Knitting on the bias

Every now and then I like to knit on the bias (remember my Sandpiper Scarf) as it gives an interesting look to your knitting. It’s amazing that you’re knitting straight rows and yet your knitting has this diagonal look. Knitting on the bias is not difficult; in fact it’s very easy and it’s just a simple way of shaping a project so that it leans diagonally. By knitting an increase and a decrease at precise points in a project, you begin to shape the fabric diagonally. Knitting on the bias is fun and renders a fabric that’s looks fantastic. This is what it looks like; there’s cabling on the outer sides of this scarf and you can see the diagonal slant of the knitting in the middle.

Sandpiper Scarf 05

The basic instructions to knit on the bias are as follows; your fabric will lean to the left:

  1. RS: Work an increase at the beginning of the row and a corresponding decrease on the opposite end of the same row.
  2. WS: Work in pattern without shaping.

To have the bias lean to the right, just reverse the shape:

  1. RS: Work a decrease at the beginning of the row and a corresponding increase at the opposite end of the same row.
  2. WS: Work in pattern without shaping.

When I spotted one of my friends at spinning group wearing a lovely knitted cowl necklace I immediately thought what a great little project to use up all those bits and pieces of left over yarn. I found this pattern on Ravelry called Bias Knit Scarf and within a short time I had made this gorgeous little cowl necklace.

Bias Scarf Autumn 02

I added a provisional cast on and then grafted both ends together to make a seamless cowl.

Bias Scarf Autumn 04

The colour combinations you could use are simply endless.

Bias Scarf Autumn 06

A cowl necklace like this one would be ideal just to keep a slight chill off your neck at the turn of the season.

Bias Scarf Autumn 03

I used mainly Ashford Tekapo 8ply wool and Sullivans Aztec (this is a lovely soft yarn) for my cowl. I changed colours when I felt like it; there was no counting rows which made it an effortless knit; a perfect knit when you’re talking with friends.

Ashford Tekapo500

Sullivan Aztec Ivy 02

These cowl necklaces would make perfect gifts as they are so easy to knit up. You could use a combination of variegated and solid colours too. They’d look great in sock yarn too.

Bias Scarf Autumn 05

Bias Scarf Autumn 03

What a nifty little pattern isn’t it? There are plenty of bias knit patterns to be found on Ravelry too.

I’m off to another yarn group get together tomorrow; from 1-5pm. What bliss! Knitting and talking to like-minded women for four hours :-)

I hope you all have a yarn-filled weekend too!

Until next time…

Melanie

Two More Shawls….Yvaine and Nikolai

I can’t believe how quickly each week rolls around which means it’s time for another blog post to share with you. Writing inspiring posts each week for all to enjoy is sometimes a challenge so I can only hope you’re enjoying reading about my knitting projects and my other incidental fibre and yarn stories.

I’m on a shawl knitting roll! I can’t believe how many I’ve made over the last few months. The latest two are the Yvaine Shawl and the Nikolai Shawl. I’ll start with the Yvaine Shawl.

This pattern is incredibly easy and would be ideal for a beginner.

Roses Yvaine 01

The only ‘fault’ I found with this pattern was that it started looking a bit boring as it only had sections of garter and seed stitch so I jazzed it up with two lots of two rows of K2tog, YO and added a picot bind off. My aim was to use the entire skein of yarn so I was able to add a lot more to the shawl. I must say that I am quite happy with the result.

Roses Yvaine 10

This is a wonderfully portable project too as there’s no difficult stitches to memorise and you could knit it with whatever sized sections of garter and seed stitch as you wish.

Roses Yvaine 02

Roses Yvaine 06

Roses Yvaine 08

Here’s a good close up of the K2tog, YO and picot bind off.

Roses Yvaine 13

The yarn I used is Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 which is a 70% superwash merino / 20% cashmere / 10% nylon yarn and it is so beautifully soft against your skin. Ironically when I first blogged about this yarn in November last year I had this pattern in mind. I still have one skein left too! This yarn is part of Zen Yarn Garden’s ART WALK Series which features a painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir entitled “Roses” which inspired this colourway.

Zen Yarn Garden roses

My second shawl is called Nikolai and I love this pattern!

Nikolai Shawl 05

Doesn’t the border look lovely?

Nikolai Shawl 07

It’s another easy knit with lots of garter stitch.

Nikolai Shawl 03

The yarn I used is Sullivans Aztec which is a worsted / 10 ply 45% alpaca / 35% acrylic / 20% nylon yarn and for a commercial yarn it is really soft and snuggly. I have since managed to pick up more of this yarn in the colours Ginger and Tomato for only 49c a ball!! It’s an exceptional yarn.

Sullivan Aztec Ivy 02

I love this rich shade of dark green. It reminds me of a forest.

Nikolai Shawl 09

Nikolai Shawl 10

Nikolai Shawl 04

Now I just need to keep track of all my scarves and shawls so that I get to wear them all each winter!

I’m off to one of my absolute favourite pastimes tomorrow; Knit and Knatter. I just love all the chatting, friendship, knitting and laid back atmosphere. That time goes much too quickly I might add.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend filled with lots of fibre goodness.

Until next time…

Melanie

Can you ever have enough yarn, yarn containers or sheep?

That’s the six million dollar question and my answer is simply NO! I can’t resist a gorgeous colourway or a yarn clearance sale. My head is constantly full of knitting project ideas that will probably take me a life time to complete. I simply need more than 24 hours in each day!

At the recent Redlands Spinners & Weavers craft camp, I was again tempted to purchase more yarn as we had two traders with some beautiful and too tempting yarn and fibre for sale.

I’ve bought heaps and heaps of yarn from Shorn Fibers and at camp I bought even more. I blame it all on Angela for dyeing such stunning colourways which always encourages me to spend!

This beautiful colourway is called  ‘Hermes’ and is Shorn Fibers Tuff Sock yarn which is an 80% merino / 20% nylon mix. I don’t often buy blue but these colours just caught my eye.

Shorn Fibers MCN HT Sock 600 Hermes 02

I just fell in love with this colourway called ‘Oranges and Lemons’, a very apt name I must say. It’s a Merino 4ply yarn.

Shorn Fibers Merino 4ply Oranges and Lemons 02

Angela actually showed me this yarn and said ‘I thought you might like this’. How right she was!! I bought two skeins so I can make something substantial or maybe a shawl/scarf and a hat. The pattern hasn’t come to me yet (despite the fact I have hundreds of patterns at home!!). This colourway is ‘Mountain Troll’ and the yarn is a 100% Merino Fingering

Shorn Fibers Merino Fingering Mountain Troll 01

Another colourway that caught me eye is ‘Erato’. This yarn is a 100% Merino Superwash DK

Shorn Fibers Merino SW DK Erato 01

And another Tuff Sock yarn is this stunning colourway called ‘First Beach’. Those colours are amazing and so reminiscent of the beach aren’t they?

Shorn Fibers Tuff Sock Sandy Beach 02

Lindy Boshler, who is a member of our club and also a registered Ashford agent, brought along her goodies too and I was immediately drawn to this hand-dyed 100% super fine wool in these gorgeous autumn shades of orange and green.

Lindy Superfine Wool 01

Lindy also had some lovely hand-dyed mulberry silk which I will use when blending fibre on my Ashford Blending Board (which I also bought at camp).

Lindy Mulberry Silk 01

Lindy Mulberry Silk 03

I’ve been rather remiss and have fogotten to show you the additions to my ART WALK series from Zen Yarn Garden.

The ninth offering features a painting by Pablo Picasso entitled “Petite Fleurs“. From one medium to the next, artists express their use of colour. Inspired by Picasso, the dyer has successfully captured the vividness and subtlety of the colours of the painting.

Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) was an artistic virtuoso who co-founded Cubism, and produced an astounding 20,000 paintings, prints, drawings and sculptures during his brilliant 70-year career. Picasso’s unparalleled body of work was so vast, and its phases so unique, that art historians have divided it into specific periods. A child prodigy, Picasso took advanced classes at the Royal Academy of Art in Barcelona when he was only 15. His revolutionary Cubist works, with their distorted shapes and fragmented forms, established art as a genre that does not need to literally represent reality. Zealously embracing every medium from primitive art to sketches to Surrealism, Picasso had an unrivaled influence upon 20th century art. [quoted from Art.com]

I purchased two skeins of Serenity 20 which is a 4ply / fingering 70% superwash merino / 20% cashmere / 10% nylon yarn and contains 400 yds /100g.

Zen Yarn Garden Petite Fleurs 07

These colours certainly “pop” don’t they?

Zen Yarn Garden Petite Fleurs 08

This is the painting the colours are based on…

Zen Yarn Garden Petite Fleurs 05

The tenth offering in Zen Yarn Garden’s new ART WALK Series features a painting by Andy Warhol entitled “Ice Cream Dessert“. Inspired by Picasso, the dyer has successfully captured the vividness and subtlety of the colours of the painting.

Andy Warhol’s pioneering Pop Art defined a decade and a culture, distinguishing him as one of the most influential, creative and prolific artists of the 20th century. Originally the most sought-after commercial artist in New York, Warhol (1923 – 1987) is most known for his multiple images of Campbell’s Soup cans, Coke bottles, dollar bills and celebrities, which exalted the beauty within ordinary objects and familiar images. Working out of a studio called The Factory, he invented the silkscreening process which enabled him to mass produce a single image in his signature style. Warhol was also a talented filmmaker, music producer, commercial illustrator, author and magazine publisher. [quoted from Art.com]

I purchased two skeins of Serenity Silk single which is a fingering single ply / 75% superwash merino / 15% cashmere / 10% silk yarn and contains 430 yds / 100g.

Zen Yarn Garden Ice Cream Dessert 03

This is the painting that inspired the colours in the yarn…

Zen Yarn Garden Ice Cream Dessert painting

The eleventh offering in the new ART WALK Series features a painting by Justyna Kopania entitled “Sold“. Inspired by Kopania, Zen Yarn Garden’s dyer has successfully captured the vividness and subtlety of the colours of the painting.

My name is Justyna Kopania. I am a painter. Art is my asylum, life, poetry, music, the best cigar, tasty strong tea, everything.My Art reflects the world I perceive with all mysenses; people I meet and love; nature I admire,and all the things that affect the way I am…. .In my studio – work – I painta few, sometimes several hours a day. This is typical painting – easel, oil, structural. Paintings are “fleshy.” Paint requires both painting, as well as brushes – and I do not regret the paint. Paintings are painted this way – creates a kind of reliefs. Paintings are painted in a sort of style, original … – Inspired by certain passages of whatI see, and stay in my memory. Paitings are entirely painted by hand. I always try to give the climate the moment that stuck in my memory.  [quoted from studiounderthemoon]

I purchased two skeins of Serenity Glitter Sock which is an 80% merino / 10% cashmere / 10% metallic (sparkling nylon) 3ply / fingering yarn. Each skein contains 400 yds /100g.

Zen Yarn Garden Sold 08

It really is quite beautiful!

Zen Yarn Garden Sold 09

This is an image of the painting ‘Sold’ which the colourway is based on.

Zen Yarn Garden Sold image

Now, from yarn to yarn containers. Because I have so much yarn, I have to find inventive ways to store it. I have so many types of yarn containers and not long ago I found these laundry bags which I immediately knew I could adapt to use as yarn containers. Just ignore the fact they have ‘dark’ and ‘lights’ printed on them.

Laundry Bags 01

Each one can hold heaps of yarn and fibre. There’s a neat divider down the middle which is great as it stops the yarn collapsing on itself.

Laundry Bags 02

And every time I see little sheep in a shop they just seem to follow me home!

Sheep 03

This little fellow welcomes guests into my home…

Sheep 04

And these little sheep like hanging around my spinning wheels…

Sheep 05

Along with their friends who are itching to get into my garden :-)

Sheep 06

They don’t eat much and don’t make a noise…

Sheep 07

But they do seem to be multiplying…

Sheep 08

But I love them!! They make my home look happy and ‘yarnified’. My son questions my sanity when he visits me but he knows his mum is hooked on yarn :-)

Until next time…

Melanie

Simple Skyp Socks – Pair # 33

It had been ages since I’d made a pair of socks so during my July holidays I started these gorgeous socks from a free pattern I found on Ravelry. They’re called Simple Skyp Socks and they sure are simple.

Simple Skyp Socks 01

I love the easy to memorise two row repeat which certainly helped me to get into the rhythm of the pattern.

Simple Skyp Socks 03

And for once I selected a solid colour that would really show off the very smart stitch definition.

Simple Skyp Socks 05

The yarn I selected is Dyed By Hand YarnsTough Stocking in the colourway called Turmeric. It’s a 75% merino / 15%  nylon yarn and was beautiful to knit with.

Tumeric_-_Tough_Stocking

In total I used 66g of yarn and also used 2.5mm dpns.

Simple Skyp Socks 10

Over 3,400 pairs of this particular sock pattern have been used and recorded on Ravelry!!

Simple Skyp Socks 12

This is definitely a ‘come back to’ pattern. It’s a step up from a plain vanilla pattern and yet easy enough to knit when you’re chatting with friends as the pattern is not overly intricate but certainly looks effective.

Simple Skyp Socks 15

Now for a little bit of exciting news. I responded to a request on a recent Ravelry forum to test some sock yarn for an Aussie online yarn dyer and I opted to knit a pair of socks so I am using the same pattern to trial the sock yarn. I’ll be posting updates on my Ravelry page as I go so you can drop in at any time to have a look!

The sock yarn arrived today in the mail and I’ve already taken some photos. Here it is…

Augustbird Socks 01

Aside from my favourite autumn colours, I do love all the different shades of blue. This particular colourway is called ‘Ink’ and I must say I love it!

Augustbird Socks 02

One last look at my Simple Skyp Socks and then I’m off to wind this skein into a ball so I can get started!

Simple Skyp Socks 02

And I’m off to Knit and Knatter tomorrow. We’ll be at the Redland Performing Arts Centre in conjunction with a Suitcase Rummage that is being held there at 11am. Should be an exciting day! Every weekend is now filled with lots of fibre happenings :-)

Until next time…

Melanie

A Multitude of Minnies

When I find a knitting pattern that is easy, looks good and doesn’t take long, I seem to use it a few times! Which is what happened when I saw one of my Knit and Knatter friends making this Minnie scarf. I made one and so did some other women in the group. Minnie is definitely a hit – the perfect portable project!

My Cream Minnie is made with Sussex Wools 100% cotton. I bought six balls of this cotton at a charity stall. It’s made in South Africa and I can’t find any reference to it on the internet at all so I’m thinking these balls were stashed away in someone’s cupboard for quite a while before being donated to this charity stall. I’m so glad I bought them.

Cream Cotton Minnie 01

Cream Cotton Minnie 02

The cotton feels lovely against my neck and I love the fact it’s a completely natural fibre.

Cream Cotton Minnie 04

I love the edging. It looks just like popcorn doesn’t it?

Cream Cotton Minnie 07

# 2 is my Blue Minski Minnie and is made from Mirasol Yarns Minski which is a 10ply / worsted 100% baby llama yarn. It is simply stunning!

Blue Miski Minnie 01

A beautiful blue colour just like the ocean…

Blue Miski Minnie 03

So, so incredibly soft and warm…

Blue Miski Minnie 05

# 3 is my Black Signorina Minnie and is made from Moda Vera Signorina which is a an 8ply / DK 57% acrylic / 40% wool / 3% other yarn.

Minnie 01

Minnie 02

There’s a limit to how many photos you can take of an item that is just black!

Minnie 04

# 4 is my Grey Dalmatian Minnie made with Moda Vera Dalmatian which is a 12 ply / bulky 82% acrylic / 12% nylon yarn.

Dalmatian Grey Minnie 01

Synthetic fibres certainly have come a long way over the years. This yarn is incredibly soft and lends itself well to be a scarf.

Dalmatian Grey Minnie 04

I love the subtle pale blue in the yarn…

Dalmatian Grey Minnie 05

Dalmatian Grey Minnie 08

# 5 is my Green Splice Minnie made with Yatsal Craft Crochet Knitting Cotton which is a 4ply / fingering 100% plied cotton. I picked up two balls of this cotton at a second hand shop as I fell in love with the variegated effect of the colouring.

Green Splice Minnie 01

I love the stripe effect towards the ends and the pooling in the middle of the scarf.

Green Splice Minnie 03

Green Splice Minnie 08

A perfect little scarf for spring and autumn.

Green Splice Minnie 02

Have I convinced you that Minnie is a great scarf to knit??

I’m off to the inaugural meeting of the Queensland Bayside Yarn Club this afternoon for four hours!! It’ll be fun to meet some more crafty women and hopefully complete a project or two.

Until next time…

Melanie

My First Sensational Spinning Camp

Phew what a great weekend I’ve had! I attended my very first spinning camp with the Redlands Spinners and Weavers. The venue was the House of Happiness (even the name is appropriate!) at Woorim on the beautiful Bribie Island which is north of Brisbane, on the way to the Sunshine Coast.

Redlands SW Camp 2014 Welcome

I was very fortunate to get a lift with Shirley who picked me up at 2.30pm on Friday. We hit a couple of congested areas along the way but still made good time. There was a hive of activity at the venue as we arrived as everyone was unpacking and setting up their wheels and seating.

The group 01

Jan Sue Karin

Rona Gillian Tricia

We were also very fortunate to have two ‘shops’ at camp. Lindy (who is our Ashford agent) brought along lots of her goodies.

Lindy shop 01

Lindy Shop 02

And I finally got to meet Angela from Shorn Fibers as she brought along a wonderful selection of her fibre and yarn. If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know I buy a lot of my yarn from Angela!!

Shorn Fibers 01

Shorn Fibers 02

Shorn Fibres 03

Two workshops were held on the weekend. On Saturday we were taught how to make these cute little sheep.

Sheep making 01

I think I need to perfect my technique somewhat…

Sheep 04

My little sheep is in the middle…

Shirley Mel Rona Sheep 02

And here is the flock of sheep!

Sheep all 04

Thank you Linda for teaching us to make these cute sheep!

Linda 01

In our second workshop Shirley showed us how to make these beautiful boxes…

Box 04

Box 02

The lid and base of each box was made with eight pieces of paper folded like this…

Box paper

Very intriguing and very clever I must say. That’s me holding my box.

Melanie box

My little sheep has found a home!

Box and sheep

One thing I did buy which was quite an investment was an Ashford Blending Board.

Blending Board 01

Blending Board 01a

You can blend fabulous fibres in your favourite colours and create beautiful rolags for spinning on the Ashford Blending board. The pack includes a large 30cm x 30cm (12’ x 12”) blending area, a blending brush and two dowels for easy drafting, rolling and removing the rolags, a removable, rotating adjustable keel, 108 point cloth, and a convenient carry handle. It has a lacquered finish too. Some of the girls on the camp went crazy using blending boards. Lindy brought along four to sell and they all went quite quickly!

Blended fibre

Here are just some of the rolags created on the weekend.

Poonies 02

Poonies 05

Poonies 03

Poonies 07

Tricia poonies

Poonies 09

I’ll experiment with my blending board over the next few weeks once I’ve packed away everything I bought at camp! I need to do some serious rearranging at my place to fit all my spinning gear in! I did, however, buy some fibre packs from Lindy so I can make a good start creating some colourful rolags on my blending board.

Blending Board 02

Blending fibre 02

We had a wonderful dinner on Saturday night and the tables were beautifully set by our wonderful camp convenor, Jan.

Table setting 01

Table setting 02

Jan and her husband made the Jazzy Jumbuck cut-outs plus the little gifts we were all presented with.

Table setting 03

Our personalised name tag, notebook gift plus our Jazzy Jumbuck theme for the weekend.

Jazzy Jumbucks

I also bought a couple of notebooks and bookmarks from Jan as well. Love them so much!

Notebooks

This is what the hall looked like at dinner time!

Dinner time 01

Empty! We were all very well fed I must say. As you can see, the most popular spinning wheel was the Ashford Joy obviously for its portability.

Dinner time 03

Dinner time 02

 I was lucky enough to win three of the raffle prizes so I donated two of them to my friends and kept this lovely sheep for myself. He does have feet but they’re a bit hard to see.

Raffle prize sheepI had the most wonderful weekend spent with wonderful crafty women who were so willing to share their company and knowledge. We had a lot of laughs and enjoyed ourselves immensely. Thanks must go to our camp convenor Jan who puts so much effort into making our camps so successful. I will DEFINITELY be back next year!

That’s me in the middle.

Melanie Shirley Judy

I didn’t get as much spinning and knitting done as I anticipated as I was much too busy talking, shopping, eating and having fun!

I’ll show you the yarn I bought in the not too distant future.

Until next time…

Melanie

Two More Scarves….Just Enough Ruffles and Sandpiper

A couple more completed projects from my Noosaville holiday….Sandpiper Scarf and Just Enough Ruffles Scarf. The Sandpiper Scarf is from the pattern Bias Scarf with Ribbed Cables which is a free knitting pattern on Ravelry.

Sandpiper Scarf 02This is a very cleverly constructed scarf with cables on either side and garter stitch in the middle and even though you’re knitting straight rows without any increasing you automatically get a bias effect.

Sandpiper Scarf 01

Sandpiper Scarf 05

Sandpiper Scarf 06

The yarn I used is Shorn Fibers Merino Superwash Worsted and the colourway is Sandpiper (hence the name of the scarf!) This is a beautiful yarn to work with as are all of Shorn Fibers‘ yarns which I adore.

Shorn Fibers Sandpiper 1

My second scarf Just Enough Ruffles is another easy beginner scarf which has a wow impact with that ruffle.

Ruffles Scarf 04

I did block this scarf but only very lightly.

Ruffles Scarf 02

Ruffles Scarf 05

The ruffle is obtained by knitting three stitches into one thereby tripling the number of stitches in the row.

Ruffles Scarf 07

I had to search through my stash to find the yarn I wished to use for this scarf. I knew it would suit the pattern and I was right. It’s Skein’s Alpaca Merino Worsted which is a 60% alpaca / 40% merino yarn.

Skein Alpaca Merino Worsted Cardamon 02

Two more successful projects off the needles!

Sandpiper Scarf 04

Ruffles Scarf 06

I’m very excited as next Friday afternoon I am off to my first official spinning camp with the Redlands Spinners & Weavers. It’s going to be two days full of spinning, knitting, yarn, fibre and mixing with like-minded crafty women. And I’m finally going to get to meet Angela from Shorn Fibers as she will be having a small stall at the camp. You’ll hear all about it as I’m going to take lots of photos and no doubt buy a skein or two of yarn :-)

Until next time…

Melanie