Sunday, April 12, 2009

Autumn warmers

Phew. The Queen Of Clean (my DH's sister-in-law) has been for her inspection so I can now go back to my messy self. In between scrubbing and tidying I still managed to get some crafting done. Remember the yummy Noro theknitaholic gave me? It became these Noro Fingerless Mitts. They were fun to make and are my first attempt at glove making. I love how different the colours are in each mitt, so much fun to see how they turned out. I also made this neck warmer, based on this pattern. Instead of making it into a cowl I just kept knitting til I ran out of yarn and then joined one end to the side to make a v shape. It turned out great, so cosy, and I got two looks for the price of one! The yarn is Paton's Shadow Tweed, nice colours, but not so nice to work with. Darn acrylic content, or perhaps I was just spoilt with the Noro.

Speaking of being spoilt, I decided to use the gorgeous handspun that Mooska gave me in a yellow swap to make a
Storm Cloud Shawlette.
The yarn is divine, it's merino and is so fine I am so amazed at her skill. It's working up nice and quickly which is lucky because I can't wait to wear it! It has so many colours it should go with everything.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The muppet , his loot and some swap goodies.....

We have been blessed with a new arrival, my nephew Ashar! He was born on the 15th and he's a biggun at 10 pound 9 ounces. We just had the pleasure of a visit from the happy trio, and of course he was presented with his loot. A baby jester hat, designed by Woolly Wormhead
And of course his elephant, which I finally finished stuffing the night before the visit.
I have been having a great time sending and receiving swaps lately. The first was a magic yarn ball swap, where the sender hides loads of little presents in the ball of yarn and you knit them out. My lovely swap partner sandalwood sent me the most gorgeous lace weight yarn and was totally understanding that I would not be able to wait until I knitted 1180 metres of yarn before seeing what she'd hidden for me. So here it is, lot's of lovely swap goodies. Now I just have to get some other projects off my needles before I start knitting lace.
I sent my other swap buddy Lazzulii some of the merino silk I dyed. As I'm not sure whether she's got to her other gifts yet I won't tell you what I hid in it!
I did another swap that was a favourite colour swap. I got the loveliest beanie, some yummy yarn (more Noro!), buttons and a great poem that theknitaholic wrote for me. I was very spoilt.
I sent to sthrnx, who loves tattoos and black is her favourite colour.
The fingerless gloves are wool/mohair and seemed a bit scratchy so I lined them for her. Apparently they fit well and she seems very happy with her gifts. Now I'm in the process of finishing off a yellow swap, so I best get it done and in the post!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Almost all done, and some yarn porn......

I have been "flat out like a lizard drinking" as we say here in Oz. DS has had a little house warming with a couple of his mates and has officially become our new neighbour. I have finally got my craft room into some kind of order. Bags of stuff went to the op-shops, lots of fabric scraps and crappy fleece were composted and what was left was binned. And here we have it, my new craft room.

Yep, that is a Strongbow (Alcoholic Cider) on my desk, I think I earned it!

Froofy fringed light shade for a feminine touch, the white cupboard is mostly yarn!

Gotta love those fibre tools..... and loads of crates for bits and pieces....

Spinning wheels, sewing machines and my Oma's rugs.

Lots of stuff hidden behind those curtains, DH built some massive shelves for me......The curtains aren't the best but they will do until I find something else. I actually had time to finish off a swap present today so I even did some crafting! I am busting to get some spinning done soon, and as the weather cools I might even do some rug hooking. Craft on!

And now for the yarn porn. Here's the silk merino I dyed a while ago- gotta love the effect re-skeining has on hand-dyed yarn.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

My new craft room

No crafting this past week for me. DH and I have been way too busy painting bedrooms. We live in a 1940's cottage, and the paint was in dreadful condition. The previous owner had slapped on a coat of paint prior to selling the place, and boy did we pay for his laziness. No undercoat, cheap paint and teenagers posters stuck on with blue-tac made for a major job. The old paint flaked off in sheets so we had to scrape the walls and plaster the flaky sections before undercoating and repainting. But after 5 solid days of work the job is finally done.

The rooms have been needing doing forever, but the prompt for such a flurry of activity was a change-around of living arrangements. DS is turning 17 next month and needs his own space. So I decided he could have my craft shed, a decision he is most excited about. His mates are lining up to come and stay at "his place", and the barbecue is going to be set up on his front step. He even has plans for a front verandah!

I found I wasn't going out there much, it felt very self-indulgent to me. So DS17 will move in there and DS14 will move into his room. This leaves me with the big bedroom for my craft room. It has loads of shelves and is bright and sunny. I will be able to craft while I do the laundry and won't feel like I am deserting the family in the evenings because I'll still be in the house. I'll also be able to gather up all my craft supplies from the lounge room and our bedroom so the house should be a bit tidier too. One can only hope lol..... I'm off to scrub the paint spatters from my body and collapse into bed. Big day tomorrow, I'm moving in to my new craft room, yay!!!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A little poser!

Just a quickie post today. I have done some more dyeing, this time on the silk/merino blend.I tried to get a graduated depth of colour through the skein and it seems to have worked fairly well. I'll post more pics when it's dry. Knitting wise I've been working on the Clapotis, I usually get a dozen or so rows done a night, which isn't bad when there's 107 stitches per row. I took a break from it last night to work on this little cutie from the book "The Natural Knitter" by Barbara Albright. She is a Little Sit-ster, and was great fun to make. The pattern didn't include clothes so I made her a little dress. Her legs and arms are pose able due to the pipe-cleaners inside.
Yup, she's a poser alright!

Friday, February 27, 2009

I'm on a dye-it......

It's been a busy week here at the chook yard. I'm a real homebody and I have had a few huge days out and about. On one of those days I had a lovely couple of hours scavenging the op-shops, and came home with some fantastic buys. Much of it was yarn, including some Rowan Tweed and gorgeous alpaca, as well as some great vintage yarns like Patons Bluebell crepe. I picked up a vintage ball winder which works a treat, I wish I'd found it before I handed over $55 for a new one! And I got a Speedie electric jug, which I absolutely love, I kill modern kettles with our bore water and my little Speedie is just a tad small so I was thrilled with this find.My order from The Knittery arrived, it was my first order from them and I would highly recommend them. Great price and great service, what more could you ask for? I ordered 500 grams of their 50% silk 50% merino in 8 ply and OMG it is divine. It's a single ply, similar in style and content to Noro silk garden. I can't wait to dye it up and make it into something special. I did some dyeing this week, some pure wool I acquired in a swap. It came out great, not my usual colours, but I think the person I dyed it for will like it.I also received some scrumptious fibre in another Ravelry swap from MelM. Mel sent me some beautifully dyed top and some lovely sparkly fibre to add to it.
I feel very spoilt, can't wait to see it spun up, now I just have to decide how I want to spin it. I sent some of this to Mooska, along with some mohair locks in co-ordinating colours. I loooove swaps!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Silky S.E.X. and the Clap ...... my trip to Sydney

Ok, now I have your attention! Many knitters would know what I mean by S.E.X. Of course I'm referring to a Stash Enhancement eXpedition. What did you think I was referring to? I had the opportunity to visit Morris and Sons whilst in Sydney for DH's knee op this week. Now as you would know, I tend to either recycle, swap or make my own yarn. Actually going out and buying new yarn is not my usual practice. This is partially due to financial constraints, but I also get a huge amount of satisfaction from making old yarn look new and creating my own hand spun. And of course it is also much better for the planet. So it was with a tinge of guilt I splashed out on....... wait for it ........ not one, but two skeins of Noro! Yep, I have jumped on the Noro bandwagon, I bought imported, expensive and truly magnificent yarn. I guess most people would think I was very restrained, but to tell you the truth it wasn't that hard. I looked around at all the gorgeous yarn and pictured the yarns I could make using the fibre from my goats and sheep. Now if I had silkworms I may even have attempted to make these yarns........
Noro Silk Garden sock yarn. Which may or may not become socks. There are quite a few projects on Ravelry using this yarn that are decidedly un-sock-like.
And Noro Silk Garden. Perhaps some fingerless mitts? Have to wait and see, may be a hat yet. Or maybe I'll just caress these little lovelies for a while...... Speaking of caressing I nearly forgot the Clap! Another bandwagon moment I couldn't resist. This is the beginnings of my Clapotis, a French style wrap which apparently every knitter except me has made at least a million times. I am using the recycled wool/silk blend I showed you in a previous post. It's scrumptious to knit with. I'm loving using these pretty stitchmarkers too, aren't they beautiful? Forgot to mention the lovely Knitpicks Harmony circs I picked up at M&S too, in just a couple of different sizes. Perhaps I wasn't that angelic after all!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Twilight socks are done!

Yep, finished, finito, done and dusted. I must say I am loving this finishing both at once thing. Very happy with how they turned out!Now for some baby hats for a fundraiser, and of course one for my nephew-to-be. Bought some yarn online the other day, some to be for the fundraiser and I think I may have a little bit left. A kilo of undyed 12ply and 700 grams of rainbow dyed 4ply. I bought it direct from the Wangaratta Mill, for a ridiculously low price. Should get a few hats from that lot!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bushfire appeal, how you can help

We're all aware of the dreadful devastation caused by the terrible bush fires in country Victoria. The wonderful thing about horrific events like this is the way that our community rallies to help those who've lost so much. Our central school’s student representative council is organising collection of goods to be sent down on a local transport company’s truck on Thursday. All the kids have been asked to donate something, toys, blankets, clothes, toiletries, anything except perishables. My town is small, only 1600 people, and none of us are rich but we are fantastic in a crisis! Over the past 5 years we have been through a major flood and raised money for so many locals that have been through accidents or illness. Every year we have a community theatre written and performed by locals to raise funds for local community groups. Makes me proud to live here.

There are so many groups collecting funds for the bushfire survivors, here's some links where you can donate.

If you shop at Coles supermarkets on Friday 13th Feb the profits are to be passed on to Bushfire relief fund.

Jaqueline from the blog Serendipity has a great raffle organised " Basically how it works is you need to go to the Australian Red Cross Website and make a donation of AUD$10 or above to the Victorian bushfire appeal. For every $10 you donate you will go into the draw for a knitting/fibre related prize. " She has some gorgeous prizes to win, there's even some Cashmere, so make sure you email a copy of your receipt to her!

Beyond pink and blue are "putting together bags of goodies for the kids / babies who have been affected by the bush fires. These bags will be given to the Emergency Relief Centers around Victoria.The aim is to provide some comfort and distraction while parents are dealing with what it is they need to face in the aftermath of their own tragedy."

Knitters on Ravelry have banded together to make blankets and soft toys for those affected and to knit socks as a thankyou to the Country Fire Authority workers. The support for these projects is simply inspirational.

To all those affected, my heart goes out to you. Hopefully we can get lots of help headed your way!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Watcha gunna do?

Watcha gunna do when it's 40 degrees Celsius (that's 104 degrees Fahrenheit)? Light the gas stove and dye some fibre! Well that's if you're silly like me..... I am at the end of my wool tops, this effort is my last for this lot. I may have to splurge on a 10kg bump, don't know if I can justify it considering my fibre stash that's cavorting in the paddock. It's just so much fun to see the colours develop and how they turn out when they're plaited up. I used food colouring for this batch, and with the remaining dye I decided to tart up some reclaimed yarn. This yarn came from an op-shop and was a very wishy-washy blue.
Not for long! This is my gorgeous "new" leprechaun yarn, destined for a new and vibrant life, probably as a pair of socks.Delicious.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

New fibre friends......

I have been enjoying a visit from my Mum and also been looking after some new fibre friends! A local bloke was disposing of 5 Angora does and asked if we'd like to take them. Of course we said yes and so I have been busily researching breeding programs and nutrition etc We've had the vet out to vaccinate and drench them for internal parasites. According to him the goats are around 6 to 8 years old and should kid for us without any difficulties. You can see the one in the pic above with the blue bandage on it's head, poor darlin' broke a horn when we were unloading her, so she's been getting lots of TLC.Their coats are pretty course and don't have much crimp, but their babies should be wonderful. I can't wait to have goatlings, and the Australian National Mohair Pool is only 20 mins drive away, so any fleeces I get can be sold to them. Of course I'll keep some mohair for myself, mmmmmm......yummy........

Friday, January 30, 2009

Matilda's creations and a Country Road treasure.......

Matilda the kelpie has been way more creative than me this week. Look what she produced, seven beautiful babies! Six boys and a girl, a wonderful achievement for a first litter. DH had to crawl under the house to retrieve the little cuties, but once out they were happy snuggled up to mum. Dad Nipper is proud as punch too, but is not yet allowed visitation, Matilda thinks he's a bit too rambunctious for that. She lets us handle them though and is a wonderful mum.

I have frogged another op-shop treasure, a Country Road 90% wool/10% silk jumper. It was lovely, but had a few little holes in it, so it is now destined to become a clapotis. I loooooove the colour, and the silk content gives it a lovely drape and softness. I am hesitant to cast on yet as I still have my Twilight socks and Woodland Shawl on the needles, so it may have to wait a bit. Too hot for large projects at the moment anyway, bring on winter I say!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Some frogging cheap yarn!

As I mentioned in my last post, not a whole lot of knitting has been done here. I have started knitting the patterned section on my Twilight socks and it's great- nice, simple, repetitive school holiday knitting.
I have done some un-knitting, or "frogging". I picked up a jumper from the op-shop the other day, and the Obama inauguration was the perfect time to dismantle it. By the end of 4 hours of presidential fanfare I had 530 grams of yarn. It's 50/50 cotton/ramie, perfect for dishcloths and string bags! I decided that it was too splitty to knit as it was, so I got busy with the spinning wheel and plied two strands together. It's probably about an 8-10 ply (DK-worsted), I haven't worked out the wraps per inch yet, and 150 metres per 100 grams. There's nearly 800 metres of yarn, that's a lot of dishcloths! I used some fabric dye to brighten up 200 grams of it, but I'll leave the rest white for now.

Considering cotton yarn costs at least $5 per 100grams, I have about $40 worth for $2 and an evenings work. Not bad!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Not much to show for myself.....

It's school holidays here so craft has taken a bit of a back seat. About the only finished object around here was the pavlova I made for DD12, and it sure is well and truly finished. Yummo! I have cast on for a pair of Twilight socks from "2-at-a-time socks" using my hand-dyed sock yarn. I have done most of the cuffs and of course knitted the obligatory swatch. I love how the variations in the yarn create little flecks of colour in the fabric. I had to cast on something fairly simple as trying to knit my lace shawl is impossible with three teenage boys, a pubescent girl and a husband all clamouring for my attention. Oh well, there's always the dead of night when I can work on it, one advantage of insomnia! Meantime the socks give me something to do with my hands when watching the box. Although perhaps pointy sticks and a long cable are not the safest of instruments in the hands of an overtired, and overcrowded mother!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My homespun Woodland Shawl.....

I have started knitting the Woodland Shawl with my homespun! This is my first proper lace project so I am taking my time with it. Lace knitting is not something to do when you're likely to be distracted, or " helped" by enthusiastic kitty cats! I have been putting in lifelines so I can frog it if necessary without losing the lot. You can just see one of the lifelines in this pic, one repeat down from the top edge. I'm also alternating skeins so I don't get too much striping in the lace.It's coming along nicely though, and it's fun watching it grow. It should look even better when I eventually block it. Not having blocked anything before I will be interested to see how much the process opens up the lace and enlarges the whole shawl.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Grapeful Dead, a tangled thread......

About a month ago I answered a call on Ravelry by a member who had had a yarn disaster. You can read the details here. She had hand-dyed some very expensive lace weight yarn, only to have it end up a tangled mess. The poor girl could not stand the sight of it and ended up offering it to the bravest masochist out there. I happened to be that masochist! As I received the yarn just before Christmas I made a brief attempt at detangling it and put it aside for a less hectic day. Today was that day. There was no-one at home, the housework was done and it was time. I took a deep breath, and got stuck in. A mere 3 1/2 hours later I had untangled the yarn and hand rolled it into balls. All 1800 metres of it! It is absolutely divine, 55% silk and 45% merino. The colour is "Grapeful Dead". Yummo. Well worth the aching back, RSI of the wrist and the strained bladder. Thanks Irene! Please go to her website to see Irene's lovely hand-dyed yarns, they are absolutely beautiful.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sample socks are done!

As you can see they are made in different colours, that's so you can tell which one is sock A or B when learning the method. If I had more of the yarn I would have made a second pair the same, but alas there was not quite enough left. It was quite a good learning experience making the socks 2-at-a-time on one circular needle. Once I got the gist of it it was no more difficult than DPN's and had some definite advantages. The obvious one being of course that both socks are finished at the same time. But there were other benefits too. For instance the stitches are less inclined to fall off the circular needle, which they tend to do on metal DPN's. It is so much easier to do the first few rows too, especially the first one as the stitches don't get all twisted. I like that the socks are exactly the same size too. I will definitely be making my next pair of socks the same way, maybe using my revived vintage yarn! I got to use my new stitch markers that I received in a swap on Ravelry from "Aussiemummy". I only needed one, so it was hard to choose.I told her she should sell them, they are so beautifully made and displayed. I just love them!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Vintage sock yarn over-dyed and revived.....

I recently purchased about 600 grams of lovely pure wool 4 ply from the op-shop. Someone had frogged something, and saved me lots of work!It was in a fairly bland pale blue colour but otherwise was perfect. And for $6, who can resist enough yarn to make 6 pairs of socks? So after some skeining, a long soak..........and a Royal Blue dye-job, 300 grams of it became 2 BIG skeins of lovely "new" yarn. Some for me and some for a swap buddy. The rest has an uncertain destiny as yet, but you can be sure it too will become a thing of beauty......