Sunday, 31 May 2009

What did I finish this week?

I've decided that I'm going to document the articles that I finish each week.....just in case you're interested in anything. Most will end up in my Etsy shop, but not always. I often don't put things on for a variety of reasons: the main being time, however, photographs are often the reason. If I don't feel that I've managed to give a good indication of colour, texture or form, I'll leave them to my market stall, so people can see them for real. Occasionally, I have articles that I need people to feel or try on because they're a bit odd!

So here they are for this week:

Red Onion with Alum mordant dyed silk scarf with folds

2 skeins of chocolate centres yarn (100gm and 90gm)

Purple fingerless mittens with bobbles down the edge of the buttons. (sold)

Doesn't feel like alot of stuff, but there is a pile of fingerless mittens still to put buttons on and more chocolate fleece to spin!

So, if you're interested in anything, don't hesitate to contact me:

Friday, 29 May 2009


Isn't it lovely to be surprised? Surprised by the sudden view out of the kitchen window or the generosity of a friend.

In my letter box a gift from a friend, and lots of fun sorting them all out.
A thankyou gift is required.......

These crows and more of their friends settled in our big tree. Against the sky a perfect black and white study.
Gratitude all round.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Past midnight

Sometimes you just have to finish things. Not for any particular reason, except perhaps, that if it goes on much longer I'm going to start disliking this!

So, last night, I finished spinning the 2nd single in a slightly fluffier, heavier way and plyed it with the buttons, finishing just past midnight.

Note: it takes a long time to add buttons to the yarn, but is surprisingly satisfying.

I'm now washing the yarn and am looking forward to finding out what it weighs. Not usually a big issue, I'm guessing 150gm, but what will the buttons add?

I've now got enough fleece left for a chocolate wrapper yarn, if only I can find where I left the wrapping!

PS. It's call 'Chocolate centres'

Saturday, 23 May 2009


Thursdays are my full day of my course. In the morning I have 'Artists and Exhibitions'. This involves visiting and talking about all sorts of exhibitions which will culminate in an 800 word essay in a few weeks.

This week we visited the John Brack exhibition at the NGV Ian Potter Centre. It was amazing. I think most of us are familiar with his Collins st painting but over the 50 years of his painting life he created a portrait of his world in all sort of styles and on all sorts of subjects. The exhibition is big and having spent all morning there, I was convinced that I needed at least one more visit.

The exhibition is on till August some time and it's well worth a visit to see this iconic Australian artist.

My own personal response focused on the objects he used to represent the human condition, in particular the pencils and pens. I just love the way these inanimate objects become alive and the way he distorted surfaces and space to give you a particular view of things. This he did with alot of his paintings.

He also included beautiful rugs in many of his portraits, in particular the nudes. Apparently to show a connection to the past and to add colour and texture, I couldn't help trying to make more of them. Just showing my biases.

With the exhibition running through my head, this is what I came up with.

The other half of Thursdays is devoted to painting. I'm currently working on my first oil on canvas and large painting. It's a cityscape and for the moment I'll keep it to myself. More news later as it develops.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

I need chocolate!

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday, I managed to sell a record amount, enough in fact to meet my, very loose, target for the month. I'm particularly pleased as it was a variety of work that sold to new, returning, friends and fellow stallholders. I met a fellow Etsy traveller whose work is amazing ( and I think made some new fans.

Unfortunately, all the delight of the day was tempered with the performance of the market. It was much better than last month, so must be put in the work-in-progress basket. Next month we relaunch with a new name 'Ivanhoe Makers Market', hopefully with sufficient publicity to make it a wonderful market. As usual our visitors remarked on both the beautiful space that we inhabit and the wonderful work it contains......fingers crossed.

I've come home to more spinning. I managed to finish my 'chocolate drop' yarn for the market and it was renamed by a lovely friend of the market as 'tim tam' and I think it might have to have a identity change.

I'm now spinning 'chocolate centres' which consists of spinning a fine-ish single and threading buttons on as I go. A little bit tedious and there are other methods, I just wanted the buttons to be a well integrated as I can. I'm going to spin a fluffier single to match. I am enjoying the play of worsted and woollen spinning and the change in texture and colour you can get just by employing a different spinning method.

The naturally chocolate coloured fleece that I'm spinning should have enough for another yarn, so 'chocolate wrapper' springs to mind. In my compost bin (full of bits of leftover yarns, etc) was some silk fabric that was leftover from my silk scarves. If I have enough I'll add it as I ply.

Now all I have to do is see if I can find some real chocolate!

Sunday, 10 May 2009

A perfect world!

Happy Mothers Day to all mothers, may the day bring you joy and love.

My boys made me breakfast: pancakes, fruit, juice, coffee and even a newspaper outside in our lovely garden on a beautiful Autumn morning. I even received a new Bill Bryson book. So apart from this rotten cold, this is just the way I like mothers day....

And sometimes you just know when you've got it right. Just one pattern row into this latest fingerless mitten and I knew it was right.

Multi coloured yarns are always a challenge. You buy/dye them in awe of the beautiful colour combinations only to struggle to keep that beauty in the finished product.

One of the approaches I like to use is the slip stitch. This one is from 'The Harmony Guide to Practical Knitting Stitches'.

I've been madly knitting pairs of squares for my fingerless mittens as I'm about to get back into Incube8r. This Wednesday in fact. I'm very excited, and hopeful. I've bitten the bullet and booked a higher level cube, I think I can make it look a bit better and it's worthwhile having a go.

Here, are my pile from the previous week all waiting for their buttons to be sewn on: about 100 in all! Isn't the slip stitch pattern gorgeous?

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Colour Inspiration

I don't usually post about blogs I read. Most people I know keep track of far more than me and I tend to preach to the converted. However, there is one blog I'm continuously fascinated by:

The latest post that I've seen is a colour palette of pets, including a picture for all you spinners and knitters out there: They also include pictures on a topic:
fog and sea dragons have been my latest most fabulous set of pictures.

I'm off today to Craft Victoria's emerging artist market today, Craft Hatch at the City Library. Have a look at their website: guess who's going to be at the next market in June (yeah!) and then we'll call in at the Rose St market: We're looking for a present for our niece, who's about to turn 19. (Happy birthday Hayley)

There's always something to look at!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

The saga of the red onion skins continues

Wednesdays is drawing day. All morning I stand and draw. The standing is hard (my back doesn't appreciate the continuous upright and still position. It would be alright if I was walking, but walking and sketching at the same time.......) however, drawing is wonderful. My teacher, Peter, is terrific, if somewhat manic and I've learnt so much even in this short time.
Today was hatching, which is a way of getting tone into a drawing. The setup involved a jacket on a dummy (well, light stand to be perfectly correct) against a window which gave strong tonal contrasts.
Using a felt tip pen, so no errors could be erased, I managed to do a reasonable drawing, learning alot about observation of light, medium and dark tones and learning to start as lightly as possible and building up the drawing. I do tend to be heavy handed which can at times result in very dark drawings.
More practice.
Anyway, this week I also managed to include some more red onion skin dyeing. I've seen a lime green obtained but up to now have failed to obtain anything approaching it. Until now. I used an alum mordant and then put in the red onion skins.
I dyed the silk first and then the wool. For the sake of saving water, I mordanted the silk first then put in onion skins in the same bath and returned the silk. The wool was dyed, in the same water, where I added more red onion skins and alum at the same time. Seemed quite successful to me.
And magically, here is the result. I am very happy, they are beautiful colours.
The interesting thing is the silk dyed so differently than the wool and the variation between the different skeins of wool was also very interesting.
I am going to do one more dye run. I have an approximately 200gm skein, which I will dye and probably put up for sale. These will go into scarves and fingerless mittens.
I'm not sure what I'll do next: brown onion skins or rosemary. What a lovely dilemma to have.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

A tale of two skeins

Remember my CD drop spindling on my holidays, well this is the second half of the 100gms of First Editions tops.

I then plied both with some soft beautiful light blue reeled silk that I had in my stash. (Don't know how it got there, I'm not really a light blue person, but how can you doubt the wisdom of the stash and the choice of the perfect colour?)

These are the resulting skeins:

Now I don't know if you can tell but they're differents.

The one on the right is the holiday skein. It's beautiful with a slight wrapping to ensure the tops are highlighted. I love this skein.

The other is the home skein. It's finer - I was trying for the same, it's pulled apart in several places and whilst, on it's own is a lovely skein, I can't sell it.

I can't in all honesty sell a skein the knitter is going to have to manage. I'll knit it up and where it's week, I'll rejoin and generally work around. This is definitely NOT what people expect when they purchase handspun wool.

But what is the difference? Spinning on holiday, Spinning at home in front of the television. And maybe I've answered my own question - relax and concentrate!

Happy spinning!