The Final Countdown!

Only a few more sleeps and I’m off on my cruising adventure around New Zealand 🙂 I have set aside today for the main packing effort along with taking photos of some finished projects, visiting my parents, expecting a visit from my son, tidying up my back courtyard and winding one final skein of yarn. It’s going to be a very busy day.

But first I want to show you another one of my One Row Handspun scarves made with my own handspun. It was spun quite a while ago and as you can see I was still getting the hang of spinning as it’s still a bit chunky looking or as I like to call it ‘rustic’.

Rainbow 2 Handspun Scarf 01I love the fact this scarf is reversible and is such an easy knit.

Rainbow 2 Handspun Scarf 04Yesterday at Knit and Knatter I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting one of my local readers. Thanks Denise for coming along and I’m so glad you found us through my blog. Denise was knitting a pair of socks on circular needles – toe up in this beautiful self striping yarn in the colourway Almalfi Coast. The yarn is made by Simply Socks Yarn Company.

K&K 28-3-15 02While we sat in air conditioned comfort a Suitcase Rummage was happening outside. A few of us bought one of these cute little sewing organisers for only $10 each. They’re handmade and embroidered and included the notions as well. Aren’t they simply gorgeous?

Sewing Notions 04Sewing Notions 02Sewing Notions 03I love these Knit and Knatter gatherings as it’s such a wonderful opportunity to unwind, catch up with like-minded friends and knit or spin to my heart’s content! Although we were small in number this week (seven) we still had a fabulous time.

K&K 28-3-15 01I must fly as I have heaps to do. You may not hear from me for about three weeks but hopefully I’ll have lots of news for you on my return.

Until then….stay safe and happy crafting 🙂

Melanie

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Where is Autumn?

autumn_evrgAutumn: a simple word but to me it heralds the end to a hot and humid Brisbane summer. It’s when I can think about gearing up for cooler weather and look forward to winter eventually arriving. Autumn means it’s more comfortable for knitting and spinning but having said that I try to knit 365 days a year and I spin throughout the year although I do more in winter.

It also means that it’s getting closer to when I can start wearing my knitted scarves and socks of which I have sooo many!!

But more importantly autumn means those gorgeous colours that I love so much…

Autumn image 1-tileThose explosions of stunningly beautiful golds, oranges, rusts, browns, reds and greens (and even pinks).

Autumn image 5-tileThey simply take my breath away…

Autumn image 10-tileNow you can see where some yarn dyers get their inspiration from…

Autumn image 14-tileAnd that’s why I tend to lean towards these autumn shades when I purchase my yarn…

Zen Yarn Garden Pumpkin Pie Spice 04Shorn Fibers Serengeti 07Shorn Fibres Autumn Leaves 3Autumn Cowl 01Autumn Citron 01Sunset Shawlette 01Moda Vera Harmony 02Moda Vera Hue 01Moda Vera Spinnler 02BWM Bloom Orange 03BWM Bloom Green 03I don’t think you can beat these colours when it comes to the range of different shades and their affinity to nature.

If you want to see a real display of autumn colour, you can’t really beat the autumns in Melbourne…

Melbourne autumn 1-tileSONY DSCWhat do you think? Doesn’t autumn offer such a wonderful palette of colours for yarn dyers?

So wonderful in fact, that Zen Yarn Garden created this gorgeous autumn inspired yarn combo of three skeins which I am going to use to make Melanie Berg’s Ashburn Shawl.

Zen Yarn Autumn Splendour 01Zen Inspiration Autumn 03And now back to the title of this post? Where is Autumn? We are now one third through Autumn in Brisbane and it is still summer!!! The last couple of days have been quite humid and yesterday we had a huge storm. I want it to start getting cooler!!! It certainly does not bode well for a cold winter does it?

If you’ve noticed that I haven’t posted any completed projects lately, it’s because I have a number of small ones on the go and one large project that I started in January that is taking quite a while to complete. But the good news is that I only have four more rows to go until it’s finished!

Only four rows you might say. But each row is taking me about an hour to do as I’m using beads and there’s more than 600 stitches in each row. Yes, it’s my first attempt at a real laceweight shawl. The pattern I’m knitting is Athanasia Andritsou’s Wavy Leaves and Butterflies Shawl. Once it’s finished I’m going to have to psych myself up to block it. I actually have two other projects that need blocking as well 😦

To me blocking is like ironing and emptying the dishwasher; I simply don’t enjoy it! In fact, I have to be in the mood to block a garment. I’m always so happy once the job is done as the garment looks wonderful after a good blocking but the process is too tedious for me.

What about you? Do you like blocking? I wish I could out-source it to someone who loves to block 🙂 Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Until next time…

Melanie

Pottery Yarn Bowls

Wellington is one of the cities that I’ll be spending a day in during my cruise around New Zealand in April. I am very fortunate as I’ll be met at the pier and taken to a local spinners guild to spend the day as well as some other sightseeing. One place that my hosts have mentioned is Pauaworld at Masterton. New Zealand has obviously replenished its supplies of paua sheel as I thought I’d bought it all in 2006 when I did a three week coach trip through both islands. 🙂 I absolutely adore the paua shell! How can you not love all those shades of blue and green.

Paua shell 1-tileThe two people who are so kindly driving me around Wellington are Mary and Fred. I first spoke to Mary (via the internet) a couple of years ago when I bought a Little Peggy spinning wheel. I was very much a novice and had no idea of wheels at all. Mary kindly answered all my questions and sent me some information leaflets which I have since loaded onto my site for all to see.

Mary is also the administrator of the New Zealand spinning wheels website which is a detailed history of New Zealand wheels and their makers. Mary also looked after the Australian spinning wheels website but this has now been handed over to an Aussie to manage.

Now I’ve been trying to work out what to take as a token of my appreciation so I thought why not ask Mary if there’s anything she’d like me to bring from Brisbane. I’m so glad I did as she mentioned she’d love one of the pottery yarn bowls made by Kimberly from Earth & Stone Creations. I emailed Kimberly and discovered she didn’t live too far from my place. Kimberly has an Etsy shop too. So yesterday I drove to Kimberly’s home and picked up a yarn bowl for Mary and one for me too!

Yarn bowls 01Aren’t they so beautiful!! Mine is the green one.

Yarn bowls 04And I’ll give Mary the orange one. They sit on little padded feet so they won’t scratch your tiled floors.

Yarn bowls 02Another little gift I will give Mary is one of the Country Drawstring Bags that I’ve just made. I picked up this acrylic for only $2 a ball from Lincraft and it’s so perfect for this project. You don’t really want an expensive wool for a bag but rather an acrylic that can handle the rough wear and tear and washing.

Drawstring bag Autumn 01I love these little bags. In fact, I’m making another Autumn one for me too.

Drawstring bag Autumn 05I think this will be the perfect little holder for Mary’s yarn bowl don’t you?

Drawstring bag Autumn 03

Another bit of good news from this story is that while I was at Kimberly’s home I instantly thought how well her pottery and earrings would sell at our Open Day in June so I contacted our Convenor who has now contacted Kimberly. So it’s a win-win for everyone; Mary and I get our yarn bowls; Kimberly finds a new outlet to sell her wares; and the Redlands Spinners & Weavers Open Day Convenor finds another wonderful quality trader!!

It’s time for me to now have a cuppa, read the paper and do some knitting. I’ve been up since 6am washing the car before the sun came out. As it’s a new car I want to try and wash it regularly. I wonder how long the early morning rises on a weekend will last!!

Until next time…

Melanie

A Nifty Little Drawstring Bag

Every Christmas I ask my son to buy me the same present year after year. I think he’s secretly pleased as I even tell him where it’s being sold so he doesn’t have to do much thinking. It’s the yearly knitting calendar which I absolutely adore.

2015 CalendarIt’s exciting (well for me anyway 🙂 ) to turn to a new pattern every couple of days to see what will take my fancy.

This is one pattern that appealed to me straight away. A very simple knit called the Country Drawstring Bag.

Drawstring Brownn 01The pattern calls for DK yarn using two strands and 3.75mm needles. I used this Moda Vera Instinctive yarn which is quite a thick DK 100% acrylic yarn. For a bag I’d rather use acrylic as it’s cheaper and will be able to stand up to all the wear and tear (and washing).

Moda Vera Instinctive 01I actually ran out of yarn when I was making the handles so I’ve used some black yarn instead.

Drawstring Brownn 03The perplexing thing is I’m 100% positive I have more of this yarn but do you think I could find it in my stash? No, I couldn’t!! So when I eventually come across it, I’ll just unpick that black part of the I-cord and redo it using the correct yarn. I don’t really think it detracts from the bag though.

My hands got quite achy while making this bag as I was using size 5mm needles and with the two strands of yarn it was a bit of a battle at times but I persevered and I now have quite a large drawstring project bag.

It has a nice sized base to sit on.

Drawstring Brownn 04Once there are too many stitches on the dpns you change to circular needles. There were a maximum of 128 sts on the needles.

It is really sturdy and I am very happy with the completed bag.

The pattern writer is AnnVG on Ravelry so if you really want the pattern you could contact her.

Drawstring Brownn 05I’ve already started on another bag which will be made from another 100% acrylic DK in a colourway called ‘Autumn’. I’m using size 4.5mm needles as the yarn is not as thick as the Instinctive yarn. I’ll show it to you as soon as it’s finished.

Drawstring Brownn 02Drawstring Brownn 06

The great thing about this bag pattern is that tension really doesn’t matter and you could use any size yarn and needles and the result will be a different sized bag.

Until next time…

Melanie

A Riot of Yarn Colour

Okay, you must admit it’s been a while since I’ve shown you any yarn purchases hasn’t it? I’ve really tried to restrain myself and not buy any more yarn and I’ve been relatively successful but could not resist these beauties.

Five balls of this gorgeous Bendigo Woollen Mills Bloom which is a 100% plied DK wool. Each ball weighs 200g and was only AU$10!!

BWM Bloom Green 01This is a graduated changing yarn.

BWM Bloom Green 03And the same yarn in orange….of course…..you know how much I love this colour!

BWM Bloom Orange 01I thought I’d been sent one ball in apricot until a friend very kindly pointed out that it’s probably part of the graduated colour change and she was right.

BWM Bloom Orange 03 I bought these four skeins of Fleece Artist Aran yarn on Ebay a couple of weeks ago from my favourite Ebay yarn shop – A Chronic Yarnoholic. I’m not usually one to buy blues but I just couldn’t resist the combination of these blues, greens, purples, mauves and yellows. Simply stunning!

Fleece Artist Blues Aran 01How could you not love these colours!

Fleece Artist Blues Aran 06This yarn is 100% linen but I don’t know the manufacturer. They’re another Ebay purchase.

Linen Orange 01This is thirteenth offering in Zen Yarn Garden’s ART WALK Series which features a painting by Chin H. Shin entitled “Magical Night in New York “. Inspired by Shin, Zen Yarn Garden’s dyer has successfully captured the vibrancy of the colours of the painting.

Zen Yarn Magical Night 05Beautiful colours aren’t they?

Zen Yarn Magical Night 07Chin has been concentrating on New York cityscapes for the last two years after becoming inspired by the streets of Manhattan. The culture, history, music, and movies of New York serve as a guiding force for his paintings. Technique-wise, he has been influenced by Korean calligraphy and the wild brush strokes of Expressionism. All of these elements have influenced Chin’s work. His goal is to transform these street scenes of daily life into a form of visual poetry. Ultimately, he is looking for an extremely positive mental satisfaction found in his work. This can be broken down technically as light and color; light standing for hope for our future. Hopefully, viewers will understand the intended message Chin is trying to send through his paintings. Moreover, his painting is based on realism, but he believes that there is an unlimited possibility of variations. Whenever he starts a new painting, he paints with curiosity and childish dreams with enormous energy. His painting style uses bold lines and colorful brush strokes, and completes with unique texture. Psychologically, his painting is based on extreme optimism and humanism. [quoted from Chinhshin.com]

Zen Yarn Magical Night imagejpgI 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 fourteenth offering in Zen Yarn Garden’s ART WALK Series which features a painting by Andy Warhol entitled “Stamped Lips “. From one medium to the next, artists express their use of colour. Inspired by Warhol, Zen Yarn Garden’s dyer has successfully captured the vividness of the colours of the painting.

I expect my yarn to arrive tomorrow in the post so I’m showing you a picture that I found on Zen Yarn Garden’s website. It’s really quite different isn’t it?

Zen Yarn Stamped Lips Warhol 03Andy Warhol’s art defined a decade and a culture. Warhol (1923 – 1987), the founder of Pop Art, was also a filmmaker, writer, actor, music video producer and celebrity. He depicted American mass-produced goods that he loved, revealing the beauty within mass culture. “Lips” embodies Warhol’s belief that popularity is beauty—the allure lies in its repetition. “Isn’t life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?” – Andy Warhol  [quoted from Art.com]

Zen Yarn Stamped Lips Warhol imageAs usual, I bought two skeins of this Serenity Silk Single yarn.

I purchase all my Zen Yarn Garden yarn through Australia’s sole distributor – Yarn Glorious Yarn in sunny Brisbane!

That’s not really too much yarn is it???

Until next time…

Melanie