My bad

Oh dear, I’m sorry, I’ve neglected you so badly and really I’ve no excuses except the usual about time and lost mojo but I’m back now and feeling much better.

So well, I have been knitting but not nearly as prolific as before. I’ve spun a little too and I went to Edinburgh Yarn Festival but that’s a post on it’s own, I did post about EYF a little because it was a huge event and I couldn’t cover it all but a lot in that it’s not exactly a short paragraph on the Richmond Knitters blog. (Does that make sense?)

Anyhoo, I’m currently knitting a scarf for my uncle. It’s from some handspun yarn and unfortunately it hasn’t been a straightforward knit. The first issue was a shortage of yarn. I realised that the scarf was going to be very short around 2/3 of the way through the ball and then kept knitting some more because well, denial. Eventually I gave in and ripped it all back. It was one of my earlier yarns so it was quite dense so I decided to run it through the Hansen to relax the ply twist somewhat and hopefully eek out a liitle more length as a bonus. I re-soaked, thwacked and dried it again and did a bit of stash diving to find another handspun yarn that I could combine so as to add more length. I then tried striping the yarns but changed my mind about the pattern I was using. I’m now using a 1×1 rib, slipping the first stitch à la Jarrod Flood’s classic Noro scarf.  Stitch count was an issue too, as it needs to be wide enough but only just as I’m worried about having enough yarn. So after much knitting and re-knitting I’ve ended up with this.


I’m happier with it now, the fabric is lovely and elastic and sproingy. The colours are lovely; purple is my uncle’s favourite colour.

Has this put me off knitting with handspun? Not likely! I still get more joy out of knitting yarn I spun than anything else, even if I have to knit and re-knit again and again.

Hopefully, I’ll have this finished soon so I can cast on for a second sock, though there may be running out of yarn issues on that too. Anyway, I hope you’re all well.

toodle pip Melanie x


The penny finally drops

Be the boss of your own knitting. That’s a phrase Elizabeth Zimmerman used a lot, but today was the first time I actually got it, what the phrase means.

You see, I always felt like I had to apologise for liking vanilla socks instead of complicated looking lace ones. The same with jumpers and cardigans that have miles and miles of stocking stitch, like I should always be proving my knitting abilities by knitting stuff that is complex when actually I enjoy the simple, intuitively constructed garments with simple stitches. I don’t get bored knitting them and wearing them. Nor do I have issue with knitting the same thing twice but somehow I think I’m in danger of being carted off by the knitting police for even thinking of knitting something again.

Well today I just thought to heck with it, it’s my knitting I shall knit what I jolly well like! I’m the boss of my knitting.

To be fair, no one has ever said I couldn’t love stocking stitch and simple projects, it’s all in my mind. I’m the one that’s stopped myself by worrying what other people will think but in actual fact most people wouldn’t even notice, much less care. So once my socks are done I’m casting on for another Idlewood.

There you go! Not only am I knitting the same jumper twice or should I say thrice seeing as I frogged and re-knit the first one but it is a large top down raglan jumper with acres of stocking stitch and it’s going to make me so happy. It will have a very different look and feel to the first which is knit in a very rustic Welsh Black yarn, this one will be knit in Sublime Merino cashmere silk aran. Two more opposite yarns you couldn’t get.

If that wasn’t enough, last week I cast on for a Noro stripy scarf for myself which I’m thoroughly enjoying knitting. The colours, the stripes, the joy! That’s what knittings for. Yay! I get it! Knitting clothes me yes but more to the point it makes me full of happy. I’ve named the scarf Colour me Happy! I think that’s appropriate.

Happy knitting folks!


In the nick of time

Yesterday I cast off Ian’s birthday scarf, washed it and laid it out to dry.  Today is his birthday. Phew! All that frantic, knitting like a crazy lady paid off.

I’m happy to report that he is every bit as pleased with it as I am (I confess I found myself coveting it on many occasions whilst knitting it). I also thoroughly enjoyed knitting it which is surprising because I usually find 1×1 rib a bit laborious. I think maybe the stripes and the tweediness did it.


I’m really tempted to cast on for a Noro scarf for myself. I have the yarn in my stash but I shall restrain myself for a little while until I’ve finished my other two current projects.

This morning I finished another WIP. The handspun fingerless mitts. I lovelovelove these. The yarn is utterly delicious and I spun it, all by myself! It’s the 2ply and N-ply Bond yarn from the 3 tops dyed by The Thylacine. Looking back at the post about the finished yarn it appears that I neglected to mention the colour-ways of the three Bond tops so I shall remedy that right away. Two of them were Terra Australis and the third bluer one was Lyrebird. Bond is such a gorgeous fibre I can’t recommend it enough. Knitting from my handspun yarn makes me so happy.

They didn’t photograph as well as the scarf but IRL they are really lovely. I added a few increases and decreases because I didn’t quite get gauge but mostly I followed the pattern. All I need now is some colder weather so I can wear them. The primary skein of Bond is probably going to be a cowl, I think this one.

Currently on the needles are the socks and the belated birthday gift for Fiona. On the wheel is still the second Skein singles, my thumb is all better so I can spin to my hearts content again (apart from the going to work thing to make money to pay the bills and maintain my  love affair with the fibre crafts).

As for the previous post, I agree, a simple cowl is exactly what that yarn needs to be. Thanks Jen and Anna for the advice.

ttfn x

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.

What next?

I finished Dad’s socks today and blogged about them on the blog I share with my sister. Today is my day off, so what next?  I’m kind of not wanting to start anything at the moment because Socktober will be here soon in which I intend to knit some knee high Noro stripy socks.  Then it will be Norovember in which I will knit THE Noro stripy scarf, you know the Brooklyn Tweed one everyone but me has knit already, after that I may be all Noro-ed out for a while.  So I feel like I must fill this day with lovely fibre-ey fun, oh what to do next…

I could wash my Polwarth fleece from Bendigo, I’m thinking of spinning for Seraphine with it maybe.  The staples are quite long so it would have to be spun worsted short draw which would make it a bit heavier than if I knit it with a woollen spun yarn.  Otherwise it would make a lovely jumper, mmm soft and yummy silver grey.

Or I could spin the 200g of icelandic tops I’ve had almost since I started spinning.  It’s a bit felted so I hope it drafts ok.

I have seriously no idea what I’m going to knit with this so I’m spinning it for the sheer fun of it.

Or I could knit a few puffs to add to my collection of precisely 2, the bee keepers quilt may take me a few years at this rate.

Or I could sit down and start to write the pattern for Sam’s contiguous jumper.

Or I could frantically attempt to juggle all of the above because I want it ALL!!!

Finished Aurora Borealis Scarf

Ta daaa!

It’s finished and I’m wearing it today and probably every day this week because I love it so much.  The yarn hand dyed by Skein is merino/cashmere 4ply in Ao colourway, it is so very soft and squishy and the colours are absolutely gorgeous.  It did grow a little after soaking for 5 minutes but I put it in the tumble drier when still a bit damp and it shrunk back to nearly it’s original size.  I find that merino does tend to grow a little but 15 minutes in a tumble dryer on a low to medium heat usually sorts that right out.  The pattern is “Favorite scarf ever” (oh but it kills me to not be able to put a u in favourite but if you put the u in you won’t find it) by Lisa Bruce.  I think it’s a perfect match for pretty sock yarn that is too pretty to end up on your feet and I used my whole skein up to make a long 208cm scarf.  The pattern is so easy I would say perfect for someone who wants to try lace for the first time.

So now I’m off to work wearing my lovely new scarf… and other clothes of course.

ttfn Melanie x

A few of my favourite things

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve cast on for a couple of new projects.  One of which is my Aurora Borealis scarf.  This scarf combines a few of my favourite things.

Firstly, it’s a scarf and I am of the opinion that you can never have too many scarves. Scarves to snuggle into and scarves that are just enough to take that nip out of the weather.  I will even wear a scarf with my pyjamas when I’m watching the telly and of course you need scarves of different colours to complement every outfit. I have big love for scarfie-shawly type things.

Secondly, it’s knit from a single skein of luxury sock yarn and I am a bit addicted to buying luxury hand dyed sock yarn.  I love the colours, the one-of-a-kind-ness and that they are just enough of a purchase to cheer you up without breaking the bank.  The indie dyers that produce these lovelies have my fullest respect and admiration, proper yarn artists they are and I’m more than happy to keep them gainfully employed.  Sometimes though, I think that luxury sock yarns are just too beautiful to be hidden under boots and trousers, not that I’m adversed to wearing cashmere socks, oh no! Diamonds may not be my thing but luxury fibres, I can never get enough of and I have every intention of knitting some cashmere socks one day, several pairs in fact.

Thirdly, it’s a free Ravelry pattern!  I came across it while playing with the advanced pattern search thingumy which is one of my favourite things about Rav.  It is a beginner lace pattern, so very simple, but I like simple and unfussy and it has an elegant chevron thing going on.  I like directional stitches too they bring out the colour variations in the sock yarn beautifully.  It’s name if you want to look it up is “favorite scarf ever”, which is quite apt really, it’s by Lisa Bruce (I used to have a nana Bruce, she was my nana’s best friend and she would bring lots of Scottish baked treats, yum, for us when she visited, my nana and her both being Scottish).  Hmm, anyway, you have to use the American spelling of favourite or it doesn’t come up but here’s a link.  As this scarf is knit in two halves it will be small enough to be my on-the-go-knit-it-on-the-peasant-wagon project except that I haven’t yet come to terms with grafting lace since the crofters cowl thing so I might chicken out.  Whatever happens, I am so in love with this pattern that I’m planning a second one already, I think that the original one on the Ravelry page has a bit of a Missoni thing going on.

The yarn is from Skein a NSW dyer on Etsy, it’s Merino/cashmere in colourway Ao.  The colours are grey-green-blue with flashes of light yellow-green, not girly pretty but it will go with many things in my wardrobe. When I began to knit it up the colours moving through the chevrons put me in mind of the Aurora Borealis with the dancing lights and everything so that’s what I called it, yes I’m a bit fanciful now and then often.

The Aurora Borealis is something that has long fascinated me and one day I will see it.  I read in the news online that they’ve started doing flights from Humberside airport over to the northern most parts of Scotland to view this beautiful phenomena recently, which is very exciting.  Next time I come and visit you Fiona we will have to do this!  I am aware that there is also the Aurora Australis but the Borealis was the first one I knew about and I’ve been fascinated with it since I was a child so that’s why it takes precedence in my affections.  Who knows though, maybe I’ll be lucky enough to get to see both.

As you know, I think you can never have too many scarves and one that is knit from a single skein of luxury sock yarn from a free pattern, well, what’s not to love?

Red scroll lace scarf

I’ve been knitting away at this lately..

The second picture is a more accurate representation of the colour.

It’s a scroll lace scarf by Ysolda Teague, the second one I’ve knitted.  It just so happens that it is my favourite scarf pattern and I need a red scarf.  I deviated from the pattern slightly to knit the body of the scarf in garter stitch instead of stocking stitch to prevent roll and further add to the squooshiness of the yarn.  I also omitted the picot edge cast off because I wanted a clean line and didn’t feel it went with the garter stitch.  The lace section is incredibly easy to memorize I even knit it whilst watching TV with no mishaps, unheard of!  I love how it has a fancy shawl-like edge and the length of a scarf.  In fact I love this pattern so much that while I was knitting it I was thinking about knitting it in other colours, a grey one and a duck egg blue one to be precise and in other fibres like pure cashmere and an angora one (Orkney St Magnus DK angora) oh and the Fyberspates scrumptious DK would be perfect too, yum.

This version was knit in Adorn silky merino 8ply which is the in house yarn of the Woolbaa it is incredibly soft as you would expect and squooshy, my only weird little nark is that it is a machine washable yarn and therefore I couldn’t felt join it so I used Russian join instead which I’m not sure if I trust and there are little ends which keep on poking out.  As I said, I’m a bit weird as I’m guessing the idea of machine washable wool would appeal to a lot of people, just not me.  I think it would be a great yarn for knitting up gifts though if you were unsure as to the recipient being able to care for woollen items properly and felting all your hard work.


Well, the holiday is over and it’s back to Australia, work and normal everyday life.  But knitting joy continues, albeit at a slower pace, so here is the first FO since I got back (drum roll)

I’m extremely pleased with it, it is soooo soft and light and warm and the colour is just beautiful with very subtle variations of tone.  The yarn is Orkney 100% angora that I bought at baaramewe on my hols and I used just over half a ball for this scarf sized version of Ysolda’s Ishbel and that means I have enough left over for the Ishbel beret, bonus!

I like that the yarn is from the Orkney Isles as well, as they are one of my fantasy places to live.  One day I hope to holiday there, but for now I fantasize  about raising a few sheep, growing some veggies and sitting by a real fire, knitting in an Orkadian cottage, snug as a bug while the wind and rain lash outside. Hmmm.

Next to be cast on is Emily, a cape also by Ysolda.  Apparently capes are very fashionable at the moment. I think they are very suited to the Autumn weather here in Melbourne, as often you want something to go round the shoulders to keep them warm.

Oh! What's occurring?……..Knitting!

We’ve had a lovely time knitting, laughing and eating yummy food together but sadly my holiday is coming to an end. Here’s a look at the projects from this holiday.

Technically finished moments before I went to the airport. Ysolda’s scroll lace scarf knitted in the gorgeous Colinette I was given for my birthday by my good friend Julie at Richmond knitters stitch and bitch night. Turned out beautifully I think and I have worn it heaps and received lots of compliments the greatest of which came from Fiona who insisted on knitting one for herself.

Fiona knitted her scroll lace scarf in Heirloom alpaca, the colour is our favourite, duck egg blue and I think I may have to make another in this yarn too as the pattern is gorgeous and the yarn so yummy.  This was Fiona’s first attempt at lace knitting, short rows and picking up stitches.

Fiona made her first garment, a loose textured cape based on a pattern by Jo Sharp but with a few changes.  It is made by knitting several yarns together in various stitches. The flower broach was a real find from Sainsbury’s supermarket and brings out the blue-grey yarn used in parts of the cape.

I finished my February Lady Sweater! I decided to make it short sleeved and shortish body (just at the hip bone) and love wearing it with my jeans. The colour is sooo Spring.  The yarn Mmmmmalabrigo in Lettice, lovely to knit with so squishy  This project was a KAL with the Richmond Knitters if you remember back to one of my previous posts, then Fiona and I decided to do a sisterly KAL.

We made Pink by Wendy Bernard, a lovely top down raglan.  Fiona finished hers first, the yarn by King Cole was purchased at Baa Ram Ewe in a classic Fiona colour.  She decided on a short sleeved, longer body version, after being encouraged to do so by some of her knitting friends at her local knitting group “In Stitches”.

My Pink was made in Mmmmalabrigo, (loving this yarn) and no pooling even though I just knitted one skein at a time.  I made additional decreases and increases to the sleeves and the body and finished them off with a few rows of garter stitch. The body is also quite a bit longer than the original pattern as I’m past my midriff baring days. I love how warm this jumper is and it will certainly cheer up some winter days when I’m back in Melbourne.  I love this pattern and will definitely be making another one at least.

If you’re wondering, the title refers to a British TV show we have been watching “Gavin and Stacey”.