Constant Companion Shawl

This shawl was another test knit for Dana Gervais, a really talented Canadian pattern writer. Constant Companion is an oversized yet cosy and elegant shawl and I love the yarnovers and decreases that create little lacy paw prints throughout.

Constant Companion 10There’s an awful lot of knitting in this shawl as it took two full skeins of Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 which is a gorgeous blend of 70% merino / 20% cashmere / 10% nylon. These particular skeins are part of the ART WALK series. This is the fourteenth offering in Zen Yarn Garden’s ART WALK Series which features a painting by Andy Warhol entitled “Stamped Lips “.

Zen Yarn Stamped Lips Warhol 03Zen Yarn Stamped Lips Warhol imageThere’s an increasing section, followed by a straight section and then the decreasing section. I love the delicate scalloped edge.

Constant Companion 05This particular yarn was very difficult to capture on the camera. The inside photos (above) show a very orangey pink whereas the true colour is better indicated by the outside photos.

Constant Companion 09I think I’ll have to wear a black top to really show off the colour of the shawl

Constant Companion 02So, we’re into the third week of May here in Brisbane which means in just over a week’s time it’ll be the first week of winter. Today the temperature is 26 degrees Celsius and tomorrow it’s forecast to be 28! Not sure when I’ll ever get to wear my winter woollies!

Constant Companion 12Constant Companion 14That’s my knitting news for today!

Until next time…

Melanie

Woven Wraps

I’ve been mentioning my weaving projects for a while now so I thought I’d better get them all photographed, resized and sorted (this takes a long time). I’ve been alternating between my 30cm and 50cm Ashford Knitters looms.

These wraps were done on the 50cm loom.

The warp is two balls of Ashford Tekapo 100g 8ply in black and the weft is two balls of Noro Silk Garden 50g. Love the rustic look of these two yarns.

Noro Black 01 Noro Black 02 Noro Black 07The warp is 4 balls of Cleckheaton Country 50g in green and the weft is two balls of Noro Silk Garden 50g. I must say Noro is an awful wool that is full of VM but it does have some lovely colour changes and is perfect in a woven garment. It does become a bit softer when washed too. It’s quite expensive and not worth all the hype.

Noro Greens 01 Noro Greens 02 Noro Greens 03I’m so pleased I attended a couple of weaving workshops recently as it has helped me to finally master this hemming stitch which gives such a great finish. And the fringes were all done on my Ashford Fringe Twister. It is amazing and worth every cent!

Noro Greens 04 Noro Greens 05The warp and weft are a mixture of Lotus Yarns Winter Sun Aran, Lotus Yarns Winter Sun DK and Cleckheaton Riverina 5ply. I just made up this pattern. It was a bit tiresome tucking in all those ends but the end result was worth it! These yarns are all so soft so this wrap is incredibly soft and has a lovely drape.

Browns 03 Browns 05 Browns 08The warp and weft is six balls of Poems 100% 10ply wool. This is a rather long scarf. The colours are lovely muted autumn shades. I’ve had this wool in my stash for ages and now it’s finally been used!

Poems Wool 01 Poems Wool 02 Poems Wool 05 Poems Wool 07The following scarves were made on the 30cm loom.

The warp and weft are a mixture of Lotus Yarns Winter Sun Aran, Lotus Yarns Winter Sun DK and Cleckheaton Riverina 5ply. Similar to the one made on the 50cm loom but there’s no dark brown in this one.

Mocha 02Mocha 06 Mocha 07The warp is handspun mongrel alpaca (grey) and merino (Peacock blue) and the weft is all the handspun mongrel alpaca. I used a double thread throughout as this is some of my early spinning and was a bit uneven in places. The double thread really made a difference.

Grey Alpaca with Blue 02 Grey Alpaca with Blue 05 Grey Alpaca with Blue 07 Grey Alpaca with Blue 09So, as you can see, I have been quite busy weaving up a storm! Once the warp is on the loom, I love how quickly a garment is woven. And you can use so many textured handspun and commercial yarns. This is definitely a quick way to use your stash and believe me I need all the help I can get to do that!

I picked up a bit of 8ply cotton recently so I’m going to try and weave a kitchen mat in greens and oranges (what else!)

If you’ve ever thought about learning to weave, I can highly recommend it. And if you live in Brisbane (or Australia for that matter), one of our spinning group members is an Ashford representative and gives a 15% discount on Ashford looms:-)

Until next time…

Melanie

Queensland Spinners & Weavers Open Day Wrap Up

Yesterday I attended the Queensland Spinners Open Day along with two of my spinning pals. We piled into my car and drove to Fibrecraft House at Auchenflower ready to indulge ourselves in some fibre and yarn browsing and purchasing.

The set up for the day is in full swing!

Qld Spinners Open Day 01Considering we are two thirds of the way through autumn, it was incredibly warm. I wore shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt! It was a breathtakingly gorgeous day!

One of my favourite and very clever artisans is Kimberly from Earth & Stone Creations. I love her work and she had some different yarn bowls on offer. Lots of lovely colours. If you couldn’t make it to the Open Day, don’t despair, Kimberly will be at the Redlands Spinners & Weavers Open Day on 21 June in Cleveland. You can even contact her beforehand if you’re after a custom piece.

Qld Spinners Open Day 02What about this cute little piggy yarn bowl:-)

Qld Spinners Open Day 04Qld Spinners Open Day 03 Qld Spinners Open Day 05 Qld Spinners Open Day 06 Qld Spinners Open Day 07While I was chatting to Kimberly she mentioned that she’d just completed a custom order for a huge yarn bowl (see below). The person who requested it had seen the one I’d blogged about at last year’s Redlands Open Day and they wanted one. So pleased others are discovering her talent:-)

Custom yarn bowlThere was so much to see (and buy). I had intentions of not buying too much as I have so much stash at home but that idea went out the window when I saw what was on offer like these gorgeous dyed skeins of Bendigo wool.

BWM Burgundy blend 02 BWM Orangey blend 02I balled them yesterday and what a riot of colour!

BWM Burgundy blend 04 BWM Orangey blend 03I also picked up this gorgeous Treetops fibre called ‘Red Earth’.

Treetops Red Earth 01 Treetops Red Earth 02Plus this stunning fibre.

Gotland Moss 01 Gotland Moss 03I’ll use this dyed alpaca and these mohair curls on my blending board.

Alpaca Mohair CurlsAnd check out these lovely silk nebula clouds.

Silk NebulaAnd a little bit of embellishment for my weaving.

Orange EmbellishmentA couple of interesting books.

2 BooksAnd some old Yarn magazines. I love flicking through yarn related magazines while I’m having a cuppa:-)

8 Yarn MagsThese very nifty DP WIP tubes will come in handy when I’m knitting socks.

DP WIP TubesAnd last, but not least, another sheep to add to my collection:-)

Emporium SheepYou could say I had a very successful day:-) Thanks to all the Queensland Spinners for such a great event and thank you Gillian and Vanessa for your company and all the laughs. See you at spinning next week:-)

Until next time.

Melanie

A Mini Getaway

I’ve just come home from a four day mini getaway in the Redcliffe area which is north of Brisbane.  Last Monday and Tuesday I attended beginner/advanced weaving workshops where I learned quite a few new techniques so I can now add a bit more interest to my weaving projects. If you live in the Brisbane area, I would highly recommended these workshops. Lindy is an Ashford agent and knows all about spinning, weaving, knitting and a multitude of other crafts. She holds these workshops regularly so you can send her an email to book a spot.

We each made a sampler over the two days which displayed all the different techniques.

Weaving sampler scarf

Not the best colours to mix and match but as it’s just a sampler and not for wearing I am happy with the results:-)

As an aside, my son visited me last weekend and I showed him some of my woven scarves when he asked whether I could make a man’s one for him. Now, that was the last thing I’d expected to come out of his mouth. I just didn’t think he’d want to wear a scarf. So I said to him ‘what about this grey one with the black stripe’ and he immediately put it on and claimed it. I gave him strict instructions about hand washing the scarf too:-)

Richard 17-4-16 with Mums scarfI stayed in a motel in Margate for the three nights and had a wonderful time walking along the waterfront from Margate to Redcliffe. For those of you who live in the Redcliffe area you are so lucky to have this lovely waterfront. This is Margate Beach.

Margate Beach 01Imagine waking up to that lovely sight every morning!

In Redcliffe I visited the very famous Bee Gees Way which is a wonderful tribute to the brothers Gibb.

Bee Gees Way 27I took a stack more photos which you can view here.

And of course, you didn’t think I would visit a new area and not check out the Opp Shops!! Margate has a cluster of these shops within walking distance of each other so I visited each one (and some of them twice!). Here are my bargain buys.

This gorgeous knitting mug for $1…

Knitting Mug 1-tileHow’s this for a rocking sheep! I was amazed these items are actually made let alone me finding one for $6.

Rocking SheepAnother little sheep to add to my collection…

NZ Sheep

I was also given these six beautifully hand made coasters by Pam, a member of the Redcliffe Spinners & Weavers. Aren’t they beautiful?

Sheep coasters fabric

Along the foreshore at Redcliffe there are lots of eateries which were a welcome sight after my rather long hot walk from Margate. This was my view from one of the coffee shops.

Redcliffe coffee shop

There is something about being near the water which instantly calms me. I would love to one day own a home right on the waterfront so I could hear the gentle lapping of the waves as I did at Margate. I also spent over an hour sitting on the jetty at Redcliffe peacefully doing some knitting.

On the Thursday, I attended the Redcliffe Spinners & Weavers Friendship Day which was lots of fun and has geared me up for the Redlands Spinners & Weavers Open Day on 21 June. I was also given this lovely plate from my friend Gillian who spotted it at a second hand shop recently.

Shearer Plate

And on Friday night at another regular crafty gathering with two others, my friend Stephanie gave me this sheep mug she’d found in an Opp Shop.

Sheep Mug side 1-tile

Isn’t it stunning? Every sheep on the mug is different. It’s probably the most unusual mug in my burgeoning collection:-) I’m very lucky to have this mug as it’s from Scotland as can be seen by the logo under the mug.

Sheep Mug bottom

And to finish off, even though this isn’t sheep related, I did find this rather lovely bag for only $4.

Striped bag

So, all in all, it was a lovely quick getaway to an area of Brisbane that is less than an hour’s drive from my place but I never seem to get there.

Now, it’s time to get back to some more weaving, spinning and knitting:-)

Until next time…

Melanie

Lincraft European Collection Elevate – Stormrider Jacket

In February this year I was approached by Lincraft to see whether I’d like to feature in a knitting themed (what else:-) ) guest blog. Lincraft very kindly supplied some yarn and patterns for me to use which I happily accepted.

This beautiful baby garment – Stormrider Jacket – caught my eye so this is the project I made from the pattern book.

Lincraft Elevate pattern bookI chose to make my Jacket in the gorgeous colour “Fuchsia”. Unfortunately, I don’t have a baby to model my jacket so the jacket on a coathanger will have to suffice:-) But I did provide a lovely background including sheep and a couple of spinning wheels:-)

Stormrider Jacket 01Lincraft European Collection Elevate is a lovely squishy 12ply / bulky 100% premium acrylic yarn which makes it perfect for a child’s garment as it will wear and wash very well. It comes in generous 100g balls.

Lincraft Elevate Fuchsia 01 Lincraft Elevate Fuchsia 02The pattern calls for 6.5mm needles so as you can imagine this was a relatively quick knit. It’s knit in five main pieces (back, two fronts and two sleeves) plus two small pockets and the hood is knitted by picking up stitches held on stitch holders along the tops of the back and two fronts.

The hood is a clever addition as it will keep your baby toasty warm during those cold months.

Stormrider Jacket 02 Stormrider Jacket 04There are four sizes that you can make: newborn, 3, 6 and 12 months. I chose to make the 12 months size and this cute little garment will become part of the knitted goodies that I’m collecting in the hope that one day my son will give me a grandchild:-)

For those of you who are more experienced at knitting, you could even knit this jacket in the round which will alleviate the side seams and sleeve seams.

The pattern is unisex so could easily be made for a little baby boy using Lincraft European Collection Elevate “Ink”..

Elevate blue

Other colours include Lincraft European Collection Elevate “Charcoal”

Elevate charcoaland Lincraft European Collection Elevate “Wood”

Elevate woodI used four pink buttons to complement the fuchsia yarn but you could even use four different coloured buttons if you so wished.

Stormrider Jacket 03To show you what the jacket looks like on a 12 month old toddler, I have captured the photo from the pattern booklet. She certainly looks very snug and warm:-)

Stormrider Jacket pattern pic-tileAs you can see, this is a delightful pattern, quick to knit and would be a welcome addition to any little baby’s wardrobe this winter:-)

If you’re looking for a baby jacket pattern, I would highly recommend this one as it’s quick and easy which is something we all like when it comes to knitting:-)

Until next time…

Melanie

Just Because Socks – Pair # 50

I’ve finally finished the last ‘single lady’ which completes my four sock pattern test knits that I started on 22 February. Phew! Now I’ll be able to concentrate on other projects. These beautiful socks – Just Because – are particularly unusual because they have a smattering of beads on either side of the leg.

Just Because Socks 09 Just Because Socks 13The patterning is simply beautiful. This sock is worked top-down and combines slipped stitches, a simple lace pattern and either beads for a bit of sparkle (on the leg only), small bobbles if bling isn’t your thing or simple purl stitches if you don’t want the texture of the bobbles. The pattern dips into the heel flap to give it a bit of flair, and the lace pattern gives the finished product a nice stretch.

Just Because Socks 10 Just Because Socks 14 Just Because Socks 15It simply amazes me how some people have the knack of visualising a pattern from a chart. Where do they come up with these wonderful ideas?? Normally, I’m not a chart user but for some reason I’ve been using the charts on all my sock test pattern knits where they’ve been provided. It may have something to do with the fact socks are so small so there’s not too much repetition of the pattern. And the charts are not too big either. Some of those charts for shawls just do my head in:-)

Just Because Socks 11 Just Because Socks 18The yarn I used is Sweet Georgia BFL Sock in this lovely shade called ‘Pumpkin’.

Sweet Georgia 4ply Orange 01I found the beads at my local discount store for $3.95 a packet!

Beads 03Now, all I need is for the weather to actually turn cooler so I can wear them! We’re half way through autumn here in Brisbane and it’s still 31 degrees Celsius today!

Just Because Socks 12 Just Because Socks 16Until next time…

Melanie

Moriarty Socks – Pair # 49

Another ‘single lady’ off the needles which completes another sock test pattern knit! These lovely socks are called Moriarty Socks.

This pattern is inspired by Moriarty, the clever nemesis of Sherlock Holmes. The design features a dropped stitch pattern down the front of the leg and top of the foot and simple ribbing down the back of the leg and top half of the short row heel. This stitch pattern combined with the ribbing makes a very stretchy sock. I found it a very easy pattern to memorise and one that I may even use in future socks.

Moriarty Socks 01This pattern used the short row heel which I struggled with initially despite the fact that it’s probably easier than the traditional heel flap. I think I am just so used to picking up those stitches on either side of the flap that I find any else challenging!

Moriarty Socks 02The yarn I used is from the very first sock yarn club I subscribed to run by Dyed by Hand Yarns. The colours of each sock yarn were based on something uniquely Australian. In this case, the colourway is called Happy Wanderer.

Dyed by Hand Yarns Happy Wanderer 02-tileI might add the 2016 Sock Yarn Club has just opened and this year’s theme is Bush Tucker – colours inspired by the native bush foods of Australia.

I love the colours in this sock yarn; the olivey green with the splash of mauve.

Moriarty Socks 03 Moriarty Socks 04Dana Gervais is a fantastic pattern writer. This is the second pattern I’ve tested for her and I love both of them. They’re so well presented and easy to follow. The first were the gorgeous River Song Socks.

Moriarty Socks 05 Moriarty Socks 06I picked up some lovely Misti Alpaca Hand Paint sock yarn from a destashing knitter on Facebook last week for $15 each. This yarn is a luscious combination of 50% alpaca / 30% merino / 10% silk / 10% nylon.

Misti Alpaca Hand Paint 4ply Columbia Misti Alpaca Hand Paint 4ply Queen Royal BlueMisti Alpaca Hand Paint 4ply EiffelPlus these two balls of Naturally Waikiwi sock yarn in this bright purple for $5 each. It’s not normally a colour I would buy but quite often some sock patterns look better in a solid colour to really show off the pattern so these will be kept for that purpose.

Naturally Waikiki PurpleThat’s my news for now:-) I’m off to remove another woven scarf from my 30cm Ashford Knitter’s Loom. I’ve been doing tons of spinning and weaving lately which I will show you in due course:-)

Until next time…

Melanie