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.