Next up for my Hooded Scarf Project was the scarf section. Having completed the hood in a surprisingly short timeframe, I now felt like a pro...
I cast on the first few stitches as the afternoon sunlight illuminated my bedroom, and I felt like a teenager again - stealing quiet hours with nothing 'pressing' to do... Other than make something new! My needles click-clacked with an almost even tempo, and with only 17 stitches per row, the scarf began to take shape well before the sun sank out of view.
I continued alternating between knit and purl that evening, and part of the next; repeatedly (and impatiently!) measuring the length until I'd reached 150cm. I then added about a dozen rows for good measure. (I also chose to ignore a lapse in concentration where I'd accidentally knitted when I was meant to purl, and vice versa. After all, I wanted MY scarf to be unique. I couldn't even remember which part of the movie to blame for my mistake - something had apparently caught my attention!)
Once the two halves of the Hooded Scarf were completed, all I needed to do was stitch them together. The first section was folded and stitched to form the hood. I then located the centre of the long section and lined it up with the centre of the hood. Using the cute pink plastic needle supplied in my KnitKnit Kit, I stitched 2cm across, 1cm back until it was ready to wear.
I really enjoyed my personal knitting revival, and a big thanks to Anna from KnitKnit for making it all so easy! The yarn included in my KnitKnit kit is really beautiful, and the finished Hooded Scarf is so soft and cosy to wear. Knitting is a wonderful way to put aside some time just for you and your thoughts. A 'newbie' project such as this is so easy too - fun for anyone, without having to think too hard about what you're doing! A KnitKnit Kit would make the perfect give for a friend who just needs a little time to rediscover their creative self...
By the way, I've already begun my next knitting project... a giant picnic blanket for my baby's first birthday party!
So I had a little help to begin with... With my Hooded Scarf Kit, I was about to embark on a project which would bring back many happy memories of my grandmothers teaching me to knit as a little girl, give me an enormous sense of satisfaction at having COMPLETED a project, and also an unexpected newfound passion for knitting itself. All the things Anna from KnitKnit hopes for people to find when they open up one of her knitting kits and discover or rediscover the craft! (More projects of my own design are now on the horizon!)
Liam and I were both equally delighted with the colour and texture of the charcoal marle yarn supplied in our kit from KnitKnit. What did surprise me, though, was the size of the knitting needles! I remember knitting dolls blankets with slim, brightly-coloured plastic needles, but my brand new bamboo pair were enormous! My knitting was about to achieve warp speed.
KnitKnit kits are designed for beginners. Not only do they contain everything you need to complete a fun project (including step-by-step instructions and a calico bag to carry your knitting around in), but they're rated by difficulty so you can choose a project to match your (lack of) ability. My Hooded Scarf project was rated "One star - Newbie Knitter". As I soon found out, the bulky yarn and large gauge needles make knitting much faster than you'd expect....
I genuinely didn't have a clue how to begin, but with Anna's careful instructions at hand, I was off to a good start. During my practice rows, my fingers began to remember moving in the same way all those years ago... The image above shows the purl stitch - like a backwards version of a knit stitch. At first, I found the purl rows a chore, but with practice, (and I got plenty), the speed of my purl rows almost caught up to my knitted rows.
After a little while, the process became almost automatic, and I was racing through one row after the next; gleeful about the growing length of my knit. However, all was not as it seemed! Gradually, my progress began to slow and when I paused to assess the situation, I discovered a great many more stitches than expected curled around my needle! On closer inspection, I found I had been adding a stitch to each purled row.
A quick look back at my KnitKnit instructions solved the mystery. (If only I hadn't been so impatient in the first place!) While I was winding the yarn around the needle in the correct manner for my purl stitches, I had failed to move it to the correct side of the needle between the first knitted stitch and the rest of the purled row, and again at the end of the row. So I was able to experience the exhilaration of unravelling it all... then beginning again! With my improved skill level and reduced workload (without all the extra stitches!), I was back to my previous row count in no time.
From there, it really didn't take much longer to finish the hood section of my emerging Hooded Scarf. It now lies in wait for the completion of Part 2 - the scarf itself. Stay tuned for the rest of my crafty story!
KnitKnit Kits are a wonderful way to introduce or reaquaint yourself with a craft loved by many generations. Best of all, KnitKnit projects are achieveable, even for the guiltiest of procrastinators, and at the end, you have something you will love wearing (or perhaps your coffee cup or teapot will love wearing). Anna's patterns are really cute, and come with contemporary woollen yarns in a fantastic range of colours. With my project nearly completed, I'm looking forward to cosy early mornings wrapped up in my gorgeous Hooded Scarf, and an end to chilly late nights in front of the computer. It's charcoal-coloured comfort for me from now on...
After the success of last year's Rather Be Naked group exhibition of work by local emerging artists, community art web site WhiteSpac3 is again hosting the event for 2011. This time, the location is Tortuga Studios in St Peters, a collaborative artist warehouse space and gallery located in an old brick factory in the shadow of the brick kilns of Sydney Park.
The show opens THIS SATURDAY (13th August), 6.30pm - 9pm and continues until August 20. Tortuga Studios: 31 Princes Highway, St Peters, NSW, 2044.
The exhibition title refers to the uncovering and exposing of new and emerging artist talents - and those to be stripped bare will include: Abbey Piaud, Alison Mooney, Celine Roberts, Daus Von Roe, Fleur MacDonald, Hayley Megan French, Joanna Gambotto, Kathy Leung, LuLu Campbell-Smith, Mario Villareal, Narika McKenzie, Nicolas Wright, Nina Maskiell, Pirate Photography, Rowena Post, Sarah Korte, Scott Ingram, Szymek Dorabialski and Yianni Johns.
Of course, 2011's Rather Be Naked works are yet to be revealed, but we've included a little info about some of the participating artists below...
Nina Maskiell's black and white illustrations seem endless. Contrasting shapes and forms writhe and morph from one organic object into another. The absence of colour concentrates focus on the fine, carefully-planned detail as well as uniting the various components into a single "organism".
Sarah Korte's enigmatic drawings and paintings possess an uneasiness - both her hard-edged graphic drawings and also her more dream-like ink paintings. Sarah creates tension in her drawings with stong contrasts and tight compositions (rendered in a comic-book style). The fragile figures have an almost abrasive quality. In contrast, the faces in her paintings are almost fading away. The blurred facial features and empty eye sockets are perhaps all that remains in this place - hanging on with a quiet desperation, whilst fearing and knowing the inevitable.
Joanna Gambotto is a painter and ceramacist whose recent works are expressive landscape paintings. The small details - evidence of human habitation - are at times nearly engulfed by the surrounding brushwork of the landscape. These two artworks, "Oasis" (top) and "Dynamic" (bottom) are dark and emotional. Our presence seems quite fragile and perhaps temporary.
Sydney-based artist Daus Von Roe finds inspiration in dreamscape visions and experiences. He describes his work as "art that explores beyond this time space reality through segments of vibrational consciousness that present themselves in physical form." Daus' most recent voyage was a year of his life lived in a sleeping pattern referred to as “polyphasic”. Polyphasic Sleeping involves a twenty minute sleep every four hours daily. He explains this experience to have harvested some of the most profound patterns of thought in his life, as documented in his cherished Dream Journal. (Visit http://dausvonroe.net for more info and images.)
Kathy Leung is a Sydney-based painter who is "deeply influenced by and passionate of the old times Japanese anime". Her artworks are quiet and haunting - primarily figurative works but the round, almost alien faces reveal something lost, or at least misplaced.
Narika McKenzie is a young photographer who works with both her digital SLR and her Holga, Lomo fish-eye and cardboard pinhole film-based cameras. As you can see from the photos above, taken from her "People Call Us Renegades" series, she is inspired by people and seeks to capture seemingly insignificant moments which are important. These images are "meant to remind people of possibility." (Via interview by Fonda LaShay - there are many more images & interesting reading so do visit!)
I find the work of Celine Roberts particularly intriguing. Pictured above are two of her works. At top, "His and Hers" explores the relationship between sexuality, identity and the body. The work deconstructs our preconceptions concerning our outermost skin down to our innermost bones. It was exhibited at galleryeight last April in the group show, "Fabrication" - an exhibition which coincided with April Fools Day and explored our perception of reality, the fabricated truth and Australians' love of "The Hoax". The second set of images show Celine's "Play With Me" work in progress. This piece explores the sense of touch.
Once again, Rob Yee has his wonderful watercolours on show at TIGHT: Project Space in Kings Cross, Sydney. His wry specimen charts illustrate a variety of evolutionary steps between species of birds, fish and other creatures, and in other works, he applies scientific classification to more than the physical traits of living things. In our last post on the work of Rob Yee, we pictured his renderings of hybrid sea creatures fantastic and fanciful. This time, Rob's illustrations appear observational... the organism's phenotype has apparently morphed quite independently of the artist, and the artworks serve as evidence.
The humour lies waiting in the small, effortless details Rob has imagined into his creatures. Most are just a little odd, and then the occasional 'crazy' blurts onto the page. Where such anomalies would jar among the meticulous depictions of Ernst Haeckel, Rob's light-handed approach allows those moments to sneak onto the page!
You can see more of Rob Yee's work at http://theavocadomoshpit.blogspot.com
As you wander down the main street of Katoomba, you pass through a myriad of architectural styles and boutique curiosities. The brisk mountain air ensures coffee houses aplenty; the more rugged seated at small round tables on the sidewalk, attired in scarves and beanies, their hands wrapped around steaming beverages.
About halfway down the retail stretch of Katoomba Street, you will find a newly-renovated arcade, and in there you will find a new gem in this old town - a little boutique called Sherman + Betty. Their range of clothing and accessories has been carefully selected from a host of Australian labels, and each and every product has been made with love in Australia.
One label which caught my eye was Otto and Spike - such gorgeous colours and delicious fibres which look so pretty all lined up together. Otto and Spike have, in fact, been knitting winter woolies on an amazing collection of knitting machinery (each with its own special role) for more than forty years! Pictured above is the Tube scarf (in a variety of colours) - designed by Melbourne-based RMIT design graduate Rachael Kroussoratis. Composed of rings of knitted tubes, this scarf is actually knitted in one single piece but designed to be worn in multiples.
If you're gift-hunting, you will be delighted at Sherman + Betty's range of accessories and jewellery from many local labels including those I photographed: The Rabbit and The Duck, Cloth and alfalfa. Of course, there were also some friendly faces from Herbert and Friends greeting you at the top of this post (taking good care of the opening hours sign in the window)!
The satchels pictured below are by One Planet - another label I discovered during my visit to Sherman + Betty. The shoulder bags are from a product range which includes sleeping bags, tents and rucksacks, so you can be sure they'll be as durable as they are stylish!
If shopping for yourself, you will find plenty of fashion garments for both girls and guys, including the owners', (the lovely Anton & Juliet), in house label Hikenbiker! They use high quality Australian merino wool to create versatile clothing which is perfect for outdoor sports, travel and everyday wear (especially in the mountains!). Anyone who has worn synthetic thermal wear will really appreciate the warmth and breathability of natural merino wool - vastly superior to synthetics!
Like all Sherman + Betty products, the Hikenbiker range is manufactured here in Australia, and we were rather thrilled to discover a local and affordable alternative to the expensive big brands. I also particularly like the styling of Hikenbiker garments. Offering flattering scoop necks and styles that don't necessarily scream "sports wear", Hikenbiker will have you looking great - whether you're climbing a mountain, or just enjoying a coffee on Katoomba Street!
Next time you're in Katoomba, make sure to visit the vibrant little boutique in the Town Centre Arcade, Sherman + Betty, and say "hello" from us too! You can read more at www.shermanandbetty.com.au or visit:
Shop 9, Town Centre Arcade,
81-83 Katoomba Street,
Katoomba, NSW, 2780.
ph. 02 4782 3447
Open Monday - Saturday from 10am to 5pm
Indie art & design is the digital baby of graphic design duo Carolyn & Martin (who are now also mum & dad to adorable Liam and Camille). Since 2006, we have showcased the work of Australian independent artists & designers on our blog, and we stock a large variety of beautiful and unique products in our online store.
We take a great deal of care with your orders, and have many return customers who love our range and service. We specialise in art and illustration (now including the work of the talented Amy Borrell and Dan Adams), and unique handmade pieces such as porcelain jewellery and objects by Irene Grishin Selzer of Iggy and Lou Lou... We have aso recently expanded our range of clever and thoughtful kids' products - from the ever-popular B&W Baby Mobile to exquisite clothing by Knuffle Kid, and delightful soft books and toys from Growing World.