Long time no post

It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve had anything worth posting on here but that’s what life is like sometimes. I sometimes wonder if I should just post whatever but then after 10 minutes staring at the screen without touching the keyboard, I give up.

Anyhoo, there is some good news to post. ¬†Idlewood Again has been finished and I love it! I loved knitting it and now I love wearing it! Except that it’s now coming into Melbourne Summer so there won’t be much wearing going on for quite some time. ¬†Here are the details.

After an absolutely gorgeous lunch with Sonia last week, in one of Melbourne’s Southbank restaurants she took some photo’s of me wearing it and here they are…

See how it now fits and I’ve even knit a pocket for it, just one because I think that one is cute. Also, notice the cute skirt wot I made, love the fabric for this skirt but wish the skirt itself was a tad longer. Anyhow, the point is, Idlewood Again is now everything I intended it to be so I’m really glad that I chose to frog it completely (though if I’d have been smart I would have not frogged the cowl as that’s the same regardless of size). Ah, c’est la vie…

It has made me realise that getting the results you want is absolutely worth that extra time re-knitting, which brings me to the socks…

…I noticed that one cable was a row longer than it should have been and it irked me a bit but I continued to knit on. ¬†Then, at knit night on Monday I knit some cables a row too short due to lack of concentration. So now, I’ve dropped the cable row and hopefully will be able to fix the problem. I’m still on the first sock but here it is.

The yarn, Stranded in Oz, Dye…my pretties in fairies in the garden is just delicious and I hope to be back on track again soon.

In other knitting news, I’ve decided to concentrate on just the handspun bee-keeper’s quilt ¬†and scrap the other one. Mostly because the handspun one is more significant to me and also those puffs are larger so it will take me less time to make a decent sized quilt.

This leads me to spinning, oh it seems like now there is tonnes to blog about, what was I thinking? ¬†I have been spinning but a little half-heartedly. Here is what I’m on with…

It’s still the Finn X Corriedale/Romney that I dyed but I’ve decided that I want to N-ply it and I felt the urge to get the spindle out for a Crafternoon I had with some of my Richmond Knitter friends so I’m spindling it too. ¬†Because of this I’m thinking mitts/hat, maybe both but definitely not socks which was my first inclination. As for the half-heartedness about spinning this, I can’t really explain why, it’s just the way I feel.

So, that’s all my news, I hope it won’t be too long again before I have something to blog about.

ttfn Melanie x

Bendigo

Yesterday I went to the Bendigo wool and sheep show for the first time. ¬†I can’t believe I haven’t been before, what on earth was I thinking, missing the highlight of the woolly year here in Victoria, how stupid of me not to have gone before now. ¬†Anyway, that mistake has been rectified and I now intend to go every year.

For those of you who don’t know, the Bendigo show is literally a three day celebration of all that is woolly and pertaining to wool. ¬†There are sheep dog trials, sheep shearing and sheep showing, woodturners creating spindles, distaffs, shawl pins etc and stalls and stalls of fibre, fleece and yarn and everything else a knitter/spinner/felter/weaver could need plus the two big spinning wheel companies from New Zealand, Ashford and Majacraft were here to show their wares. ¬†It’s a bit flippin’ exciting, the sheep fumes and the buzz of retail therapy, the heady, heady thrill of it all!

We made a road trip of it, Bendigo being about 2 1/2 hours away, Julie was our designated driver and Sonia, Sharon and Ursula made up the rest of the posse.  Sonia and Sharon are Bendigo veterans and us three English expats the noobs.

The day before I was panicking a bit, it’s winter here and I needed a warm jumper to wear. ¬†I had intended to wear Owls to Bendigo and since that wasn’t going to happen I decided that Idlewood would be second best. ¬†However Idlewood is short sleeved and it occurred to me it might be cold so at around dinner time I decided I might attempt to make a pair of arm warmers to wear, encouraged by Sharon. ¬†I cast on for toast just before dinner and stopped knitting for the night at midnight. ¬†The next day I started knitting whilst I waited for the girls to arrive and managed to finish just as we pulled into the Show-ground car park, I tucked the ends in as I didn’t have time to weave them in and wore them all day. ¬†I reckon about 8 hours knitting in total, what a knitter can achieve when she’s determined is not to be sniffed at!

As it happens, it was a beautiful day and the sun shone, all day. Before we even set off Sharon gave me a kilo of beautiful brown fleece, that is OMG gorgeous, thank you, thank you, thank you I love it.

Sonia gave me a mini skein of Wensleydale that she spun, which is just beautiful (I’m so spoilt).

So excellent start to the day already!¬†However, here’s my haul…

A darning mushroom, because I’ve lusted after one since seeing Sonia’s. ¬†I don’t know how to darn YET, but I WILL learn. ¬†Purchased from a man wearing a knitted Viking costume no less.

2 skeins of Stranded in Oz sock yarn in ‘Fairies in the garden’ colourway yummy or what!

Pear Tree had a clearance sale, 1 kilo for $40 of mixed skeins, I went halves with Sharon.

700g of Polwarth roving from Dennis Polwarths, they look like different colours in the photo but they are both the same colour the one on the left being the most accurate colour.

1/2 a coated Polwarth fleece from Andyle. ¬†I’m a bit in love with Polwarth which is a breed from Merino crossed with Lincolns, I’m also a bit in love with Andyle fleeces, they were all so gorgeous, choosing was a very difficult task.

I also bought stuff like dyes, stitch markers and wool scour, wash and rinse from Unicorn, posh scented moth repelling thingys and a spinners control card from Spun Out but I won’t bore you with a photo of them. ¬†I made two carded batts using an Ashford drum carder with the help of Richard Ashford himself who was utterly lovely. I was allowed to keep mine (below) and Sonia was given the second.

The day couldn’t have been more perfect, we bumped into other knitting and spinning friends which was fantastic. We ate lunch whist watching the sheep dog trials with Debs, Susanne and Raoul and compared acquisitions.¬†¬†I have to say that all of the stallholders were so genuinely friendly and passionate and not at all pushy or insincere which was wonderful because I’m allergic to pushy, insincere salespeople. ¬†I am so looking forward to next year’s show.

ttfn Melanie x

 

Three things I love about Melbourne

I thought I would write a bit about the great stuff that I love about living in Melbourne despite the homesickness and everything, y’know because you should look at the positives too. They are in no particular order of loveliness, so here goes…

Great cafés like The Premises in Kensington right opposite the train station, which is my new favourite place to eat out. I went there this weekend and had french toasted brioche with baked rhubarb compote, marscapone and ginger crumble, utterly divine.

Great brunch above, great café below.

Excuse the grainy iphone pictures, they don’t do the place justice. There are so many other great places like this in Melbourne, other favourites are My Kitchen Table in Malvern and Solarino’s in the city to name but a few.

My second favourite thing are the craft/handmade markets. I love how you don’t have to be a mega rich fashionista to wear something handmade and one of a kind here. The craft markets like the Finderskeepers market I went to this weekend are full of really great one-of-a-kind things. I picked up 3 skirts, a bag in which the outer fabric was hand-dyed in my favourite colour and the inner is a vintage find and a wool felt purse, a couple of pairs of footless tights by new company tightology and three great inspirational prints, not a bad haul at all. All of the stallholders were so passionate about their craft and their product and craft in general, the lady who made my bag even recognised the yarn my cardigan was made from! I could have bought way more because there was really so much cute stuff but I followed my number one shopping rule of only buying what I absolutely love that way there will be no regrets. It was a great afternoon, there was good food and cider and live music and great company which leads me to my third favourite thing.

My third favourite thing about Melbourne are my amazing knitting friends, incredible, intelligent, witty, kind and talented women, I am so very lucky. Words cannot adequetely express my admiration and deep gratitude to these women but they should know that they are utterly, utterly brilliant!

Seasonal Confuzzlement

After 5 years of living here the upside-down seasons still manage to confuzzle me.  I think of October and I think of shorter daylight hours, turning leaves, toffee apples and witches on broomsticks, greys and browny-oranges the smell of smoke as people make bonfires of their prunings.  Instead I am greeted with spring and new life, daffodils and blossoms.  My crabapple tree and jasmine are full of buds and new blooms heralding the spring.

Pretty though…

Oh, talking of pretty, the knitting, yes, knitting is also happening. I’ve started the first sleeve of Coraline. ¬†In fact as I have 5 whole days off, I might get a fair bit of knitting done, fingers crossed.

ttfn x

It’s getting better all the time

Getting better, The Beatles

I keep singing this song since yesterday, in my head of course because my singing voice isn’t great (that’s British understatement right there). ¬†It definitely mirrors how my life is going in many ways, which is a bit uncanny, but there are definitely ¬†a few good reasons for me feeling this way.

Firstly my neck has improved greatly since my accident. ¬†My nursing background helps, as I knew that taking my painkillers regularly would enable me to exercise little by little and thereby prevent the stiffness from persisting. ¬†The limits to my range of movement are quite minimal now. ¬†So that’s great!

It’s great because it enabled me to enjoy a day out at Rose Street Artists Market with my lovely friends from the Richmond Knitters SnB. ¬†The market is a wonderful place for people who love all that is handmade and crafty. ¬†Everything from jewellery, clothing, accessories, home-wares, stationary and ¬†lots of other lovely stuff. ¬†We had a great time and then popped into a vegetarian eaterie nearby to eat some gorgeous food. ¬†I must apologise for my slack memory in not remembering the name of the restaurant but I’m crap like that sometimes. ¬†Here are some photos of a few things for sale at the market…

I love the hungry caterpillar

I bought a pendant that says “not from here” and a badge that says “I miss my mum” from here.

For who could not love a sock monkey?

While we were waiting for our food Sharondoubleknit got out her spindle to show me her technique. ¬†She’s a great spinner and watching her encouraged me to pick up my spindle again. ¬†I haven’t spun since my accident due to my sore neck but managed an hour last night and the spinning too is getting better, look…

Yes, that’s the superwash merino Jamsandwich and I dyed the other day it is still a bit thick and thin but not as bad as before. ¬†I am loving it spun up, I only wish I had enough for a pair of socks but I don’t think I do. ¬†I will just have to dye some more and then I can practice my new skills some more to make some socks. ¬†For what could be lovelier than hand-knitted socks from handspun, hand-dyed yarn mmmmmmm. ¬† Getting better all the time ahhhhh…

The knitting is progressing too, I have knit up to the sleeve bit on Manu and I’m now doing the same with Coraline. ¬†I must say that I am really enjoying having half a cardigan on my lap while I knit it, ’tis a great feeling (till summer).

The other exciting news is that this blog was mentioned in the UK knitting magazine Lets Knit, which is very exciting and flattering. ¬†So if you’re visiting after seeing the piece in Let’s Knit then hello and welcome, hope you like and come back again soon.

And whilst like most people not everything is completely rosy in my garden (I won’t bore you with those details) things are definitely getting better ahhhhh…

ttfn x