Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hand-dyed top update

Remember the top I got from spinning group and hand-dyed? I finally got around to spinning it. From 100grams I got approximately 175 metres. It came in at 10WPI, which makes it about a worsted to DK weight. Still a bit thick and thin, but I achieved my goal of making a finer yarn than before and increasing the twist.The colours aren't as bright as in the pics, more softly muted. I still have another 100 grams to spin up, then I'll decide what to make with it.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

An elephant for "The Muppet" and a cupcake pincushion....

Been busy knitting an elephant for this little one, affectionately known as "The Muppet", and due in March. This baby is the eagerly awaited child of my brother and his lovely wife, and will be the first grandchild born for 14 years! Not that we're excited or anything........ I've had the yarn and pattern all organised for ages so when I was looking for something to knit on the trip to Christmas lunch it was an easy choice. Nearly finished it, so I'll post pics when it's all done.

I recently participated in a care and share swap, and this cupcke pincushion was one of the gifts I gave my swap buddy.
It was fiddly but fun, will have to make one for me one of these days.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ta da!!!!

Socks are done! I have finished the Tassie socks, with the help of my gorgeous new Knitpicks Harmony wooden DPNS. They are not only pretty, they are easier to knit with than my op-shop metal set. The fact that they flex a little and have nice sharp points make the tricky turns involved in sock making so much easier. You can find them here, they have a list of Aussie stockists on the site.

Photographing socks is not as easy as you might think. I spent ages with my little camera on timer, pirouetting madly and posing for the perfect action shot that would show off my new socks. At 2.30 am I decided to take the easy route and this is the result. Not awe-inspiring, but at least it's not blurry! Now to cast on for some Christmas drive knitting, I have about 5 hours in the car in total so I should be able to get a bit done.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Who says size doesn't matter?

A much more appropriate recipient of the homespun shawl is my lovely man George. George helped me through my marriage break-up and deserves something cuddly in return. His name is George for those lovely brown eyes, very Clooney-ish! It fits him so much better than it does me.......

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A trip, a funeral, and some socks....

After travelling by car, taxi, bus, 2 trains, a plane and another car, I arrived in Launceston Tasmania on Tuesday for my brother-in-law's funeral. I headed home again on Thursday with my darlin', a total of 2400 kms. Now I'm back, and ready to prepare for Christmas....... Despite the sadness of the occasion it gave me an opportunity for some therapeutic knitting, much to the curiosity of other travellers and those gathered for the funeral. Knitting helped pass the time and probably reduced my consumption of comfort food and beverages. There's only so much sitting about and nibbling one can do. I think the fact that I was knitting socks really intrigued people. Why would I do such a thing? Besides the enjoyment factor and the fact that I can't sit still without something to occupy my hands, there are a few other reasons to knit socks. It makes me feel connected to those who knit before me, part of a tradition, an art form, a history. It gives me a sense of self-sufficiency, I feel competent in a skill that produces something useful and practical. Handmade socks feel better, fit better and can be made in any style or colour I want. Most importantly though, I like making socks, it's fun! One down, and one to go.......

Monday, December 15, 2008

More shawl pics.....

Some more shawl pics, as you can see I ended up using my leftover yarn to make a fringe.
Must get on to that red and blue roving soon. I'm off on a short trip down to Tassie tomorrow, so it'll be sock knitting for me on the bus and train. Shame they won't let me knit on the plane!

An itty-bitty little shawl

Initially I started making this pattern as is. I wanted to have a go at making the triangular shape and doing yarn overs, and minus the fringe it was a good way of using all the skein of handspun. I didn't like it. It looked amateurish and didn't show the colours of the yarn very well. So, it got frogged. According to Theresa Vinson Stenersen on Knitty this is what frogging is:
Frogs say "rip it, rip it." And that's the reason knitters use the term "frogging" as they merrily unravel their hours worth of knitting. The true joyous nature of frogging is fulfilled when you can go wild while rippin' it. Just remove the needles and pull the yarn, winding it into hanks as you go.
I modified the pattern from garter stitch to stockinette and I'm much happier with the result. It's tiny I know, but it's a shawl nonetheless. I guess it would work as a headscarf, but I'm going with the shawl idea for now.I have a little bit of yarn left, so I might use my newly aquired icord making skills to create some ties for the shawl. Or maybe I won't, I may just add a button. Or not. Perhaps I'll just use a pin. Whatever I choose I'll need something to secure the shawl, it's too tiny to stay in place all by itself.
Yummmm, I'm lovin' these colours more now.......

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mmmmmmm, my neck will be warm this winter.......

I received a lovely skein of Jo Sharp Silkroad Dk Tweed in a Ravelry karma swap. Thanks Falkonfly! This yarn is so soft and scrumptious, it just begged to be close to the skin. Must be the hint of cashmere, and of course the silk. So I found this easy peasy pattern and finished it in two nights. I even learnt how to make i-cord! I love the little bumps of colour in the yarn, you can see them in this pic of the neckwarmer being blocked. I added a vintage bakelite button from my special button stash, and Bob's your uncle! Actually I have 9 uncles, none called Bob lol.....
Hmmmm, what's next?

Distraction, and crafting action......

Been a bit distracted by family stuff lately, and what better way to relieve stress than by crafting? I spun up my hand dyed roving I showed you in my last post.
The colours aren't as strong as I'd like so I will probably try doing the same colours in stronger solutions on some more roving soon. I was pretty happy with the yarn though, lovely and squishy.... Roving is soooooo much easier to spin than fleece......
Also been making more row counter bracelets, Mum and Auntie Nancy put their orders in for some so I made and posted those last week. This one is for a karma swap on Ravelry....
And just to show that it's not just Cinnamon who loves the faux fur blankie, here's my girl Nutmeg having a snooze. DS13 covered her up with it and she snuggled in. DS wants a blankie of his own but no way am I making anything else out of that stuff! Poor kid, may just have to make him a beanie instead. I have been knitting, will post pics of my neck warmer as soon as I put the button and icord on it. Til then, I'm off to card some wool......

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Some hand-dyed roving, and a song

I love spinning group. One of the great things about it is the goodies for sale on the trading table. I snapped up a 1kg bag of roving for $12.50, bargain! I had been wanting to try multi-coloured hand-dyeing for ages. Thanks Rexenne for the wonderful video tutorial on how to do it. Here's mine after applying the dye.

And here it is after dyeing and plaiting. I did 200 grams of the blue/red and 100 grams of the green/orange/brown. Yummy.

All the roving made me reminisce about the lovely Irish ballad I remember singing in school. For your enjoyment.......

Gypsy Rover
A gypsy rover came over the hill Down through the valley so shady. He whistled and he sang 'til the green woods rang And he won the heart of a lady.
Ah-dee-doo-ah-dee-doo-dah-day Ah-dee-doo-ah-dee-day-dee He whistled and he sang 'til the green woods rang And he won the heart of a lady.

She left her father's castle gate. She left her own fine lover. She left her servants and her state To follow her gypsy rover.

She left behind her velvet gown And shoes of Spanish leather They whistled and they sang 'till the green woods rang As they rode off together

Last night, she slept on a goose feather bed With silken sheets for cover Tonight she'll sleep on the cold, cold ground Beside her gyspy lover

Her father saddled up his fastest stead And roamed the valley all over. Sought his daughter at great speed And the whistlin' gypsy rover.

He came at last to a mansion fine Down by the river Claydee. And there was music and there was wine For the gypsy and his lady.

"Have you forsaken your house and home? Have you forsaken your baby? Have you forsaken your husband dear For a whistling gypsy rover?"

"He is no gypsy, my Father," she cried "but Lord of these lands all over. And I shall stay 'til my dying day with my whistlin' gypsy rover."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Yummmmmmmmm........... Now all soap makers know that you should leave soap alone to do it's "thang", but who can resist a peek? I was a tad worried when I checked the soap (only 4 times, I promise) that I might have not added enough lye, it looked a bit gel-like. I should not have been worried. About 30 hours after pouring I cut that baby into bars and here is the result. 24 scrumdiddlyumptious bars of lavender yumminess.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Blissful bubbles

I haven't made soap for ages, and didn't the usual recipients remind me of this fact at a family gathering on the weekend! With cries of "I'm on my last bar!" ringing in my ears I was sent home with strict orders and a supply of oil and buds from my parent's lavender farm. With everyone out of the house except the sleeping giant (DS 16) I rustled up 3 kgs of yummy soap this morning.
I added some lavender buds that I had blitzed in the coffee grinder to the olive and coconut oil mixture, and then dumped in a huge glug of lavender oil. My house smells soooooo good! Now we just have to wait 6 weeks to use it. Luckily for all my family (and their acquaintances lol )I have a reserve of other soaps to get us through until then.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Oh no, faux fur!!!!!!

Yup, I caved in and started knitting the dreadful stuff. I have had this in my stash since the late nineties, it is hideous to knit and almost impossible to count the stitches. In my madness I once hoped to make myself a cardigan out of this, actually completing the back and one front piece. Finally I chucked it in a bag, which is where it stayed till my latest knitting resurgence and a stock take of my yarn. Being the naturally frugal and realistic person that I am I could neither throw the yarn away or believe that anyone else would want it. Then it hit me. Cats don't know much about fashion but they sure know about softness. So I'm making a cat mat! It's just plain old knit, on big needles with two strands of yarn at once. If I drop a stitch and can't find it, or make one accidently the cats don't care. Cinnamon has been product testing and can't understand my dislike for the darn stuff.... One enjoyable aspect of this project is that I get to use my funky vintage bag I picked up at the op-shop last week, isn't it cool?
Oh yeah, I've done a bit more spinning, this is some of the wool top I dyed a while back. It's a bit lumpy, the drum carder damaged the fibre a bit so I had lots of pilly bits, but it's lovely and soft. Here it is having a bath to set the twist.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Some FO's (finished objects)

The socks are done, Ta Da!!!!!! Mum is coming over tomorrow so she can take them over to Dad for a very belated Father's Day pressy. Now I am free to cast on something else, but what? I'm a bit over socks at the moment but not game enough to make a jumper yet. It's going to be summer here in a week so I don't want to start something too big or it will be too hot to work on. Gloves and scarves are small but wouldn't be used for ages, and I have a heap of bags. I want to make something for me, but what? Hmmmmm, back to Ravelry to get some ideas......
Remember the fleece I dyed with the jelly? Here it is all carded and ready to spin.

I spun it in separate colours and Navajo plied it to maintain the distinct colourways.I thought I was spinning it very fine, but once plied it became a super bulky weight, about 6 wraps per inch. Not sure what to do with it yet........

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What a man, what a man, what a mighty good man!

This deserved a special post all of it's own. I have been using my rather dodgy swift I rigged up from coathangers. It worked, but let's just say it isn't the most stable of contraptions. While I was out today my darlin' whipped this beauty up for me.

To say I am thrilled is a huge understatement! DH used some recycled red box timber he had lying around. I love it's rusticity, the wood has so much character, and with that solid base it's not going to wobble in the slightest. With a coating of linseed oil it even smells good.Please excuse the crappy yarn, it's purely for demonstration purposes. Aren't the adjustable pegs sweet? DH doesn't even own a lathe, he rigged up some contraption involving a drill, a vice and a chisel to turn them. What a clever boy. Of course we took it for a whirl, and it spins like a dream. Just gotta make some more yarn so I can put it to use!

Out with the new and back with the old.....

You may have noticed I've been playing around with templates the past few days. For some reason all the ones I pick chop off the right side of my pics. I've tried resizing them and changing my settings but in the end I gave up. So we're back to the good old scribe template.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A knitting bracelet and my homespun handbag....

These knitting bracelets are great. They work like an abacus, you use them to keep track of the rows you've done. Mine reads 12, the green beads count as ten each and the red count as one each, you just loop the little circle of seed beads over the others to mark your place. So they can record up to 99 rows! I used glass beads to make mine, I recycled them from some necklaces I had from many moons ago. The little heart charm reminds me where I started from.This bag is what I used my first homespun for. You can find the pattern here . The pattern was surprisingly quick, and I had just enough yarn to make a cozy for my mobile phone. I found a leather belt at the op-shop for a handle and added the brooch for a bit of bling. Must dash, CSI is on and there is a bottle of port with my name on it lol.....

Monday, November 17, 2008

I like Aeroplane Jelly, Aeroplane Jelly for me.....

I like Aeroplane Jelly,

Aeroplane Jelly for me.

I like it for dinner, I like it for tea,

A little each day is a good recipe!

The quality's high, as the name will imply,

It's made from pure fruit - one more good reason why

I like Aeroplane Jelly,

Aeroplane Jelly for me!

When the company first released the jingle for Aeroplane jelly in 1938 I wonder if they knew just how useful the product could be. Not only is it a favourite treat for young and old, it is also a great way to dye wool! I'm not usually a fan of these colours but even I can't resist their pure deliciousness.........

Here's how I dyed my wool. I did about 120 grams of each colour and I have 2 more colours of jelly to go. The kids are horrified that I would "waste" the jelly like this but I had so much fun!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A new toy.....

I needed a new hook for my spinning wheel and a few other bits and pieces so I used that as an excuse to get myself a new toy. Gotta make the most of the postage right? The folks at Ashford Australia are so helpful and the delivery is so quick it's amazing! Here's my treat to myself.

Yup, I got me a spindle! Isn't it cute? I had so much fun trying it out yesterday. I studied up on the technique via my favourite craft instruction source , so it didn't take long to get the hang of it. Now I can spin anywhere I want!

Spindling is a very cheap way of getting into spinning. Lots of people spin for years on these before they get a wheel. Some very co-ordinated people even hike while they spin! My fine motor skills are much better than my gross-motor, and using both at once is way beyond me, so you won't see me doing that soon. Can see myself spindling at a lookout though, maybe a trip to the mountains is in order?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My first "real" yarn....

Ok, I know I already posted my efforts with the black fleece, but this time it almost looks like proper yarn! I did one bobbin with all Pearl's fleece and another with some of Billie's mohair and then plied them. I dyed the skeins and this is what I ended up with.
I love the colour, it's actually more teal green than it looks in the pic. I got about 150 grams and 190 metres of yarn in about a 10 ply. I think I'll make a bag out of it so I can have lots of use out of it. There's lots of overspun and underspun sections but I love it anyway!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

My fibre babies

I took some pics of my fibre babies today and just have to share them. I love them to bits! I have gushed about them on my other blog but this blog has been decidedly fur-baby free. Like any proud Mum, I can't miss an opportunity to show off my darlin's so I have justified this as a craft-related show and tell.
This is Pearl, who came to me on a stormy night after being rejected by her Mum. A friend was grazing his sheep on our land and my DH found her alone and very mournful two years ago. Pearl is a crossbred and is such a sweetie. She loves sleeping in her old packing crate!
Victor came to us around the same time. He is a Saanen goat and is not a fibre animal but is part of our little family so he gets a spot here too. Victor was one of 8 orphan goats hand reared until he was weaned by a lovely elderly man. We answered an advert in the local paper and brought him home.
Louie was found in the middle of a road at a few days old by DH. She was totally alone with no sheep for miles around. We surmised she had been left behind when a farmer moved his sheep and gladly took her home. She is a Merino and has the most plaintive call that we just can't resist.
Billie came to us via an ad on a simple living forum I'm part of. She is a couple of years old and is an escapee from an angora goat farm. She was running wild in a farmer's paddock when she was taken in by a kind family. When they could no longer keep her we adopted her and she has become a much loved part of our family.
Mannie is another little Merino who was found with the remains of his twin after a fox attack. His Mum didn't come forward when he has shown to the flock so he was given to us to hand raise. He is such a cuddler, and still has a bottle twice a day.

Now you can see why fibre arts have become a natural part of my life. With all these little darlin's what else is a girl to do?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Spinning group, socks, a lace headband and a massage.

Yesterday was my first visit to the local (39 Kms away) spinning group. What a lovely group of ladies, and such a wealth of knowledge. They are all between 25 and 40 years older than me so I felt like a real spring chicken! They were all so encouraging and made me feel a lot more confident. One thing they insisted was that I need more than two bobbins for my wheel. At $40 a pop to have some made I explained that it was just too expensive. So they dug around in the cupboard and found me these. A school had donated them years ago and no-one had a wheel that they fitted, so I got them for $10 for the lot. A little knocked around but they'll do the job.
When my Dad spotted the socks I made for myself he decided he'd quite like a pair too. Out came the 8ply pure wool yarn my aunty had given me and this is sock numero uno. The heel turned out great, but I needed a break from socks for an evening. Second sock syndrome has reared it's ugly head! A quick search of
Ravelry turned up the pattern for this headband and shortly after that I was wearing it.
This is my first attempt at a lacey pattern and my first experience of yarn-overs so it's not perfect but it's all part of the learning curve right?
Cinnamon understands the physical exertion a crafter goes through. Last night when I flopped exhausted on the bed she was straight up there with a soothing massage..... Ahhhhhhh........

Thanks Cinnamon. I'd better go cast on for that other sock now.......