Quick Weekend Update

Just had to show you a couple of items I bought from the charity stall that’s held at least once a month where I live. I pass it on my way to work so it’s always an ideal opportunity to have a quick look to see what other crafty people are making.

You can never have enough of these very handy tea towels. I use mine every day.

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I haven’t even taken this towel out of its packet yet as it is so well presented.

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I can never resist these little goodies.

Yesterday I attended another fun-filled Knit and Knatter gather at The Artist Tree. I’m not in this photo as I was taking it!

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One of ladies made this gorgeous crocheted Afghan blanket for her grandson. It’s based on the Squaring the Big Circle pattern.

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Here’s some pictures of the beautiful vivid colours in the blanket. Aren’t they simply stunning?

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I took along some baby alpaca fleece that I purchased recently and one of the ladies showed me how to use a flick carder on it so that is my next purchase so I can start spinning the fleece. Busy, busy, busy. I just don’t have the hours in the day to do everything I want to do!

Until next time…

Melanie

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A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That

Over the weeks I’ve been gathering photos of lots of ‘bits and pieces’ to show you so this post is a bit of a mixed bag. BTW, this will be my 101st blog post. Can’t believe I’ve managed to generate so many posts in less than a year. At least it means I’ve actually been working through my stash (as well as constantly replenishing it….but we won’t mention that)!

One of my dear friends who retired a year or so ago has started crocheting and I must say she is ‘hooked’ on it!! Every few days she shares her projects on Facebook and this little christening dress and shoes are just so beautiful and adorable I just had to show them to you.

Christening Dress 01

The shoes are a little big for baby so they are being remade in a smaller size. The christening is in October. I can’t wait to see pictures of little Matilda in her dress.

Christening Dress 02

I bought this quilted knitting tote on sale at Spotlight recently. It has so much room in it.

Quilted Tote 01

It also came with a small purse that is attached and will hold scissors, stitch markers and my tape measure. There’s also a zip up knitting needle case.

Quilted Tote 02

Now I don’t do much sewing but when knitting I am sometimes required to sew on buttons and of course there’s all the weaving in the ends of every item I knit. My old plastic sewing box is over 40 years old and has lost its lid so I thought it was time to spoil myself and buy a new one. Another Spotlight purchase.

Sewing Box 01

I like the transparent tray so you can see through to the bottom of the sewing box. It also comes with its own small pin cushion.

Sewing Box 02

I’ve been using my squirrel cage swift quite a bit lately.

Squirrel Swift 01

It’s so much fun winding all my skeins into balls. The thicker yarn winds a lot easier than the finer 4ply yarn. I have to be very careful not to go too fast otherwise I can run the risk of the yarn tangling around the cages. Yikes….it’s not much fun trying to untangle it either.

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I bought the ball winder on Ebay for a few dollars. It’s such an ingenious invention. From each skein grows a lovely ball of wool with a centre pull start.

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Here’s another nifty cowl which I’ve called my Bramble Cowl. The pattern can be found under the Free Knitting Patterns section along the top banner of my blog or here on Ravelry.

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The yarn I used is Moda Vera Bouvardia which is so incredibly colourful. It’s a 10 ply / worsted 70% acrylic / 30% wool. The beauty about this yarn is you can turn the cowl upside down to get a completely different look as the yarn does not repeat its colours very often.

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Once a month on a Friday as I walk to work there’s usually a charity stall selling lots of second hand goods, knitted goods, cakes and plants. A couple of weeks ago I found these two lovely jewellery holders. I only paid $3 for both of them. I think they look quite cute standing on a chest of drawers in my bedroom with this lovely address book in the middle.

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When I was on holidays in Noosavile in July I found this gorgeous bright orange oil burner. I’ve been searching for an orange one for about a year and finally found this little beauty in a small gift shop in Thomas Street.

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It has a huge water bowl so there’s no risk of the water evaporating too quickly. It cost $14.95 which is more than what I would usually pay for an oil burner but I just didn’t want to risk not being able to find this colour again.

Orange oil burner 01

And finally, about a month ago one of my fave Brisbane online yarn suppliers Yay for Yarn updated their website. Kiri placed a message on the FB page asking for feedback, ie whether the new site was better, were there any problems, etc. Obviously no one did provide feedback so Kiri took another tack and started a discussion on her Ravelry page and offering $35 worth of yarn to anyone who trialled the webste (not necessarily to purchase yarn) and let her know what they thought of it. Well there was an influx of interest! It’s amazing how the prospect of free yarn can motivate people. I got onto the website and actually ended up buying some yarn (surprise, surprise!). I gave my feedback which was the new website was so much quicker to scroll through.

Anyway, the winner was drawn and you guessed it…..I was the winner. Here’s the yarn I chose…Dream in Color It’s Native which is a 2ply / lace 52% mohair / 48% merino yarn. The skein contains 700 yards. This yarn has been discontinued as of March 2013 so I’m lucky to get one of the last skeins. Here’s a lovely description of the yarn from Ravelry:

Luscious, velvety domestic mohair from Stotts’ Ranch in Texas lends this lace-weight yarn its irresistible, kitten-like soft­ness. The fiber content, combined with our unique dyeing process, gives It’s Native its deep and lushly-shaded tones, while the luxuri­ous texture makes for exquisite, special occasion, gift-worthy accessories.

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And a close up of that Gold Experience colourway…

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And for the grand finale….a picture of the Knit and Knatter group (sans Gillian who took the photo) last Saturday at The Artist Tree. That’s me at the back in the middle knitting my Serengeti Scarf. And look at those beautiful bright crocheted squares made by Kathleen….can’t wait to see the completed project.

Knit and Knatter group resized

That’s all my ‘bits and pieces’ for the moment. Hope you have a wonderful long Labour Day weekend. Until next time…

Melanie

Spinning Weekend Catch Up

I had a lovely long weekend which started last Thursday (Anzac Day), flex day on Friday and then Saturday and Sunday. On Thursday, I drove for about half an hour to pick up my Tarra Carousel that I purchased on Ebay recently and then spent part of Thursday and Friday cleaning and oiling my three latest spinning wheels to get them ready to start using. A trip to Bunnings found some suitable jute to use as drive belts and then I managed to get all three up and spinning!

On Friday afternoon I practised some spinning on my Wee Peggy wheel to try and get my yarn thickness a bit finer and more consistent. I had some yellow and pale yellow wool rovings that I used.

Yellow Handspun 01

All I can say is that it’s going to take a lot of practise to get where I want to go! Believe it or not this is actually a bit better than my first lot of handspun yarn. The close up photo makes it look quite thick (that’s my excuse anyway 🙂 ).

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All wound onto the niddy noddy….not much there but I will have two skeins.

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Two skeins….just need to soak them and hang out to dry before they can be used.

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Another close up photo…I quite like the two colours together.

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I had a little of the pale yellow left over so I spun it…..more practise!

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Yesterday I went along to the first get together for the Redland Spinners and Weavers that was held at The Artist Tree. There were only three of us there however there was not a silent moment for the whole two and half hours we were there! That’s one thing that women can do so well….meet and talk and bond.

Michelle was spinning on her Ashford Traveller wheel and I was astounded at how fine her yarn was. That is what I am aspiring towards. She spun so effortlessly…the wheel was just gliding around and there was an aura of calmness and serenity just watching her. Along with a natural talent she has, there’s lots of practise there as well.

I took along my knitting (a shawl in garter stitch so I didn’t have to concentrate on the pattern) and Gillian came along and gave me lots of hints and tips as I asked a myriad of questions. I found out the Queensland Spinners and Weavers open day is 26 May so I will have to put that in my diary.

I was all fired up today so I got out my Tarra Carousel and tried her out. This is the result….still trying to get my yarn a bit finer. I find I’m going along quite well and then suddenly I think about what I’m doing and I get all flustered and confused…my foot starts pedalling faster, I have trouble drafting the wool and have to stop….take a breath and start again.

Pink Handspun 01

Check out the nasty thick bits and where the twist is a bit too tight! Sigh! As I was spinning this I was saying to myself “I must spin nice and fine like Michelle”. It doesn’t appear to have worked….maybe next time.

Pink Handspun 02

I love spinning on my new Tarra Carousel….she is such a beautiful wheel to look at and spins like a dream. Why do I have to take such close up photos….they only enhance the irregularities in my spinning!!

Pink Handspun 03

Just to finish off…I’ve been knitting a couple of things for a friend’s grandchildren…a baby boy due any minute will be getting this cute little Mock Cable Hat and Mock Cable Socks made with Patons Big Baby 8ply.

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And his big sister who is about 13 months old will be getting this cute pink Ribbed Pumpkin Hat made with Ashford Tekapo 8ply.

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Now I MUST go and do some ironing that has been gathering over the last month!!! I hate ironing….I would much rather be spinning or knitting.

Until next time….

Melanie

Cleveland BUZZ and an Aussie Yarn Bombing Blitz

Bloomfield Street, Cleveland was a hive of activity on Saturday morning as the 2013 Cleveland BUZZ celebrations were held. Events included live music, pottery in the park, shopfront artwork, laughter yoga, belly dancing, artists at work in the street, community group displays and demonstrations, walking spinning-wheel demonstrations, author book signings, street theatre, yarn bombing and more.

I joined the ladies of the Yarning Circle to create our yarn bombing masterpieces and displayed them outside The Artist Tree Cafe and Art Space. There were five of us today: Bobbie, Dolly, Sue, Elizabeth and me.

Yarn Bombing 01We spent about three hours busily joining knitted and crocheted shapes together. This was lots of fun as every shape was a different colour and each piece varied in size quite dramatically. Sue is head of the arts departments at a local high school so she was quite happy joining her pieces to create a real freeform object while I still need to find my real creative side. My pieces were all uniform in size! That’s what nearly 40 years of working in Government administration does to you! It supresses your inner creativity 🙂

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A ‘busy’ table

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This photo (below) is courtesy of Janet from Redland City Living. That’s me in the middle holding the blue crocheted square.

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This yarn bombing was knitted in a yarn that contained a shiny thread. In the background the dreamcatchers are created by avid participants.

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Activity in Bloomfield Street, Cleveland

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Yarn bombing is something that seems to be sweeping Australia throughout March. Recently the Big Merino in Goulburn was given a new accessory. As part of the city’s 150th Birthday Celebration the Goulburn Knitters Guild spent MONTHS knitting squares to make Rambo the Ram look beautiful. With enough yarn to span the distance between Goulburn and Moss Vale and taking a number of men and a rope system to get it on the ram, this was no small project and is their biggest craft corner project to date. More than 100 people helped create the 30m, 30kg scarf, in a nine-month operation using 71km of yarn.

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Yarn bombing also reached Adelaide and popped up most recently in the hills town of Stirling. Hundreds of school children, scouts, craft club members and individuals spent hours creating knitted and crocheted works to display outside the Coventry Library. The yarn bombing display was part of the Adelaide Fringe festival.

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Stirling Library Lawns

Yarn bombers also have been hard at work at Beachport in the south-east of South Australia.

Big Red Bench

These are quite impressive aren’t they? It makes our efforts seem quite amateurish. Not to worry, we had a ton of fun which is the main thing. Plus we made new friends which is always a bonus. We’ve also decided to try and meet twice monthly over the next year so we can really plan for next year’s yarn bombing exercise. I have already decided what piece of public furniture I am going to yarn bomb!

Have a great week and a safe and happy Easter too.

Melanie

Yarn Bombing in Cleveland (Brisbane)….Part 2

I thoroughly enjoyed my first Yarning Circle knitting/crocheting session last Saturday so it was with enthusiasm I rocked up at The Artist Tree Cafe and Creative Arts Space in Cleveland half an hour early to partake in lunch and a coffee.

Elizabeth arrived soon after so we got down to the serious business of knitting and crocheting ready for next Saturday’s Cleveland BUZZ which involves street art and performances. We were also joined by Tricia Dobson, the organiser of the event and a dear friend of mine who is a prolific writer and blogger, Janet. Janet’s blog is Redland City Living and showcases some of Redland’s best spots to visit.

The Artist Tree is a fantastic venue for those who wish to nurture their creative side or simply join friends for yummy food, good coffee and a lovely relaxing atmosphere. There are art pieces on show and for sale and maybe a drama group on site….a perfect place for a group of knitters to congregate.

Here’s a sample of some of the pieces that Elizabeth has stitched together.

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So colourful!

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I love all the different textures and shapes. That’s the fun part of yarn bombing….doing whatever you feel like, in whatever size and with whatever colour. It’s freeform knitting and crocheting at its best. Here’s some embellishments made by Janet and Tricia.

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That’s how I spent most of today. Hope your day was full of crafty fun as well. Until next time….

Melanie

Yarn Bombing in Cleveland (Brisbane)….Part 1

While reading my local paper last Tuesday, this headline captured my attention….Yarn Bombers join BUZZ. I can remember last year walking through Cleveland one Sunday with my Mum and noticing a number of iconic areas of the CBD that had been yarn bombed. The article advertised Yarning Circles that were to be held on Saturday afternoons at 1pm. Yay!! For once my full time job won’t interfere….it seems a lot of things I’m interested in joining are held during the week which makes it a bit difficult when you work full time.

The Yarning Circles are held at the Artist Tree Cafe in Cleveland which is a cafe – creative arts area – community gathering space which is slowly gathering momentum. The concept is to be commended as it is a space where the community can gather, have a coffee, something to eat, bring their craft along, sit back, relax and chat.

I gathered together some brightly coloured yarn, my crochet hook and bag and set off for my first Yarning Circle. There were only three of us there but what we lacked in numbers we certainly made up in such interesting story swapping, jokes and banter.

Dolly Olsson is one of the most lively, interesting and funny 91 year old women I have ever met! She regaled us with stories of her youth, spinning fleece on her Ashford spinning wheel (that had me spellbound), her achievement of attaining a degree in Sociology after she enrolled in a university correspondence course when she was 54! Dolly did not attain a formal education when she was young although she did make sure her children all went to university. After her degree she attained a PHD. What an inspiring national treasure she is.

Elizabeth Nowak was born in Poland and has lived in Australia for over 40 years and yet still has a very strong Polish accent. She is proficient in many crafts and today was crocheting bits and pieces in readiness for all the pieces to be joined together.

It was so relaxing sitting back and talking to complete strangers and learning about their interesting lives and at the same time sharing a bond….which is the joy of crafting…..whether it be knitting, crocheting, painting or whatever. To see a project evolve gives you great satisfaction and instils a sense of accomplishment and pride in oneself when it is completed.

The best part about this crafty exercise was that it would be shared by all those folks who visit Cleveland on Saturday, 23 March.

These are just a few of the yarnie goodies that will be used for yarn bombing.

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That’s my work on the right hand side….the bright pink crocheted squares and the brown/cream garter stitch knitted square. Dolly and Elizabeth crocheted some embellishments.

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Dolly made this embellishment….isn’t it exquisite!

That's my work on the right hand side....the bright pink crocheted squares and the brown/cream garter stitch knitted square. Dolly and Elizabeth crocheted some embellishments.03

I’ll be attending the Yarning Circle next Saturday so if you’re in Cleveland around 1pm, join us at the Artist Tree Cafe with your knitting or crocheting and make a few bits and pieces for the yarn bombing that will happen on Saturday, 23 March.

Until next time….

Cheers

Melanie

PS Here’s a definition of yarn bombing for those who aren’t too familiar with it.