Lelly Poncho/Shawl

I’m a great fan of Martina Behm‘s patterns which can all be found on Ravelry. They’re so easy to knit as each pattern is usually just a lot of garter stitch with some interesting edging and designs. Lelly caught my eye as it can be worn a couple of ways; as a poncho-style shawl and as a scarf/cowl. Martina used a 4ply alpaca for her garment so I rummaged through my stash and found 2 x 50g balls of this House of Alpaca 4ply in a lovely shade of copper.

Lelly 01The pattern calls for 2.5mm needles so it was like knitting another pair of socks! Although i am happy with the end result, I felt my garment is smaller than Martina’s. As you know, I never knit tension squares. Maybe I should have!

Lelly 02I really love the concept of this pattern. This little poncho styled shawl will be ideal in my office as it’ll keep the chill of the air conditioning off my shoulders and back. It also has a lovely eyelet edge.

Lelly 03Lelly 04It can easily be adapted to be worn as a scarf.

Lelly 05This is the shape of the finished garment. Trust me, I did some very hard blocking to get it to this size. If I make another one, I will use larger needles or even 5 or 8ply wool.

Lelly 06If it’s really cold you could wrap the shawl closely around your neck.

Lelly 07Or you could just slip your neck through the slit and let it hang like a cowl. Very versatile indeed!

Lelly 08I would highly recommend Martina’s designs as they’re well written and easy to knit: ideal for beginners. I have made quite a few of her garments.

And now for something very exciting: Maleny, which is a small, scenic town 90 kilometres north of Brisbane on the Blackall Range overlooking the Sunshine Coast hinterland in Queensland, Australia, is holding a KnitFest in June this year!! There is a KnitFest Facebook page you can like too.

knitfest_banner_1170x150pxKnitfest-knitting-classes-poster-724x1024That is going to be a fun weekend indeed!! I have my accommodation booked :-)

Now to a couple of recent yarn purchases.

The 21st offering in the Zen Yarn Garden ART WALK Series features a painting by Monica Stewart entitled “Rejoice”. From one medium to the next, artists express their use of colour. Inspired by the chosen art piece, Zen Yarn Garden’s dyer has successfully captured the excitement and complexity of the painting.

21 ZYG Rejoice 05I love the shades of gold and brown in this yarn and can’t wait to make something special!

21 ZYG Rejoice 07Monica Stewart’s fluid, earthy works joyously depict women of color dancing and celebrating life as a modern expression of culture and sisterhood. Previously working in vibrant pastels, Stewart has reduced her palette by working with a material made from Egyptian palm fronds, their natural textures, and rich tans and browns enhance her work’s ethnic feel. Nationally recognized, Stewart’s art has been featured in movies, on TV shows and in a line of family record books, journals, and photo albums. [quoted from Art.com]

21 ZYG Rejoice imageI purchased two skeins of Serenity Glitter Sock which is a 80% superwash merino / 10% cashmere / 10% sparkling nylon yarn.

A blog I really enjoy reading is by Wei Siew Leong who is from New Zealand and writes under the name Kiwiyarns Knits. Her writing is beautiful and lots of her stories revolve around New Zealand’s stunningly gorgeous yarns. In one of her recent posts, she showed us some beautiful yarn purchased from an Aussie hand-dyer Circus Tonic Handmade. Now, I’m not usually a purchaser of pink coloured yarn but for some reason this colour really captivated me. Perhaps it was Wei Siew’s description of it “pretty, feminine yarn, with the barest hint of blush”.

You guessed it, I just had to have a sneaky peek at Circus Tonic Handmade‘s Etsy shop to check out her yarns which resulted in the purchase of these two beautiful skeins.of Revelry Sock Fingering 4ply. This one is called Frilled Monarch.

Circus Tonic Frilled Monarch 01Circus Tonic Frilled Monarch 02And this one is called Galah. Doesn’t it look so delicate and fragile?

Circus Tonic Galah 01Circus Tonic Galah 02My package arrived last week and I must say the wool is so incredibly and deliciously soft and luxurious. MMmmmm what can I knit? Definitely something that wraps around my neck :-)

That’s my news for now. Until next time…

Melanie

Summer Spinning Camp Frolics!

What do you get when you add a few women in their 50s, 60s, 70s and one in her 30s, a lot of spinning wheels, looms, fibre and wool and five days at Bribie Island?

You get a lot of laughing, fun, spinning, weaving, knitting, eating, drinking, sharing knowledge, renewing friendships and making new friendships :-)

The Redlands Spinners & Weavers held their January camp at the House of Happiness, Woorim,  Bribie Island from 25-29 January. The weather was overcast at times, humid at times, with sun and also a bit of rain.

On the first morning I took a visit to the beach at around 5.30am and had a quick dip in the ocean, which I hadn’t done in many years :-) It was surprisingly warm and so quiet at that time of the day.

Bribie Surf BeachThere were about 22 of us with some day visitors as well. Our spinning room was lovely and large with plenty of space for all.

Spinning room 01I’m going to have to get back to my daily 5-7km walks as we were fed so well! Six meals a day!! Breakfast – morning tea – lunch – afternoon tea – cheese and biscuits – dinner!

We did some more solar dyeing and I elected to dye some sock blanks.

Solar Dyeing Melanie 02Solar Dyeing socksAs usual, we had some lovely raffle prizes. I was lucky enough to win this prize in the red and white bag.

Raffles 02And inside the bag was this gorgeous ram.

Raffle sheepPlus this gorgeous hand towel as well as many other bits and pieces.

Raffle hand towelCatherine, one of our more experienced weavers, was kind enough to guide me through the process of warping the Ashford SampleIt loom. I’m so glad I took these photos as they’ll guide me when I want to warp again :-)

Weaving Melanie 01Weaving Melanie 02As I had already had some practise on the Inkle loom, it made the process that little bit easier. This is the scarf I made which I am quite proud of :-)

Weaving Melanie 03Weaving Melanie 04Weaving Melanie 06Lindy, our wonderful Ashford agent also showed me how to make the twisted fringe :-)

Weaving Melanie 05I also met Pam, one of the Redcliffe spinners, who has a collection of over 60 spindles. Pam brought along a handful for us to admire :-)

Spindles 16Weaving was quite popular at this camp.

Weaving BettyWeaving Catherine 03Weaving Lindy 01Weaving Lindy 02The humidity has finally hit Brisbane and it’s awful! It’s a real battle for me to use the air conditioning as I hate it when my home is all closed up; I love the windows and doors open and the breeze coming through. I hope wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, you’re having fun!

Until next time…

Melanie

My Inkle Weaving Progress

Since my very first inkle weaving lesson on 1 December I have become kind of hooked on ‘inkling’. I have also proven the adage that ‘practise makes perfect’….well in my case, not perfect, but definitely a marked improvement from my very first woven strap which is this two tone blue using Bendigo Woollen Mills Bamboo. As you can see I even misread the pattern!

First Inkle Weaving 01a-tileLook at those very rough selvedges! The left hand side of the strap was the start and the right hand side the finish. It’s gratifying to see I improved with my first project :-)

First Inkle Weaving 01bBand # 2 is a two tone cream/beige Yatsal cotton and I’m pleased to see I am getting the hang of the selvedge tension, although nowhere near perfect!

Beige Mocha Inkle 01a# 3 project was slightly different. I tried making bookmarks using Moda Vera Gelato. My sewing leaves a lot to be desired. I will need to find a better way to finish them off if I make any more! However, at this stage I am still just in practise mode :-)

Bookmarks# 4 woven strap was made with a variegated green and solid green Yatsal cotton. I’ve since learned that using variegated cotton is not ideal. As you can see, it makes a bit of a mish mash of the colours. All a huge learning curve at this stage!

Green variegated 01 Green variegated# 5 woven strap was certainly a lot better when it came to the selvedges. This time I used Milford Soft cotton which is a lot better quality than the other Yatsal cotton I had been using ($2.50 from the cheap shop). This pattern is one of Annie MacHale’s also known as ASpinnerWeaver. As you can see, I still couldn’t get the hang of reading the patterns so I emailed Annie and she very kindly got back to me very quickly with an easy explanation on how to interpret the patterns. Despite the fact the pattern is incorrect, I do love this strap!

04 BrownCoral 01 04 BrownCoral 02I’m actually using this strap on a project carrier.

04 BrownCoral 03I used some scarf pins to clip the strap to the carrier so it’s easily removed.

04 BrownCoral 06# 6 strap is a two colour one which is actually a pattern that I repeated to make the strap wider. It’s another pattern from ASpinnerWeaver which can be found here. If you look closely at the centre of the strap you can see the last heddled warp of the first pattern and the first heddled warp of the beginning of the pattern repeat. After I’d finished the strap I thought to myself it would have looked quite nice if both these warps were in the green. Again, another thing to consider in the future :-)

05 Taupe n Green 01Those selvedges are gradually improving.

05 Taupe n Green 02# 7 is one of my favourite straps. I love the retro colours! This pattern can be found here.

07 Retro 0407 Retro 01# 8 strap has three different greens and I rather like the effect. This pattern can be found here.

08 Greens and Mocha 01a 08 Greens and Mocha 02# 9 is my current project. Again, I repeated the pattern to make a strap as wide as I could handle. This one took ages to warp (wrapping the cotton around the pegs). The warping does take a while and is the preparation time. Once the loom is warped and you start weaving the pattern magically appears and it’s a wonderful feeling knowing you’ve read the pattern correctly!

09 Green Red White Yellow 01And here’s a close up of those gorgeous colours and selvedges :-) Check out the middle two heddled warps. That’s the finish of the first pattern and the start of the repeat. Technically they should both be green but this time I changed the colour to create a bit more interest. This is what I was talking about earlier :-)

09 Green Red White Yellow 02As you can gather, once I learn something new I tend to go overboard trying to perfect it :-)

Next week I will be at the Redlands Spinners & Weavers’ January spinners camp. This camp is very laid back and informal and is usually only attended by our members with a few other special spinners :-) It’s a wonderful time to fully relax and do as you wish; whether it’s spinning, weaving, knitting, crocheting, reading, eating, shopping, chatting, swimming in the pool or the ocean or just sleeping! The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy each other’s company.

Until next time…

Melanie

Seasalt Socks

After another visit to Ravelry’s Free Pattern Testers forum a few weeks ago, I came across this rather delightful pattern that required testing so I put my hand up to be a test knitter and I am rather glad I did.

Seasalt Socks 11These Seasalt Socks are just beautiful even if I say so myself :-)

Seasalt Socks 19There’s a lovely cable pattern which adds interest to the socks.

Seasalt Socks 06This pattern is better suited for solid or lightly tonal yarn to show off the detail of the pattern, which may get lost in a heavy variegated yarn. Ages ago I bought two skeins of sock yarn from Yarn Haus called Suzy Hausfrau Sock. It’s 80% merino / 10% cashmere / 10% nylon and really suits this pattern. What a gorgeous shade of blue. I used the other skein for my Down the Hourglass Socks.

Suzy Hausfrau sock Yarn Blue SkiesI have noticed that I am starting to really love bright blue sea colours at the moment. They’re so fresh looking and there are so many shades in this particular yarn.

Seasalt Socks 10As you can see I love photographing my socks outside against the background of colourful plants and flowers :-)

Seasalt Socks 15If you prefer knitting cuff down socks I can highly recommend this pattern.

Seasalt Socks 17I find I am now in the habit of checking out this forum looking for more cuff down socks to test knit!! The best part is searching through my stash looking for the right yarn. I have so much sock yarn to choose from and it’s fun finding yarn that I’d forgotten all about!

Seasalt Socks 25Seasalt Socks 20 Seasalt Socks 23Have you noticed how adult colouring books are all the rage at the moment? Here’s a link to a website where you can download a colouring book that relates to knitting :-)

7_Reasons_Why_Adults_low_versionI haven’t yet been bitten by the colouring-in bug. I find most of the colouring-in pages available are quite detailed as opposed to my memories of childhood colouring-in where the pages were much simpler.

Today is the QldBaysideYarnClub’s knitting/crocheting group meeting at Tingalpa at 1pm. The best part is we will be welcoming a new knitter/spinner along. Sue contacted me through my blog asking about knitting groups so I gave her a quick call yesterday. It’s always wonderful to connect with like-minded people in the area :-)

I do hope your weekend is filled with crafty goodness too :-)

Seasalt Socks 24Until next time…

Melanie

Daleks in Manhattan Shawl

What an intriguing name for fibre isn’t it? But those are the kinds of names you find on Ixchel Bunny‘s fibre labels :-) I found this absolutely stunning Cashmere Fling (Cashmere-tencel-Glitz-Bamboo-5/40/40/5) through a Ravelry destash about a year or so ago.

Daleks originalThe fibre was so incredibly soft and luxurious so I decided not long ago that I needed to actually spin it. I used one of my upright spinning wheels which is a fairly recent acquisition although I still don’t know the maker.

Spinning Wheel 01I had fun and games as some of the fibres kept curling back on themselves as I was spinning. Must have been a bit of static electricity in the air.

Daleks 05I plied the spun fibre with yellow rayon thread and was pleased with the look.

Daleks 06Daleks 07I decided to use a pattern that could really show off the yarn and settled on The Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief except I made it a lot larger; I basically knitted until I had enough left to cast off. I am soooo happy with the finished shawl :-)

Daleks Age Brass Steam 02Oh my gosh it has the most amazing soft and silky drape to it. What I also did was to cast off using a nice picot edge and added a small orange bead to each picot. It took ages and ages to do but so worth it.

Daleks Age Brass Steam 09The beads came from a cheap shop and were only $2 a packet. They’re rather a bright orange but as all the colours in this shawl are bright, they blend in perfectly.

Daleks Age Brass Steam 14When I first wrapped the shawl around me the slight weight of the beads made such a huge difference as they kept the shawl firmly on my shoulders. Definitely a great idea to use the beads.

Daleks Age Brass Steam 06I used size 5mm needles which has resulted in a relatively open stockinette stitch look.

Daleks Age Brass Steam 08Daleks Age Brass Steam 17I really love this pattern as it shows off the different colours without losing them in a complicated pattern. The eyelet rows add an interesting feature too and definitely break up the rows of stockinette stitch.

Daleks Age Brass Steam 19Daleks Age Brass Steam 03And you could always wear it this way if you prefer :-)

Daleks Age Brass Steam 05I may even enter this shawl into the fashion parade at the Redlands Spinners & Weavers Open Day in June this year.

I do have another braid or two of Cashmere Fling which I am quite looking forward to spinning.

Until next time…

Melanie

 

MelsNattyKnits 2015 in review

Happy New Year everyone! I hope your 2016 is filled with health, happiness, good fortune plus lots of fun and fibre!

I received this email from WordPress so thought I’d build onto it and give you my year in mosaics.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for my blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 57,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 21 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

I have also made some monthly mosaics so you can see what I got up to each month :-)

January 2015 –  I found this lovely ‘Revenge’ spinning chair which I absolutely adore; it is so comfortable; spun this lovely merino/silk blend; bought another toy sheep or in this case a doorstop sheep; made two Leftie scarves; wrote a blog post about my love of the colour orange :-) ; picked up a nifty CD set of drawers and now use it as a craft bit and pieces storage unit and of course, bought my beautiful Techno Orange Kia Sportage :-)

January 2015February 2015 – a scarf and hat knitted with my handspun; a quick Ruffles Cowl; spinning on my Brian Vincent Nancy wheel; Lealt socks; plus a review of some of my favourite yarn suppliers.

February 2015March 2015 – a blog post about my love of Autumn shades (I had fun putting this one together); some cute little sewing kits; how I discovered Earth & Stones Creations’ pottery yarn bowls (made here in Brisbane!); an easy knitted drawstring bag and some more yarn purchases.

March 2015April 2015 – my wonderful cruise to New Zealand where I met Mary Knox and spent the day with her and the Wairarapa Spinners and Weavers; visited the Agrodome; and bought lots of New Zealand wool!

April 2015May 2015 – was gifted this Ashford Traditional double drive spinning wheel and some carded wool; brought this lazy kate back to life; another handspun scarf finished; Miss Winkle scarf for my sister; a beautiful green scarf bought in New Zealand and a book purchase.

May 2015June 2015 – The Redlands Spinners & Weavers Open Day and a small selection of the goodies I bought! My Happy Feet socks made with wool I bought in New Zealand.

June 2015July 2015 – my annual sojourn to Noosaville where I bought this cute little sheep; spent lots of time sitting on the banks of the Noosa River knitting; visited Sheep Thrills yarn shop (which unfortunately has now closed); finally finished my Wavy Leaves and Butterflies shawl; knitted a Misti Alpaca Chunky scarf; made Baxter the Bear and featured in the Wynnum Herald!

July 2015August 2015 – Two more Miss Winkles done; absolutely love this Margarita hat (I am definitely going to make another one); went mad at the Spotlight sales; also went mad knitting Croc-a-tail scarves :-)

August 2015September 2015 – discovered the delights of owning an Addi Kingsize knitting machine – made lots of beanies which I intend to give to the homeless/needy this winter; made these gorgeous Bark Socks; attended the Redlands Spinners & Weavers September camp and had the most enjoyable time; another sheep mug :-)

September 2015October 2015 – my first ever Ravelry pattern test knit – Promovendus socks with beads; made a few Melissa scarves; spun this lovely orange and white merino and plied it together; made two In Threes cardigans

October 2015November 2015 – did lots of sorting in my stash room and renovated this table and stool; picked up more toy sheep and sheep mugs; bought these lovely sheep earrings; picked up this Schacht Inkle Loom; finished two C2C blankets; started buying Ixchel Bunny Fibres on the Friday night blog release; knitted a couple of baby hats

November 2015December 2015 – a review of some of my Zen Yarn Garden purchases; more toy sheep; another pattern test knit – Down the Hourglass Socks; March Hare shawl knitted from my own handspun yarn; my custom made tool for my Addi knitting machine made by the Lair of the Bearded Dragon; my first attempt at inkle weaving

December 20152015 was certainly a busy year for me in terms of spinning, knitting and buying more stash as well as adding to my collection of sheep mugs and toy sheep. I wonder what 2016 will bring???

Until next time…

Melanie

 

Zen Yarn Garden Yarn

I have been purchasing Zen Yarn Garden Yarn for a couple of years now, ever since I discovered their Art Walk Yarn Series. The colours are always amazing and the yarn is incredibly beautiful and with the 15-20%% cashmere content, it’s always soft and luxurious.

These are my more recent acquisitions.

The nineteenth offering in the ART WALK Series features a painting by Pablo Picasso entitled “Cote d’Azure”. From one medium to the next, artists express their use of colour. Inspired by Picasso, Zen Yarn Garden’s dyer has successfully captured the excitement and complexity of the painting.

18 ZYG Cote dAsure 11Pablo 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]

18 ZYG Cote dAsure 06Two skeins of Serenity 20 which is a 70% superwash merino / 20% cashmere / 10% nylon that contains 400 yds / 100g in a 4ply / fingering weight.

18 ZYG Cote dAsure 07I think this particular colourway is one of my absolute favourites. The beautiful blues, oranges and yellows definitely remind me of the the Riviera. I’m going to have to find a very special pattern for this yarn.

18 ZYG Cote dAsure 10This is the painting that inspired the colourway.

18 ZYG CotedAzure imageThe nineteenth offering in the ART WALK Series features a painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir entitled “Strawberries”. Inspired by Renoir, Zen Yarn Garden’s dyer has successfully captured the excitement and complexity of the painting.

19 ZYG Strawberries 03Living in the moment and indulging in life’s temporal pleasures were among Pierre-Auguste Renoir favorite themes, and he expressed them more than any other Impressionist. A renowned leader of the Impressionist movement, Renoir (1841 – 1919) enjoyed depicting his friends and lovers with expressive candor, conveying a youthful exuberance and intimate charm that suggests visions of an earthly paradise. By focusing on the ‘here and now’ of his time, these fleeting moments become relished nostalgic memories. Renoir’s portrayal of luminous color, skillfully varied brushstrokes, nuances of light and shadow all worked together to form a warm sensuality. [quoted from Art.com]

Two skeins of Serenity 20 which is a 70% superwash merino / 20% cashmere / 10% nylon that contains 400 yds / 100g in a 4ply / fingering weight.

This is the painting that inspired this colourway.

19 ZYG Strawberries imageThe twentieth offering in the ART WALK Series features a painting by Wassily Kandinsky entitled “Improvisation”. Inspired by Kandinsky, Zen Yarn Garden’s dyer has successfully captured the excitement and complexity of the painting.

20 YYG Improvisation 02Wassily Kandinsky (1886 – 1944) is considered to be the originator of abstract art, and believed that art could visually express musical compositions. Kandinsky, who was also an accomplished musician, saw color when he heard music, and associated a color’s tone with musical timbre, hue with pitch, and saturation with the volume of sound. Music influenced his art to such a degree that Kandinsky named his works after musical terms. Originally a lawyer in his native Russia, he was inspired to study art at age 30, after seeing Monet’s “Haystacks.” Kandinsky was gripped by a compulsion to relentlessly create, and believed that if this drive were pure, it would evoke a correspondingly powerful response in viewers of his work. [quoted from Art.com]

I bought two skeins of this yarn – Serenity Silk Single which is a 75% superwash merino / 15% cashmere / 10% silk 4ply / fingering yarn and contains 430 yards / 100g in each skein.

This is the painting that inspired this colourway.

20 YYG Improvisation image As you can see I am starting to amass rather a large collection of these Art Walk Series’ yarns as I always buy two skeins of each release. To date I have made the Garrowby Hill Scarf (one skein), Starry Night Scarf (two skeins) and Oaklet Shawl. (one skein).

I really need to get my thinking cap on and start looking for some lovely patterns so I can use some of this yarn :-)

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas Day and received some lovely yarnie gifts. My son gave me this calendar which I absolutely adore. In fact, I drop hints every year for this gift.

2016 CalendarA couple more sheep joined the flock at my home too. I found this little one in K Mart.

KMart sheepI rather love this sheep I found at a local Opp shop. It’s rather large and has some attitude with that one arm permanently on its hip :-)

Big SheepI think she wants to learn to spin!

Big Sheep 02That’s all my news for now. Here’s to a wonderful 2016 filled with health, happiness, good fortune and of course lots of yarnie goodness!

Until next time…

Melanie