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…


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.

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.

Wensleydale and Ripley

I have been very hard at play this week.

Here’s the blocked Ripley, a quick and easy knit out of leftovers from my Tea Leaves cardigan, and I still have leftovers from the leftovers.  This comes from being a cautious yarn purchaser and always purchasing an extra just in case skein.  I really liked creating the ripple, ingenious and fun.

Here’s a picture of me looking like a complete twerp wearing a wooly hat in 40 degrees. Oh it burns, it burns!

Ahhhh, here’s a lovely indoor picture of newly made Wensleydale yarn. It’s about 125metres or so and 11wpi depending on where you take it from. I tried really hard with this to produce a more consistent and balanced yarn.  It’s not quite there yet.  I started spinning quite fine singles, by that I mean very fine which while it looked pretty it was not what the yarn wanted to be so I ended up spinning thicker.  Spinning thicker does not come easily to me though. Also, I’m still having difficulty getting enough spin as the spindle fills and becomes heavier which causes me to drop the drop spindles frequently.   Practice makes perfect though, and I will continue to practice but I can’t decide which tops to spin next.  Which one? Which do you think I should knit?

While I decide I will continue to knit red scroll lace scarf, which I’m liking very much.

ttfn Melanie x


I finished Damson yesterday on the train to work.  I wove the ends in and blocked it last night after work, pinning the edging open.  Today I am wearing it with pride despite the few fudged areas where I lost the ability to count and follow simple knitting instructions.  I have to say you have to look closely to find them so I am trying to put the knowledge of them to the furthest recesses of my mind and not allow the perfectionist in me to dwell too much.

The photo was taken by my eldest son Sam, who really doesn’t enjoy taking photos of knitwear.   I think  Damson looks pretty and I will wear it often.  I had thought about knitting another one in red but Sonia talked me out of it, or rather we tossed a coin and the coin said no.

As the next KAL I’m participating in isn’t until March I am planning a few small projects, Ripley, Crofter’s cowl and a red Scroll Lace Scarf (I’ve decided I really need a red scarf and as I have not found a suitable match for the Amy Pond scarf, Scroll Lace it is, it is my favourite scarf pattern after all). I am also going to make a start on Farinelli because I need them in my wardrobe, you understand don’t you?

ttfn Melanie x

Feeling foolish and frustrated

It’s halfway through Socktober and some of my KAL pals have finished their socks and some have finished one sock and I’ve frogged my sock.

This act required quite a bit of deliberation, but now it’s done I feel… erm… kinda good… kinda bad.

The reason for frogging was thus.  I had decided to knit the socks toe up and so sort of smurging two patterns to get the desired outcome but.  My gauge was 10stitches per inch instead of 8 that the BFF required and the pattern wouldn’t work with the amount of stitches the toe up pattern’s maths suggested, so I went with the BFF medium size, a tad smaller than my actual foot size.  BIG MISTAKE!

Once the sock had got past the ball of my foot, as in where my foot gets deeper the sock got a bit tight.  How do I know this?  Well, because I tried them on as a good knitter should.  Trouble is I ignored what was staring me in the face or rather pinching me around the foot and knit on.  I knit the gusset, knit the short row heel, knit the heel flap.  Then, I tried the sock on again and well, what do you know?  The sock is not only too tight but too short. Ha! Foolish, foolish, deluded knitter the sock seemed to say.  At that point I had invested even more time to a sock that was only ever going to fail at fitting me.  I was I admit sorely tempted to ignore the slightly too tight, slightly too short sock and finish it.  However, I really want to knit a pair of socks from this beautiful orange yarn that fit me and do the yarn justice.

Now I have to decide whether to do the maths again and hope for the best possibly risking another frog-tastic disaster. Or, just knit a plain and simple toe up sock for me with a sprinkling of cables, thereby abandoning the knit-along fun-ness.

Here’s a picture to remind me I’m not completely crap.

In the end I went with the hook and eye option, I wasn’t feeling the buttons.  I may change my mind later, but hey ho!


Yay, it’s 10/10/10 which feels very auspicious and in this household it is, for at 1am this morning I completed Coraline barring attaching buttons/fastenings but more on that in a bit.

Firstly, pics of the lovely Coraline blocking

So about the project, as you all know she’s made from Wensleydale Longwool 8ply that I bought on my last holiday to England at baaramewe.  I absolutely adore this yarn it’s so pretty with a lovely sheen and bloom, great stitch definition and lovely in the hand.  In fact, last Thursday at Kensington SnB hostess Katie asked if we had to choose one yarn and only knit with that one yarn for the rest of our lives what would it be? I chose Wensleydale, I’m that in love with it, I can’t wait to  wear  this cardigan and knit with the yarn again.

As for the pattern, I cannot praise that high enough either, Ysolda Teague is a knitting genius, I believe the Elizabeth Zimmerman of our age.  It’s so clever and yet so simple at the same time.  I love the way the shaping is incorporated so seamlessly.  I wish I’d knit it sooner, it looked like a complicated pattern and I used a few techniques for the first time knitting this, but really it is simplicity itself to knit.  I love the smocking stitch, I love the icord cast on really despite previous frustrations, I even managed to kitchener the last 6 stitches on the neck quite well, I think the secret is to pull quite tight each stitch as you drop it.  I love the icord edging, for a while as I was knitting it I was worried as the cardigan edges seem to curl and not sit straight but blocking has cured all of that.  I also love the hem and the pleat effect around the sleeve ends and the icord cast off, it all just makes the cardigan look so neat and professionally knitted, an absolute joy.  I’m actually thinking about making another in some Zarina I have or perhaps buying some more Wensleydale, they do a lovely Aubergine and a really pretty Teal colour too.As far as mods go, I didn’t knit the short rows for the neck in the end as when I tried it on I thought the neck sat quite nicely and I prefer a wider neck. Otherwise I knit the cardigan exactly as printed.

The style of this cardigan is one that I find very flattering. I’m generally a pear shaped woman with good childbearing hips but also a fullsome bosom, so maybe a cello or vase or something, Trinny and Suzanna have me a bit confused on that score.  Anyhoo, this is the third cardigan I have knit in this style the first being Moch cardigan which I neglected to blog about, bad blogger! But here’s a photo

This is also a favourite pattern by Gudrun Johnston the Shetland Trader that I am also planning to knit again.  This one was knit in Pear Tree 8ply and gets lots of complements every time I wear it.

Anyway, back to the Coraline, the fastenings I am undecided on, either the broach in the pic and some discrete hook and eye fasteners along the smocking edges or three of the buttons or new buttons entirely.  I’m swaying more to the broach which I would site either at the top or bottom of the smocking detail.  It’s really pretty swarovski crystal and enamel from Accessorize eons ago when I lived in Harrogate and I have earrings in the same swarovski to match.  What do you think?

Setting the intention

In yoga class, before the asana’s or poses begin out teacher talks of “setting the intention” which means having firmly in our minds what the purpose of our yoga class is and therefore bringing our awareness to the here and now.  As yoga means unity, the unifying of mind, body and spirit so then we are focusing on only what we are doing in yoga class and not letting our minds wander into thoughts of whatever else…

This weekend I have set my knitting intention and that is to finish Coraline and have it blocked and buttons sewn on ready to wear on Monday.

One pretty little orange sock keeps trying to distract me though, vying for my attention with it’s seductive cables and whatnot.

I also woke up with an urge to spindle and the merino roving that I dyed with Jamsandwich is giving me come-hither looks.

This has never happened before, normally when I am on the home strait I power on with gusto, knitting till my hands ache and then knitting some more.  What is wrong with me? I am still excited to wear my lovely Coraline, I can assure you.  I must focus and resist all forms of temptation, I must, I must!


Just a quicky.

I just have to post because I have to tell you how much I’m enjoying knitting Coraline in the Wensleydale DK.  The reason, lustre and bloom in one hit nomnomnom.  I keep admiring it and marvelling at its beauty.

I’m back at work now, 10 hour shifts, so I don’t actually see any daylight, therefore, no natural light photos of the WIP only the original stash one to show, but here it is.

I’m so looking forward to finishing this cardigan, I’ve coveted it for so long.  If you’re interested, I bought my Wensleyadale at baa ram ewe, the best yarn shop ever! Knitting it’s bringing back some lovely memories of my jolly holidays *wipes away a tear*

BTW My sheepy tape measure has been named shlutty because she’s often passed around at SnB night and used by all the lovely knitters there and she rather likes it too! Oooooh!

Happy knitting

Edited to add that I think Shlutty is a Suffolk sheep because of her cute black face, but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.


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.