Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Just some finished things

Here are the finished articles referred to in previous posts. Just so you know I do finish things!

Firstly, the mystery socks. I slowed down once the last page was sent out, and then they sat waiting for the toes to be grafted. Finally, they're finished, I've worn them and I like them. Just perfect for jeans. Now, I need some new shoes.....

Oh, and, yes, I do have different sized feet and therefore different sized socks!

Then there's the fingerless mittens using the Earth Pallette experiment. I found just the right buttons and I like them, they'll be at Rose St. on Sunday.

And, finally the scarf. I am so happy with it. It has rolls, holes, bits sticking out and, I think, reflects my trip to the Botanical Gardens. The picture doesn't quite show everything, but, I hope you get the idea.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

When too many fibre sandwiches are not enough!

I know I haven't been blogging much. I'm taking more photos of all the work I'm doing, so that's a start! or should I say 'restart'. I've just unloaded them from the camera and I do have a couple of things to show you.

I did decide to make this post about Experimental Spinning, our Christmas meeting, held on Saturday and our, now annual, fibre sandwich, and, I'm not going to change that decision.

This year the theme was 'Christmas cake'. Much brown fibre was spread out, much chatting, all sorts of 'fruit', mostly reds and greens, more chatting, and finally, we put a layer of 'icing' on the top and more decorating with holly and pink icing.

We did think it looked like a Christmas cake!

We split it up and celebrated with a real home made beautiful sponge cake, coffee from Filous, and other delicious things. Some of us started spinning our Christmas cake and a lovely day was had by all.

I went home and finished spinning. For some reason, fibre does 'speak' to you, the sandwich demanded to be spun finer than I would usually, so when I finished it at home, I navaho plied the yarn to retain the different layers. Ooops, forgot to say, that we seemed to create four layers as we were piling up our fibre contributions. There were two 'cake' layers, a 'fruit' layer and an 'icing' layer. I decided (what alot of decisions!) that I would card each layer and spin them. Navaho plying just made sense.

Here, it is, and I'm happy!

Monday, 22 November 2010


Now, I have to replace the fingerless mittens that sold on Saturday! I have a certain number of mittens in my head that I think I need to give people a reasonable choice. The first part of this is to replace those sold!

Hanging in my workshop were two hanks of 12ply yarn that had been dyed in Earth Palette dyes. I like the idea of these as they are a cold water dye and also allow you to 'paint' the yarn. My friend, Jackie and I, had purchased a few at the Sheep and Wool show and it seemed like a good idea that now was the time to experiment!

To make up the dye we used hot water to melt the dye and other chemical crystals. We were supposed to allow them to cool, but being impatient to give it a go we used them warm. In my fellow dyers case this didn't cause any problems as she was cautious (newbie dyer!) and I just ploughed ahead. Of course, the dye took too well and the mixing I was expecting didn't quite happen. I ended up with these two balls of yarn.

Using the newly purchased stitch dictionary (see yesterday's post), I chose a stitch they called 'ladders'.

And here are the knitted mittens, without finishing and buttons. Aren't they fun?

I can see this stitch in all sorts of ways: a very fine yarn would really suit this stitch, rearranging the ladders and perhaps, casting off and on the background stitches to really create a ladder. Just some ideas.

Now, I'm off to do the shopping, washing and all the stuff that didn't get done on the weekend......It was a nice weekend.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

A glorious day in the Botanical Gardens

Yep, wonderful sunny Melbourne Sunday afternoon in the Botanical gardens. We're such a lucky city to have such a large open space fall of plants, buildings, lakes and more plants.

A meeting of Experimental Spinning and 3D5S was to start at the Plant Craft cottage in the gardens. These ladies are wonderful with all sorts of different crafts related to plants: dyeing, pot pourri (I can still smell on my hand the damp pot pourri, a pot of which you are invited to stir with your hand!), basketmaking, fibre group, counterpart and I think some more. So after a lovely cup of tea talking all things crafty I sat outside 'being inspired' by their lovely gardens and trying to come up with a pattern for my new balls of wool.

At a busy market at Ivanhoe Makers Market, one of my lovely customers had returned with a jacket that had been knit with some yarn I had dyed for her and presented me with a leftover hank. This had been dyed a lovely 'Flax' colour (from Landscape dyes) and seemed right to start in the gardens.

I had, also, just picked up another stitch dictionary from the little knick knack shop in Heidelberg in Hawdon st. (sorry, I don't remember the name) that has a really wonderful collection of vintage patterns, among other things!

Not being particularly successful, but feeling relaxed, I headed off for a stroll in the gardens, taking photos, enjoying the new wildlife, including signets and an egg laying turtle. Finally, finishing up at the Observatory cafe, where the SnB group were meeting.

The afternoon was spent chatting, laughing, eating and, of course, knitting where I finally, and with much unpulling arrived at what I thought would work.

A mixture of knitting and folding, short row knitting, adding eyelets all seem to combine to create something interesting.

It still needs tweeking. It will be knit lengthwise and various directional changes seem to be called for, but also a little look at the reversability issue!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

End of my first year of DVA

Well, it's all over, bar the shouting. Yesterday, I finished my last print for printmaking. I still have to get the entire folio together.

Every Monday, there's Life drawing in the morning and Printmaking in the afternoon. Life Drawing with Peter, has been such a privilege, to have models come in and pose for two hours.....not straight, they do have rests, the longest stretch being for 20 hold a pose for 20 minutes! I have a great deal of respect for the models, they were so generous and fabulous to draw.

Then after lunch we fronted up to Jo and her wonderful printmaking class. I have enjoyed learning about the different print methods she showed us. She has created a wonderful blog for students, hasn't been active as she's been on holiday, but has great links. Should be good to read next year.

I did really like lino cut with the direct and very textural method of carving out your image, but I did also enjoy aquatint, where resin is applied over a line etching then covered up gradually to create tone.

I don't think I'm a real printmaker though.....editioning just doesn't suit my style. I just want to change the print every time!

My last print was this one-off aquatint, in red!

Now, I have to label and name all my prints.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Not another fractal yarn!

I blame knitspingirl, but I can't help trying yet another fractal yarn.

I bought this packet of Pure Merino Wool Top from Garments and Gadgets at the Sheep and Wool show this year. They're not particularly cost effective, but I can't help trying someone else's colour combinations. This one is called: Brights, and yes, there is another one in my stash.

As I have related before, a fractal yarn, is where you spin one half of your colours in sequence. Then you keep splitting the other single in half and half again till you get to the smallest amount, either possible or that you want. I stopped here.

It's interesting how the two bobbins end up. You can see only the last few colours in the first and in the second all the different colours in their different lengths. Plying is also a fascinating exercise in colour theory as the spinning combines colours and you get purples, greys, browns, all sorts. I'm sort of hoping that this will work in the final product.
This is the finished yarn, and before you say it, yes it does look a little barber shop pole. It does look bright though, and that was the idea. I am happy, mostly as this is finer than I usually spin and my last effort at spinning this fine was not my best effort. I did not put enough twist in my original singles, so when it plyed to balance it was way too soft, this time, I think it was just about right....hooray!

I'm hoping that this will become a little more subtle in the weaving. I'm going to make a fine black warp and use this as the weft in, hopefully a couple of different twill patterns. I do feel confident, but as I haven't even a warp plan, that's easy!

Now, off to have some breakfast.

PS, yes it was fun to do and I just had to share!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Mystery Sock Knit along - pictures of the leg!

Yes, I've finally finished the leg of the mystery sock, and, I'm posting this before finding out what the next part of the mystery is. I did manage to do alot of knitting at Rose St. last Sunday. No, it wasn't very busy, despite being an absolutely gorgeous day. The stalls were full of the most delightful handmade wares and they just seemed to shine. Unfortunately, it appeared that many people were out enjoying the sunshine, but not at the market. I had put up my handwoven, recycled wall hangings and received a sufficient number of interested looks and comments, but didn't manage to sell any. I did sell a few things which made the day worthwhile......if you take a long term perspective!

Anyway, lots of knitting and finally sitting down late last night, here they are:

Unfortunately, you can't see the pattern very well. It's wet, so I can't photograph outside!

You can see more on Ravelry.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

TTL mystery sock knit - warning pictures!

Ok, I've started the cuff for the mystery knitalong. It was released last Friday and I've managed to do one. However, I have decided that I should be doing two at the same time. This should ensure that I manage to complete the project in time!
 You may just notice that mine looks a little different from my friend Dr Bones's and you would be right. The yarn I purchased is thicker than recommended, but, with the, rarely convenient, large feet, I have calculated that if I knit the smallest size I am only 2 stitches out. It seems to be correct.

Now all I have to do is find another set of needles and start the other sock. So far, it's fun!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Spinning red!

This Saturday was Experimental Spinning day and after returning from a very short sojourn at the beach house at Phillip Island, put a load of washing on and headed off.

We were working with 'red'. So we carded all our leftover bits of red, tops, yarns, fabric bits, silk, cotton, whatever we felt like and whatever we had on hand.

I started with a mix of merino and flax and added more! The beauty of working with a colour is that it all matches, and, more importantly, you see the range of colour that we call 'red', in this case. It's always fun and we always end up with gorgeous yarns.

I kept some of the flax/merino mix (from First Editions, of course) and spun it finely, then plyed with the fun stuff. Love the yarn.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Mystery Sock Knit along

OK, so the last time I tried a Mystery Knitalong I wasn't very happy (Yarn Forward Magazine mystery blanket......errors in patterns, lag time here and too many squares to knit each month......still waiting to be finished....). Anyway, Dr Bones did a mystery sock knitalong last year and ended up with a pair of gorgeous socks. It's on again and I am persuaded that the TTL mystery sock knitalong will at least be manageable and I will end up with a pair of handknit socks.

I have purchased my yarn, on a surprise jaunt to the city, while husband was in Dymocks, I was in Morris's, a denim coloured yarn called Ranco from Araucania:

The first part of the pattern was released on Friday, I was at the beach, so I'd better get knitting. This is the cuff and the next part is released next Friday.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Thank heavens for the stash!

As is usual, all ideas and suggestions have been pushed aside, as well meaning and excellent as they were, for something I managed to find in the stash:

My main problem with all the ideas is the beginning, cream, and the end, black and how these would look. This mostly purple, multi-coloured cone has been used to make one of the lovely machine lace shawls, which have easily disappeared off this years stall. Only a small amount is left, though plenty for this purpose.

I like the final result:

Now, I'm off to wash it and start on the knitting. Have a look at knitspingirl's yarn, what is she going to do?

Sunday, 19 September 2010

The search for the perfect partner!

Well having sorted, carded and spun my fibre sandwich, I now have to decide what to do about plying. I'm not the only one. Knitspingirl is having similar problems!

Anyway, here is my lovely bobbin full of colour.

There are a number of options for my plying dilemma that don't use another yarn. I could just use the yarn asis. If I wash it and hang it, the kinks will lose their bite, or I could use it, kinks and all. I could also navajo ply, which would create a three ply yarn by itself and the colours would remain distinct. But I'm looking at making a hat with this yarn and for reasons of frugality, I want a thicker yarn with length to ensure my hat has enough yarn. I can't have too much, but I can have too little.

So my options are to ply it with something. Here they are:

- the neverending purple, but this works better with a yarn with more indefinite colour

- the crazy multi colour yarn, that is too green

- the fine wool cream boucle, which will show up a bit too much

There are a number of other options, but they take time and I need to get on with making shawls for my summer markets. What to do??.........

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Carding beautiful batts.

I would have posted this yesterday, but, the printer wouldn't transfer the picture, I have a cold and I was getting ready for today, which is my Rose St. Artists' Market day for September.

I've drum carded each colour separately. My drum carder is not fine toothed, so it performs pretty well with these sorts of batts. Sometimes it would be nice for it to be finer for a better product, but for this purpose I think, they've turned out rather well!

If my head stops thumping and my body aching, I might just start spinning. I wonder how knitspingirl is going...........

Friday, 10 September 2010

The Spin-in continues...

The spin-in continues, now I've found my camera! Not that knitspingirl hasn't been busy. She's already SPUN A SAMPLE and isn't it a gorgeous yarn. I was all ready to post my sorted samples when the NEXT POST went up. Those rolags do look good and it will be a very interesting yarn.

So, where am I? I did decide to sort my bag of stuff into colours and this is what turned up:

I'm going to card each of these colours, hoping that they'll retain the beautiful colours. I'm not quite sure, yet, what to do with the black, white and brown. Hopefully, during the carding process something will  inspire me.

Plying is still weighing on my mind as I usually ply with the 'neverending purple'. This time, however, I really don't think this will work. Again, hopefully, inspiration will strike me.

Isn't it fun?

Friday, 3 September 2010

Fibre Sandwich spin along

My fibre sandwich from this years' Harrietville has been sitting around just defying me to spin it up. Along with that has been a friends that I have finally sent off to her in far off climes.

We've decided to spin it up together and post along the way and see what comes up. It's always hard when a friend is far away, hopefully, we'll at least feel that we're in the same place as we spin this communal bunch of fibres.

Another friend, shall we call her 'Doris' does not like the very random, crazy effect, so this year she sorted her 100gms into colours and is spinning it up. I haven't seen it yet, but I thought I might just give it a go!

So off we go!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

I inadvertantly booked myself into Rose St. Artists' Market and Ivanhoe Makers Market on the same weekend. This is not my preferred option as it means that I'm behind in such vital things as the weekly shopping and the washing. However, having made the mistake I just kept on going!

As it happened the Ivanhoe Makers Market was on election day, and given that it is in a position where a good proportion of the voters at the nearest electoral booth have to pass us by, we hoped for a good day.

Here is my friend Mary, who comes along with some of her work and helps me out at Ivanhoe. Our sons have been friends since prep and we've been friends since she noticed me wearing one of my jumpers in the schoolyard. Always fun to have her there and on Saturday we both had a great day. It was my best day so far and I was pretty happy.

It was also pretty good for the market as a whole, as we handed out plenty of information about the market. Hopefully, we can build on all that good will.

And so to Rose St.

What the picture doesn't show is how windy it was. There were plenty of people hanging on to their stalls with each gust of wind. Despite that it was a lovely sunny day.

If not somewhat quiet! I guess the day after an indecisive election left people feeling very quiet. So quiet, up to around 1/4 to 4 I had had one sale, and didn't look like getting any more at that time of the day. Very strange though, I had a further four sales and came away quite happy.

Now I have to make more for September......

Wednesday, 18 August 2010


Tuesday afternoons are spent in a variety of 'Workshops'. The last workshop was 'Portraiture' where we had a live model and painted her portrait over five weeks.

Our current workshops is making books. Because of the short period of time, this is not a formal book making workshop. What it is, is challenging us to think about the form of the book and how we can make a personal statement. Along the way, we're being taught simple techniques, but more importantly, we're being challenged to put a great deal of thought and effort into this book.
I have managed to quite successfully, cover the form of the book:
but I'm having trouble with the content. Not an unusual point for me to be at. Our lovely teacher has suggested that I look at black and white photographs that might surprise as you open each 'page' of my book. I like this idea, but am still at a loss regarding the topic.
I must keep looking.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Just a few 'Works in Progress'

I seem to have started quite a few little projects, attempting to work on them all at the same time! It might be the frightening prospect of two markets on the one weekend - Ivanhoe on Saturday and Rose St. on Sunday - that has prompted this, however, I suspect deeper and darker neurosis coming into play?

Firstly, there's the scarf in the beautiful Wendy Dennis yarn and the lovelyely drop stitch pattern that's popping up, not just in my work, but in quite a few knitting magazines....we do read the same stitch pattern books. I know I've said that scarves aren't selling this year and I wasn't going to knit any more.....but the yarn is so gorgeous and it's nearly done, and I didn't have an easy project for the train.......

Then there's the "toothpaste" yarn I just had to finish spinning...I needed the bobbins! Even though I have no idea what I'm going to make with it.

And, the fingerless mittens in the crazy handspun yarn. This is for a friend, but do I have to do two? and do I have to try one as a new design?

Then, there's more thick singles for the MUST do neckwarmers in 'Melbourne' colours. (Sorry about the time!)

And, I've started a hat that the guys in my favourite Ivanhoe coffee shop 'might' be interested in.

And then there are scarves on my new loom, in hand-dyed yarn in lovely 8-shaft colour and weave patterns.

AND, the prototype for a new neckwarmer....
Now, I'm off to Stitch 'n Bitch to work on my own jumper!

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Late night spinning

Friday was a funny day. I'm supposed to get alot of work done on my Thursdays and Fridays, but this Friday was full of distractions. It wasn't without its' highlights including discovering that Watsonia has two very good op-shops. The Salvation Army op-shop has particularly large button and knitting needle collections. You do have to ask for them and I did have an overwhelming desire to sort them all out.......maybe another time! I did pick up some buttons and some tortoise shell knitting needles and an amazing pair of earings.

However, by the end of the day I did need to achieve something! So, remembering that I had promised a couple of people that I would make fingerless mittens in my Harrietville fibre sandwich yarn style, I thought I would get on with that project.

To make a fibre sandwich on your own, while possible, seems a little lonely, so at Bendigo there was one of the stalls selling off their 'rubbish'. A whole bag of dyed bits and pieces. $2 for as much as you could stuff into a plastic bag. I got about 170gm, but could have got more in.

I've put this through my drum card, adding a little glitz, did the quick and rough spin it up and ply with my never-ending purple single. It was full of all sorts of bits, including short bits, some English Leicester and even though dyed, had not been scoured well. Spinning was quick and fun, adding to the 'craziness' of the yarn. As it did need scouring anything could happen to the yarn with unwashed fleece and processed top in the same yarn. It did feel nice and soft, hope was still alive. So late at night I left it to soak, ready to scour the next day.

I've now washed it and hung it out and am quite happy.
And, here is my 128gm of 'rubbish' all ready to go. Hopefully a couple of fingerless mittens in different styles.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

More from Bendigo?

As I was writing yesterday, I forgot the surprise phone call from the Woolcraft committee. I had won one of the prizes in the raffle the Woolcraft committee run at every show.

I forgot as the winning of raffles is not an regular occurance. Except, of course, when it causes embarrassment, as when I attended for the first time the HWSG Christmas party. The compulsory plate was happily taken along, but I had not contributed to the Christmas hamper raffle, only to win a Christmas hamper, not the BIG one, but embarrassing enough that I religiously make sure a good contribution is made EVERY year!

Anyway, my prize arrived yesterday and it's this lovely print:

It's a print by the artist, Conni Togel, and I absolutely love it. If you could see my kitchen table at the moment and quite a few balls of wool inhabiting it, you would see how well I am relating to this picture!

I will hunt through our spare picture frames and it will find a very nice spot in my workshop and brighten my day, just where I need it!

Monday, 26 July 2010

Remember the Australian Sheep and Wool show in Bendigo

It's just like a dream......the train trip to Bendigo.......seems so long ago....and all I can think of is, 'gee, I wish I had (made that purchase/bought more of)....

Any, just to recap. Catching the 7.10am train from Southern Cross station, Jacqui picked me up at 6am at my place, a bunch of us headed off to Bendigo. After missing the first connecting bus, (they were organised this year, sandwich board and all!), we finally arrived at the Bendigo showgrounds.

There were lots of lovely people to catch up with, my favourite or funniest, and I'm sure I wasn't the only one who thought that, was Charley at Ixchel in her lime green fluffy bunny suit with blue fluffy tail, (which apparently got lost over the weekend). I did finally purchase one of her beautiful mixes of merino, angora and tencel. All her wares are beautiful.

Anyway, here are my purchases:

Lots of tops in all sorts of colours, lots of spinning. Another drop can't have too many, can you? And another tunisian crochet hook, and a little bit of yarn.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Craft Hatch here I come!

I've figured out what time I have to be at Craft Hatch and will catch the 9.29am train to the city. I'm excited and apprehensive. I love this tiny market and hope that, despite tomorrow being cold and wintry, that people will come to the City Library and have a look and maybe even buy!

I took a quick picture of the new things that I take to the market. It's a good reference for me and reminds me that I have worked over the last two weeks. The first week was spent spinning and dyeing with a bit of basic knitting. This week has been more knitting, and finishing off each item and then pricing and putting on their tags. (Sigh!)

I'm happy with the new neckwarmers in single colours, the new lace-up fingerless mittens, dyed after they were knit. Just one more scarf sneaked in and I would have liked to make more button up mittens, but I managed one.

Sort of feel satisfied after spelling it out. Off to move the car as the builder finishes up his work tomorrow. Pictures to follow!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

The right tool for the right job.

Despite my last market for the financial year being a 'bit disappointing', I actually had quite a successful year, almost reaching the first of my financial goals. So much so, that I purchased a number of equipment items.

If you know me, you know that I love hand tools. Mechanical, don't often break down, hand tools. I even don't have an electric beater, but a hand beater. Perhaps says as much about how often I bake, but I DO use it when I need to!

The first purchase for the year was the overlocker, but the second, perhaps the cheapest of all, is the swift. Organised by Amy (thankyou, again), I managed to obtain this beatiful and incredibly useful tool for simply holding skeins while you wind them. This may not seem like alot, but after the number of skeins I have knotted and struggled with, this is just heaven.

Then after much umming and aaring, I decided to bite the bullet and purchase a 16-shaft table loom, and then proceeded to add it a double back beam and a warping mill from the very helpful people at Ashford.

I do like playing with weave structures and the more complicated the better! There are a number of weaves in my sample books, most notably the eyelash weave, that require lots of shafts, so I can go back and revisit them, or make the sample for some of the weaves I didn't get to do. The table loom means that I can quickly warp and produce, hopefully interesting scarves, etc for my market stall.

The double back beam adds to the complexity by having two separate warps that can be woven in very different ways at different rates. I haven't put this on yet, but I will.

The warping mill, like the swift, makes a tedious job so much easier. 10 minutes to do my first warp, including fiddling time. Love it already!
So, keep an eye out for more weaving!