My Latest Yummy Yarn Splurge

I’ve been a bit naughty in the last week and splurged a bit on some lovely new scrumptious yarns so I thought I’d share them with you. The first yarn is just so incredibly beautiful. When I saw it I knew I just had to have it and I’m sure you will agree with me.

Zen Yarn Garden’s Van Gogh “View of the Arles with Irises”

Zen Yarn Garden, Inc. is based is Ontario, Canada. This is the first offering in Zen Yarn Garden’s new ART WALK Series. It features a painting by Vincent van Gogh entitled “View of the Arles with Irises” which inspired this colourway. Painted on Serenity Silk Single, Mr. Zen has captured the water colour quality of the painting very well with the silk giving just enough sheen to mimic the effect of water. From one medium to the next, artists express their use of colour!

This colourway once sold out will not be repeated. There will be further colourways in the series as the year progresses. Serenity Single is a glorious soft single ply fingering yarn spun from 75% superwash merino/15% cashmere and 10% silk. There is 430 yards on a 100 gram skein. Purchased from one of my favourite online yarn shops in Brisbane, Yarn Glorious Yarn. I bought two skeins…one for a pair of socks and the other for a shawl or maybe both for a shawl. Has anyone got some good suggestions for a shawl pattern that will really show off these lovely hues?

Zen Yarn Garden art-walk-series-5

Here’s a picture of Van Gogh’s painting from this amazing website that has a list and images of all his paintings!

View of the Arles with Irises Van Gogh

Dream in Color – Knitosophy Princess (picture below)

“I was once afraid of people saying “Who does she think she is?” Now I have the courage to stand and say, “This is who I am.”” Oprah Winfrey

Made from 100% machine washable superfine Australian Merino and spun and hand-dyed in the USA this yarn is perfect for socks, baby items or anything that requires frequent washing. This yarn is flash dyed and every skein is completely unique. The colour plays randomly throughout the yarn. There is no telling how the colour variation will knit up!  The skein is 114g (4 oz) and has a generous 410m (450 yards). Purchased from another of my favourite Brisbane online yarn shops – Yay for Yarn.

Knitosophy Princess

Mountain Colors Bearfoot – Sagebrush (picture below)

Mountain Colors is a small wholesale yarn company located in Montana’s beautiful Bitterroot Valley. Mountain Colors Bearfoot is a soft, strong and washable hand-painted yarn. Perfect for socks and shawls as well as other projects. Consists of 60% superwash wool, 25% mohair and 15% nylon. It’s 4 ply, weighs 100g and contains 320m (350 yards). Another scrumptiously dyed yarn. Can’t wait to see the finished socks in this yarn.

Bearfoot Sagebrush

Now for something completey different. I’ve also started investing in some solid colours to show off some great patterns I have that are quite intricate. Purchased from another of my favourite Brisbane online yarn shops – Yay for Yarn.

Annabelle’s Collection Colour Shocks – Chilli, Emerald, Indigo and Lavender (pictures below)

This colourful 100% merino wool, made in New Zealand, has an unusual and beautiful twist and lustre. Colour Shocks is designed for the knitter who wants to knit the stylish and classy thirties look, fitted tops, fingerless gloves, funky socks or scarves, in fact just about anything that you want. Colour Shocks 4ply can also be used with any 4ply pattern that has a similar tension. A machine washable wool in bright colours also makes this yarn perfect for kids and babies knits. Each skein is 50g and 160m long.

Annabelle has donated 10% of the purchase price of each ball to the Christchurch Earthquake Disaster Fund.

Purchased from another of my favourite Brisbane online yarn shops – Yay for Yarn.

I have four colours of this yarn. Clockwise from top left – Chilli – Emerald – Lavender – Indigo.

Colour Shocks Chilli-tile

Deborah Norville Serenity sock wool – Saffron (picture below)

This lovely bamboo sock wool is soft and lovely. 50 gr ball with an amazing 210 metres per ball.  50% merino wool, 25% bamboo, 25% nylon. Purchased from another online yarn shop I discovered – Craftee Cottage located in Oakleigh, Victoria. The picture below shows you exactly how the finished socks look. Not sure that I like that as half the fun is watching the patterning and colours emerge. I do love the colours in this yarn.

Deborah Norville Serenity - Saffron

Filatura Di Crosa “Maxime Print” – colour 5048 (picture below)

This is a superwash and soft yarn intended for self-striping or self-patterning socks, baby garments, lightweight wraps, sweaters and cardis. This 4ply (fingering weight) fibre is 80% merino superwash wool with 20% soft nylon and is available in pastel shades for babies plus bright colourways for children and adults. The yarn I purchased is a bright mix of oranges, red, yellow and a touch of olive.

Even though I have knitted a pair of socks in this yarn, I want to experiment with knitting the top ribbing, heel and toe in a solid orange which I already have. Just another idea to add to my ever growing list of projects to knit!

Purchased from another online yarn shop I discovered – Craftee Cottage located in Oakleigh, Victoria.

Maxime

Augustbird hand-dyed yarns (pictures below)

I discovered Augustbird while surfing the net and was immediately captivated by the beautiful colours and combinations of Rebecca’s yarns.

Rebecca is a knitter, dyer and owner of Augustbird, who lives in the Adelaide Hills. Her
soft cuddly yarns are hand-dyed with non-toxic low impact dyes. This makes them extra safe for you, for me and the environment. She is not a commercial dyer so her yarns are dyed by hand and every yarn is unique. Although many of her colourways are repeatable, each dyelot will be a little different.

Augustbird Rich Sock – “Dragon Light”

This is a 80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon sock yarn. It is 4ply and contains 435 yards /398 metres and weighs 3.53 ounces / 100 grams.

Augustbird Dragon Light

Augustbird Hearty Sock – “Sweetgrass”

Hearty Sock is a soft, bouncy 100% superwash merino yarn with a tight pebbly twist. Suitable for socks, shawls, cardigans, baby items or anything worn next to the skin. One skein will make a pair of adult socks. This is a 4ply yarn that contains 366m (400 yards) and weighs 100g (3.53 ounces).

Augustbird Sweetgrass

Plus “Solace” and “Wild” in the photo below.

Augustbird Solace and Wild

I’d love to know what you think of my latest yarn purchases. If you have any ideas for what I should knit with them and can suggest any great patterns…..especially any Ravelry patterns, I’d appreciate it.

Well I’m off to read the Sunday papers and then to finish my second sock and then decide on what to knit next.

Until next time…

Melanie

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New knitting knick knacks or maybe this should be called My cafepress.com.au adventures

Early last year I discovered cafepress.com.au while I was reading a knitting magazine that featured this lovely knitting tote. Of course, I immediately had to have it so off I went to my computer and entered the web page address and discovered a new world of spending money. But really, you must agree this is simply a must have accessory for any knitter don’t you think? But wait….there’s more. I bought two of these knitting totes just in case one wore out….that’s a knitter’s logical thinking at work. Those of you reading this blog who are knitters will understand that statement straight away.

Answers tote bag

Of course, while on the website I had a quick look around and discovered coffee mugs. I mean, I only have about 100 at home; what’s one more, especially if it looks this good.

Knitting Queen Mug 1-tile

A couple of months later an email arrives in my inbox from….you guessed it….cafe press ….with a 30% discount voucher. Now I love a bargain….even if it is going to cost me more money so I thought how about another couple of coffee mugs to add to my current collection of 101. Here’s the decals that are on each of the mugs.

Id Rather Be Knitting Mug

What Happens at Stitch Mug

And of course if my two new knitting totes wore out (at the rate I’m wearing out these totes I’m going to have to be doing an awful lot of knitting!), I’d need a couple more, wouldn’t I? I think that first one should probably read “You can never have too many knitting totes”. If you read my Essential Knitting Paraphernalia page, you’ll get an understanding of my addiction for knitting caddies/totes.

You can never have too much yarn tote

To Knit or Not to Knit

In January I’m hit with another 30% discount voucher from cafe.press. Obviously profits are low and they need a boost to their revenue so they thought ‘let’s send Melanie another discount voucher…..it’s a dead set certainty she’ll use it’. How well they know me. This time I found these two adorable knitting feature clocks.

Eat Knit Sleep Clock 1Eat Knit Sleep Clock 2

I was rather taken with clock # 1 which says ‘Eat, Sleep, Knit’….a bit of a play on the book ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ no doubt. It looks lovely on the wall in my bedroom I must say. There’s no excuse now for me to be late for work as this clock will be staring directly at me and reminding me to get out of bed and off to work!

Its Knitting Time Clock 1Here’s clock # 2 which is also hanging in my bedroom. I will definitely either be lulled to sleep by the ticking of two clocks or driven mad! Time will tell. Some of my friends won’t know whether the latter has occurred as they probably think I’m mad anyway as do those of you who are currently reading this blog!

Its Knitting Time Clock 2

And to top it all off, I found an area where I could customise my own knitting tote. You guessed it, another knitting tote. But doesn’t it look spectacular? My only problem is that now I know how to customise knitting totes (and anything else for that matter) I can go absolutely beserk and get lots and lots of things printed and sent to me with pictures of all my knitting and crocheting projects on them. Hey, if anyone from cafepress.com.au is reading this blog, can you email me another discount voucher please.

Knitting Caddy Mel 9

And don’t worry….I will keep you updated on any more quirky purchases of mine.

Until next time…happy knitting, crocheting and crafting (or cafe press purchasing!)

Melanie

Plain Easy Green Socks……Pair # 18

As Kermit would say “it’s not easy being green”….unless you’re my plain easy green socks!

Sometimes when I’m ready to start knitting a new pair of socks and I’m not in the mood to follow a detailed pattern, I reach for this pattern as these socks are very basic and are ideal to knit using a self patterning sock yarn. The pattern comes from the Yarn Harlot’s book “Knitting Rules” – Sock Recipe: A Good, Plain Sock by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. This pattern is a great one to use when you feel your mind might be in a wandering mood while you’re knitting as you’ll spend lots of time going around in stocking stitch circles. But what makes it exciting is watching the yarn patterning emerge.

Easy Green Socks 1

The colourway of some sock yarns always amazes me. I would never have thought to throw the colour purple into this mix but somehow it just works. I cheated a bit with these socks and tried to start the second sock exactly at the same colour change position so both socks would look the same. I think I succeeded quite well, don’t you?

DSC01713

DSC01715

I love the look of this heel. So easy to knit and yet to a novice (like I was) it looked so difficult.

DSC01716

The yarn I used for these socks is Online Supersocke 100 and the colourway is Sport.

Online Sock Yarn 4

Online Sock Yarn 5

On a different note, yesterday I went to the Lifeline Book Fest in Brisbane City which is the largest second hand book sale in the world. It’s held twice a year in Brisbane…January and June. It’s also held in air conditioned comfort which was a must yesterday as it was another hot day in Brisbane.

There are literally millions of books to select from. This January’s sale runs for 10 days and each night the tables are replenished with more stock. It’s really hit and miss as to what you can find….some years are a bonanza and other not as much. This year was not a bonanza for me although I did finally get hold of a copy of Kate Morton’s “The Distant Hours” which I’d been after for a while. I also purchased another Scrabble board game for $7 with all the tiles intact. Plus a few older style knitting patterns and a couple of knitting books.

Plus, of course I bought a few more lovely notebooks to keep track of my row counts as I’m knitting my socks and other goodies. You can read about my notebooks under my ‘Essential Knitting Paraphernalia’ page. Here’s a picture of some of the notebooks I bought. They only cost 50c and $1. Gorgeous aren’t they?

Notebook Mel New

I will leave you now as I toddle off to do some more sock knitting. I have started Pair # 20. That’s right Pair # 19 is finished and ready to be photographed and featured in a blog over the next couple of weeks.

How can a person be bored when there’s so much knitting to be done!

Ciao

Melanie

Maidenhair Fern Socks….Pair # 17

I know I say it in most of my posts but this is another one of my favourite free sock knitting patterns from Ravelry. What would I do without Ravelry I might add! The pattern is called Maidenhair Fern socks and I am enamoured with these socks.

Maidenhair Fern Socks 5

Maidenhair Fern Socks 1

The pattern detail is exquisite and not difficult to knit either. It’s a 16 row repeat pattern. I did make a few variations along the way. To start with I used 5 dpns rather than 4 dpns….only because that was how I was initially taught to knit socks and I find it easier to use 5 dpns. When I cast on there were 18 sts on each needle. As a tip, for the round where you had to increase 3 stitches evenly across (making a total of 75 stitches), I k23, kfb repeat 3 times. I then redistributed the stitches as follows: N1 – 30 sts; N2 – 15 sts; N3 – 15 sts; N4 – 15 sts.

After shaping the heel and picking up the stitches from both sides of the heel flap, I progressed to using 6 dpns!! What! you’re wondering….but I found it easier to use the 6 dpns. My stitches were distributed as follows: N1 – 31 sts; N2 – 15 sts; N3 – 15 sts; N4 – 15 sts; N5 – 31 sts. Needles 2, 3 and 4 were the pattern repeat stitches and because the pattern consisted of 15 stitches it was just easier for me to have one pattern repeat on each needle. It was a bit fiddly but worked for me.

Once the foot section was finished and I was ready to start the toe, I was required to knit one row decreasing 9 sts evenly across Needle 2 (which was my Needles 2, 3 and 4) so I k3, k2tog x 9 times.

I changed the toe decreases section to suit the type of toe finish I like best. First round was the same, followed by Round 2 knit, Round 3 as per Round 1, Round 4 knit and so on until there was a total of 20 sts (5 sts on each needle). Divided the 20 sts between two needles (10 sts on each needle) and then grafted the sts together (Kitchener stitch).

Maidenhair Fern Socks 2

Maidenhair Fern Socks 4

Look at the lovely detail of the maidenhair fern pattern.

Maidenhair Fern Socks 3

I’m also very happy with the yarn choice I made. This is Schoppel-Wolle  Zauberball Orange and what I really like about it is that it’s not a solid colour but two colours that complement each other and yet there is enough colour in each section to really show off the sock pattern to all its glory. What do you think?

Zauberball Orange

I’ve used the Zauberball and Crazy Zauberball and I really love this sock yarn. It’s probably one of my favourite sock yarns to knit with. I used the Crazy Zauberball yarn to knit my Mediterranean socks which I featured on a previous blog post as well as on my Ravelry page.

That’s it for now. I’m going to enjoy my lovely air conditioning as it’s another stinking hot day in Brisbane today. You’d melt if you were outside!

Talk soon,

Melanie

Hot Aussie Weather and Murgrona Socks………….Pair # 16

Here in Australia we are experiencing extremely hot weather which has resulted in many bush fires burning out of control across the eastern side of the country as well as the tragic loss of homes and businesses. In Brisbane today it was around 36 degrees celsius but luckily it was a dry heat and the humidity was relatively low. It hardly feels appropriate that I should be knitting socks during this time but it appears nothing can stop me!

I find the repetitive nature of knitting to be quite therapeutic and calming and it is also something I can do when watching TV. There is also a certain amount of excitement involved watching a pattern and self-patterning yarn evolve.

Interspersed throughout the last 16 pairs of socks I have knitted there are some socks knitted in plain stocking stitch as there are occasionally times when I just want to knit and not think too much. These are ideal times to use some of the exquisitely dyed and self-patterned sock yarns that are now available in such abundance. It takes a lot of self control not to keep clicking ‘Add to Cart’ when I am shopping on line for sock yarn.

I looked up the meaning of the word ‘Murgrona’ and found out that it means “ivy” The designer is Swedish so maybe this pattern reminds her of ivy. This is such an easy sock pattern which consists of only four rounds to create such an intricate pattern.The only mistake I made was to use this yarn with this particular pattern as neither the sock pattern nor yarn are shown to their full advantage. The next pair I make will definitely be in a solid colour. This pattern….Murgrona Socks can be found on Ravelry and guess what…..it’s another free sock knitting pattern.

Murgrona Socks 1

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This close up photo gives you an idea of the lovely detail of the pattern……

Murgrona Socks 3

as well as the lovely detail of the toe……

Murgrona Socks 4

which is continued through to the back of the heel.

Murgrona Socks 5

The yarn I used is called Dornröschens Sockenwolle made by Dornroschen-Wolle. The designer lives in West Germany and loves dyeing so much she creates a new colourway each month.

Dornroschen Merino Polyamid 100g 420m

This is a stunningly gorgeous sock yarn but unfortunately as mentioned previously the pattern doesn’t do the yarn justice and vice versa. Luckily, I purchased two skeins of the yarn so I will knit another pair of socks in just plain stocking stitch so the rich autumn colours of the yarn can be shown off to their full advantage.

Dornroschen Merino Polyamid 100g

Hope you are knitting or crafting lots of things that make you happy. My next pair of socks is already finished so I will post a story about them in the next week or so. They are gorgeously stunning and I’m sure you’re going to love the yarn colour and sock pattern. Stay tuned.

Take care….

Melanie

Meet Betty Bear….Knitted Toy Tales

Betty Bear is made from the softest and most luxurious alpaca yarn that I purchased in May last year from Stanmore Park Alpacas at Yatala (south of Brisbane). The weekend was an open day as part of National Alpaca Week. The yarn cost $6 for a 50g ball and I used 4mm knitting needles. I’ll probably experiment next time with 3.75mm needles so the finished product has a tighter weave. The yarn was homespun on the premises which makes it all the more unique.

Betty Bear 2

Betty Bear 1

The pattern came from a gorgeous book called Knitted Toy Tales: Irresistible Characters for all Ages by Laura Long and it’s the Mummy Bear pattern. This book has the cutest little characters you can knit and they are all photographed beautifully. I have a few more I’d like to complete but finding the time is the problem! I have made one of the Mischievous Mice and once I make a couple more, I’ll feature them in a future post.

Knitted Toy Tales 3

This must be a picture of an earlier edition of the book. That’s the Mummy Bear on the right hand side.

Knitted Toy Tales 2

Laura Long also has an internet page if you’re interested in reading more.

I have also just ordered her latest book Knitted Toy Travels. Can’t wait for it to arrive.

Knitted Toy Travels 2

Betty Bear 3

Betty Bear 4

The added embroidered fabric on the ears, paws and feet really adds to the character of the bear. It’s a bit fiddly to do but well worth the effort.

Betty Bear 5

Betty Bear sits in my bedroom along with my other knitted teddy….Bartholemew Bear who is featured in a previous post.

I hope Betty Bear inspires you to knit some cuddly happiness.

Ciao for now!

Melanie