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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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

Daleks in Manhattan Shawl

What an intriguing name for fibre isn’t it? But those are the kinds of names you find on Ixchel Bunny‘s fibre labels 🙂 I found this absolutely stunning Cashmere Fling (Cashmere-tencel-Glitz-Bamboo-5/40/40/5) through a Ravelry destash about a year or so ago.

Daleks originalThe fibre was so incredibly soft and luxurious so I decided not long ago that I needed to actually spin it. I used one of my upright spinning wheels which is a fairly recent acquisition although I still don’t know the maker.

Spinning Wheel 01I had fun and games as some of the fibres kept curling back on themselves as I was spinning. Must have been a bit of static electricity in the air.

Daleks 05I plied the spun fibre with yellow rayon thread and was pleased with the look.

Daleks 06Daleks 07I decided to use a pattern that could really show off the yarn and settled on The Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief except I made it a lot larger; I basically knitted until I had enough left to cast off. I am soooo happy with the finished shawl 🙂

Daleks Age Brass Steam 02Oh my gosh it has the most amazing soft and silky drape to it. What I also did was to cast off using a nice picot edge and added a small orange bead to each picot. It took ages and ages to do but so worth it.

Daleks Age Brass Steam 09The beads came from a cheap shop and were only $2 a packet. They’re rather a bright orange but as all the colours in this shawl are bright, they blend in perfectly.

Daleks Age Brass Steam 14When I first wrapped the shawl around me the slight weight of the beads made such a huge difference as they kept the shawl firmly on my shoulders. Definitely a great idea to use the beads.

Daleks Age Brass Steam 06I used size 5mm needles which has resulted in a relatively open stockinette stitch look.

Daleks Age Brass Steam 08Daleks Age Brass Steam 17I really love this pattern as it shows off the different colours without losing them in a complicated pattern. The eyelet rows add an interesting feature too and definitely break up the rows of stockinette stitch.

Daleks Age Brass Steam 19Daleks Age Brass Steam 03And you could always wear it this way if you prefer 🙂

Daleks Age Brass Steam 05I may even enter this shawl into the fashion parade at the Redlands Spinners & Weavers Open Day in June this year.

I do have another braid or two of Cashmere Fling which I am quite looking forward to spinning.

Until next time…

Melanie

 

The Easiest Scarf Pattern Ever!!

I’ve made a few scarves over the last few years and I love it when I find really easy patterns as I tend to make quite a few from the pattern (remember the Minnie and the Croc-a-tail?).

Well I have now found a really simple knit and what is even better is that the scarf is actually symmetrical. It’s called the Melissa Scarf and I’ve made six already!!

The first two scarves are both made using two balls each of Moda Vera Garofano which is a 50% acrylic / 40% wool / 10% silk yarn and so very soft.

Melissa cream 012Melissa Orange 02MV Garofano CreamMV Garofano OrangeThe next two scarves were made using two balls each of Moda Vera Roloutte which is a 100% cotton.

Melissa Scarf Pink 01Melissa Scarf Khaki 01MV Roulotte Pink 02MV Roulotte Mocha 02This Melissa Scarf was made using two balls of Passioknit Outback Langley which is a 50% wool / 50% acrylic yarn. Love these interesting shades of blue and red.

Melissa Scarf Blue-Red 03Passioknit Outback Langley Rosella 02And lastly, this is the one I am most proud of as it’s knitted in my own handspun alpaca. A while ago one of my spinning group members gave me a bag of this very dirty alpaca that had quite a bit of vegetable matter (VM) in it. I wanted to experiment with combing wool so I managed to pick up these wool combs recently.

Wool Combs 03They weren’t the best combs to use as the tines were too far apart and a lot of the alpaca and VM just slipped through. But I persevered as it was a great learning exercise.

From all that dirty alpaca I managed to make these three skeins. My very first handspun effort.

Alpaca practise 03It’s very thick and thin which makes quite interesting to look at. After many washes it resulted in the most incredibly soft alpaca. Here is the rather long scarf I made…

Melissa Alpaca 03I am so pleased with the outcome! The main reason why this scarf is so easy to make is because it’s all done in garter stitch.

Melissa Alpaca 06Except for the first and the BO row, every row is the same. If you look at all the project notes in Ravelry you’ll find that some people cast on 6 or 7 stitches as opposed to the 5 in the pattern. This will make your scarf grow wider faster and I have used the 5, 6 and 7 cast on at the beginning of each row to give all the my scarves a slightly different look. But they are all symmetrical.

This pattern is perfect if you need to make a few gifts and don’t want to have to be looking at the pattern all the time. You will memorise it in minutes. It’s perfect for knitting and chatting. I have a small basket filled with yarn that I want to use for this pattern so I can simply finish one scarf and start the next. You won’t be disappointed!

Until next time…

Melanie

Two Handspun Woolly Neck Knits

Another handspun garment has flown off the needles! I am particularly happy with this ‘Forest’ Handspun Scarf. The spinning is getting to be quite consistent and the colours are simply wonderful.

From this…

Forest roving 02

To this…

Forest Handspun 02

To this luscious skein…

Forest Handspun 05

To this beautiful scarf…

Forest Handspun Scarf 01

Isn’t the striping effect gorgeous?

Forest Handspun Scarf 03

The pattern is called One Row Handspun Scarf from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee aka The Yarn Harlot and it can be found on Ravelry. It is soooo easy to knit and is reversible which is what I like in a scarf.

I added a lovely fringe to make it look like the scarves I used to wear when I was a little girl and my family lived in the UK for a year.

Forest Handspun Scarf 06

Forest Handspun Scarf 07

I bought the two x 100g rovings from Kathy’s Fibres. They are lovely to spin from and Kathy’s colours are amazing.

Forest Handspun Scarf 08

The scarf is 100% merino wool.

Forest Handspun Scarf 11

Forest Handspun Scarf 13

The second handspun garment is a 50/50 kid mohair/merino cowl. It was challenging trying to spin this yarn and it became a very thick and thin textured labour of love.

The original fibre was very soft and fluffy…

Kid Mohair 01

As you can see it is very thick and thin…

Kid Mohair 04

The colourway is called ‘Autumn’ and it has lovely bits of blue and orange throughout it…

Kid Mohair 06

The two skeins have a real ‘chunky’ look about them…

Kid Mohair 08

But as I learn every day, there are no mistakes in spinning. The thick and thin look is actually what some spinners aim to achieve and here I am doing it without even trying!!

I only had enough yarn to make this very warm and incredibly soft cowl…

Kid Mohair Cowl 01

Not bad for a spinning ‘disaster’ is it?

Kid Mohair Cowl 02

This is also the same One Row Handspun Scarf except I joined the ends to make a cowl.

Kid Mohair Cowl 03

I love all those muted colours.

Kid Mohair Cowl 04

Only a small cowl but very big on warmth and character I must say!

Kid Mohair Cowl 06

You could say I am very happy with my handspun achievements to date. Plus I am going to have the warmest neck in the whole world next winter 🙂

Before I go I must let you know that I have subscribed to Dyed By Hand Yarns’ 2014 Simply Sock Club and the first instalment is released next week! I can’t wait!

The theme for 2014 is Australia II – colours inspired by the ocean, sea, sails and coastlines. This is a six month sock yarn only club and you receive:

Two skeins of sock yarn posted out in the last week in March, May and July. Yarns included are 2 x Tough Stocking, 1 x Mother’s Love, 1 x Big Blue Stocking, 1 x Silk Stocking and 1 x Blue Chip Stocking.

Each skein of yarn is dyed in a colour inspired by something Australian. These colours are exclusive to yarn club members for 12 months. Plus custom dyeing of these colours on any yarn base may be ordered by yarn club members for the duration of the club.

Now as I have mentioned, I have no financial or other affiliation with Dyed By Hand Yarns. I simply love to promote fantastic Aussie artisan hand-dyed yarns and fibres as they are spectacular. Here’s my story about the 2013 Simply Sock Club with pictures of all the yarns. And remember, you don’t necessarily have to knit socks with the yarns….you can also knit some beautiful scarves and shawls.

One more pic of my scrumptious Forest Handspun Scarf…

Forest Handspun Scarf 04

That’s all for now. Until next time…

Melanie

My First Knitted Handspun Garments!!

I’m sooo excited as I’ve finally managed to knit my first two garments from my own handspun yarn. I didn’t think this would ever happen.

It’s gone from this…

Citrus roving 02

To this…

Citrus Handspun 01

Then this…

Citrus Handspun 19

To finally….this gorgeous hat…

Citrus Hspun Hat 01

I love this beautiful pattern…

Citrus Hspun Hat 04

I found the pattern in the Knitting: 100+ Patterns Throughout the Year: 2012 Day-to-Day Calendar and it’s called Heart Vines.

Aren’t those colours simply stunning!

Citrus Hspun Hat 10

But wait, there’s more. I also made this lovely cowl too…

Citrus Hspun Cowl 01

It’s the very popular Honey Cowl….over 15,000 have been made and are featured on Ravelry.

Both my head and my neck are going to be toasty warm this winter. The pattern gives you a lovely textured and thick cowl.

Citrus Hspun Cowl 05

Depending on how much yarn you have you can make the smaller version like I did. There’s also a longer version.

Citrus Hspun Cowl 07

Here’s a picture of that beautiful textured stitch definition which is simply alternate rows of garter stitch and slip 1 wyif, purl 1 repeated.

Citrus Hspun Cowl 10

I’ve also started knitting my third garment with my second lot of handspun and have also got the third lot of handspun on my Ettrick wheel. It’s called ‘Envy’ and it’s one of the many rovings I bought from Kathy’s Fibres.

Envy roving 02

Busy, busy, busy…that’s what I am.

Citrus Hspun Hat 09

Citrus Hspun Hat 06

I hope you’re having a wonderful yarnie weekend too!

Until next time…

Melanie

‘Forest’ Handspun Yarn

I’m on a bit of a roll when it comes to my spinning. Now that I’ve settled into using my Ettrick spinning wheel and loving how it works, I can’t get away from it! I even missed eating my dinner last Friday night as I was so engrossed in plying this yarn!

Forest Handspun 01

This is part of the large number of rovings I purchased from Kathy’s Fibres last year for only $11 each. This particular colourway is called ‘Forest’.

Forest roving 02

I love all these ‘earthy’ colours…

Forest Handspun 02

The plied and skeined wool came out a treat…

Forest Handspun 05

I am finally managing to retain some consistent thickness with my spinning. I didn’t think it would ever happen!

Forest Handspun 06

I couldn’t get all the yarn onto the one bobbin so I’ve ended up with a large ball weighing 166g and a smaller one weighing 32g.

Forest Handspun 07

I’ve even found a pattern I may use. It’s The Yarn Harlot’s One Row Handspun Scarf. I think it’ll look lovely in this yarn.

Forest Handspun 17

We found a new venue for our Knit and Knatter twice monthly gatherings which we visited yesterday. It’s the Hoya Garden Plaza and it’s perfect for our needs. There’s so much seating room that’s all under cover and it could even cater for multitude spinning wheels. Their coffee and cakes were wonderful and it was so peaceful overlooking all the plants.

One of my lovely friends lent me these two books to read. I am quite in love with both of them so of course I’ve sourced them on the internet and bought them from Abebooks!

The first is Elizabeth’s Zimmerman’s Knitting Around.

Knitting Around

There’s a great book review that can be found here.

And the second book is Amy King’s Spin Control, perfect for a newby spinner like me who’s still experimenting with lots of things.

Spin Control

Spin Control teaches you to make handspun yarns that may include the best traits of commercial yarns but always have their own personal touches. From soft, bulky singles to durable cabled yarns with terrific stitch definition and from tweedy yarns with rich texture and color to serviceable 3-ply that holds up to heavy use, the sky is the limit with this book.

Teacher, store owner, and fiber source Amy King of Spunky Eclectic shares her time-tested techniques for success in Spin Control, which include:

How to adjust spinning wheels for best results with the least effort How to combine techniques to create beautiful yarns. Instructions and brilliant photography on core spinning and other less traditional techniques And, Amy even takes you off the beaten path and shows you the exciting opportunities of novelty yarns. So you can explore the types of yarn and create beautiful, functional handspun to meet your fibre needs. From skinny 2-ply lace yarns to sturdy cabled yarns, Spin Control has the fundamentals you need for one-of-a-kind yarns.

There’s a great book review than can be found here.

One more look at my handspun yarn…

Forest Handspun 13

Forest Handspun 14

Hope you’re all enjoying your weekend! Until next time…

Melanie