This post is a bit eclectic as not surprisingly as I began getting back to paid work plus some grandchildren visits and my summer garden I have had less time to settle into knitting or any other craft.

Patina Blouse by Friday Pattern Company

Woman wearing a navy blue print shirt with a dipped V neck collar.
Friday Pattern Company Patina Blouse in Nerida Hansen cotton lawn.

I did finish my Patina Blouse and I am pretty happy with it. I bought the pattern to go with some lovely fabric I bought before Christmas but wanted to try it out first as I was concerned about the depth of the V collar given where my portacath sits. (For the uninitiated a portacath sits just under your skin to provide a central line for effective delivery of chemotherapy. The scar over it is about 3 cm long but it also is raised creating a noticeable bump.) As you can see that isn’t an issue and this is a great make. The collar isn’t quite perfect (it is emphasised by the way I am standing) and with the full sleeves I’d prefer a deeper cuff but I can see this getting worn over the next couple of months especially as a WFH top. This pattern has an excellent size range XS-7XL and the instructions are very clear. I bought the printed pattern from Miss Maude in Greytown and as it is traditional tissue I think I may cut it out in lightweight interfacing as I am sure I will make it again. I’d also consider doing a full bust adjustment I think. Worth noting – the seam allowance is only 1cm rather than the typical 1.5cm which I only realised after I had cut it out. I did go ahead with the french seams I had planned for the side seams but it was fiddly and next time I will add a little. The fabric (from Miss Maude’s remanent sale in Summer 2021 was absolutely lovely to sew.

A sock for the train

Many, many, many years ago (like 2009) I wanted to dye a yarn in the colours of a Peace rose. That very soft lemon with just a touch of peachy pink. This yarn (Knitsch sock base) was an experimental attempt which I still loved but wasn’t quite it. I did a couple of skeins of Artisan Lace at the same time which being a different base took the dye differently and were a little closer. Anyway the problem with how I dyed it was it tends to colour pool even though the dip was very short (this was very early days and even as I am writing I am thinking how I would do it now!) There have been several attempts at patterns which I have ripped back quite quickly. The most recent was one I cast on early last year which wasn’t too bad but somehow my chemo brain did some weird things in the early part of the pattern and then the foot ended up about a size 12 (was a toe up pattern). At New Year I ripped it back and then came across a free pattern on Ravelry which when I explored had some examples of similar yarn with small areas of colour. So Fairy Maiden (ravelry link) became my train cast on sock.

Sock cuff on circular needle in lemon yellow with pink yarn .
Beginning of Fairy Maiden Sock on 2.25 60 cm Addi Rockets/Lace (sharper points)

The needles are Addi Rockets/Lace which have a sharper point – I wanted the slightly sharper point as this pattern has a single stitch cable and the sharper point (for me) made it easier to do the cable without a cable needle. One of the things that made my smile about the pattern was it specifies an Old Norwegian Cast On ( aka German Twisted Cast on) and as I checked the YouTube video I realised it was the long tail method my mother had taught me years ago but which I could never quite remember. So after the first few stitches the muscle memory kicked in! The sock has had another couple of repeats since the photo and so far so good. I was a bit concerned about the needle point given that I had abandoned these needles in November due to the sharpness being uncomfortable to knit with but my neuropathy seems to have improved enough its not a problem.

Progress on Eunice

One thing about being back at work is my days are longer and I am more tired in the evening so I haven’t been getting as many rows done a week as I had optimistically envisaged back in early January. However looking at how much I had done yesterday I also felt reminded of my original goals when I set out on this project in terms of enjoying the process and not being so product focused. Anyway this progress to date:

Fair Isle knitting with copper needle tips showing.
Progress on Eunice now on 3.25 Lykke Cypra needle tips

As you can see I have switched to Lykke Cypra tips. These are a copper needle which is an interesting choice as copper has a reputation for helping with arthritis/rheumatism. My issues with my hands getting tired with metal needles are more do with the lack of flex but so far these have been really nice to knit with. They seem warmer than traditional steel needles. I am missing the ergonomics of the twist on the Addi needles but not so much that I want to switch back straight away. The one thing I am in the process of doing is replacing the cable I originally attached.

Fair isle knitting showing the cord being replaced
Cord stopper on one end of existing cable and the end of the new one.

I had been using a 120cm cable which even on the Addi fixed felt a touch long for the stitches to move around freely but was worse with the interchangeable cable. It was an older Knitpro one and as I didn’t want the experience of a cable break in the middle of 336 stitches I picked up a new 100cm cable and am in the process of replacing it. I chose a single colour (no pattern) row to make it a little easier and simply took off the right hand needle and put a cable stopper end on the open cable and attached the new one to the needle (also with a cable stopper at the end) I’ll let you know it goes with the new needle.

Book of the week

Cover of TurnCoat by Tīhema Baker

It is the beginning of Waitangi weekend here in Aotearoa so it seemed appropriate to chose Tīhema Baker’s Turncoat for my book recommendation for the week (especially as it has made the Ockham long list announced yesterday). This article in eTangata had me asking for it even before it was released and the Spinoff review prompted me to go looking again although I had to wait for the reprint to get a copy. Turncoat is a satire about colonisation – its often incredibly funny but I found it hard in places as it triggered memories of challenging pakeha colleagues to be better at shouldering the work of genuine partnership. Its one of the recommendations on the reading lists for the weekend and it’s definitely worth a look.

In closing

Like many I am looking to Waitangi this weekend. One of my earliest memories was my Dad taking me to the Treaty grounds in 1965 and being not quite 3 they are memories of heat, lots of people talking and not being overly impressed with the promised wonderful food of the hāngī. I was there because I guess for want of better words my parents took Treaty partnership seriously and I grew up in a pākehā family that valued and respected te ao Māori and tikanga. In my own work creating/holding space and advocating for Māori partnership is just part of who I am and it is heartbreaking over the last few months to see decades of glacially slow progress being turned back. I am confident that the majority of our young people, both Māori and tau iwi will protect and maintain the taonga of te reo Māori and partnership – but it shouldn’t have to be this hard and I grieve for the division and hateful words that this government has bought to this country. May we stand together – tu tāngata.

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