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


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


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.

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.


My knitting joy is all restored, thanks to my favourite toe up vanilla sock pattern and beautiful yarn.

I know a lot of knitters would be bored knitting vanilla socks over and over but not me.  These socks are like toasted sourdough and freshly churned cold butter, truly magical and at the same time, utterly simple.  The pattern is intuitive and familiar, the colours remind me of Tartan and Harris Tweed and the slightly rustic, woolly feel of the yarn and the fabric they are creating is heaven to me.

Their job is to restore my faith in my ability to complete a project. I am absolutely certain that there will be no frogging of these socks. They are going to be knee high and both balls start at the same colour, though 100% matchy-matchiness is not a necessity.  I am completely in love with them, so much that I spend every free moment knitting and admiring them.

Happy knitting x

to the frog pond contiguous jumper!

The contiguous jumper landed firmly in the frog pond last night, even though I had made promises to Katie that there would be no frogging in 2012.  It just had to be done on the grounds of insufficient yardage. I knit on it for most of yesterday after lunch and evening past this point…

…to the point where the sleeve was nearly done bar the ribbing and then the denial I had been comforting myself with vanished and the horrible truth hit me with all of it’s clout.

In desperation I did suggest to Ian that perhaps I could finish it for him but he had to choose between possibly a cropped jumper or 3/4 length sleeves, but more than likely both. Of course he declined this offer despite being more than a little bit tipsy after a day at the cricket. So much for alcohol affecting your reasoning and judgement!

So, to thwart any possible frog induced melancholy, I got the needles out straight away and cast on for a comforting pair of colourful toe up vanilla socks in one of the Zauberball colour ways (Herbstwind, the red and teal one). As for the Zarina, it will probably become a Folded for me, at some stage in the future when the pain has eased.

Because I’m not completely mean I have promised to knit a scarf for Ian and a pair of fingerless mitts for Sam. In the meantime I will continue to search for 10ply yarn for Brooklyn Tweed’s Brownstone for Sam and Cobblestone for Ian.

Things that I have learned from this episode are that

1) I am no pattern designer!

2) If you’re going to knit a jumper without a pattern make sure that you have way more yarn than you think you might need or easy access to more of the same dye lot.

3) Knitting a man sized jumper in 5ply is just plain silly!

ttfn x

Contiguous beginnings

It’s been ages since I first talked of knitting Sam a jumper using the contiguous method but I needed to get other projects out of the way so I could concentrate properly on it. However, last week I finally cast on for Sam’s contiguous jumper.

It’s to be a plain V-neck jumper, nothing fancy. It has been frogged once because the neck looked like it was going to be too big.  I think now, I’m on track (famous last words) and have about an inch and a half of the shoulder “seam” to knit before I separate for the sleeves.

As I’m completely making it up as I go along (the sitting down and writing thing got a bit half baked and tedious) I thought I would blog about it blow by blow. So here goes…

Yarn- Zarina a 5ply, superwash Merino in a charcoal grey by Filatura Di Crosa.

Gauge 26 stitches per 4 inches and 35 rows per 4 inches on 3.5mm needles.


neck-7inches across, 16 inches around

shoulder length for seam- 4.5 inches

chest 38 inches

hip 39 inches

upperarm 13 inches

lower arm 8 inches

Shoulders 17 inches across

cross back 15 inches

armhole 9 inches depth

torso length 26 inches

shoulder to wrist 24 inches

Cast on 52 stitches

Row 1-P1, pm, P2, pm, purl to 3 stitches from the end, pm,p2,pm,p1.

Row 2-K1-f/b, sm,K2, sm, K-1r/b, K to 1 stitch before marker, K1-r/b,sm,K2,sm, K1-f/b

Purl rows thereafter- P to 1 stitch before marker P1-f/b, sm, P2, sm, P to 1 stitch before marker P1-f/b, sm, P2, sm, P1-f/b.

Knit row thereafter-K1-f/b knit to 1 stitch before marker K1-r/b, sm, K2, sm, K1-r/b, K to 1 stitch before marker K1-r/b,sm,K2, sm, K1-r/b, knit to I stitch before end, K1-f/b.

continue until shoulder seam is 4.5 inches long.

So far I’m happy with the way it is going, these might not be the most elegant instructions (Ysolda Teague I am not!). Suzie Myers states in the method that the increases can be whatever increases you like and indeed there is a whole thread discussing the pros and cons of different increases for the shoulder seams here.

This garment is worked seamlessly from the top-down using the contiguous sleeve method developed by Susie Myers, SusieM on Ravelry (


Happy Knitting

Yay the knitting love has returned!

My Idlewood has been making me very happy.  I’ve separated the sleeves and I’m about to start the waist shaping.  Despite this being a re-do I am still in love with this project, love the yarn, love the pattern and this time round it’s looking like it will fit as I intended it to.  Part of the love is that I’ve done the raglan increases as per pattern instructions which I didn’t do first time(sometimes I can be really stupid).  I love the results and learnt a new increase method, which I am thinking would be excellent for Sam’s contiguous jumper when I get round to knitting it.  Anyway here’s what I’m talking about…


The socks have had less time lavished upon them but only because I have to do the work thingy which I’m supposed to be getting ready for now. Anyway still love them they’ve pooled a bit but I’ve done a pair of increases which will maybe help.

Spinning has stalled but I have Wednesday, Sunday,Monday and Tuesday off due to a public holiday so I’m planning to make an effort to finish the blue Finn.

Anyhoo, off to work, taking the socks as I’m on public transport.

ttfn x

The grass is not greener…

…I have a habit of thinking it is, but really it’s not, it’s an optical illusion.

However, I can’t help myself some days. I have 2 projects on the needles and half a bobbin of spun yarn and really what I should have done today is crack on with them. What I did instead, was browse Ravelry for potential projects for stashed yarn, dreaming of their coming into being and how they would look and what I would wear with them.  I also browsed online yarn shops and fibre shops dreaming of the yarn I would spin.

The thing is, even if I were knitting those projects/spinning that fibre I would still be thinking about all the others, it’s hopeless really.

Still I imagine I am in good company here, there are such a lot of really lovely patterns to knit and yarn and fibre to lust after.  I should put it down to finding creative inspiration rather than idling my time away. There has been some (not much) knitting today, I turned the heel of my current sock in progress.

This is the first of the over the knee socks, I have 70 grams-ish of this skein (I’m planning to use a full skein or thereabouts for each sock).  Thankfully there is a cute cable running up the back seam to keep me amused and the yarn is delightful to knit with, such gorgeous colours!

My other WIP, Idlewood is still only a cowl, I’m about to start the raglan part.  However, I’m thinking that after dinner I might finish the bobbin of blue singles, that way I don’t feel like my day off has been completely wasted.

Happy knitting

Yay my mojo returned this week!  For various reasons, one simple reason is that the extremely hot day was just one day.  Though Spring does herald the inevitability of a hot Australian summer, bleurgh!  I wish my hubby would agree to me working for 6 months in the UK so I could have 2 winters.

Last Monday I started my Socktober project early but don’t tell the knitting police will you. They are the Delicious Knee high socks by Laura Chau and I’m knitting them with Noro Kureyon sock yarn.  The trouble was the heat made it really hard to work the tiny 2mm needles, I’ve since upped to 2.25mm to get gauge which is a huge relief I can tell you.  I’ve only got as far as the first stripe but already they are making me HAPPY Woohoo!

Stripy deliciousness, what’s not to love really?  (so long as you have air con)

Another thing that made me happy is the realisation that my stash that I’m no longer in love with needn’t weigh me down.  All I have to do is have a little destash, (thanks Katie and Jen) why did this not occur to me before?  I think I was holding on because I do love the colours and it’s not as if my stash is of considerable proportions, it’s quite modest really.  So if you are interested here is the page.

Here is the stash cupboard sans destash yarn, it looks so much better I think.  There is more room for more Skein sock yarn and the Shelter I need (only 3 colours) and more handspun.  Plus Sam’s jumper will start as soon as my Norovember project is off the needles.

The destash yarn now sit’s patiently in a space bag waiting for someone to love it and welcome it into their stash.

My other happy happenings this weekend were that I almost have 2 finished skirts, just some hand sewing to do and I had some friends round for a spinning afternoon.  Spinning with friends is so much fun, better that knitting in some ways because no one has to count stitches, rows or remember patterns so the conversation and beer can flow as we spin merrily on.  I finished plying the Gotland/Polwarth this morning.  My long draw technique is improving but I need to pedal slower as I’m creating too much twist for woollen spun yarn.  Pedalling slower is not easy for me, any tips?

Last week I also  Navajo plied some singles to make hexipuffs with, fun fun fun.

There’s a lot to be said for knitting and spinning what you love.  I know I’m a slow learner but I was brought up with a deep sense of duty, obligation and stoicism which I’m learning is not always a good thing.

ttfn x