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.

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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.

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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

Fun with fibre blending

I had heaps of fun blending fibre yesterday with my hackles. All of the blends were with British breeds that I blended with dyed Polwarth or Merino. The house looks like a bomb has been dropped on it and there is a thick carpet of Kemp and fluff where the polished floor boards should be but hey I thoroughly enjoyed it. My hands are really sore now though. Here’s a sample of each of the blends I created.

The central Southdown and green Merino I created especially for Sharon it’s her favourite colour. The dusky pink BFL and oatmeal BFL I created especially for Sonia as it is her colour. Both of these good friends encouraged me so much at the beginning of my spinning journey and this is my thanks to them.

The beauty of hand blended roving pulled off a hackle is that the fibre drafts like a dream making spinning effortless. The obvious benefit is that you can make yarns that are completely unique you would never see these blends at your LYS. The downside is that you are left with a lot of short fibres that can’t be dizzed off but they are great for carding.

My hackles are the Majacraft double row set and you don’t necessarily need combs unless you want to blend more thoroughly. I got my hackle set and combs from the lovely Emma at Spunout. My fibre was mostly from R.E. Dickie though their email seems to be defunct. So now I mostly use World of Wool who’s customer service is excellent and if your not up to blending yourself they do have a rather cool make your own custom blends tool that I have used, minimum order for the custom blends is 500g though. Here are 2 blends that I’ve made through them so far.

BFL/English 56s/Shetland/Tussah silk

Shetland/BFL/Merino/Mohair

Of course now I just need to find storage space and clean up. Another 24 hours in the day to spin up these lovelies would be good too!

all WIP and no FO

Well hello there, how’s your week been?

Since we last spoke I’ve become polygamous again. I’m not normally comfortable with polygamous knitting, it tends to overwhelm me with all the WIPs bearing down on me but for many reasons I seem to have not two but three projects on the needles and it’s actually ok.

So you may recall I was knitting a pair of socks and I got this far on the second sock…

Then last weekend whilst browsing Ravelry for potential patterns for a handspun birthday gift for my sister I recalled a pattern for handspun fingerless gloves that I had queued previously. I started wondering whether the mini skeins of Bond 2ply and N-ply combined would be enough to make a pair of mitts. Then before I knew it I’d cast on for one because  a pair of mitts takes a day and a half to knit up tops. Happily one mitt used just less than half the mini skeins in weight.

I love knitting with handspun sooo much it’s silly.

So anyway despite the fact that it takes less than a day to knit a mitt up I didn’t cast on for the second mitt because erm… *shrugs*

Instead I cast on for Ian’s birthday scarf in a bid to have it knit for the 2nd April which is his birthday. I am all impulsiveness at the moment which is so uncharacteristic but I’m quite enjoying it. I’m about half way through this scarf now and it’s ticking a number of happy boxes for me. It’s a pleasurable yet mindless knit, it is using up some stash from way back when, there are stripes and Ian loves it (he chose the yarn and the pattern).

I have decided on a pattern for Fiona’s birthday but only because I saw one of my fellow Richmond knitter’s wearing hers and I knew that it would be perfect instantly. I won’t blog about it though until it’s with it’s owner.

Sorry for the belatedness Fi but it had to be right.

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

Epiphany

I had a lightbulb moment today.  It followed a conversation with my husband’s cousin at a family wedding. It turns out this cousin makes cheese as a hobby. How fascinating! I love cheese, well actually I love all dairy products, but still I was hooked on the idea.

My husbands cousin is from England so he couldn’t advise me of any local courses or places to buy equipment or anything but that’s ok because I know how to Google.  So when we got home (there was no WiFi where we were and we struggled to get a signal on our phones) I duly Googled and lo and behold there are courses and people who sell kits and equipment all you need to add is unhomogenized milk. Hurrah!

It was this that sparked the lightbulb moment, yes I could buy cheese, good cheese at many cheese shops but making cheese myself would be thrilling.  That’s my thing, I get so much joy from the process of making things and knowing that “I made that!”

Anyway I just thought I’d share.

Today I’m making an oatmeal, spelt and maple syrup loaf and bottling some golden ale that we brewed 3 weeks ago and as it’s Monday popping over to Richmond for knit night.

ttfn Melanie x

Sock fail

The stripy delicious socks failed me again last night when the yarn fell apart as I was knitting with it, my tension’s not that tight, promise.  This doesn’t bode well especially given all that I know  of Noro.

Then it was pointed out to me that having the jog seam running up the sole of my foot might not be very comfortable.  We did an experiment of sorts, in which I ran a piece of yarn between a toe and along my foot and then I put my shoe on and yes I would find that irritating.  The solution would be to make the stripe seam run along the inside of my foot for each sock and then change to the centre of the calf after the heel.  An excellent solution, however I decided to throw the towel in or spit the dummy whichever way you want to look at it.   As this is two Richmond knitter’s nights in a row I’m thinking it’s a sign, or something. The Noro is back in the stash cupboard and will become a scarf one day, maybe.

In the meantime I shall finish the hand sewing of my skirts and contemplate knitting the other socks in the pattern, they are really cute over the knee socks and I have the 2 skeins of fairies in the garden sock yarn from Stranded in Oz that would be perfect.  This also means that I can easily swap the short-row heels that I’m not a fan of for my usual heel flap, a cunning plan aha!

I am also truth be told wanting to start Idlewood again.  Mostly because of seeing Sharon wearing hers though she knit her Idlewood from her hand spun.  I’m not super-jealous or anything at all!

My hand spun Gotland/Polwarth is still drying, I had a feel and it is squooshy delicious.  I’m eager to re-skein it when dry and work out what the WIP and yardage will be.

Dithering…

Dithering, stalling, procrastinating, call it what you will I’ve been doing a lot of that this weekend with regard to knitting.  I’ve had nothing on the needles for the longest time and felt no urge to knit either.

Sonia thinks it’s because of my new craft obsession, namely sewing but it’s not that.  I think maybe a collection of things, like the fact that so many of my friends are knitting from their handspun and I’m envious.  I have some other projects I wanted to get done like the Noro stripy socks for Socktober and the Noro stripy scarf for Norovember and Sam’s contiguous jumper and I want to knit them but I want to knit a handspun OWLS too.  Oh I sound like a sulky child and that irritates me, grrrr, suck it up Princess! I think I’m also more than a bit disheartened about having to frog Idlewood and completely re-knit it too, bleugh the self pity! Get over yourself Melanie!

I know there is nothing to stop me knitting whatever I want except that first I must finish preparing the fibre and then spin the yarn and by then it will be too darn hot to knit a chunky jumper.  Tonight at knit night it was 29 degrees C and I managed to knit exactly half a puff!  It’s not even the first day of Spring! As a solution to the handspun knitting envy I’m going to knit some of my handspun singles bits into puffs.  Thanks Katie for the idea.  I have no solutions to the hot knit night problem except maybe a whip round to get some air con for our favourite cafe. As for Idlewood I shall just re-knit that later and I could try to be less annoyingly sulky and self pitying too.

However, I swear after Sam’s jumper I shall knit Ian a scarf and from then on I shall knit spontaneously only what I feel like knitting, no obligation and no planning. So I’m planning not to plan, OMG have I lost it? I’m babbling and dithering, oh dear me!

The dithering hasn’t been all bad though, I have tied up a loose end in that Coraline has finally got some buttons on it and I made the button loops too.  This is the Coraline that I finished almost 12 months ago!  They aren’t the buttons I wanted but they are a cute second best and I love the button loops I will definitely make them again.  Coraline is my favourite cardigan, ever!  So I’m really glad it’s now complete.

I also spun 100g of Gotland/Polwarth carded roving.

I spun it long draw so it looks a bit shit but hopefully after I’ve spun the other 100g of singles and ply the 2 bobbins this weekend it should turn out ok.

Ok, enough exhausted rambling, I’m off to bed, work in the morning, but i had to get it off my chest so I can sleep.  We’ve just had a thunderstorm so it’s cooled down a bit too.

Knits for the men

I’ve been busy knitting knits for my men. They all have something new and warm and woolly now.

The first beanie was too big for hubby so eldest son happily claimed it…
So the next day I set about knitting another beanie which would hopefully fit hubby.  Again another Wooly Wormhead pattern but this time in Icelandic Lopi mmmm, snuggly warm.

It fits, huzzah!

Youngest son then decided he would quite like a scarf and as it was his birthday last weekend I couldn’t refuse.  I didn’t have any black aran weight yarn in my stash so I ordered 5 balls of Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran in coal from the Woolbaa that night and sent hubby to collect it the next day as he works near there.  I decided to use Stephanie Pearl McPhee’s one-row handspun scarf pattern because it’s reversible and I really like it.

He gets the “moon tan” from me, I tried several times to take photo’s in different areas and they all had that, I’m a stranger to daylight look.  Any tips Damian?  The scarf was completed 2 days after his birthday and he’s very happy with it because it’s not itchy.  The grass looks that vivid because it’s just rained.

I’m now occupied with secret gift knitting and will be for a few weeks so there will be no sneaky peeks until they are with the recipients.  However, on Friday I’m going with some of the Richmond Knitters to Bendigo wool and sheep fayre so I hall have heaps to show and tell after that.  It will be my first time and I am giddy beyond belief.  There will be sheep and fibre and yarn and all manner of woolly stuff, I believe camelids too but… meh!  The men are a tad worried that I might come back with a sheep or three but as vivid as the grass looks after rain I think perhaps it is insufficient to sustain even one sheep.  Perhaps we could move before next year’s Bendigo though.