12 September 2014

Share All The Things Friday

Share All The Things Friday

Any thoughts of spring have been well and truly squashed today - it is cold and wet out there!  At least the baby trees in our new orchard are getting a good watering. In good news, my Dad was discharged from hospital after nearly five weeks and is home this evening. Not quite sure what comes next but I'm crossing my fingers he's seen the worst of it.

Without further ado, here's my five things to share this Friday:

  • Last weekend I found Sew Love Tea Do in St. Kevin's Arcade on K'Rd, Auckland. Located in a darling vintage shop the owner Sarah provides space, sewing machines, fabric, notions, a very welcoming vibe and sewing skills to help you mend and sew whatever you fancy. She's open 7 days and you can choose to drop in and use her machines and expertise for a small hourly fee or, you might like to take part in one of her many workshops, catering to absolute beginners and more experienced sewers. There's even a knitting workshop tucked in there!

  • Extra Curricular Magazine is a New Zealand publication. It's small (A5) but ever so pretty and I'm so taken with it that I've subscribed for the year. For me, a lot of the appeal is finding out about the crafty people down here in New Zealand and Australia. (I'm so pleased to report there are plenty!) I love the articles about creative folk and the things they make but Extra Curricular also includes recipes, crafty tutorials and ideas for creative entrepreneurs. Co-incidentally, this most recent issue (#15) has a great feature on Sew Love Tea Do and also features The Mint, also located here in Auckland. At their studio Any and Evie run a series of workshops including screen printing. I have been itching to try screen printing - here's my chance!

  • I noticed a blog post by the TechKnitter pop up in my feed recently. I'm not sure she's properly "back" as she's actually popped up a couple of random times since announcing she'd be taking a break to write a book in February 2013. Still, it's a good reminder to check out her fantastic blog. Crammed full of "how-to" information about knitting, the TechKnitting blog is a great place to start if you get stuck.

  • Knitty magazine shared some info this week that was really interesting and totally relevant if you follow Truly Myrtle on Facebook. The long and the short of it is that Facebook works by sharing my Facebook posts with a greater number of you, if more of you click "like" or (even better) leave a comment or share my post. Although I've got 600+ followers on Facebook sometimes less than 100 of you get to see what I post there! Crazy huh?! So, if you never want to miss another Truly Myrtle post again - click "like" or say hi! Thanks X

  • I am a keen follow of Tara Swiger and all her tips on starting and growing a handmade business. She's got lots of really sensible things to say on the topic and seems very approachable and friendly. So, I was particularly pleased to see that she and friend Misty have started their own craft podcast; The Handmade Podcast. Both are avid crafters, trying their hand at everything from knitting to dyeing to sewing, papercrafts and spinning (and lots more in between). I'm enjoying them and the variety of things they make.

Have a happy weekend!

11 September 2014

Mis-Matching Pair

Mis-matched Pair

I'm not quite sure what to think about my mis-matched pair of socks. I didn't expect them to be quite so different and while a part of me doesn't mind, after all they're beautifully soft, a bit off the wall and certainly colourful, there's another part of me that's squirming. For those that have used it before, is Casbah always this random?!

Having said that, I don't know which is of the two I prefer - left with it's lovely pinks and slimmer stripes or right with it's wider stripes and tons of white?

Mis-matched Pair

My socks are knit top down with a 1 X 1 rib cuff and 3 X 1 rib legs. The heels are traditional heel flaps where I slip my stitches knit-wise so that I get a nice twisted heel. I probably should have put in an afterthought heel so that the stripes didn't get all muddled across the top of my ankle at that point but hey, I think this confused pair of socks probably doesn't mind. The 3 X 1 rib continues down the top of my foot with straight stocking stitch underneath and my toes are simple round toes decreased on each side every second row until 12 stitches remain on each side. This pattern by Glenna C. is a goodie to follow if you want to make something similar.

My Ravelry page for my socks is here.

5 September 2014

Share All The Things Friday


My goodness, the weeks roll around fast! Although Spring doesn't hit with a bang here in Auckland, there are a few blossom trees around, lots of baby lambs, a promise in the air and of course freesias. I've been wondering this week if they're actually my favourite flower. It's been years since I've seen a proper freesia; freshly picked and heavy with fragrance and I'm absolutely delighted to see them popping up all over my garden.

Ready for some things to share?

  • A friend returned Buddhism for Mothers to me this week and I've been enjoying dipping into it. I first found this book when my two big kids were toddlers (maybe 9 or 10 years ago?) and it was something of a revelation for me. Over the years I've also read the next two books in the series (for small children and schoolchildren) but the first one has remained my favourite. The ideas are fascinating and I'm drawn back to them time and time again. This week I stumbled across this video by the Buddhist nun Venerable Robina Courtin. The way Robina discusses Buddhist ideas is decidedly less "zen" than my gentle book but I was totally captivated by Robina's video, as much by the woman herself as what she said. Fairly brash and talking ten-to-the-dozen, you can almost see Robina's brain whirling while she talks about "pure Buddhism" in western language. If you decide to watch it, do tell me what you think. 

  • I'm not sure whether to combine these two colours of Spinning A Yarn in one project, use them separately or, buy a third very fabulous saturated skein of this 50% silk / 50% merino blend, dyed right here in New Zealand. I'm sure I need more ...

  • I thought the new (free) Lace Shrug pattern by Andi Satterlund was pretty cute this week. It looks like a fun knit, not too tricky and it might just finish off a summer sundress very nicely.

  • I've been enjoying the recent Make it Work series about being a freelance knitwear designer on Karie Bookish's Fourth Edition blog. This week it culminated in an interesting interview on A Playful Day blog. Watch out for their combined Twitter hang-out on Tuesday, September 9 at 8:30pm BST. They've gathered a panel of industry experts to share their tips on making a splash in the fibre industry. (That'll be Wednesday, September 10 at 7:30am NZT for us peeps downunder.)

  • Did you see Michelle's Ease sweater on her blog My So-Called Handmade Life recently? I love Michelle's fabulous style and I constantly find myself wanting to make pretty much everything she knits. Her sweater is no exception and although I've had my eye on the pattern (Ease by Alicia Plummer) for quite a while now, Michelle has managed to convince me that I definitely have to get one on the needles.

Have a happy weekend X

2 September 2014

Small Pleasures

Quick Fix

I don't think I've touched my basket of crochet granny circles since we left the UK and last night I had a sudden urge to make some. As it turned out, I had lots of things to do before I had a chance to sit down at the end of the day so I only managed three before bed but I'm quite pleased with them and now I'm inspired to do more. Maybe I'll actually manage enough for a blanket one day after all!

Small Pleasures

I'm still taking the "grab three colours that appeal" approach to making my circles. It involves doing exactly that - reaching into my basket of yarn and quickly taking three colours that catch my eye. It's a very low stress activity.

The yarn in my basket are all left over odds and ends from other projects with the occasional whole ball from my stash that I've relegated to the "scrap" basket. Most is wool although there are some lovely glossy wool/silk blends and fluffy alpaca in there.  I've only included double knitting or yarn around that weight, from sport-weight to worsted. Last night I decided to take out all the little bits of sport weight because it really does make a too-small circle even when the sport is only one colour in the three. The odd bit of worsted I can handle, like the golden corn-coloured wool in my bottom circle, even though those circles are a wee bit bigger, they're not too bad. My intention is to make my circles all more-or-less the same size and when I've got enough for a double bed, I'll join them with something "natural" coloured (I have no idea what yet so that may change!)

If you want to make circles for yourself, you can find fantastic instructions with photos here. I just quickly re-read them and realised that I've been leaving out a few single chains here and there. Oh well, they still look ok! 

My one piece of advice would be: weave in your ends as you go. I actually crochet my first two colours in as I go along - just lay the end along the edge of your work and crochet around it. Any tiny bits that peep out can be snipped off. My outer colour is quickly woven in a the end. Dealing with hundreds of circles with thousands of ends is not something I'd look forward to ....

29 August 2014

Share All The Things Friday

Share All The Things Friday

It's been a bit of a roller coaster of a week. 

Releasing my pattern was super exciting and I've been completely blown away by the wonderful comments and support I've received. Thank you so much - I'm so grateful! But, it's been a tricky week too. I've told you already that my Dad is sick. He had a pretty hefty operation about two and a half weeks ago and he's still in hospital. Things have been a bit complicated and this week he hasn't been so good. I'm really grateful I'm on this side of the world at the moment.

Five things to share? Here we go:

  • The yarn in my picture is almost edible. I adore the colour and it actually sparkles. As yet I'm unsure quite what it'll become but it deserves to be a show-off piece of lace I think. Meraki Studio yarn is dyed by very lovely Jo, right here in Auckland, New Zealand. This skein is a 75% superwash merino/ 20% nylon/ 5% stellina blend (her Dewdrop Sock base) in the Fusion colourway. 

  • I get into breakfast "grooves", eating the same thing day after day while I'm in love with it. My lastest groove involves "porridge" from the fantastic recipe book My Darling Lemon Thyme by Emma Galloway. Emma grew up in Raglan, a place very close to Mr Myrtle's heart (he bought me the book) but she now lives in Australia with her husband and two children. The recipes are all gluten free and mostly dairy free. I love it because the recipes are both delicious and very affordable. Here's my version of her "porridge" (for one):

Half a cup of quinoa cereal (ground up quinoa - Emma uses millet which is also yum)
One chopped up banana
A little sprinkle of sultanas or raisins
A teaspoon of coconut oil
A tablespoon of LSA (ground linseeds, sunflower seeds & almonds)
About half a cup of almond milk
About half a cup of water

Pop everything into a small pot and heat gently stirring quite regularly. Watch it, it only takes about 5 minutes max to cook. Add more water if you like it sloppy.

Then, pour it into your bowl, cover with a bit of almond milk, quickly wash your pot and squeeze an orange into it with about four or five chopped prunes. Sizzle until the prunes have absorbed the juice. Pour these over your porridge.

Eat immediately and enjoy!

  • If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that my new Settler Shawl pattern made it into the "Top 20" on Ravelry this week! It was a brief but fabulous thrill to see it there. Do you check out the "Top 20"? I do. Every day. You need to be a Ravelry member to see it  (but that's free, so if you're not a member, do it now!) and you can find it by clicking the "Patterns" tab then the link in the box on the left of the page under "hot right now". There's a fancy algorithm that gets a pattern into the top 20 and I think it has something to do with the rate at which a particular pattern is "favourited", "queued", looked at and bought. I love checking it out because it's always changing and the patterns that feature there tell you so much. You can see when big name designers release new stuff. You get to know new designers that are getting popular. Lots of free patterns pop up and it's a good way to check out what people are enjoying knitting. Accessories are popular but there are often garments there too. It's also a good way to find out if a designer has a sale or giveaway on. If there are a ton of patterns appearing by one designer, chances are they've got a sale. If one designer pretty much dominates the first two or three rows, my bet would be they're having a giveaway. It was fun to see my shawl up there for a day and that was totally because of you. Thank you so much!!!

  • I am going to make myself a Tolt Folded bag this summer. Tolt is a free pattern that looks as easy as pie and creates such a funky bag. Apparently you knit a rectangle then fold and seam it to create the magic. Knit from super bulky yarn it would whip up in no time.

  • Sezza has released her Modern Princess sock pattern and is discounting it for the weekend (you don't even need a code!). I've knitted several pairs of Sezza's socks now and love them. If princesses aren't your style (although I'm not sure how these wouldn't be) she's got a whole bunch more to choose from - do check them out!

Have a happy weekend!