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Morris Blazer x2

Grainline Morris blazer in black ponte, by Ophelie Lechat.

Grainline Morris blazer in black ponte, by Ophelie Lechat.

 

Oh, I love this one.

This is my second Morris blazer in a month. The first one, in a blue merino-nylon sweatshirt blend ($8 a metre!) is in heavy rotation in my autumn wardrobe. I’ve been meaning to make a matching skirt, to complete the comfiest suit in the world. Stretchy fabrics in pulled-together shapes are perfect for my casual office.

Zero alterations to the pattern.  Made in black ponte knit from Tessuti, worn with StyleArc Elle pants in the same fabric (more on those later). I didn’t interface the front facings. Had I had lightweight knit interfacing on hand, I probably would have, but after tearing out the interfacing from my first Morris (it made the lapels stick straight up!) I opted for a simpler, softer shape. I cut a size 10 (my standard Grainline size) and the fit is perfect.

I’m already dreaming of a third Morris: longer, in a hunter green woven viscose or cotton blend, with either in-seam or patch pockets. I’ve worn a similar Club Monaco blazer into the ground (the pocket seams are fraying apart!) and it’s time for a me-made replacement.

Worn with a handknit ribbed cowl in Shibui Knits’s gorgeous, amazing Maai.

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I’ve been busy

A few overdue finished objects, in no particular order:

Purl Bee Toddler Tshirt

A Purl Bee toddler t-shirt made for Kirsta‘s little one. Jared and I babysat this weekend. One year-olds have so much energy! We were worn out by naptime.

Dotted Chambray Archer Shirt

An Archer button-up in the same dotted chambray. I made a size 10 with slimmer sleeves. My next Archer (this is the second, and there will be more!) will be a 10 in the shoulders and the bust, grading down to a 6 for the rest, and with much slimmer sleeves. I love how adaptable this pattern is, and the instructions (including the sewalong) are phenomenal.  Highly recommended.

Rock Island Lace Eding

I can’t show finished pictures of this one just yet, so here’s a peek at a Rock Island shawl in the world’s most luxurious yarn, Superior. Cashmere! Silk! Lace! It’s for a friend’s wedding, and (if the postage gods smile down on me) it should arrive safely next week.

Blackwork embroidery zigzag

A bit of blackwork (navywork?) embroidery on linen cloth. I have sixteen squares of different patterns, started on a whim. These might become a quilt, or maybe a pillow cover? I enjoy the process of needlework but never know what to make with the finished product.

Purl Bee linen robe detailIt’s already been several months since I made this (a Purl Bee robe in a gorgeous linen from Tessuti) and I can’t believe how far I’ve come in my sewing already. This project (basically made up of rectangles stitched together) was positively daunting back in January, but I learned so much making it. It’s one of my most-used makes, and I’m already planning a cozy merino version for the upcoming winter.

 

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Now Also Addicted to Sewing

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I finally purchased a decent sewing machine a few weeks ago, after pushing the limits of the IKEA model I picked up two years ago. After a few cushions, pot holders and pillowcases, I finally made a garment — the ever-popular Scout tee in Nani Iro double gauze.

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Setting in the sleeve nearly drove me nuts, but I got it in the end. Now I’m planning my next four or five projects. Not quite as portable as knitting, but so much faster!

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2014 Review: Knitting Projects

Knitting Roundup 2014 - 1

I know it’s likely the same for everyone, but 2014 was a huge year for me. Settling into a new role at work, seeing that role expand midway through the year, a bit of international travel and a lot of goals met. Teaching knitting classes at the Woolarium, falling in love with the knitting community on Instagram, finishing more projects than ever before, and finally knitting some fun things for tiny people.

Here are some of my favourite projects finished in the last 12 months. Above, clockwise from the top:

1. Channel Cardigan in Brooklyn Tweed Shelter. This was the thickest layer I needed during the chilly Melbourne months. It took forever, but the details on this one are incredible. Highly recommended.

2. Banana Leaf Shawl in Handmaiden Lino. Loved, loved this one… and then I lost it the second time I wore it out. Someone in Melbourne now has a lovely handknit linen/silk shawl!

3. Laminaria in Shibui Cima. Triangle shawls get me every time. They look too small, so I add another repeat, and wind up with something enormous. Totally worth it with this one!

3. Elijah in Debbie Bliss Rialto, made for a coworker’s baby. Awesome pattern, I already have a second one on the needles.

4. Hitofude Cardigan in Shibui Linen. The whole cardigan is knit in one continuous piece, with a single piece of yarn (this is where my beloved Russian Join came in handy). I learned so much while knitting this one.

5. Storytime Scholar cardigan in Spud and Chloe Sweater and Fine. Made for the lovely Clementine, to match her mommy’s sweater.

Knitting roundup 2014 - 2

1. Garter stitch baby blanket in Debbie Bliss Eco Baby cotton. I love the colour range in this Debbie Bliss cotton.

2.  Chance of Showers cardigan in Shibui Staccato. I knit most of this while flying to Los Angeles — so glad that knitting needles can (usually) make it through airport security.

3. Blocks of Colour scarf in Blue Sky Alpacas Metalico. The best kind of mindless knitting: uses one stitch, is delightfully soft, and looks way more complicated than it is.

4. Grettir in Brooklyn Tweed Shelter. This one didn’t see much wear, unfortunately — it’s much too warm in Melbourne for thick turtlenecks.

 

Knitting roundup 2014 - 3

 

1. Storytime Scholar in Spud and Chloe Sweater. A tiny one for my baby nephew Nolan.

2.Saco Stripes in Quince & Co Sparrow. Oh how I love this smooth linen yarn…

3. Camilla Blanket in Sublime Extra Fine Merino DK. This was a really enjoyable knit, very easy to memorise!

4. Improvised baby pullover in Spud and Chloe Sweater.

Knitting roundup 2014 - 4

1. A summery version of Natsumi in Manos del Uruguay Serena. Meant to be knit in a fingering weight wool, I made it instead in a light fingering cotton/alpaca blend, resulting in a drapey, summery sweater, perfect for Melbourne.

2. Reversible hat in Classic Elite Vail. I purchased this yarn with Marika and knit this little hat on the plane.

3. Biston shrug in Brooklyn Tweed Loft. This pattern is a lot nicer than my awkward photo shows!

4. Hari in Malabrigo Sock. Loved, loved knitting this one. Super simple stitches with a huge payoff — look at those spikes! I’m already planning to knit another one this autumn.

5. Improvised top in Shibui Linen, held double. This has definitely been the Year of Linen, and I’ve learned to love linen’s simplicity and versatility.

I already have a long list of projects for 2015, including at least one cabled jacket, a few big lace pieces, and more baby knits.

What’s on your list for 2015? What was your favourite project last year? I’d love to know!

 

 

 

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Finished Object: Sashiko Bag

Sashiko BagA quick update before Jared and I head out for New Year’s Eve! I finished this little bag a few days ago. It’s 33cm across, just the right size to carry essentials (small book, knitting project, wallet, keys) down the street to the cafe.

Both fabrics are linens from Tessuti, purchased two years ago when I made my first attempts at sewing. The project was inspired by two different posts over at Sake Puppets: her Sashiko for Spring bag and the Persimmon Flowers pattern.

Sashiko Grid

This was my first sashiko project, and I learned a few things…

  • I really need to buy a proper sashiko needle if I’m going to do this again! I used a long embroidery needle, with which I could pick up three or four stitches maximum. It’s hard to get into a rhythm when you have to pull the stitches through so often.
  • Marking the grid with chalk wasn’t terribly efficient. I wound up rubbing off most of the markings before I even started embroidering. Next up on my list of purchases is a water-soluble pencil.
  • Since this was meant to be an easy, learning project, I made a wide grid (1/2 inch). In a typical embroidery project, I still would have made tiny stitches, but in sashiko you’re stitching from corner to corner. This means that the stitches are quite loose, and are already starting to catch on belt buckles, keys and fingernails (ouch!).

If the embroidery gets too ragged, I might end up pulling it out entirely — the bag would still look great with plain blue linen, I think.

Elsewhere: Instagram, Kollabora.

 

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Penguins and Programming

Knitted penguin in front of a laptopI don’t talk about my work very much here, but it’s a huge part of my life. I work at SitePoint, one of the world’s biggest resources for web developers. Every year, we have a massive Christmas sale. This year, we’ve decided to go bigger than usual, and share the love.

Penguin on laptop

 

We decided to offer two years of access to Learnable, our learning platform, for the price of one year, plus donate 50% of that price to The Penguin Foundation, a local organisation that is working on exciting technology using magnets to remove spilled oil from bird feathers. Our original goal was to raise $10,000. Once we reached that goal (within a few hours!), we raised the bar to $30k… and now, we’re nearly at $50k. We’ll likely go over our goal before the sale ends in two weeks!

This is only one of the projects we’re working on at the moment, and everyone is working so hard — but are also having so much fun. The days are long, but we’re all smiling at the end. It’s very fulfilling.

I knit this small penguin, about the size of a fairy penguin, as a keepsake for the team. A reminder of those long days of incredible team work.

If you’re interested in learning web design and development, head over to the SitePoint Christmas Sale — the 2-for-1 penguin deal is still on, and we have lots more in store.

Pasha pattern knit in Cascade 22o. See this project on Ravelry

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Two Linen Finished Objects

Is there anything more lovely than a crisp linen knit? It’s not my favourite fibre to knit with (the inelasticity is rough on my wrists) but the moment a linen piece comes off the blocking board, the ache is forgotten.

Banana Leaf Shawl
Banana Leaf Shawl in Handmaiden Lino.

As you can see, I had some tension issues with this one. Handmaiden Lino is a thin blend of silk and linen, and you can see the transitions from knit to purl as the wide ribs work their way out from the centre of the shawl.

Hanami Cardigan WIP

Hitofude Cardigan in Shuibui Linen

The Hitofude cardigan took forever, but it was well worth it. Shibui Linen is an interesting yarn, a cable-style yarn made up of a very fine linen thread. I had no issues with unraveling this time, unlike a previous knit.

Hanami Cardigan in Shibui LInen

Hitofude Cardigan worn over Sea Silk tank

Two perfectly seasonal pieces as Australia goes from chilly winter into hot summer.

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The Mindless Office Knitting Shell

Striped grey, red and white knit top

I don’t drive, but from what I hear, it’s quite common for people to pull into their driveway after a long commute home and have *no idea* how they made it there — no recollection of actively driving home.  Muscle memory takes over, shifting, indicating, turning, accelerating, braking. Meanwhile, most of the mind is free to wander.

After awhile, knitting is the same. Muscle memory takes over — knit, knit, knit, purl. The hands get into rhythm and the mind is free to occupy itself.

That’s why I’ve started knitting at the office, while reviewing articles, reading topic pitches and while Google Analytics reports.  That’s how this tank came about: I needed something mindless, knit in stocking stitch, something I could pick up and put down as needed.

Mindless tee 2

On Ravelry here.
Yarn: Cascade Ultra Pima, just over 3 skeins (I had to dip into a second grey skein for the armhole and neck trim)
Design: improvised, using the wonderful random stripe generator.