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

The Camelot

Ever since I stumbled across my Crofter spinning wheel I’ve wanted a Camelot as they’re almost twins. My luck changed a couple of weeks ago when I found this advertisement on Gumtree.

Camelot wheel 23

Not only did I manage to snag the Camelot wheel but another spinning chair too.

My Camelot is slightly different from others as it has no front maiden and the orifice just rests on a piece of leather.

Camelot wheel 08

Another difference is it has bobbin-holder spikes at the back of the table instead of a kate in front, and does not have provision for scotch tension (which suits me just fine as I prefer double drive). You can just see the two bobbins behind the wheel.

Camelot wheel 13

What I really love about buying a second hand wheel is the cleaning process. I gave this wheel a couple of coats of a 50/50 mix of boiled linseed oil and pure gum turpentine which has given the wood a beautiful sheen.

Camelot wheel 22

Camelot wheel 15

Here’s an except from New Zealand Spinning Wheels and Their Makers by Mary Knox, which is a culmination of five years’ work. This book is a tribute to the inventiveness and skill of New Zealand spinning wheel makers and the astonishing variety of their wheels.

Contents include: Introduction – Saxony style wheels – Upright wheels – Double table (Norwegian-style) wheels – Some interesting makers – Discussion and speculation – Conclusion.

Camelot: Sharp and Page began making these in their Mount Roskill (Auckland) factory in 1978. They exported most of their Camelots to Australia, the UK and the USA. The one in photograph 3-16 has no front maiden, the orifice resting on a piece of leather. There are two spikes at the back to hold bobbins. Some other Camelots have two maidens, provision to be converted to Scotch tension, and a built-in kate at the front. The wheel in photograph 3-17 is in the USA. It has an attractive inlay of light wood in the flyer.  

A thesis prepared in 1985 for the Diploma of Export by Jean McDonnell says “Sharp and Page market an upright wheel (Camelot) for export and for the Wheel and the Loom. The wheel was produced on the suggestion of the Department of Trade and Industry. It is a planned strategy operation using distributors and exporting to Australia, UK and USA (in that order”. (The Wheel and Loom was a craft shop in Auckland).

Camelot wheel 05

The similarities between the Crofter (L) and the Camelot (R) are amazing. Those grooves in the wheel and even the colour of the wood. The main difference is the Crofter has an in-built kate at the front whereas the Camelot has two spikes behind the wheel to accommodate two bobbins.

Crofter 09-horz

The flyers are practically the same; only the bobbins are slightly different. The Camelot (R) bobbin is rounded on one end whereas the Crofter (L) bobbin is not.

Crofter Wheel 07-horz

The treadles: Crofter (L) and Camelot (R). The Camelot treadle is slightly narrower.

Crofter Wheel 04-horz

While we don’t know for sure the relationship between Camelot and Crofter they both seem to have been made by Sharp and Page.

I believe the chair may have been made by the spinning wheel maker as the wood turning on the legs is practically a match.

Camelot wheel 20

I particularly love the flower carved into the top of the chair. I now have three spinning chairs; all of them are different.

Camelot wheel 17
Here’s my Camelot ready and waiting for me to spin on her. As I have three other wheels with UFOs on them, I am restraining myself because I must finish those UFOs first!

Camelot wheel 21

I might add that the original advertisement on Gumtree only showed the one bobbin on the flyer so I contacted the seller to ask  whether there were any more bobbins. She advised there were some more somewhere and she’d have a look. When I arrived she handed a package to me which contained these bobbins, a hardly used Ashford niddy noddy and an egg sock darner.

Camelot bobbins

Yes, that’s right, eight extra bobbins and nine in total!! Just goes to show that it doesn’t hurt to ask sellers if they have extras as a large percentage of people selling wheels don’t know what they’re selling. They’ve either inherited or been given the wheel and just want to get rid of it.

That’s my news for now 🙂

Until next time…

Melanie

Delilah Socks – Pair # 56

Delilah socks is another gorgeous pattern from the book The Sock Drawer by Verity Castledine. I would highly recommend this book if you’re an avid sock knitter as I am 🙂

With its simple four row repeat and the added interest of twisted stitches, Delilah is a wonderful introduction to lace knitting.

Delilah Socks 02

Who’d have thought that a simple four row repeat could create such a lovely pattern.

Delilah Socks 03

The yarn I used for these socks was the second batch I solar dyed using Queen food colours. I used the Knit Picks Bare Hare undyed as the base yarn.

Delilah Socks 09

There are two sizes you can knit and I chose the larger size. If you wish to knit these socks in the larger size, here are a few errors that were spotted that you’ll need to take note of:

Delilah Errata:
For the larger size cast on 72 sts and not 70. The pattern repeats are 12 sts.
To turn the heel
sl 1, k19, ssk, k1, turn (for large size only)
Heel
Turn, and work on the next 36 st leaving remaining 36 unworked on your needle (for large size only)

This is quite a popular pattern in the book with some knitters making more than one pair and I can understand why 🙂

Delilah Socks 07

So, if you’re after a new sock knitting book, this is the one for you. Beautifully photographed with interesting patterns that are easy to understand.

Delilah Socks 11Delilah Socks 12Delilah Socks 14

To finish off, here are some of my latest Opp Shop bargain buys 🙂

ANZ money boxAvon sheepLamb

This next framed picture is quite different. The wording on it says “1st prize RAS Wolverhampton Shropshire Ram”

Shropshire Ram

Although this mug is not sheep related, I loved the Parisian pictures and it’s made of porcelain and is so light as opposed to some quite heavy and chunky coffee mugs that I own.

Paris mug

And finally…..I treated myself to some ChiaoGoo Interchangeable needles in the small sizes (2.75mm, 3.25mm, 3.5mm, 3.75mm, 4.0mm, 4.5mm, 5.0mm, small ended cables in 35cm, 55cm, 75cm, set includes small cable connector, stitch markers, small end stoppers, keys and a needle gauge). I absolutely love them!! The tips are nice and pointy which makes it so easy when stitches can get a bit tight and the steel is a matte look but still lovely and smooth. These came from my local ChiaoGoo dealer: Chantelle from Fiberific. Super quick postage was an added bonus!

Chiaogoo Interchangeable Needles small

That’s all my news for now! I’ve just volunteered for another sock knitting pattern test knit so I’d best cast on!

Until next time…

Melanie

 

 

Suvena Socks

I bought this gorgeous sock knitting book called The Sock Drawer from the UK recently. It has some beautiful sock patterns and the photos in the book are quite stunning. As you know, I do love knitting socks and when a new book appeared in another knitter’s Instagram feed I was immediately intrigued and sought out the book.

the-sock-draw-by-verity-castledine

I certainly wasn’t disappointed. After reading through the book I decided on the Suvena socks.

suvena-socks-05

I was really quite intrigued at how the cable pattern moves across the front of the leg in a spiral. Slowly twisting across the from top of the socks, this travelling cable is inspired by a fish tail braid. Its name comes from the Indian word for ‘braid of beautiful hair.’ The six row repeat is memorised quickly and the travelling element deceptively simple to master.

suvena-socks-06

It’s quite beautiful isn’t it?

suvena-socks-12

I knew exactly what yarn I was going to use. Remember the solar dyeing I did not long ago? I think this yarn was a perfect selection.

suvena-socks

I love the shades of orange and yellow; they’re such fresh colours.

suvena-socks-15

I must stress here that I did find a couple of crucial errors in the pattern which would cause some angst to those quite new to knitting socks. I made the L size and here are the corrections to the errors I found:

Errata: large size only

To work the heel:
Working across 36 st,
WS: sl 1, k2, p4, k4, p4, k6, p4, k4, p4, k3
RS: sl 1 wyif, p2, k4, p4, k4, p6, k4, p4, k4, p3

To turn the heel:
With RS facing,
sl 1, k19, ssk, k1 turn
sl 1, p5, p2tog, p1, turn

suvena-socks-08

There is a Facebook group called The Sock Drawer KAL where more errata can be found for some of the other patterns. It is such a shame the patterns weren’t tested by a number of knitters before being published as this is the only thing that lets the book down. The presentation of the patterns and the photographs are beautiful and it really is a great addition to any knitter’s library. I am so glad I own this book 🙂

suvena-socks-13

I can see these socks are going to be a favourite not only because of the pattern but because of the colours too 🙂

suvena-socks-02

I have since made another pair of socks from the book which I’ll show you very soon.

suvena-socks-17

So, if you are on the lookout for another sock pattern book to add to your collection, I would highly recommend The Sock Drawer by Verity Castledine but do check beforehand if there are any errors in the pattern and if you do come across something that doesn’t seem quite right, post a comment in the Facebook KAL as someone else may have a solution.

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.

very-zen-of-you-01

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

ghost-garden-zen-11ghost-garden-zen-14

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.

ghost-garden-zen-03ghost-garden-zen-06ghost-garden-zen-07

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

ghost-garden-zen-04ghost-garden-zen-09

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

Sassenach Socks – Pair # 53

These beautiful socks are the latest pattern test knit I completed for Dana Gervais who is the most prolific sock pattern writer! The detail in these socks amazes me and they were an absolute pleasure to knit.

sassenach-15

I used a solid colour to ensure the pattern was highlighted as much as possible. I bought this yarn from a Facebook destash and it had no tag on it but I believe it could be a merino/alpaca blend. It’s very soft and was a pleasure to knit with.

sassenach-18

Inspired by the book and television series, Outlander, Sassenach socks are designed to be a mix of both masculine and feminine while being modern and distinctly argyle.

Worked cuff down, this fun sock pattern uses cables and lace to create a contemporary argyle pattern down the front of the leg and on the top of the foot. The heel features an eye of partridge heel flap and half handkerchief heel. The sock ends with a wedge toe that is grafted closed with Kitchener stitch.

Instructions are given to knit the socks in narrow, medium, wide and extra wide widths.

sassenach-24It took me a while to get into the pattern rhythm but by the end of the first sock I was well into it.

sassenach-12

I read the pattern once however by the time I reached the toe section in the first sock I just assumed you knitted the pattern until it was time for the toe decreases which resulted in this look.

sassenach-04What it should look like is this.

sassenach-16
Now, I’m a bit torn as I quite like my look!

sassenach-04-horz

Seeing as my socks will be covered by shoes no one will notice the difference anyway! I’d be interested in what finish you prefer. That just goes to show that some mistakes actually look okay!

As I mentioned, there’s lots of lovely detail in the pattern which shows off so well against a solid colour.

sassenach-03

sassenach-20

I’m on a bit of a sock knitting roll at the moment after having purchased this book.

the-sock-draw-by-verity-castledine

The book is beautifully presented with some lovely patterns but be warned, if you are fairly new to sock knitting there are some errors in some patterns so make sure you join the FB page which itemises some of the errors. I’m on my second pair of socks using the yarn I solar dyed not long ago. Will show you them very soon 🙂 And I will also note any errors I found.

I can’t leave before I show you some of my latest Opp shop buys 🙂

What do you think of these cute sheep (or should I say, ram) slippers?

sheep-slippers-91

They were only $3 a pair and they’re both size L which fit perfectly 🙂 As one of my friends said, one pair for upstairs and one pair for downstairs 🙂

sheep-slippers-02

Plus this lovely sheep mug with black and white sheep on it.

sheep-mug-black-and-white

I actually bought this mug at a chemist. Couldn’t leave it behind could I?

sheep-and-collie-dogs-mug

And lastly, one of my friends was cleaning out her jewellery box and found this brooch which she believes is about 30 years old. I was the first person she thought of 🙂 Isn’t it gorgeous? I wore it to Knit and Knatter last Saturday.

knitting-brooch

That’s all my news for the time being. I hope, if you live in Australia, you’ve managed to keep as cool as possible as this awful record-breaking hot weather hits the country.

Until next time…

Melanie

Solar Dyeing with Queen Food Colours

With all the hot weather we’ve had lately in Brisbane, I decided to use some of the sun’s heat by doing some solar dyeing using food colours.

Now let me warn you, I am not an ‘exact measurement’ dyer when it comes to mixing the food colours and water. I found half the fun was actually putting about a cup of water into a jar (I had a nice collection of old jam jars) and then adding a few drops of the dye until I had a colour I liked. When the mixture ran out, I’d just add some more water and dye and made another shade. It’s really fun!

Before I started I soaked my skeins of wool overnight in a 3 parts water / 1 part vinegar solution. The vinegar helps the yarn grab the dye more quickly. Plus, if your yarn is scratchy, it softens it up quite nicely!

There is lots of information on the internet about dyeing and I would suggest you read as much as you can so you understand what you are actually doing!

Chantelle from Fiberific has made a fantastic YouTube video on basic dyeing with food colours although she uses steaming to set her dye. This video is very informative and I’d recommend you watch it if this is your first foray into dyeing. She shows you how to lay out your plastic Glad Wrap and wrap your skeins in the sausage shape.

Here is the result of my dyeing:

This effect was obtained by randomly squirting drops from a pipette all over the skeins. It will be interesting to see how it knits up.

blue-01blue-04

For this effect I simply alternated between an orange dye and a green dye.

orange-green-02

orange-green-03

Once I had ‘painted’ the dye onto the skeins, I just rolled them into a sausage shape in plastic Glad Wrap and placed each sausage into a black garbage bag on the pavers out in the sun. Once the colour has been absorbed and any liquid is relatively clear is when your yarn is ready to rinse and hang out to dry.

This is my favourite colour which is a combination of yellow and yellow/orange.

orange-yellow-01orange-yellow-04

I have used this yarn to make a pair of socks and they are coming along nicely 🙂

suvena-socks

So if you are interested in dyeing some yarn using the sun’s heat I would highly recommend it. All my skeins are OOAKs (one of a kinds) as I didn’t measure the drops of colour I used. I find this is less stressful and it’s always a surprise to get a unique skein.

three-colours-24-1-17

Don’t these skeins look amazing!!

solar-dyed-skeins

And here are caked skeins

caked-skeins-01caked-skeins-02caked-skeins-03

Have fun solar dyeing with food colours 🙂

Until next time…

Melanie