Easter Yarning

Over the years I have collected bits and pieces of china…some cheap and some not so cheap. So I was quite amazed a couple of days ago when I realised that I had a lovely Royal Doulton plate from the Susan Neale ‘Old Country Crafts’ range called ‘The Spinner’.

The Spinner 02

To think I’d had this plate since the early 1990s and didn’t realise it replicated my love of spinning.

Another little plate I picked up on Ebay last year is this one…

Irish Spinning 02

It’s quite beautiful isn’t it. And then there’s this tiny little spinning wheel I also picked up on Ebay last year. Just couldn’t resist it.

Small spinning wheel 02

And here’s the three of them lined up on one of my timber kitchen dressers.

Three spinning 2

Yesterday I washed two lots of handspun that I’ve recently finished spinning. This one is called Kangaroo Paw…

Kangaroo Paw 01

Lovely shades of yellows and reds…

Kangaroo Paw 04

Kangaroo Paw 06

This one is called Rainbow # 2…

Rainbow No 2 02

Rainbow No 2 03

One of my friends asked me whether I spin to get a certain colour effect. Well no, at this stage I consider myself to be an organic spinner and what I mean by that is I spin without thinking of the end result. My aim is just to get it relatively consistent in thickness. Maybe when I’m more experienced I might get a bit more mathematical and scientific about it. With this particular roving I broke it down into many thin strips before spinning as it suited my Peacock spinning wheel that I was using for the first time. It’s a bit chunkier than my previous spinning efforts but I absolutely love the colours in it.

Rainbow No 2 07

These rovings are part of a large bundle I bought from Jumbuck Julie’s Etsy shop and I showed you them all here. This is what they looked like in their roving shape…

Kangaroo Paw 01

Rainbow # 2 01

Now I have a bit of handspun waiting to be knitted into garments….probably hats and scarves at this stage.

One more look at the beautiful Rainbow colours…

Rainbow No 2 05

That’s all my news for now. I hope you’re all having a wonderful Easter and will find some time to do something crafty. Until next time…

Melanie

 

Harmony Collar

I found this pattern in the latest copy of Spotlight’s Feel the Yarn Autumn Winter 2014 Collection. The pattern is called Harmony Collar and starts on page 96. By the way, if you’re thinking of knitting this collar there’s a small mistake in the pattern. It should read “Repeat rows 3 to 22 for 20 rows of pattern repeat…” rather than “Repeat rows 2 to 22 for 20 rows of pattern repeat…”

Feel the Yarn

I love the way this collar can also sit over your head when it’s really cold.

Harmony Collar 03

It can also be worn around the shoulders…

Harmony Collar 01

Or even as a large cowl…

Harmony Collar 05

I used nearly six ball of Moda Vera Harmony to knit the collar. Every row of the pattern contains cabling which made it a bit slow going to start with but once I got into the groove it went a bit faster! This is a 10ply / Aran, 50% wool / 50% acrylic yarn and has quite a fluffy texture to it.

Moda Vera Harmony Green

Last week I received a delivery of a custom dyed lot of yarn from Shorn Fibers. I love Angela’s colourways! I don’t know about you but I am inspired to purchase yarns that my friends are using or to knit garments they’re knitting. A couple of weeks ago, one of my friends from Knit and Knatter was knitting this Willow Woods Shawl in a beautiful gradient yarn. I knew I had the pattern at home so I instantly started looking for the right yarn to use. I also knew that I’d seen some gradient yarns on Shorn Fibers’ Etsy site so I contacted Angela to see whether she could custom dye some yarn in autumn tonings. This is the result…

Shorn Fibers Autumn Gradient 2

Beautiful isn’t it? I just want to start the shawl straight away but I have to finish the scarf I am knitting my Dad for his 90th birthday on 3 May (plus I also want to knit a matching hat!).

Shorn Fibers Autumn Gradient 3

Now you know how I like to maximise postage by trying to get as much yarn as possible into a postage bag for the same price as one skein!! Well I contacted Angela and she told me I could fit in another two skeins so I quickly went to her website and found this gorgeous worsted yarn called Malarkey…

Shorn Fibers Malarkey 04

Sometimes it’s hard to match yarn colours on a computer screen. I was hoping the green in this Malarkey matched the green in this yarn….First Beach (also a worsted yarn)…

Shorn Fibers First Beach 04

AND IT DID!!!! Don’t they look fabulous together?

Shorn Fibers First Beach and Malarkey 01

I want to make a shawl with both of these yarns so I’m on the lookout for the right pattern as I think it’ll look spectacular. Any suggestions??

Shorn Fibers First Beach and Malarkey 02

I had a quick trip to Spotlight today and managed to grab these yarns that were on sale. This colourway is called Apple Mix.

Four Seasons Two Ply Wool Blend Apple Mix

And this one is called Citrus Mix…

Four Seasons Two Ply Wool Blend Citrus Mix

Plus this one ball of Moda Vera Folly…

Moda Vera Folly

as I want to match it with this Moda Vera Folly Printed to make a shawl…

Moda Vera Folly Printed 02

A couple more pics of my Harmony Collar…

Harmony Collar 06

Harmony Collar 02

That’s all my news for now. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Until next time…

Melanie

Autumn Scarf and Some Gorgeous Yarn

 

Another garment off the needles! This is my Autumn Scarf made using Shorn Fibers Single DK which is a 40% Baby Alpaca 40% Merino 20% Silk yarn blend. The colourway way is called Autumn Leaves and it’s gorgeous to knit with. I used exactly 125g for this scarf; the other 75g was used to knit my 3AM Cable Hat which I blogged about here.

Shorn Fibres Autumn Leaves 3

Here’s the hat…

3AM Cable Hat 03

And here’s the newly finished scarf…

Autumn Scarf 01

The pattern I used is called Palindrome and what I like about it is it’s a reversible cable which makes your scarf look great from both sides!

Autumn Scarf 02

This yarn is as soft as silk against my neck and will make a nice partner for the hat.

Autumn Scarf 03

I’m so glad I left the scarf relatively narrow as it’s enabled me to utilise all the yarn to make the scarf slightly longer than normal.

Autumn Scarf 08

Before I go I’m going to show you a couple of gorgeous yarns I’ve just received in the mail. The first is the number one instalment in Dyed By Hand Yarns’ 2014 Simply Sock Club and it’s called Surf Life Saving.

DBHY Surf Life Saving 02

Isn’t it stunning? I showed it to a friend of mine and she immediately grabbed it out of my hands as she was so smitten with it!

DBHY Surf Life Saving 04

DBHY Surf Life Saving 05

The second sock yarn is called Blue Ringed Octopus…

DBHY Blue Ringed Octopus 02

Both these yarns are called Tough Stocking and are a 75% superwash merino / 25% nylon yarn. Each weighs 100gm and contains 423 metres (463 yards).

The second lot of yarn that arrived this week is the eighth offering in Zen Yarn Garden’s new ART WALK Series that features a painting by Claude Monet entitled “Irises” which inspired this colourway.

Hand painted on Serenity Silk Single Mr Zen has captured the subtle colours of the painting. From one medium to the next artists express their use of colour.

Serenity Silk Single is a single ply fingering yarn comprising of 75% superwash merino, 15% cashmere and 10% silk. There are 430yds in each 100gm skein, enough to make a small shawl.

Zen Yarn Garden Monet Irises 02

This is the painting that inspired the yarn colours…

Zen Yarn Claude Monet Irises image

And this is a photo from Zen Yarn Garden’s website…

Zen Yarn Claude Monet Irises 04

I am simply amazed by the beautiful colours that can be used to make gorgeous hand dyed yarn.

That’s it for me today. Until next time…

Melanie

 

 

A Rave of Rovings

I love the English language, love reading and love words. In particular, I love collective nouns; you know, those strange words that describe a group of things: a parliament of owls, a host of sparrows, a murder of crows, an exaltation of larks, a muster of peacocks, a route of wolves, a skulk of foxes and so on.

I’ve even thought of a few of my own: a click of knitters, a hook of crocheters plus this one….a rave of rovings, which is the perfect segue to my latest post!

Yesterday at my place it was like waiting for Father Christmas to arrive as I knew there would be a delivery of a large number of rovings that I’d just ordered. Thanks to online parcel tracking I was expecting them to arrive any minute….the wonders of the internet!

As the buzzer went in my townhouse, I rushed to unlock the door and took possession of a huge parcel!

I immediately unpacked the rovings and started photographing them straight away so I could share all the fibre goodness with you. Here they are in all their colourful gloriousness……..

Anemone 01

Anemone…beautiful shades of purply blue and yellow…

Anemone 02

Apple Fresh 01

Apple Fresh….scrummy shades of greens…

Apple Fresh 02

Froggie 01

Froggie….shades of green, aqua and mustard…

Froggie 02

Great Barrier Reef 01

Great Barrier Reef…vibrant shades of the sea…

Great Barrier Reef 02

Peacock 01

Peacock…rich colours of purple and aqua…

Peacock 02

Desert 01

Desert…my favourite shades of sand, yellow and orange…

Desert 02

Grass 01

Grass….the rich green colour of a luscious lawn…

Grass 02

Natural White 01

Natural White…these two rovings are to use as practise spinning on the spinning wheels I don’t use as much. I would hate to ‘waste’ a hand-dyed roving just for practise.

Natural White 02

Kangaroo Paw 01

Kangaroo Paw…the ubiquitous Western Australia flower…

Kangaroo Paw 02

Rainbow # 2 01

Rainbow # 2..a vibrant mix of bright colours…

Rainbow # 2 02

Red Gum 01

And finally, Red Gum…my favourite autumn shades…

Red Gum 02

Aren’t they spectacularly beautiful colours? I just want to spin them all at once!!

If you’re wondering where I found these rovings, I’ll let you know. I stumbled upon this Aussie supplier when I was surfing the net. Julie Duke from Melbourne, Victoria runs an Etsy shop called Jumbuck Julie and she sells soooo many different hand-dyed rovings that you’ll have a hard time trying to make up your mind which ones to buy as I did!

My main criteria when purchasing online is to get quality, value and maximise postage. A large Australia Post expandable tough bag held these 22 rovings and cost only $15.20 postage which means each roving cost just under 70c postage.

The rovings are 100g each, 100% merino and 22 micron and cost $11.50 each except for the natural white which cost $7.50 each.

Now I just need to start spinning and to plan what to knit with each one!!!

We are so lucky here in Australia to have access to so many fine yarn and fibre artisans.

Now, for something totally different, I just wanted to show you this cute little sheep bag that I bought from Spotlight for just over $11. One of my friends from my spinning group showed it to me so of course I had to have one (or two) for myself. They are so soft and cuddly!

Sheep Bag 01

They’ll come in handy for small projects or just to hang around…

Sheep Bag 02

This one is hanging on one of my spinning wheels…

Sheep Bag 04

Very cute and whimsical don’t you think?

Until next time…

Melanie

 

Two Handspun Woolly Neck Knits

Another handspun garment has flown off the needles! I am particularly happy with this ‘Forest’ Handspun Scarf. The spinning is getting to be quite consistent and the colours are simply wonderful.

From this…

Forest roving 02

To this…

Forest Handspun 02

To this luscious skein…

Forest Handspun 05

To this beautiful scarf…

Forest Handspun Scarf 01

Isn’t the striping effect gorgeous?

Forest Handspun Scarf 03

The pattern is called One Row Handspun Scarf from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee aka The Yarn Harlot and it can be found on Ravelry. It is soooo easy to knit and is reversible which is what I like in a scarf.

I added a lovely fringe to make it look like the scarves I used to wear when I was a little girl and my family lived in the UK for a year.

Forest Handspun Scarf 06

Forest Handspun Scarf 07

I bought the two x 100g rovings from Kathy’s Fibres. They are lovely to spin from and Kathy’s colours are amazing.

Forest Handspun Scarf 08

The scarf is 100% merino wool.

Forest Handspun Scarf 11

Forest Handspun Scarf 13

The second handspun garment is a 50/50 kid mohair/merino cowl. It was challenging trying to spin this yarn and it became a very thick and thin textured labour of love.

The original fibre was very soft and fluffy…

Kid Mohair 01

As you can see it is very thick and thin…

Kid Mohair 04

The colourway is called ‘Autumn’ and it has lovely bits of blue and orange throughout it…

Kid Mohair 06

The two skeins have a real ‘chunky’ look about them…

Kid Mohair 08

But as I learn every day, there are no mistakes in spinning. The thick and thin look is actually what some spinners aim to achieve and here I am doing it without even trying!!

I only had enough yarn to make this very warm and incredibly soft cowl…

Kid Mohair Cowl 01

Not bad for a spinning ‘disaster’ is it?

Kid Mohair Cowl 02

This is also the same One Row Handspun Scarf except I joined the ends to make a cowl.

Kid Mohair Cowl 03

I love all those muted colours.

Kid Mohair Cowl 04

Only a small cowl but very big on warmth and character I must say!

Kid Mohair Cowl 06

You could say I am very happy with my handspun achievements to date. Plus I am going to have the warmest neck in the whole world next winter :-)

Before I go I must let you know that I have subscribed to Dyed By Hand Yarns’ 2014 Simply Sock Club and the first instalment is released next week! I can’t wait!

The theme for 2014 is Australia II – colours inspired by the ocean, sea, sails and coastlines. This is a six month sock yarn only club and you receive:

Two skeins of sock yarn posted out in the last week in March, May and July. Yarns included are 2 x Tough Stocking, 1 x Mother’s Love, 1 x Big Blue Stocking, 1 x Silk Stocking and 1 x Blue Chip Stocking.

Each skein of yarn is dyed in a colour inspired by something Australian. These colours are exclusive to yarn club members for 12 months. Plus custom dyeing of these colours on any yarn base may be ordered by yarn club members for the duration of the club.

Now as I have mentioned, I have no financial or other affiliation with Dyed By Hand Yarns. I simply love to promote fantastic Aussie artisan hand-dyed yarns and fibres as they are spectacular. Here’s my story about the 2013 Simply Sock Club with pictures of all the yarns. And remember, you don’t necessarily have to knit socks with the yarns….you can also knit some beautiful scarves and shawls.

One more pic of my scrumptious Forest Handspun Scarf…

Forest Handspun Scarf 04

That’s all for now. Until next time…

Melanie

My First Knitted Handspun Garments!!

I’m sooo excited as I’ve finally managed to knit my first two garments from my own handspun yarn. I didn’t think this would ever happen.

It’s gone from this…

Citrus roving 02

To this…

Citrus Handspun 01

Then this…

Citrus Handspun 19

To finally….this gorgeous hat…

Citrus Hspun Hat 01

I love this beautiful pattern…

Citrus Hspun Hat 04

I found the pattern in the Knitting: 100+ Patterns Throughout the Year: 2012 Day-to-Day Calendar and it’s called Heart Vines.

Aren’t those colours simply stunning!

Citrus Hspun Hat 10

But wait, there’s more. I also made this lovely cowl too…

Citrus Hspun Cowl 01

It’s the very popular Honey Cowl….over 15,000 have been made and are featured on Ravelry.

Both my head and my neck are going to be toasty warm this winter. The pattern gives you a lovely textured and thick cowl.

Citrus Hspun Cowl 05

Depending on how much yarn you have you can make the smaller version like I did. There’s also a longer version.

Citrus Hspun Cowl 07

Here’s a picture of that beautiful textured stitch definition which is simply alternate rows of garter stitch and slip 1 wyif, purl 1 repeated.

Citrus Hspun Cowl 10

I’ve also started knitting my third garment with my second lot of handspun and have also got the third lot of handspun on my Ettrick wheel. It’s called ‘Envy’ and it’s one of the many rovings I bought from Kathy’s Fibres.

Envy roving 02

Busy, busy, busy…that’s what I am.

Citrus Hspun Hat 09

Citrus Hspun Hat 06

I hope you’re having a wonderful yarnie weekend too!

Until next time…

Melanie

‘Forest’ Handspun Yarn

I’m on a bit of a roll when it comes to my spinning. Now that I’ve settled into using my Ettrick spinning wheel and loving how it works, I can’t get away from it! I even missed eating my dinner last Friday night as I was so engrossed in plying this yarn!

Forest Handspun 01

This is part of the large number of rovings I purchased from Kathy’s Fibres last year for only $11 each. This particular colourway is called ‘Forest’.

Forest roving 02

I love all these ‘earthy’ colours…

Forest Handspun 02

The plied and skeined wool came out a treat…

Forest Handspun 05

I am finally managing to retain some consistent thickness with my spinning. I didn’t think it would ever happen!

Forest Handspun 06

I couldn’t get all the yarn onto the one bobbin so I’ve ended up with a large ball weighing 166g and a smaller one weighing 32g.

Forest Handspun 07

I’ve even found a pattern I may use. It’s The Yarn Harlot’s One Row Handspun Scarf. I think it’ll look lovely in this yarn.

Forest Handspun 17

We found a new venue for our Knit and Knatter twice monthly gatherings which we visited yesterday. It’s the Hoya Garden Plaza and it’s perfect for our needs. There’s so much seating room that’s all under cover and it could even cater for multitude spinning wheels. Their coffee and cakes were wonderful and it was so peaceful overlooking all the plants.

One of my lovely friends lent me these two books to read. I am quite in love with both of them so of course I’ve sourced them on the internet and bought them from Abebooks!

The first is Elizabeth’s Zimmerman’s Knitting Around.

Knitting Around

There’s a great book review that can be found here.

And the second book is Amy King’s Spin Control, perfect for a newby spinner like me who’s still experimenting with lots of things.

Spin Control

Spin Control teaches you to make handspun yarns that may include the best traits of commercial yarns but always have their own personal touches. From soft, bulky singles to durable cabled yarns with terrific stitch definition and from tweedy yarns with rich texture and color to serviceable 3-ply that holds up to heavy use, the sky is the limit with this book.

Teacher, store owner, and fiber source Amy King of Spunky Eclectic shares her time-tested techniques for success in Spin Control, which include:

How to adjust spinning wheels for best results with the least effort How to combine techniques to create beautiful yarns. Instructions and brilliant photography on core spinning and other less traditional techniques And, Amy even takes you off the beaten path and shows you the exciting opportunities of novelty yarns. So you can explore the types of yarn and create beautiful, functional handspun to meet your fibre needs. From skinny 2-ply lace yarns to sturdy cabled yarns, Spin Control has the fundamentals you need for one-of-a-kind yarns.

There’s a great book review than can be found here.

One more look at my handspun yarn…

Forest Handspun 13

Forest Handspun 14

Hope you’re all enjoying your weekend! Until next time…

Melanie