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

 

Yarning about yarn stuff

In September whilst surfing through Ravelry, I spotted a request by Rebecca from Augustbird who was looking for some test yarn knitters so I put my hand up to knit a pair of women’s socks and test their White Gum sock yarn.

Augustbird Socks 01

I used the Simple Skyp Socks pattern so I also received a complimentary copy of the gorgeous Cloudfall Cowl. For my efforts, Rebecca provided me with a $40 voucher to spend on her yarn.  I used the Simple Skyp pattern as I had previously knitted a pair of socks using this pattern and they turned out particularly comfortable. I was also asked to start a Ravelry project page which I did. These are the Skyp socks made using Augustbird’s yarn in the colourway ‘Ink’.

Augustbird Socks 5-10-14 01

This is an easy pattern to memorise and adds just a bit of interest rather than plain stockinette stitch.

Augustbird Socks 5-10-14 03

I sent off the completed socks to Rebecca and received my $40 voucher so I checked out Augustbird’s website but was disappointed as the October colourway called ‘Songbird’ had sold out. It was such a gorgeous display of colours. My luck changed, however, when I spotted a  FB post declaring there were a couple more skeins of Songbird to be had! I was as fast as a sprinter off the blocks to get those two skeins and here they are!

Augustbird songbird Multi 01

Augustbird songbird More Blue 01

This skein is White Gum Wool Sock which is an 80% ethical superfine merino / 20% nylon yarn and the colourway is Songbird More Blue.

Augustbird songbird More Blue 02

Augustbird songbird More Blue 03

Augustbird songbird More Blue 04

And this skein is White Gum Wool 4ply which is a 100% ethical superfine merino wool and the colourway is Songbird.

Augustbird songbird Multi 02

I got a bit carried away taking photos as the wool is just so incredibly gorgeous!

Augustbird songbird Multi 03

Augustbird songbird Multi 04

Each skein was $28 so I only had to pay the $16 difference plus postage. It was worth it as I now have two gorgeous skeins of yarn to stash until I find the right pattern. I really enjoyed the test knit as I was in the mood to knit another pair of socks.

A couple of weeks ago as I was looking through Ebay at spinning wheels for sale (something I do quite often and shouldn’t!), I found this rather unusual Australian wooden carving of a woman at a spinning wheel for sale. Well, I just had to have it so I clicked on ‘Add to Cart’ and voila! it was mine.

Carved spinning lady 05

It really is quite exquisite and is one more knick knack to add to my ever burgeoning collection of all things yarn, spinning and sheep!

Carved spinning lady 04

I also seem to spend a bit of time on Facebook catching up with friends and posting photos of my spinning wheel purchases and yarn projects. One page I have ‘liked’ is the Australian Lincraft page and last month they ran a competition for their I Love Yarn Day 2014 asking what was your favourite Lincraft yarn and why.

Lincraft competition

Last year I crocheted Mum a lovely throw using Lincraft Cosy wool and gave it her for Mother’s Day. She loves it!

Mums Throw 01

The colours were quite unusual and really matched Mum’s lounge room so I used this photo and similar words and posted them on the Lincraft competition page – see bottom right of the picture below.

Lincraft mel

What a lovely surprise to receive a comment under my photo letting me know that I’d won one of the yarn packs which arrived this week. The pack contains five balls of Lincraft Air which is a super bulky yarn made with 78% acrylic / 17% nylon (polyamide) / 5% wool. The yarn uses size 10mm needles.

Lincraft Air 01

I’ve decided I’ll knit the scarf and hat from the pattern I also won. Hopefully, I’ll have them made by next winter! Or maybe I should aim for March next year as I’m cruising around New Zealand in April and I’m sure it’ll be a bit nippy on board as well as on land where I aim to try and visit some yarn shops (surprise, surprise!).

Lincraft Air 03

And lastly, I found this cute little terracotta sheep near my Mum’s front door. She’d been doing a bit of re-arranging of her garden ornaments which is why I’ve never seen it before. “Is that a sheep Mum?” I asked. “Yes it is, would you like it?” she replied. Of course, you know what my answer was don’t you? It now resides near my back sliding door.

Terracotta sheep 02

Terracotta sheep 03That’s enough yarning for now!

Until next time…

 

Melanie

 

A Wonderful Wind Wheel!

The spinning wheel Gods have been looking after me over the last couple of weeks as I’ve managed to pick up two more wheels to add to my burgeoning collection that now totals 11! Today I’m going to show you one of them..my June 1981 Fenton Wind Wheel.

Wind wheel 01

Last Sunday morning I checked my emails and then checked the spinning wheels for sale on Ebay and Gumtree. This is becoming a bit of a daily habit which I must try and break! At the top of the list on Gumtree was this gorgeous Wind Wheel and it was within a comfortable driving distance to my home…about 40 minutes away. My first thought was NO! you have enough spinning wheels and you only have two hands!! I shut down the computer and moved away to do something else but this wheel kept niggling at me so it was back to the computer, log back on and retrieve the phone number of the seller. After a quick call I confirmed I’d be there within the hour. Yes, I can hear you….I can talk myself into anything!

After a couple of wrong turns (even with a Navman I still make wrong turns) I arrived at my destination feeling slightly stressed from the driving (I HATE driving especially to unfamiliar territory). I was shown the Wind Wheel which also came with a small Lazy Kate and a total of four bobbins.

Wind wheel bobbins 02

Now, I’ve never used a Wind Wheel so the owner showed me how she worked. Wow! I can’t believe how many types of spinning wheels there are, how differently they operate and yet the end result is the same: spun yarn. The little Wind Wheel is the weirdest looking wheel but so compact as it folds down.

windwheelfentonfolded(Photo from Australian Spinning Wheels website)

The hinge that allows the wheel to fold.

Wind wheel 10

The owner also had a small box which contained violin rosin which is used to rub the inside of the leather belt when it starts slipping. I have since been told by another spinner that I shouldn’t really need to use it. Any other feedback would be appreciated.

Wind wheel bobbins 03

As soon as I got my little wheel home, I took the obligatory photos and then hopped onto one of my all time favourite websites: Ravelry. I posted some pics on the Australian Spinning Wheel forum and the next day there were a few responses. Luckily I got to that little wheel first as two other people were interested in it but not as quick off the mark as I was! I also managed to find two pdf documents which show the assembly of the Wind Wheel and spinning instructions. One lovely Raveler also advised me she had an original instruction sheet which she photographed and emailed to me. I’ve also asked her if she’d send me a photocopied page so I can scan it and keep it forever! That’s one thing about the fibre / yarn community; everyone is so willing to help and share their knowledge and instruction sheets! Thank you Karen! If you look along the top banner of my website, you’ll find the Spinning Wheel Info icon. Simply hover over it and a drop down menu will appear which shows you all the instruction manuals I’ve found that relate to some of my wheels.

Windwheel instructions

I also checked out one of my other favourite websites administered by Mary Knox in New Zealand which contains heaps of fantastic information about all past and present New Zealand made spinning wheels and all Australian ones too. This website is continually updated as more people find it and are able to contribute meaningful information. I’ve used it quite a bit to identify some of my wheels. There’s also a section on New Zealand and Australian mystery spinning wheels. Perhaps you can identify some of them!!

There’s quite a bit of information about Wind Wheels on the site which I have reproduced here. This unusual folding wheel (pronounced like that which blows, not that which twists around) has had several makers. It was designed in 1977 by Geoffrey Fenton in Tasmania; the design was passed to Hans Kruger in South Australia; now it is made by Ettrick in Victoria. The early Wind Wheel made by Fenton is made of Huon Pine and has a black pulley wheel.

My wheel was made by Fenton in June 1981.

Wind wheel 04

The purpose of the metal hoop is to keep the belt in place when the wheel is folded.

Wind wheel 05

The Kruger wheel included changes to the colour of the pulley wheel, now brown. It is made of plywood, which gives interesting patterns on the flyer arms and other parts. The plywood Wind Wheel was called the “Explorer”. Fenton also offered a “Tasmanian Blackwood” model. Since Ettrick bought the manufacturing licence, they have made Wind Wheels available in Huon Pine, Blackwood and Tasmanian Myrtle, according to the website.

You can view pictures of other wind wheels on the website.

Mabel Ross owned one of the early ones, and wrote about it in her Encyclopedia of Hand Spinning: “Since it folds, it is extremely portable as well as elegant, if unusual. The principle is that of a single-band bobbin-brake type; the momentum usually provided by the driving wheel is vested in the heavy cylinder attached to the treadle and circular motion is transmitted to the spindle by a flexible band. Bobbin braking is provided by pressure of an adjustable spring which also holds the bobbin in place.”

Wind wheel 08

A while ago I had been toying with the idea of buying a new Wind Wheel so I checked out the Ettrick website. The prices stated were for Myrtle $1,320 and for Blackwood $1,430 plus postage and insurance so I put those plans on hold. When this Wind Wheel appeared on Gumtree for only $200 that was probably what pushed me to make that phone call. These wheels don’t often come up for sale; let alone nearby me in Brisbane and for such a reasonable price.

Wind wheel 02The wood is gorgeous.

Wind wheel 09

Oh and by the way the owner was getting rid of it as she’d bought a Majacraft wheel as she wanted to do finer lace spinning.

I’ll tell you about my other spinning wheel purchase in a future post; I’m just gathering some more information about it. Here’s a hint:…it’s a Brisbane made spinning wheel.

Until next time…

Melanie

 

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