Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Back to the weaving

I'm half way through the third scarf on this warp and I'm very happy. I decided to combine the fine wool yarn I've been using throughout with a textured yarn. I tried a fine boucle, but it just got lost. So I chose a very fluffy knitting yarn and it has worked really well.

The next yarn will be about structure and using my 8 shafts. Just have to find a yarn that will work well on this open warp.

Hats and handwarmers finished. Just alot of sewing on buttons left to do.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Fingerless mittens

I thought I would make some fingerless mittens and wristies to go with my hats. It is interesting how fast I can turn these out now without having to think too much.

However, I am really happy with the third pair that I made. Well half made, I've only done one and haven't sewn on any buttons. Just giving you a look at the possibilities. These might be useful as you don't have to knit in the round, just make a square and sew on the buttons.

Monday, 28 April 2008


Yes, another hat. I think it's the last for the moment. I must get back to the weaving. Still not well, but it is Monday.

This one has a button on the back and the wool I used is the dyed commercial and the handspun of different unusual fibres. The colour does not photograph well and is really a lovely soft red.
I have also been reading one of my favourite magazines. I've purchased it twice, the first being lost somewhere between the coffee shop, supermarket and home.
This issue looks at artist' studios. Not the Vogue living studio, but real ones with mess and work and inspiration. Love looking at them. This New Zealand jeweller is amazing. Wouldn't you love a rock?

Sunday, 27 April 2008

More hats

I have been having way too much fun knitting another hat, and starting on another one. Still not feeling well, so planting myself in the lounge with my yarn, not having to think too much is just what I need.
This one starts the same as before, but every third row I do four increases, (one for each end of both sides?) as I still consider that I'm basically knitting a flat piece.
I am using my picker yarn and am very happy with the result. I just did as much as one skein would allow and the last row was both 'sides' cast off together.
I'm going to add dangling buttons to this. I think all might end up with buttons. Everyone loves buttons.....should collect more....

Saturday, 26 April 2008


I like the changes of seasons. Autumn and Spring in Melbourne are always unpredictable. Sunny days, cold mornings, rain, and all in one day. The purpose of Autumn is to remind us all Winter is coming and we should all be wearing handknit woollies.

In my garden Winter is heralded by the arrival of Wattle. I have all sorts of varieties in my garden, which mean that they start in Autumn and there is usually a last hurrah in Spring.
The Flinders Ranges wattle, shown here, is always the first. I suspect it thinks anything under 30C is winter, so that at the first sign it starts preparing. So here we are in April and it's blossoming. This plant and the other early bloomer, not quite yet, but the buds are there, is the Cootamundra Wattle. These two were given to us as a wedding present. They are starting to look a bit tired now, but still worth having.
One of the things about wattle is that they're not supposed to last very long. But these two are 16 years old, so I think are well worth the effort. Especially as they accompany us through the knitting season. (That is for those who stop knitting in warm weather!)
Bright colours for winter. Hope they inspire.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Ailing hats

I'm not feeling very well, sore throat and headachy. I tried weaving but my heart wasn't in it, so I decided to knit a hat.
These are easy, just cast on the required number of stitches, knit for as long as you feel like, a rib band is nice to start with, then cast off.
This is a little big but still sits nicely on the head. I'm going to add buttons to the corners for a bit of added weight.
Variations are endless. Really making it long, increasing to make it more triangular....
House cleaning today!

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Double-cloth pockets

Again, I've spent hours on the floor of my workshop adjusting my loom. I've added a new tie-up so that I can do some double-cloth pockets.

The loom is now sitting all even and perfect......again.

I've stuffed the pockets with a little wool top, which is actually looking quite 'pretty'. Not something I can usually achieve purposely. It will take a lot longer than the tabby, as I have to stuff as I go. The weave is so open, it moves very easily and a long pocket is almost impossible to stuff in one go. I was going to overdye this scarf, but maybe I don't need to. I'll see once I get it off the loom.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Weaving again

I love to weave. Just as well, as I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon on the (cold, concrete) floor setting up the loom to take advantage of all 8 shafts and to get it just right. I did make a mistake with the tie-up and had to re-tie most of it. The pedals are currently a bit high, I'll correct this when I do the tie-up for the next scarf.

I've decided to just wind a 10metre warp with some fine wool, it's sett quite wide (15epi), and weave as many scarves and samples as I can.

The sett is a bit too open, though I will perservere with it. This first scarf is plain tabby, which I will dye randomly. The next will have double-cloth pockets, stuffed with coloured wool tops, which I'm thinking of dyeing with tumeric! The next, I think, will have textured yarn to fill the very open weave and lastly, I'll do a weft faced twill of some sort.

I have threaded the warp so that I can do this, with areas that are threaded 1,2,3,4 and others 5,6,7,8. Not a straight threading. It will be interesting to see what I can achieve.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Chinese masks

Yesterday afternoon was spent exploring the world of masks. It was alot of fun.

I do seem to have a fascination with eyes at the moment. The world is watching! Or, perhaps more importantly, I want the world to watch......

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Generosity and kindness

It always makes me feel happy when people respond to the different activities that I participate in. In response to the upcoming newspaper and wire Experimental Spinning day in May, I've been sent two references to the most amazing people who spin newspaper and then weave and knit it. ( )

A lovely gentleman came all the way from Traralgon to the Guild meeting on Saturday to give me a bundle of telephone wire he had collected many years ago when hiking! We're going to call any resulting yarn 'Telecom yarn'.

And at the guild meeting, I was given an old catalogue from Coogi. They were an amazing knitwear company and the catalogue is just incredible. There are articles, like socks and ties, I didn't know they made, and the most wonderful designs. Unfortunately, in part because of the cheap copies that came out, they no longer exist. I guess we all have to remember our purchase choices do make a difference.

It was good going to the meeting. We taught an actor to drop spin for a play! Showed off the bridge cosy, which got good responses. And, of course, friends and fun.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Exploring and experimenting

Tuesday was spent exploring my design capabilities when it comes to Web page design. I was pretty happy with it. So with some trepidition I went to my classes, and asked Elias' (esteemed teacher) opinion. He liked it, offered a couple of small hints, and I went home happy.

I now have a whole lot more to learn and make the actual buttons, links, etc. work.

Lots of experimenting with my knitting machine. I've made several layers and stitched them together.

I've then burnt holes in the fabric. After this, you would never clothe your special bundles in anything but wool. It was very difficult to burn and keep it burning. I actually had to work very hard to burn in one spot, and one of my fabrics had some linen in it. I was very happy with the final result as there was charing left.

I then tied it up, wet it and left it to dry to see what I might achieve if shibori were applied to the final fabric to give it an added three dimensional look.

I've also been creating miles of icord, well not yet. Will finish off this lot and create some in wool boucle. These are all for our special project for the Australian Sheep and Wool Show.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Machine knitting layers

I guess I need to report on the weekend. Lots of tennis for the boys, and watching by me. The Sunday market was busy with one of our best crowds. However, the general, but not all, consensus was that we were bit of a gallery....they weren't spending money. Thankyou to all who did. I sold a scarf and have a commission for another. This is lovely as both these mean that I can make some interesting scarves as one was a silk scarf and the other my sayings scarf, which really did need to be translated into something a bit more practical.
I've started playing with the idea of creating a texture by layering machine knit fabric that is loose with holes, maybe even creating more holes by burning! I will be careful and will purchase a fire blanket for my studio before proceeding.
I am very happy with the first sample, however, the second is too neat, though there are some interesting holes around the edges.
I need to use some different tones and see what I get.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Cuffs for me

It's a weird week. I do seem to be pre-occupied by the idea that I might not sell anything on Sunday. This is stifling what should be a week of excited and productive frenzy!
Anyway, in such a state, I thought I'd make something for myself. So I made these cuffs, which are a bit cute and I edged my unfeltable scarf with some crochet, just to straighten it a bit, and I'm going to wear them Sunday.
This is the problem with having only one market, if you don't have much success, it's a whole month till the next one.....wish me luck!

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Printing at its best

A glorious day. I did a complete change of my cube. Still working out how to keep it fresh and encourage sales. Hopefully optimistic is probably how you would describe my frame of mind. Roll on the cold weather.

As I've decided to use this day to see galleries, I thought I would go the the exhibition at the State Library called 'the Medieval Imagination'. Illuminated manuscripts, including some from Cambridge. They were an absolute delight ranging from the Divine, contemplative to the Secular. I must admit I particularly like the decoration around the pages. The pictures are, of course, important, however, to add this extra beautiful detail just astonishes me.

It made me think of how to do things that are slow. Slow in the creation, as if each part is important for itself. To do something for its own sake, that takes time and effort. I love the idea of the Book of Hours, where for important times, there is something to contemplate.

I wondered in and out of this exhibition, there is a lot to see, purchased the fabulous catalogue and vowed to come again. It is on till the 15th June. Well worth a visit, especially if you like books.

On arrival home, my mail order copy of Selvedge was waiting for me. I love this. In particular an emphasis on paper. As we're going to attempt to combine newspaper and wire at the next Experimental Spinning this is definitely coming along.

I love beautiful things to look at.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Quick post

Just to let you know, scarf is knit with machine-washable wool. (I hate machine-washable wool, who would put anything handknit in a machine anyway!) It didn't felt.

Must have lost the CD that goes with the Fireworks book, so much more difficult to do sample exercies, slow and annoying.

Grrrh, bad day.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Fabric and knitting

Yesterday was supposed to be hard working, get ready for the next market day, unfortunately, the day was eaten up with washing, cleaning, catching up with friends, ailing, as it turned out. I didn't get to do anything till late at night, so I decided to work on a project that had been given some reality on our trip to Harrietville.

At Red Ramia in Myrtleford amongst all the treasures they have there, and there are alot, were loads of Japanese fabrics. I bought this one.

The project I have in mind is to cut up the fabric, (sorry to all who care about the fabric as a whole) and attach to a length of machine knitted wool. Scarf length, so I can have a finished product and it is a good test. I'm then going to felt it and see what happens. I actually have no idea what I'm aiming at, just hoping for an interesting result.

Red Ramia is a wonderful shop in Myrtleford full of Japanese clothing, fabric, furniture, bits and pieces. In particular, I love the calligraphy brushes. All sorts of sizes with the most exquisite handles made of wood, jade, all sorts. They've now included Morrocan ware and will be making a trip to India. It's a large fascinating shop, well worth a visit

Monday, 7 April 2008

Spinning and Yarn Magazine

A very enjoyable weekend spent Experimental Spinning on Saturday. I'm not sure I got much spinning done, but did get to practice my long draw. I thought it would be ideal for using when including 'bits' but wasn't as successful as I'd hoped. Perhaps more practice is needed.
We then spent some time going over our entry for the Australian Sheep and Wool Show which is coming along very well. We've got colours, ideas and can start spinning natural coloured yarns and doing icords to our hearts content. The next 3D5S meeting in April will continue this planning. After that we need to get down to some serious production. Again, the process is proving to be very enjoyable with everyone contributing.
Sunday, I did pick up the bridge cosy and will be displaying it at the HWSG meeting in two weeks. Had a lovely cup of tea on the verandah looking at the beautiful forest, we even managed to be on the same time, as we'd both forgotton it was the end of daylight saving!
I have been poring over the latest edition of Yarn magazine. As you may know, it was in danger of being lost, however, some intrepid people have taken over and we have their first edition. There's lots of reading, which I do enjoy. I don't really collect the patterns. I do like how they range over a wide variety of yarn ideas. Silk being this editions focus. And it's Australian.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Yarn stash scarves

Well it's all back to business with a working group meeting for the 9x5 QMM market, which is next Sunday (13th April), and all the planning that goes with it. With a new co-ordinator, hopefully we'll be back to being organised and a little less hands-on involvement.
This made me think about the next market, and, my idea to use the skills from the bridge cosy to knit really big, thick, chunky scarves, which might not take too long to spin up and knit. This proved to be the case with the first 'orange' scarf. It is very orange and bright.
Hopefully, this will fit the bill of a quick turnover item during the winter months, which I hope will be long, cold and not wet on the Second Sunday of the month!
Today is Experimental Spinning day, we'll be happily spinning Corriedale, well a little bit, woollen spinning, if I can remember how, all combined with 'bits'. Should be fun.

Friday, 4 April 2008

The weekend fibre sandwich

One of the workshops at Harrietville was Viv's fibre sandwich. This is a wonderful group activity which results in much laughter, sharing and exhuberant yarns. As I've already participated in one, I didn't do this workshop. However, she decided to run an open for the whole weekend, for anybody to contribute either 50gm or 100gm, for which they would receive the appropriate amount back. This I had to be in!

Well the fibre turned into a rather large pile, as you can see, chair high. It really was!
Over 40 people participated with over 80 bags distributed. It felt like Christmas had arrived early with Santa giving out little bags of joy for good girls!

I have now put it through my drum carder and spun it all up. I will ply it with some black and some white, as before, though I am a little tempted to find some purple and use that. Have to have a think about that!

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Computerised dyeing

The workshop at Harrietville run by Carmel and Jan was inspired by the self striping yarns created for sock knitting.

They've come up with a way to 'replicate' that process, which involves measureing out your yarn in an approximately 40ft skein and dyeing and tying with plastic. It was actually alot of fun. My skein was coloured with left over dye, so is perhaps not quite the colours I would choose.

I chose to crochet a scarf, rather than socks and to use a wave pattern. (3dc, 2htr, 2tr, 3dtr, 2tr, 2htr repeated, with a dc row in between). I quite like the effect.

I have a small ball left over, a result of not winding a tight enough ball on my ball winder...I should have been able to get the lot on, but it has given me the opportunity to make another set of cuffs....I only have to find a suitable crochet pattern to create a frilly edge.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Bridge Cosy

Ah yes Harrietville. On the return trip from Harrietville last year, after a conversation with another participant, my driver and I decided we needed to do something special, both for the weekend participants and the people of Harrietville. After much brainstorming, laughter, and 'we must be mad!', etc., we decided on making a scarf for the bridge at Harrietville.

Logistical considerations meant that we needed to enlist help and a number of people were roped in. After a minimal stash busting exercise we had more than enough to ply together and knit into a long scarf. More helpers were roped in and the length was transported to Harrietville for installation late Friday night.

Enlisting another helper at the last miniute and then trying to be as quiet as far does the sound of giggles for the scientists!...we laid it out and found we had just the right amount to cover the length of the walkway side of the bridge and bows in each end around the columns.

Immediate response was quiet as the interest built through the day, puzzling most people, and we were able to keep it secret till the Saturday night when we announced ourselves as the culprits. It was a wonderful success as an installation, but also such a wonderful process, working/playing with my wonderful friends.

At the end of the weekend all that was left were these bags!

PS. No stashes were harmed in the making of this scarf!