Rebranding…

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New name and look coming soon…

Anyone still there…?

Not quite Mayday, Mayday as in the emergency call for help, but I have chosen to put fingers to the keyboard again and post this on May 1st as it is May Day in the northern hemisphere – despite being located in the southern hemisphere. I am clearly confused, or perhaps simply a tad bonkers (!), or I may simply have a childhood fondness for May Day – I did live in the UK as a child.

So is anyone still out there? A tremendous amount has transpired since my last post all the way back towards the end of 2017, and it feels somewhat peculiar to say Happy New Year in May even though this is the first post of 2018 for me.

So much has transpired that I am need of a new blog title. Why? I ask myself – in case no one is still there and it is only me reading this! North Melbourne is shortly to no longer be my primary home. Indeed I am already hopping between there and Queenstown in New Zealand. This was my view from the supermarket carpark yesterday morning!Queenstown Remarkables

Simultaneously to changing this blog title, I thought I would take the opportunity to use the same name across my Twitter, Etsy, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook accounts. Currently they are semi-aligned. Or perhaps having seven social media accounts is a signal of “a bit over the top” and it is time to rationalise the number. My blog and my Twitter account are aligned; my Twitter handle is @nthmelbournemum. My other social media accounts are all aligned to my Etsy shop; Made In North Melbourne. So as you can see there was intent to the groupings, a connection with both using North Melbourne, and at the same time a touch of separation as my blog and my Etsy store are different outputs for me. It writing that prior sentence it could be that even with a rename keeping them aligned but separate may still be the way to go, especially as I am in two minds about whether I retain my Etsy shop; it has been in holiday mode this year. I have reached the conclusion that I can remove my Facebook account; it has always been the one not used naturally. What do you all think? So perhaps there is touch of the Mayday Mayday call for help after all!

All idea, comments, and thoughts welcome…

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Season’s Greetings

2017 has not been the year I imagined. Maybe I had more specific intentions or perhaps the years are always like this and it is simply that I noticed this year. Nevertheless I shall have some intentions for 2018.

Wishing you all the best for the festive season in whatever way you do or don’t celebrate this. Looking forward to sharing 2018 with you.

The joy of sox

Bad title pun intended – sorry!

I have joined the pilgrimage that many others before me have travelled. What is it about knitting socks that is so addictive and inspiring. I am a complete babe in the woods – one pair of small child socks, three pairs of baby socks, and currently in the midst of the second sock of my first adult pair – but I already want to design my own sock patterns. Half the saved tabs in my browser window are sock knitting tips. So to add to the plethora out there here is my two cents worth on the joy of sox (my mother often wrote socks this way – think it may have been a shorthand trick).

eye of partridge stitchI have stumbled across Kate Atherley and highly recommend her Toe-Up versus Top-Down post. With my nascent sock knitting this is a great reminder that you need to try the various combinations to see what suits you. That is simple but stellar advice. My personal tip is to start with a pair of child or baby socks in a DK yarn. The socks knit very quickly as you are learning and practicing the techniques. I am going to do that for trialling toe-up, so far I have only knitted top-down.

I am totally in love with the eye of partridge stitch for the back of the heel (aka the heel flap). If you have not tried this stitch before here is a link. It creates a lattice effect.

alegria manos del uruguayI have already purchased the next yarn for my next pair of socks – yep mine, for me – I am knitting for me! I have always liked socks and buy fun, brightly coloured pairs. I do not wear through socks quickly so they can last for years. Even if I only make two pairs of socks for myself a year, over time I would end up with a fabulous collection. Anyway how gorgeous is this yarn? It is the Alegria range, from Manos del Uruguay which I purchased from the lovely Morris & Sons in Melbourne. I am also going to be trialling a different pair of needles. My first pair of adult socks are currently being knit on a set of Symfonie 2 mm bamboo DPNs , my second pair will be knit on a set of Karbonz 2.25 mm carbon fibre DPNs.

I have scanned lots of other posts and three others that I have read and found helpful are one about needles, one about avoiding ladders on DPNs, and one about socks in general. And will I be trying out my own pattern with the Alegria, you betcha! Something small to aid the time passing in the knitting of the foot.

In lieu of a post

A quote struck me the the other day,

“Don’t play hard to get, play hard to forget”

This really appeals to me, I am not sure why it does, maybe it is because I like to be memorable in general! Looked it up tonight and it is a quote from Drake.

I will be easy to forget if I do not get back to this blog, hopefully a real post to follow in the near future. Until then…

New from old blanket

In the kiwi vernacular I would say, “I suck the big kumara“, given the almighty gap between this post and my previous post. However I believe that for once the underlying cause is genuine. In about two months I will be relocating to Queenstown, New Zealand. (Do not get distracted, this is a post about about blankets, forget about Queenstown for now!)

Other than to be aware that at some point in the future we will have a large outdoor patio. To go with that patio I envisage we will need some hand knitted blankets for those days you want to be outside but there is a chill in the air. Given the speed of my knitting and that the number of blankets needed will be greater than one, I am starting the first blanket now; a Melbourne conception with what will ultimately be a NZ birth feels exactly right. For the first blanket I am copying inspired by one of The Twisted Yarn’s blog posts from 2014 (you can see why I am starting now!), an Arne and Carlos blanket. I love the idea of using up left over bits of wool. Way back when I used to sew I had the intention of making a quilt from everything I had sewn, a kind of memory of clothes and events. Great idea – never did it – though I did start. Quite fittingly I am starting this blanket with yarn I bought to knit a cardigan for my daughter. I went gang busters on the knitting doing a frill for the first time ever but never got around to finishing the cardigan (any bells ringing here?!). Of course I am hoping it is not an ill omen to use this wool to start the blanket. I am coupling it with the left over (yes you read that right!) gorgeous green yarn I bought in Hokitika last Christmas and my quickest ever completed project. I think that combo of never finished and finished the quickest balances out!

And for those of you still thinking about Queenstown, the photo at the end of this post is actually our land. There may be more written about this in the future!

arne carlos blanket

The first blanket is underway

Lemon honey in the city

Living in a big city naturally means you do not have an acre of land. We are lucky in that we have a courtyard, and it gets sun in the summer. You have heard me wax lyrical about basil pesto before. Well now it is the turn of some humble lemons. One of our first purchases was a lemon and lime tree – a graft obviously, though we only seem to get lemons. I had visions of limes for gin and tonic in the summer when we bought the tree! The last batch of lemons ended up as frozen lemon juice thanks to the mother-out-of-law. For some unknown reason I have always wanted to have a go at making Lemon Honey (which is known as lemon butter in the Australian vernacular as I found out) and for some random reason this late batch of lemons (code for I thought I had better take them off the tree as spring was here!) inspired me. While I was tempted to give them the same fate as their predecessors I went to every kiwi’s cooking bible (the Edmonds Cook Book) and the making of lemon honey appeared reasonably straightforward. What was quirky was a couple of day’s later I picked up the October Child magazine (a great freebie) and in there was an article on their tried and true cookbooks and there first was the good old Edmonds cook book. I could not have agreed more that day, fresh from my successful foray. And it made me smile, especially when we think of modern cook books full of fabulous colour photos – this cook book is the original real deal, the entire recipe for the the lemon honey stretches to about two centimetres, and there are four other recipes sharing the page. You know what though – the lemon honey turned out just so. I am even giving the small jar to a friend, not that she knows it yet, but she thought my first jam attempt was more than ok, so I am willing to risk her opinion again! If you have some lemons going spare, can I suggest a batch of lemon honey…