Friday, 28 November 2008

The tale of the fractal hat

This fractal spinning is strangely addictive. However, this time I wanted to change a few of the parameters.

1. Big blocks of colour that I wouldn't need to work too hard to split, and I hoped would show up the effect gained by all that splitting.

2. Thick spinning. To be honest, I just wanted to spin something that wouldn't take too long. I ended up with a yarn at 4wpi, and it was quick!

3. I actually wanted to make something with the resulting yarn, just to see what happens.

So I spun my yarn, and I knit a hat. I just love it. It sits very nicely, even though this is just a bit small for me. That's OK, because I have a big head....and yes, I've heard all the comments about that one.......

So a lovely couple of days spent making this and I've got most of the second skein left over. Just don't know quite what to do with it.

On the inspiration front, I am kicking myself as I missed the opening of the RMIT Studio Textiles and Screen Print Graduate Exhibition last night. (Don't know how, as I've been carrying the invite around with me all week) I will be going, just not sure when. It's always inspiring and you get to see really innovative and new work. If you can, go!

Unfold - RMIT Studio Textiles and Screen Print Design Graduate Exhibition
28th November - 19th December
Counihan Gallery in Brunswick
233 Sydney Road, Brunswick.
Wednesday to Saturday 11am to 5pm
Sunday 1pm to 5pm

PS I've added the blogs of people I know to my front page. There are regular and irregular bloggers and I like them all.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Spinning Chocolate

I've had a little bit of chocolate fleece sitting there waiting for a suitable project. As it was a gift, something at least interesting was called for. Chocolate is obviously the answer.

I spun two skeins. Each created in the same way but with different chocolate crops. The first was some chocolate coloured tops. I just pulled a little out, made a soft knot and sandwiched these between two layers of the fleece, then drum carded, just the once. The second was drops of colour from some multi-coloured alpaca fleece tops.

Spinning was a breeze, as I just wanted a rough, thick spun yarn. I'd like to knit a hat, but I don't think I have enough, so I might create a third yarn using the chocolate top with alpaca drops.

Whilst working on these, I have been delighted by the way the online community works. I've been reading the lovely Kat ( purchaser of my fingerless mittens from Etsy. Entering someone else's world, a world away, is just amazing.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Spinning all weekend

With a wet weekend, cancelled sporting committments and no reason to go out, I decided to spend the weekend spinning. Remember this...

...well it turned into this....

I was, however, disappointed. The tops that I'd bought were a beautiful colour, however the dyeing had caused some felting, not too bad and it may have actually helped with splitting the roving. However, the dye had not penetrated evenly through the roving which meant that there were a lot of pale areas which dulled the final skein.

This is a good lesson for when buying dyed tops or rovings, just check how well the dye is distributed by doing a little digging.

As this was more fractal spinning, I managed to split the second half quite a few times though my guessing of half was a little out, so you can see that I have a small skein that I Andean plied.

The next exercise with the fractal spinning that I want to try is to use distinct colours and see what happens. I have a bag of red in the garage!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008


3D5S visited Handorf's chocolate cafe ( and were able to take pictures of this beautiful product.

As inspiration they have everything: beautiful to look at, luscious to taste, sticky to touch, I'm not always sure what smells of chocolate conjur up, and I must say that they are a bit silent, though descriptions of each of them do elicit 'mmmmmmm' sounds.

Chocolate itself reminds me of silk and of course, what delightful colours are dropped into the centres. The repetition of shape also can suggest pattern.

I have a small amount of chocolate coloured fleece that was given to me and I did want to do something special....All I have to do is find the right filling.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Christmas is coming

Ok, I've made some Christmas decorations. I'm very pleased with them. They knit with gold lurex, and if someone would tell me where my silver lurex is, I'll be very happy and make some more.
However, for something really gorgeous to look at try this online exhibition: 'Van Gogh and the colours of the night' at
It's gorgeous and very well designed. I haven't quite had a good look yet. If you're computer doesn't want to view it, there is some neat programming here, don't miss out, head off to your library or best geek friend for a view.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Inspiring textile artists and socks!

I managed to make a start on my new pair of socks, yesterday at SnB. Aren't they bright. I've had to use a smaller size needles than recommended for the wool, 2.5mm fours seem to be as rare as hen's teeth. As they fall between the traditional English sizings (12 and 13) this might explain it.

As usual, I've had trouble deciding on the start. I'm following the Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's book 'Knitting Rules' and decided on my cast-on, which varied considerably from her own sizes. This put me in a bit of a tiz...fortunately I decided to go with my measurements and have now decided that all is well. So some happy bright knitting as SnB for awhile.

I also picked up a copy of Craft Arts International (Issue 74) as it does contain several articles on textile artists. This is a love/hate magazine for me. I love it, because it is always beautifully photographed, it's full of craft shown as art, it covers Australia and surrounds. I hate it, because it doesn't always show textiles and currently there seems to be alot of glass and woodwork. Both of which I love, but sometimes a little too much.

There is much to love in this issue, in particular an article on an artist by the name of Nora Fok titled 'Organic wearable forms'. They are stunning. As my final pieces for my diploma of art were inspired by sea creatures, these are particularly relevant to me. They're made of monofilament mostly and are knitted, knotted, woven and dyes. They are outrageously wearable and have inspired me to take another look at my scarves, etc, and see if I can push them a little further.

A profile, again of interest, is on Kim Simon of Fibre Red , as she was a contemporary at RMIT where we both were studying our Diploma of Art, both of us very part time. Her clothing is fabulous, I should own a piece before she gets too famous.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Christmas decorations

I have been convinced by those wiser than I, (and lack of sales at the 9x5 market) that I need to make something little for Christmas. Something that people can spend a little bit of money on. Whilst not making my fortune this way, it may make me feel happier on a quiet sales day, especially when there are lots of people!
However, I find it very difficult to contemplate making Christmas trees and cute things. Finally, I started playing with hyperbolic crochet. Basically, starting with a chain or circle, keep increasing to see what you get.
This is my first attempt. The curly thing! has been done before but is quite effective and the other curls in on itself so that I almost get a ball.

My second attempt with green, red and gold was a bit fine and the two colours together, started to look like mud, and nearly a ball.
My last attempt with red and gold gave me a curly thing that is satisfactory, though I want to make one more set of changes to make it a bit more 'mine'.
The balls have evolved into a flatter thing with curls, which is starting to feel quite good.
This is the process of making sure something is going to work and allows me to give things a particular flavour and still make something quite fun and hopefully decorative.
The next part of the process is to get the colours right. A real red, a bright green and white as white. I have lurex in gold, white and silver (can't find the's somewhere!)
I would also like to make some with beads, but maybe I'll leave that for another time!

Friday, 7 November 2008

Mosaic knitting

The first UFO is finally finished...if only there weren't so many buttons! I've had some good suggestions for a group name...I like a 'fleet of UFO's' or a 'distraction of UFO's'...the only thing I have to say, is that it's still there.

I had leftover yarn from another project and decided to try some Mosaic knitting. It ended up being quite successful, with all that leftover yarn disappearing, there's now only a small ball of cream left and just enough yellow to go into the compost bin, a fine effort!

I did try this stitch at first thinking I would make a scarf, but, of course, the back is fairly unattractive. Making them into these fingerless mittens was just perfect. Using the fairisle idea of only changing one colour at a time ensured that the colours used in each one matched sufficiently to look purposeful, even though the original colours were not chosen to match each other.

Off to the guild today to 'work' in the library. A pleasurable pastime.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Another pair of socks

What happens when you're heading into Summer, we're all knitting socks. Well a few of us at SnB are, here are my finished socks.

They just need some ends sewn in and they'll be wearable. I learnt a new cast off, a knitted Kitchener stitch. I was a bit awkward, as it isn't designed to be used by a Continental knitter, but I'll manage. I was a bit tight, but that's the 'P' work - practice!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Seaweed is endlessly fascinating

I hope you all had a successful flutter on the Melbourne Cup. Two of the four of us managed to pick 2nd and 3rd place getters. Good luck to you if you picked Viewed.

We usually spend the long weekend at the beach, this time managing to get down on Sunday afternoon and staying till Tuesday afternoon. It's always a relaxing atmosphere and I always wonder how to maintain the feeling when I get back to Melbourne..????

Anyway, this was another chance to add to the seaweed collection. Not many different types, though I always love the colours and forms of those I found. A new discovery was, don't do this when walking with someone else...."I thought we were walking.."......"We are, I'm just stopping to take photos...."

Saturday afternoon was Experimental Spinning and we spun with cotton, wrapping it around a core. I love cotton, having spun it a few times. It is challenging because it is such a short fibre, but creating punis (mini-rolags using your hand-carder) or using a core, as we did, makes spinning so much easier. Ginned cotton has a very satisfying texture, being full of lumps and bumps. (Question: I do wonder how cotton is processed to remove these?) The resulting yarn is beautiful and soft.

Off to SnB today, yes, we couldn't miss it for a week!