Latest Posts

Finished Knit: Skye



In October I went to Knit City and had a lovely time there with Amanda. I’d never been to any kind of knitting show before so it was a great new experience for me. I am discovering that my knitting experience has been fairly narrow until now so am enjoying discovering all about the things there are to learn.

As well as this, I was keeping my eye out for any nice yarn for a new project while I was there. I had been hoping for yarn for a sweater, but that didn’t work out due to the ranges of yarn that the stallholders brought to the show. I did discover some new-to-me yarns that I will remember for possible future projects.

IMG_6933 IMG_6935

However, I did make a purchase at the show. At the DydeeKnits stall I saw this awesome ponch/cowl pattern, and after trying on the display sample I decided to buy the kit of the pattern and required Malabrigo Rios yarn.

The pattern is ‘skye‘ and it was a delight to knit (although I suspect part of that might have been to do with the yarn, more on that shortly). It is knit mostly in the round with an easy to memorise repeat that gives a gorgeous texture to the fabric. Because of this it was a very quick knit, and I finished it in a little over a week, and it was instantly brought into regular use, even before it was blocked (although blocking it made a fantastic difference)


As I mentioned, the yarn is Malabrigo Rios. For those (like me before I bought this kit) that don’t already know, this is a superwash merino yarn, in a worsted weight and oh. my. god. it is a delight to knit with. The colour I chose is a lovely dark red (colourway Cumparsita) that I’m hoping will go beautifully with my upcoming coat (assuming that all goes to plan).


I am very glad I got this somewhat impulse purchase, as I suspect it will be heavily used in the winter to come, both as a cowl quickly chucked around my neck, and pulled down over my shoulders as more of a poncho for extra warmth.

IMG_6934 IMG_6949

You can see my ravelry entry about this project here

Esprit Dress V2 in grey wool suiting



Another garment that I made at SewAway that I’ve finally gotten blog photos of.

First lets talk about the fabric. I bought this fabric in Vancouver on our trip last year. It’s a gorgeous wool suiting from dressew. It is lovely to touch, lovely to wear, and lovely to sew. However I think that this fabric isn’t quite the perfect match for this pattern. I think it is just that tiny bit too thin for this dress.

IMG_6913   IMG_6924

The pattern is my ‘esprit dress’ pattern, the first version of which is an incredibly successful make, being frequently worn since fixing the hem length in 2011. I thought I was well overdue to try another version. The pattern itself was my first try at making my own design from another pattern. I used the New Look 6726 pattern as my base. The pattern is a bit rough and if I were making it again now I’d do a few things differently.

I made one change to this version; raising the curve of the seams so that the pockets were higher, as I’d made them too low the first time around. The pockets are one of my favourite things of this pattern so I’m glad to have fixed them up now.


Finished Knit: Audrey in Unst



Today I’m excited to share my recently finished cardigan. This is my first fingering weight garment, so it was probably good that I’ve made it while my knitting productivity is high.


The pattern is Audrey in Unst, and the yarn is Adaucania Ranco Solid (75% wool, 25% polyamide). I knit up the 35.6″ bust with no changes to the pattern (except a few minor mistakes).


I actually originally bought this yarn aaaages ago (instagram tells me 86 weeks ago!) to make a different pattern (Peacock Eyes Cardigan) but got through most of the yoke and just wasn’t loving it. And so the project went into the naughty corner. It was in said corner for quiiite a while, until it came time to decide what I was storing back in Oz, bringing to Canada and getting rid of. I still liked the yarn, so couldn’t face getting rid of it, so with some moral support from Darren I unravelled all the knitting I’d done in preparation for trying something else.


The Audrey in Unst had been in my ravelry favourites for quite a while, and since the gauge worked out for the yarn I figured it was a sign to finally go ahead with the pattern. I think it looks particularly nice in this yarn, with its slight variation in colour.


I really love the wide ribbing in the pattern. The rib is a twisted rib, which was more enjoyable in the round on the sleeves than it was back and forward around the hem. I also really like the lace bib, it adds interest, but also meant that most of the knitting was fairly mindless. A good combo for me!


The neckline is finished with an i-cord bind off, which I’ve never done before but I like the effect of. I finished the cardigan off with some lovely wooden buttons from Wet Coast Wool.


I actually finished this off a couple of weeks ago, and it’s been well worn since then. I was concerned that the 3/4 length sleeves would be a bit cold, but it’s been working out so far, I’ve been staying nice and warm when wearing it. (I’m actually wearing it while writing this post)

IMG_6816As a bonus, I had three skeins of yarn, and I only just started the third to finish off the second sleeve and the button bands, so I have plenty of yarn left for something else. I’m thinking that I might be able to make some cosy socks with the rest of the yarn. Or maybe some wrist warmers. We’ll see.

Inspiration: Winter Warmth, Cowl Edition


I shared some sweater inspiration the other day, and my selection for my next knitting project, at the same time as buying that yarn I spied some gorgeous yarn in the sale section at Wet Coast Wools that I bought some skeins of to make a cowl. Since then I have been trawling Ravelry for inspiration. I haven’t completely decided which route I’m going to go yet, so I thought I’d share my ideas with you today and see what you think.

First though, the yarn! The yarn I got is Diamond Luxury Collection 50% Mulberry Silk, 50% Merino Wool. This yarn is unbelievably soft, and has such a beautiful sheen to it. They had one skein left of a pale grey colour, and some lovely baby-blue that went with the grey really nicely, so on the suggestion of Glenda at Wet Coast Wools that I might want more than 2 skeins for a cosy cowl, I got two skeins of the blue and the one grey one.


Therefore, I am on the lookout for a design that will let me play with my two colours, ideally in a 2:1 ratio overall so that I can use up all my yarn and make a super warm and cosy cowl. With this in mind, after looking around on Ravelry these are the ideas that I’ve had…

(as always, click through for the patterns on ravelry)

Stripes is an obvious choice, and fairly easy to adjust to my 2:1 requirement if required.

PrismaLoop Duotone Foolproof
Prisma Loop | Duotone Cowl | Foolproof

Prisma Loop and Duotone are fairly simple striped cowls, and would be an effective but simple option. I particularly like the diagonal stripes of Foolproof, and the varying widths of stripes.

DivergentSeries Thorne Mirla
Divergent SeriesThorneMirla

Divergent Series and Thorne both have stripes and a slightly more interesting design than just a tubular cowl. Mirla has some nice differing width stripes.

Another option that might make the stripes a little more interesting is to use a different stitch, alternating the rows 1:2, it would still give stripes but in my mind there would be a more interesting edge to the stripes. Before going down this route I would need to swatch up the stitches to see if this would look as interesting as my imagination thinks that it might. Here are some designs that caught my eye…

BigHerringbone DropStitchScarf Chickadee
Flurries HoldingHandsFeedingDucks
Upwards PenAndInk
Big Herringbone Cowl | Drop Stitch Scarf | Chickadee Cowl
Flurries Cowl | Holding Hands, Feeding Ducks
Upwards | Pen & Ink

Another stripe variation is zig-zags, again very easy to adjust to my ratio for a simple but effective look.

LuckyNo7 Maritime
Lucky No 7 | Monster Cowl
Maritime Cowl | ZickZack Scarf

Here’s another design along those lines which I really like, the two colours of stripes, each of a different style. and it looks like it would be fairly easy to adjust the number of rows to match my ratio.


I found some other stripe based designs that are a bit more interesting that might also work:

MontagueStreet MixedWave
Hurricane Ridge | Montague Street Cowl | Mixed Wave Cowl

The below colourwork designs are interesting; essentially stripes but with some more interesting bits built in. Based on the pattern description, symphony of shells would already work with my yarn ratios, and Slip-Zag looks like it would also work if I stuck with one version of the design (rather than flipping the colours like in the picture).

SymphonyOfShells SlipZag
Symphony of Shells | Slip-Zag

I don’t necessarily need to stick with stripe based colourwork designs, here are some other designs that caught my eye.

ChromaticityCowl FullCircle Snell Boilermaker
Chromaticity Cowl | Full Circle | Snell | Boilermaker

This one particularly caught my eye, I like the idea of different sections of different stitches, which also seems like a good way to adjust the yarn ratio requirements.

Stitch Block Cowl

This also gave me the idea that there are other patterns where I could do chunks in different colours. How about the Hill and Dale cowl with one colour for the ribbing and another for the rest? Or the Challah Infinity Scarf, which includes instructions for knitting it up in all one colour, or in three colours; I could easily use the 3 colour version, with one colour being used twice.

AllAlong HillAndDale ChallahInfinity
All Along | Hill & Dale CowlChallah Infinity Scarf

So, what do you think? What would you do if you were me?









Portside Bag



Have you seen the Portside Travel Set by Grainline Patterns? This pattern got added to my to-make list after Melanie made hers, and the other gorgeous ones I’ve seen around the internet haven’t done any harm (see here, here, here, here, here and here for just a handful of examples).

I used to have a great overnight bag that I used for short trips, but a few years ago the handle broke (sadly in an unfixable way), and since then I’ve been making do with smaller or larger bags or borrowing from my parents. This wasn’t a sustainable solution, especially since I’m currently residing the other side of the world from them as opposed to a moderately short drive away.

So I finally pulled the portside up in my to-sew list, and got it sewn together during SewAway in June (and just in time to test it out properly on a long weekend trip to Queensland the following weekend). I’ll let you in on a spoiler here; it was a great success! It’s a great size; it’s plenty big enough to fit all I needed, but is still within the size requirements for carry on luggage.


Since I ended up making this fairly last-minute, I was limited to using materials I could find in stores locally. I decided to make up the bag in denim, using the two sides of the denim for the contrasting fabrics. After touring all my local fabric stores I ended up settling on red straps and a matching chunky plastic zip, and also got some red thread for top-stitching (primarily because I couldn’t get any other matching colours in strapping and zip other than black).


I used upholstery thread for the top-stitching; Which is somewhere between the normal and top-stitching thread in thickness, thick enough to make good top-stitching but more economical than the very short spools of top-stitching thread. Because of the denim fabric choice, I did a double line of top-stitching throughout to make it more jeans-like, which I think really makes a difference.


The actual hardware was the harder part. I couldn’t find suitable clips anywhere. The only ones that the fabric stores had were ugly plastic ones or really tiny metal ones. So on a whim I tried the hardware store, and found these (fairly heavy duty) double ended clips in Bunnings which I decided to go with.


The only D-rings that I could find in vaguely the right size were these thing ones I used, which turned out to be a mistake; when the bag was full on our trans-pacific trip the D-rings on the bag opened up and came out from the strapping. Because I top-stitched so closely we can’t get the ring back in, and one has come out completely. So for now my bag doesn’t have a shoulder strap, and I will need to source some better D-rings, unpick the top-stitching and replace the D rings on the bag.


Thankfully the handles are just long enough to put over your shoulder, so the bag is still plenty usable. When replacing the hardware I will also make the strap shorter; made at the current length, and adjusted to be as short as possible it is still a little too long, so I will remove some length so it’s the right length for me nearer the middle of the range of adjustment.


During the construction of my bag I stitched my little Ingress patch collection onto the bag. I started with sewing them on by hand, but that was not fun at all, and I ended up stitching them all on by machine, which was a much better solution!


As the machine stitching was better, and I know that I’ll be getting more patches for the bag, I slip stitched the lining in by hand so that it’ll be easy to remove to add more patches in the future. The lining is some printed poplin from my stash.


Despite the problems with the hardware, I’m really happy with my bag and found the pattern and it’s instructions really great,. My only issue was the fabric requirements; I ended up with LOTS of fabric left over, which would have been even more annoying if I had chosen expensive fabric for the bag. I also wish I’d been able to print only the pattern pieces for this bag rather than for the whole set (and that I could now go back and print only the pieces for one of the other two bags in the set).