A new job means less time to knit…
I recently rejoined the full-time workforce after nine years at home, keeping my hand in with some freelance work while I raised my kids. With Mr C only a year off double digits though, it seemed like the right time to head back to work.
I feel very lucky to have found this job. It’s interesting work, with a fantastic, friendly team of people, and I’m loving it.
However…it does leave less time for knitting.
I do my best to squeeze in a few rows when I can – and public transport is fabulous for that! – but I can’t just pick up my needles whenever I want to anymore. And oddly enough, that seems to have lit a fire under me! Not only am I blogging again, but I’m also publishing two new patterns today: Vivi and Dublin.
Vivi is a very simple lace shawl, alternating bands of stocking stitch with bands of lace to create a lightweight wrap. I’ve knitted it in two shades of the lovely tosh merino light, but it would suit any fingering weight yarn. I also think it would be just as beautiful knitted in a single colour.
Before we had the little ones, Mr Purldragon and I were lucky enough to spend some time living in Dublin. It was an amazing experience, and Dublin remains one of my favourite cities in the world. Dublin features cosy latticework cables knitted in a soft wool-alpaca blend, creating a warm, squishy fabric that I would have been grateful for on a drizzly day in its namesake city. Here in Australia, it’s perfect for a chilly morning by the beach…
My little girl was recently lucky enough to have this beautiful poppy dress sent to her from a friend in the south of France. She absolutely adores it and has wanted to wear it all the time, even though the weather hasn’t really been warm enough yet.
What to do? As luck would have it, my very favourite cotton yarn comes in a shade of red that perfectly matched the poppies on her dress. Using 4.5mm needles and DK weight cotton resulted in a very petite Liesl, sized just right for an almost-five-year-old.
The little miss loves it almost as much as her dress.
Real life knitting
There is fantasy knitting – the sort of pieces that you aspire to, that intrigue you with their construction, beguile you with lace and/or cable patterns, or tantalise you with colour – and then there is knitting reality. The reality that says that what you are most likely to wear has clean, classic lines, a neutral colour that goes with everything and, perhaps most importantly, miles and miles of stocking stitch.
BK (before knitting), I had several long knitted cardigans in my wardrobe. Most of them I’d bought while overseas, and they were perfect over jeans or dresses to add just enough warmth to a Scandinavian spring or early autumn. Here, they were midwinter must-haves.
Since becoming a knitter, however, I’ve spent a lot of knitting time on flirty little cardigans and lovely fitted sweaters. The long cardi – this staple of my wardrobe – has, however, been sadly neglected.
Now I have Annikki.
The original pattern is very traditional – knitted in pieces and seamed. Given that I knit this in Berocco Ultra Alpaca, which is a wool/alpaca blend, I did opt to seam the back and fronts to give the garment more structure. I couldn’t resist tweaking it just a little though. I shaped the shoulders with short rows and “seamed” them with a three-needle bind-off, and I knit the sleeves top-down using short-row sleeve caps.
Unfortunately, Annikki was finished about a week too late for Brisbane’s true winter weather. We’ve edged into spring now and, failing a sudden cold spell, it’s likely that it will be put away until next year.
But I guess that just gives me something to look forward to!
In the meantime, I’ve cast on a couple of cute little spring sweaters…
Here it is, my beautiful Flukra.
I cast off last night, a couple of minutes before 11pm, after just eight days of knitting.
This has been one of the most enjoyable knitting experiences I have had so far. I bought the yarn in a lovely little yarn store in Gamla Stan last year while I was visiting Sweden. It is a lovely rustic wool, in a heathery shade that hovers somewhere between mid-grey and light brown. I wanted a shawl with more substance than delicacy, and I think this yarn has delivered exactly that — the snowflake lace seems far more modern and boldly geometric when knitted in this heavier weight.
The pattern, by the very talented Gudrun Johnston, is beautifully written, and the lace itself is very intuitive once you get used to having to work yarn overs and decreases on both sides. This is not the sort of lace that can only be knitted when alone — I successfully managed to keep knitting through it even with the kids playing around me and while chatting with friends.
And the end result is the sort of project that most makes me smile – one that is both beautiful and full of memories.
Hubby and I had a lovely time out on the deck and in the garden, trying to get the perfect shot. I love how the setting sun in this one etches the snowflake pattern against the winter sky…
There are still several days left before the end of the Ravellenic Games, but I have only entered one project. So good luck to the rest of my fellow Ravthletes — may your hooks and needles bring you yarny glory! 😉
And she’s off!
I’m not what you’d call a joiner, particularly when it comes to sports. And while I have been known to watch the occasional Olympic opening ceremony (when it’s been televised at a convenient time) or World Cup grand final (ditto), I’m not about to get up in the middle of the night for it.
So I surprised even myself when I decided I would participate in the Ravellenic Games. There I was at 6am this morning (9pm last night in London), casting on for Flukra.
Still, you’ve got to love an event that you can participate in while enjoying a rather nice Sauvignon Blanc.
I’d like to say all of the members of my family have been supportive but, while my little fella asked me this afternoon how I was enjoying the Ravellenics so far, and my husband has been content to ply me with said Sauv Blanc and take photos, I suspect Zahra may be trying to sabotage me.
Yes, she’s actually asleep inside my project bag on top of my yarn. Oh well, what kind of Ravthlete would I be if I can’t overcome these sorts of challenges? 😉
If sunshine were a beanie…
…this is what it would look like. I don’t think it’s possible to describe how much I love this hat. It’s soft and squishy and it makes me smile.
Isn’t this the most perfectly happy colour ever?
Instead of being slightly chilly but dry and sunny, this winter seems to have been one long wet season, punctuated with occasional glimpses of a watery sun. Looking at what I’ve been choosing to knit over the past few weeks, and the yarn that has been catching my eye at my LYS, I think I might be in need of some sunshine. This glorious burst of woolly sunshine was my latest impulse buy, destined to become Rikke.
That’s more like it!
After a week of constant rain, the sun decided to peek out from behind the clouds this afternoon, so we headed down to Manly to have fish and chips for lunch. While enjoying the sunshine on the pier, my darling husband took a few photos of my new cowl in real life.
The colours are so amazing in the sunshine that I thought an update post was warranted. Don’t you agree?
Be careful what you wish for…
I frequently wish that we lived somewhere colder. Some of this is knit-related — it would be nice not to have people wonder why I need to knit so many jumpers when the temperature only drops below 20 degrees Celcius for maybe a week — but I also really love the cold. Now when I say I love the cold, what I mean is that I love the sort of winters that we had when we lived in Europe – icy cold, but snowy, complemented by decently insulated and centrally heated buildings. So that when you come in, face tingling, you can make yourself a cup of coffee, curl up on the sofa and enjoy looking out at the snow falling while you’re cosy and warm.
Not the cold that we have had here for the past month or so.
The sort of cold that creeps into your bones and stays there. The sort of cold that no amount of knitwear can dispel.
It’s made worse by the fact that our 1940s house was obviously not built for cold weather. In fact, it has often been colder inside than outside — a particular achievement when there’s an icy wind whipping past out there.
I’ve taken to wearing several layers of woollies, planting myself under a blanket on the sofa, and knitting until I can’t feel my fingers anymore, all in the hope that if I outfit everybody in the family in enough lovingly handknit stuff that no one will actually freeze.
I never thought I’d say it, but I can’t wait for spring.
In the meantime, I’ve whipped up a huge squishy cowl in fiery oranges, reds and yellows to keep me toasty warm…