Three Stashbuster Cowls

I have devised the best little stashbuster cowl pattern which is easy to knit and ideal when you’re talking with friends and don’t want to have to concentrate on a complicated pattern.

Now for the instructions:

You can use any yarn and needle size keeping in mind what you combine will result in various sized cowls. I used a provisional cast on but you can easily cast on normally and then sew the two ends together.

Cast on an uneven number of stitches. I think the least amount of stitches I’ve used is 17 and the most is around 33. It will depend on how much yarn you have and how wide you want your cowl to be.

Knit two rows
K3, *YO, K2tog, repeat from * to last two sts, K2
K3 rows
K3, *YO, K2tog, repeat from * to last two sts, K2
K3 rows
and so on.

Finish after knitting one row of the K3 row and then graft together. You could also place a twist in the cowl before grafting to give a bit of a moebius effect.

Here are three of my cowls.

Chantilly Cowl 01

This is my Chantilly Cowl made with Moda Vera Chantilly which is a 70% acrylic / 30% milk protein yarn.

Chantilly Cowl 02

This cowl is all wrapped up and ready to give to my Mum for Christmas.

Chantilly Cowl 04

The second is my Kaleidoscope Cowl…

Kaleidoscope Cowl 03

You could even double it to make a lovely snug cowl on a really cold day!

Kaleidoscope Cowl 05

I used Cleckheaton Kaleidoscope which is a 10ply / Aran 100% wool.

I placed a ‘twist’ in this cowl before grafting the ends together.

Kaleidoscope Cowl 06

And the third is my Taylor Cowl…

Taylor Cowl 01

This cowl sits quite beautifully when it’s doubled and when it’s not…

Taylor Cowl 02

A perfect cowl for evening wear as it has a bit of a metallic thread through it.

Taylor Cowl 04

The yarn I used is Moda Vera Taylor which is a 5ply / sport 56% polyester / 44% wool.

My next cowl is still on the needles but this is the silk I’m using to make it. Isn’t it stunning?

Marigold Silk Variegated

That’s all my yarning news for the moment. As we roll into a new week I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and that Father Christmas bring you lots of yarn-related goodies to add to your stash :-)

Santa knitting 2

Until next time…

Melaniet

Knitted Hats!

It’s not often you need to wear a knitted hat in Brisbane unless you’re off to a State of Origin rugby league game on a cold June evening (which I never go to!) but these two patterns caught my eye when I was searching through Ravelry. I think they may come in handy when I visit New Zealand next year.

The first is this gorgeous Pumpkin Pie Hat which I absolutely fell in love with (I think it may have been the colour of the yarn the pattern writer used!)

Pumpkin Pie Hat 01

You can knit the hat either in the slouch size or the beanie size. I picked the slouch size but in hindsight with my short hair the beanie size would have been better but I have solved that problem! I simply turned the brim up.

Pumpkin Pie Hat 02

Pumpkin Pie Hat 03

This is what it looks like in the slouch mode. It looks more like I’ve got a growth on the back of my head :-)

Pumpkin Pie Hat 07

It’s certainly a gorgeous stitch pattern.

Pumpkin Pie Hat 06

It took me ages to get this photo. Thank goodness for digital cameras where you can just delete all those dud photos. I just held the camera in one hand and just started clicking and took heaps of photos. Usually there’s a few that are okay and the rest are not!

Pumpkin Pie Hat 04

And I might add that if you visit the pattern page on Ravelry you’ll notice the pattern is free until 31 December this year!

The yarn I used is Moda Vera Pure Wool 8ply. I bought it a while ago and as soon as I saw this pattern I knew this yarn would be perfect.

Moda Vera Pure Wool 8ply Tangerine

My second pattern is the Dragon Leaf Hat which I managed to download at the right time as it was free for a short while. This was a ‘hit and miss’ project for me as the pattern called for 8ply / DK yarn and I used 4ply / fingering yarn and I just guessed the number of repeats. It’s a smidge loose but I’m quite happy with it nevertheless.

Dragon Leaf Hat 05

This is a bit of a’slouchy’ hat.

Dragon Leaf Hat 01

I love the pattern detail.

Dragon Leaf Hat 06

Dragon Leaf Hat 04

I didn’t block this hat as I was worried if I stretched it too much it would be much too big for me.

Dragon Leaf Hat 03

The yarn I used is Tili Tomas Artisan Sock in this lovely shade of green.

Tili Tomas Sock Yarn Grass

You could say I am quite happy with these two projects.

Now to deviate a bit. I was recently offered an alpaca fleece which of course I jumped at the opportunity of owning! This is a quick look at that fleece.

Alpaca fleece

And a look at the alpaca after it had been shorn. Priceless!

Alpaca shorn 01

I’m off to Knit and Knatter tomorrow which is being held in conjunction with a Suitcase Rummage at the Redland Performing Arts Centre at 11am so if you’re in that area, drop in!

Until next time…

Melanie

 

A Fancy of Facecloths!

It’s that time of the year again when lots of small Christmas gatherings occur and you need to provide token Secret Santa gifts. This year I’ve decided my gifts will be a couple of facecloths and a soap. And they’re hand knitted facecloths of course!

I’ve made quite a few over the year and this is a selection of them. They won’t all be given away but I thought I’d show them to you. This is my collective noun for my facecloths: a ‘fancy’ of facecloths.

This great little pattern is called The Almost Lost Washcloth and I found it on Ravely (where else?). It is so simple to make. The yarn I used is Lincraft Bamboozle which is a 70% bamboo / 30% cotton yarn. I used 5.5mm needles.

Almost Forgotten Washcloth Bamboozle Pink 01

Another one made in a blue mix Bamboozle yarn.

Almost Forgotten Washcloth Lincraft Bamboozle Blue 01

And another one made using Moda Vera Lumino which is a 60% cotton / 40% acrylic yarn. I used size 5.5mm needles.

Almost Forgotten Washcloth MV Lumino 01

One more using Moda Vera Gelato and Moda Vera Lumino combined just for something different! I used size 4.5mm needles.

Almost Forgotten Washcloth MV Gelato MV Lumino 01

This one was made using Moda Vera Gelato and Yatsal Craft Crochet Knitting Cotton using size 4.5mm needles.

Almost Forgotten Washcloth MV Gelato  01

And lastly, again using the Almost Lost Washcloth pattern (I told you it was an easy pattern :-) ) this little green facecloth using only Moda Vera Gelato and size 3.25 mm needles.

Almost Forgotten Washcloth MV Gelato 01

I was on a roll so did some more searching in Ravelry and found this lovely pattern called Round Dishcloth which can easily be used as a facecloth too. I used the pink mix Lincraft Bamboozle and size 5.5mm needles. This pattern makes a lovely generously sized facecloth using this type of yarn and needles.

Round Pink Bamboozle 01

As you can see I bought quite a bit of cotton a while ago and now I’m finally getting to use it!

This cute little pattern is called Country Charm Dishcloth and again, can be adapted as a facecloth. I used Sullivans Coton-A in this lovely orange. It’s a 60% cotton / 40% acrylic and I used size 5.0mm needles.

Country Charm Washcloth Coton-A Orange 01

And for a little bit of whimsy, this Bordered Heart-shaped Dishcloth using Lincraft Bamboozle and size 5.5 needles.

Bordered Heart Pink Bamboozle 01

Now to some square facecloths: the very cute ‘Love to Knit With My Friends‘ facecloth. You need to look at it from a certain angle to read the words. This was my best photo – taken while I was blocking it! I used Cascade Yarns Ultra Prima which is a 100% cotton and I used 3.75mm needles.

I Love to Knit 01

And the Lacy Dragon Large Scale Washcloth, also made with Cascade Yarns Ultra Prima cotton using size 4mm needles.

Lacy Dragon 02

And the beautiful Spa Day Faceceloth using Cascade Yarns Ultra Prima cotton and size 4mm needles.

Spa Cloth Blue 02

Nearly there! This is the Two Hearts as One Dishcloth made from Cascade Yarns Ultra Prima cotton using size 4mm needles.

Blue Heart 02

And finally, another whimsical washcloth: the cute little Leafy Washcloth made using Cascade Yarns Ultra Prima and size 4mm needles.

Garter Stitch Leaf 01

Wow! I didn’t realise how many I had actually made. I certainly have lots to pick from for Secret Santa gifts don’t I? And the scary thing is I still have more to show you; I just haven’t photographed them yet! Here’s the first one I’ve prepared: two facecloths with some handemade spearmint and oats soap.

Secret Santa 01

And I’ll pop it into this little Christmas bag…

Secret Santa 02

That’s my Secret Santa gifts all sorted! I hope I’ve given you some ideas for your Secret Santa gifts too.

Until next time…

Melanie

# 12 – My Brian Vincent ‘Nancy’ Spinning Wheel

Yes, that’s right, I’m now the owner of 12 stunning spinning wheels and this wheel was made by a Brisbane spinning wheel maker during the late 70s, 80s and into the 90s: Brian Vincent. Whenever I come across an unusual wheel I instantly start researching it to find out as much as I can about the maker. In this case, I contacted the Queensland Spinners, Weavers and Fibre Artists requesting whether any of their members had any information about Mr Vincent. What a surprise to find out that Mr Vincent’s daughter, Helen is a member of that group!

I contacted Helen and she very kindly gave me lots of interesting information about her Dad. Mr Vincent passed away in 2007, aged 96. He’d been very active in his workshop until a couple of years prior to this. He made Helen one of his wheels, after teaching her to spin on his demo wheel. He usually sold them with three bobbins. Mr Vincent also made lazy kates and niddy noddies. He also made Helen a jumbo flier, with two bobbins, and she got him to modify a couple of her ordinary bobbins with a smaller whorl for lace weight spinning. Helen has been using her wheel since about 1981 and she has worn out three fliers and had them repaired.

Helen believes her Dad might have started to make stainless steel fittings, when he acquired a metal lathe and started metal turning. Originally the brass fittings were made by Selwyn McCullough, a good neighbour and friend. Sel’s wife Ina was a member of the Queensland Spinners, and it was his idea to make the wheels for the fledgling spinners group who mostly purchased the Ashford traditional from New Zealand in kit form (both have now passed on). Cecile Falvy, founder of the spinners group, gave Mr Vincent suggestions to modify the wheel. She called it the Rolls Royce. It is a well-balanced wheel and very fast, and Helen loves it. Cecile sent Helen a photo of a portrait painted of her with the wheel, called “The Spinster”. Mr Vincent said the wheel was Norwegian in design, and Helen believes he found the design in a Woodworker magazine. Mr Vincent was a member of the Queensland Spinners for a while and helped with maintenance of the hall.

At the time Mr Vincent started making wheels Helen was living in Adelaide, but she retired in 2001 and returned to Brisbane and moved in with her Dad. Helen joined the spinners in 2002, when her Dad took her along and introduced her. Helen has been spinning for 34 years or so. She also knits, crochets, weaves and felts and she loves to work with alpaca.

Helen kindly sent me a photo of her Dad taken on his 92nd birthday, in 2003.

Brian Vincent 92 in 2003

I am so grateful to Helen for answering all my questions via email. I am so proud to be an owner of this gorgeous Nancy spinning wheel made by Mr Brian Vincent.

Vincent Wheel 06

It is made from Queensland maple with brass fittings.

Vincent Wheel 07

Truly beautiful craftsmanship…

Vincent Wheel 09

I love the built-in lazy Kate…

Vincent Wheel 08

And the tension mechanism is so easy to use…

Vincent Wheel 10

Vincent Wheel 11

I cannot stop looking at the beauty of the woodwork…

Vincent Wheel 12

My wheel also came with four large bobbins…

Vincent Wheel 14

Vincent Wheel 16

Vincent Wheel 17

It even has the original Dymo tape labelling…

Vincent Wheel 05

You could say I am one happy spinner to be the owner of this stunning wheel.

Vincent Wheel 15

I now have two Brisbane-made wheels: this Vincent ‘Nancy’ wheel and my Roy McKnight Suitcase Wheel.

And don’t forget, there’s lots of information about Australian spinning wheels on this site.

And just to let you know, Helen, your Dad’s wheel is in good company.

Wheels x 12 8-11-14 02a

Wheels x 12 8-11-14 03a

Wheels x 12 8-11-14 04a

Now, I wonder what my # 13 spinning wheel will be…..

I’m also a bit chuffed as one of my blog posts about knitting Christmas decorations has been linked to the multitaskingmummy.com blog. It’s the very last Christmas craft idea.

Until next time….

Melanie

 

William’s Knits

My son’s best mate has just become a father to a little baby boy born on 31 October; his name is William and you’ve guessed it, what better gift to give than knitted goodies. So I’ve made a start as William will be six months old next winter. I had already made this little hat as I wasn’t sure whether the baby would be a boy or a girl.

Red Mock Cable Hat 04

It’s one of my favourite baby hat patterns called Mock Cable Baby Hat and it’s a free Ravelry pattern.

Red Mock Cable Hat 02

I used Patons Big Baby 8ply, a lovely soft baby yarn. I’m pretty sure little William likes his hat don’t you?

William red hat

These little goodies will be winging their way to William before winter next year. A gorgeous little vest called the Chris Woven Yoke Vest. I found the pattern in my Knitting Pattern a Day Calendar 2012. There are some lovely knitting patterns in these calendars.

Chris Woven Yoke Vest 01

This little vest is knitted using Ice Yarns Dancing Baby which is a 100% acrylic yarn. I have quite a few colourways of this yarn and they are quite stunning.

Chris Woven Yoke Vest 04

Chris Woven Yoke Vest 05

There’s a little bit of stretch in this vest so I hope it fits little William next winter.

Chris Woven Yoke Vest 02

And a matching hat too!

Hat Blue Camel White 01

It’s from the free pattern Easy Rolled Brim Hat although I have modified it slightly. I kept decreasing until there were four stitches left, K2tog: three stitches left. I then proceeded to knit an I-cord for an inch or so and tied a small knot in it. Looks so much cuter I think.

Hat Blue Camel White 02

Hat Blue Camel White 03

And then I made this hat using the same pattern but casting on 128 stitches and using the Patons Big Baby 8ply yarn in three colours.

Hat RBW 01

I’m not sure what age this hat will fit but hopefully William will find some use for it!

Hat RBW 02

Hat RBW 03

Knitting baby garments is so gratifying as they don’t take long at all. Remember all those hats I made a year or so ago for two friends who were having babies?

To finish off I want to show you the gorgeous colours of the poinciana trees which are in full bloom in the Redlands this spring. It’s one of the best displays I’ve seen in years.

Poincianas Cleveland 19-11-14 01

Poincianas Cleveland 19-11-14 02

Poincianas Cleveland 19-11-14 03

Poincianas Cleveland 19-11-14 04

Poincianas Cleveland 19-11-14 10

Poincianas Cleveland 19-11-14 06

Beautiful aren’t they?

One more pic of this little vest. I love it!

Chris Woven Yoke Vest 07

Whoops I nearly forgot…I was rather chuffed when the pattern writer (Dominique Trad from New South Wales, Australia) of the Frillilly scarf contacted me to ask whether my picture of her scarf could be featured on the pattern page as she loved the yarn I’d used. Of course I said yes; it’s the second photo on the pattern page, She also offered me a complimentary pattern of my choice from her selection so I picked the Autumn Rainbow top. Thank you Dominique!!

I’m off to Knit and Knatter this afternoon so I hope you all have a wonderful crafty weekend. Until next time.

Melanie

What is it about scarves and shawls?

I can’t believe how many scarves and shawls I’ve knitted over the last year or so. I mean, I only have one neck and I do live in Brisbane where it doesn’t get too cold for too long in winter. I can see my suitcase will be filled with my scarves when I cruise around New Zealand next year. I’ll be spoilt for choice!!

This is my Frillyilly Scarf made from a pattern I found on Ravelry. The reason why I purchased this pattern is because it reminds me of the Minnie Scarf except it has the frill on both sides which I rather like.

Frillyilly 01

It’s a great length and I’m really happy with the finished product.

Frillyilly 03

And another way to wear it…

Frillyilly 02

The yarn I used is the gorgeous Shorn Fibers MCN Sock 435 which is an 80% merino / 10% nylon / 10% cashmere 4ply / fingering yarn. The colourway is ‘Wood Elf’. This yarn is incredibly soft and makes a perfect scarf.

Shorn Fibers Wood Elf 04

This is my Fete Shawl and the pattern is available free on Ravelry.

Fete Shawl 01

There’s an awful lot of stockinette stitch in this shawl which is great if you don’t feel like concentrating too much!!

Fete Shawl 04

The edging really makes the shawl ‘pop’…

Fete Shawl 10

I’m a bit ‘ho hum’ about this shawl. I think it’s because I used the wrong yarn; Moda Vera Noir which is a 75% wool / 20% nylon 4ply / fingering sock yarn. Ideally, it should be used on socks as it gives a great fair isle look. I don’t know what possessed me to use it on this pattern. Must have been having a moment.

I rewrote the lace edge pattern portion which can be found on my Ravelry page link as it wasn’t clearly written. In hindsight, I should have finished with a garter stitch edge as it curls up a bit, even after blocking. Sometimes you end up with a project that you just don’t gel with and I think this is mine.

Fete Shawl 08

I’ll have to find the coolest places to knit this weekend as we’re headed for a scorcher in Brissie: high 30s (that’s celsius), however where I live on the coast it’ll be 2-3 degrees cooler.

Hope you all have a fantastic crafty weekend and keep warm and/or cool depending on where you live!

Until next time…

Melanie

 

 

 

My Roy McKnight Suitcase Spinning Wheel

It’s only quite recently that I discovered the existence of this rather quaint and quirky little spinning wheel. It’s quite unique as its contained within a lovely portable wooden suitcase; hence the name ‘the suitcase wheel’. I bet you wouldn’t think a spinning wheel was housed in this suitcase on first glance would you?

Suitcase wheel 14

I am delighted to say that I am now the proud owner of this cute little wheel thanks to Karen on the Ravelry Australian Spinning Wheels online forum. Karen put me in contact with Jean who was selling it. The wheel arrived this week and now becomes my 12th spinning wheel!

As you can see by the measurements, it is extremely compact and hardly takes up any room at all!

Suitcase wheel 01a

The suitcase wheel was made by Roy McKnight from Birkdale (eastern suburbs of Brisbane). From information on the Australian Spinning Wheels site (administered by Mary K from New Zealand), the suitcase wheels only weigh about 4kg (9lbs). Mr McKnight also made wool winders and other spinning accessories; as so often, he was encouraged by a wife who was a spinner. The picture on Mary’s website is of a wheel from 1992 so I am assuming Mr McKnight made these wheels in the early 1990s and possibly the late 1980s. Is there anyone else out there who either has one of these wheels or knows anything about Roy McKnight? I would really love to hear from you via the Contact Me section of my blog (along the top banner).

Suitcase wheel 02

This is the angle (see below) the left  hand part of the suitcase needs to be positioned to enable you to spin. You also need to have a small mat under the wheel to stabilise it.

Suitcase wheel 03

I am assuming the name on the lower left hand inside of the wheel could be the original owner.

Suitcase wheel 05

The bobbins are quite small; as you can see from the number of hooks

Suitcase wheel 06

Three bobbins are held on the ‘lazy kate’. I have five bobbins in total which is a bonus!

Suitcase wheel 07

The wheel is lacquered so there is no need to oil the wood at all.

Suitcase wheel 08

It is a most ingenious spinning wheel.

Suitcase wheel 09

Everything folds in neatly.

Suitcase wheel 11

The flyer (without the bobbin) slips in at the bottom of the suitcase.

Suitcase wheel 12

It reminds me of a dolls house for grown ups!

Suitcase wheel 13

The previous owner had started spinning this orange wool and packed the rest of the wool top in the parcel so I finished spinning it.

Suitcase wheel 16

I am really happy to be the owner of this wheel as it is a part of the history of where I live. It will be perfect to take on my cruise next year. It’s not a wheel I would use for all my spinning as the bobbins are quite small and will only hold a small amount of spinning but for its compactness and portability, it’s the ideal wheel to take away when you want to do a bit of spinning. And, of course, I am sure it will invite lots of interest and comments from spinners and non-spinners alike!

Suitcase wheel 04

If you have a suitcase wheel, I’d love to hear your thoughts about how often you use it and what you think of it.

My wheel has # 56 stencilled in the inside of the suitcase.

Until next time…

Melanie