Introducing Reyna

Well, I didn’t make much progress on Miss Winkle nor did I find the time to finish her before my birthday. I did, however, remember that while I had finished knitting Reyna, I had yet to block her! A-ha! A new knit shawl to wear on my birthday after all. Wheee!

Below is a photo essay of sorts of the process of blocking Reyna, from squishy off the needles to open lace and lovely blocked-ness. Well, she was fantastically blocked, but I wore her on my birthday and forgot to get a just blocked photo! I will ask my husbitect to help me take a better of Reyna over the weekend, perhaps after I block her again.

Just knitted shawl

Off the needles and all squishy

Shawl soaking

Bath time! I use Eucalan to gently soak my knits.

Pinned shawl, blocking

Blocking wires and many, many pins used. Tin for scale.

Close up of knitting

Close up of the gorgeous lacey texture!

Knitting project photo

Reyna after blocking and wearing on my birthday. Will need a better photo to show her off!

If you would like to knit your own Reyna shawl you can find the pattern on Ravelry it is by  the talented Noora Laivola.

I used one skein of Ella Rae lace merino (4ply/fingering).

Miss Winkle Update

Ta dah! Miss Winkle currently has a total of 25 loops and plenty more yarn to knit. I am loving these colours, so bright and happy. I would love to have this finished for my birthday this Saturday but I think that might be asking too much…unless I can find a TARDIS! I will give it ago, lets see how much more I can knit in two days!

Photo of knitting project

Speaking of the TARDIS, how fantastic is it that we have our first female Doctor! I cannot wait to see her episodes! Hmm, maybe I should name my Miss Winkle Project after the new Doctor, I shall think on some ideas. Any suggestions?

Plans for the rest of this week include some early spring cleaning and birthday shenanigans on Saturday!  Tonight the Husbitect and I are planning to curl up on our comfy lounge and do some colouring in to practice mindfulness and some relaxation. I’m trying to master Copics, so far I haven’t quite got the blending figured out but a little more practice should help.

Pattern: Miss Winkle by Martina Behm.

It’s time for knitting!

I have recently finished my Masters degree so I now have a lot more time for knitting! And when a lovely library hires me, I will have more money for yarn treats! hehe. I’m currently working on my second Miss Winkle, this time she is for me!

Miss Winkle (knitting project)

I’m using Araucania Ranco Sock which has some delicious shades of purple, green and a touch of pink. So good! I’m cheating and using an older photo here, the delightful Miss Winkle has more loops now. I shall be posting a knitting project update tomorrow, so check back for some updated photos.

Pattern: Miss Winkle by Martina Behm.

Picking Up My Needles

Hi, Hello! I haven’t updated my weblog for quite a while, but now that I am getting back into knitting, spinning and other creative pursuits, I will be back to regular updates. Other things I will be writing about are my two gorgeous kitties, lifestyle topics, geeky pursuits such as board games and other related topics.

Photo of my Great Divide shawl

Knitting wise I am working on my Great Divide shawl which I am knitting with  Heirloom white 4 ply yarn and for contrast, some Ella Rae lace merino 4 ply in a beautiful rainbow colourway. I’m looking forward to finishing this shawl and for winter to arrive so I can wear it…and so the temperature is pleasant and not insanely hot and humid as it is now in Sydney!

Knitterly News

After a wee little break over the Christmas and New Year period, I am back! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and that 2015 is being very kind to you! Apart from being the day I start blogging again, today is also the start of Semester One at university. I have five units left in my Master of Information Management, which has a dual qualification in Records & Archives and Librarianship. This semester I am taking two units; Archives Concepts & Practice and Knowledge Management Principles.

I have been quite busy on the knitting front. Last week I finished my Skywalker shawl which I knit as part of one of Laura Nelkin’s craftsy classes. I have learnt so much and gained much more confidence in my knitting and that is only half of the class completed! The second part is knitting the Clarus shawl. I still need to take some pretty photos of Skywalker, but below you can how dramatically it changed with blocking.

skywalker blocking

I’m about to cast on some toe-up magic loop socks as part of the Sprint Into Socks KAL being run by The Bakery Bears and Knick’s Knits. I’m not using my ‘good’ yarn for these socks as I have only knit three pairs of socks and these were all cuff-down after-thought heel socks. So for my first toe-up socks, some plainer yarn will do just in case I need to tink a few times! The yarn I am using (photo below) is Patons Big Baby Fair Isle in the Bluey colourway. The pattern booklet you can see behind the yarn cake is Crafternoon by Panda. I came across it at Kmart recently and could not resist, so many cute things.

basic socks start

 

I will be back to regular updates from now on, and have some more finished objects to share!

Pink Christmas

Pink Christmas Patridge

I recently entered Brother Australia’s Pink Christmas competition. To enter, you were required to make one or more of the pink Christmas patterns created especially for Brother by some of Australia’s top craft bloggers. I made the bird decoration by Christine Mitchell. This was a huge learning curve for me as I had not sewn something so small and curvy on the sewing machine before. As part of your entry you needed to add your own touch with something pink. I added a pink-ribbon tail and pink sequin eyes as well as a little head feather to make the birds partridges. I made most of the birds with a pale pink fabric and one with hot pink – I guess he’s the male as he has the showy colours, as you can see below! I used some vintage buttons on the wings and the birds now decorate our Christmas tree!

Hot Pink Partridge

If you’d like to have a go at making the Christmas bird decorations or one of the other pink-themed projects, visit Brother’s project page to find lots of free patterns.

End of Semester; Start of Craftiness

Knitting Projects

Ah! It is that wonderful time of the year when I have finished all my assignments and study for the semester, and studying for the year is over! I have time for more craft projects and studying of the arty and crafty kind, the librarian learning now takes a back seat for a short while. Knitting has been my craft of choice the last few days, above you can see the projects that are active on my needles at the moment. There has been progress on Miss Winkle (four more loops) and the socks, just not a huge amount! Links to the patterns/designer:

The middle project, Levnadslust, which means ‘joy of living’ in Swedish is absolutely stunning! I admire Madeleine’s (the designer behind Yarn-Madness) eye for style and detail. If you haven’t seen her work, visit her Ravelry page or her own website to view her designs. I’ve added so many to my Ravelry favourites list! I’m knitting Levnadslust with Cleckheaton Bamboo, which is sadly discontinued. I wish I had bought more of it while it was still in production. Yes, this yarn comes from my deep stash. I’ve knitted the first of two shoulders for the pattern and have just started the second. This will be my first hand-knit garment (aside from socks, shawls and scarves) so I am quite excited! A picture of Levnadslust is below, used with permission from the designer.

Levnadslust

 

Other than busily knitting, I’ve been doing a bit of reading. Lately I have felt like I have been ignoring the spiritual side of myself so I set about looking for ways to fulfil that side of me. Browsing the local library’s ebooks, I came across some books by Deepak Chopra and remembered how much I had enjoyed his writing in the past. I’m currently listening to ‘What Are You Hungry For‘ which is about weight loss but also personal fulfilment. It has really resonated with me so far, especially the sections about how eating can sometimes be an attempt to fill the empty places inside. I definitely do that – I’m all about comfort eating! When I feel sad or lonely, I often reach for a peanut butter sandwich or some chocolate (or even peanut butter chocolate!) instead of acknowledging what I am feeling and doing something about it. Other than eating! I need to lose a bit of weight, so I’m hoping Deepak’s book will help me shift the pounds for good and fill those empty spaces with something other than food.

Earlier in the year I set myself a challenge to read 100 books this year. So far I have read 43, quite a bit shorter than the goal, mainly due to being busy with university work. Now that I have more free time, I’m going to try my best to reach my goal of 100 books! I have allowed myself to count fiction and non-fiction books plus audio-books, but would like to include more fiction. One of my most favourite authors is Connie Willis; I have devoured all of her books that I can find. I also enjoy ‘cozy-mysteries’ of the cat kind; mystery novels that have feline sleuths or some other kind of cat help! Favourite authors of that genre include Rita Mae BrownShirley Rousseau Murphy and Lilian Jackson Braun. I’m also a fan of the Agatha Raisin series by M.C. Beaton, who is also known for being the creator of the delightful Hamish Macbeth character.

I’m currently looking for a new fiction read and am open to recommendations!

How was your weekend?

Happy Weekend!

Ah, Sunday evenings, always so bitter-sweet. You’ve (hopefully) had a lovely and relaxing weekend but Monday is close by! I hope your weekend was one of the lovely sort! I’ve been a bit quiet over the last week; it is end of semester assignment time for me. Two more assignments to go and then I can craft and blog my little heart out! Expect to see more regular updates from mid-week!

Random Joy

Random

It’s that time of year when final assignments for the semester are due. I’m studying towards a masters in Librarianship and Information Management and have two classes currently; one on cataloguing, which is my personal favourite, and the other on records management. After working on my records management assignment, I glanced to the side where I had been temporarily placing the sticky note tabs that I had removed from my industry journals. I was struck by how pretty they looked, all random and jumbled. Life is a bit like that, it is in the random and the busy moments that we are sometimes treated to a reminder of how beautiful life is.

This week for me it has been little scenes like the above, seeing Pippin and Loki all snuggled together on their cat tree, the excitement in my husband’s voice when he describes a new game to me, seeing my parents relaxing in the sunshine. Little moments, completely random, but so precious. It is all the random moments and unexpected beauty that makes life worthwhile, that remind us of just how special the simple things are.

I love the feeling of friday evenings; the week is almost done and two lovely days of weekend time are ahead! There are meetings with friends over yummy lunch to come and some grocery shopping which I think is all the more fun when the store has a fabulous international food section! Do you like them? I love looking at foods from other countries, not to mention trying them! We are shopping at a different store to our usual this weekend so I am excited to see what their international food section is like. I’m hoping they have some of the Dutch rusk-like biscuits* that are big, puffy and crunchy bites of deliciousness, especially when spread with butter! My Grandmother loved these, so they hold a special nostalgia for me. If I find some I will share some photos so you can see what they are like, perhaps you like them too!

I’ve been blogging since the early days of pre-blogger, when Grey Matter was the software of choice. Actually, when I first started writing an online journal, there were few programs or apps for that purpose. I blogged my little heart out in those days but then had a sizeable pause when life gifted me with a visit from the anxiety fairy who kindly brought along the black dog. Now that I am blogging again I remember how hard those early days are! Posting and blogging and wondering if anyone is reading your words, thinking and thinking about topics to write about, things to share. At the moment I think it is mainly web crawlers and bots visiting me, but I shall keep writing because with time people will find my blog and we can have a good ol’ bloggy chat! We will be friends in no time!

I’m still nutting out what I want this weblog to be. I definitely want to share crafts and projects, perhaps a few rambling posts like this too. Whatever strikes my fancy at the time! I do agree with that grand old chestnut; a little of what you fancy does you good! 

 

* The Dutch rusks are like these, have you tried them? I love them! They are delicious and remind me of my Gran!

Meet the Team!

I have been far too slow in introducing the editorial and management team at alyshajane.com. This state of affairs was brought to my attention this morning after second breakfast. I could not be the cat lady that I am without my two wonderful companions, Pippin and Loki. Pippin is my big black panther, and Loki is my little golden lion. They are both excellent at supervising any household activities and always ensure I do not sit at my desk too long. Well, not without a cat on it anyhoo! They enjoy watching birdies, holding daily Grand Prix races up and down the hallway, decorating the house with their wonderful fur and like their meals to come with biscuits on the side. I proudly present Masters Pippin and Loki:

Pippin Pippin Loki Loki

Ah, my little feline friends, aren’t they gorgeous? :)

Adventures in Bag Land

I made my second drawstring bag recently (not showing my first one until I ummm…refine it), it was a comedy of errors! The material is lovely; I found it in an op shop after spotting the lovely cherry pattern from a distance. Now, to the sewing! My first mishap was when it came time to pivot the material to go around a corner; I forgot to raise the foot, it came loose and the needle hit it and bent. Oh well, I thought, now I know how to change the foot, as it had fallen off during the chaos, and needle.

Next, I eagerly sewed along the top seam. I was happy with how straight it was…until I noticed that I had sewn through both layers of material so I had sewn it SHUT! Sigh. I ripped it open again and sewed the top seams properly. Finally finished I happily clipped the loose threads and had a lesson in how sharp sewing scissors are – I snipped my finger! Ouch! Just as I did that my two cats ran into the room, so I was trying to get them out of the room while not bleeding on the carpet! But, all ends well, and I love my bag (not perfect, but I made it!) and I learned some valuable lessons!

bagadventures

Have you had any sewing mishaps, dear reader? :)

The Lure of Hexies

Making Hexies

Oh dear. I never thought I would have a fabric stash but it happened. I never thought I would learn quilting or related crafts; yet it has happened this day! Yes, it is true. I have succumbed to the lure of the sexy hexies! I kept seeing them on Instagram and Pinterest and finally had to cave in and have a go! I want to make many, many more! I did not do any fussy cutting the first time around, I just wanted to learn the technique of english paper piecing. I used lovely templates from The Printed Stitch and also followed a fabulous tutorial on YouTube from 3and3quarters. All it needs is a little pin on the back and I have a lovely brooch.

hexieflower

I have some Christmas prints in my stash so I am planning a hexie-based table runner. I used a small hexie template today but I will use a bigger one for the table runner so more of the print is visible. I might even try some fancy cutting skills! I can now understand why making hexies is so popular, the process is just as relaxing as knitting and spinning. Must make more!