A Random Act of Kindness

We’ve all heard about them and we’ve probably all participated in a random act of kindness but usually it involves someone you know. In this case, a random act of kindness I received was from a complete stranger.

If you’re an Instagram user with an unlocked account as mine is under my MelsNattyKnits name, you’ll love getting followers with similar interests to your own and in my case, especially followers in Brisbane. A few weeks ago I received an Insta message from one of my followers which showed a couple of large toy sheep. It’s obvious that my obsession with toy sheep had struck a chord with this follower.

Fiona lives on the north side of Brisbane and was at the recent Brisbane Exhibition where she bought two of these sheep; one for her and one for me. When she mentioned in her message that she thought of me straight away, I felt quite touched and overwhelmed.

As her husband works near me, we arranged for me to pick up the sheep at his workplace. I felt quite humbled as her husband gave me a large plastic bag and inside it was this gorgeous sheep.

Fionas sheep 01_resize

We had a lovely chat and Brad told me his wife Fiona was quite an introvert and he was the extrovert in the family. He told me she liked to do kind things for others without any recognition for doing those kind acts.

As I haven’t met Fiona, I felt I needed to acknowledge her random act of kindness on my blog as it’s the least I could do.

Fionas sheep 02_resizeFionas sheep 03_resize

This is one of the largest sheep I own! Thank you so much Fiona. Your kind act is so appreciated.

Fionas sheep 04_resizeFionas sheep 05_resize

Did you notice that lovely yarn bowl? I picked it up at the Kureelpa Spinners & Weavers Open Day in July when I was on holidays. You could have a number of small balls of different coloured wool in it for colour knitting.

Sheep yarn bowl new

To finish off, just a few bits and bobs I’ve picked up over the last few weeks. I found this sheep mug at an Opp Shop just before the end of my holidays. It was the only one I found; slim pickings this year 🙂

Baa sheep mug 01

One of the past members of the Redlands Spinners & Weavers was off-loading a lot of her spinning gear and I scored this fantastic Lazy Kate. It’s solidly made and I love it. I’ve since given it a clean up and used it. All those bobbins are different and don’t match any of my wheels unfortunately. Apparently her husband was a woodturner and made all her bobbins for her.

Lazy Kate

At our recent Open Day one of our members was selling these crocheted sheep on the members’ stall. They were there right until the end so I quickly snapped them up.

Shaun the Sheep

The Redlands Spinners & Weavers will be holding their annual September spinning camp at Bribie Island on 8-10 September so that’s where you’ll find me. I enjoy these occasions when I’m not tempted by housework 🙂 or any sort of hard work. I can simply craft and enjoy the company of my friends.

I’ve been in spring cleaning mode for a number of weeks now. I’m slowly downsizing my spinning wheels collection. Over the years, I have worked out what type of wheels I like and which ones suit me so I’ve sold the ones I don’t anticipate using. When I first started spinning I bought every conceivable ‘gadget’ that related to the preparation of fleece but I’ve found I just prefer to buy ready processed and dyed slivers. I’m not really into all the cleaning and processing myself; mainly because I don’t have a suitable outdoor area to do it.

So I’ve sold my drum carder and a couple of sets of wool combs. I feel quite liberated as I’m freeing up so much room in my home. About 70% of my hundreds of books have gone to Lifeline and now I’m working on my clothing (I’ve already got a large bag in the car ready for the Lifeline bin!)

And as I sit here writing this blog, I’ve just spotted another bookcase which I’d forgotten about as it’s covered by a spinning wheel. I’ll have to go through it and get rid of the books I’m never going to read!! It’s true what they say; decluttering is good for you!!

Until next time…

Melanie

 

 

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More Sheep, Fibre, Yarn and a Wheel!

It’s been quite hectic in my world lately. Last weekend I spent a lovely three days at Bribie Island with some of the Redlands and Redcliffe Spinners & Weavers plus spinners from further afield. Of course, I left home early so I could have plenty of time to visit all the Opp Shops at Bribie Island 🙂

I came away with some lovely bits and pieces including this sheep dressed in his Father Christmas outfit.

sheep-santa-01And this cute little sheep 🙂

cute-sheep-01

I now have two sheep backpacks.

sheep-backpack-01

This is the most unusual little sheep ornament that sits on the edge of a shelf.

sitting-ceramic-sheepHow could I resist this little shepherd and his sheep?

boy-shepherd-and-sheepTwo more mugs to add to the collection!

two-sheep-mugs-01And another two!!

two-sheep-mugs-02I have a couple of these now; an heir and a spare 🙂

blue-sheep-mugThese little lights were raffle prizes that were gifted to me by two of my friends 🙂

two-sheep-lightsOn Saturday while I was at the QldBaysideYarnClub one of my friends dropped in. She’d been having a clean up and gifted me these lovely sheep; the little one is a pencil sharpener.

sheep-from-joI’ve also managed to buy quite a bit of yarn and fibre from a Facebook destash. The skeins in this picture were only $5 each (as there were no labels on them) and they’re lovely and soft. I’ve already started using the Bendigo Woollen Mills’ cotton in the front to make Market Bags ready to sell.

fb-stashLove the colours in the following fibre pics.

cat-and-sparrow tardis

heavenly-wool-green-blue-purple heavenly-wool-green-purpleCan’t wait to get these ones spun!

fb-destash-03 fb-destash-04Yesterday I drove over an hour away to pick up my 19th spinning wheel; a George H Young which is an Australian made wheel. I need to get a couple more bobbins made and fashion a tension knob as the original one is missing. I’m assuming it should be sitting under the MOA (mother of all). So tomorrow it’s off to the hardware to find a long screw that will do the job.

george-h-young-04The next big challenge is to work out where to put this wheel! There’ll be a bit of rearranging at my place so everything has its place 🙂

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

Maleny Knitfest 2016

In mid June I visited the inaugural Maleny Knitfest with two of my fibre friends. Maleny is a small, scenic town 90 kilometres (56 miles) north of Brisbane on the Blackall Range overlooking the Sunshine Coast hinterland in Queensland, Australia.

The town of Maleny is home to some of the Hinterlands most creative and innovative artists and craftspeople. With a range of different creations from woodwork, to beads and musical instruments, the town is always abuzz with some sort of artistic show or creative endeavour. Many local craftspeople are found regularly at the Sunday markets at the Maleny RSL,

The town was awash with some fabulous yarn bombing.

Maleny Knitfest 2016 10 June 09 Maleny Knitfest 2016 10 June 12 Maleny Knitfest 2016 10 June 13 Maleny Knitfest 2016 10 June 14 Maleny Knitfest 2016 10 June 15 Maleny Knitfest 2016 10 June 17 Maleny Knitfest 2016 10 June 18 Maleny Knitfest 2016 10 June 32 Maleny Knitfest 2016 10 June 35 Maleny Knitfest 2016 10 June 36 Maleny Knitfest 2016 10 June 37 Maleny Knitfest 2016 10 June 38The organisers produced a wonderful program for the weekend which you can find here.

We stayed at Maleny Lodge, which has been operating continuously as a successful boarding house, guest house and bed and breakfast for over 60 years. Originally named ‘Rosedale’, Maleny Lodge was built around 1905 by Mr A.C.K. Cooke for his family with at least five bedrooms. This grand Queenslander was an impressive residence.

Our accommodation was right in the middle of Maleny so we could shop, come back and drop off our purchases and wander out again or, as we did on a couple of occasions, sit in the lounge room and just chat, drink tea and knit!

Melanie Maleny LodgeThe days were beautiful and the nights were quite cold but we were well prepared in our winter woollies.

Maleny Knitfest 2016 10 June 51And of course, there was lots of shopping to be done!

I really love the woven basket I bought from the Co-op. It’ll come in handy to store some of my projects.

Knitfest 2016 20 Knitfest 2016 25

Some beautiful handspun alpaca; so lush and soft!

Knitfest 2016 01

Loving these colours in this 2ply lace yarn.

Knitfest 2016 03

Couldn’t resist these orange bed socks from a shop that sells local handmade goodies.

Knitfest 2016 08

Only $5 each for these key rings from the Maleny Markets on the Sunday. How cute are they?

Knitfest 2016 10

Plus, you can have your name engraved for free!

Knitfest 2016 11

A lovely alpaca scarf.

Knitfest 2016 17

There were a few more things but I can’t keep you here all day 🙂

How about this for some yarn bombing: the local police station.

Maleny Knitfest 2016 10 June 33

And the little bus that took us on our mystery tour around Maleny.

Maleny Knitfest 2016 10 June 41Love this photo of my friend hiding behind one of the yarn bombed cows.

Maleny Knitfest 2016 10 June 16There were lots of goodies for sale and display in the RSL hall.

Maleny Knitfest 2016 10 June 21 Maleny Knitfest 2016 10 June 24 Maleny Knitfest 2016 10 June 25 Maleny Knitfest 2016 10 June 26 Maleny Knitfest 2016 10 June 27I would highly recommend the Maleny Knifest. It’s not a long drive from Brisbane, it’s a beautiful and quaint country town with an amazing buzz and vibe. The shops are unique and there are enough of them to keep you busy.

I would like to congratulate the organisers for creating such a fantastic event for us fibre lovers. It was a lovely weekend and I had so much fun!

Thank you!

Until next time…

Melanie

The Yarnit

Not long ago I was approached by Kate Sullivan, the inventor of the brilliant The Yarnit, which is a clean, protective and portable home for your project yarn, asking me whether I’d like to review her product. You bet I would! I’m a great believer and collector of knitting knick knacks and I love anything that enhances my knitting experience.

I have my gorgeous pottery yarn bowls which I use at home but I also happen to do a lot of knitting out of my home: at cafes, at the park or at friends’ homes and that is why I am really excited about The Yarnit.

This brilliant yarn holder is extremely versatile. I love the portability of The Yarnit and the fact I can attach the strap to The Yarnit and carry it with me keeping both hands free for knitting!The Yarnit(Photo from The Yarnit website)

The Yarnit also sits comfortably in your vehicle’s cup holder while you’re waiting for your kids to finish their sports training or you’re held up in bumper to bumper traffic that’s at a standstill or while you’re waiting for that plane to arrive or depart 🙂

The Yarnit 03(Photo from The Yarnit website)

Now there is no fear of your ball of yarn dropping onto a dirty floor or being attacked by your pets as it sits beautifully in the unbreakable, high quality plastic globe.

There’s a range of gorgeous colours and decals you can select from too 🙂

This range is called Mr Sparkles; I have the green one 🙂

The Yarnit 04(Photo from The Yarnit website)

How about The Manly?

The Yarnit 05(Photo from The Yarnit website)

Or Lavender Haze? I know my friend Rona will love this colour 🙂

The Yarnit 06(Photo from The Yarnit website)

Or I Pink I Can in support of Breast Cancer awareness?

The Yarnit 07(Photo from The Yarnit website)

You can find lots more designs on The Yarnit website.

While I was assembling my Yarnit, I was rather impressed with this very clever idea; it’s a locking plug so there’s no way your Yarnit will unscrew.

The Yarnit 05There are three parts to the Yarnit; the top, the lower bowl and the base. The top and lower hemispheres of the globe easily twist apart for you to put your yarn ball or cake inside.

Connect the upper globe to the lower globe by positioning the upper part with one of the portholes a little to the left of a porthole on the lower globe.

Now you just need to feed your yarn through your choice of one of the three portholes and simply twist it closed.

When both portholes have lined up completely to make a full and complete circle you are good to go. To open it twist in reverse.

Changing your yarn is equally as easy and just as quick.

When taking a break, dock your needles in the slots in the top of the globe where your stitches and needles now sit protected and safely awaiting your return.

The base is made of a quality material that will hold tight on most surfaces without ever doing damage. It also has a storage well where you can keep your stitch markers, darning needles and scissors. I really love this feature.

The Yarnit 06 The Yarnit 07When not in use, the Yarnit nests within itself nice and neat and easy to transport or store. It’s ideal to sit on top of a table so your project is always in sight encouraging you not to start another one. 

But then, who says you can’t have more than one Yarnit? I mean there are so many to choose from!

Here’s a short YouTube video from fans of The Yarnit.

I took my Yarnit to a cafe on Friday night and yesterday it went to the QldBaysideYarn Club‘s monthly gathering which also happened to be Worldwide Knit in Public Day. I must say I was impressed with how easily the yarn slid out of the porthole.

The Yarnit 11You could say, I really love my Yarnit and it’ll be getting lots of use!

The Yarnit 01 The Yarnit 08

There is a larger Yarnit in the pipeline called The Big Sully. This will be great for my larger cakes of handspun yarn.

Now we just need some enterprising Australian yarn shops to start stocking The Yarnit to give all Aussie knitters ease of access 🙂

Please leave comments if you’d like to see The Yarnit in Australia.

Until next time…

Melanie

PS The Redlands Spinners & Weavers Open Day is on again on Tuesday, 21 June at ther Redland Performing Arts Centre in Cleveland. If you’re into fibre and yarn and live nearby, you must attend!

RPAC_2016_Spinners_Weavers_DL_WEB_Page_1 RPAC_2016_Spinners_Weavers_DL_WEB_Page_2


 

 

A quick catch up

Yes, I’m still here! A couple of weeks ago I came down with a nasty ear infection which put a halt on any knitting, weaving or spinning. For three days I basically had to sit up and nurse my poor throbbing ear. It was horrible and I never want to go through that again. I still have one blocked ear but I’m going back to the doctor next week for a final check so hopefully she can unblock it!

Rather than not post a story, I’ve quickly gone through some of my latest acquisitions to show you.

The first is my fifth pair of these Crocs in the style Kadee. I love them as they’re so comfortable and can be washed!

Crocs Kadee grey animal printI bought them from the Crocs shop in Cleveland and while I was there I found a huge array of these Jibbitz and among them was one lonely little sheep so I had to buy it! It clips onto your Crocs shoes.

Sheep JibbitzI’ve been quite lucky lately as two of my friends have given me these lovely little goodies to add to my collections: a cute little lamb and another sheep mug 🙂

Baby lamp and mugThis is some weaving that I finished a couple of weeks ago. Made with a commercial yarn and some chenille yarn. It’s come up very nicely!

Cream Chenille 01Another one of my Opp shop buys: this cute little baby’s pink sheep bowl.

Pink sheep bowlAnd these two stunning china figurines of a shepherd and a shepherdess. They’re each about 12 inches tall!

ShepherdAnd this rather sweet little brown sheep 🙂

Brown sheepSo, as you can see I’ve haven’t been too idle. I’m now in the throes of getting ready for the Redlands Spinners & Weavers Open Day on Tuesday, 21 June. This is the highlight event for my spinning group and it’s a fabulous day.

Next weekend I’m off to Maleny for the Knitfest weekend with two of my spinning friends. This is going to be such a fun-filled weekend.

Winter has finally arrived in Brisbane so I’ve been wearing nice warm woollies finally!

Hope you’re all well and knitting up a storm!

Until next time…

Melanie

Queensland Spinners & Weavers Open Day Wrap Up

Yesterday I attended the Queensland Spinners Open Day along with two of my spinning pals. We piled into my car and drove to Fibrecraft House at Auchenflower ready to indulge ourselves in some fibre and yarn browsing and purchasing.

The set up for the day is in full swing!

Qld Spinners Open Day 01Considering we are two thirds of the way through autumn, it was incredibly warm. I wore shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt! It was a breathtakingly gorgeous day!

One of my favourite and very clever artisans is Kimberly from Earth & Stone Creations. I love her work and she had some different yarn bowls on offer. Lots of lovely colours. If you couldn’t make it to the Open Day, don’t despair, Kimberly will be at the Redlands Spinners & Weavers Open Day on 21 June in Cleveland. You can even contact her beforehand if you’re after a custom piece.

Qld Spinners Open Day 02What about this cute little piggy yarn bowl 🙂

Qld Spinners Open Day 04Qld Spinners Open Day 03 Qld Spinners Open Day 05 Qld Spinners Open Day 06 Qld Spinners Open Day 07While I was chatting to Kimberly she mentioned that she’d just completed a custom order for a huge yarn bowl (see below). The person who requested it had seen the one I’d blogged about at last year’s Redlands Open Day and they wanted one. So pleased others are discovering her talent 🙂

Custom yarn bowlThere was so much to see (and buy). I had intentions of not buying too much as I have so much stash at home but that idea went out the window when I saw what was on offer like these gorgeous dyed skeins of Bendigo wool.

BWM Burgundy blend 02 BWM Orangey blend 02I balled them yesterday and what a riot of colour!

BWM Burgundy blend 04 BWM Orangey blend 03I also picked up this gorgeous Treetops fibre called ‘Red Earth’.

Treetops Red Earth 01 Treetops Red Earth 02Plus this stunning fibre.

Gotland Moss 01 Gotland Moss 03I’ll use this dyed alpaca and these mohair curls on my blending board.

Alpaca Mohair CurlsAnd check out these lovely silk nebula clouds.

Silk NebulaAnd a little bit of embellishment for my weaving.

Orange EmbellishmentA couple of interesting books.

2 BooksAnd some old Yarn magazines. I love flicking through yarn related magazines while I’m having a cuppa 🙂

8 Yarn MagsThese very nifty DP WIP tubes will come in handy when I’m knitting socks.

DP WIP TubesAnd last, but not least, another sheep to add to my collection 🙂

Emporium SheepYou could say I had a very successful day 🙂 Thanks to all the Queensland Spinners for such a great event and thank you Gillian and Vanessa for your company and all the laughs. See you at spinning next week 🙂

Until next time.

Melanie