Tuesday, 28 April 2009


When people ask me if I have a lot of UFO's, I can honestly answer 'no'. If you look at my current set of projects, I think you can see that this is a fair response. I have a pair of socks I'm currently knitting for myself. These have been put aside by the knitting of a blanket for Woolybutt's bushfire appeal.

I have a couple of fingerless mittens, waiting for buttons and a scarf that requires a fastener. This is fair game as I am confident these will be finished and find their way to my Etsy shop.

I have also some UFO's that will be frogged because they're experiments that haven't quite worked out. I usually wait for inspiration and these cause me no problems.

You can see from this that I'm happy with the state of affairs and I like to keep it that way.

So WHY, after reading an article in the latest 'Yarn Forward' magazine about frogging, a subject I don't need any further information on, and while a pleasant read didn't afford much in the way of new information, did I end up with:

This is a jumper that I've had for many years, it started out as this:

It came from a pattern book called 'The Creators' published in 1986, which is when I purchased it. It does, nowadays often appear in op shops. I don't know why as I still like looking at it and it has some interesting designs. You might have guessed the era from the hairstyle and makeup?

I have worn this jumper to death. It's very open and catches on everything and finally there are too many snags/holes to look good. To emphasize the age, when I frogged the seaming was in back stitch and I can't remember the last time I used back stitch, mattress stitch being my preferred method of finishing off my knitting.

I don't need a new project, not just yet, but I will skein up the balls wash it and contemplate when to start on this:

From the latest Designer Knitting (Vogue knitting - still not really used to the new name). I figure that in our hot climate, I can't really justify another jumper.
And really, all I want to do is start!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Onion skins

Friday and today have been days to cook up onion skins and create some new yarns to work with.
The idea was to mordant with copper coins then dye with red onion skins.
Unfortunately I think I've learnt something I've suspected for some time: silk is selfish and steals all the mordant and dye. The change from the previous dyeing wasn't great, however, upon first putting the silk in the dyepot it turned yellow then proceeded to take up the brown.
They all did turn out lovely as I removed the silk early, put back the copper coins and left the wool in.
It's a lesson well learnt, but now I have some lovely yarns for next week.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Knitting on the train

The first few months of this year have been hectic as I try to incorporate my new studies into my already busy schedule. Having made it to Term 2 in one piece I feel a bit more in control of the schedule. The house is still a mess, there is way too much 'just in time' management and I'm still not drawing enough. (Drawing the foundation for everything!) But, hey....

Mondays are sculpture class. This is what I wanted to do the most. The teacher is terrific and is busy teaching us the tools of the trade. We've done a cardboard mock up of a sculpture we're turning into a finished wooden sculpture. I've learnt to use a jigsaw and am currently trying to figure out how to cover wood in plastic!

As I've mentioned before, one of the benefits of going into the city is knitting on the train. Yesterday was some fingerless mittens knit from some dyed yarn from First Editions. (That stop is Euroa is really dangerous!) I wanted a stitch that would show off the small dots of colour and thought that some sort of slip stitch effect would be good.

What I came up with (I'm sure there's a stitch in a dictionary somewhere, but I was in the train!) was to yrn twice on every second stitch and slip that on the return purl row. Then alternate that.
As I knit it on the train it unfolded and was lovely and I was happy!.

Today, I off to SnB Rosanna, just a quick trip as I'm off to Ivanhoe Library to give a talk to their Creative Craft group. So if you're in Ivanhoe from 11-12pm, come and see me.

Monday, 20 April 2009

More on holidays and spinning

Going on holiday with your family is about time spent with each other without the distractions of work, washing and various electronic devices. I'm not a fan of the term 'quality time', spending time in itself is enough. I enjoy wandering around a gallery looking at art with my son, but I also enjoy sitting around a table listening to the boys argueing about football (not my favourite topic!)

At home it's sit down, eat as fast as possible and return to whatever you were doing before. At a restaurant you have to take time to order drinks, read menus, wait for everything and wait for everyone to might as well enjoy the company.

Going on holiday also means leaving work behind, closing the Etsy shop, cleaning the house (well making it presentable enough that you don't groan upon return!) and warning partner to minimise use of Blackberry.
I must admit that I did take the fibre sandwich from Harrietville with me and during quiet times spun it all up on the CD spindle. It went quicker than I thought and when I got home I plied it with the never ending bobbin of purple.
I decided to create a bit more texture by creating a bead yarn. This means allowing one single to wrap around the other rather than evenly plying. It's basically a matter of different tensions. I held the fine purple single firmly and the lovely fibre sandwich single quite loosely. I love the finished yarn.
I've decided not to sell this skein but will make me a pair of buttoned fingerless mittens. I'll wear them everywhere and show off.....a little bit!

Friday, 17 April 2009

CD Spinning

I've been spinning on my CD spindle while I was away in Sydney.

Tomorrow is the 9"x5" Quality Makers Market, about to be renamed to the Ivanhoe Makers Market, and I'll be there spinning the rest of this top from First editions that I bought on my way to Harrietville this year.

Last month was my Autumn sale and proved to be reasonably successful. We're currently trying ways to improve the market and get more stallholders and attract more visitors.

Come and see us!

PS Don't you just love a photograph on a glass table?

School holidays

For the school holidays this year we decided to take a family trip to Sydney. The boys were keen to go, though, when pressed, had no idea why? It's a big city? We drove up, stopping overnight at Bowral - home of the Bradman Museum. Yes, we did visit this amazing museum, obviously well funded and extensive in its' coverage of both Don Bradman and cricket.

For the textile lovers amongst you, there was even an exhibition of the baggy green cap and it's construction. For the non-cricketers, it is the cap that is presented to players when they make the Australian cricket side. Iconic.

Bowral is in the Southern Highlands, about an hour out of Sydney and is very picturesque. This is the scene from our rooms that greeted us in the morning.

More about the trip later....

I did, however, want to tell you about the wonderful exhibitions I managed to catch in Sydney.
The first, at the Gallery of NSW was the exhibitions associated with the Archibald Prize (portraiture), the Wynne Prize (landscape) and the Sulman prize (everything else!)
My oldest came along and it was great to have someone to discuss the various works with and what 'should' have won, etc. etc. Yes, he is still happy to be seen in public with his mother. He also came in handy as at approximately 6'4" (sorry not metric for height) we used him as our meeting point, as he's easy to spot above the crowds.
The Art Gallery of NSW is always worth a visit, if only for their very excellent Australian painting collection. All the ones you know! See what's on there at:
The other exhibition I wanted to catch was 'I walk the line: new Australian drawing" at the Museum of Contemporary Art on Circular key. My drawing teacher has work in this exhibition (loved it - portraiture on books on the shelf). This was a broad survey of drawing ranging from stunning strong portraiture, through a traditional drawing executed directly onto the two storey wall of the gallery, to, video works....all drawing!
On a whim, I caught an exhibition by a japanese artist named Yayoi Kusama. I am always drawn to Japanese art and culture, so much so that I wish I could work out a way to travel and study something(???) there. The exhibition was called 'Mirrored Years' and it was absolutely astounding. It too was a survey exhibition covering a broad range of her work.
I can only recommend that you have a look at her work on her website: There are pictures from the exhibition in Sydney there. Wikipedia also have an entry for her:
The exhbition is on till the 8th June, so if you're in Sydney have a look. For more on the gallery have a look at
The power of all these exhbitions for me was their breadth. Landscape, drawing, an art life, can be as broad, as diverse as you make it. Landscape can be 'Red reef', a crocheted reef (Yes, I know it's be done before, interesting though that it turned up here and it was well done.) A drawing can be a three dimensional work, intricately executed. And an artistic life can explore different ideas over a long time. (Yayoi Kusama was born in 1929 and is still producing amazing new work)
There was much to think over and absorb.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Another fibre sandwich

For the second year in a row, the HWSG weekend in Harrietville had a group fibre sandwich. The originator of this wonderful weekend long build was unable to be there, but in her honour one was built and she will be receiving her bundle.

This was the pile that was created and duly split up into about 60 bundles.

This was mine.

As it is the school holidays we've decided to have a holiday with the boys, so I'm closing down all activities, blog, shop, etc.

However, it isn't a holiday without something to do. Even I'm not that good.

I decided that I would card the fibre sandwich and spin it on my new CD drop spindle. This sounds slow and relaxed to me.
I carded the lot in one go, which is rather more than you 'should'. So the bits that were left over were carded, separately and just laid on top. I'm going to split it up across and create a rolag rather than spin it in a worsted way. Should be fun. I'll probably ply it with purple again, when I get back.
There are a few holiday projects packed away, but more of that when I'm back.
I do however, promise to sketch......

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Catching up

I seem to be quite behind in my blogging. SnB, Harrietville, magazines, art, all are beckoning. My mornings have become short (which is when I can work on the computer - quiet, no boys, access....) and that is a subject for another entry.....later.

However, I have to start somewhere.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I've just subscribed to Piecework and that it had arrived and I really liked the idea for a 'Sontag'. The issue I received focused on textiles for reenactment. Not something I really am interested in, I always like to learn from the past but use it in a modern context. However, Piecework didn't let me down and there are a number of really interesting projects: a 17th Century undershirt, Civil war socks and a Sontag. As always the articles are interesting and the issue is dotted with wonderful old photographs.

The Sontag was named apparently after a German Soprano and also called a 'bosom friend'. It was used for extra warmth, though I feel today in our air-conditioned world, it would add that little extra warmth we need, rather that big jumpers.

I can imagine this is a fantastic novelty or big slubby yarn, totally changing the look.

I am keen, at the moment to come up with some sort of 'little' warmer for sale. Not great big jumpers, just a little something to keep you warm.