Spinning up a storm!

No, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth or been abducted by aliens. What can I say? Life is just so busy for me since I started long service leave in July. You’d think I’d have more time to do more but I actually have more time to waste time. One of my friends said once you finish work you lose the structure to your days. Initially I didn’t realise what she meant but now I do. I seem to do bits and pieces some days without really doing too much.

However on the bright side, over the last few months I’ve still managed to churn out lot of knitting, weaving and spinning so all is not lost 🙂

Yesterday I was in a bit of a ‘bleh’ mood so I grabbed my phone and bought myself an early Christmas present. It’s something I’ve been pondering for a while so I decided to just ‘bite the bullet’ and ‘do it!’.

I’ll have to wait until it’s shipped from New Zealand so I’m not sure when this little gift will arrive. Here’s a sneak peek preview (these pics are taken direct from the Majacraft website). It’s a brand new Little Gem spinning wheel complete with carry bag, lazy kate and some extra colourful bobbins.


I bought this wheel through Chantelle Hills from Fiberific who’s my local (Brisbane) Majacraft dealer. Chantelle is so helpful and approachable so I know I can approach her if I have any Majacraft-related questions.

I seem to be in a ‘blue’ mood lately when it comes to spinning fibre. Here’s my last couple of spins.

Of course when you’re spinning fibre and buying yarn it means that you’re building a huge stash at the same time! Normally I don’t know what I’ll knit with my stash but I do love to go stash diving to find a particular yarn to match a pattern. There’s nothing more exciting than discovering yarn you’d forgotten you had!

I’ve not long returned from the Highfields spinning camp near Toowoomba. Again, it was another opportunity to buy yarn and fibre and of course do lots of spinning. I do love spending time with my yarn and fibre friends.

That’s me on the far right (photo above)
And wearing the white top.

As you can see, it’s been a month of socialising and spinning. What more could I ask for?

And lastly, I absolutely love my Sickinger Kitty spinning wheel and I’ve often thought I’d like another one as a spare, just in case…. The spinning gods answered my wish when I found this little Kitty in a local opp shop. She came with five bobbins and the original threading hook too!!! A bargain at $125. I love my pigeon pair of Kitties 🙂

Until next time…

Melanie

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Newborn Knits

It has been a number of months since my last post. One of my blog followers actually contacted me to see why I hadn’t posted in a while. What can I say?? Life just got so busy and gradually the weeks slipped away. From working three days a week, I have also gone back to full time work until later this year so my time is even more limited when it comes to my personal pursuits. I’ve also been on holidays as well as downsizing my spinning wheels, sheep collection and yarn stash.

Yes, it was getting to the point where my sheep and wheels were literally meeting me at the door! I realise I had to take control and start managing my collection so I’ve managed to move quite a few of my sheep and wheels to new owners and now my home looks much roomier and neater. Do not despair; I still have five spinning wheels and plenty of sheep to keep me company 🙂 I have kept all the sheep that were gifted to me 🙂

Despite all this, I have still managed to do lots of knitting, some crocheting and some spinning so I’ll show you a few of the items I’ve made over the last couple of months.

One of my friends will become a first time grandma in winter this year so I’ve made some garments for the new baby. As we don’t know the gender of the new bub, I’ve used red, white and green as neutral colours that should suit either a boy or a girl.

Red and White

The In Threes baby cardigan is an absolute favourite pattern of mine and it’s available on Ravelry. There are over 7,000 projects attached to this pattern!! I’ve made quite a few of these cardis as I love the pattern so much J

Watermelon Cardi Red White

These little Baby Hug Boots are so easy to make. I’ve adapted the pattern to use dpns so I can knit them in the round. I just seam the sole. For the red and white hat I used the pattern Greenleaf Baby Hat which is also on Ravelry.

Red White Booties
For the red hat I used the pattern Three Textured Baby Hats that features this pattern: King Charles Brocade. For the green hat I used the same pattern: English Diamond Block. The little white hat is made using the pattern Lomond Baby Hat.

Red White Hats

I’ve also just finished crocheting this lovely corner to corner baby blanket. I have so much baby yarn so this was the perfect project to use up some of that yarn. I must admit I do love the C2C blankets. They’re easy to make when you’re at a group as there’s not much concentration required. This is the third baby C2C that I’ve made. As soon as I finished this blanket I immediately went upstairs and sorted through my baby yarn, selected some new colours and started crocheting another blanket J

C2C 01C2C 02C2C 03C2C 04C2C 07

Still on the baby track, my neighbour’s daughter is having a little girl in a couple of months’ time  so I made this cute little Watermelon Baby Cardigan. Again, the pattern is on Ravelry. I’ve made quite a few of these cardis as they’re so adorable and quick to knit up.

Pink PurpleWatermelon Cardi Pink Purple

I made two pairs of Baby Hug Boots in different sizes and just reversed the two colours.

Pink Purple Booties

The pink hat is made using the pattern Button Baby Beanie. The mauve hat is made using the Lomond Baby Hat pattern.

Pink Purple Hats

So as you can see, even though you haven’t heard from me for a while, my fibre and yarn pursuits continue. I try to make sure I knit or crochet every day of the year.

I’ve also made quite a few pair of socks so I may feature them in my next post.

Until next time…

Melanie

Boomerang Bags

Have you heard about Boomerang Bags? I hadn’t until my friend Jo, who’s heavily involved in sewing them, told me all about this incredible movement.

Boomerang Bags is a grassroots, community driven movement  tackling plastic pollution at its source.

Volunteers from all walks of life get together to make re-useable ‘boomerang bags’ using recycled materials, as a means to provide a sustainable alternative to plastic bags.

The bags create a platform to start conversations, make friends, up-cycle materials and work towards shifting society’s throw away mentality to a more sustainable revolution of re-use – one community, needle and thread at a time!

Together Boomerang Bags links hands globally to create a paradigm shift to a more connected and conscious society.

A few weeks ago I posted a picture of a few old tea towels that I’d discovered at the back of my cupboard with a comment that I’d probably throw them away. Jo immediately left a comment begging me to not throw them away but rather donate them to her Boomerang Bags group to be made into reusable bags.

Old tea towels

This got me thinking so I went right through my linen cupboard and found brand new tea towels I’d bought years ago (1980s!!) and took them along to Jo’s house and she kindly made them into Boomerang Bags. Now I can throw those original green shopping bags away. They’re so old and no doubt very dirty as they can’t be washed. At least with fabric Boomerang Bags they’re easy to wash.

Here’s my beautiful collection of Boomerang Bags 🙂 They all contain the Boomerang Bags badge as well as three little loops which allows the checkout operator to hang them on the metal frames where the plastic bags reside.

Boomerang Bag 05-horzBoomerang Bag 07-horzBoomerang Bag 09-horzBoomerang Bag 11-horzBoomerang Bag 13-horzBoomerang Bag 15-horzBoomerang Bag 19-hor

My Mum sent me this tea towel in the early 1980s; that’s how long I’ve had some of these!

I also gave Jo these more recent tea towels. I may even use this one as a project bag!

My friend Stephanie gave me this one of the Kransky Sisters after we’d seen one of their shows. I just couldn’t bear to use it to wipe dishes so I’ve been hanging on to it and now I have lovely bag!

Here are a couple more that I bought from Jo because I couldn’t resist them!

If I enjoyed sewing I’d immediately volunteer to be a helper at Jo’s group so I’m going to do my bit by publicising Boomerang Bags as much as I can! There are groups all around the country that are crying out for volunteers. You can find out more on the Boomerang Bags website. However, if you live in the Wynnum Manly area of Brisbane, you sew and you’d love to connect with like-minded women and volunteer some of your time, you can contact me via the Contact Me page which is on the top banner of my blog page and I can put you in touch with Jo.

The Boomerang Bags groups are also after donations of suitable fabrics to make their bags, eg tea towels. cotton, poly/cotton, cushion covers. In fact if you think you’d like it as a bag it’ll probably be suitable.

The bags can be given away to friends, family, colleagues, the bag-less stranger in front of you at the supermarket. They can be used to wrap presents in (I love this idea!) or stashed in your car and handbag so that you’re never caught without a reusable bag when you need one.

However you choose to distribute your bags, the most important thing is to ensure that they’re distributed with a message…about waste, about sustainability, about community…make the connection and empower and inspire people to be part of the solutions!

If there’s no Boomerang Bags group in your area, you can start one! Just visit the website where you’ll find the contact details of someone who will help you.

Jo sells her group’s bags for $3 each which is very reasonable considering she uses some of her own fabric to complete bags, uses all her sewing machines (plus electricity), threads, ribbons, elastic, screen prints the badges and lots more. I know where my donation dollars will be going in the future!!

I hope this story has inspired you to contact your nearest Boomerang Bags group and get on board with using less plastic and more fabric!!

Until next time…

Melanie

Deborah Norville Everyday Soft Worsted Solids Yarn from American Yarns in Melbourne, Australia

American yarns like Premier, Caron, Red Heart, Bernat and Lily sugar ‘n cream are sought after in Australia. Did you know there is a now a local supplier?

When Pauline from American Yarns, an online yarn shop based in Melbourne, contacted me to see whether I’d like to try some of their yarn, of course my answer was a resounding YES!

I had a look at the website as I was looking for suitable yarn to make a baby cardigan and boots. Pauline suggested Deborah Norville Everyday Soft Worsted Solids which is a 10 ply yarn.

I was sent three balls of this yarn in the colourway Spa and a contrasting colourway Grass.

Deborah Norville Premier Everyday 01
This yarn is beautifully soft and squishy and perfect for a baby’s delicate skin. It’s a 100% acrylic anti-pilling fibre. Each 113g ball contains 186m/203 yds. As it’s a worsted yarn I used 5mm needles but you could quite easily use 5.5mm needles too. The ball band provides tension square details for both needle sizes.

The pattern I selected is the In Threes baby cardigan which is such a popular pattern on Ravelry with over 7,500 completed projects!

In Threes Green Blue 04

In Threes Green Blue 05I’m so glad I suggested the contrast colour and thank you Pauline for selecting such a great match.

The yarn is beautiful to knit with; it has such an even and consistent thickness and comes in a great colour selection which you can see on American Yarn’s website.

Three buttons finish off the cardigan. I have a thing about using odd buttons too. I have so many different one off buttons. Why not just use them!

In Threes Green Blue 07

The yolk does look so much nicer when a contrast yarn is used on the garter stitch section don’t you think?

In Threes Green Blue 09

Using only one ball of the Spa and Glass (with some left over), I also made these rather cute Baby Hug Boots. So using less than two balls of yarn you can knit the 0-6 months size In Threes cardigan and these Baby Hug Boots.

Baby Hug Boots 03

I made the three month size boots using size 5mm needles which made the boots more for a six month old. I have used this pattern before and it’s actually knitted back and forth and then the boots are seamed. I prefer to use dpns and then I only have to seam the sole.

Baby Hug Boots 05

This is my ‘go to’ baby boots pattern and I particularly love using a contrast colour for the sole and the ribbed top.

Baby Hug Boots 01

If you’re after some great American yarn, then head on over to American Yarns and check out their website. They also have a Facebook page as well as an Instagram page.

Thank you Pauline and American Yarns for allowing me to try your lovely yarn; it’s perfect for baby garments 🙂

I hope you enjoy knitting with this beautiful yarn as much as I did!

Until next time…

Melanie

 

Lindy’s Shawl

Lindy is a member of my spinning group. She’s also an incredibly talented spinner, knitter, crocheter, weaver, and the list goes on. She’s also extremely generous when it comes to sharing her knowledge and skills. Lindy is also an Ashford rep and dyes her own wool which we get to buy in copious amounts!

One of Lindy’s latest creations was some beautifully gradient dyed merino/bamboo which she used to knit a shawl using a pattern she made up along the way. Club members absolutely loved the yarn and pattern so we asked Lindy to write down the pattern and she kindly obliged.

I’ve just finished my first shawl and I am absolutely over the moon at the end result.

Lindys Blue Green Yellow 01

I love the gradient effect of lighter to darker. You can also choose to go darker to lighter. Lindy dyes two skeins of 8ply merino/bamboo and once caked, the idea is to make sure you knit both cakes making sure you select either the inside or outside tail to ensure the colour flows.

Lindys Blue Green Yellow 02
This is the first time I’ve knitted the Cluster 5 Knit stitch and it took me ages to get it right. I frogged the start of this section four times before I took a quick look on YouTube and found this video which made it so much easier to understand.

Lindys Blue Green Yellow 05Lindys Blue Green Yellow 06

It’s a beautiful stitch and the effect is amazing.

Lindys Blue Green Yellow 03Lindys Blue Green Yellow 04

The shawl blocked beautifully as the bamboo gives it a lovely drape.

Lindys Blue Green Yellow 08Lindys Blue Green Yellow 09

I’ve nearly finished another of these shawls in merino and when I see Lindy tomorrow at spinning, I hope to buy a couple more skeins of her dyed merino/bamboo blend as I am quite enamoured with this pattern.

On a personal note, I have been quite busy lately destashing my spinning wheel collection to bring it to a more manageable number. I now have seven wheels and will probably try to move a couple more. I’ve also reduced my yarn stash as I realised I will not be able to use what I’d had in a lifetime. It’s quite liberating moving bits and pieces to new homes and reclaiming space in my home.

Until next time…

Melanie

More Simple Skyp Socks

I have made these socks previously but this pattern appears to be a ‘go to’ pattern for me as the finished socks always look great! It’s a free pattern I found on Ravelry called Simple Skyp Socks and they sure are simple. They’re a cuff down pattern and I use five dpns. I can’t seem to deviate from cuff down despite knowing that toe up socks are better when you have limited yarn and can only use half for one sock.

Skyp Socks Blue Purple 02Skyp Socks Blue Purple 03Skyp Socks Blue Purple 04

I used two 50g balls of Regia Design Line by Kaffe Fassett 4-fädig which is an amazing sock yarn as it comes in so many lovely colours.

The second pair also uses the same yarn but in other very vivid colours.

Simple Skyp Socks 01Simple Skyp Socks 02

The colours are so vibrant; they stripe well and give great stitch definition.

Simple Skyp Socks 03Simple Skyp Socks 05Simple Skyp Socks 06Simple Skyp Socks 07

Sometimes it’s just nice to have a simple pattern to add some interest to your socks. I highly recommend this pattern!

As summer rolls into Brisbane I’m not sure why I’m still knitting socks but it seems to be an obsession with me!!

I’ve also been in quite a massive decluttering mode and going through my entire stash and selling the yarn I know I probably won’t use. I seem to gravitate towards 4ply and a bit of 2ply so most of my 8ply wool is now sold. Next I’ll start on all the baby yarn I own and try and destash most of it.

Until next time…

Melanie

 

The Rose is Magical Socks Test Knit

Here’s another beautiful sock pattern by Penny Schumers who designs her patterns under the name Knit-by-Bit Designs. I test knitted these socks a few months ago: The Rose is Magical Socks. Penny actually featured some of my pictures on her project page which is always an honour 🙂

The Rose is Magic socks 01

This pattern is gorgeous and perceptively easy. Most of the stitches are repeated row after row and only four of the 24 rows is where the cabling occurs. It’s really worth the effort as you’ll end up with a gorgeous pair of socks.

The Rose is Magic socks 15The Rose is Magic socks 18

The yarn I used is Patons Patonyle Merino Ombre 4ply and it is incredibly soft and the way it’s dyed gives an interesting effect.

Patonyle Merino Ombre Rose

This was the 65th pair of socks off the needles!! Not sure what it is about socks but you’ve either got the sock knitting bug or not 🙂

The Rose is Magic socks 14The Rose is Magic socks 20

Happy knitting!

Until next time…

Melanie