Sunday, April 25, 2010

Miss Mardi knitting tips: Melbourne

hand dyed merino yarn from boston button shop blog

So, I accidently started a Knitting & Martinis group where people can come, knit, drink gorgeous cocktails and be fabulous. Accidently you may ask? Well, I thought I would just hang out at my favourite bar on a Saturday afternoon doing the above and then loads of people wanted to join - cool huh?!

Seeing we have quite a few newbies to the knitting world but also some international folk who don't know the Melbourne knitting scene, I thought I would do some links to places and sites that I totally love for getting your knit on!

For yarn: For cheap, standard yarn I often visit any of the Spotlight or Lincraft stores in Melbourne. They have a reasonable selection and are great for needles and stitch holders and all of that: I like Sunspun in Canterbury - they have great selection of special goodies, though it can be a bit pricey. There's Morris & Sons in the city which are great and super helpful. Wondoflex in Malvern is large and features a good turn over of stock. I also like Wool Baa in Albert Park, it's a little shop but they are great at assisting you with knitting questions and projects.

Lion brand store for blog

When it comes to patterns and finding inspiration I always visit the Lion Brand Yarn website. It's a USA site but they have loads of free patterns and now you can even order their yarn online and have it delivered to Australia! I visited their studio in New York and loved it!

I also love Berroco! I haven't found a place in Melbourne that stocks the yarn but I'm sure there are places online that you can order it. They also have some free patterns but generally their patterns are different and inspiring to knit.

Have you joined Ravelry? This is where all knitters hang out and swap patterns, ideas and you can keep track of your projects. It's free to join and alot of fun - it's also an excellent source of patterns, mostly free too! Knitty is also a great place for free patterns. Visit their website and support them.

Lastly but not least, I visit the annual Australian Sheep and Wool show in Bendigo every year! You can meet with farmers and folk who spin and dye the yarns and pick up some bargains. Also you get to meet some cute animals too. It's always held around June and definitely worth the trip!

I hope you've found this helpful and you know, it you want to join our Knitting and Martinis group in Melbourne, please feel free to email me!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A dress for Jess...

My lovely friend and cupcake genius Jess is heading over to the USA shortly for her annual jaunt. For her 30th birthday I gave her a pass for "one Miss Mardi dress" which she is cashing in now for something summery to wear in Austin Texas.

The brief was something a little 50s inspired, cute in cotton and a little low cut in the front! I discovered this pattern from Vogue patterns and we are using The top of the middle dress but with the flared skirt.

And below is a sweet photo of Jess (the gorgeous birthday gal in the middle) with moi and my husband Mark on her 30th birthday birthday. It was a Texan inspired BBQ, yes, we are wearing cowboy boots under the table.

After a quick trip to Spotlight today, we selected this cute little gingham fabric in a light lavender colour. It has a beautiful weave and is super soft. I also think that it won't crush much, making it a great travel dress.

Lavender gingham

So now the measurements are done, just waiting for my pattern to turn up, get the toile done and get this baby made before Jess shoots off on a plane on the 15th May. Can it be done people? Sure can!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Cowl is complete!

I got this delicious pink yarn from a store in Portland Maine and while I was recovering from my tattoos, I decided to start knitting up this hot pink cowl. The photo is my view in the hotel room in Portland, in my pjs, knitting away!

Basically the cowl is a big tube done in stocking stitch and finished with a chunky rib on either end. I do love working on a circular needle, don't love casting on and doing the first couple of rows. You have to be careful that you don't twist the stitches.

Bright pink Portland Maine, Cowl

Although I did finish the project in January, I've been really slack about finishing the ends as it hasn't been cold enough to wear it! Though yesterday's 18 degree day meant that it could come out and I'm loving it!

Bright pink Portland Maine, Cowl

The one thing that I'm loving about the cowl is that there's no loose scarf ends! I just pop over my head and I'm all cosy and ready to go! I'm loving being back in to the knit and I'm trying to start a knitting and martini group here in Melbourne. If you're interested, email me! If you want to see more about this project, check out the details on my Ravelry page! What? You're not a Ravelry member? it's free! So check them out online!

Get your knit on!

2 Portland Maine hanks all wound up! (blog)

Now that Mark and I are married, I can finally knit him a sweater! If you're a knitter you will understand the sweater curse and I did knit this awesome sweater for a boyfriend once and well... I'm now married to another man!

When we were in Portland Maine, we came across this really cute, yet packed to the rafters, yarn store where everything was hand dyed. I did a post about it here if you want more details but I'm so glad to have finally wound off 2 of the four skeins of yarn and have started the first few rows of this 'married man sweater'!

Mark initially wanted a V-neck sweater but all of the patterns that I looked at had raglan sleeves, which I'm SOOOO out of practice on! So I thought a simple round neck, drop shoulder sleeve sweater was the way to go and it should make the beautiful hand dyed yarn sparkle!

The Noro pattern that I'm basing Mark's sweater on

It is super difficult to find great men's knitting patterns! They either look like something from the 80s or something your grandpa would wear. Luckily I stumbled upon this newish (well, I think newish) pattern book from the fantastic Noro folk. It has cute cardigans, sweaters and scarfs and I think that Mark will be getting a few things out of this book. Maybe the next project will be the hooded sweater?

The yarn for Mark's sweater

So I will be giving you updates as I plod along on this project, it's been awhile since I've knitted anything 'sweater big' so wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ah... slightly cooler weather...

fancy legs.

Slightly cooler weather means that I can bring out my awesome tights! There is nothing that gives me more happiness than a great pair of fancy tights... well maybe an awesome martini as well.

Fancy tights!

I got these tights in New York and I'm digging the 2 tone goodness. I haven't found any as good as this in Melbourne but it has inspired me to try and make some similar as leggings? We'll see how we go! By the way, how great is that blue! I feel like Debbie Gibson, wasn't she all about blue?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy Easter!

Easter bunnies polaroid for blog

Happy Easter! The photo above is myself and my best friend John hanging out in our bunny ears. Yep, we are dorks! I don't normally get too excited about Easter but this year I managed to take an extra day off so I have 5 days away from work! It's fantastic! The gallery is closed this year over the break so we can repaint for the next exhibition and I'm hoping to use the time to:
  • chill out at home,
  • do some art work,
  • make some crafty stuff,
  • cook,
  • hang out with friends,
  • do some gardening
  • and most likely some blogging and photography as well!
One of the projects I am planning to start over the break (and maybe even finish!) is to make a quilt using old sweaters from my collection that I have lightly machine felted. I've never really made a quilt before but keep your fingers crossed for me that it turns out ok!

So I hope that you all have a great Easter, let me know what makey kind of goodness you get up to as well!
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