Zen Shawl

This very easy pattern is called the Ghost Gardens Shawlette and it’s free if you subscribe to the pattern writer’s email list. Well worth it for this fantastic pattern.

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The haunting beauty of the yarn, with its textured lace, garter ridges and gentle picot edge, makes this a memorable eye catching shawlette. A classic heart shaped triangle, that’s knit top down, and it’s easily adjustable.

This shawlette is designed to use one skein of your average sized fingering weight yarn. If you have a larger skein, why not add a few rows before starting the edge!

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I’ve been accumulating quite a stash so a quick delve and I found some handspun that I’d spun using this beautiful fibre from Ixchel Bunny Fibres in the colourway Very Zen of You. The blend is Ga Ga Bunny which is a mixture of angora, cashmere, blue face Leicester and glitz.

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I plied the handspun with some grey polyester thread I picked up at an Opp Shop.

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To add some interest to the picot edge, I included a bead on each picot. These beads were from a discount store and larger than I’d normally use but are ideal on this shawl.

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I love the subtle colours of grey, cream and tan which give the shawl a real classy and understated look.

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I think I may enter this shawl in the Redlands Spinners & Weavers Open Day fashion parade in June this year and then offer it up for sale.

As you can see this is more of a shawl than a shawlette. I used 4.5mm needles and knitted until I ran out of the yarn. It sits beautifully and the beads just give it a little bit of weight at the bottom which is perfect.

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Now for a glimpse at a few of my latest purchases.

I was wandering in a small gift shop where I live and was looking at a rack of aprons when this one jumped out at me! It’s a full size apron with a nice large pocket in the front. I took this photo in the shop which is why the top of the apron is still folded behind. It’s really large and roomy and gorgeous 🙂

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And then I spotted a group of mugs so I bent down and there at the back of the shelf I spotted a matching mug!

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They weren’t cheap but considering I have picked up quite a few bargains lately, I didn’t mind paying full price for such unusual goodies.

On my way home from a spin-in yesterday, I called into a couple of Opp Shops and found this gorgeous little book for only 50 cents.

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Now this is a wonderful investment for me. It’s a 1.3kg cone of very fine undyed merino which I will use for plying. It will no doubt last me a lifetime but it’s going to come in very handy. A friend of mine had one at a recent spinning camp and I loved the way it plied so easily with her handspun. I bought it from Woolerina. If you are interested, you will need to email or ring them as it’s not displayed on their website.  My cone cost $39 plus $12 postage.

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That’s all my fibre and yarn news for now. I hope you’re knitting, crocheting or spinning up a storm and doing what you love most 🙂

Until next time…

Melanie

Close to You Shawl

I’m feeling a bit chuffed as I’ve managed to complete two long-term WIPs! The first one is this lovely Close to You Shawl which I started in July last year. I have no idea why I left it so long to complete as it was a really easy knit. The free pattern can be found on Ravelry. It’s written by Justyna Lorkowska also known as Lete on Ravelry.

close-to-you-03As you can see, most of it is just garter stitch is which too easy!

close-to-you-01I love the edging of the shawl which adds a nice bit of pizzazz and interest!

close-to-you-07I used some super plush yarn from my stash called Gorgons Head Coral. It’s from a Sock Yarn Club I joined a couple of years ago. The yarn is Dyed by Hand Yarns Silk Stocking which is a 50% merino / 50% silk blend and it is incredibly soft and luxurious. A perfect selection for around your neck.

This particular yarn name is based on the Gorgons Head Coral. A four-week expedition to explore the deep ocean south-west of Tasmania in 2008 revealed new species of animals and more evidence of impacts of increasing carbon dioxide on deep-sea corals. A bright red, undescribed species of shell-less coral, called an anthomastid or gorgons-head coral was discovered at 1700 metres deep at the Cascade Plateau, off south-east Tasmania.

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It’s always a pleasure to knit a garment using a quality yarn.

The shawl is finished off with a picot bind off. This is how I prefer to finish all my shawls as it’s rather nice and avoids just a straight edge.

close-to-you-06close-to-you-08close-to-you-09If you are a beginner knitter this is a pattern that you could knit. As with most patterns, you need to concentrate at the beginning but once you get into the groove of the pattern, it will quickly become very easy to follow and memorise.

close-to-you-04close-to-you-05I’ll show you the second completed WIP very soon 🙂

Until next time…

Melanie

Don’t You Want Me Baby!

That’s the name of the fibre I spun to make this gorgeous wrap! And, of course, this is some of Ixchel Bunny Fibres‘ (aka Charly McCafferty) beautiful work! This particular blend is Magic Bunny Tops which is a blend of superfine merino, cashmere, angora bunny and rainbow dyed glitz.

raeleens-wrap-05The pattern is from the Ashford annual magazine ‘The Wheel‘ from 2015 and it’s called Raeleen’s Wrap. If you know of an Ashford agent, you should be able to get a copy of this magazine.

I plied the fibre with some lovely gold metallic thread. I actually ran out of the thread towards the end of the plying so I had to use a slightly thicker gold thread but it worked out well because that thread appeared on the triangular edging which gave it some pop!

raeleens-wrap-07I also added some beads at the end and on the tip of each triangle.

raeleens-wrap-08I can highly recommend Ixchel Bunny Fibres but you need to make sure you’re quick off the mark when Charly releases her blog every Friday night around 8pm (Australian eastern standard time) as it’s first in, first served. I’ve been quite lucky and managed to pick up quite a few beautiful blends.

raeleens-wrap-03This wrap will form part of the Redlands Spinners & Weavers 2017 Open Day fashion parade 🙂

raeleens-wrap-04Here’s the wrap being blocked.

raeleens-wrap-01It’s always a massive sense of achievement once I’ve spun, plied, washed, skeined, balled and finally completed a finished garment. A few years ago I would never have thought I’d be capable of this. It just goes to show that practise is the key to getting better at anything!

I’ve just returned from the Redlands Spinners & Weavers Bribie Island camp and of course, I managed to visit quite a few second hand shops and picked up some bargains which I’ll show you later 🙂

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.

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

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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).

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This one is slightly lighter and I love it!

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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.

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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

 

Liquorice Allsorts Shawl

When I first bought four skeins of this incredibly colourful wool I wondered what I’d make with it.

Liquorice Allsorts 01I knew that one day the right pattern would present itself so when I found the Multicolor Shawl pattern on Ravelry, I knew I had hit the jackpot! I managed to pick it up when it was free but it’s not a very expensive pattern anyway. If you do happen to have this pattern, please note that I found a few errors which are located on the Ravelry page for the pattern. Once these errors were sorted out, it was an easy knit.

Licquorice Allsorts Shawl 03Quite a riot of colour don’t you think?

Licquorice Allsorts Shawl 04I particularly love the edging which is basically a lot of YOs in one row and then on the following row about nine stitches are knitted/purled which makes the holes.

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Licquorice Allsorts Shawl 08 Licquorice Allsorts Shawl 11This wool from Candy Apple Lane is actually Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxiry 8ply and it’s beautiful to use.

Because this is an 8ply wool and 4.5mm needles are used, it makes a lovely generous shawl. The placement of the increases also creates a shawl that sits very comfortably on your shoulders without slipping off.

Licquorice Allsorts Shawl 02

I would highly recommend this pattern but bear in mind you will need quite a bit of yarn. My shawl took just over 200g of 8ply wool. I am now planning my second one using a lot of Cleckheaton Country 8ply that I have amassed.

Cleckheaton Country Burnt Mix 01

Yesterday I arrived at Noosavile for my annual holidays. I love this place!! Here’s a picture of what I look onto every day 🙂

Noosa River 9-7-16So you can expect a lot more photos like this for the next couple of weeks 🙂

Until next time…

Melanie

 

Constant Companion Shawl

This shawl was another test knit for Dana Gervais, a really talented Canadian pattern writer. Constant Companion is an oversized yet cosy and elegant shawl and I love the yarnovers and decreases that create little lacy paw prints throughout.

Constant Companion 10There’s an awful lot of knitting in this shawl as it took two full skeins of Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 which is a gorgeous blend of 70% merino / 20% cashmere / 10% nylon. These particular skeins are part of the ART WALK series. This is the fourteenth offering in Zen Yarn Garden’s ART WALK Series which features a painting by Andy Warhol entitled “Stamped Lips “.

Zen Yarn Stamped Lips Warhol 03Zen Yarn Stamped Lips Warhol imageThere’s an increasing section, followed by a straight section and then the decreasing section. I love the delicate scalloped edge.

Constant Companion 05This particular yarn was very difficult to capture on the camera. The inside photos (above) show a very orangey pink whereas the true colour is better indicated by the outside photos.

Constant Companion 09I think I’ll have to wear a black top to really show off the colour of the shawl

Constant Companion 02So, we’re into the third week of May here in Brisbane which means in just over a week’s time it’ll be the first week of winter. Today the temperature is 26 degrees Celsius and tomorrow it’s forecast to be 28! Not sure when I’ll ever get to wear my winter woollies!

Constant Companion 12Constant Companion 14That’s my knitting news for today!

Until next time…

Melanie

Woven Wraps

I’ve been mentioning my weaving projects for a while now so I thought I’d better get them all photographed, resized and sorted (this takes a long time). I’ve been alternating between my 30cm and 50cm Ashford Knitters looms.

These wraps were done on the 50cm loom.

The warp is two balls of Ashford Tekapo 100g 8ply in black and the weft is two balls of Noro Silk Garden 50g. Love the rustic look of these two yarns.

Noro Black 01 Noro Black 02 Noro Black 07The warp is 4 balls of Cleckheaton Country 50g in green and the weft is two balls of Noro Silk Garden 50g. I must say Noro is an awful wool that is full of VM but it does have some lovely colour changes and is perfect in a woven garment. It does become a bit softer when washed too. It’s quite expensive and not worth all the hype.

Noro Greens 01 Noro Greens 02 Noro Greens 03I’m so pleased I attended a couple of weaving workshops recently as it has helped me to finally master this hemming stitch which gives such a great finish. And the fringes were all done on my Ashford Fringe Twister. It is amazing and worth every cent!

Noro Greens 04 Noro Greens 05The warp and weft are a mixture of Lotus Yarns Winter Sun Aran, Lotus Yarns Winter Sun DK and Cleckheaton Riverina 5ply. I just made up this pattern. It was a bit tiresome tucking in all those ends but the end result was worth it! These yarns are all so soft so this wrap is incredibly soft and has a lovely drape.

Browns 03 Browns 05 Browns 08The warp and weft is six balls of Poems 100% 10ply wool. This is a rather long scarf. The colours are lovely muted autumn shades. I’ve had this wool in my stash for ages and now it’s finally been used!

Poems Wool 01 Poems Wool 02 Poems Wool 05 Poems Wool 07The following scarves were made on the 30cm loom.

The warp and weft are a mixture of Lotus Yarns Winter Sun Aran, Lotus Yarns Winter Sun DK and Cleckheaton Riverina 5ply. Similar to the one made on the 50cm loom but there’s no dark brown in this one.

Mocha 02Mocha 06 Mocha 07The warp is handspun mongrel alpaca (grey) and merino (Peacock blue) and the weft is all the handspun mongrel alpaca. I used a double thread throughout as this is some of my early spinning and was a bit uneven in places. The double thread really made a difference.

Grey Alpaca with Blue 02 Grey Alpaca with Blue 05 Grey Alpaca with Blue 07 Grey Alpaca with Blue 09So, as you can see, I have been quite busy weaving up a storm! Once the warp is on the loom, I love how quickly a garment is woven. And you can use so many textured handspun and commercial yarns. This is definitely a quick way to use your stash and believe me I need all the help I can get to do that!

I picked up a bit of 8ply cotton recently so I’m going to try and weave a kitchen mat in greens and oranges (what else!)

If you’ve ever thought about learning to weave, I can highly recommend it. And if you live in Brisbane (or Australia for that matter), one of our spinning group members is an Ashford representative and gives a 15% discount on Ashford looms 🙂

Until next time…

Melanie