A time to knit

chinaman beach

 A relaxing week down the coast and time to hang out with family. A time to catch upon some knitting and grow some projects. The two that came with me are Dr G’s memory vest, which I am doing in Madelinetosh 80/10/10  worsted in a great colour called rainwater. The  cable pattern is great and easy to get into, I am up to the armholes, I have knitted it in the round to avoid seaming, and also going it grows quicker.

Dr g Memory vest

This is the first cable knitting I have done in the round and have to say really like how it is doing out. The yarn is so soft and seems to give great stitch definition. I think my gauge is off a bit so will have to see how well it blocks but with all the cables there will be stretch. As with all cabling it seems to take a lot longer than I expected but I like the outcome.

Here’s a close up

                       Dr G memory vest close up

The knitting that has had the most attention is the top down sweater in the indigo Swan’s Island worsted, I am almost down to the waistband, about 2″ to go before the ribbing.

top down Swan's Island - progressThe dying of the hanks are interesting and they are all the same batch number. I have knitted a couple of smaller things like beanies and I find the extremes in the dying tend to wash out a bot. I tried alternate rows fem different skeins but that didn’t really work and there was a bulky side seam which made the knitting twist. We shall see how it washes out!

The yarn is so soft and light , this is knitted in the round as well (I hate purling). This is an expensive yarn but there is a lot in a skein, this is just under 3 skeins so far and working on a skein for each arm  I think it will have come out of about 5 skeins, I might just break into the sixth.

                                 Swans Island close up

Now here’s a thing, a gauge thing, I found a great beanie hat, dustland by Stephen West and have knit it 3 times so far. Its a great slouchy beanie and for once I have found a hat  that actually looks good on my head.

I have knit it in Madelinetosh vintage…

dustland - Madelinetosh

In Quince & Co Lark…

Dustland - quince and Co

And finally in Swan’s Island Worsted… (look how even the dye seems to be after washing – this was Shale colour way)

Dustland - Swan's Island Worsted


Dustland trioNow here’s the thing, put them all together and you can see a huge difference. They are all allegedly worsted, they were all knitted on 4.5mm needles.They are all the same size on the pattern They have all been washed and blocked. My tension would be consistent but look at the difference in bulk and size.

The Swan’s Island has the best drape and fall for a slouchy, the Madelinetosh the bulkiest and little drape in the Quince and Co.

This is not a criticism of the yarns but an observation of the difference in how they knit up. Just one of those ponderings in my head!

This time out has given time for thought and reflection on many things including the events of the past week, with all the talk of the Middle East andand air strikes on the agenda in the news I remember the alleged ‘war to end all wars’, WWI. No longer within living memory of those that served, just as WWII will be soon. I look after some old Diggers and their stories are amazing and vivid as if it had happened yesterday, but there is nearly always this sadness as they recall their stories something if you ask them they often find difficult to express.

There are many accounts of the the world wars and as we come to the 100 year anniversary of WWI the war poets are there echoing over the last century. Here are three to start with: Owen, Brooke and Sassoon.




Down time

Blenheim beach

Time for a holiday. We have escaped to the South Coast to Sanctuary Point, in a great house. A time to gather the family, as it expands, and a time to gather thoughts, reflect and create. I love the time to sit and knit, the rhythm of the stitches allows the mind to settle and process, and I so often find  answers to some of  the challenges at work come in to my thinking. some of my most creative educational insights and solutions have come as the fingers, yarn and needles work together.

I am continuing on with the Swan’s Island indigo yarn in my top down sweater, I am at the beginning of the body having put the arms onto waste yarn (well dental floss as I forgot my darning needle and the only thing that would for into my Addi interchangeable was some dental floss, but heh McIver would have been proud!)

Here is the reason you do not knit indigo dyed yarns on white furniture, wearing white or anywhere near anything white…

indigo hands       indigo hands

It washes of after a while, most immediately but you are left with some for a while, on the other side of the hands you see the trace of the yarn lines around fingers as i knit continental – I have been told that I knit in german  and purl in norwegian, and also purl in english as well. I was taught to knit in english but as I knit most things in the round where possible I taught myself to knit in a ‘continental’ style so I pick my stitches. I manage to get even tension so I stick with it and it seems to give an even knit. The swans Island is random dyed so there are changes seen when you switch balls but I tried interchanging balls and it made no difference. I think that is the beauty of the yarn, it is organic in all senses.

Before I came away I finished the top of the dreamy hexagons. I am happy with it and learnt a lot along the way, This was really the first time I have  done squares in squares and found the bias and tendency for the borders to stretch a challenge, especially in the second border, but I am not after perfect as that is not how life works out so the quilting and the wadding of the quilt are forgiving.

Apologies about the colours in the photos, the top detail is more accurate

dreamy hexagons-detaildreamy hexagons - complete

The 16 patch squares came out well (even if I did put them on a 90 degree tilt to the pattern but heh who would know, well I suppose you do now) and I used a couple of trick as well as a new Bloc Loc strip set ruler that I collected a t the NSW Quilters Guild show at Sydney. It does make them come out well , will be using this technique ang purchasing a few more of their rulers as they do allow accurate blocks.

The design wall was empty , though not for long as I put up the fabric for my red and white quilt for the NSW challenge so it can marinate and  evolve, I am trying to work out the piecing. I am using Reece Scannell shot cottons in different reds, well thats the theory and I have a plan in mind and there’s an ampersand in there somewhere there. Watch this space as the quilt evolves…



I was reading about about the importance of being true to self, to be who you were created to be and found a poem  by Gerard Manley Hopkins that is amazing, I had never read this before, the initial imagery is alive with colours, and the memories and emotions they evoke, sitting on a river bank catching the flashes of colours as the kingfisher darts into the water…

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I do is me: for that I came.

Í say móre: the just man justices;
Kéeps gráce: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is—
Chríst—for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

The poem encapsulates so much, and so succinctly. I think there is good reason some consider it his best poem. Though I am no expert on poetry I get lost in it.

As I looked up the various comments on this poem and other blogs (try Emily’s poem a day) I fell upon a few verses from a poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning which seems to drop into my life at regular intervals and always at the right time:

Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries

There is this return and call to just pause, breathe and see. To be present.