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

Two more C2Cs!

Crocheting a C2C blanket is time consuming but so worth it once you admire the finished item. I made my first C2C back in July when I was in Noosaville and I’m now on my 4th one!

I am rather enamoured with this C2C baby blanket which took me less than three weeks to complete.

C2C Baby 05I used predominantly Cleckheaton Country Baby 4ply, and Patons Australia Feathersoft 4ply. I was lucky enough to have an array of colours available and I even have enough to make another one!

C2C Baby 04I added a crocheted edging and used a different colour for each side.

C2C Baby 06 C2C Baby 07I finished this C2C blanket last night. It was started in August so that’s not bad going considering it got quite large and heavy and consequently I had to finish it at home rather than as a portable project 🙂

C2C Autumn Acrylic 07I selected all my autumn shades of acrylic stash to try and get rid of them and I certainly used a lot. Had to use my recliner chair as a prop to try and give you an idea of the size. The blanket is folded in half in the picture below.

C2C Autumn Acrylic 08I managed to pick up six balls of this lovely variegated acrylic which I interspersed with solid colours.

Lincraft Double KnittingC2C Autumn Acrylic 10 C2C Autumn Acrylic 11I tried placing the blanket on my bed to give you a better idea of its size.

C2C Autumn Acrylic 13I’ve just started my 4th C2C using all my sock yarn scraps and believe me I have lots of them!

To finish off, one of my dear friends from the Redlands Spinners & Weavers gave me this beautiful pashmina.

Pashmina from Gillian 01It has come in very handy at work as the air conditioning in my office is like a freezer!

Pashmina from Gillian 02I recently bought these two gorgeous pin cushions from Vino Catz Handmade in Australia. They are beautifully made and very secure as fishing line is used to secure them. Very clever indeed!

Pin Cushion 01and this lovely little shoulder bag which can be used to hold your phone. I love searching the net for handmade Aussie wares.

Sheep phone bag 02Since joining the Australian Handspinners and Knitters Facebook group, I have been exposed to such wonderful fibre that is available for sale and have succumbed to some of it. Every Friday night Charly McCafferty (AKA Ixchel Bunny) showcases some of the most amazing blends of fibre. You have to be very quick to buy any as it’s first in, first served. Last Friday I managed to pick up these two Happy Tiger Bunny Tops – 100 gram tops $24 – A blend of Hemp, Suri, Silk, Eco Merino, Angora Bunny, Llama. The colourways are March Hare and Tweedledee.

Ixchel Bunny buy 01And the night before last I picked up two of these Cashmere Fling Tops – 100 gram tops $23 – A blend of Cashmere, Tencel, Bamboo and Glitzy Nylon. The colourways are Absinthe Fairy and Minions. Aren’t they simply stunning!

Ixchel Bunny Cashmere Fling Absinthe Fairy 01 Ixchel Bunny Cashmere Fling Minion 01I’m going to have to turn my phone off on Friday nights from now on as I am just too tempted!!

That’s all my news for now.

Before I finish I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to all those affected by the terrible Paris terrorist attacks that have sent shock waves around the world. Unfortunately terrorism is changing the world we now live in.

Paris tearsUntil next time…

Melanie

C2C Afghan

I’m not a great crocheter as I prefer knitting and can read a knitting pattern a lot easier than I can a crochet pattern. However, when I was recently at Sheep Thrills I noticed a lovely crocheted afghan casually thrown over the back of a chair. Upon asking, I was told this was a C2C (corner to corner) afghan. Quite a few of the ladies in the QldBaysideYarnClub of which I am a member are addicted to crocheting C2C throws so I thought I’d investigate further.

Leah from Sheep Thrills suggested I look at The Crochet Crowd video tutorial which explains how these afghans are made, which I did. It didn’t take long to get the gist of how they’re created and I was on my way.

The yarn I used was Lotus Yarns Winter Sun Aran in the colours chocolate brown and apricot. The yarn was on sale at Sheep Thrills for $4 a ball.

Lotus Yarns Winter Sun Aran Apricot 01Lotus Yarns Winter Sun Aran Brown 01In total I used 13 balls of each colour (yes, I had to buy more than the 10 balls of each colour that I had).

From this small start in a corner…

C2C Throw 01to this slightly larger afghan…

C2C Throw 02The finished size is approximately 4 foot (1.2 metres) square.

C2C Throw 05I must admit on the cooler days here at Noosaville it was great to be working on this project as it kept me warm at the same time!

C2C Throw 04When I finished the afghan, I added a chocolate brown border of three trebles, two chain in each three-treble space followed by the final border in apricot of seven double trebles in one two-chain space, a treble in the next two-chain space and so on. I had to do a bit of cheating to make sure the seven trebles always occurred at a corner.

C2C Throw 06I am very happy with my first C2C afghan. In fact, when I get home I’m going to make one using different coloured 4ply baby yarn. It shouldn’t take too long as it won’t be as large as this one.

C2C Throw 07Have I tempted you to maybe start a C2C afghan?

C2C Throw 08C2C Throw 09C2C Throw 10Until next time…

Melanie

A Beautiful Bought Crocheted Blanket

I couldn’t resist this blanket when I saw it at a charity stall while walking to work one Friday morning.

Crocheted Blanket 01

Although they’re not my favourite colours I was quite taken with the crocheted pattern of the blanket….and also the price which was only $10!!!!!!!!!!

Crocheted Blanket 02

It’s quite beautiful isn’t it?

Crocheted Blanket 03

Crocheted Blanket 04

I would love it if someone could identify what this pattern is as I am quite intrigued. It looks like multiples of treble crocheted horizontally and vertically.

Crocheted Blanket 05

Crocheted Blanket 06

I guess if I really tried I could work out the pattern but I’m more of a knitter than a crocheter.

Crocheted Blanket 07

I would imagine many hours of work went into this blanket. I’m certainly familiar with that after crocheting my Starburst Flower Blanket.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend. Here in Brissie it’s a long weekend so it’s another sleep in tomorrow for me. Hooray! I had a lovely day today catching up with two friends I’ve known since 1972. Lots of talking, eating and drinking wine and coffee.

Until next time…

Melanie

Mum’s Mother’s Day Wool Throw

This little throw didn’t take long to crochet at all. I simply created three small squares, joined them together and then double crocheted around them until I had one ball of wool left to use for the edging. Using the three small squares at the start enables the throw to grow into a rectangular shape rather than a square one.

Mums Throw 01

I made this for my Mum for Mother’s Day (which is 12 May in Australia). Just a small throw she can use in winter while lying on her sofa reading.

The yarn I used is Lincraft Cosy 8ply which is a 100% wool. I managed to pick it up for $2 a ball which is a $6 saving on the original price! Originally I only bought five balls but quickly realised that wouldn’t be enough so I dashed back to the shop for another five balls before the special finished.

Lincraft Cosy Wool Naturals Mix

Mums Throw 02

The colourway is called ‘Naturals’ and although it may not be everyone’s cup of tea its hues will match Mum’s lounge room perfectly.

Mums Throw 03

What I love about crocheting these types of throws in the one colourway is how quickly they grow; there’s no changing colours as you go. Once a week I meet a couple of friends for a coffee so I took the throw with me as it was an easy project to crochet and talk at the same time as there was no pattern to follow; it was simply double crochets around and around. At first it was an easy project to transport but got quite large towards the end. Luckily I had my large knitting tote which solved this problem.

Knitting Caddy Mel 9

Mums Throw 04

The edging is simply one double crochet in a space followed by seven trebles in the next space, one double crochet in the next space and so on.

Mums Throw 05

I gave Mum her Mother’s Day presents this morning which included this throw and she was delighted and is going to use it exactly for the purpose I made it…..to cover herself while lying on the lounge reading in winter.

Now what can I make next??? Hope all Mums had a lovely Mother’s Day. Until next time…

Melanie

Finally….my Starburst Flower Crochet Blanket!!

Completing this blanket has taken longer than an elephant’s gestational period!!! If I remember correctly, I started purchasing all the yarn in late 2011, was still crocheting the squares in July last year, started sewing strips of 15 squares in July as well and then it sat for about nine months before I started sewing the strips together. It’s certainly not difficult but just boring, boring, boring!!! And it’s hard to transport so it’s not as if I could slip it into my bag and nick down to the cafe for a quick coffee.

Here’s a photo of some of the strips…

Starburst Blanket 01

All crocheted in autumn colours only….

Starburst Blanket 02

Eight strips sewn together…five to go..

Starburst Blanket 06

You can find this pattern in a book called The Gentle Art of Knitting by Jane Brocket. The name of the pattern is Starburst Flower Crochet Blanket.

I actually crocheted an acylic blanket in this pattern in late 2011 as I was so keen to see what it looked like and I couldn’t wait until all my wool arrived. The wool I used for this blanket is Cascade 220 worsted weight. This is a beautiful wool to use and there are sooo many colours to pick from. Here’s a link to the Cascade website which will give you some idea. I only wanted my blanket to have autumn colours so I selected the following:

2409 Palm

Cascade 2409 Palm

8010 Natural

Cascade 8010 Natural

9465B Burnt Orange

Cascade 9465B Burnt Orange

7827 Goldenrod

Cascade 7827 Goldenrod

8903 Primaverra

Cascade 8903 Primavera

9557 Dark Chocolate

Cascade 9557

9499 Sand

Cascade 9499

8267 Forest Green

Cascade 8267 Forest Green

9490 Heathers Irish Green

Cascade 9490 Heathers Irish Green9429 Mossy Rock

Cascade 9429 Mossy Rock

9430 Highland Green

Cascade 9430 Highland Green2414 Ginger

Cascade 2414 Ginger9542 Blaze

Cascade 9542 Blaze2425 Provence

Cascade 2425 Provence

7826 California Poppy

Cascade 7826 California Poppy

1208 Tan

Cascade 1208 Tan

Now that I have bored you to death and you’re nearly asleep from scrolling through all those colours……….are you ready to see the final blanket?

Here it is…

Starburst Blanket 07

Look at that sea of gorgeous autumn colours…

Starburst Blanket 08

No two squares are the same either. I kept a record of all the colour combinations I’d crocheted so they wouldn’t be repeated. It is a sheer fluke that the blanket sits nicely on top of my bed and reaches around the edges. There are 195 squares in total (15 x 13).

Starburst Blanket 15

I had always intended to crochet a border around the blanket but I got a bit carried away and completed two rows of double crochet without realising how much of my yarn it was using. It’s a long way around that blanket I must say! You guessed it; I ran out of the cream yarn. But fear not, my stash of Ashford Tekapo 8ply came to the rescue. It’s actually an 8/10 ply thickness so was perfect for the final scalloped border plus I found an ideal match colourwise: this burnt orange colour. What do you think? It actually took about 120 grams for the border alone.

Starburst Blanket 13

Not bad hey? I’m actually quite chuffed with the whole blanket. It has taken so long to complete but I can finally use it now, especially as the nights are getting cooler in Brisbane as we head into winter.

Starburst Blanket 14

One last picture so I can just keep showing off 🙂

Starburst Blanket 09

It’s been nearly a year since I completely renovated my bedroom and changed the colour scheme to lovely mocha-ish shades with orange/tangerine as the accent colour. I have been waiting to find the right picture to place on the wall above my bed and it has taken me up until now when I found this lovely print of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in my local Crazy Clark’s shop. It only cost me $15 which was an added bonus. I now have to wait for my son to place it on the wall for me. Here’s a look at the picture. I do believe it will match my decor beautifully.

DSC02593a

And on that note I bid farewell until next time….

Melanie