Holiday Knitting

There’s nothing quite like being on holidays when you don’t have to worry about housework or much cooking; your main concern is how to fill your days. Needless to say, in my case, that wasn’t too difficult as I’d packed way too many knitting projects.

This was my favourite spot to sit and knit and soak in the serenity of so many perfect Sunshine Coast winter’s days: the beautiful Noosa River at Noosaville. I spent hours here over four weeks just knitting and reading. It was sheer bliss!

Noosa Knitting

I finished another of my all time favourite scarf patterns: The Melissa Scarf. This one was made using Bendigo Woollen Mills’ 4ply sock yarn which I had solar dyed using Queen Food Colours.

Melissa Aqua Solar 05

Melissa Aqua Solar 04

I made Azzu’s Shawl (although it’s more of a scarf size) using a skein of yarn I won from Flock & Needle in a recent competition. It’s a Merino Silk Fingering in the colourway Lime Fizz and it certainly pops!

Azzu 02

This is the second Allegro Arcobaleno shawl I’ve made and I used Shorn Fibers’ Premium Sock in these lovely shades of green.

Allegro Green 01

This is also my second Pebble Beach Shawl although this time I made the small size using Moseley Park Wilcherry which is a 50% silk and 50% merino blend. Soooo soft I might add.

Pebble Beach Purple 02Pebble Beach Purple 03

When I blocked my Pimpelliese scarf it really grew in size which makes it a very nice length to wrap around your neck. I used Augustbird Fantail which is a White Gum sock yarn.

Pimpelliese 05

Pimpelliese 02Pimpelliese 03

As you can see, there was lots of knitting happening and I also came home with a couple of UFOs, one of which I finished yesterday; my SECOND Find Your Fade Shawl which I will block today. The Fade shawls are mammoth knits indeed!

Until next time…

Melanie

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Find Your Fade Shawl

What is it that suddenly makes a Ravelry pattern very popular? Photos? Word of Mouth? Or maybe both reasons. Find Your Fade is a pattern that has appeared everywhere lately: Ravelry, Facebook and Instagram. And it’s for that reason that I decided a couple of months ago to give it a go.

The pattern takes seven skeins of yarn which are meant to ‘fade’ into each other. This was the fun part for me: shopping in my stash. This is the selection I came up with.

Find Your Fade choices

A combination of beautiful, luxurious and super soft merino, cashmere, alpaca and possum. Yummy!!

Here are the colour choices from left to right:

Colour A Dyed By Hand Yarns Mother’s Love superwash merino 80% / cashmere 10% / nylon 10% Monkey Mia
Colour B Touch Yarns Merino Brown/blue
Colour C Flock and Needle Merino/Nylon superwash Luke
Colour D Flock and Needle Merino/Nylon superwash Stormy Shoreline
Colour E Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 Superwash merino 70% / cashmere 20% / nylon 10% Tree in Autumn
Colour F Loris NZ Alpaca 15% / Merino 55% / Nylon 20% / Possum 10% Roast Chestnuts
Colour G Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 Superwash merino 70% / cashmere 20% / nylon 10% Samaratin

It was a pleasure to knit this shawl as all this luscious yarn slipped between my fingers.

Find Your Fade 16

Blues faded into browns which faded into oranges which faded into brown.

Find Your Fade 03Find Your Fade 04Find Your Fade 05Find Your Fade 08Find Your Fade 10Find Your Fade 11Find Your Fade 13

It’s difficult to describe in words all the beautiful colours so I have provided lots of photos for you to view.

I also highly recommend you use a different centre double decrease (CDD) for a crisper look. So glad I found this hint in someone else’s notes and it does give a nice crisp look. I used slip 2 knitwise, k1, pass the two slipped stitches over.

Find Your Fade 02_1Find Your Fade 12Find Your Fade 19Find Your Fade 20

Not all of each seven skeins is used so with the remaining yarn plus an additional skein I will be able to make another Find Your Fade shawl.

I have replaced Colour F (orange) with a paler orange skein from Zen Yarn Garden.

Find Your Fade yarn choice

So the new order of yarn from top to bottom (left hand side photo) is

Colour A Flock and Needle Merino/Nylon superwash Stormy Shoreline
Colour B Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 Superwash merino 70% / cashmere 20% / nylon 10% Tree in Autumn
Colour C Flock and Needle Merino/Nylon superwash Luke
Colour D Touch Yarns Merino Brown/blue
Colour E Dyed By Hand Yarns Mother’s Love superwash merino 80% / cashmere 10% / nylon 10% Monkey Mia
Colour F Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 Superwash merino 70% / cashmere 20% / nylon 10% Pumpkin Spice
Colour G Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 Superwash merino 70% / cashmere 20% / nylon 10% Samaratin

The actual pattern is quite easy; just rows of garter stitch and some very basic lace. The secret is to ensure you always start with a K1, yo and finish with a yo, k1. Those yarn overs are very important!

My shawl was entered into the recent Redlands Spinners & Weavers’ Open Day fashion parade and I have since sold it. I am gradually getting used to not forming an emotional attachment to my garments. It is so lovely to see someone else fall in love with what I’ve made 🙂 The funds enable me to buy more yarn and make more creations!

Soon, I will be venturing back up to my favourite holiday spot at Noosaville so you’ll be getting my news from a wonderful part of the world. I will be visiting a group of spinners and knitters at SpillDEBeans café in Pomona on most Wednesdays and hope to have a couple of my crafty friends visit too.

Lots of rest, relaxation, knitting and weaving! Yes, I’m taking my Weave-it looms so I can have lots practise while I’m lazing on the banks of the Noosa River 🙂

Until next time…

Melanie

Sunset on Mars

Firstly, I’d like to send all the very best to those who have been adversely affected by Cyclone Debbie in north Queensland, Rockhampton, south east Queensland and northern New South Wales.

This cyclone caused massive amounts of damage. It came across the coast and hovered over Shute Habour, Bowen and the Whitsundays for longer than expected thereby causing more damage and then moved south so quickly. I can’t believe the amount of flooding in Brisbane and northern New South Wales.

Luckily I wasn’t affected but some people have lost everything. The Fitzroy River in Rockhampton is now getting ready to break its banks. Mother Nature can be so cruel can’t she?

In light of all the gloom and sadness, I thought I’d blog about something cheerful.

This shawl is bright and beautiful and stands out!! When I first saw the fibre in Ixchel Bunny’s blog a number of months ago, I was quick to grab 100g.

Sunset on Mars

Sunset on Mars 02

It was also quite fortuitous that I should buy a second hand spinning wheel that came with 100g of red merino which I knew would be great to ply with.
Sunset on Mars 05

That spun yarn sat in my stash until a month or so ago when I was at a small spinning group where one of the members was showing a shawl she’d recently made. It was the Holden Shawlette. I knew I had that pattern so when I got home I found the pattern, caked the yarn and started. The original pattern is no longer available, however, a new pattern called the Holden is available.

Sunset on Mars001

What an easy knit and the pattern shows off the beautiful colours.

Sunset on Mars002

I found some orange beads and added them to the picot bind off.

Sunset on Mars006Sunset on Mars007

I didn’t split the roving; just spun it as it came and I love the gentle changes of colours.

Sunset on Mars009

This pattern is ideal for knitters who are venturing into knitting lace-like shawls. The feather and fan pattern is very easy and achievable.

Sunset on Mars008Sunset on Mars010Sunset on Mars011Sunset on Mars013

Sunset on Mars is destined for the Redlands Spinners & Weavers Open Day fashion parade on Tuesday, 20 June and then it’ll be placed on the members’ stall in case someone wishes to purchase it 🙂

Sunset on Mars004Sunset on Mars005

I hope you’ve all enjoyed a very crafty weekend 🙂 If you’re in a flood prone area, please be safe and take care.

Until next time…

Melanie

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.

ghost-garden-zen-02

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!

ghost-garden-zen-05

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.

ghost-garden-zen-01

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 🙂

prezzies-sheep-apron

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!

prezzies-sheep-mug

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.

baa-baa-black-sheep-book

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.

cone-for-plying

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.

DBHY Silk Stocking Gorgons Head Coral 02-tile
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.

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