Prevention is better than cure

I’m having a very productive bank holiday weekend indeed. There has been bread baking, spinning, plying and erm, *cough* sock mending.

I’m quite, completely and utterly rubbish at the sock mending malarkey. Socks tend to sit ignored for a while in my craft box while I procrastinate for an age or three before reluctantly attempting to mend them. I think my lack of darning skills has a lot to do with the procrastination. I did think that buying my nifty little vintage darning loom might help but I found the instructions quite baffling. One day I hope to do a course with Tom Van Deijnen and then magically it might all click into place but I fear I might soon run out of socks in the meantime.

While I was botching mending one of my socks it occurred to me that perhaps the answer lie in reinforcing the socks before the yarn wore too far. So once the hole was kind of darned I checked my other socks to look for ones that were getting threadbare. My Orangina socks that I knit for the Richmond Knitters 2010 Socktober KAL fit that bill perfectly. I have to say that these socks have worn extremely well.

So a few rows before The threadbare bit I started duplicate stitching up the row. I left quite a bit of tail at the bottom though because I find duplicate stitching down a bit problematic and I’d formed a cunning plan.



I was particularly careful to ensure that the stitch was properly duplicated in order to maintain functional integrity. Once I gone beyond the height of the threadbare patch I took the needle off leaving that tail long at the top because cunning plan. I then threaded the tail of yarn at the start of the row and started to duplicate stitch the next row.


Once I reached the top of the second row I threaded the tail of yarn I previously left at the top. Now my thinking was that I currently have two rows of duplicate stitch sitting side by side. However, to increase the strength of the mend the two rows should be connected like in knitting. To do this I used the technique for weaving in ends and wove the yarn tail down connecting the right hand leg of the first row with the left hand leg of the second row.



Cunning yes? Now I worked out this method this morning but that doesn’t mean it’s new in any way. I don’t think that there is much more one can invent in knitting, after all it’s been going on for centuries. I’m sure there are lots of really clever people out there who’ve done this before. I thought I’d post how I reinforced these socks because I’d never seen it before but then on the scale of things I’m a knitting ignoramus and should probably read more. I’d love to know if anyone has seen this technique before or has any other interesting suggestions for mending or preventing holes.

The finished fix is nicer than any previous attempt I’ve made at darning proper.

image image

The back looks quite tidy too, compared to my previous attempts at fixing my socks.

ps. Sorry for crappiness of photography. My bad ūüėē

My North Ronaldsay Arrow Shawl

Goodmorning, I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend. Yesterday I took myself off in my car to Haxby which is a village north of York city in search of real bread so very little knitting took place. I did, however, finally decide which Hap I was going to knit for the Knit British Hapalong that’s hap-pening (gotta love a pun eh?) on Ravelry right now. Anyway, I shall post properly about that next week. This week I want to post about my Arrow shawl because I never posted about it as a FO and whenever I wear it I get lots of lovely comments about it.


I knit the arrow out of two skeins of North Ronalsay 2ply that I got from Baaramewe years ago. Knitting this was an absolute joy because the yarn was so beautiful to knit with and the different options to decide how your shawl will turn out. I loved how it took the whole idea of knitting something personally unique one step further without having to actually do maths yourself. Totally brilliant! Ysolda has been one of my favourite designers since I joined Ravelry and this has to be my favourite of all her patterns so far.

My final choices for the clues were 1B, 2A, 3B, 3A, 3A, 3A, 4B, 5A. This enabled me to use up all of the two skeins that I bought and gave me a lovely big shawl to keep my neck and shoulders warm. I actually needed to spin some North Ronalsay roving to complete the last 6 rows because I ran out and the yarn was out of stock.


North Ronaldsay yarn has a lovely rustic look to it as you would expect from a primative Breed of sheep that live on the coast of North Ronaldsay eating seaweed for most of the year. There are fine black hairs that run through the yarn that almost look like guard hair but they aren’t stiff or scratchy or noticeable on the skin at all. It’s lovely and soft and light and snuggly with lovely stitch definition. Seriously, if you get the chance to buy some of this, don’t pass it up.



Despite being worn almost continuosly since I knit it, it still looks good as new, no pilling or other signs of wear. I know it’s a shawl and not a garment but it really has been worn and worn. I will definitely be buying more North Ronaldsay yarn in the future, maybe for a Hap shawl in all the various natural shades. Mmm, Hap shawls…


Hello all, I hope you’ve had a great Easter weekend. I worked all of Saturday and Sunday but that’s ok because the previous weekend was so full of gadding about and yarniness that I don’t feel¬†the slightest bit deprived.

So last weekend I went to Glasgow to stay with my good friend Jules of Woolenflower. Jules and hubby have recently moved from Melbourne and Jules had a stall at Edinburgh Yarn Festival selling beautiful colourwork cowls and Harris Tweed tool pouches. You can find her online store at It was lovely to spend time with them as Edinburgh was so busy that we barely had any time at all to catch up at all.

I have to say that I fell as much in love with Glasgow as I did with Edinburgh, both of them are fantastic cities. I have a bit of Scottish blood running through my veins through my maternal grandmother so I guess it’s inevitable that I would feel completely at home there. Even before I’d left the train station there were signs that I’d love it here such as a delicious oat stout at the Beer House. This place has Welcome Melanie written all over it!


I love those streets lined with sandstone houses and even the back laneways are lovely.


There are hidden treasures everywhere, like this wooden carving.


On the Friday we attended a talk on Knitting in Wartime organised by Glasgow University. There were interesting discussions on knitting as women’s work, how knitters were organised to provide ‘comforts’ to the troops and the culture of thrift. On display were many patterns, knitting tools and knitted garments from that time. I found as a scrub nurse, this knitted theatre swab particularly interesting along with knitted slings and supports for injured soldiers.


One of the tools on display was a Speedweve, a darning tool, cutely described as Lancashire’s smallest loom. I’ve since bought one on eBay and I promise to post my first attempt at using it soon.


The vintage colour books also caught my eye.



The day that followed involved a trip into the city centre where we enjoyed bagpipes and drums


On our way to The Queen of Purls, a beautiful yarn shop on the heart of Glasgow. I have to say, I am seriously jealous, we have nothing comparable in Hull. The shop has a cute and welcoming atmosphere and the variety and quality of yarns are excellent. I bought 300g of Garthenor Organic Lleyn DK because I couldn’t stop squishing and sniffing and snuggling it. I’m actually wearing around my neck at the moment. It’s completely gorgeous in it’s undyed state and I may even keep it like that. They also had some Ardalanish which I’m going back for one day but I want to find the perfect project for it.

My last day in Glasgow came all too soon. We met up with Bee for a spot of lunch and shopping because lunch and shopping with knitting friends is the best.

imageMy thanks to Jules and Scot for a wonderful few days in Glasgow. X


Well hello there, I’ve had such a whirlwind few weeks I hardly know where to start. I know I never blogged here about Edinburgh Yarn Fest but I did on the Richmond Knitters blog.

The weekend was an absolute blast and there was so much to do and see that it could have easily gone on for a day or two longer for me. Bee and I decided to spend the first day shopping and then we’d booked a class for the morning of the second day. We arrived just before the doors opened and already there was a queue around the block of knitters eagerly waiting to get in.

There were lots of vendors that I’d never heard of and a few who I’d heard of but not had a chance to check out properly. I’ve taken a lot of business cards with a view to future purchases too. I am actually trying to stashdown a bit believe it or not. The plan is that when my stash is at a level I feel comfortable with I can decide what I want to knit and then buy appropriate yarn. I’ve decided that I like to be spontaneous with my knitting and having a big stash prevents me from doing that. However, things didn’t quite go to plan and I ended up with quite a haul but most of it has a project in mind and not all of it was yarn.

The first thing I bought was a project bag by Fiona Daly. It has a picture of a Welsh Mountain ram on it and a woven tab from Welsh Mountain yarn. The first British Breed that I knit and spun were Welsh Mountain so I have a particular fondness for the breed.


The pic is a bit crappy, sorry. Fiona also had cushions and I’m keen to get some for the sofa at a later date.

I bought buttons from Magictea who have an etsy shop because… Buttons!


I can see the tartan buttons adorning a grey cardigan and the grey buttons on a mustardy yellow cardigan and the other two on tealy-turquoisey or neutral coloured cardigans and of course, it goes without saying that in my head they are all sitting in my wardrobe because that’s the way it works doesn’t it?

I bought a kit for an Icelandic Spring shawl from Helene Magnusson herself who was very lovely and helped me pick out colours. The yarn Gryla is just gorgeous, quite crisp with a bit of residual lanolin and I think it will knit up light and airy for a worsted yarn, especially after a soak.


One of the vendors I knew I wanted to check out was Midwinter Yarns because I love the Nordic thing and they didn’t disappoint. I don’t quite have a plan for these yet but… Erm, yarn!




I’m going to swatch the yellow for maybe a Turmeric jumper and I have two of the blue and grey and they will become a shawl of some description because you can never have too many shawls. This yarn has a softer hand feel to the Gryla and a lovely halo to it. From the samples they had it softens up after a soak but it’s never going to be as soft as Merino, which is probably why I love it so much. I’m definitely going to be buying more from them.

I had in mind that I was going to look for yarn for the Abalone cardigan that I’ve had in my favourites for ages and I found the perfect yarn at Ginger Twist Studio’s stall. I’m so envious that GInger Twist is Bee’s LYS I can’t tell you.The yarn is a hand dyed by GTS BFL/silk/cashmere.


The other yarn that I bought was from J.C. Rennie mini balls in 2ply fingering weight Shetland for my Bee Keepers Quilt. Twenty little balls of joy and though I tried to get twenty different colours I managed to get two balls in my favourite ice-blue colour. My subconscious need for all the blue green things is obviously deeply ingrained.


Oopsie, I fibbed a bit, there were two balls of Sock yarn that slipped in too. Roma by Wendy in lovely vintagey colours.


After that there were fat quarters of tweed from Jamiesons and their shade card and project bag. The fat quarters will become a quilt one day when I’ve found some more and a suitable backing fabric. The shade card I could drool over all day.


The first day was topped off with en evening’s entertainment from Knitsonik and Ysolda which was hilarious and informative at the same time. It was also a good time to meet other knitters and catch up with knitting friends like lovely Jules (Woollenflower) who had been working all day on her much admired stall and still managed to look gorgeous.


On the Sunday Bee and I attended a class on Fairisle knitting with Hazel Tindall. We were pretty excited!


With Hazel’s words of wisdom and encouragement I managed to knit the cuff project and in very ‘me’ colours too.


So that was our EYF 2015. We will definitely be back next year and I can’t wait.

It’s been a while…

Since I last posted, I have started my new job, finished two gift knits, started spinning for a gift knit, started another gift knit and come to the conclusion that non-superwash yarns make better wearing socks. The follow your arrow project is hibernating until I can buy more yarn sadly.

Gift knits include
A Quincey Quade Quentin for my nephew Ethan’s birthday

A Wisp scarf for my sister Fiona’s birthday


As for the superwash socks, I have mended a sock using this method, I maybe need more practice and to use a contrasting yarn and then duplicate stitched an area that was becoming worn but not worn through rather poorly too. My Zauberball socks have worn beautifully since they have felted in areas where they have a lot of wear. It could just be this yarn base but it coud also be the superwash-ness. The only way to find out is to knit more socks, yes?


Channelling Sharondoubleknit

The other day my son requested we get a bath mat but being on a tight budget, as in necessities first, I didn’t want to buy one as I think there are heaps of things we need before bathmats. However, I recalled how the very wonderful Sharondoubleknit had made her bathmats so I went stash diving. I came up with some of my very first attempts at spinning and dyeing and thought that they would be appropriate for my first handknit for the house and the colours match the colourscheme in the bathroom. My sons we skeptical, “won’t it get soggy?” “How will you wash it?” Were among the comments made. I reassured them with facts about wool’s amazing properties or at least I tried to.

I was reminded how much I love knitting with handspun yarn. Considering that this yarn was very thick and thin, under spun in parts, overspun in other parts and equally as underplied and overplied it knitted up really well. I think that it was helped by the fact that the yarn was held double and knit on much smaller needles than you would normally, in order to obtain a nice dense fabric. I know a lot of new spinners out there don’t think that their newbie handspun offerings are worth knitting up but I honestly believe you can’t learn about making yarn until you start knitting with the yarn you make.

So how does the new mat fare? Well, deliciously warm underfoot and squidgy and it doesn’t feel cold and damp when it gets wet at all. I think my sons are quite impressed with it, I’ve even had a request for a 2″ x 3″ from Elliott. Not sure about that but I think I might consider getting some more Herdwick and maybe Swaledale fibre for spinning and knitting mitred squares to sew together in a rug, we’ll see.


WiP update

I’m over 1/3 through my ginormasquish blanket and still in love with the project. ¬†I’m making steady progress and I can’t wait to be able to snuggle underneath it. However, the thing with big projects like this, is that you really do have to be completely monogamous and diligently knit away at it otherwise it will loiter on the needles FOREVER!

Monogamous that is, with the exception of a portable project because let’s face it, this blanket is sooo not portable and PT without knitting just doesn’t bear thinking about. ¬†So, in time honoured tradition I cast on a sock.



How pretty is that yarn? The deep, deep, deep blue with it’s subtle variation of tone. It was dyed by my amazingly talented friend Ursula. If you recall, it was Ursula who helped me turn the ancient bra handspun yarn into the beautiful ocean blue yarn. She has been dyeing for a while now and selling her wares to the Richmond knitter’s who greedily buy it all up. We know beautifully dyed yarn when we see it!

Here’s a picture of my most recent episode of yarn gluttony.



My photographic skills do not do them justice at all! They are all semi-solid BFL skeins but the red one is a BFL/nylon blend. As you know, I love knitting socks out of BFL, once washed they are every bit as soft as Merino but because BFL is a longwool it’s so much more durable and with a much better stitch definition than Merino.

Anyhoo, I need to return to blanket knitting.

ttfn x

Still here

So it’s been a while…

I’ve been kind of busy with stuff which is why I haven’t blogged for a while.

Anyhoo, some crafting has been happening but not much, I finished a pair of ankle socks yesterday.¬†They were my usual toe-up in a really beautiful Skein colour way “Industrial Age” I just cast off as soon as the heel was completed to give them a cute curled edge look. Here is the obligatory FO pic.

IMG_1527The cast off was the purl 2 together pass stitch back onto the left needle cast off, I don’t know if it has a proper name or anything. Sonia helped me pick the yarn out of my stash for them and she has excellent taste as you can tell.

I’ve also been working on a squishy blanket that’s going to take FOREVER! Actually I hope it doesn’t take forever because I might need it at some point this year if it ever gets cold. I am sooo very over this hot summer we’ve been having.


The pattern is Stephen West’s Garter Squish Blanket and I’m knitting it in Cascade Ecological and Eco+. I seriously can’t wait for some cold weather to snuggle under it.





So the ugly ducking turned into beautiful swan and everyone, lived happily ever after.



Incredibly, this beautiful shawlette is the fugly ancient bra handspun. Now a gorgeous shawlette made from the hitchhiker pattern. Rav link.

Needless to say. I’m very happy with it as a beautiful garment, a reminder of fun, crafty times with friends and a measure of how much my spinning has progressed.

Talking of transformation and progression, the end of 2012 was very trying with a major life change, brought on by me but 2013 is emerging as a year of positivity, possibility and progression. Sadly, my Etsy store has closed for the forseeable future but my fibre will be popping up for sale elsewhere so stay tuned!

ttfn x




I’m usually adverse to labels and labelling as it’s usually followed by stereotyping and judgement which make my cringe but it just occurred to me that I might have unknowingly crossed a line.

I appear to have become a spinner who knits rather than a knitter who spins. When I say this I don’t infer any kind of level of expertise, heck I have so much to learn about both crafts that I think intermediate beginner is probably an exaggeration of my skill level. It just seems that given a choice I would much rather spin than knit. Put another way, knitting is something I do these days when I can’t spin. I absolutely could never see myself giving up knitting, never in a million years! However, my current WiPs only 1 knitting project and 4 spinning projects certainly give the game away.

Currently on my needles is Terra by Jared Flood. I’m really enjoying this knit even if last night I ripped back a huge chunk because I’d messed up the garter stitch edging on 2 rows. A testimony to my beginner skill level if ever there was one.

On the Hansen is the accent colour for a Dream Stripe shawl that I’m doing for the Spunout¬†shawl SAL/KAL on Ravelry.


On my spindles are The Thylacine sock club fibre on the Turkish and my own blends on the Ken Ledbetter.


One thing I will always be though, is a woolista.