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

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Weaving Tales

Weaving was always something I wanted to learn but I thought I’d put it on the backburner until I was fully retired and had the time to devote to another craft. Things changed when the stars aligned and I managed to pick up a new Schacht Inkle Loom and then my dear friend Rona offered to show me how to use it. The warping was lengthy and boring at times, however, once I started pushing that weft through the warps these amazing patterns emerged and I was captivated and hooked!

Brown reddish 01-tileAt our January spinning camp, another friend of mine, Catherine, offered to show me how to use the Ashford SampleIt loom which I jumped at enthusiastically. Again, the warping seemed to take forever but once I sat down and started weaving I was immediately drawn to the pattern that emerged.

Uh oh! This wasn’t supposed to happen until a couple of years down the track!! Needless to say, I started looking into the Ashford Knitters’ loom and absorbing myself into all things weaving! I particularly liked the idea that it was a rigid heddle loom and yet it could be folded in half even if you still have a project on it. So it was a quick email to Lindy, who’s an Ashford agent and also a member of my spinning group. At our next meeting I was the proud owner of a new 50cm Ashford Knitters’ loom, the stand and carry bag.

Meanwhile while on one of my many visits to Facebook I found someone who was selling a 30cm Ashford Knitters’ loom plus four reeds for a bargain price that included postage so I quickly snapped it up. This loom will be so easy to take to Knit and Knatter if I so desire.

30cm Knitters Loom 01 The very first project I wove at camp was this scarf made with Ashford Tekapo 8ply.

Weaving Melanie 03Once I had my 50cm loom I wove this project. It’s made from some very old wool that I had dyed with Queen food colours as a first dyeing experiment.

Queen dyed old wool 16I’m so pleased with the end result! I can’t wear it as a shawl as it’s a bit scratchy but I’m sure I can use it as a table runner.

Queen dyed old wool 18My sister gave me a stack of acrylic to make some beanies for charity and I found these three colours which I rather liked so they became more practise on the 30cm loom.

DSC08946Very pretty don’t you think?

DSC08948I was on a roll! My next project was made from my huge stash of sock yarn left overs.

Sock Yarn Left Overs 03In hindsight I shouldn’t have used all cream as the weft as it’s washed out the colours a bit but on the positive side, it is incredibly soft!

Sock Yarn Left Overs 04My final project was woven on the 50cm loom using some early handspun of mine: the grey is alpaca plied with rayon and the purple/blue is merino plied with rayon. The black is Patons Embrace 2ply. The warping was ‘lots of fun’ as I have limited space in my  home.

Grey Purple Black Warping 01Grey Purple Black Warping 08The end result was so worth it!

Grey Purple Black 03This time I used three weft colours which has made it so much more interesting to look at. It was a bit tedious at times as I was using one 50cm shuttle and two 30cm shuttles on a 50cm loom. Need to invest in a couple more 50cm shuttles methinks.

Grey Purple Black 04I had to quickly work out how to add a new warp as the alpaca from one of the warps simply wore off the rayon. As I mentioned, it’s my earlier handspun when I was still learning and it probably didn’t have enough twist in it. I have since heard that if you use hair mousse on the alpaca warp it helps to prevent the ‘fluffing’ tendency and then once it’s washed the alpaca blooms nicely.

Grey Purple Black 05 I really love the colours and am so pleased I’ve been able to use this handspun. My only fear is that I don’t snag it on anything as it’s so delicate.

Grey Purple Black 06Grey Purple Black 07 Grey Purple Black 08I also used my Ashford Fringe Twister. It’s so easy and a saves all that finger twisting.

Fringe twisterMy next projects will probably be using the same grey alpaca with the black Patons Embrace on the 30cm loom to make a long narrow scarf and then maybe the same with the purple/blue too. I’ve stacks of this handspun and this is the ideal way to use it up.

I am still going to attend the two day beginner/advanced weaving workshops in mid April so that I can pick up some more useful tips and techniques 🙂

More sheep joined my flock in the last couple of weeks. I found this huge sheep in my local Woolies (thanks Lindy for the heads up). You can see the size by simply comparing her to the chair and surrounds. The little sheep next to her used to be my largest sheep!

Huge sheep 01And when I was grocery shopping in Coles yesterday, I found these sheep in the Easter section. I succumbed but I only bought one of them!

Coles sheepUntil next time…

Melanie

Gorgeous New Zealand Wool

I have enough stash to probably last me two lifetimes however you didn’t really expect me to visit New Zealand and not acquire a little bit of wool did you? If only I had more than two arms and could carry off lots of baggage…I surely would have purchased even more!!

While visiting The Agrodome in Rotorua, I came upon this gorgeous variegated Ashford Tekapo 8ply wool. You get a generous 200g per ball so I picked up five balls at $12.50 each. Not sure what I’m going to make but that’s beside the point. Ashford Tekapo Green Mix 02This is the scene that greeted me when I entered The Woollen Mill at The Agrodome. Gorgeous isn’t it? A knitter’s paradise I say. I really didn’t want to leave. In fact, I was the last person to board the bus.

Agrodome 30The Agrodome also sold lots and lots of knitted goodies which were very invitingly displayed. Agrodome 32Agrodome 33Agrodome 34When we arrived in Dunedin and were transported to The Octagon in the city centre it was still too early for the shops to open so I wandered around and found a couple of wool shops. I was on the doorstep of Knit World when it opened and picked up two balls of this Happy Feet sock yarn made in Auckland. I’ve already started a pair of socks in the orange mix and they’re coming along a treat.

Knit World

Happy Feet Sock Yarn GreenHappy Feet Sock Yarn OrangeAs I was savouring all the yarn in the shop, I came across this lone skein of gorgeous Touch Yarns 8ply Merino so I quickly snaffled it.

Touch Yarns 8plyAround the corner and into Seriously Twisted where they had a small selection of yarns and a larger selection of knitted goods. I bought six balls of Rare Earth alpaca yarn for $10 each.

Seriously Twisted 02Rare Earth Humus Alpaca 8ply 02And then my eyes were caught on a bundle of Touch Yarns possum/merino in the colours I just love!!! It was very expensive indeed but I figured it’s not every day I’m shopping in Dunedin so I talked myself into buying two skeins. I might add it didn’t take me long to convince myself that I really needed this yarn 🙂

Touch Yarns Merino Possum 4ply 01While I was in Carterton with Mary who had picked me up from the ship in Wellington, we visited a little shop that was chock-a-block full of sewing needs and yarn. There was so much to pick from however I spotted this Opal sock yarn in colours that I was quite taken with. Opan Sock YarnAs well as yarn, I also acquired quite a few pairs of gloves, ponchos, a scarf and hat…all made from lovely New Zealand wool.

I love all these gloves made with a mixture of possum and merino wool. And yes I know you’re probably thinking ‘how many hands does this woman have?’ but seriously I couldn’t make up my mind which ones I liked best so I bought them all. You never know, it could one day snow in Brisbane. Wishful thinking I know.Gloves 01-tileAnd these two ponchos, also made with a possum/merino mixture. Ponchos are perfect as they keep your back, chest and shoulders warm and at the same time your arms are not restricted. Great for walking to work in the crisp mornings.

Poncho 01-tileI couldn’t resist this cute little hat. As I’d bought gloves and ponchos it seemed silly not to have a nice little hat! HatSomeone on Ravelry had directed me to this shop in Dunedin. It’s called the Stuart Street Potters Co-operative and although it sells mainly pottery, it also sells some handspun yarn and handmade woollen garments. I picked up this scarf in this lovely shade of lime green.

Lime Green Scarf 01Lime Green Scarf 05Lime Green Scarf 08-tile

(If you click on the above image you’ll be able to read the label wording)

Even though the weather is gradually cooling down in Brisbane, I am still hoping we have a few colder days in winter so I can wear all my lovely New Zealand woollies!!

That’s my news for the moment. I’ve been beavering away at two new scarves….both the same pattern….but I was so keen to see the look of each scarf with different yarn that I couldn’t wait to finish one. No wonder I have so many UFOs!!!

Until next time…

Melanie

A Dramatic Leftie!

After I’d finished knitting my first Leftie I was quite enamoured with the pattern so I started thinking about knitting another one! Ironically, I had not long purchased this wool from Spotlight.

Shepherd Colour For Me black 01Black is not generally colour I would purchase but it’s a good quality wool (Shepherd Colour 4 Me) and it was only $1.40 ball so I thought I’d stash it away for another day. Little did I know that day would arrive so quickly. I immediately thought how bold solid colours would really ‘pop’ against the black. My next project was now a reality and Leftie # 2 was created.

Leftie Scarf # 2 03Don’t those colours simply look so effective against the black?

Leftie Scarf # 2 05I used size 4.5mm needles and a selection of 8ply yarns predominantly Ashford Tekapo followed by Cleckheaton Country and Lincraft Cosy. These are the colours I used.

Leftie Scarf # 2 12I have a stack of the Ashford Tekapo that I bought on Ebay a couple of years ago for around $1 a ball. It’s really good to start using some of it. This scarf will go to New Zealand with me on my cruise in April this year.

Leftie Scarf # 2 06I love all these bright and happy colours!

Leftie Scarf # 2 07Leftie Scarf # 2 08Leftie Scarf # 2 09Leftie Scarf # 2 10And a picture to give you an idea of what the scarf looks like in its entirety.

Leftie Scarf # 2 04Another successful projects off the needles!

Leftie Scarf # 2 15I hope I have inspired you to knit a Leftie! It’s the perfect pattern to adapt using any size yarn and needles.

I had a wonderful time at Knit and Knatter yesterday although it was quite humid. There were eleven of us and we didn’t let the weather stifle our enthusiasm!

This morning (humid again) I moved some furniture and re-arranged my two stash rooms to make way for a small wardrobe which is currently housed in my garage. I need all the space I can get in the garage as my new car is larger than the previous one and it’s a tight squeeze opening the front door and getting in and out. Next weekend my son will come over and help me move the wardrobe and also take a bit of excess old furniture to the dump for me.

I’m now going to turn on the fan and read my book and later go for a swim. Tonight I’ll do some knitting. You didn’t think this weather would stop me knitting did you? I’m on a UFO roll at the moment. After I finished a pair of socks yesterday, I finally completed a shawl I’d been knitting for nearly a year. Tonight I might even tackle another UFO! Wonders will never cease.

Until next time…

Melanie

 

Knitting on the bias

Every now and then I like to knit on the bias (remember my Sandpiper Scarf) as it gives an interesting look to your knitting. It’s amazing that you’re knitting straight rows and yet your knitting has this diagonal look. Knitting on the bias is not difficult; in fact it’s very easy and it’s just a simple way of shaping a project so that it leans diagonally. By knitting an increase and a decrease at precise points in a project, you begin to shape the fabric diagonally. Knitting on the bias is fun and renders a fabric that’s looks fantastic. This is what it looks like; there’s cabling on the outer sides of this scarf and you can see the diagonal slant of the knitting in the middle.

Sandpiper Scarf 05

The basic instructions to knit on the bias are as follows; your fabric will lean to the left:

  1. RS: Work an increase at the beginning of the row and a corresponding decrease on the opposite end of the same row.
  2. WS: Work in pattern without shaping.

To have the bias lean to the right, just reverse the shape:

  1. RS: Work a decrease at the beginning of the row and a corresponding increase at the opposite end of the same row.
  2. WS: Work in pattern without shaping.

When I spotted one of my friends at spinning group wearing a lovely knitted cowl necklace I immediately thought what a great little project to use up all those bits and pieces of left over yarn. I found this pattern on Ravelry called Bias Knit Scarf and within a short time I had made this gorgeous little cowl necklace.

Bias Scarf Autumn 02

I added a provisional cast on and then grafted both ends together to make a seamless cowl.

Bias Scarf Autumn 04

The colour combinations you could use are simply endless.

Bias Scarf Autumn 06

A cowl necklace like this one would be ideal just to keep a slight chill off your neck at the turn of the season.

Bias Scarf Autumn 03

I used mainly Ashford Tekapo 8ply wool and Sullivans Aztec (this is a lovely soft yarn) for my cowl. I changed colours when I felt like it; there was no counting rows which made it an effortless knit; a perfect knit when you’re talking with friends.

Ashford Tekapo500

Sullivan Aztec Ivy 02

These cowl necklaces would make perfect gifts as they are so easy to knit up. You could use a combination of variegated and solid colours too. They’d look great in sock yarn too.

Bias Scarf Autumn 05

Bias Scarf Autumn 03

What a nifty little pattern isn’t it? There are plenty of bias knit patterns to be found on Ravelry too.

I’m off to another yarn group get together tomorrow; from 1-5pm. What bliss! Knitting and talking to like-minded women for four hours 🙂

I hope you all have a yarn-filled weekend too!

Until next time…

Melanie

Snazzy Knitted Slippers 1 and 2

After receiving a copy of Alison Howard’s latest book Knitted and Crocheted Slippers, I was keen to start making some. This cute little pair made from simple knitted squares caught my eye. In fact it’s called Simple Squares. Each slipper consists of five squares.

Simple Squares 01

The secret is to make sure the maximum number of stitches is correct for your foot size. Alison provides guidelines for this however as the yarn I used would normally be used with larger needles I had to increase the number of stitches for the larger square.

Simple Squares 02

The yarn I used is from a huge stash of Ashford Tekapo 8ply that I bought on Ebay a couple of years ago for just over $1 each!! Yes, that’s right; how cheap is that. An online store was getting rid of their last balls so I managed to get some great bargains. I used 3.5mm needles.

Simple Squares 03

Don’t they look cute when they’re not on a foot! They do stretch quite a bit I might add as only garter stitch is used. My foot size is an Australian 9.

Simple Squares 09

The second pair I made is called Aran Anklet. What I love about these slippers is they’re perfect to slip into your bag and take anywhere if you need to take off your shoes and don’t want bare feet. Perfect for travelling.

Aran Anklets 01

Plus the yarn I used is simply soft and luscious. It’s Lana Gatto Super Soft which is a 10ply  / worsted 100% merino wool.

Aran Anklets 02

And if you’re wondering what all those wrinkly bits on my feet are…well I’d just taken off my boots and socks to take these photos and realised the socks left their impression on my skin!

Aran Anklets 06

You’d never guess this was a pair of socks would you?

Aran Anklets 09

So far so good. I am quite impressed with these slippers and will make a few more from the book and show them to you in due course.

Aran Anklets 06-tile

Have I tempted you to buy this book and tackle some of these very easy patterns?

Hopefully I have. Until next time (when I’m in Noosaville 🙂 )…

Melanie

My Socksie Slippers

Now that summer is officially over here in Australia and we’re into autumn, I can really start planning some cold (okay cool) weather knitting. Last winter I experimented making some slippers to scuff around in my home. This is my first attempt.

Socksie Slippers 01

As you can see, they weren’t quite snug enough around the ankle so out came the crochet hook and a few rows of crocheting did the trick.

Socksie Slippers 11

A different coloured cuff for each slipper. The slippers are made using two strands/balls of Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash which is a 10ply (worsted) 100% wool. The result is a pair of very soft and comfy socksie slippers which I’ve called ‘Autumn’.

Socksie Slippers 12

This is my second attempt using yellow and brown Ashford Tekapo 8ply 100% wool.

OMG it looks like I have the feet of a hobbit!!

Socksie Slippers Tiger 03

Because this wool is a bit sturdier the slippers sit nicely on their soles which I made a bit wider to cater for my wide foot. I’ve named these slippers ‘Tiger’.

Socksie Slippers Tiger 02

Both pairs of socksie slippers were made using size 6mm needles.

Socksie Slippers Tiger 07

Unfortunately I didn’t write the pattern down straight away and now my notes don’t all make sense. So this means I’ll have to make another pair and write the pattern a bit more clearly as I go so I can share it with you.

Now I just need to wait patiently for winter which isn’t due for another three months 😦 I love winter here in Brisbane.

Before I go I’d like to share my little ‘invention’ with you. I’ve been knitting a scarf from Bambu 7 (purchased from BB Yarn Supplies in Brisbane) which is on a spool. It was very fiddly trying to wind off the bamboo yarn as the spool went everywhere so this is what I came up with!

Spool Caddy 01

A nifty use of a cheap plastic basket that I bought from one of those discount stores.

Spool Caddy 02

All I did was grab three bamboo skewers, cut off the sharp points, taped the ends together, fed the skewers through the very conveniently placed hole, slipped on the spool, fed the skewers through the other side and then secured each end with a clothes peg. Voila! the spool winds effortlessly and does not go all over the place.

Spool Caddy 03

I  can also slip the pattern, knitting, notebook and pencil into the basket and I have  another knitting caddy! I surprise myself at times with my good ideas 🙂 I hope you can also make use of this idea.

Spool Caddy 04

Until next time…

Melanie