Good bye 2013

2013 was awesome in so many ways.

We bought a house, went to our 6th test match together, saw plenty of live music, holidayed on a houseboat, and I helped out with the Port Adelaide Football Club.

I’ve had green hair, pink hair, purple hair, red hair, and several different combinations.

I participated in the Knitting & Crochet Blog Week. I even made two youtube videos!

And I worked my way through 13 goals.

1. Open my little etsy shop. – Tick!

I opened a shop and closed it just as quickly. I didn’t enjoy knitting for strangers or the etsy fees.

2. Host a giveaway on my blog – Tick!
This was so much fun! And this is where I figured out the I like giving things away more than selling them.
The lesson to be learned is that postage is a killer. In the future small and light will be the way to go.

3. Finish Start the knitting crafting for my Pay It Forward post. – Tick!
Again this was ridiculously fun! And it was the beginning of embroidering fabric to go on a frame.
4. Knit 12 pairs of socks. – 8/12
I completed 8 and I currently have 3 on my needles. I didn’t quite get to 12 but maybe I was being a tad optimistic.

5. Sew 6 cushions.- 10/6 – Tick!

I caught the cushion making bug hard!
I even learnt how to sew an invisible zipper.

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6. Write a knitting pattern and post it on Ravelry.
I have started this one yet. I don’t know if I still want to.
Maybe if inspiration strikes I may be able to check this off my list.

7. Post a tutorial or a how-to guide. – Tick!
Seriously making a video was not what I had planned for this. But it turned out to be a really good experience. And now I have youtube subscribers. That’s a weird feeling for someone who only has two knitting videos.

8. Try a new craft, or 2, or 3.
I tried arm knitting, spinning, jewellery making, yarn dyeing. I’m looking forward to seeing what new crafts I can learn next year.

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9. Create an artwork for my apartment – Coming Soon!
I never showed you this one. But it did happen.

10. Embroider a whole song (lyrics) onto something.
This is totally my favourite embroidery ever!

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11. Sew a garment from a pattern, and wear it.
This is going on next years list.

12. Read a new book every month. (something I haven’t read before) 15/12
I joined goodreads to keep track of it all, so I realised I well and truly met this goal.

13. Crochet a granny square. – Tick!
2013 was the year that crochet and I finally understood each other. I still struggle with patterns and only have one loop on my needles, but the instant gratification is awesome.

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I’m currently deciding whether to do 14 in 2014 or, as I’m 30 next year, 30 before 30.
Either way 2014 is going to be awesome. I just know it.

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my weekend in numbers – FO 25

12 – the number of sleeps remaining in our apartment.

2 – the number of invisible zips I sewed
1 – pair of shorts I successfully shortened
1 – curtain I was meant to sew up but that is lost somewhere in the abyss that it the spare room.
4 – the amount of times I couldn’t find where I left the scissors
5 – how many pairs of scissors I put away after I had finished.

48 – the number of stitches to cast on with DK weight yarn on
3.25 – mm needles for a pair of socks
3 – days it took these socks from start to finish
8 – the number of times I oohed and ahhed at the way the hand dyed yarn was knitting up
20billion – the actual number of times I marveled at my hand dyed yarn.

5 – the number of fat quarters I bought at Spotlight
0 – how many balls of yarn I didn’t buy because none of it took my fancy

2 – the number of friends who have birthdays in the next 2 weeks
2 – the number of presents I have finished for said birthdays

16* – the number of Bobs Burger episodes I watched on the weekend
7* – the number of Leverage episodes I watched
6* – the number of Parks & Recreation episodes watched.

3 – the number of bands I saw on Friday night
1 – the number of songs that I knew well enough to sing along to.

4 – the number of tacos I ate last night
0 – the number of tacos I made for myself

3 – the number of mosquito bites that I can’t stop scratching.

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*I don’t know exactly how many episodes I watched. These numbers are estimated guesses.

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FO#24 – Elementary Watson socks

I have been killing it at being an adult this week. My giant to-do list is getting shorter, our new house is now insured, our apartment is one step closer to being rented out, and in a surprise twist almost all of my Christmas shopping is done.

Mums pressie has been done for ages, the family over east just needs wrapping, and a pair of socks for Dad came off the needles this week.

Although technically they are a birthday present. There are 3 December birthdays in my family which I tend to include as part of Christmas shopping.

The pattern is elementary Watson. It’s cables like this that make me wish I was attracted to solid sock yarn.
The pattern does get lost in the self striping, but it’s still there.

I particularly liked the fleegel heel. I think I’ll be using that again in the near future.
And as usual these are toe up, two at a time, magic looped on my trusty 2.5mm Addi Turbos.

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This is sock number 7 this year! I have to get shuffle on if I’m going to make 12. Methinks slightly larger needles for the next pair.
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Adventures in dyeing

I am counting the weekends down to when we move, but I am not putting my life on hold.
It is so frustrating to make things in a small space when you know there’s a craft room bigger than your lounge room just around the corner. But I can’t not make things.

So, inspired by Jesse, (aka oocha and wee pleasures) I dyed some yarn.

And it was so much fun.

I have researched dyeing methods before and wrote it off as something to do once I had more space and equipment. But the chalk legs tutorial that Jesse pointed to is by far the easiest. As I had purchased some Moda Vera Pure Wool in anticipation of dyeing at some point I was able to do everything with materials I already had.

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I didn’t follow the instructions very well the first time, and added ALL THE COLOUR at once. Which once I figured out my mistake I immediately took it out and then plunged the wool into cold water. And then I realised my second mistake, pure wool doesn’t appreciate sudden changes in temperature. Fortunately not too much damage was done. It felted slightly but it still ran through my ball winder ok.

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All of the dying was done using McCormick food colouring. It comes with a handy colour mixing chart on the back and so I mixed the right amount of drops together in a spoon and then plunged the spoon into the water (or dye bath as it is known!)

It’s all really basic and really a lot of fun. And if the colours all look really hideous together please don’t tell me. They all look rather fetching to my slightly colour-blind eyes.

I did try to be inspired by something, but I don’t think food colouring dye charts are sophisticated enough to capture the Adelaide Crows complex palette.

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And of course once it was dry I had to wind it straight away and start using it. Even if I have a billion things still on my needles.

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And yes I’m totally counting this as a new craft! That takes the total for this year up to 4!

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Catching up on some reading

I managed to well and truly destroy my target of reading 12 new books a year.

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Confessions of an air hostess.

I’ll be honest, this isn’t going to win any literary awards. However it is perfect for a sunny day, a glass of wine, and a few hours of some mindless romance.
I consider Little Black Dress books to be the same as the Mills & Boon books I used to judge my dear mother about reading. Well 15 year old Bek is now judging me for reading Little Black Dress books (15 year old me was a judgemental little shit really, but she grows up kinda).
There is a time and a place for great literature, and there is a time and a place for trashy and predictable romance novels
(Best read with – wine and The XX)

The Gin Lovers

I could have sworn I heard about this book from The Hairpin but whilst googling to find the link I couldn’t find it.
So I don’t know how I found out about this web serial turned book, but I’m very glad I did.

And I’m very glad I read it all at once. Each chapter ends with a cliffhanger, and I became totally immersed in the story I didn’t want it to end.

(Best read with – a gin cocktail and the duke spirit

The White Queen

I have been a Phillipa Gregory fan for ages now, but I think I’ve reread The Constant Princess twice in the time it took me to sit down and finish The White Queen.
I bought this book on our road trip to Adelaide (May 2011) and only just finished it. But it was good because I found the Bradman museum postcard that I bought and had used as a book mark.
It’s not that it’s a difficult read, it’s just I had trouble navigating the different time zone. After spending so long with The Tudors (through the TV show, her previous books, and I actually read some non-fiction on the subject), I didn’t immediately recognise most of the names. That and I found the whole Melusina subplot pretty tedious.
I am looking forward to watching the TV adaptation. Unfortunately I only started recording it at episode 5, so hopefully it comes out on DVD or Netflix soon.

(Best read with – blood orange screwdrivers and The Decemberists)

The Valley of the Dolls
Midnite Moose leant me this one, and I must admit I hadn’t heard of it before.
It took me a while to get into it, but as soon as I had finished I had to watch the movie (thanks Netflix!)
And I enjoyed both equally.
I don’t know how I hadn’t heard of this before. I even followed a blogger called sparkle kneeley sparkle for a while.

I feel a bit like I’m the last person on the planet to read this, but I finally have. A bit like watching Dirty Dancing (yes I’m talking to you Miss Hedgehog) it’s an important part of growing up and being a lady.

(Best read with – malt liquor on the rocks and Neko Case

I finally signed up for a Good Reads account so if you’re on Good Reads look me up – I’m bekswhoknits.

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13 in 2013 update

At the beginning of the year I set myself a list of 13 things that I wanted to do this year. Now that August is finished and there’s only 4 months left in the year I thought that I would do a quick recap and reassess where I’m at.

1. Open my little etsy shop. – Tick!
Sometimes you think you know what you want but then actually when you do it you realise it’s not what you want at all.
I thought I wanted an etsy shop, but almost as soon as I opened it I realised that I didn’t.
I prefer to make things with a specific recipient in mind, rather than for a mass market. So I’ve closed my shop and chalked it up to experience.
Instead I will continue to make things and send them to friends. Even if they’re friends I have never met.

2. Host a giveaway on my blog – Tick!
This was so much fun! And this is where I figured out the I like giving things away more than selling them.
The lesson to be learned is that postage is a killer. In the future small and light will be the way to go.

3. Finish Start the knitting crafting for my Pay It Forward post. – Tick!
Again this was rediculously fun! And it was the beginning of embroidering fabric to go on a frame.
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4. Knit 12 pairs of socks. – 6/12
I’m halfway through this one. I have two pairs of socks on the needles at the moment. One which I like and one which I don’t.
After seeing Jesse’s finished socks from this week I have the sock knitting bug again.

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5. Sew 6 cushions.- 6/6 – Tick!
Woo all 6 cushions are completed! And I have one side of another one. This cushion making lark is fun. (Jazzical if you’re reading this I haven’t forgotten you, this whole buying a house lark is time consuming.)

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6. Write a knitting pattern and post it on Ravelry.
I have started this one yet. I don’t know if I still want to.
Maybe if inspiration strikes I may be able to check this off my list.

7. Post a tutorial or a how-to guide. – Tick!
Seriously making a video was not what I had planned for this. But it turned out to be a really good experience. And now I have youtube subscribers. That’s a weird feeling for someone who only has two knitting videos.

8. Try a new craft, or 2, or 3.
So I tried arm knitting which was interesting.
The jewellery making was something that I had wanted to do for ages. I can definitely see more of that in my future.
Spinning definitely counts as my third new craft. I’m still not too good at it, but I can only improve right?
I recently bought a weaving kit so that’s going to be my fourth new craft so I’ll be interested to see how that goes.

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9. Create an artwork for my apartment – Coming Soon!
This has been done but I haven’t blogged about it yet. I’m now waiting until we get in our new house. Or maybe I’ll show you it and then show you it again in our new house. I haven’t decided yet.

10. Embroider a whole song (lyrics) onto something.
I’m changing the parameters on this one. The intent was to stretch my embroidery skills and do a long project. Well instead of a song I chose a story from Black Books. Embroidery skill level ‘ 3 stitches learnt’ achieved!

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11. Sew a garment from a pattern, and wear it.
I’m going to wait until we’re in a house before I attempt this. If I’ve learnt anything from making 6 cushions this year it’s that I don’t have enough room to cut out cushions let alone a pattern. Since the fish came along this year I have lost my kitchen table.

12. Read a new book every month. (something I haven’t read before) 11/12
This has been fun. I’ve learnt to knit and read at the same time which has helped.
I’m currently half way through a new book so I should well and truly achieve this.

13. Crochet a granny square. – Tick!
I thought that a granny square would be a great way to ease into crochet and it was. I’ve now completed two rugs, many granny squares and a cushion. I’m about to attempt a chevron rug. Wish me luck!

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Some more cushions

I finished these a while ago but hadn’t posted about them.

The first is my attempt at a crochet cushion cover. I had no pattern and no actual plan, but it turned out ok.

I didn’t weave in the ends properly and so it’s started to fall apart. So it’s out of action until I can fix it.

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The second new cushion is made out a band shirt.
I saw placebo when they played at soundwave festival a few years ago.
Black market music was on of those seminal albums of my youth.
So I couldn’t not buy a tshirt.
Only problem was they only had sizes that were too small. I bought it anyway as I had planned to lose weight. 4 years later and it still doesn’t fit and will probably never fit, so it got transformed into a cushion.
It was trickier than I thought mostly because it wasn’t a proper square to begin with.

I somehow managed to wrangle it into a square and sewed up the top. I hand sewed the bottom up in lieu of sewing a zip.

I have so many band shirts that don’t fit me any more, so this will be a great way to display them and put them to good use.

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This is cushion 4 & 5 of my 13 in 2013 challenge.

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FO #20 – not my finest pair of socks

But they’re finished.

Originally planned for my dad, I got my maths wrong and they ended up too big.

But they fit my boyfriends feet which is something.

He’s usually quite obliging about being a foot model. But on Sunday my football team beat his football team. So he wasn’t quite as obliging.

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My feet are quite a lot smaller than his.

So I’ve finished them. I resented them by the end. I didn’t like the heel I used and I started the ribbing way too early. But they’re finished and that’s the main thing.
Now I can cast on a pair for my dad. And I might follow a proper pattern this time.

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A weekend with Austen

Apart from hanging out with football players or singing loudly to Cold War Kids the highlight of the weekend was book shopping.

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I’ve already read Mr Darcy’s guide to Courtship and giggled so loudly HeWhoFishes retreated into his ‘shed’.

“If a female appears to show interest in you, examine her carefully. Beneath the angelic exterior may lurk a charlatan, a prostitute or – worst of all – an advocate of liberal politics”

I pretty much snorted my tea at that line.

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I also found my copy of the Jane Austen handbook.
It details the proper life skills of regency England and gives a lot of background which would have been assumed at the time.

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I then re-read Persuasion. Because I love it so much my first copy is looking a little worn. So I bought another copy.

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So there’s two more books added to the read list for this year.

I also bought a Pride and Prejudice picture book for my niece. Because you’re never too young to start reading Austen. Even if she can’t read yet. She not yet 1. But she will read Austen if mad aunt Bek gets her way.

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