Monday, October 27, 2008

Dye, dye, dye!!!!

Can you tell I'm proud of my dyeing efforts?
This is the alpaca yarn after balling it on my new wool winder. I justified buying this extremely useful tool because I can use it to ball up the recycled yarn as well as my handspun yarn. I only have two bobbins for my upright wheel and can't get any more as it went out of production in the 70's and the Ashford ones don't fit. So winding the yarn straight off the bobbin onto the wool winder means I can ply from the balls. Any spinner will know what I mean, the rest of you can just nod! Anyway, it meant I got this really cool gadget!!!!
I knitted the yarn into a swatch to test for gauge and to see the effect.

Pretty cool hey?
My angora goat Billie and my big lamb Pearl were shorn last week, so I have even more lovely fibre to play with.
I washed some of Billie's fleece and it is soooo soft.Of course I had to dye a little bit just for fun.
I'll probably use these curls to jazz up my felting.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

As promised, the hand-dyed alpaca yarn.....

I threw all caution to the wind and dyed my gorgeous soft alpaca/merino yarn using my Landcscape dyes. I had premixed the dyes ages ago so all that had to be done was to soak the yarn in water for an hour, add the dye and some vinegar wrap the lot in cling wrap and zap it in the microwave until it was hot and steamy. Then let it cool and rinse well. I obviously used way too much dye as it didn't all soak into the yarn. I was pretty pleased with it though. I was going for a varigated effect but due to it being a bit too wet I got a more muted result. Should make some nice socks!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How to get more crafting time

Find a man like mine! Isn't he a sweetie?
He makes such a mess (note the flooded bench top) but I'm not complaining. The socks are finished!!!! My opal wool arrived today - hurray!- so I have cast on for another pair. My darlin' and I went to the Australian National Field Days yesterday and I bought some 70% alpaca 30% wool yarn to make more socks. I hand-dyed it today and will post the results when the skein is dry. I spent a little while at Kim's stand while she had a break, Kim does the most gorgeous machine quilting, and I spent the whole time she was gone drooling! Her website is under construction, but should be ready soon. I also went to see the Country Women's Association exhibition and chatted to a lovely lady about spinning. Bron talked me into joining the CWA -thanks Bron! I've been meaning to do it for ages.There wasn't much else for me to see at the field days, but I had to go to get my raffle tickets to win a pair of Alpacas. I enter every year but someone else always seems to win. Maybe tomorrow will be my lucky day. I'll be back soon to show you my dyeing efforts, cross your fingers for me that I win those lovely alpacas, a girl can never have too much fibre!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I have made a sock! Yay for me!!!!! I feel soooooo clever. It was like magic watching it take shape. Now please keep in mind that the yarn for this project was gleaned from an op-shop and the resulting sock was therefore not something I could be too fussy about. The colours didn't go too badly together but the stripes are a bit too much like footy socks for my liking. I could have made smaller stripe but trying to use all those needles and follow the pattern was hard enough without changing colour too often!This is my darlin's foot, he graciously agreed to model the sock for me. It is too tight on him but just right on me, so I have cast on the stitches for sock number two. I will have to get it done soon because only one of my feet was warm in bed last night! Now that I know I can do it I have ordered some Opal self striping sock yarn. There are a few brands of this type of yarn, it forms a computer designed pattern as you knit.
Pretty cool hey?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Not just a knitting blog, I promise!

Not that there's anything wrong with that, there's heaps of great knitting blogs around. For me knitting is the latest in a long string of crafts I've done. I heard someone described as "tri-craftual" the other day. Isn't that a great term? Describes me to a T! Right now I am having a ball knitting (sorry for the bad pun), and I hope to learn a lot of new skills. But who knows where the joys of craft will lead me? So stay tuned, because I promise I am a fickle crafter and there will be something else soon. I found a great paper making book a little while ago and I have a mold and deckle partly made so some recycled paper could be next.

Today however the knitting bug is still biting hard so I took the plunge and I've started my first pair of socks.I approached this task with great trepidation. Double pointed needles (DPNs) freak me out and how on earth was I meant to use 5 at once? As usual I surfed the net and found some great advice. I am a very visual learner so came in handy. Here's some great videos on the whole sock-making process. Dorret also has a website with lots of tips and links and she explains everything so well. She only uses 4 DPNs but my pattern needed 5 so that's what I have. Wish me luck everyone! I'm going to need it because I only have small amounts of yarn so I am going to have to do stripes as well as learn all the techniques. If you don't hear from me for a while there's a good chance I'm tied up in yarn and impaled by knitting needles!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Thanks Christina!

The lovely Christina from The Rustic Tarts has tagged me, thanks Christina! Christina does wonderful altered art and prim dolls with the other half of the partnership, Marion. Please look at her blog, you won't be disappointed. As you can see by the rules, I am supposed to share some random facts about myself. Here's the link to where I did this on my other blog. I'm also meant to tag 7 other blogs, but I can't decide which ones. Christina picked so many good ones, check her's out lol..... I do have to add Robby's blog, she makes the most gorgeous soldered pendants and prim dolls.

Yarn, glorious yarn..... and another washcloth!

Ok, I know we Aussies aren't used to calling it yarn, but it really is a better term for what we call wool. Cause it isn't all wool is it? Well this lot is, but there's so many fibres used in yarn these days it's a misnomer to call it wool.

I followed the directions in the tutorial I put up earlier to deconstruct an op-shop angora/wool blend jumper. I could not believe how much yarn it produced, I actually got 1213.9 yards (1110.0 m) of yarn!

It's incredibly soft and light, in fact there was so much angora fibre on me after this I had to shower afterwards. I would love to jump right in and dye it now, but I'm resisting the urge until I work out what to make with it. After listening to Brenda's podcast last night I'm a bit wary!

So while I'm deciding I worked up another little washcloth, this time it's Rodney the rooster from He's a bit hard to see but he's in there.

I have been using these little projects to hone my skills, Rodney has a back cross and front cross, and the daisy washcloth has a bobble. I am seriously considering giving socks a go next, but frankly, they scare me!

Monday, October 6, 2008

A great knitting podcast

I came across this great podcast yesterday and have listened to a couple of episodes while making the washcloth below. Knit Picks Podcast is easy to download and listen to either via the web or on your ipod. They also have free patterns and tutorials.

Daisy, Daisy give me your answer true

"Daisy, Daisy, give me you answer true.
I'm half-crazy all for the love of you.
It won't be a stylish marriage,
for I can't afford a carriage;
But you'll look sweet
Upon the seat
Of a bicycle built for two."
Cotton washcloths seem to be a really popular item to knit at the moment. Everywhere I look there are patterns for them. So who am I to buck the trend? Man, I'm so easily led down this path of knitting addiction....These cloths are meant to be used for washing your dishes, but they are so soft and pretty I don't know if I can do it! Pink is not my colour, so I think there's an 11 y/old lady in the house who might like this one as a face washer, after I weave in the ends of course. I bought a huge bag of crochet cotton from an op-shop a while ago, lots of odds and ends, so this is no doubt only the first of many. If you'd like to try this pattern here it is.....

Sunday, October 5, 2008

How to recycle yarn.....

Check out this fantastic tutorial for recycling yarn from thrift-shop finds. Very easy to follow!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Can't stop at one.....

What else could I do? They are still nameless, but at least they have each other!I made this bookmark this afternoon to practice my cables some more. You can find the pattern here.

Friday, October 3, 2008

A toy for the girls

I found this great knitted Kitty tutorial and had to make it immediately! It was very quick and oh-so-easy...... Be aware that there is some "strong" language on the site, but it is easy enough to ignore for such a great pattern.The girls love it. Cinnamon wasn't sure at first but she soon got brave and introduced herself.

Nutmeg did the obligatory butt-sniff and welcomed the kitty to our feline family.

Now I just have to think of a name for her and make some more kittys!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Look Mum, I can do it!!!

My Mum is a great knitter. She always made us jumpers when we were kids, and made my babies some lovely cardigans, hats and so on. When I had my first child she made a gorgeous shawl for him to be wrapped in. Now the strength in her hands is not so good, but she is working steadily away on an outfit for my brother's unborn baby. I have always been amazed by her knitting skills, and perhaps a bit daunted. Mum taught me the basics of knitting, but until now I have been distracted by so many other crafts. When I discovered Ravelry I was inspired to try some more advanced techniques. With Mum's over-the-phone encouragement and advice I attempted my first cables! Whilst I need loads of practice before I am worthy to carry Mum's knitting bag for her, I was pretty pleased with the result. A bit loose, but that would be easy fixed by using smaller needles. Mum was right, cables are not that hard, and they're fun! I turned the practice piece into a little bag.
I hit the op-shops in search of needles and came away with a huge stash. At $1 a pair they are heaps cheaper than new, and I got some great vintage anodised and plastic ones. Now I'm off to find a new pattern to practice those cables.......