Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Fingers and Thumbs and Needles

So in the last few weeks I've tackled projects requiring two new skills - cables and double pointed needles. Not the same project, I'm not that crazy!

The cable project is fingerless gloves (flat with seams) for my assistant. They are knitting up very well and I'm loving them. Holding the cable to the back is a bit tricky, I'm not always sure whether the yarn goes behind or in front. It was cool enough before Christmas to get started on them (they're alpaca which is very warm) but since then it's just gotten too hot to think about.

So I decided to get started on a cotton blend baby blanket instead. Not for me (everybody asks) but for a friend up in Tamworth. It's a circular blanket knitted on dpns. The biggest challenge was casting on 8 stitches and trying to join them up and knit in the round. Took about 3 goes but I'm well established now and sailing along. Here's my progress so far.

Radiating Star Baby Blanket

Friday, December 26, 2008

On the sixth day of Christmas Eclectic Rose knit six dishcloths

Now all the presents have finally been handed out I can show off the dishcloths I knit. I quite enjoyed knitting with the Sugar n Cream worsted weight cotton - it's very easy to see where you have gone wrong and work back to it. A good place to start learning about lace knitting. Hopefully their recipients will find them helpful with the washing up. Now it's time to knit one for myself!

Fountain lace dishcloths

Scalloped Dishcloths

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Haul

I think it may be a sign of excessive interwebbing that I want to post pics of my Christmas presents online. Hmmm. Oh well who cares!

Christmas haul

My hubby got me some lovely jewelry, he really does have lovely taste and seems to read my mind sometimes. I was thinking about a dressy new watch and look what I got!

My mum-in-law is a very clever, crafty lady. I don't know where she found the time but she made all of us little Christmas bags (visible on the left) and a placemat to take home. She also made this fabulous quilted knitting/all purpose bag for me - I love it!

Knitting bag 2

My grandparents and great-uncle also gave me presents (jewelry etc) that are just perfect and I know I will wear and/or use.

The cutest stories is definitely two small friends of mine, aged 8 and 6. They both bought me something out of their pocket money! AS got me a paper clip holder (which I asked for) but ES gets an A+ for initiative - she picked up on my knitting love and bought me a ball of yarn. Gorgeous acrylic 8ply, very bright pink/purple/teal. Not something I would wear but of wonderful sentimental value - I will make a small carry-bag or i-pod cosy with it.

Carnival 8ply Christmas Present

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Anara, Drum Solo, Avalon Street Markets 2008

Edit: Sadly all of the photos have been removed by Sammis Co, I hope he will put fresh ones up at some point in the future. Meantime I have some photos of my own here.


This is what I get up to when I'm not knitting. I belong to the Desert Roses troupe which performs at local spring and Christmas markets every year. At Avalon (on the Northern Beaches) we literally dance in the middle of the street which is actually a lot of fun - except when it's threatening to rain!

Veils are fantastic props, they make for great photography. This photo is taken by the husband of one of the girls in my troupe. I love his photos, they are all up on Flickr - his user name is Sammis Co. Check them out!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Branching Out

Branching Out
Originally uploaded by jedi_enna
Progress is slow but steady. I'm about 1/3 the way through now. The danger is I just received a batch of lovely lovely cotton yarn for some other Christmas present projects - this may hibernate for a month or so!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Christmas Knits

I have worked up my Christmas list, which includes lots of little knitted gifts. I can't say what, someone reading this might get their Christmas present spoiled! But I have just ordered the yarn and am very excited. More presents landing on my desk at work. Fun!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Knitting Marathon at my place

Some friends and I have started up a monthly knitting group at my place - fun! I anticipated it would run for a few hours over lunch but yesterday it stretched into a 11-hour knitathon (6 of which we spent watching Pride and Prejudice). There are 3 experienced knitters in the group and 2 complete (left-handed!) newbies. Messicat has a way to go but Saxra took to knitting like a fish to water, most impressive.

My husband and Camee's boyf were very understanding and made us all pizza for dinner as we knit. Lovely reversal of gender roles there, and lots of jokes about needing to restore testosterone in the house. So after dinner we let them pick the movie - Hot Fuzz which is always a great action/laugh.

Knitting for so long with company was great, I got through a large chunk of my triangular shawl which I want to finish so that I can wear it in this spring weather. It's pretty boring to knit at this point (incredibly long rows) so it's just a matter of pressing on.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bellydancing Princess Leia

So here's something clever and different....a bellydancing Princess Leia from Return of the Jedi. The dancer, Amira Sa'id, dances at a lot of conventions. You can read more about her on the Wired Blog.

As a bellydancing star wars fan and sometimes costumer, I was tempted to do something here in Australia, maybe work up a costume and do something for the cosplay at Supernova. But the negativity of the comments on the Wired blog made me wonder....perhaps the worlds of bellydance and Star Wars don't mix too well. When it comes to bellydancing, it is really a celebration of womanhood by women, primarily enjoyed by women as well. The Star Wars world, much as I hate to say it, is quite male dominated....and perhaps not quite ready for the art of middle eastern dance. Plus the connotations of Leia, dancing as a powerless slave...again, not celebrating the true strength of the dance.

That said, I think Amira/Leia is an awesome dancer, her technique is a delight to watch and more power to her!

Monday, September 22, 2008


Originally uploaded by jedi_enna
This is the reason I haven't been knitting lately. I had a conference in Perth all last week and then performed twice at Eurofest this weekend. I had to take up the hem of this skirt by hand which cuts into valuable knitting time (and isn't nearly as fun). Sadly it's still a little long so I will have to redo it before my next performance in October.

More photos at my flickr photostream or check out my Facebook page (for friends).

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Tangled Branches

I am feeling a little discouraged at the moment. I think I am on my fifth attempt to get through the 6-row pattern for Branching Out correctly. I plunged in rather ambitiously, starting with the lovely mohair straight away. Bad idea - very difficult to rip out mistakes in mohair. I was also cursing my cheapie 4mm needles which are impossibly blunt. It was a rude shock to go from my lovely pointy knitpicks to these, especially when the pattern calls for you to knit 3 together!

So after the third or fourth attempt, I switched to some 8ply practice yarn and my 4.5mm knitpicks. Much easier. But I still somehow ended up with the wrong number of stitches by the fifth pattern row. Sigh! I shall persevere, but what I really should do today is take up the hem of my bellydancing costume in preparation for our peformances in a few weeks.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fairytale Knitalong

I've taken the next step in knitting obsession and joined a Knitalong with the Fairy and Folk Tale Group on Ravelry. Each season they pick a fairytale and them their KAL to match. The Autumn KAL revolves around the Scottish Ballad "Tam Lim". I'd never heard of it before but there are many variations (here's just one). I recommend you read it but here's my poor summary anyway.

Tam Lin extracts a tithe from all those who pass his well - be it a kirtle or a maidenhaid. One maid discovers his story - Tam Lin was a knight taken by the Faery Queen and destined to be their next sacrifice. She determines to rescue him and must hold onto him while the fairies change him into various animals before returning him to human form. She hides him under her green mantle, thereby breaking the hold the fairies have on him.

It's exciting to experience a new fairy tale, and I've always had a vague interest in the Celtic stories. The group have recommended some fiction variants so I'll be borrowing them from the library. The green kirtle and mantle are strong symbols in the story but I think I'll try a slightly less ambitious project - a green "Branching Out" scarf like GreenKri's one here.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Progress Bar

Feeling very proud of myself as I have managed to add a Ravelry Work in Progress bar. The instructions on the wiki were very straight forward. Bless xml Blogger layouts!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Circling the point

I planned my first foray into circular knitting to be legwarmers in a lovely wine boucle. Lots of preparation went into this - finding a pattern on Ravelry, purchasing some gorgeous Touche boucle at the Darling Harbour Craft Show, waiting ages for my knitpicks order to come in. Finally all the material was assembled. I watched the tutorial on knitting with two cable circulars a couple of times, assembled my beautiful new Knitpick harmony tips, and got started.

And got very tangled very quickly.

When I gave it some thought, I realised that learning a new knitting skill while using expensive mohair/marino boucle is a bad idea. The dark colour and loops made it very hard to see what I was doing, and I didn't really want to ruin my lovely wool by ripping it out several times. After all that planning, it was back to the drawing board.

So today I cast some good ol' Lincraft acrylic 8ply onto my harmony tips. The result won't be as classy as the boucle, but I won't shed too many tears if it goes wrong. It's much easier to see what I'm doing and where I'm up to in the rib stitch the new pattern starts with. Plus it was a humbling reminder that it's always good to learn a new skill with some basic, cheap yarn!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Nearly done with all the gifts

Originally uploaded by jedi_enna
I'm looking forward to finishing all my gifts for others and starting a jumper, legwarmers or scarf for myself. Here's a photo of a friend's birthday present on my legs - I was tempted to keep them for myself! I also have some sewing to do - I have to adjust my new bellydancing costume in time for a performance in a few weeks. I'd much rather knit - I hate handsewing. :( By the time I get to my jumper it will probably be summer. Sigh.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


I am in love with rosewood knitting needles. I just visited Sydney's Tapestrycraft sale and the rosewood needles were 75% off. So instead of coming home with some cheapie bamboos from Lincraft, I now have 3 beautiful pairs of rosewood needles. Dark, beautifully polished and smooth to touch.

I don't know that I would ever buy them full price (over $30 AUS each, ouch!) but by golly if they are on sale again I would buy more. The salesgirl told me that she inherited her knitting needles from her grandmother, and these rosewood needles are the sort that could indeed be heirlooms. What a lovely thought, to pass down knitting needles.

I can't ever imagine buying plastic or aluminium needles again. It's going to be bamboo or wood for me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Knitting vs Sewing

Before I started knitting, I thought that sewing must be ten times easier. Surely it mast be faster to cut a pattern and sew a few seams than to create whole fabric from scratch right?

And maybe it is when you're equipped with a sewing room with your machine already out and a big table for cutting. But trust me, when sewing involves clearing the floor to cut because your tiny round table won't fit the material and plus you have to drag the machine out of the bottom of the closet, it starts to look much more arduous. And I HATE pinning pieces together. I hate it a lot.

So knitting starts to look much more attractive. You can pick it up and put it down, it fits into a carry bag, it doesn't involve spreading things all over the house (although my husband would beg to differ). You can knit for 5 minutes or half an hour rather than having to set aside a whole day for a project.

So ultimately it's no surprise that I tend to get my knitting projects done much quicker than my sewing projects. And to think I dreamed of taking up quilting....

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Knitting for others

I seem to be much better at knitting small gifts for others than I am at knitting anything for myself.

The main reason behind this is that I enjoy giving, especially if it's something in which I've invested time and thought. Plus knitted gifts are (mostly) decorative AND practical, especially this time of year. Scarves, gloves, wraps - they don't just sit on a shelf waiting for dusting (hopefully!). They can be worn, taken out about, used and abused endlessly.

I have to say though that I am always nervous about making something that the receiver will like. So I have a habit of asking what they want, offering them a few patterns and choices of wool. It's good because I'm often surprised by the final choice. I may start off by planning a brown wrap and end up knitting green fingerless gloves. I don't mind because then there's more chance of the gift being used. In this consumerist age I REALLY don't like the pointless gift.

Another reason I enjoy knitting for others is my preference for working to deadlines. Projects without at definite timeframe languish under the bed or in my craft basket. Knowing whose birthday is coming up helps me to prioritise my queue and follow through when it gets to the boring end of the job (sewing things up etc).

I really do need a purpose to complete a project. That's why the sewing machine I was given wasn't used until I started bellydancing - suddenly I had a reason to sew (purchased costumes are expensive) and a deadline for finishing projects. I think my mum was very relieved when that sewing machine started getting some use (again - practical gift giving!)

So there you are. My reasons for knitting reflect my inner tendencies - to work to specific goals within a specific timeframe. I should give this post to my boss as a reflection on my working habits!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Random thoughts from the garden....

Talking about knitting seems to be almost as fun as actually knitting. Doing both seems better yet, but it's hard to type and knit at the same time. In any case, here's a place apart from the fantastic Ravelry to document my progress with various projects. It's also a space for random thoughts about knitting and craft.

By the way, if you're looking for me on Ravelry my ID is JediEnna (a hangover from my Star Wars internet days). Although I am tempted to change it to Eclectic Rose. But the thought of redoing all my data is a bit beyond me.

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