. This is especially good for a learner, and anyone really, because it means that, for example, you don’t knit all of one sock, then come back to the toe of the other and go ‘How do I do that again?!’.

We chose some Opal self-patterning yarn, which is also fantastic, because it means that although the sock is plain stockingette, there is something interesting and exciting going on in terms of the pattern, too.

Good luck for the next heel turn, Mum!


Well, it’s been a busy month or so.


At the end of July, I flew back to New Zealand from the Netherlands. I stayed with my mum and dad for a little over a month, and now I am back in the very very very windy Wellington! My knits have been serving me well as I traipse all over town flat-hunting! My little sister and I are searching for a 2 bedroom place together, and it’s not easy! We’ve looked at a couple now, and thought we’d found something ideal until we also found it on the register of “earthquake prone” buildings! Not to worry, the hunt goes on. This afternoon I looked at one with *gasp* insulation, which is more than most draughty cold Welly flats offer! We’ve put in an application for it, so fingers crossed! 


I have still been finding a little time for knitting. I’ve cast on a Cape Cod jersey, made from wool which I salvaged from a lovely coloured, but less than fashionable second-hand shop acquisition. Here it is being admired by our cat, Tom. 






The jersey was knit in pieces, but has been seamed using a sewing machine, which made ripping them out a bit of a challenge! Nevermind, I got there and ended up with a huge pile of curly wool. In the background of this picture you can see the swift that belonged to my Great Grandmother, some socks that I knitted and that my mum claimed, and Tom again – never far from his humans. 


After a bit of a bath, I hung my swifted skeins out to dry – of course, as soon as I did this it started to rain, so here they are protected by some umbrellas. Genius.


…Or not genius at all… Luckily they didn’t get too tangled up – even though it looks ominous in this photo!







Cape Cod is a relatively loose-fitting jersey, with a boat neck. I am extremely proud of myself for using short rows to lengthen the back of the neck in comparison to the front (in the pattern, they are the same height). It has one lace panel down the back (top photo), and two in the front (bottom photo). I’ve progressed further since these photos were taken – nearly at the separation of the body from the arms, so I’ll give an update once I’ve done that! 








Weekend Inspiration – 04

The ocean and the rocky shore on Leisure Island in Tauranga. This day the sun was shining, and I was down to my tshirt and jeans, even though it was technically mid-winter. The erratic weather is bad for the farmers (not enough grass! too much grass!), but good for beachgoers like me. I am happy to be back home next to the ocean!




Still here, or there?

I am still here! But of course, that depends where ‘here’ is. Last time I posted I was very nearly finished with my Master’s thesis, and in the Netherlands. Since then I have finished my thesis (YAY) and have made the epic trip back to New Zealand! My lovely New Zealand! I love being back here. At the moment I am staying with my mum and dad, where the weather is comparable to that of the Netherlands summer, and there are plenty more green rolling hills to admire. 


There has been a little development on the knitting front, I finished two hats for my sister, which I will get her to model when I give them to her in a few weeks time. My Jackson Creek Cardi (Ravelry project link) is coming along, I have just the sleeves and the button band/collar to go. Here I am looking at some buttons for it. I have an extensive button collection, with all sorts of interesting buttons that I would never use – but luckily some that I can! 



I have been feeling uninspired to finish this project. In the beginning I liked the muted mushroom grey that I had chosen, but I think a whole cardi in it got a little boring, especially after the cabling finished. Now I am so close to the end, I have to push myself to knit these sleeves! It is said that procrastination is a way to avoid failure. I am not worried about failing with this cardi, but I am a little concerned that it is quite tight. I knitted a size smaller than my size, but with a larger (smaller? How do you express “fewer stitches per inch”?!) gauge, and it’s looking quite snug. Mind you, I felt exactly the same way about my Dragonflies Jersey when I was nearly finished, and it turned out perfectly fit. I should just get on with it! 


I have a new yarn acquisition to show off as well, but in the interests of actually maintaining this blog, I’ll wait to show it off! It’s got a nice story… 


Until next time (hopefully in the near future!)




Weekend Inspiration – 03

Well, I’m not very good at keeping up am I! I wanted to share a picture every weekend, but it looks like I have missed about a month without even realising it… In fact, I have no idea where the time has gone. Well, I do really – I am hopefully about 3 weeks or a month away from finishing my Master’s thesis, so every day I am in the library staring at sheets and sheets of Excel data. I thought about sorting through photos while it did so, but it takes up so much memory and is likely to lock up as I so much as move the mouse! Unfortunately I forgot my knitting – I had the brilliant idea yesterday that it would be the perfect “waiting for Excel to finish its business” activity. Hopefully today though I will finish the Excel part, and move on to writing – that means less time for idle knitting hands though… 


I see that in my last post I was anxious for Summer to arrive. It has spectacularly failed to do so. I remember one day in Wellington, when the high was 7 degrees and I decided to not leave the house. The one positive note in that story is that it was the dead of winter, but today in Groningen it has hung around 8 degrees, and we are a week and a day away from the official first day of summer! Sob, cry cry. I’ve even had to bring out my lovely alpaca shawl again! Not that I’m crying about wearing it, but at this time of the season?! That’s definitely worth some tears…


Anyway, here is a little sunshine and inspiration. A tiny garden of very bright flowers in amongst the concrete.