Spinning Tales and Wheels

You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t been blogging about any knitted garments recently and that’s because I’ve been quite busy spinning. Yes, I’m in the spinning mood and have four wheels on the go with different spinning projects. Plus, of course, I do have a number of knitting projects on the go too!

I’ve recently finished this Ixchel Bunny Fibres‘ blend called Don’t You Want Me Baby. It’s plied with a beautiful gold metallic thread and I’ve made a gorgeous shawl with this yarn which I’ll show you very soon.

Dont You Want Me Baby 01 Dont You Want Me Baby 03This stunning Ixchel Bunny Fibres’ blend called Peacock in a Pear Tree is currently on my Sickinger wheel. I love the glitz that Charly adds to her blends as they make each spinning project ‘pop’.

Peacock in a Pear Tree 01I recently sold this Black Bunny Tops from Ixchel Bunny Fibres to a friend who is going to use it in a weaving project. It’s plied with a grey thread.

Black Bunny Tops Silver Grey 01This is 100% merino in the colourway Desert.

Desert 01I absolutely love this Ixchel Bunny FibresMagic Bunny blend!

Ixchel Blue Green Apricot 076And here it is plied, skeined and in a cake 🙂

Ixchel Blue Green Apricot 01 I’m knitting a shawl with this beautiful rainbow blend. I’ve had to take a few photos so you can see all the lovely colours.

Rainbow 05Rainbow 01 Rainbow 02 This next colourway is not usually one I would select, however, the red and orange were so vibrant I couldn’t resist. It’s another Ixchel Bunny Fibres‘ blend called Sunset on Mars.

Sunset on Mars 01Sunset on Mars 02I had a sliver of red merino so I spun it and plied it with the Sunset on Mars and it looks a treat!

Sunset on Mars 05 Sunset on Mars 06Stunning isn’t it?

Sunset on Mars 13 Sunset on Mars 16So as you can see, even though I haven’t been showing you many knitted garments lately, I certainly haven’t been idle 🙂

I’ve also been visiting the Opp Shops a bit and managed to acquire a few more goodies which I’ll show you soon plus I’ve just picked up another two spinning wheels. One is an Ashford Traveller. I sold my previous one but when I saw this one on Gumtree for $50 I couldn’t resist. It came with some books and the red sliver of merino. It’s just missing two bobbins which I can easily pick up 🙂

Ashford Traveller 06 Ashford Traveller 07 Ashford Traveller 08The other spinning wheel I picked up is a Sleeping Beauty Thumbelina but I need to get a part made before it is functional.

Well that’s all my news for now!

Until next time…

Melanie

 

 

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A Frenzy of Fingerless Mitts!

I’ve been on a roll lately knitting lots and lots of fingerless mitts. Over the years, I’ve been collecting different patterns with a view to eventually getting to knit all sorts of garments. Fingerless mitts is the latest craze. I found this really easy pattern to start off with: Good Times Fingerless Mitts and have proceeded to knit quite a few pairs!

What I love about knitting mitts is you can use a lot of your leftovers from larger projects. They’re quick to make and perfect to wear in cooler weather. I love the fact your fingers are free so it’s easy to type or handle money while the rest of your hand remains toasty warm 🙂

Shepherd Colour 4 Me 8ply and Shepherd Colour 4 Me Prints 8ply were used in these aqua blue mitts.

Good Time Mitts Blue Aqua 01The edging of these mitts was knitted in Fiberific Sombrero 8ply and the main part was knitted in my handspun 100% merino in the colourway Outback.

Good Time Mitts Handspun Outback n Green 01The edging in these mitts was knitted in Moda Vera Pure Wool 8ply and the main part in my handspun.

Good Time Mitts Handspun Outback n Orange 02These mitts are knitted entirely using my own handspun. They are soooo soft!

Good Time Mitts Handspun Outback 02The ribbing in these mitts is knitted using Cleckheaton Country 8ply and the main part I used Candy Apple Lane BWM Luxury 8ply in the colourway Liquorice Allsorts. You’ll no doubt remember this colourway from my Liquorice Allsorts Shawl 🙂

Good Time Mitts Liquorice Allsorts n Black 02I used Lotus Winter Sun to make these mitts.

Good Time Mitts Lotus Yarns Mocha 01For the ribbed edging I used Cleckheaton Country Naturals 8ply and for the main part I used Lincraft Cosy Wool.

Good Time Mitts Naturals Blue Mix 02These are the very first mitts I made using Sullivans Aztec which has an alpaca component making them really soft.

Good Time Mitts Sullivans Aztec Green 02And that’s just the start. I’ve made lots more using different patterns which I’ll show you at a later date. So if you haven’t made fingerless mitts previously and you’ve been toying with the idea, I would highly recommend that you start! The thumb area is not complicated so long as you follow the very easy instructions in the pattern.

I had so much fun mixing and matching yarns for the ribbed edging and the main part of the mitts to give a different look.

If you’re interested, I have some mitts for sale on my MelsNattyKnits FB page.

Let me know if you use this pattern; I’d love to hear your comments on how you go 🙂

Until next time.

Melanie

Yarning

Today I walked down to the Cleveland Sunday Markets to get a bit of exercise and also because it was such a glorious winter’s day here in Brisbane. As I wandered up and down checking out all the stalls my eyes zeroed in on a lot of hand sewn baby doonas and other goodies. Now, I don’t know why I walked into that stall because I don’t have a baby nor is there one on the horizon for me 😦 (I wish my son would find a girlfriend, get married and give me lots of grandchildren!) Anyway, my eyes immediately spotted this gorgeous baby doona and I HAD to have it!!

Sheep doona frontAt $35 it was a steal as I could see the amount of fabric and stuffing let alone the cutting and sewing that went into making this doona. The back fabric is flannelette and has little monkeys and other critters on it.

Sheep doona backI’ve been doing a bit of spinning lately and yesterday I washed, skeined and wound this gorgeous Ixchel Bunny fibre into a cake. It’s plied with a silver/grey metallic thread.

Black Bunny Tops Silver Grey 01And I’ve just started spinning one of these braids. As the colours of the braids are so similar, I’m going to ply them together once they’re both spun.

2 Ixchel braidsJust over four years ago I bought my first spinning wheel, an Ashford Traditional and about two years ago I bought a double treadle kit to replace the single treadle. I’m  embarrassed to say that I’ve only JUST installed the double treadle kit. Why did I wait so long!! I just love spinning on this wheel now.

Double treadleDid you notice all the sheep on my two-seater lounge which can no longer be used for visitors 🙂 I don’t know how many sheep I have on that lounge. It’s now at the point that they’re really squashed together 🙂

Now to some of my latest yarn purchases from Zen Yarn Garden (ZYG).

The 22nd offering in the ZYG ART WALK Series features a painting by Georgia O’Keeffe entitled “Petunias”. From one medium to the next, artists express their use of colour. Inspired by ZYG’s chosen art piece, their dyer has successfully captured the excitement and complexity of the painting.

22 ZYG Peonies 05

Georgia O’Keeffe (1887 – 1986) was a groundbreaking Modernist painter who digressed from realism to express her own visionary style. Raised in rural Wisconsin, which gave her a love of nature and formed the basis for her revolutionary artwork, O’Keefe is best known for flower paintings which made up a significant percentage of her work. Expressing what she felt, rather than what she had been taught, O’Keeffe painted enormous close-ups of flowers, transforming their contours into fascinating abstractions, and highlighting their importance in a manner that commanded attention. One of the most influential and innovative artists of the 20th century, O’Keeffe was the first woman to have her own exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. [quoted from Art.com]

22 ZYG Peonies image

I bought two skeins of this Serenity 20 fingering which is a 70% superwash merino / 20% cashmere / 10% nylon blend.

The 23rd offering in the ZYG WALK Series features a painting by Jackson Pollock entitled “Number 18”. Inspired by ZYG’s chosen art piece, their dyer has successfully captured the excitement and complexity of the painting.23 ZYG No 18 Pollock 6

Jackson Pollock (1912 – 1956), the pioneer of Abstract Expressionism, challenged the artistic tradition of using an easel and brush by pouring and dripping paint onto canvases. His groundbreaking works had a childlike quality which belied their stunning complexity and sophistication. Driven by inner torment which compelled him to paint, Pollock attached large canvases to the floor, densely pouring, dripping and flinging paint embedded with sand or glass onto them with intense physical movement. Influenced by Picasso, Miró, and the Surrealists, Pollock also revolutionized a style of painting in which the work has no identifiable parts or point of emphasis, and is painted with a stream-of-consciousness technique called psychic automatism. [quoted from Art.com]
23 ZYG No 18 Pollock image
I purchased two skeins of this Serenity 20 fingering which is a 70% superwash merino / 20% cashmere / 10% nylon blend.

The 24th offering in the ZYG ART WALK Series features a painting by Pablo Picasso entitled “Blue Nude”. Inspired by ZYG’s chosen art piece, their dyer has successfully captured the excitement and complexity of the painting.

24 ZYG Blue Nude 06

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), a twentieth century Grand Master who co-founded Cubism, was only 20 years old when his friend’s tragic death resulted in the subdued “Blue Nude. His “Blue Period” artworks, rendered in somber blues and greens, were part of an astounding 20,000 paintings, prints, drawings and sculptures he produced in his lifetime. Hauntingly beautiful and exquisitely composed, “Blue Nude” is one of Picasso’s best-selling pieces, and a testament to his ability to express complex emotions with one simple shade. [quoted from Art.com]
24 ZYG Blue Nude image
I purchased two skeins of this Serenity Silk Single fingering 75% superwash merino / 15% cashmere / 10% silk blend.

And finally, the 25th offering in the ZYG ART WALK Series features a painting by Norman Rockwell entitled “Walking to Church”. Inspired by ZYG’s chosen art piece, their dyer has successfully captured the excitement and complexity of the painting.

25 ZYG Walking to Church 01

Norman Rockwell (1894 – 1978), one of America’s most beloved artists, left a timeless legacy of nostalgic, endearing, whimsical paintings that appealingly and insightfully depict simple, and often idyllic, scenes from daily life. After illustrating a series of children’s books at age 16, Rockwell was hired to be the art director of “Boys’ Life,” the official publication of the Boy Scouts of America. Six years later, he sold his first cover to the most prestigious magazine of the era, the “Saturday Evening Post.” Over the next 47 years, he created 321 covers for the “Post,” which became synonymous with his name. He later worked for “Look” magazine, addressing more serious issues of civil rights, poverty and space exploration. [quoted from Art.com]
25 ZYG walkingtochurch4_grande
I bought two skeins of this Serenity 20 fingering 70% superwash merino / 20% cashmere / 10% nylon blend.

I remember when I bought my first two skeins of the ART WALK series back in March 2013 I had visions of collecting two skeins in each release thinking there’d be no more than ten or so releases. We’re now up to number 25 release and I’m starting to worry that I’ll be buying these ART WALK series for the rest of my life 🙂 I wonder when they will cease??

Before I go, I must tell you that I am starting to sell some of hand knitted goodies. My friends have encouraged me over the last couple of years to start selling them but I didn’t feel inclined to but it has now got to the point where I have a lot of these items just sitting in zip lock bags as I can’t get around to wearing them all! You can find the ones I have for sale here and I will be adding items to this album over the coming months as I go through my rather large stash. If there’s something that’s taken your eye over the last couple of years and you’d like to own it, just drop me a line via me Contact Me page and if I’m not keeping that particular item then it’s for sale!

Until next time…

Melanie

My Favourite Scarf Pattern

This is my absolute ‘go to’ scarf pattern. It’s quick, easy and symmetrical. It’s the Melissa Scarf and to date, I’ve made 15 of them and am currently working on my sixteenth! Now, if that’s not a guarantee that I love this pattern, I’m not sure what is 🙂

This particular scarf was made from my own handspun fibre which is an Ashford merino/silk sliver in the colourway Peppercorns. It’s lovely and lush and springy.

Melissa Handspun Green 01

Good old Cleckheaton Country Colour 8ply; you can’t go wrong with this wool and particularly this gorgeous colourway.

Melissa Mauve Multi 01

Depending on how wide you make your scarf, you can easily wear it this way.

Melissa Mauve Multi 02Moda Vera Bardini was used to make this scarf. I know the colour is a little boring but the number of times I’ve wanted just a plain navy scarf was happening much too often so when I saw this yarn on sale I grabbed it!

Melissa Scarf Navy 01This scarf is made from Moda Vera Stirlingshire which is a super bulky yarn so I was playing yarn chicken as I cast off my picot edging and I lost so you can see I’ve had to substitute a slightly lighter shade of green to finish. This one I’ll keep for myself 🙂

Melissa Scarf Forest Green 01Passioknit Outback Langley is the yarn used in this scarf and the colourway is Old Gold. I’m rather fond of these colours.

Melissa Scarf Old Gold 01I bought two balls of hand-dyed Bendigo Woollen Mills Classic 8ply from the Queensland Spinners Open Day in May this year and made two of these scarves.

Melissa Scarf Classic Orange Blue 02

This one is slightly lighter and brighter. I’m loving all these colours together.

Melissa Scarf Classic Orange Blue Bright 02

The following two scarves are in hand-dyed Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 8ply, again from the Queensland Spinners Open Day. I sold this one at our Open Day (along with quite a few other items).

Melissa Scarf Luxury Dark 02

This one is slightly lighter and I love it!

Melissa Scarf Luxury Light 04

This pattern is fabulous if you just have a couple of balls of wool left. The overall width of your scarf is determined by the number of cast on stitches at the beginning of each row. I tend to cast on seven stitches which makes the scarf grow wider faster. By casting on five stitches at the beginning of each row your scarf would grow wider a bit slower but you’d get more of a triangle effect in the front. It’s all  dependent on how much yarn you have to start with.

The biggest challenge is making sure you leave enough yarn for your picot bind off!

Before I sign off, look what I found at the Noosaville newsagent.

Noosaville sheep 07

I’m a sucker for these cute little sheep 🙂

I’m back home now and am doing some spring cleaning before I go back to work next. Back to reality with a big thump 🙂

Until next time…

Melanie