Knitting Camp 17

Not this past weekend but the weekend before that I went to my first ever NSW Knitter’s Guild camp. Camp is held every 2 years. Knitters and crocheters from across the state come together for a weekend of fun and relaxation. It is not what some would think “Granny Camp” as we had members age from 17 – 90 with a lot I would say in their mid 30’s – 40’s.  This year we had a guest knitting artist (yes I would consider her an artist as what she produces is amazing) Norah Gaughan who joined us for the weekend. Norah is a really nice person and I have been told was an amazing speaker.

So what happens at knitting camp? Over the weekend a series of free workshops and talks are held that members can participate in if they wish. If you don’t want to attend any of the organised events you can just sit and knit and enjoy the company of others who all share the same interest as you. Oh and you can always shop.. Who wouldn’t want to shop for yarn supplies. On the first day we had yarn retailers set up shop in a room for the day and members could shop as they pleased throughout the day. I brought a few extra knitting needles that day to continue making WIRES pouches. On the second day Guild members who owned shops or a business set up and sold their items. I may have gone a little crazy that day. After saying no no I don’t buy more special yarn as I never do anything with it I managed to come home with some yarn. The 2 plain blue skeins are called Smurfette, how could you not fall in love with them. For some random reason the magenta yarn also appealed to me and I am not a pink person but it felt so soft (it is silk) Each of these will become some sort of shawl I think.

I attended 2 workshops over the weekend. The first was on continental knitting. Continental knitting is a style where you hold your working yarn with your left hand to make your stitches. You form your stitches in a slightly different way to regular knitting as your working yarn is coming from a different direction. Once you get used to it this style is a faster way to knit. As I crochet holding the yarn in my left hand wasn’t an issue but working it around the needles felt all foreign. It is one of those things the more you practice it the more natural it will feel. I will do a dishcloth or something simple to get myself started on it I think.

The second workshop I did was with Wendy McDougall  a professional photographer who has snapped many great Australian bands as well as Australian identities. I really want to improve my photography skills so that I can take better photos of the items I make so it was an awesome experience to do a workshop with an industry professional. Wendy went through ways to take great shots and gave us heaps of tips. We went outside and practiced what she taught us, it was fun putting theory into practice. Inside she set up some lights and a backdrop and we got to take photos in a professional type photo shoot. You would never think a photography workshop would be at knitting camp but it was perfect for us who want to take photos of our work for Instagram or our blogs or those who just want to capture for their own private memories items they have made. You work so hard in making nice things it is lovely to have photos to remember them by as most of us give away a lot of things we make.

One member Kris Howard gave a talk “Knit One Compute One” . It was a really interesting talk and I do urge you to go and watch it, this is the shorter version but there are longer ones if you google it. She went through the similarities between knitting and computer coding. In my day job I do some code writing and it had never occurred to me that it was like a knitting pattern, every time I write a code a work now I shall have a slight grin on my face and think of knitting. Kris talked about how different people across the world are combing codes into knitting patterns, I really want to do something with a code in it now.

We played games at camp including knitting blind folded which I just had to have a go of because it sounded fun, you can see an Instagram photo here. We were allowed to see our needles to cast on and do the first row then the blindfolds went on and for 3 minutes we knitted. If you are used to not looking at your work all the time but feel the stitches on the needle like a lot of us do it was pretty easy to do, the hard part was working with such large needles I am used to 4mm not 12mm which felt like broom handles in my fingers.

Our sleeping quarters had bunk beds. The last time I slept on bunk beds was over 10 years ago on Contiki, I had forgotten how small they are. We were basically only using the rooms for sleeping so it didn’t matter. I do apologise again to my roommates for my snoring though…

Camp was a lot of fun. I can’t wait for the next one in 2 years time. It was great to have a weekend where you just sat around eating, knitting and crocheting. You have a chance to indulge in yarn porn, that is correct I had a lovely sweet old lady who would be in her 70’s tell me she told her friend there is yarn porn at camp, you look at the yarn, you stroke the yarn and then decide to keep it or not….. I want to be like that lady when I am in my 70’s.

Cassiy

 

Valiant Cowl Shade 16

I love my first valiant cowl so much that I have knitted up another.

Originally I purchased 3 balls of the Noro Tokonatsu yarn all in the same colour shade 7. When I discovered this fantastic pattern by Doris and Wilfred Designs and found out I only need 1 ball to make it I went back and exchanged the other 2 balls for different colours. This is shade 16. I love this colour (perhaps even more than the blue) It is this really deep rich burnt orange, generally I am not an orange person but this colour is gorgeous. Once again I did add the extra pattern repeats to what the original pattern says, this just make it a little bit longer. It is so soft and squishy. I have been wearing my blue one a lot so I know it will be nice and warm.

This is a great little pattern and if you ever do want to spoil yourself grab a ball of this yarn and whip this up in no time.
Cassiy

 

UFP – Sunny Log Cabin Blanket

Last year I was all excited about Lucy’s Sunny Log Cabin blanket, I did all the individual squares then just put them aside.

I needed to block them as per the instructions, when I finally got foam matts and pins I blocked my first set of 4 blocks… and I’m embarrassed to say for the last 2 months they have sat pinned to the matts on top of my tumble dryer. I don’t know why I never got back to them. They actually became annoying as I was having to move them if I used the dryer in case the top of it got hot. I was inspired by my friend Kylie who did a podcast last week mentioning she was going to finish a blanket to get in and work on my own unfinished blanket.  I always have a lot craft projects on the go but I can’t bring myself to starting another blanket for myself if I have one unfinished. If a blanket is for someone else than I don’t have a problem with having 2 on the go but if it is for me I can only do one… and I have about 4 blankets on my todo list so I really need to finish this one. After much thought I have decided to take a short cut, this may come back to bite me but it can’t hurt to try. I’m not going to block the remaining 3 sets of blocks which form the rows of the blanket. All the squares are roughly the same size so I am just going to fudge it and make them fit. As I mentioned this blanket is just for me so if it isn’t totally perfect it isn’t going to matter, it will be still be functional and most importantly it will get finished. I’m a bit worried that if I don’t just jump in and start assembling it I’ll be still sitting here in another 6 months time with 16 crocheted blocks hanging out on my craft trolley and I’m sure by then my blanket todo list would be even longer.

Let’s hope my short cut doesn’t cause too much pain
Cassiy

Football

I have finished my first ever crocheted toy a little football.

I was wanting to make a football for a newborn gift. I knew I could sew one but I wanted to try making one out of yarn for a change. I searched online and found a great little pattern on Interweave. It was in US terms and I am used to using UK terms so it took me a little bit to get my head around which stitch they were referring too in it. It is a very simple pattern and worked up pretty quickly. The only thing I found a little confusing with the pattern and I’m not totally happy with is the top laced up section. The pattern just says to refer to a picture on the page on how to lace it up but the picture doesn’t give you a good indication on how you actually do it. My one doesn’t look too bad but it would have been easier with actual instructions. The yarn is Stylecraft Special DK which is an acrylic and I used a 3.5mm hook.

I had never done any form of shaping before in crochet. This was a really great pattern to start on. The ball in made up 4 pieces that are joined to form the oval shape. All but one turned out the same size, I have no idea why but one was a little larger and I can’t remember if it was my first one or second one. It all joined up the same and you can’t notice on the final piece. The only thing I did differently to the pattern instructions was they said to slip stitch around the edge of each piece and I did a UK double crochet instead. Once I joined all my pieces there was a gap in either end which I closed up using some of my end tails. All other end tails I didn’t weave in I just left them long inside. I was fastening off each time I joined a piece I just wasn’t cutting the yarn so it is secure and shouldn’t unravel.

I’m now inspired to try doing other crocheted toys. I did each panel in sections and marked every 10 rows so if I did have to frog back I had row placings so I could keep count. It was fun to do but was something that had to be done with total concentration, no talking, no tv.

I would like to mention that Interweave had really good customer service. There was a mix up and I accidentally purchased 2 copies of the pattern at once and due to trying to work out the exchange rate in my head I didn’t notice until I got my receipt emailed to me and saw the quantity as 2. I emailed Interweave and explained what had happened, they replied back very quickly and refunded the cost of one pattern within a couple of days. They were wonderful.

Cassiy

Pink Swirl

I made the Pink Peppermint blanket using some spare balls of pink yarn I had in my stash but I was left with small scraps of leftovers from it. If I didn’t have enough yarn to do a row I started a new ball so I ended up these odd size scraps. I decided to knot them all together and make a yarn cake with them using my electric ball winder, variegated or multi coloured yarn cakes are very popular at the moment so why not make you own from scraps.

I decided to crochet up a granny square as they are the easiest to make when you don’t know if you have enough yarn. Granny squares also make great toy blankets. The random colour lengths were due to the length of scraps I had, confession as I was making up the yarn cake at one point I did cut one colour as it seemed to lot of it and tie in the other colour so there is a little human intervention in this. The final blanket has turned out to have a bit of a swirl shape which I think was due to each round I wasn’t tying in a new colour I was just chaining up and starting the round, also I wasn’t turning my work I was just going in the same direction each time. I’m not worried about the shape, it just adds to the fun of it. This blanket will go to my nieces so their dollies can have a matching blanket to theirs.

It was a fun experiment to make up my own yarn cake from scraps. I’m going to do this again with leftover wool scraps from the various blankets I’ve done as gifts so I can make WIRES pouches from them. I don’t care if there are knots in my yarn as I’m working (some people don’t like knots in the middle of rows) I have lots of scraps and it will be good to use them up

Cassiy

Charity Face Cloths

charity-face-washers

This year my department at work is collecting for the Share The Dignity “Its In The Bag” campaign. The idea is to get an old handbag (or purchase one from a charity shop) and fill the bag with items that a woman in crisis accommodation or who is homeless might need. I crocheted these facecloths to go inside the different bags. Someone else donated cakes of soap so together they will put in a few of the bags. These took me no time at all to whip up, crochet in front of the tv. I like that I can use my crochet skills (even if they are just basic) to give a little happiness to someone in need. I think this is a wonderful campaign and I’m honoured to be able to contribute to it in a small way.

Cassiy

Pamuke Blanket Finished

The good news is that my Pamuke Blanket is finished and all wrapped up to give to my trainer next month.

Pamuke Finished

The finished blanket measures approximately 62″ x 67″ The main part of the blanket is made is a granny stripe. I just keep doing row after row until I used 5 balls of each colour. For the border I did 3 rows of regular trebles and a final row of crab stitch to finish it off. I really liked the crab stitch edge. It gave a little bit of texture and difference to the blanket but still kept it very simple looking.

This is the largest blanket I’ve made I think. As I was making it didn’t seem that big it was only when it was placed flat on the queen size bed you get a true a sense of the size of it. I am so happy with the way it has turned out. Even though it is a wedding gift I wanted to keep it simple. This blanket is just one you can grab and use and when it gets dirty stick it in the washing machine. A gift you can easily use, to me that is the perfect gift.

Cassiy